Wednesday, December 30, 2009

QUICKLY

The Road is the best film I've seen in 2009 thus far. Ever since I saw it last weekened it's been impossible not to go back to it in my head. A riveting experience, it's a film that's not likely to be loved by all viewers, but I found it to be a masterpiece on pretty much every level. The inevitable snubbing of the film in all categories at the Oscars will be predictably despicable; it's a crime that the film got dumped the way it did by the Weinstein company, and it's mind boggling that more than one esteemed "critic" didn't see the brilliance of this film. I'll have a more detailed take on John Hillcoat's masterful piece of apocalyptic fiction, but for now, I'll say that it's a helluva film, and one that I cannot wait to watch again and again. That may sound strange as the film is quite dark and bleak, but I sort of see it as a companion piece (in some respects) to Children of Men, another film about the end of civilization that has stayed in the memory banks for a long time.

Nine was very enjoyable. It's pure style; it's really a show for cinematographer Dion Beebe and editor Claire Simpson. The cast is solid all around, but it's Daniel Day Lewis who (predictably) owns the screen. Marion Cotillard is fast becoming my favorite working actress, Penelope Cruz should think about becoming a full-time Victoria's Secret model (kidding...but not really...), and for the first time, I didn't want to strangle Kate Hudson on screen. It's not a groundbreaking movie like 8 1/2, one of its inspirations, but it's a classy, jazzy, snazzy, big-screen musical with lots of visual razzle dazzle. Rob Marshall knows what's up with this sort of thing.

I'll be seeing Up in the Air tomorrow.

I've got tickets for Avatar in 3-D IMAX for Saturday.

Might check out It's Complicated on Sunday.

That leaves only The Lovely Bones, Crazy Heart, A Single Man, and Sherlock Holmes as the last few major releases for 2009. I'll have to catch up with Invictus, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and An Education on Blu Ray.

Recent DVD viewings have included the hysterical bro-mance Humpday (looooved it), G-Force (very amusing), Dedication (it was only a'ight but Billy Crudup was terrific), Ballast (solid but overrated), Monsters Inc. (lovable and tons of fun), and Love, Etc. (disappointing).

I'll be posting my best of the decade list soon, so keep an eye out.

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEEKEND

I got a surprise gift this holiday weekend -- The Road is playing (only two showings per day however) in my area, so tomorrow night, my plan is to check it out. I am very excited.

Nine on Sunday.

Up in the Air on New Year's day.

Avatar next Saturday.

Sherlock Holmes and It's Complicated soon.

MERRY XMAS INDEED

The fam/wife hooked it up for Christmas this year -- the bounty:

Gladiator Blu
Fight Club Blu
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Xmas Special Blu
Bruno Blu
2001 Blu
North by Northwest Blu
The Dark Knight Blu
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Vista Series
Homicide: Criterion
The Muppet Movie
Heist
Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin'

Sunday, December 20, 2009

LOVE THE TWO OF THEM...

...but this film has been directed by ultra-hack extraordinaire, Shawn Levy.

HAVE HEARD IT'S SCARY


Friday, December 18, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Avatar opens today. I'll be seeing it. But not this weekend.

Still have Ballast from Netflix kicking around the apartment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CHANUKKAH HAUL


My wife, God I love her, hooked it up for me in a majorly Blu way for Hanukkah 2009 -- Casino, Gomorrah: Criterion, Black Hawk Down, Planet Earth: Complete Series, State of Play, The Sopranos: Season 1, and 300. I wish there were 25 hours in a day.

THE NEXT 300/GLADIATOR?


HOLY SHIT

You gotta read Roger Ebert's 4 star review of Avatar:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091211/REVIEWS/912119998

The buzz has reached a fever pitch; I'm really excited now, much more so than I've ever been to see this film...

Friday, December 11, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Invictus opens this weekend. I want to see it. But I won't have time over the next few days.

Sunday is a day at the theater in NYC; seeing God of Carnage. Looking forward.

From Netflix I've got the critically acclaimed indie Ballast -- have heard nothing but excellent things.

Also -- speaking of excellent things -- the first reviews for Avatar are making their way online and the buzz has been nothing short of spectacular. Now I am getting more excited...

I watched Public Enemies last night and it really bothers me that this film isn't going to get the across-the-board Oscar nominations it deserves. Brilliant film.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

THREE REVIEWS

A Christmas Carol (A) is more evidence of writer/director Robert Zemeckis smashing technology to smithereens and providing a rollicking piece of holiday entertainment for the entire family. Sticking very close to the original text by Dickens, Zemeckis races through the snowy Victorian streets of Old London with his CGI-enhanced camera, and along with his stunning use of 3-D, he transforms his entire motion-captured-cast, most especially Jim Carrey (in multiple roles), into surreal pieces of an intricate puzzle. For Zemeckis, the mo-cap technique has been hit (The Polar Express) and miss (Beowulf), but with A Christmas Carol, he picks up where he left off in The Polar Express, and crafts another film that’s really in tune to the true meaning of the holiday season. And again – Carrey is just dynamite in the film; it’s a shame that he’ll be overlooked by the Academy because his work deserves more recognition than it’s received. In recent years, Carrey’s taste in projects has felt a bit off at times, and I’ve been waiting to see this brilliant actor make a big come-back; remember his great work in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and yes, Dumb and Dumber? With the exception of The Cable Guy, Carrey hasn’t felt this sinister in a long time as he does during stretches of A Christmas Carol, and I love how Zemeckis decided to keep the old-school vernacular of Dickens’ text. The film is a visceral experience and something that should be experienced in the 3-D format.

Jim Sheridan has way with child-actors that is basically incomparable. Go watch In America. Check out My Left Foot. If you get a chance to see his latest picture, the searing war-time drama Brothers (A-), you’ll see more of the same, with two of the best kid-actor performances that I've seen in a long time. But beyond that, Brothers offers thought-provoking (if disturbing) entertainment for people who can stomach some pretty intense dramatics, and again serves as a reminder of the toll that our soliders take when the take the field of battle. The plot is this: two brothers, one a good soldier (Tobey Maguire), one a petty screw-up (Jake Gyllenhaal), have to contend with life altering changes when the soldier goes off to war, leaving behind his wife (Nathalie Portman) and their two daughters. Based on Danish director Susanne Bier’s original film of the same name, this American adaptation by the screenwriter David Benioff (25th Hour, The Kite Runner) sticks extremely close to the original source material, and is all the better for it. I'm a massive fan of Bier's work; Things We Lost in the Fire is disgustingly underappreciated and After the Wedding is a masters class in direction and narrative economy. The one major difference between the two versions of Brothers is style; Bier’s original was a Dogme-inspired hand-held camera fest with lots of jittery compositions and scruffy surroundings. With Sheridan there is a Hollywood polish, which while not a bad thing, reminds you more of the fact that you’re watching a movie and not a slice of life. Again, not that Frederick Elmes’ cinematography is ugly – quite the contrary, actually. Brothers looks terrific, and has a snowed-out quality that works well with the chilly themes of the narrative. It’s just that Bier’s naturalistic style has a way of further drawing the viewer in than Sheridan’s all-pro craftsmanship can. And some of the pop-music cues felt off. But nevertheless, Brothers has three incredible performances, especially from Maguire, who goes deep here, and comes as close to Bruce Dern in Hal Ashby’s classic Coming Home as anyone else has in recent memory. As the mentally scarred soldier, Maguire is asked to do a role he hasn’t yet done; I’d like to see him go dark again. Gyllenhaal, as he did so effectively in Zodiac and the underrated Rendition, continues to imbue his on-screen characters with a quiet integrity. And Portman, who at first glance felt miscast, reminds the viewer that she’s an all-stops-out actress when she wants to be. Brothers is a smart, well-written film that doesn’t shy away from life’s complexities and cruelties.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (B+) is a stoney, hazy, somewhat sloppy political satire that hits a lot of funny moments but never feels fully formed. And maybe that’s the point when you’re movie is about a bunch of LSD-taking psy-soldiers who are trying to walk through walls and kill people (and the occasional goat) by staring at them. Based on a supposedly true story, this Looney Tunes-esque farce stars George Clooney with a funny moustache as a wild and crazy soldier, Jeff Bridges reprising his role of The Dude from The Big Lebowski as a New Age military guru, Kevin Spacey with seriously funny prickish attitude as the heavy, and a bevy of familiar faces in supporting roles. The fact that one of the highlights of this asinine yet entertaining yet slightly frustrating movie is a mass LSD trip-out involving soldiers and their huge and expensive military combat equipment might tell you immediately if you’ll find the proceedings funny. I can’t say that I’ve seen another movie quite like The Men Who Stare at Goats; it’s almost as if the filmmakers (director Grant Heslov and writer Peter Straughan) are daring you to hate their film. Had it been more tightly crafted, it would have been a better film. It felt to me like everyone was going for a Dr. Strangelove vibe, but nobody on this project was up for Kubrick's level of overall brilliance. This movie isn’t for everyone, but for people with adventurous cinematic taste and a craving for something heady and unique, go check it out. It’s not perfect, but it’ll leave you with something to think about and discuss, and if you have a sense of humor, it’ll make you laugh more than a few times.

FAVORITES OF THE DECADE COMING UP

Probably in early January, once I've seen the last few major 2009 releases, I'll be posting my favorites of the decade. Not sure how I am going to do it -- a list, mini-reviews, runner's up, order of preference or alphabetical. The one thing I will say -- there is no such thing as a "best of" list. These things should be called what they are -- "favorites" list. Because I can pretty much guarantee that more than one of my top picks for the decade will be a film that lots of people hated (and in most cases misunderstood). I am really looking forward to the upcoming deluge of critics lists, both for 2009 (which has been great if you've made the effort to get to the theaters), and for the decade.

For the rest of 2009, I count these as the stand-out releases that I need to see on the big screen: Up in the Air, Nine, The Lovely Bones, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, A Single Man, Invictus, and Crazy Heart. It's Complicated looks like the usual-usual from writer/director Nancy Meyers but I like the cast. It'll sort of be an appetizer for this year's Oscars with the involvement of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

I have grown comfortable with the disturbing fact that I will never get a chance to see either The Road or The Bad Lieutenant on the big screen. This sort of thing really chaps my ass. It's the one disadvantage to not living in Hell-A anymore.

FAVORITES OF THE YEAR SO FAR

Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (A+)
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (A+)
Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (A+)
Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (A+)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man (A+)
Pete Docter’s Up (A+)
Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah (A+)
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s Sugar (A+)
Ramin Bahrani’s Good Bye Solo (A+)
Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (A+)

Jody Hill’s Observe and Report (A+)
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (A)
Henry Selick’s Coraline (A)
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (A)
Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad (A)
Todd Philips’ The Hangover (A)
Tony Scott’s The Taking of Pelham 123 (A)
Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol (A)
Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre (A)
Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (A)

Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer (A)
Alastair Fothergill’s Earth (A)
JJ Abrams’ Star Trek (A-)
Mike Judge’s Extract (A-)
Neveldine/Taylor’s Crank: High Voltage (A-)
Jim Sheridan’s Brothers (A-)
James Gray’s Two Lovers (A-)
Larry Charles’ Bruno (A-)
Kevin McDonald’s State of Play (A-)
Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia (A-)

Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience (A-)
Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Big Man Japan (A-)
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds (B+)
Grant Heslov’s The Men Who Stare At Goats (B+)
John Hamburg’s I Love You, Man (B+)
Greg Mottola’s Adventureland (B+)
David Thwoy’s A Perfect Getaway (B+)
Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (B+)
Stephen Belber’s Management (B+)
Anne Fletcher’s The Proposal (B+)

Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity (B+)
George Tillman Jr.’s Notorious (B+)
Derek Martini’s Lymelife (B+)
Woody Allen’s Whatever Works (B)
Judd Apatow’s Funny People (B)
Neveldine/Taylor’s Gamer (B)
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (B)
Bob Schwentke’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (B)
Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom (B)
Christine Jeff’s Sunshine Cleaning (B)

Joe Wright’s The Soloist (B)
Alex Proyas’ Knowing (B)
Tom Tywker’s The International (B)
Dennis Illiads’ The Last House on the Left (B)
Brad Silberling’s Land of the Lost (B-)
Howard McCain’s Outlander (B-)
Wayne Kramer’s Crossing Over (B-)
Pierre Morel’s Taken (C)
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (C)
Eric Zoncka’s Julia (C-)

Ken Kwapis’ He’s Just Not That Into You (C-)
Paul McGuigan’s Push (C-)
McG’s Terminator: Salvation (D)
Gregor Jordan’s The Informers (D)
Stephen Sommers’ GI Joe (D)
Timothy Linh Bui’s Powder Blue (D)
Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious (D)
Damien Dante Wayans’ Dance Flick (D-)

ON BR NOW

Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

I want to see Brothers and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Not sure which one I'll get a chance to see. Hopefully both. I've seen the original Brothers, directed by Susanne Bier, and it was a great movie.

Nothing from Netflix for the weekend. I received (and watched) Monsters, Inc. last night and found it to be extremely enjoyable -- no big surprise considering it's done by the guy who directed Up.

The Bad Lieutenant and The Road still haven't opened up in my area. Fucking annoying.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LONG WEEKEND

I'll be away until Sunday so no new updates until next week. Not sure if I'll be able to make it to the theaters, but if I do, there's plenty of things to pick from.

Happy Turkey Day to everyone!

PG-13?

I haven't read the book, but I am aware of what the plot details are, and none of those plot details sounded PG-13 to me...but something tells me that based on their clout, Spielberg and Jackson will get away with a PG-13 film that's really an R-film. Regardless of the rating, I'm very curious about this one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Once again, nothing of any major interest is opening in my neck of the woods. I have absolutely zero interest in New Moon. Planet 51 looks pretty lame. The one film opening this weekend that I'm foaming at the mouth to see is Werner Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, but it didn't open in my area. Typical. Precious opened in my area, but I'm still not working up a giant head of steam to spend the $12 to see it on a big screen. I might change my mind but not sure if that's the story I want to invest my 2 hours in this weekend. 2012 still holds some appeal due to the crazy looking special effects, but again, as I said last week, I don't want to sit in the theater for 2 hours and 40 minutes watching a sappy, cliched, disaster movie made from parts of every other disaster movie from the last 20 years.

From Netflix I still have the French rom-com Love Etc. sitting around -- need to finally give that a spin.

I've picked up some new Blu Rays recently -- Up, Star Trek, Pelham, The Fifth Element -- I'll likely check some of these out over the weekend too. Last night I watched a few of the behind-the-scenes segments on the Trek Blu Ray and damn were they impressive. What an awesome, gorgeous looking movie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HERZOG/CAGE


Can't wait for this apparently whacked-out cop film.

MAKE IT SO

The Star Trek Blu Ray launches today. I was a big fan of this film when I saw it in the theaters last summer...really looking forward to seeing how crisp and clean this looks on Blu Ray.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT BRIDGES

I don't know much about the film or the film's writer/director, but I have been reading a lot of amazing buzz about Jeff Bridge's performance in Crazy Heart, a movie I heard described as The Wrestler but with country music as the background. I'm not a country fan, but I am a giant fan of Bridges. He just did a great variation of his Jeffery Lebowski character in The Men Who Stare at Goats, but to be honest, I've never seen a bad performance from Bridges. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he's one the most versatile, underrated actors of his generation (and easily one of my favorites). Think back to his performances in some of these films: Lebowski, Fearless, The Contender, Arlington Rd., Seabiscuit, Starman, Wild Bill, The Fisher King -- these are just the ones that come immediately to mind. And I don't think (but I could be wrong) that he's ever won an Oscar (for lead or supporting). Which if true...is a serious crime.

Friday, November 13, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

I want to see the special effects in 2012, but the rest of the movie looks and sounds like a giant turd. It's annoying because I really do want to see the visual effects on the big screen, but I just have no desire to sit through the actual film itself. And to make matters worse -- the film is 2 hours and 40 minutes! I think I'll wait until Blu Ray.

From Netflix I've got the French rom-com Love Etc., and from Blockbuster I've got this summer's critically reviled rom-com The Ugly Truth. It looks like harmless crap, but I'm a fan of Gerry Butler, and even though Heigl is apparently an uber-biatch, she's easy to look at for 90 minutes.

An Education opens up at the one art house in the area, so if I don't see that this weekend, I'll see it sooner than later.

Fantastic Mr. Fox has opened, but only in NY and LA for the moment; it looks like a cute romp. I'll see it when it plays near me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HEAT BLU

It's on its way from Amazon.com

TRIPPY

I saw the 3-D trailer for this before the spectacular A Christmas Carol (which I'll be reviewing soon). Looks like Tim Burton ate a bunch of 'shrooms and then made a movie. Naturally.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Men Who Stare at Goats on Saturday.

A Christmas Carol 3-D Imax on Sunday.

Nothing from Netflix this weekend...disc is being sent back...watched Food, Inc. last night and I'm now scared to eat a meal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BOURNE IN IRAQ

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809976147/video

Looks appropriately bad-ass. Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) doesn't mess around. This should be sweet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WHY SPOIL IT?

Do you really need me to tell you to go and see the new Coen brothers movie A Serious Man (A+)? Does anyone need to tell you? I mean, c'mon, there really is no discussion. I'm not going to spoil the movie by describing all of the hilarious and misanthropic things on display in A Serious Man. I'm not going to over-praise the phenomenal performances from the entire cast. I'm not going to sit here and commend Roger Deakins for yet again gracing the cinema with some of the best, most engrossing cinematography of the year. I'm not going to talk about how the opening sequence of the film, filmed in Yiddish, is one of the most surreal things I've seen in a long time. And I'm not going to talk about the sure-to-be-divisive ending (and final shot) that's been floating in my memory banks for the last few weeks. A Serious Man is one of the best movies of the year, but then again, you already knew that. Or you at least knew that if you knew that the Coen brothers had a movie coming out this year. I mean...what's the deal with these guys? They seem incapable of fucking up. Everything these guys have ever done has been all of a piece, a total vision from start to finish, a work that feels continuous with everything that has come before it, and with everything after it. The Coen's have created a particular type of cinema, and they've developed a narrative and visual short-hand, not only with their frequent on and off screen counterparts, but with audiences, and most importantly, with viewers who enjoy re-watching their work over and over and over again. That's the best part of a Coen brothers film -- rewatchability. Once is enough for the likes of No Country for Old Men, Barton Fink, Fargo, Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, and The Big Lebowski? No way. You can now add A Serious Man to the list of their absolute finest accomplishments.

DERANGED BRILLIANCE

The King of Comedy is easily one of Martin Scorsese's best films, and easily one of his least seen. It's a film that was ahead of its time; a film that took on the psychological derangement of celebrity-obsessed individuals with a sharp eye for black comedy and social satire. Robert De Niro's performance is nothing less than a tour de force. Playing, yet again, a total nut-job, his Rupert Pupkin (commonly misspelled and mispronounced) is a frightening creation. The screenplay, by film-critic-at-the-time Paul Zimmerman, is layered but at the same time very streamlined, and very economical. And just wait until you see Jerry Lewis -- his performance basically consists of reaction shots and his silent expressions speak more than any words could ever do. I haven't even touched upon the story! De Niro is a wannabe comedian (and gentle psychotic) who in a fit of rage and desperation kidnaps a Johnny Carson-esque TV personality, played by Lewis. Sandra Bernhard is De Niro's accomplice. This is a fascinating, hysterical, dark, and completely perfect little masterpiece that Scorsese unleashed right after the opus that is Raging Bull. His next film after The King of Comedy would be After Hours, another film I'll be re-visiting soon. It's been ages since I've seen that one.



TONY TUESDAY

Loved this flick. It's the kind of genre entertainment that sometimes ends up getting overlooked. Tight script, stylish direction, and juicy performances.

I'M THERE


Sunday, November 1, 2009

ONE SENTENCE DVD REVIEWS

A light, airy, piffle of a movie from Woody Allen, Whatever Works (B) can't help but feel like an extended Curb Your Enthusiasm episode given that Larry David is the star, but the film retains a half-misanthropic, half-heart-felt tone thanks to solid performances from the entire cast, and David's ability to be compulsively watchable.

Sin Nombre (A) definitely takes some thematic cues from City of God, but that doesn't stop it from being a powerful, riveting, and gorgeously shot crime drama, which boasts some terrific performances from a novice cast, and establishes young writer/director Cary Funjakara as a major new talent worth keeping an eye on.

Stephen Belber's entertaining and somewhat offbeat romantic comedy Management (B+) makes the most of cute performances from Jennifer Anniston and Steve Zahn as an unlikely couple who can't seem to keep apart, even though the odds of them lasting as a romantic duo are fairly impossible.

An instant stoner/frat-house classic, Brad Silberling's mixed-bag of idiotic lunacy Land of the Lost (B-) is neither a disaster or masterpiece; the film is most definitely not for children, so fans of stars Will Ferrell and Danny McBride, and people who enjoy crude sexual humor and drug-induced flights of fancy will certainly be amused (as I was).

Fun but never truly scary and gloppy but never gratuitously gruesome, Sam Raimi's pseudo throw-back horror-comedy Drag Me To Hell (B) might've benefited from stronger leads in the main roles, but is nonetheless successful, mostly due to the creepy performance of Lorna Raver, and a fantastic final 30 seconds that reminds you that Raimi still has a mean-streak in his Marvel-fied veins.

Friday, October 30, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Nothing in the theaters this week. I have no intentions of supporting a dead pedophile by paying to see This is It!

From Netflix I have the Woody Allen/Larry David team-up Whatever Works. And I also rented Raising Arizona, which inexplicably, I don't seem to own for some strange reason. My wife still hasn't seen a few key, early Coen entries, so we'll be doing some catch-up over the next few weeks.

I still need to finish up a new DVD round-up and my review for A Serious Man.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UPDATED: TOP 20 OF 2009

Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (A+)
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (A+)
Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (A+)
Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (A+)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man (A+)
Pete Docter’s Up (A+)
Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah (A+)
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s Sugar (A+)
Ramin Bahrani’s Good Bye Solo (A+)
Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (A+)

Jody Hill’s Observe and Report (A+)
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (A)
Henry Selick’s Coraline (A)
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (A)
Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad (A)
Todd Philips’ The Hangover (A)
Tony Scott’s The Taking of Pelham 123 (A)
Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre (A)
Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (A)
Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer (A)

WHAT DO TERRY GILLIAM'S DREAMS LOOK LIKE?

Excitement builds...

CURIOUS...

I liked Donnie Darko. It's not one of my all-time favorites or anything like that, but it's a heady brew. But I liked Southland Tales even more, even if it was hardly perfect. It's a big fat mess to be perfectly honest. But it was also extremely ambitious, very entertaining, very surreal, and loopy as all hell. And those last 30 minutes are just ridiculously fun to watch. Over-stuffed and super self-indulgent, Southland Tales is the ultimate "nobody told the director No!" movie. As such, some of it works, some of it doesn't, and you're left with a schizoid vision. Richard Kelly's newest thriller, The Box, looks like his most accessible movie to date. I still hold firm in the belief that Kelly's screenplay for Tony Scott's underrated masterwork Domino is piece of genius writing. I mean that. I think The Box could be neat (I don't know the twists so no spoilers please...) but I don't want Kelly to succumb to the studio system the way it seems he might be. But if he does, all I ask is that he keeps his edge.

HOPE IT'S FUN

I love the entire ad campaign for this movie.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

QUICKLY

I went to see A Serious Man today, the new film from the Coen Brothers, and as per usual, I was blown away. I can't wait to watch it again and start discussing it in this space. It's one of the richest films of the year, and easily one of the best. Daaark. So funny. So tight. So precise. So Yiddish. It's a perfect movie the more I think about it.

I had a big DVD weekend, so in the next few days, look for a DVD round-up, with the likes of Land of the Lost, Sin Nombre, Management, and Drag Me to Hell up for discussion. I liked them all, some more than others. Sin Nombre was definitely the best of the bunch. And I think that Land of the Lost is destined to become a stoner/frat classic. It's hardly great (it's a mess to be honest), but it made me laugh. A lot.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

I'll be seeing the Coen brothers film, A Serious Man, on Sunday afternoon. As with any previous Coen film, it's an event.

From Netflix I've got the stony looking Land of the Lost (don't hate me, Joel...), and I'll be picking up a few other titles from Blockbuster, potentially including Management, Wolverine, Drag Me To Hell, and a few others. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow so my plan is to have a DVD marathon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

IT'S BAY-FORMERS TUESDAY!

RENTING IT SOON

I still want Raimi to do two things: make another crime noir like A Smiple Plan (still his best, most complete work), and do a big-budget Army of Darkness 2.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

STILL NEED TO SEE IT


WHERE THE ART IS

As expected, I was not disappointed. It is, however, a much different film than I expected; Spike Jonze tapped his inner Kubrick, his inner Malick, and made a $100 million art film, a film not for children, but about a child, told in a mature, intelligent, creative, and singular way. I was expecting something special, and I definitely got that. It's just that I wasn't sure what the end result was going to be with this movie, what with all of the fighting between Jonze and Warner Brothers, and the delayed production. The film is definitely "the book," so anyone who is afraid that Jonze and crew didn't remain faithful to Sendak's book can stay calm. But it's much more than the book; it's a painful movie about the effects of divorce, how it shapes children, and in the case of the film's hero, Max, how it shapes an awkward boy as he starts to understand his uncertain familial future. This is as bold of a "kids" movie as I've ever seen, but again, I hesitate to really call it a "kids" movie. For a film that went through years of production and creative turmoil, you'd never know it. Where the Wild Things Are is, above all, a visual marvel; the creatures themselves are some of the most beguiling cinematic creations that have ever been imagined. The idea to go man-in-suit with the Things was a great idea. This low-tech, old-school approach has been perfectly mixed with state of the art visual effects for the eyes and mouths, and the results are nothing less than stunning. Lance Acord's gorgeous, hand-held, and totally engrossing cinematography is some of the year's best shooting, and the driving, upbeat yet melancholy score brought everything together. And I haven't even touched upon the performance of Max Records as Max -- in short, it's an auspicious debut. The entire movie hangs on his performance, and he really was captivating. But it was the interactions between the Things that will keep me coming back to this film in years to come. Where the Wild Things Are is one of the best films of the year, but it's not going to be loved by all. I think little kids, by and large, will be scared by it, and will probably be turned off by the lack of major action-moments and cutsey-humor bits. This isn't a whiz-bang CGI creation with bright colors and easy to digest themes. It's a film that is more likely to be appreciated by adults, and by people who loved the book as a child. And maybe most impressively, no other film, with the possible exception of Tarsem's The Fall (a film that Where the Wild Things Are shares many things in common with), has conjured up fever-dream images quite like the way Wild Things does. It's not to be missed on the big screen and a real tour de force for Jonze as an artist.

Friday, October 16, 2009

MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND

Do I really need to say anything else?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

THE RETURN OF MEL

Very much looking forward. From the director of Casino Royale and the writer of The Departed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VERY FUNNY

How do Parker and Stone keep making South Park so consistently funny?

Friday, October 9, 2009