29 November 2010

Death.


This shot comes from David Fincher's Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Critics were split down the middle of this film, but it cannot be argued that this was one of the more beautifully shot films of recent memory.

An intimate portrayal of life, death and love presented a very common dilemna for a very unique man. We all die, it is how we live that truly defines us.

25 November 2010

Most Valuable Performances: Heath Ledger


In many ways The Joker is much like Jaws. He is a force whose only intent is chaos. There is nothing to be gained, nothing wanted, only to destroy.

Dressed like a punk rocker that never grew up Ledger's Joker is the underbelly of society oft-ignored, but always present. He is the yin to Batman's yang. Gotham birthed this man, but ultimately he is a creation of The Dark Knight. The evils of society that drove Bruce Wayne to save the city drove The Joker to expose the hypocricies to the masses.

Between tics of flicking out his tongue to trace the scars that imprint his face this maniacal fiend aspires to be a leader to Gothamites. Sensing an opportunity to make that message abundantly clear he takes the shining D.A. Harvey Dent down to his level.

Arguably Heath Ledger's best performance, The Joker, represents the self-destructive, selfish nature of humanity. Each backstory he presents is one of loss, betrayal and ultimately, violence. His mind is one of optimism that eventually came crashing around him. Unable to deal with the consequences of pain his mind warps to become one of the greatest - or the greatest? - villains seen on film.

23 November 2010

My Favorite Scenes: Casino Royale (2006)



Gone are the quips. Gone are the superfluous gadgets. What we have left is a rejuvenation of a character that sorely needed it. A character who is brutal, not swift. A master killer in training. What we have is a Bond worth watching.

21 November 2010

Daniel Day-Lewis Cast As Spielberg's Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis has surprisingly been cast as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln. Liam Neeson apparently was ousted from the race after being deemed too old. I honestly did not see Day-Lewis being chosen, but now I must say my curiosity is piqued.

20 November 2010

The Vault: Tron (1982)

Tron is a film about a renegade programmer trapped in a system he helped to create. The film follows the standard trope from anti-technological films of the period, where the protagonist works against a system run on logic rather than ethics. I suspect that films like this were popular at the time due to the high anti-communist and hence anti-technocrat ideals prevalent in the American psyche. 

As a bit of an aberration in the genre, Tron doesn't read as a cautionary tale, but as one of hope. A humanist hero conquers the anti-democratic system in which he is captured and returns freedom to the land.

It's an inspiring notion and a fitting image in an age where the most popular source for news in America is little more than a propaganda arm for one of the two dysfunctional political parties.

17 November 2010

FYC: Inception


It is not clear yet how far Shutter Island's campaign will go, but if Leonardo DiCaprio cannot garner a nod for that haunting performance than this will do. Inception will be nominated and I hope Christopher Nolan will be as well. Expanding the field of nominees is generally acknowledged as The Dark Knight rule and there is no way the Academy shuts Mr. Nolan and his film out again.

(Courtesy: Awards Daily)

FYC: Toy Story 3


Finally, a legitimate contender from Disney. If there is a year where an animated film could take the big enchildada this is it. There is no clear cut leader at this portion of the race, but I could see a nasty feud developing between The Social Network and The King's Speech and a darkhorse candidate (like Toy Story 3) sneaking out with a Best Picture victory.

(Courtesy: Awards Daily)


16 November 2010

Stunning Black Swan Poster


Full poster after the jump. It's a shame there are no Oscars given out for best poster design or the team behind Black Swan would have it easy. Looking forward to this finally hitting theatres in a few more weeks. It has been a wasteland for films lately.

(Courtesy: In Contention)

10 Words or Less: Wall Street (1987)

Greed corrupts and Gordon Gekko corrupts absolutely.

09 November 2010

CONAN!




I've been eagerly awaiting the premiere of Conan for a while now and it didn't disappoint. He may not be on NBC, but the quirky comedy that we know him for has not left him. Keep an eye out for Don Draper!

08 November 2010

Kung Fu Panda 2 Teaser

The material for a sequel might seem a tad familiar - Po (Jack Black) and the Furious Five protecting China from the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use an unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu- but the first was entertaining and I can't see this being any less fun.

Listen to 127 Hours Soundtrack



A.R. Rahman's score for Slumdog Millionaire really wasn't to my liking, but his work for 127 Hours has picqued my interest. "Liberation Begins" is pleasantly reminiscent of John Murphy's "In the House - In a Heartbeat", while "If I Rise" is a favorite on iTunes I recommend "Liberation" or "R.I.P." Music is a huge part of Aron Ralston (his favorite band Phish didn't make the cut though) and I'm pleased that Boyle and Rahman nailed the musical element of the film.

04 November 2010

Review: Get Low (***)

Robert Duvall's career is a funny thing. He has very peculiar role selection, with a strong tendency toward playing tragic heroes, looking for redemption and living in the long shadow of their own mistakes. Examples of this include The Apostle and Tender Mercies. Not all of his films are like this, but he has the most curated career of anyone I can think of. Get Low is a film cut in this mold.

Everyone lives with a few regrets. We all have a few memories that make us twinge; maybe we all need therapy. Duvall's character in Get Low has lived an isolated life for four decades as penance for an unknown but oft whispered about transgression. The plot of the film revolves around the secret that kept him alone for all those years.

The plot moves along nicely, with revelations about the terrible secret moving slowly, but a talented supporting cast keeping things interesting.

All in all, it's not really the kind of film that appeals to me. Throw in a boob or a robot, of a boob on a robot, then call me. For a more urbane audience looking for a good plot, good performances, and a good payoff at the end, this is just what you're looking for.

02 November 2010

The Vaul: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) is a thousand things to a thousand different people. A gumshoe detective with a cold heart and devilish grin everything about the man oozes cool from his stylish suits to the dozens of smokes he puts back a day--he is the man who the term "Bogarted" was created after. To Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) he is a partner in the private-detecting business, to Archer's wife he is a lover, to Det. Dundy (Barton MacLane) he is a lying pain in the ass and for Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) the only solution for her problem, of which she has several.

John Huston's first effort starts off simply enough: a woman strolls into Spade and Archer enlisting help to find her runaway sister, after Archer gets killed, things get messy. Brigid's actual motives are made clear and the object of her desire is The Maltese Falcon, the fabled treasure that men have been searching for for hundreds of years. Spade is under investigation for the deaths of Archer and Thursby

The plot itself could be described as convoluted, yet the point of The Maltese Falcon isn't why Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre at his zany best) switches sides, or why Kasper Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet in his first silverscreen appearance) protected Wilmer for so long, or why Brigid is such a compulsive liar. Huston really wanted to focus on Spade's character and how a man such as he operates.

The ending reveals that while Spade is amoral, a man knows that he can't let his partner's murder go without retribution, sleep with his wife sure, but not let his killer go. Spade may just be the first generally like anti-hero, but "I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck..." keys the audience on how that constantly working mind of Spades really works. It is almost disturbing how much we root for a man who is so crooked and loves every minute of it.

Acknowledged as the first of its genre The Maltese Falcon is a must-see if for nothing else, but Bogart's iconic performance.

01 November 2010

London Boulevard Trailer

 A tad disappointing that this won't be enjoying a stateside release before next year, but our friends to the North and the UK will be seeing this. Colin Farrell has really picked it up as of late when it comes to his role selection and Ray Winstone as a mob boss? Perfect casting. Add along the fact that it's written by The Departed scribe William Monahan and what's not to like?