30 September 2010

Evil.



Jude Law's Harlen Maguire just exudes pure evil. When seeing this film in 2002 I remember being so infuriated at his character taking snapshots at the expense of the men he killed that it turned me off the movie completely. Eight years later I see the scene for what it really is: a father protecting his child from things that this world can't explain. Pure unadulterated evil.

29 September 2010

Listen to The Town Soundtrack

 

The score for The Town was surprisingly good: "Charlestown" was a moody piece that started the film off on a right beat and "Nuns With Guns" & "Fenway" were everything that heist scenes should be scored to. I wasn't really aware of Harry Gregson Williams, but more attention will be paid to his name in credits from now on.


28 September 2010

True Grit Teaser Trailer



This looks good, No Country for Old Men good. With Bridges, Damon, and Brolin alongside newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, come December quite a few actors are going to be called from the Coen's latest awards contender.

27 September 2010

Is It or Isn't It?

With Let Me In holding steady at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and some awards consideration could be merited for the Swedish vampire film remake. This would be the first time since Silence of the Lambs Won Best Picture in 1991 that a horror film could be up for the top prize. Of course it bears mentioning whether or not Silence of the Lambs is indeed a horror film. Portions of Lambs suggests that Lector is almost a demon of sorts, enough to qualify as horror?

If not, then you have to go all the way back until 1973 when The Exorcist was nominated for Best Picture. Rebecca won Best Picture, but I would classify that particular title as suspense/thriller. Rebecca was taut, but never really crossed the threshold into frightening. Psycho was nominated for four Academy Awards (2 for technical, 1 for acting and 1 for direction) and, again, that is up for your interpretation of that film is in fact horror.

With the genre being so hotly-contested as to what is thriller, suspense, and actually horror, could we see a horror film win Best Picture?

25 September 2010

The Vault: The Departed (2006)



When you wear masks for so long that you begin to forget who you are, when the seams of the mask begin to blend into your face, where do you go from there? Who are we? And what do our actions really say about us? Martin Scorsese's The Departed attempts to answer these questions.

You are born into a class and who you become is entirely dependent on that fact. Who your father was, determines who you will be. This is perhaps the more subtle version of what Scorsese was going for with Gangs of New York. Duties, friendship, loyalty all becomes blurred together as the three collide in an ending that leaves no question that The Departed earned Martin Scorsese his well-deserved Oscar.

The Departed centers around two men who are radically different from their public personas. Will Costigan Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a Massachusetts State Trooper trainee who manages to permeate himself into Frank Costello's gang. Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is a SIU detective that Costello took in and has trained to work for him since he was a small boy. The film is intense, and while it clocks in at more than two hours you would never know it by the way time flies by.

Good and evil are handled delicately because while we identify with Costigan, he still commits crimes and Sullivan, while a rat, keeps Sullivan in check to a degree. Neither men are what they make themselves out to be. They can only exist in the world created for them and live in fear that those worlds created may soon be shattered.

It was a dream of sorts getting to see Jack Nicholson work with Martin Scorsese, and teaming up with one of my favorite actors of this generation in Leonardo DiCaprio was icing on the cake. Mark Wahlberg earned an Academy Award nomination for his work and he has the best lines to justify it. A staple of this decade for the crime genre. The Departed, may not be up to snuff in the eyes of some Scorsese purists, but I'm willing to say it's his finest work of the past twenty years.

23 September 2010

Another 'Social Network' Sampler


I imagine they must be busy at NullCorp with all the free tracks they are putting out for The Social Network. Is it too early to hold out hope that Reznor and Ross can get an Academy Award nomination for this?



In Motion by nullcorp

The King's Speech Trailer

The front-runner for awards already, The King's Speech has the prestige (Colin Firth), the backing (Harvey Weinstein), and support (Toronto's audience award) to pull it off.


22 September 2010

Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page Beat Evil


If you are going to do a deconstruction of a superhero film, this is what it should be (looking at you Kick-Ass). I'm curious how many will draw comparison between Page's Boltie and Chloe Moritz's Hit-Girl.

20 September 2010

10 Words or Less: Donnie Darko (2001)

Harvey meets Back to the Future plus angst and ecstasy.

18 September 2010

Review: The Town

In a country that prides itself on freedom from need, some can only grapple with mere survival.

Some men protect themselves with lawyers, with others, money. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) defends himself with a gun. Doug and his crew are planning their next job, the one that will be the job that puts Charlestown out of his sights for good.

Before he can leave he has to figure out a way around his involvement with a bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), who was part of their previous heist and an enthusiastic Special Agent (Jon Hamm), could put Doug away for life.

Stephen (featuring a stellar Chris Cooper), Doug's father, provides a powerful foil for MacRay as a man who didn't leave when the getting was good and ended up in prison for life. Stephen is what Doug hopes to escape becoming: trapped in Charlestown forever. James (Jeremy Renner) views Doug's hopes of leaving Charlestown as a personal betrayal and refuses to accept that proposition.

Boston could often be seen as a character in itself in The Town, the blue collar city is featured predominantly in tales like this of people who can only get by and what they can do - regardless of morality. A sense of quiet desperation is prevalent and present through every character.

Claire and Doug's chemistry in the film is palpable despite her misgivings about trusting again. Hamm's Special Agent Frawley evens out his charisma with an acceptable amount of cold determination, a man desperate to put the crew behind bars for life without any more casualties. Pete Postlethwaite's role is very small, but he is a very frightening man. Fergie, infact, may be the most despicable person onscreen this year. Renner might garner another Academy nod for his intense performance as James, but the Supporting Actor field looks stacked right now, so we'll see. The action scenes, which I had some questions about prior to the film, are shot very well, leaving little doubt in my mind regarding Affleck's future as a director.

Ben Affleck has reached a stage in his career where I think he very well may be the next Clint Eastwood. Eastwood never really made his name as an actor until he was in his mid thirties; Affleck may have been a known name before his thirties, but it is now that he is truly coming into his own in his portrayals (Hollywoodland, State of Play). Also like Eastwood as a director he has themes that he revisits each time to a more devastating effect. With The Town and Gone Baby Gone under Affleck's belt I think it's safe to say we may have one of the next great American directors coming up.

***1/2 out of ****

17 September 2010

Free 'Social Network' Soundtrack Sampler


Five free tracks from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's The Social Network soundtrack are available here. Reznor's NIN influences are evident on "Eventually We Find Our Way" and "The Gentle Hum of Anxiety" definitely feels like something that will be featured in a mood-heavy scene in the film. I'm looking forward to the release of the rest of the score.

15 September 2010

The Fighter Trailer

Mark Wahlberg's Rocky turn so to speak. The true story of fighter Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) on the road to a World Welterweight title with the assistance of his half-brother Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale). Christian Bale, always brings dedication to a role - as exhibited by The Machinist - but this is taking it to another level. Hopefully this is the year Bale walks home with Oscar gold. Overall the trailer, like its boxing genre ilk relies on material done before, but I still look forward to this one.

The Vault: Psycho (1960)


Psycho has had a wide variety of influence on films, ranging from Pulp Fiction to The Usual Suspects. It is widely regarded as one of the best horror films of all-time.

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is fed up; she's taking $40,000 from her boss and running away to California to finally wed her financially-strappe beau Sam. It's a nerve-wracking trip and after spending a night in her car she pulls into the quaint Bates Motel. There she meets the timid Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who, while well-meaning, is a little too curious for his own good.

Marion checks in and unpacks, all the while overhearing an argument taking place between Norman and his over-bearing mother. She lost her sanity Norman tells Marion, but when Marion suggests she stay in an institution Norman's easy-going nature disappears instantaneously. The shock of his outbursts wears off and Norman laments, "we all go a little mad sometimes" and Marion replies that "sometimes, just one time can be enough". What happens afterward is, of course, history.

Psycho was revolutionary in its time for throwing convention to the wind. They killed the lead character not quite thirty minutes into the film and used violence unlike moviegoers had ever seen before. To Hitchcock's credit he never once showed the blade entering flesh and the impact is felt only in the mind. Nowhere else is a human as defenseless than in the shower and Hitchcock plays on that instinctual fear brilliantly. As the water washes the guilt of Marion's theft away her life is taken, and the audience has no idea where to go from here.

Now the twist is something that is overshadowed anymore because of Hollywood's current tendency to add twists to films that, either do not need them, or are just flimsy excuses to trick the audience. Here, the ending solidifies a theme that has played out throughout the film. We can not escape our pasts. Marion, despite her good intentions in planning on returning the money the next day, dies alone in a bath tub, eyes empty and without life. Norman, who we now know is the killer, lost his mind after the death of his father and his relationship with his mother will, seemingly, never be put to rest.

This is film-making at its best and if you haven't seen it, for the love of everything cinematic go out and see it right now!

14 September 2010

Listen to Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Soundtrack



I was expecting a little more from Brian Eno and David Byrne, their names alone suggest better work. With that said my favorite of the bunch is Craig Armstrong's "Prison". I wouldn't expect any contenders for Best Original Score to appear from this film.

13 September 2010

Hereafter Trailer

With his past film, Invictus, Mr. Eastwood seemed to be letting too much go without really stimulating the audience in any significant fashion. While the tale of Mandela's resurgence was inspiring, it never really went anywhere in the film. A parallel allegory to our time went untouched, while a underdog sport's story was played up too often to unsatisfactory results. I hesitate to call Hereafter Oscar-bait (when Conviction and Never Let Me Go clearly deserve that title), but time will tell when this is released.

10 September 2010

Let Me In International Trailer

I can't say with any certainty how this will play out, but it seems like Matt Reeves knows what he's doing with the material and a cast that includes Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas can't be bad. What do people who have seen Let the Right One In think of these trailers?

08 September 2010

Tron Legacy Soundtrack Sneakpeek

(via: Pitchfork)

The site for Daft Punk's Tron Legacy score has hit and you can get a downloadable track here. The track is two minutes long and worth your while. I like what I'm hearing and if this is any indicator of how the rest of the soundtrack will turn out I'm psyched.

02 September 2010

FYC: DreamWork's How to Train Your Dragon



Well DreamWorks has launched the first volley into awards season and with Toy Story 3 passing $1,000,000,000 they may need to if they plan on taking that Best Animated Feature Oscar home. What's interesting is that they are also pushing for Best Picture. Granted, a ten picture field minimizes the risk, but time well tell if two animated films can break the best picture race.

(Courtesy: InContention)

Buried International Trailer


The teaser trailer for Buried was pretty much perfect for advertising the film for what it was, I don't see the need for revealing anything more. But, I get the feeling Lionsgate released this trailer as a way of placating fans who wanted actual shots from the film.

01 September 2010

Fall/Winter's Most Anticipated


This year's lineup looks to be a lot better than the previous winter season. With few trips to the theatre over the past three months I should have more than enough funds to see my top five of the rest of the year.

The Town
Could be the next Heat as far as I'm concerned. Ben Affleck was excellent in his direction of Gone Baby Gone and based on the trailer that premiered with Inception I have no reason to doubt him. An excellent ensemble cast featuring Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Chris Cooper

Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky has always chosen peculiar materials for his films and Black Swan, on the surface at least, seemed like one of those projects. Until the trailer debuted last week. If Portman's performance and Clint Mansell's score are anything like in the small sample we have seen then we have a winner on our hands.

The Social Network
Facebook. There was a time when that word wasn't even a blip on the radar of the American lexicon. Now, it's a way of life. Social networking has been prime for a satirization and David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin are the men to do it. I'm also excited for this because it gives Jesse Eisenburg a chance to display his dark side.

Buried
Ryan Reynolds is a magnetic presence. He just is. Whether it's been his scene-stealing turn in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, his indie turn in Adventureland or as Sandra Bullock's better half in The Proposal reynolds has been a hit recently. So instead of playing it safe he decides to make a film about a man buried alive in the middle of the desert with nothing but a lighter and a cellphone.

Tron Legacy
There isn't a whole lot more I can mention about the film so I'll just post something visual to convince those of you still on the fence.