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Showing posts from March, 2010

Indie Gems: The Vicious Kind

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Caleb Sinclaire (Adam Scott, 'Step Brothers' 'Party Down') has a lot of problems. We can see it in his face. Literally, the first shot of the film is a close up of Caleb, we see the anger in his eyes, then slowly the hurt. Then as quick as we saw it, he bottles it back up. Caleb is there to pick up his younger brother Peter (Alex Frost 'Elephant' 'Drillbit Taylor') from college to drop him off at their father's house for Thanksgiving. Caleb is bringing along his new girlfriend, Emma. (Brittany Snow 'Hairspray', 'Prom Night') We know a little bit about Caleb at this point, he obviously just got out of a relationship that didn't end well. He tries to convince Peter that his new girlfriend must be a whore "because all girls are whores". He doesn't want Peter to get hurt. When he finally meets Emma, his opinions and actions toward her start out cold, and after a few awkward run-ins he begins to secretly harbor a crush

Review: A Serious Man

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Fact: This movie was one of the 10 nominated films for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Did you remember that? Neither did I. Of all of the nominated films this got the least exposure. It's just proof that the Academy loves them some Coen Brothers. Larry Gopick (Miachel Stuhlbarg) is our not so Serious Man. He's a Jewish college professor living in the Midwest. His life is seriously out of order. We see his relationships with his boring superficial children, his wife all of a sudden wants to leave him for a more serious man and he is at odds with one of his students after giving him a bad grade. All of these things are happening to him at once and he's got several different people trying to (unsuccessfully) help him. Larry digs deeper into his religion for answers. A lot of this film has to do with being Jewish. Which is great for the Coens because that's how they were raised. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the Jewish references in the film went

Indie Gems: The Dreamers

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A few years ago I went on this kick where I decided to see a bunch of NC-17 movies just because it's so hard to promote them. Most movie theaters won't show them, directors have to rely on festivals, the Internet, and word of mouth to get them noticed. While a good portion of NC-17 films are strictly marketed around sex (A Dirty Shame) some dig deeper. (Mysterious Skin) 'Dreamers' is one of those films that does. While it's got a lot of sometimes uncomfortable sexual content (it was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci for God's sake) It's actually a unique, interesting story. Shot in a beautiful way with some very talented actors. 'Dreamers' follows Matthew (Michael Pitt, 'The Last Days' 'Bully') an exchange student from California currently studying in Paris. He's a film buff, he loves the cinema and loves the french even more for it. 'Only the French would host a cinema in a palace," He remarks in the beginning of the fi

DVD Review: Gardens of the Night

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This film was hard to watch. I found myself squirming quite a bit through the first 40 minutes. Its an uncomfortable topic, but an important one. I hope to one day be a social worker, and to help children so that they don't have to endure this. That's why this movie struck a cord with me. 'Gardens of the Night' follows a little girl named Leslie (Ryan Simpkins) on her way to school one morning. She's approached by a man she's never met looking for his dog. Right away we know where this is going. She helps the man look around for his dog, and then he takes her to school. He tells Leslie he works for her father at the water company. After school they find her again and say her family has been in an accident and that they were told to get her. She reluctantly agrees to go. This starts the downward spiral in poor Leslie's life. The two men, Alex (Tom Arnold) the instigator and his helper Frank (Kevin Zegers) Take Leslie to a house where they have another littl

Random Ramblings: Films Featuring Pro Wrestlers.

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It's pretty obvious that I'm in love with movies. I'm intrigued by everything about them, but one other thing I've loved for a long time is Pro Wrestling. I've been a fan since about 1994. I mostly watched WWF, but I lived near a video store that had all the old videos so I could see what was going on before my time. Wrestling has drastically changed since I first watched it. I got used to the Hulkamania days, then when I got a bit older the 'Attitude Era' as it's known to fans started. This was truly the best time in wrestling. Nowadays WWE pushes the PG product while it's competitor TNA is trying to bring it back. I appreciate everything about wrestling, the stuff those guys and gals put their body through is ridiculous and their schedules are insane. They really are the best athletes out there, because there at it all year round. While I spend a good deal of my time poking fun at Raw (mostly at http://www.thejohnreport.net) and admiring what I see

Indie Gems: Breakfast on Pluto

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One of my favorite things about film is watching an actor, who's been moderately type-cast completely blow you away with a performance that seemingly came out of left field. Cillian Murphy did that for me. Not that I ever doubted his talents, in fact he's one of the better actors out there. When I first saw 'Breakfast on Pluto' I had only seen him in villainous roles ('Batman Begins', 'Red Eye') and of course in Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later'. So when I came across this film in a magazine I was immediately intrigued. 'Breakfast on Pluto' follows a young man named Patrick Braden. He's not your normal lad in 1970's Ireland. He's gay, he prefers to be called "Kitten" and dress up like a woman. He lives with an aunt and doesn't know his real parents. He sets off to London to escape his town that will never understand him, and also to locate his mother. He has run ins with the police, gets picked up by a Rock n

Review: A Single Man

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After seeing this film, I'm incredibly pissed at it's advertising campaign.I had heard early on that the previews for this film were misleading, and I managed to avoid them. After watching it, I decided to look up it's trailers, and what I saw in the 2 minute trailer seemed like a completely different film from what I had just seen. 'A Single Man' follows an English professor (and native Brit) George (Colin Firth) as he goes about his day in the Los Angeles college where he teaches. George is reminiscing about his former lover Jim. (Matthew Goode) Jim was killed in a car crash 8 months earlier, and George hasn't gotten over it. He goes through the motions of his tedious, detailed life. He has thoughts of suicide, and we follow him on what could very well play out to be his final day. He interacts with various people. His childhood friend Charley, (Julianne Moore) Carlos (Jon Kortajarena), a Spanish immigrant and man of *ahem* many talents and Kenny (Nicholas

Review: Alice in Wonderland

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Tim Burton does a fine job of re-telling stories and making them a whole lot more eccentric. He's no different here than he was with 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Sweeney Todd'. He's not remaking 'Alice' but taking bits from other writings of Lewis Carroll and making it a sequel of sorts. Alice (Mia Waskokowska) is now 19 years old. She has no memory of her previous visit to Wonderland (really?) Only vivid dreams and nightmares. She's about to be married off to someone she really doesn't care for when she spots the white rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) once again and follows him down the rabbit hole to Wonderland Underland, as it is called in the film (don't worry, the Caterpillar explains it later on in the film) Upon arrival the creatures of Underland are not entirely sure they have the right Alice. She's to help them bring down the Red Queen (The extremely annoying Helena Bonham-Carter) by slaying the Jabberwocky (the

Indie Gems: Hard Candy

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Many people rave about actress Ellen Page from her work in 'Juno' and 'X-men: The Last Stand' and most recently, 'Whip It'. But how many of you Page fans have seen what I consider is her best role to date? 'Hardy Candy' is a small film that gives you a lot of different ideas. While it doesn't answer all of your questions it makes you think about them. You get to choose who you think is right or wrong. The film starts off in a chat room. 14 year old Hayley (Ellen Page) has been flirting with a 32 year old photographer named Jeff. They are aware of each other's ages and Hayley proposes that they meet in a coffee shop. Now anyone who's ever read about Internet predators or has seen the film 'Strangeland' knows that this is a bad idea. We immediately think Hayley is going to end up in trouble. When Jeff invites her back to her places, she carefully and quickly changes the game. We, the viewers are left to decide who is right and who i

Academy Award Winners!

Here is the list of this years Oscar winners! The first time since 1943 that we've had 10 Best Pic nominees. My comments will follow each category in bold. We started off with a musical number featuring Neil Patrick Harris. He was great hosting the Emmy's late last year, but cheesey Oscar songs are only good when they involve Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in my opinion. Then we got some weird jokes by our hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Ok, I laughed at the Woody Harrelson one. Then they acknowledged nominee Christoph Waltz's role in 'Inglorious Basterds' as a Jew hunter..then they did a close up of the Coen Brothers. That was hilarious. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Winner: Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds Other Nominees: Matt Damon for Invictus Woody Harrelson for The Messenger Christopher Plummer for The Last Station Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones Waltz wins and says "That's an Uber Bingo." Cl

Honest Oscar Posters!

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Thanks, College Humor!

DVD Review: Revolutionary Road

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Everyone was excited for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's first film together since 1997's 'Titanic'. Who can blame them? Winslet and DiCaprio radiate chemistry. That gives this film a little something extra and separates it from the somber downer this film could've become. Frank and April Wheeler are the ideal couple. They are beautiful, have beautiful children, live in a beautiful house on a beautiful street. On the outside of course. On the inside we see a failing marriage with April having big ideas and dreams of becoming an actress and Frank working in an office job he hates. April proposes a pipe dream of moving the family to Paris and starting over. Frank, while reluctant at first goes along, then begins to realize how impossible this scenario has become. DiCaprio (snubbed by the Academy) and Winslet give flawless performances. They really bring out the emotions in their characters. Director Sam Mendes (Winslet's husband) does a great job telling

Independent Spirit Award Winners

The Spirit Award Winners! 'Precious' dominated most of the evening and (500) Days of Summer won Best Screenplay. (they were snubbed by the Oscars for this) The Whitest Kids U'Know were there too! A plus for everyone. Best Feature WINNER: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) Other Nominees:(500) Days of Summer (2009) Amreeka (2009) The Last Station (2009) Sin nombre (2009) Best Female Lead WINNER: Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) Other Nominees:Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy (2008) Nisreen Faour for Amreeka (2009) Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009) Gwyneth Paltrow for Two Lovers (2008) Best Male Lead WINNER: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009) Other Nominees:Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009) Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer (2009) Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo (2008) Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind (2009) Best Supporting Female WINNER: Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on t