Short Film Review: En forelskelse

Awakening.

Carsten (Allan Hyde) is meeting his girlfriend, Melissa's (Julie Grundtvig-Wester) parents for the first time. They are extremely laid back when it comes to their daughter's first serious relationship and welcome him with open arms. While on a vacation to their family's cabin, Carsten finds himself attracted to Melissa's father. This poses a serious threat to their relationship, and obviously confuses Carsten greatly.

I came across this film while looking through Allan Hyde's filmography. What can I say, I loved his turn as Godric in True Blood. That was the best part of season 2. Anyways, I ended up watching it on Youtube before it was taken down for copyright reasons. (damn) The film accomplished a lot in 38 minutes and was very emotionally driven. Obviously a film like this isn't going to have a happy ending, but it still was very enjoyable (and at times, uncomfortable) to watch.

This Danish film is not available on Netflix or Hulu. I hope that someone breaks Youtube's terms and conditions and uploads it again. So that more people outside of Denmark can see this.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "What do you mean by man to man?" - Carsten (Allan Hyde)

2012 Academy Award Winners + My Thoughts.

I got 12/24 with my picks. Split right down the middle, holy crap that is bad. I think this is the worst I've ever done with my Oscar pics. Most of this is Hugo's fault. All and all, the show itself was pretty lackluster, but it did have some great moments. Billy Crystal was a very "meh" host to me, Chris Rock made me laugh harder in his two minutes presenting than Crystal did throughout the entire show.
My thoughts as always are printed in green.

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"Moneyball"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"
Predicted Winner: The Artist

Actual Winner: The Artist
Part of me really hoped that The Descendants would come out on top, but I knew it wouldn't.
Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
Predicted Winner: Jean Dujardin

Actual Winner: Jean Dujardin

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"
Predicted Winner: Viola Davis

Actual Winner: Meryl Streep
This legitimately surprised me. I thought Viola had it in the bag. I suppose the Academy felt bad that Meryl hadn't won anything since the 80's.
Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Predicted Winner: Christopher Plummer

Actual Winner: Christopher Plummer
I loved his acceptance speech. What a classy dude.


Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Predicted Winner: Octavia Spencer
Actual Winner: Octavia Spencer
She almost had me in tears, her and Jessica Chastain who looked so genuinely happy that Ocativa won.

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Predicted Winner: Martin Scorses: Hugo
Actual Winner: Michel Hazanavicius.
I suppose I shouldve known that the Best Pic winner would take home Best Director, but the Academy has surprised me here before.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"
Predicted Winner: Midnight in Paris
Actual Winner: Midnight in Paris.
Of course Woody no showed.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Predicted Winner: The Descendants
Actual Winner: The Descendants
I was so happy about this! I loved that movie.

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"
Predicted Winner: Rango
Actual Winner: Rango

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)
Predicted Winner: A Seperation
Actual Winner: A Seperation

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse," John Williams
Predicted Winner: War Horse
Actual Winner: The Artist
This surprised me, mainly because I didn't find anything original about The Artist's score at all.
Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Predicted Winner: Man or Muppet
Actual Winner: Man or Muppet

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: The Artist
Actual Winner: Hugo
I should've predicted Hugo to win more things, because this is the film that totally screwed my picks.


Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: The Artist
Actual Winner: Hugo
See?

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Anonymous"
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Jane Eyre"
"W.E."
Predicted Winner: The Artist
Actual Winner: The Artist

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Pina"
"Undefeated"
Predicted Winner: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Actual Winner: Undefeated.
This surprised me, because you know, Paradise Lost got three innocent men out of prison.
Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"
Predicted Winner: Saving Face
Actual Winner: Saving Face

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
Predicted Winner: Hugo
Actual Winner: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"
Predicted Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Actual Winner: The Iron Lady
I beg to disagree..

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
Predicted Winner: La Luna
Actual Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Best Live Action Short Film
"Pentecost"
"Raju"
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"
Predicted Winner: The Shore
Actual Winner: The Shore

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"Drive"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Actual winner: Hugo
Again, Hugo got me. I always guess the big budget popcorn flicks in the sound categories. It worked against me here.


Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Actual Winner: Hugo.
Hugo, putting me in my place yet again..

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Predicted Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Actual Winner: Hugo
One last time, just for good measure.

My Final Oscar Predictions

I'm going to change my regular format up a bit. In stead of doing a "who will win, who should win" after each category, I will only predict the winner. After the Oscars air, I will re post my list to see how I did.

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"Moneyball"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"
Predicted Winner: The Artist

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
Predicted Winner: Jean Dujardin

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"
Predicted Winner: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Predicted Winner: Christopher Plummer

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Predicted Winner: Octavia Spencer

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Predicted Winner: Martin Scorses: Hugo

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"
Predicted Winner: Midnight in Paris

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Predicted Winner: The Descendants

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"
Predicted Winner: Rango

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)
Predicted Winner: A Seperation

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse," John Williams
Predicted Winner: War Horse

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Predicted Winner: Man or Muppet

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: The Artist

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: The Artist

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Anonymous"
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Jane Eyre"
"W.E."
Predicted Winner: The Artist

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Pina"
"Undefeated"
Predicted Winner: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"
Predicted Winner: Saving Face

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
Predicted Winner: Hugo

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"
Predicted Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
Predicted Winner: La Luna

Best Live Action Short Film
"Pentecost"
"Raju"
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"
Predicted Winner: The Shore

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"Drive"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Predicted Winner: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Predicted Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Indie Gems: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

That kid's got a future!

You've got to hand it to John Cameron Mitchell, director and star of this film. He really knows how to put on a show. In a way, it's amazing to think that the same man that directed this did Rabbit Hole, two films that couldn't be more different. Yet, Hedwig is just as layered as Nicole Kidman's Becca. This is where Mitchell's work shines.

Hedwig is a transsexual from East Berlin who fell in love with the United States at a young age. When things don't turn out the way he planned, he's now leading a US tour singing in small restaurants while telling his life story in a series of cartoons and flashbacks. We also learn of an old lover, Tommy (Michael Pitt) who stole all of Hedwig's songs and became a famous rocker.

I rented this film because of Michael Pitt, who actually has a pretty small role, but manages to own it as always. Mitchell impressed me the most, Hedwig was tragic, funny, and obnoxious at times, but she remains one of the most interesting characters I've seen on film in awhile. I've got to hand it to the hair, make up, and costume designers as well. This was a beautiful film in that aspect, I'd love to see the Broadway show this was based upon some day.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote" "Our apartment was so small I had to play in the stove." - Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell)


How many eligible films did you see this year?

I got this idea from Blake over at Bitchin Film Reviews Here's a list of the eligible movies for Oscar consideration. How many have you seen? I've seen 63 so far, there's still a few I want to see like We Need To Talk About Kevin, Shame, My Week With Marilyn. There's also a few that I'm embarrassed that I saw..like Mr Popper's Penguins....ugh.

ABDUCTION
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
AFRICAN CATS
ALBERT NOBBS
ALOIS NEBEL
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED
AMIGO
ANONYMOUS
ANOTHER EARTH
ANOTHER HAPPY DAY
ANSWERS TO NOTHING
APOLLO 18
ARRUGAS (WRINKLES)
THE ART OF GETTING BY
ARTHUR*
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
THE ARTIST
@URFRENZ
ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 1
ATTACK THE BLOCK
BACK DOOR CHANNELS: THE PRICE OF PEACE
BAD TEACHER*
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
BEASTLY
BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
BEAUTIFUL BOY*
THE BEAVER
BEGINNERS*
A BETTER LIFE
THE BIG BANG
BIG MOMMAS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
THE BIG YEAR
BLACKTHORN
BLOODWORTH
THE BOY MIR – TEN YEARS IN AFGHANISTAN
BRIDESMAIDS*
BRIGHTON ROCK
BUCKY LARSON BORN TO BE A STAR
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER*
CARANCHO
CARNAGE
CARS 2
A CAT IN PARIS
CEDAR RAPIDS*
CERTIFIED COPY
THE CHANGE-UP*
CHICO & RITA
CIRCUMSTANCE
COLOMBIANA
CONAN THE BARBARIAN
THE CONQUEST
THE CONSPIRATOR*
CONTAGION*
CORIOLANUS
COURAGEOUS
COWBOYS & ALIENS*
CRACKS
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.*
DAM999
A DANGEROUS METHOD
THE DARKEST HOUR
DAYDREAM NATION*
THE DEBT
THE DESCENDANTS*
THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES*
THE DILEMMA*
DIRTY GIRL
DOLPHIN TALE
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
DREAM HOUSE
DRIVE*
DRIVE ANGRY
THE EAGLE*
ELEKTRA LUXX
EVERYTHING MUST GO*
EXPORTING RAYMOND
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
FAST FIVE*
50/50*
FINAL DESTINATION 5
FINDING KIND
THE FIRST GRADER
THE FLOWERS OF WAR
FLY AWAY
FOOTLOOSE
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
FRIGHT NIGHT
THE FUTURE
GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
GLEE THE 3D CONCERT MOVIE
GNOMEO & JULIET
A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY
THE GRACE CARD
THE GREATEST MIRACLE
THE GREEN HORNET
GREEN LANTERN*
THE GUARD
HALL PASS*
THE HANGOVER PART II*
HANNA*
HAPPY FEET TWO
HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE*
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2*
HELL AND BACK AGAIN
THE HELP*
HIGHER GROUND
HITLER’S GRAVE
HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL
HOP
HORRIBLE BOSSES*
HUGO
I AM NUMBER FOUR*
I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT
I MELT WITH YOU
THE IDES OF MARCH*
IMMORTALS
IN DARKNESS
IN SEARCH OF GOD
IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY
IN TIME*
INSIDIOUS
THE IRON LADY
J. EDGAR
JACK AND JILL
JANE EYRE*
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN
JOSE AND PILAR
JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER
JUMPING THE BROOM
JUST GO WITH IT
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER
KILL THE IRISHMAN
KUNG FU PANDA 2
THE LADY
LARRY CROWNE
THE LAST RIDE
LE HAVRE
LIFE, ABOVE ALL
LIKE CRAZY
LIMITLESS
THE LINCOLN LAWYER*
MACHINE GUN PREACHER
MARGARET
MARGIN CALL
MARS NEEDS MOMS
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE*
THE MECHANIC
MEEK’S CUTOFF*
MEET MONICA VELOUR
MELANCHOLIA*
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS*
THE MILL & THE CROSS
MIRAL
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL
MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS*
MONEYBALL*
MONTE CARLO
MOZART’S SISTER
THE MUPPETS
THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
MYSTERIES OF LISBON
THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER
THE NAMES OF LOVE
NEW YEAR’S EVE
NO STRINGS ATTACHED
NORMAN
OF GODS AND MEN
OLIVE
ONE DAY
OUR IDIOT BROTHER*
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
PARIAH
PASSIONE
PAUL*
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD
POTICHE
PRIEST
THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER
PROJECT NIM
PROM
PUNCTURE
PUSS IN BOOTS
RAMPART
RANGO
REAL STEEL
REBIRTH
RED RIDING HOOD
RED STATE*
RESTLESS*
RIO*
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES*
THE RITE
THE ROOMMATE
THE RUM DIARY
SALVATION BOULEVARD
SANCTUM
SARAH’S KEY
SCREAM 4*
SEASON OF THE WITCH
SENNA
A SEPARATION
SHAME
SHARK NIGHT 3D
SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
THE SITTER
THE SKIN I LIVE IN
THE SMELL OF SUCCESS
THE SMURFS
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN
SOMETHING BORROWED*
A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN
SOUL SURFER*
SOURCE CODE*
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D
STRAW DOGS
SUBMARINE
SUCKER PUNCH*
SUPER*
SUPER 8*
TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT*
TAKE SHELTER*
TERRI*
THE THING
30 MINUTES OR LESS*
THOR*
3
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
TOWER HEIST
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON*
THE TREE OF LIFE*
TRUST
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1
TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY
TYRANNOSAUR
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES*
UNDEFEATED
UNKNOWN
A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS
VIVA RIVA!
W.E.
WAR HORSE
WARRIOR*
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS*
THE WAY
WE BOUGHT A ZOO
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
WEEKEND
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?
THE WHISTLEBLOWER
WHITE IRISH DRINKERS
WIN WIN
WINNIE THE POOH
WOMEN ART REVOLUTION
THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS*
YOUNG ADULT*
YOUNG GOETHE IN LOVE
YOUR HIGHNESS*
ZOOKEEPER

DVD Review: Fireflies in the Garden

So that's why this movie sat on the shelf for four years.

I don't want to hate on Fireflies in the Garden, because Ryan Reynolds and Willem DaFoe actually turn in some decent performances, but this film is filled with so many plot holes I'm actually wondering if the version I watched was the initial cut of the film. (The American cut of the film is a whopping 20 mins shorter than the one released in Germany, for example)

Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds) has horrible memories of his abusive father (DaFoe) and his caring mother (Julia Roberts) that always tried to help. Fast forward into the future and his parents get into a car accident leaving Lisa (Roberts) dead. She was supposed to graduate from college on that day, after giving it up to raise her family. Michael's relationship is still strained with his father. He also is having issues with his ex wife (Carrie-Anne Moss) and his aunt Jane. (Emily Watson as an adult, Hayden Panietierre as a teen) Michael is an author and is about to publish a book that according to Jane will ruin his father. The family attempts to deal with this tragedy, some feeling guilt, others taking a look at themselves, and of course discovering a few family secrets along the way.

The movie left WAY to many questions un-answered. Directors like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino have perfected this method and made it acceptable in their films. Not this one, no, there were too many key issues left open. Let me count thy ways..

1) Why was Jane staying with Michael's family for the summer?
2) Why is Jane and Michael's close relationship now on edge? Why do her kids hate him so much?
3) Why does Michael suddenly change his opinion of his father towards the end of the film.
4) What is the big secret in the book that will ruin Michael's father?
5) Why was the father acting like a complete douche in the first place?

You can guess the answers to those questions, but they still do not help this film. This is a shame because it was actually very interesting, but those glaring omissions really hurt it in the end.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Oh you mean those books in store? Available for purchase?" - Michael (Ryan Reynolds)

DVD Review: Take Shelter

A storm is coming.

Curtis (Michael Shannon) has been having terrifying dreams, he's hallucinating, and has become overly paranoid. With a history of mental illness in his family, Curtis seeks help from professionals behind his wife, Samantha's (Jessica Chastain) back. He decides to fix up an old storm shelter in his backyard, this costly effort is coming at a difficult time as the couple's young daughter is preparing for surgery. It puts strain on his marriage, and his well being in general.

Take Shelter gets downright creepy when it needs to be and is intriguing through out. I'm sure everyone is sick of the whole "oh so and so got screwed out of an Oscar nomination" but I'm going to go there again. Michael Shannon deserved more recognition for this fantastic performance he turned in. Shannon's recent work has proved he's a talented actor, but this performance is on a whole other level for him. Jessica Chastain had a fantastic year, and she should  be proud to add this film to her impressive list of work. The ending felt a bit far fetched to me, but it didn't ruin the rest of the film.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "The storm is over." - Samantha (Jessica Chastain)

Indie Gems: Watching the Detectives

Aww, Cillian Murphy is one of us.

By that I mean a total film nut. In this movie he plays Neil, a major movie geek and owner of a run down video store. His boring life consists of watching the movies he sells and never quite doing anything adventurous. That is until Violet, (Lucy Liu) comes into his life and takes him on a wide ride with her misadventures.

I thought this movie was really out of the ordinary for Murphy and Liu, and that made me appreciate their range. Murphy is a strong actor and one of my favorites to watch, it was nice to see him in a film like this. Even though parts of it were over the top and ridiculous, it was a fun film for a Sunday afternoon.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I like to think that I'm more adventurous since I don't own a TV." - Violet (Lucy Liu)

DVD Review: Contagion

Hand sanitizer, anyone?

Contagion is an ensemble thriller that centers around a mysterious disease that's quickly spreading across the world. The CDC must figure out its orgin, learn how it works, and ultimately figure out how to vaccinate against it. We're shown many different stories of the people effected. From the person who originated the virus, to her family, to members of the CDC stationed all over the world, to the doctor that makes the cure, to the blogger who profits from it all.

The cast is full of talented, veteran, Oscar and Emmy winning actors. Director Steven Soderbergh does his best to give each story enough attention, though a few stories, particularly the one involving Marion Cotillard fall a bit short. The only performance I could fault is Jude Law's. Where the hell was his character supposed to be from? His accent was all over the place and incredibly inconsistent. The movie is reminiscent of the Swine Flu outbreak in 2009, but in this case the disease actually backs up the hype. It will certainly make you want to wash your hands and lock yourself in your homes for awhile.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I got people too." - Roger (John Hawkes)

2012 BAFTA Winners

The Best Actress race gets a little more interesting leading up to the Oscars. Will it be Meryl Streep or Viola Davis?

Best Film The Artist
Best Director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Actor Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Actress Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer, The Help
Best Original Screenplay Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Adapted Screenplay Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best British Film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Film Not in the English Language The Skin I Live In
Best Animated Film Rango
Best Documentary Senna
Best Editing Senna
Best Costume Design The Artist
Best Cinematography The Artist
Best Original Music The Artist
Best Make-Up & Hair The Iron Lady
Best Visual Effects Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Production Design Hugo
Best Sound Hugo
Best British Debut Tyrannosaur
Orange Rising Star Award Adam Deacon
Best Animated Short A Morning Stroll
Best Live-Action Short Pitch Black Heist

Indie Gems: Clerks

The start of the "askewniverse."

Black and white? Check. Hand held camera? Check. Unknown actors? Double check. Director Kevin Smith had to sacrifice a lot to make this film on such a minuscule budget. Then he had to deal with the MPAA slapping the film with an NC17 rating for swearing of all things. (It was later over turned) What he got out of this was a cult classic and the beginning of his popular reoccurring characters in Jay and Silent Bob.

Clerks follows Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) as he works at his local convenient store. Dante wasn't supposed to work that day, but he comes in anyways and has to deal with multiple issues that present themselves. Then there's his hanger on best friend Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) who won't stop messing with his stupid customers. Everything in the world seems to be going wrong for Dante.

I've always enjoyed Kevin Smith's films.(minus Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back..that was just too much.) Clerks feels so real to me, like I'm listening to in an actual conversation my friends and acquaintances would be having. With references to Star Wars and Batman among other things, Clerks is hilarious and shines bright. It kick started Smith's career and paved the way for his other great films such as Mallrats and Dogma.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Jedi just ended with a bunch of muppets!" - Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran)

DVD Review: Restless

There's a lot you can get done in 3 months.

Enoch (Henry Hopper) is a lonely boy who crashes funerals in his free time. He frequently talks to a ghost, Hiroshi (Ryo Kase) who was a Japanese Kamikaze pilot who's hobbies now include playing Battle Ship with Enoch and throwing rocks at trains. While at a random funeral Enoch meets Annabel, (Mia Wasikowska) a terminally ill girl who's been given a few months to live. They become friends, and fall in love, and face the matter of death together.

I really wanted to like this movie, but when you think of Gus Van Sant's last film, Milk in comparison, this is a let down. Sure it has a nice score, and a few of Van Sant's signature shooting techniques (but no long shot..surprising, apparently he got all his long shots in while filming Paranoid Park) but casting Henry Hopper as the lead was a huge mistake. He's wooden, whiny, and boring. Thankfully Mia was there to save most of the movie, but when you're acting opposite someone with zero charisma it's hard for you to shine as well. I hate to place my dislike of a film solely on the actor, but Hopper really is the elephant in the room here. Hopefully he will take a few acting lessons in the future.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "When you think about it, humans haven't been around as long as reptiles, so 3 months could be like 300 years.." - Annabel (Mia Wasikowska)



DVD Review: Beginners

This is what love looks like.

Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is a graphic artist who has just lost his father. In the years before, his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) tells him that he has terminal cancer. He also tells him that he's gay. He's been gay his whole life, even when he was married to Oliver's now deceased mother. He changes his lifestyle, starts a relationship with a much younger man, Andy (Goran Visnjc) and really starts to love life. Oliver tries to start a relationship with French actress, Anna (Melanie Laurent) hoping it gives him a new outlook on life.

I loved how the movie was shot, it was very arty without being pretentious. Christopher Plummer absolutely deserves all the awards he's been winning lately, he was fantastic in this movie. For a man given his death sentence, you could really feel the love radiating off of him. McGregor and Laurent have wonderful chemistry (as does McGregor with the film's dog), and they carry the movie well. It's cute, quirky, and still manages to pull on the heart strings. I left the movie wanting to give Christopher Plummer a gigantic hug.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote. "You re-wrote Jesus's death?" - Oliver (Ewan McGregor)

Indie Gems: Stakeland

The world woke up to a nightmare.
Stakeland puts quite the effort into standing out from other films in it's genre. I felt like it tried to combine everything that is "in" at the moment. The world is not just over run by vampires or zombies, Stakeland makes a vampire/zombie hybrid that's taken over the world.

Martin (Connor Paolo) is trying to make his way to Canada, which is allegedly a safe haven. He comes across a man known only as Mister. (Nick Damici) He's a bad ass and zombie/vampire hunter who helps Martin and others (including scream queen Danielle Harris as pregnant Belle) as they try to survive.

Stakeland was gory despite the film's small budget. Even though I'm growing tired of the "crazy Christian church" schtick it was an interesting touch to what could've been just a regular zombie movie.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I've seen things you would never believe.." - Martin (Connor Paolo)

DVD Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Of the. Of the. Of the. Of the.
I've been pretty vocal on how ridiculous I think the title of this movie is. The working title, Rise of the Apes was much better, I don't care if it was tradition to do it otherwise. Any who..

Will (James Franco) is trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's, in doing so he's been testing his cure on apes. It increases their intelligence, but comes with fits of rage. When he takes home a recently orphaned baby ape, Caesar (motion captured by Andy Serkis) Caesar thrives and excels. But after an incident that gets him taken away from Will, he finds himself thrust into the real world of apes in captivity, and he's going to use his brains to start an ape revolution.

I thought I'd be annoyed with CGI apes throughout the entire movie, but I surprisingly wasn't. The special effects were great and the Caesar truly steals the show away from the rest of the actors. It was an interesting look at how the apes came into power in the originals, but the happy ending was a bit off for me. You know, because they eventually take over the world..

Recommended: Yes



Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "He's asking you for permission." - Caroline (Freida Pinto)