30 December 2010

10 Words or Less: Reservoir Dogs (1999)

One of these men is a cop.

24 December 2010

The Vault: A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Meet Bob, Bob Arctor is the head of a drug ring. Meet Fred, a narcotics detective for the city of Anaheim.   They are the same man.

The choice of roto animation is not just for fun's sake by Richard Linklater, it is used as a metaphor for what you are watching. It looks like real-life, but there is a thin separation from reality that hazes your judgement. That haze is reflected in Bob/Fred whose own dependence on Substance D is causing a rift in his mind.

Mental illness is depicted through Barris (Robert Downey Jr.) and Luckman (Woody Harrelson), Arctor's two main flackies with varying levels of psychosis. The two spend a majority of their days discussing alternative theories as to who is really responsible for their troubles. Most of these theories often lead back to the government. Ironically enough the government in charge of the rehabilitation clinic is the hub for the designer drug that is destroying the minds of citizens.

Drug culture has been more widely accepted in this day and age (see the effect of The Big Lebowski and weed culture in general) but what A Scanner Darkly presents is far more serious than a look at drug addicts and the minutiae of their lives. A society that justifies killing for a larger purpose faces greater concerns than drug problems. Mainly, how to look themselves in the mirror.

23 December 2010

Red State Teaser

This will be a major departure of sorts for Kevin Smith, previously known for slacker comedies and fart jokes, as he delves into the realm of religious fundamentalism. I look forward to this with some caution as Smith's last film was Cop Out, but if there is a film to be seen during the dead season of February and March this might be it.

15 December 2010

The Tree of Life Trailer

This shot right up to one of my most anticipated films of next year, in fact it is the most anticipated. Words don't do this trailer justice, just watch.

14 December 2010

Listen to 'Black Swan' Soundtrack

An homage of sorts to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake as exhibited by "A Swan Song (For Nina)", but the score is not without Mansell's touches. "Lose Yourself" is a steady thrill that leaves you feeling like you are being washed away and "Night of Terror" shall leave you sufficiently disturbed during your drive home from the theatre. Overall, it is not as memorable as his scores for Requiem for a DreamThe Fountain, or The Wrestler, but the score fits the film well.

13 December 2010

'Social Network' Sweeps Critics

Well, the critics have spoken and The Social Network is a force to be reckoned with come awards season. Indiana, Boston, LA, and New York have all deemed 'Social Network' the one to beat.

Eisenburg has netted a trophy for himself and I'm really hoping the Academy manages to look past his age and nominate him for Best Actor. David Fincher has also been causing a ruckus and I'm thinking we're looking at another sweep season this February much like The Hurt Locker last year when that film won Best Picture, Best Director and Original Screenplay.

10 Words or Less: Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The American Dream is, infact, a nightmare.

09 December 2010

Armond White or: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Ignore the Troll

Whether it is his glowing review of Norbit, his thrashing of Toy Story 3, or just his general pompousness, you are aware of Armond White.

His dismissal of Toy Story 3 came at a convenient time when the film was sitting pretty with a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. "But Toy Story 3 is so besotted with brand names and product-placement that it stops being about the innocent pleasures of imagination—the usefulness of toys—and strictly celebrates consumerism." A claim that could have been taken at face value had he not followed it with this sentiment "Transformers 2 already explored the same plot to greater thrill and opulence." I am sure if one were inclined to interview Michael Bay at his most enlightened he would have never crafted an answer that insightful regarding hidden parables in his Transformers vehicle.

White was at his most incensed when forced to sit down and type out his thoughts regarding Precious, but praised Norbit for its reflection of society, "Murphy’s gender/ethnic split embraces a sense of freakishness because Norbit, Rasputia and Mr. Wong are all, also, on a realistic continuum. We laugh at their types since we, in fact, recognize their types." The same loud, shrewish stereotype that Murray plays with glee is described with measured admiration. Said stereotypes used in Precious are a  "carnival of black degradation". His point could be made legitimate, but defending one tired set of characterizations in one film does not allow you to lead a crusade against a film guilty of the same flaw.

Hit-jobs against Maria Full of Grace, City of God, and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days  condemn these films for their "preachy, wrong-headed messages", but invites viewers to find meaning in the "misunderstood" I Now Pronounce You, Chuck and Larry.

The man is not a consumer of the cinematic equivalent of trite slush. His top ten of all-time list includes Lawrence of Arabia, Nashville and The Magnificent Ambersons. He is a vehement detester of online criticism, having been quoted as saying bloggers reek of "amateurism, gossip [and] cliques". Certainly an interesting sentiment from a man who writes reviews knowing in the back of his mind that his contrarian reactions will certainly elicit a response from the online community that he apparently despises, but needs their traffic to prop himself among the elites of film criticism.

He is certainly knowledgeable about his trade, he litters his posts with references to classics from yesteryear while honoring movies such as: Bedtime Stories, Little Man, and Running Scared. Maybe the man operates on an intellectual plane all his own - seemingly pulling depths from films ignored - or more likely he has crafted his niche in being the wild-card of the community wrecking havoc and name dropping whenever possible.

The truth is any man who does not care about art enough to simply write about film in an honest and upfront manner does not do any justice to the medium. In pretending to write in the tradition of Pauline Kael he offers nothing more substantive than the huckster in The Outlaw Josey Wales selling his elixir to anyone willing to listen. Screaming into the abyss Mr. White needs less our scorn and more our sympathy. He's an intellectual prancing around as a troll seeking approval from those he spends his time railing against. He's also an enemy to the profession he claims to hold the best interests of.

07 December 2010

Take a Survey, Win a DVD!

Who's the weirdest director in Hollywood? Lynch? Von Trier? What was the best film of the year? Take a survey and see how other cinephiles think and you could win a DVD for your efforts. Be sure to leave a comment so I know who to include in the pool.

The contest is sponsored by Price Minister so feel free to hit their site and check out the rest of their catalog.

06 December 2010

Listen to Tron Legacy Soundtrack

It's hit! Daft Punk's score for Tron Legacy has hit and it is everything I expected it to be. "Derezzed" broke first and is still the most recognizably Daft Punk song of the bunch, but "The Game Has Changed" is the most thrilling. "C.L.U." is your classic villain introduction theme and I'm also fond of "Solar Sailer", for what particular reason is not known, but give it a spin. Here's hoping for some Academy Award love this February.

04 December 2010

The Beaver Trailer

Mel Gibson's last unfortunate tirade seems to have cost him some of the goodwill he had earned back following his great performance in Edge of Darkness and that is truly a shame considering how good this looks. Jodie Foster's most recent directorial effort looks like the most genuinely funny trailer I have seen all year.

03 December 2010

Tree of Life Trailer Attached To Black Swan

The first peek at Terrence Malick's Tree of Life is attached to Black Swan and for those of you lucky enough to see Black Swan this weekend you'll get a look at one of the most anticipated films in recent history.

Tree of Life stars Sean Penn as Jack and Brad Pitt as his emotionally-vacant father. Malick's film is reportedly on an epic scale and ranges from when dinosaurs roamed the Earth to current day America where Jack faces an unknown crisis.

02 December 2010

FYC: The Social Network

Right now this is the front-runner. Many sites have pegged The King's Speech because of its prestige factor, but The Social Network has captured  the zeitgeist of our time and like The Hurt Locker last year that effect cannot be overstated. What has me interested most is whether Jesse Eisenberg will be nominated for Best Actor. The category has skewed toward older actors recently, but I get the feeling the Academy will make a splash this year.

(Courtesy: Awards Daily)

01 December 2010

10 Words or Less: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Scaredy Potter.