Thursday, March 31, 2011


Doug Liman's Fair Game bothered me.  It angered me.  George Bush and all of his cronies really got away with some sinister, un-American shit.  They should all be ashamed of themselves and they all should have been thoroughly whipped and beaten.  Now that that's out of the way...from a movie stand-point, Fair Game is very compelling stuff.  Liman's film focuses on Valerie Plame (perfectly played by Naomi Watts), the much-reported-about covert CIA operative who was outed by corrupt White House officials after her crusading husband, Joe Wilson (the customarily intense Sean Penn), wrote a New York Times article stating that the Bush administration had faked intelligence about WMD's in order to invade and destroy Iraq.  It's a classic "David VS Goliath" tale, and it's down-right fucked-up how our country treated someone like Plame.  Liman directs in an unfussy, doc-like manner (a stark comparison to the gritty yet slick stylings of The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and benefits from a lean and fact-packed script from Jez and John-Henry Butterworth.  It makes for a nice companion piece with Green Zone even if there isn't anything in the way of action or shootouts or explosions.  It really struck me as a project that would have been a natural fit for HBO; I think it would have cleaned up at the Emmy's.  It's a really good, if very frustrating, political thriller.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Waste Land deserved its Oscar nomination. Amazing documentary. Extremely powerful.  Amazing score by Moby.  Good on Vick Muniz -- he's got a huge heart and a shit-ton of talent.

Rabbit Hole is essentially flawless. Aaron Eckhart was great, as was Nicole Kidman. Very sad subject matter (the death of a child) but never overly sentimental or too heavy-handed. Sharp writing and clear-eyed direction by John Cameron Mitchell. 

In the Loop was wonderfully profane and very funny.  I wish it had had subtitles at times but overall I was able to follow it.  Paired nicely with Four Lions.



Sweet dreams...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Sucker Punch is yet another visual tour de force for Zack Snyder, who has now cemented himself as a true cinematic artist/auteur. It’s not what I’d call “great” cinema, and I do think he went a bit CGI-crazy, but in the realm of pure fantasy (especially one where the main character is “escaping” their reality, like in The Fall), I feel like all of his aesthetic decisions worked. The action sequences were, for the most part, astonishing and visually glorious to behold, especially the WWI bit and the single-take-madness with the robots on the train. I know I LOVED watching it in IMAX format, and that I was BLOWN away from a sensory perspective. I just feel like Warner Brothers fucked with the final edit and that an even better film will be arriving in “director’s cut” format on Blu Ray.  I've got lots more to say on this one coming up.  If nothing else, Sucker Punch succeeds on one major movie level that I hold dear to my heart -- SHOW ME SOMETHING I'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.  This is becoming increasingly difficult for filmmakers to accomplish.  Snyder has now done it more than once.  I for one cannot wait to see his take on Superman.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Sucker Punch on Saturday.  It's getting trashed by the critics but I could give two shits.  I loved Dawn of the Dead and consider it to be one of the best modern horror movies, I saw 300 five times in the theaters, and Watchmen is a bold and beautiful masterpiece.  So...yeah...I'm a fan of director Zack Snyder and his brand/style of action-movie mayhem.  I still haven't seen that owl movie, though...

From Netflix is the Oscar nominated documentary Waste Land.

HD On Demand options include: The Tourist, Stone, Cracks, and a few others I think...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Paul, simply put, is a blast.  It's really a wet-dream for movie geeks and it's going to appeal most to fans of late 70's/early 80's sci-fi (and Spielberg in general).  The gist -- two lovable buddies (Simon Frost and Nick Pegg) take a UFO-inspired road-trip only to meet a real-life, F-bomb-dropping, joint-smoking alien (perfectly voiced by Seth Rogen) who's being pursued by FBI agents (Bill Hader, Jason Bateman) -- is pure stoner-movie material to be sure, and with Greg Mottola at the helm (Superbad, The Daytrippers, Adventureland), Paul sort of amiably shambles about from scene to scene, sampling pop-culture from the last 30 years, dropping a shit-ton of movie references, blowing some stuff up real nice, and having fun for the entire time.  Unless you're a total kill-joy then I think it'll be next to impossible to actively hate a movie like Paul; it might not be your exact cup of tea but it's too lovable a movie to really hate on. The film is an interesting hybrid of sly British comedy (these are the guys responsible for writing Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, two critically revered movies that I've only liked, not loved)  and raucous Apatowian riffing.  It's not a movie that needs to be analyzed too much.  It's just silly entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.

Battle: Los Angeles.  The title says it all.  There's a battle.  And it's in Los Angeles.  And in the movie Battle: Los Angeles, that's basically all you get:  one, big, motherfucking battle.  I loved the action and the integration of the special effects in this film.  Jonathan Liebesman, as a director of major action set-pieces, has stepped up into the big leagues with this picture.  His previous efforts (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Darkness Falls) would never have lead me to believe that he was capable of something like what he displayed in this film.  Borrowing the oft-used Peter Berg/Ridley Scott/Paul Greengrass/shake-the-hell-out-of-the-camera-aesthetic (one that I personally love as it ramps up the kineticism and the visceral thrills), Liebesman totally puts the viewer in the middle of an extraterrestrial war-zone, with bullets constantly zipping overhead, explosions rumbling from side to side, and general menace around every corner.  However, he's totally let-down by the overly cliche nature of Chris Bertolini's paint-by-numbers script.  Here's a film that, beyond playing like a Marine recruitment propaganda piece, shows you EVERY SINGLE war-movie-moment from the last 30 years of cinema.  Dialogue is so square and obvious at times that you can't help but roll your eyes.  But you know what -- I couldn't have cared less about ANY of that.  What I wanted from Battle: Los Angeles was to see what it would look like if Hell-A got its ass handed to itself by visitors from another planet, and in that sense, the film is an out-and-out triumph.  The free-way over-pass sequence was extraordinary, the showdown with the communications mother ship was mighty impressive, and the overall relentlessness of the entire film reminded me of Black Hawk Down, still the absolute gold-standard of combat movies.  From a cinematography and editing standpoint, Battle: Los Angeles is a remarkable achievement.  From a special effects standpoint -- wow -- some seriously good work was done, work that Bay would have approved.  All of the actors did what they could with the words provided to them (Aaron Eckhart being the obvious stand-out).  It's just a shame that the script didn't help anyone out with more polished dialogue (why couldn't they have called Steven Zaillian for a quick rewrite?)  I was a fan of how the Marines never knew anything more about the situation than what they were getting from the media.  I liked how the intentions of the aliens were only half-clear -- they want our water but he why and how were never answered because we wouldn't really know.  And I also liked how you never saw a full glimpse of the alien invaders until more than half-way through the film.  In reality, if this sort of colonization/invasion happened and we were immediately under siege from an unknown and more powerful enemy, my feeling is that what was depicted in Battle: Los Angeles would more or less be the case.  It just didn't need to sound so lunk-headed.  But whatever -- minor quibbles when it comes to a movie so bluntly titled as Battle: Los Angeles.  I hope to see it one more time in the theaters, but this time, I might bring an iPod into the theater and listen to that Johan Johansson song from those incredible trailers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I'm a fan of Rainn Wilson so I'd check this out.


I still can't believe this is coming out...


Orphan is TOTALLY fucked up. Enjoyable on a B-movie level but extremely deranged and so over the top you can't help but laugh.  Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard were both dependably solid but the little girl really steals the entire show.  It's basically the same movie as The Good Son but with an EXTRA demented twist-reveal that is so asinine it has to be seen to be believed. 

Four Lions was utterly BRILLIANT. The darkest, meanest political satire in many-a-moon. Wow. Those last 20 minutes -- just phenomenal. I gotta buy the Blu Ray soon and give it another viewing. NOT for the easily offended.  I don't want to spoil ANYTHING about this movie as it's something that just has to be discovered, if you know what I mean.  The tonal shifts are very interesting (black comedy is mixed with sharp satire and combined with serious action that carry real consequences) and are confidently handled by debut director Chris Morris, a name worth remembering and looking out for in the future. 

The Infidel was a better idea than an actual movie but still funny enough to check out. I enjoyed it for the most part, but the sloppiness of the filmmaking (somewhat weak direction; partially muddled script) detracted a bit from a great premise (a British Muslim man finds out he's actually an adopted Jew) and a fantastic lead performance.

You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger is the best Woody Allen movie in years. It should have gotten more attention. Really entertaining on all levels.  A great cast (Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Lucy Punch, Antonio Banderas) with lots of slick stedicam shots (the legendary Vilmos Zsigmod was the d.o.p.) and a mostly unpredictable screenplay that goes to some unexpectedly dark and funny places.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


...I still want to see it.  My expectations are so low that at this point I'll probably enjoy it. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


I hope this hits On Demand soon...

Friday, March 18, 2011


Gonna check out Greg Mottola's new sci-fi comedy Paul.  I am a big fan of Mottola's previous film, Adventureland, and this new one looks right up my alley.

Still have You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger from Netflix.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The Switch was OK. It had a few laughs, primarily due to Jason Bateman's comedic timing; he can do no wrong. It's a very weird, dark, slightly sour little comedy about a guy who hijacks his best friend's (Anniston) artificial insemination by switching the co-ingredient (donated by Patrick Wilson) with his own, inferior product. 7 years pass and wouldn't you know it -- there's a son that Bateman has never met.  Things, of course, get complicated.  Anniston is Anniston; it's yet another role she can do in her sleep.  Jeff Goldblum steals a few scenes as Bateman's sarcastic co-worker.  The the little kid playing the son was excellent, if totally unrealistically written (6 year olds aren't this smart).  As directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck from a screenplay by the prolific Allan Loeb (The Dilemma, Things We Lost in the Fire, Wall Street 2), The Switch definitely should have been rated-R and it definitely needed a few more big laughs.  It's worth a rental if you're a fan of Bateman but I'd have been pissed had I spent money to see it in the theater.  Sadly, the script doesn't do much with a funny (however messed up) premise, and Gordon/Speck's direction isn't as loose as it was with their asinine Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory.  It's just an odd duck of a movie.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



I don't think I'll run out and buy The Fighter today per se, but I'll definitely pick it up down the line at some point.  It's an excellent movie.  It's nice to see David O. Russell make a film that did some coin at the box office.  It's not his most ambitious project but it confirmed that he can make an emotionally rousing, straight-ahead drama and get some terrific "movie-star" performances from a deep cast.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011


The recently released full trailer is moviegasmic.


It's all about Battle: Los Angeles this weekend -- seeing it Saturday afternoon.  All I'm expecting is two hours of intense street-warfare between Marines and Aliens.  That's all I want to see...

From Netflix is Woody Allen's latest romantic dramedy You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger.  Looking forward.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A movie like The Next Three Days has to be taken only for what it is, totally in the moment, and it can't be given much thought afterwards.  Otherwise, this totally ridiculous but entertaining thriller wouldn't work.  The idea is preposterous -- a husband busts his wife out of prison for a crime she didn't commit -- but because of the way writer/director Paul Haggis goes about doing things, the film stays believable just enough for you to move from scene to scene without really being pissed off.  I am sure you could nitpick this movie to death, and yes, soooo many things need to happen via the contrived plot in such  precise ways that it seems like the movie could break down from some sort of mechanical malfunction.  But as always, Russell Crowe totally demands your attention and does an excellent job portraying a regular guy thrust into an insane situation.  He's long been one of my favorite actors and that'll never change.  Elizabeth Banks (big fan) gets to shade her morally questionable character in some interesting ways which helps in keeping things slightly unpredictable (Haggis's decision to fracture the narrative at times contributes as well).  The Next Three Days has a polished but unshowy visual style (Stefane Fontaine was the cinematographer) and it moves at a consistent pace so that nothing is ever boring.  There's one big action set-piece and I will say this -- I've never seen a car-stunt like that one before. Overall, The Next Three Days is a totally competent genre entry that while never going above and beyond the call of duty, delivers a solid night's worth of cinematic thriller idiocy.  It's a minor film for Haggis (In the Valley of Elah was phenomenal) but one that satisfies on a simple thriller level.


The recently released, internet-only, red-band trailer for Jake Kasdan's upcoming comedy Bad Teacher is all sorts of funny.  Kasdan is an underrated comedy director with a unique style and sensibility (see The Zero Effect, The TV Set, Orange County, Dewey Cox) and I have always loved Cameron Diaz -- she's a great movie star and she looks perfectly cast in this. There are a ton of comedies coming out over the next few months, and thanfully, most of them are R-rated.  Here's a title glance: Your Highness, The Hangover 2, Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher, Paul, Arthur, The Trip, The Beaver, Horrible Bosses, Larry Crowne, Friends with Benefits, Crazy, Stupid Love, The Sitter, The Change-Up, 30 Minutes or Less.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Saw this in the theater opening day with my buddy Biff back when we were in high school.  Immediately LOVED it.  How so many people could hate this movie is beyond me.  Can't wait to watch it all over again.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I loved Moon, so...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


LOVED The Adjustment Bureau. Heady stuff. As always, Matt Damon was superb. A great movie romance where the two leads actually have real chemistry. Emily Blunt is ace in this film -- funny, alluring, charming, attractive, and holy shit she's got some ballerina skills.  Look out, Nathalie.  George Nolfi's majorly thought provoking script always keeps you surprised and thoroughly entertained at every moment. And as an added bonus you get to see Roger Sterling on the big screen -- long live John Slattery!  I loved the old fashioned look and feel of the movie; there is a low-key style at work and even though this is Nolfi's first time as a director he really delivers something unique and engrossing.  There are shades of Dark City, The Matrix, Inception, the works of Franz Kafka, and of course, it's based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (Total Recall, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report), so needless to say, Nolfi has plenty of influences, but he still managed to make something totally his own. The Adjustment Bureau is a romance first and foremost and because of the believable pull between Damon and Blunt, you're able to accept the inherent ridiculousness of the overall idea of the movie.  This is as preposterous as Inception but just as movie-world believable because everyone involved is totally committed to the idea.  And by the end, without spoiling anything, Nolfi really gives you lots to think about and discuss when it comes to fate, chance, destiny, coincidence, and the potential for something extraordinary beyond our reach.  I'm already stoked for the Blu Ray and the repeated viewings I'll be giving to this film. It's shocking that this movie was delayed a full year.  The solid reviews and good opening weekend box office were well deserved.


Kathryn Bigelow's Point Break is so hilariously, aggressively over the top that it's impossible not to love the shit out of it.  This'll look magnificent on Blu Ray when it hits in April.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Let the March onslaught begin!

I plan on seeing the intriguing looking The Adjustment Bureau this Sunday. 

I'll check out Rango next week after work, probably Monday or Tuesday.

Shipping today from Netflix for delivery tomorrow is the The Graduate, a film I haven't seen in ages (and nowhere near enough overall).

Thursday, March 3, 2011


There are so many weird bits and odd angles in Andrew Jarecki's brilliant and fascinating documentary Capturing the Friedmans that it was upon the second viewing that I really began to fully understand the complexities of the Friedman case.  This is a wholly engrossing piece of work that has to be seen to be believed.  Seek it out immediately if you haven't seen it yet as it's as mind-blowing (and sad) as anything that I can think of.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Pissed I missed this one in the theaters.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Great film.  Great filmmaking.  Gotta pick it up after work.