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Showing posts from February, 2010

Review: Fish Tank

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I first heard of 'Fish Tank' while reading Entertainment Weekly's website. Then it was nominated (and won) a BAFTA for Best British Film, so when it showed up on IFC On Demand (I love IFCOD..except for that time I bought 'Antichrist') I immediately wanted to see what this was all about. Staring mostly British unknowns, the film follows 15 year old Mia (Katie Jarvis) a moody, unruly teen living in low income housing with her equally moody and unruly mother and little sister. She has a passion for dance, she sneaks into abandoned buildings to practice. When her mother gets a new boyfriend, Conner (Michael Flassbender) his obvious advances towards her are hard to ignore. Conner inspires her to go after her dancing dream, but he also brings out the worst of her. The film borderlines on whats right and wrong. At first you want something good for Mia, but we're quickly reminded that she is 15 and this man is dating her mother. It isn't healthy. The way the fi

Review: The Last Station

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When I was leaving the theater, a woman muttered "Well that was very British". I laughed, she said it like it was a bad thing. I think the Brit actors in this film were powerful and engaging. I'll never know why she said something like that. 'The Last Station' is about a Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) He's at the point where people are more fascinated with him then they are his writing. His friend Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) pressures him to change his will to leave out his wife Sofya (Helen Mirren) after their 40+ years of marriage. He isn't healthy, and they've been at odds with each other for quite some time. Tolstoy hires a secretary Valentin (James McAvoy) to basically learn all of Sofya's crazy ways so that they can use them against her. I wasn't to aware of the "Tolstoya movement" so to speak, and I thought this film was going to be more about that. It's not. I expected it to be an intense c

DVD Review: Year One

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I should really just call this the "Starz on Demand" review. Because that's how I ended up seeing this. With the Winter Games done and an early flight to catch in the morning. What could I do to pass the time on my all nighter? Pick a flick from Starz. 'Year One' follows Zed (Jack Black) a hunter and Oh (Michael Cera) a gatherer that are banished from their village. After a few run-ins with some familiar faces, Zed and Oh end up in Sodom, trying to free the women of their dreams, Maya (June Diane Raphael) and Eema (Juno Temple) who were captured and made slaves after they left the village. Oh, the reason they left was because Zed ate the 'Forbidden Fruit" so he thinks he's the chosen one. Why didn't I mention that at the beginning? Well, like this film, I felt like being "all over the place." This movie obviously didn't take itself seriously, which is fine. It's meant to be a dumb comedy. It's meant to live just on one-li

Indie Gems: Down in the Valley.

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It's been far too long since I've done one of these. I've been slacking, which I do around Oscar seasons because that's all I think about. 'Down in the Valley' was a small film that was shot for about $8 million. It shows, there's not not a lot of background music or crafty shots. The film looks as if it was shot an a hand held camera, but there is nothing wrong with that. It helps this little modern day western. Harlan (Edward Norton) is a wannabe cowboy living in the San Fernando Valley. He works at a gas station, although he doesn't have a car. He has no family or friends nearby to turn to. He meets Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood) when he fills up gas for her and her friends on their way to the beach. Tobe takes a chance and invites him to join, he quits his job and goes with her. The start of a whirlwind romance has began. Tobe is only 17, so of course her step-father Wayne (David Morse) isn't thrilled with his daughter hanging out with a man that&#

Best and Worst Oscar moments of the decade

I thought this would be a fun idea. I'm going to run down with what I thought were the best moments of the Oscars, and what I thought were the worst. Who should've been nominated, who should've won, who had the best acceptance speech. All through the past decade. 2000 The Best 1) American Beauty wins best picture, actor, director, screenplay, and cinematography. American Beauty is my all time favorite movie and it deserved everything it won. Some thing the film is overrated, I don't. I was young when it came out in 99 and I loved it back then. As a grew up, I grew to love it for different reasons. This film definitely means something to me. The Worst 1)Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules) beats Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) for best supporting actor. Caine was good, but Duncan was heart-wrenching. Tell me you did not cry like a little bitch with a skinned knee at some point during 'The Green Mile'. 2)Tarzan edges out South Park for best song

Review: Shutter Island

Fun fact: There was a 'Clash of the Titans' trailer attached to this film and gentleman sitting next to me politely (and loudly) pointed out somewhere near the 2 hour mark that if Liam Neeson were in this movie he wouldve already killed everyone on this island, saved who he needed to save and hijacked a ferry back to the mainland. I laughed. 'Shutter Island' follows Teddy Daniels (Leonardo Dicaprio) a US Marshall sent to an isolated island off the coast of Boston, MA that houses the criminally insane. He's there to investigate a missing patient with his newly appointed partner Chuck Alue (Mark Ruffalo). Teddy is very damaged, he lost his wife (played by Michelle Williams in flashbacks) in a fire. He's a WWII vet who is still haunted by seeing dead bodies at a concentration camp. Once he gets to Shutter Island and visits with the doctors (Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow) he begins to grow suspicious. Something just doesn't feel right about that place. Ther

BAFTA Winners.

I've always enjoyed the BAFTA awards (British version of the Oscars) because their generally full of surprises, and they nominate people that the academy sometimes misses. (ie James McAvoy for Last King of Scotland, Paul Dano for There Will Be Blood) This year's telecast was no different. Front runners Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep took a backseat to Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan in the lead actor/actress categories. And The Hurt Locker surprisingly nearly swept all the categories! Here is a list of the winners: Best Film WINNERThe Hurt Locker (2008) Other Nominees:Avatar (2009) An Education (2009) Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) Up in the Air (2009/I) Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year WINNERFish Tank (2009) Other Nominees:An Education (2009) In the Loop (2009) Moon (2009) Nowhere Boy (2009) Best Actor WINNERColin Firth for A Single Man (2009) Other Nominees:Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009) George Clooney for U

Review: Crazy Heart

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This is Jeff Bridge's film. No doubt about it. He's carries it, he lives it, he sings it. He's everything in it. I hadn't heard much about 'Crazy Heart' before the Independent Spirit nominations came out. Then after seeing Bridges on Conan (singing a song from the film) I knew right there that his performance was going to be brilliant. It drew me in. 'Crazy Heart' follows a washed up country singer named Bad Blake. (Bridges) He's passed his prime, he's touring small towns in the southwest, his agent is constantly on him to write new material. Bad is an alcoholic, a heavy smoker, and has been married and divorced five times. When he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a reporter in Santa Fe, NM we already know his relationship with her will be doomed. He has an estranged son, who is now 28. Bad hasn't seen him since he was 4, and Jean's own 4 year old son Buddy fills that void for him. He falls hard for Jean. He's given a chance to open

Films for Valentine's Day, from a slightly anti chick-flick type of girl.

With all the romantic comedies currently playing at the cinema getting horrible reviews, and after reading countless other lists of Love Story classics, I decided to throw in a few of my own. Might as well say this off the bat, I don't care too much for lovely-dovey chick flicks. So you might only find a few in this list. Movie: Let The Right One In Why it's good for Valentine's Day: Who doesn't remember their first love? This interesting little Swedish Vampire Flick is one of my all time faves, not for the gore or for the suspense, but for the endearing love story that's behind it all. Movie: Amelie Why it's good for Valentine's Day: How can you not watch this film without feeling a little warm and fuzzy inside? Audrey Tautou is fabulous, as is this entire little French film. If this movie were a chubby baby, you'd want to pinch it's cheeks. Movie: Mean Girls Why it's good for Valentine's Day: You go Glenn Coco!! Ok, so it'

Review: Precious

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It's stories like this that make me really want to get into social work. How someone could treat a child so horrible is beyond me. This film was out to teach a lesson, and it did. 'Precious' is the name of our title character played by new-comer Gabourey Sidibe. She's a teenager in 1987 Harlem. She's pregnant for the 2nd time by her father. Her mother is both physically and emotionally abusive towards her. She's overweight, insecure and dreams of a better life. She's managed to to get by, but when her school suspends her for her 2nd pregnancy and sends her to 'Each One Teach One', an alternative school that learns her secret of being unable to read or write. She finds a place she can feel comfort, get a better learning experience, and even find love and friendship. Something she's harshly denied at home. Monique plays Precious's mother Mary, and she really brings out the ugliness in her character. You hate Mary with every bone in your b

Review: The Hurt Locker

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I've never been one for war movies, they all seemed the same to me. If I had to pick a favorite, I always went for 'Saving Private Ryan' just because of the cast. Movies like 'The Thin Red Line' and 'Blackhawk Down' all sort of ran together to me. So earlier this year when I had the opportunity to see 'The Hurt Locker', I passed in favor of something else that wasn't as memorable. (I can't even remember what I saw instead) Now after all the fuss and acclaim surrounding the feature, I became a bit more curious. I saw it On Demand, but often opted for 'Uncertainty' or 'District 9' instead. Finally I told myself to stop stereotyping and just rent the damn thing. I'm glad I did. 'The Hurt Locker' is about the brave soldiers that have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs during the war. After their commander is killed, they are given a new leader in the form of SFC William James (Jeremy Renn

Review: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

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Terry Gilliam might as well have his own "Gilliam" genre. The weird, beautifully shot, yet all over the place films with interesting characters and great ideas. However Gilliam was faced with a difficult decision in this film. His supporting actor, Heath Ledger died in the middle of shooting, and that itself makes the film hard to watch. The film follows Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and traveling Imaginarium show. He lets his audience basically live out their dreams, they choose from two paths. One will end good, the other bad. Dr. Parnassus made a deal a long time ago for immortality with Mr. Nick (Tom Wait) years later he changed it when he met his first love, but Mr. Nicks made a different agreement. When his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) turns 16, she belongs to Nr. Nick. Valentina is reaching that age, and Dr. Parnassus is not about to give her up. They make yet another deal, who ever entices the first 5 souls wins Valentina. The script is everywhere, some

Hesher Teaser/Director Spencer Susser speaks

This is a short snippet of the new film 'Hesher' which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festical. Here, director Spencer Susser explains the process of making the film which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson

Academy Award Nominees

This was probably the most predictable Oscar noms I've seen in awhile. Many were deserving, (Jeff Bridges, Stanley Tucci, Inglorious Basterds, Up in the Air, Precious) some weren't (Blind Side for best picture....REALLY!?) Before I get on to the noms there were a few surprises. Maggie Gyllenhaal got a nom for 'Crazy Heart' after being laregly ignored all season. This is good, I love Maggie. I haven't gotten a chance to see Crazy Heart yet, but seeing Jeff Bridges on Conan made me want to. I would've preferred the Inglrious Basterd girls over Penelope Cruz for the sleepy 'Nine'. The biggest shocker to me was 'The Blind Side' being nominated for best picture. There's a couple of scenrios here. My pick was for (500) Days of Summer to make it into the best picture race. It didn't. I also thought Star Trek might sneak it; it didn't. Yet animated film 'Up' got a best picture nom, and also an original screenplay nom (That should'

My Oscar predictions/wish list

I usually do this much earlier, but I've been slacking. This year proves to be a bit harder than last. There's A LOT of worthy people, and SO many are being overlooked! I'm going to post my predictions of who I think will get nominated, and those that should. Best Picture 1)Avatar 2)Precious 3)An Education 4)The Hurt Locker 5)Inglorious Basterds 6)(500) Days of Summer 7)District 9 8)Up in the Air 9)Star Trek 10)Invictus I'm not the biggest fan if the 10 nominations. I feel it came off as "too little too late" (Yes, I'm one of those people that was pissed that The Dark Knight didn't get nominated last year) If we're going by box office draws, 'The Hangover' could very well oust 'Star Trek'. '(500) Days of Summer' isn't a sure thing, but I think it deserves to be. 'Up' or 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' could end up the in the race as the first animated film since 'Beauty and the Beast' to do so. 'The