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Showing posts from May, 2011

The Girl with the Leaked Trailer

Damn you, David Fincher. I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was left cold. Noomi Rapace did what she could, the supporting cast could have been carved out of a coffee table and it was a chore to sit through. Enter one of the best directors of the past two decades and now I'm curious. Fincher seems to be back in his Se7en/The Game punk mode and the trailer reflects that.

The leaked trailer - which might or might not a studio effort - leaves me anticipating more. Which is more than I could have ever expected after hating the original.

Review: A 'Hangover' They Don't Deserve

When Phil (Bradley Cooper) calls a very distressed Tracy at the beginning of The Hangover Part II, you know exactly where Todd Phillip's latest round-up with Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifinakis is going. Initially, the thought process of the viewer goes from shock, confusion, anger and then finally complacency. Are they going to remake The Hangover shot for shot?

The problem with the sequel to the very successful 2009 comedyis that it really isn't a film, it's an exercise of cynicism in show business. Warner Brothers had 277,322,503 reasons to make a sequel, yet they may have gone a bit overboard in recreating what they had with the first film.

Todd Phillip's sequel is structurally the same as its predecessor —the hijinks are justly ratcheted up several notches— but the draw of The Hangover Part II wasn't originality, the draw was hanging out with Phil, Stu and Alan for another crazy ride. It is understandable that Warner Bros. greenlit a sequel because the orig…

Review: Everyone Wins Except Audience (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold)

Morgan Spurlock’s newest documentary, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a revue exploiting the use of advertising, branding, and product placement in the movies. The walking contradiction, or the joke that keeps on giving is that his film, is also financed by advertising, branding, and product placement. Luckily the comedy is strong enough to last the film’s 90-minute run-time. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a daring, competent, and consistently entertaining documentary.
Spurlock is a notorious filmmaker – who is equal measures prolific and eccentric. His 2004 controversial documentary, Super Size Me did direct damage on the McDonalds organization. The same affect is not likely to happen here.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is at its best when Spurlock is interviewing other filmmakers – such as Quentin Tarantino – who admits he’s written numerous scripts in which he wanted his characters eating and talking in a Denny’s (think Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs). But Denny’s shot him down b…

The Pratfall of 'Django Unchained'

Will Smith is the most marketable movie star in the world. Between Men In Black,Independence Day, and Bad Boys Mr. Smith is the man responsible for most summer blockbusters. He is recognized everywhere and virtually liked by all. That is until the release of Seven Pounds. Seven Pounds was the follow-up collaboration between Will Smith and director Gabriele Muccino after the critical success The Pursuit of Happyness (which earned Smith his second Best Actor nomination). It was a emotionally raw performance and a brave one at that.

Unfortunately, it was also panned across the board. Despite Smith's portrayal Seven Pounds was declared melodrama at its worst. At some portions the film is unrelentingly ghoulish which makes the role of Ben Thomas that much more important to cast correctly. Ben has to be empathetic, he has to be good, but he also has to be superhumanly giving. Even with everything Smith gave to his character it wasn't enough. And for many critics the maudlin ending …

10 Words or Less: The Thin Red Line (1998)

Madness, valor, cowardice. No soldier's story is the same. 

First Look at Tom Hardy as Bane

This is unsurprisingly creepy. Ledger may have competition for most disturbing villain after all. I suppose the next question is where is Bane at? Arkham? The League of Shadows compound? India?

(via SuperHeroHype)

Review: Something Original (Certified Copy)

Certified Copy is an ingenious piece of work from writer/director Abbas Kiarostami. It’s essentially a 106-minute film of inquisitions – luckily for us, they are more than interesting. This is undoubtedly a provocative film. But it is not, despite a slew of shining positive attributes, a great picture.
The film is set over one long afternoon in Tuscany. It casts Juliette Binoche as a French antiques dealers who happily invites a famed English writer (William Shimell) to go see a museum and possibly make some detours on the way. The two unique individuals, who’ve never meet before today – are accidentally seen as a married couple – and soon decide to go along with the game. Role-playing seems fun at first, but laughs quickly escalate to serious conversations on family, love, and commitment. Add in some sexual attraction, highbrow drama, and flirtation – and there you have it: a dark, enigmatic, and more often than not, polarizing film about marriage and the notion of originality.
What ke…

The Vault: Reign of Fire (2002)

Before Christian Bale was Batman, Gerard Butler was Leonidas and Matthew McConaughey was the dude from those Kate Hudson flicks, dragons ruled the Earth.

Humans have been supplanted as the dominant species of Earth. After a discovery by a young Quinn Abercromby (Christian Bale minus heavy voice, same starvation) dragons were unleashed from the underground caves which they were hiding in the UK. Since that day people are forced to live in almost uninhabitable small colonies. Quinn and Creedy (Gerard Butler) are the heads of an outfit in Northern England, when they are not farming, preparing and performing The Empire Strikes Back for the children they are fighting for their lives.

Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) is a die-hard kind of American. He makes a living killing dragons. His obsession with dragons almost borders Ahab-ian levels although it could be worse considering that Captain Ahab was only obsessed with one whale, Van Zan has hundreds of winged-beasts to hate. McConaughe…

10 Words or Less: Collateral (2004)

Death and Taxis.

Review: Guardian Hell's Angel (Hesher)

Adolescence is never an easy experience. For T.J. it is made significantly more difficult with the passing of his mother. His home life is non-existent: his father, Paul, (Rainn Wilson) is glued to the couch and budges only to pass judgement on grief counseling groups and his grandmother is just going with the flow. School days are marked by a bully assaulting him in the bathroom. The only reprieve T.J. can take are his visits to the grocery store where Nicole (Natalie Portman) works. With no refuge to take in at home, what is a teenage boy to do?

With the aid of what some may call fate, or more accurately, bad luck, Hesher comes into T.J.'s life. He smells bad, has a perchance for starting fires and his language could only be described as foul. Hesher could only be described as a guardian angel with an entirely irrepressible id. Sharing sexual escapades at a dinner table with T.J.'s grandmother is not even enough to make own arch an eyebrow. His idea of getting even with a b…

Back to School

Review: Bridesmaids

Most addicts won't attempt to change their lives until they have hit rock-bottom. Well, Annie (Kristen Wiig) is addicted to having a terrible life. Her bakery went out of business, her friend with benefits is a self-proclaimed dick (Jon Hamm) and her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married.

That in itself isn't a bad thing, but Lillian is becoming quite chummy with socialite Helen (Rose Byrne). Annie's grip on the one constant in her life is slipping away thanks to some tart with a membership to the country club. That conflict will have to wait for another day though, Lillian has asked Annie to plan her wedding.

Armed with three of the most "unique" bridesmaids she can handle, Annie assembles a hodge-podge gown fitting and meal. Of course a wedding wouldn't be a wedding without a bachelorette party. The hilarity that ensues from each of the events tops each previous scene with glee. We are presented a vignette of all the bridesmaids (Byrne, Me…

The Vault: American History X (1998)

American History X is not about racial discrimination, though it often may appear to be. No, Tony Kaye’s picture is about the choices we make in our lives and how it evidently defines us as person. We as people are forced to make tough decisions. Decisions that require a certain amount of good judgment, and fortitude. For many, they will make the right decision and live a prosperous, normal life, and for some they will fall of the wagon. Prison is where they’re headed (if the predicament is of that serious nature). The only thing in their mind is how they are going to get out of this cruel and angst-filled atmosphere in one piece. Those lucky enough to survive the vigorous day-to-day features of prison are grateful. Derek Vinyard was grateful. Because you see, there’s a point in everybody that shows our true colors, what our real feelings are. And deep down, under all that anger and hatred Derek projected o-so often, is a kind, understanding person, who more importantly, knows right f…

First Look at 'Cogan's Trade'

It has been five long years since Andrew Dominik introduced The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford to the world. This is the first look at his next effort, Killing Them Softly debuting in 2012.Those of you expecting a similarly Malick-ian effort like James should advise that this forthcoming film starring Brad Pitt will likely be more similar to Chopper.

(Courtesy: Screen Daily)

Review: Thor 3D

Looking at Thor from pre-production there were several questions surrounding the film. Would Aussie Chris Hemsworth manage to be a convincing Norse God? Can Kenneth Branagh take comic-book material and turn it into something worth watching? Will the costume look as awkward as it did in the comics? Fortunately, the answer to those questions is yes, yes, and no.
It should have been obvious that Thor would naturally lend itself to Branagh's Shakespearean leanings. A royal heir cast from the kingdom, a murderous rivalry between two siblings, a man fighting a battle in a foreign land. All of the elements of a great drama. 
Thor is a brash and arrogant young man. During the course of a information expedition he re-ignites a war that has lasted for the ages. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) fed up with such childish antics does not approve and casts Thor from Asgard. It is here on Earth that the humor of Thor shines through. The value of Chris Hemsworth's charm is truly on display when he is …

Your Thoughts on 'The Beaver'

 The film that created goodwill for Mel Gibson before he blew it all away again is out. Love it, hate it, or somewhere in between? Leave your take in the comments below.

Footage from Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive'

Cannes main site is offering a first look at Drive. Unfortunately, the clip cannot be embedded. Do yourself a favor and click here to see the footage. Beware, you will be hooked once you do.


Armond White's Top Ten Films on Flickchart

Armond White is film criticism’s most famous contrarian. At one moment he writes a review declaring Toy Story 3 to be the most obscene excuse for toy commercials he has ever watched, and then two weeks later types out a glowing review of Resident Evil: Afterlife. He is of split-mind for sure. But what does his Flickchart look like?
Read the rest at Flickchart!

The Vault: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Unmistakably the best of the series. A progressive society where good and evil is presented in black and white. Star Wars was a breath of fresh air to moviegoers in the 70's where society was only shades of gray. Taxi Driver presented Travis Bickle as a hero, albeit a demented one. Here, Luke, Han and Leia are all entirely good heroes. So it came as a sucker punch that after the feel-good 'New Hope' its sequel was so dark.

Star Wars ended with so much going for the Rebel Alliance. Luke finished off the Death Star with relative ease, and seemingly the Empire was back on its heels. But alas, this was not the case. Vader now commands the Empire and will cease at nothing to destroy the Rebels. Things are not looking good for underdogs. Hoth, the current base of the Alliance is fending off one attack after another. After escaping certain death Luke and R2-D2 head to the Dagobah system to learn the teachings of Yoda.

The Empire Strikes Back presents the largest challenge for man…