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Showing posts from November, 2012

Review: The Man in Black (Killing Them Softly)

Two overwhelmed pseudo-gangsters (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendehlson) managed, by the skin of their chattering teeth, to take the score. Money is hard to come by in this small town, so the concept of robbing a card game populated by made-men doesn't seem as insane as it would during a better economy. You see they had a scapegoat sitting pretty to take the fall in Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), the head of the games who managed to pull this same scam years earlier.

These two men however are not long for this world though, Jackie Cogan has been sent to restore confidence to the board. Jackie's services are soon to be required by a corporate board left reeling after the card game left most wealthy men in the city with pockets emptied. Those men want to make sure their money never gets taken again and Cogan can guarantee that.

The scale of Killing Them Softly is considerably smaller than Dominik's last effort, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Rather th…

'Hobbit' IMAX Posters Are For the Truly Devoted

Those Hobbit fans watching the film at its midnight premiere on December 14th will take home a very splendid Christmas gift. These four very handsomely crafted posters featuring Gollum, Bilbo Gandalf and Thorin are all in Elvish, so giving them to midnight showing attendees is probably the best idea.

THR Director's Roundtable

That's quite a cast of high-caliber directors (Affleck, Tarantino, Lee, Russell), my question is why isn't Kathryn Bigelow there? Zero Dark Thirty is one of the most anticipated flicks of the winter and she doesn't get an invite? Odd.

Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook Lead Spirit Nods

That time is upon us once again, the time where the high caliber films start making waves during awards ceremonies. Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom have landed the first blow with the most nominations for this year's Independent Spirit Awards. The momentum may not carry for Moonrise, but given that SLP is backed by The Weinstein Company, expect a big push for that film.
Keeping my fingers crossed for Jack Black for Bernie, very much deserving of the praise and unlikely to receive its due with Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and John Hawkes in the fold.
Best Feature Beasts of the Southern Wild Bernie Keep the Lights On Moonrise Kingdom Silver Linings Playbook
Best Director Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Female Lead Linda Cardellini, Return Emayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of Nowhere Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Play…

How Christopher Nolan Blew Up Heinz Field

Video: The Dark Knight Rises: Bane’s football explosion
The DVD/Blu-Ray for The Dark Knight Rises doesn't come out until December 4th, but you can catch a glimpse of how they filmed Bane (Tom Hardy) blowing up Gotham Rogues stadium here. Ravens fans will be disappointed to find out it was special effects, I'm sure most hoping that they actually destroyed it.

Grittiest Addiction Movies of All Time

(this post comes from Lily Reynolds)
Movies can either glamorize drugs, or show their destructive powers. For every Blow there is a gritty, hard hitting movie that shows the true cost of the drug lifestyle. It might be tempting for people to depict drug use as an adventure in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but gritty movies about the hell of drug addiction may prove to be the best way for cinema to convey what life is like as an addict. Some of the more famous drug movies include Pulp Fiction, Withnail and I, Scarface, A Scanner Darkly, Pineapple Express and Training Day. These six gritty drug addiction films take the perspective of the drug addict, some their relations and others the point of view of dealers and narcotics officers.
Christiane F Perhaps less famous than the other movies on this list, Christiane F is the story of a young teenage girl in Germany in the 1970s. She is bored, yet fascinated by the disco scene. Despite being too young, she gets into one of the clubs and her d…

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #6

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. Readers are 1-5 thus far. This quote is from a film that came into creation purely by the passion of its fanbase. Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from.

"What ain't no country I've ever heard of. They speak English in What?"

Review: A Man and His Legacy (Lincoln)

Times are contentious in the Union. The Civil War rages on and the death toll is in the hundreds of thousands. Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) has two choices placed before him by his trusted Secretary of State, William Seward (David Strathairn at his wit's end). One, an amendment that would allow for slaves to be freed and the other, a peace agreement with the South. His recent re-election has bundled some goodwill for his agenda and he means to package it for the amendment.

The House is publicly divided between the Democrats, conservative and radical Republicans, with abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (an Oscar-bound Tommy Lee Jones) corralling his caucus and Seward's task force of Bilbo (James Spader), Latham (John Hawkes) and Schell (Tim Blake Nelson) trading positions for votes.

Despite the heavy title and the prestige that the marketing and advertising have treated Lincoln with, this is not a biopic that showers its protagonist with awe. This is no Honest Abe by any mean…

Review: It's Not Always Sunny (Silver Linings Playbook)

Of all the franchises in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles have the most impassioned fanbase. Wins move the entire city, a loss, particularly at Dallas, could ruin an entire Sunday. Eagles fans' well-being depend on a winning season. The Solitanos are such a family.

Pal Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has no control over the things that come out of his mouth. Everyone is guilty of having their mental filter go on the fritz, but Pat's is permanently stuck on off. He's been working on self-improvement at the clinic he was court-appointed to following a violent conflict between himself, his wife and her lover. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) has decided that eight months is long enough and brings Pat back home.

Pat has a game-plan toward getting his life back in order: get in shape, get his old job and get his wife back. Nikki has since moved on and as a gesture of good faith, filed a restraining order against him. Despite what his friends tell him, he is quite happy in his delus…

Tarantino XX Collection Hits Today

Tis the season for hoarding items, armed combat and sleeping on sidewalks for gifts. This deal however requires no hoarding or sleeping on a sidewalk. The revered filmmaker is always controversial, but if someone in your family is a big cinephile, this gift is high on their list. All eight of Quentin Tarantino's films (Inglourious Basterds, Death Proof, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Reservoir Dogs) available in one box-set for the first time.

On top of all of those films, other entertaining features include:
Critics Corner The Films of Quentin Tarantino In-depth critics' discussion piece exploring Tarantino's films that redefined cinema and the impact of one of the most influential writers/directors of our time.

20 Years of Filmmaking
Take a look at Tarantino's career from the beginning, with interviews from co-workers, critics, stars and master filmmakers alike as well as a tribute to his greatest collaborator, Sally Menke. 

Jackie Brown

A Very Sore Ryan Gosling Presents 'Only God Forgives' Poster

Ouch. Anyone catch the plate of that truck that hit Ryan Gosling? Nicolas Winding Refn is no stranger to brutal violence so why beat around the bush? Gosling is going to get beaten badly.
Julian (Gosling) lives in exile in Bangkok where he runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family’s drugs smuggling operation. When Julian’s brother Billy is killed, their mother (Kristen Scott Thomas), arrives in the city. She wants revenge and forces Julian to find the killer. Julian’s contacts in the criminal underworld lead him directly to The Angel of Vengeance, a retired police officer who serves as both Judge and Executioner. Jenna demands that Julian kill The Angel of Vengeance, an act that will cost him dearly.

Review: A Downward Spiral (Flight)

In a return to live-action filmmaking, Robert Zemeckis' first in twelve years, Flight succeeds as a character study in a world where not many of them exist anymore. This particular examination looks at Captain "Whip" Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a man that hungrily partakes of all Earthly pleasures: women, fine alcohol,  and narcotics. Hell, he can't even get out of bed in the morning without a quick bump to help him coast through his work and life without any hitches. Little does he know that severe turbulence is about to darken the silver lining of Whip’s twenty-four hour high.

However, the aftermath of the wreckage is just the beginning of Whip's worries. The National Transportation Security Board is going to have a hearing and whether Whip saved those people or not, karma is going to catch up with him.

Unsurprisingly, Robert Zemeckis really shines at the technical aspects of the film. He gives the crash a real sense of peril by leaving the viewer inside the…

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #5

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. This quote is from a film that came into creation purely by the passion of its fanbase. Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from.

"Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd for that?"

Review: All the World's a Stage (Anna Karenina)

Of all the many literary classics that have graced the silver screen, Anna Karenina is perhaps the most beloved. Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice have been made into features almost as often, but even those pictures don't have the prestige that Anna Karenina does.
If the name Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) were to come up in gossip circles, she would be spoken of highly. She is the young and attractive wife to government officer Karenin (Jude Law). While Karenin loves his wife, he is distant, their marriage is one of convenience. No embers of passion burn when they are together. Her life is not completely lacking in love though, Anna imparts that love to her son.
Yet, some wants just do not go away.
Despite the conventions of society, despite what she knows to be a bad idea, wife and mother Anna has fallen madly in love with Russian officer Vronsky (Aaron Johnson). When they meet at the grand ball, they only have eyes for each other. The romance about to transpire is obvious to…

Behind the Scenes of 'Life of Pi'

Academy-award winning director Ang Lee is known for his dedication to getting things perfect before they are captured on film and without doubt Life of Pi will have no shortage of scenes that make you go "wow." Don't be surprised if cinematographer Claudio Miranda (Tron: Legacy, Curious Case of Benjamin Button) takes home an Oscar for his work on Pi.  He has been nominated before, but given all the raves the film has received from screenings, this year could very well be the one for him.

It is easy to forget that with all of the techniques made available with CGI and companies like Weta that some shots still require physical work and finesse to get it right. Like filming in an Olympic sized pool. So that we have beautiful scenes like these.

(This post is sponsored by Twentieth Century Fox)

Review: Pillow Talk (The Sessions)

The word can't is either missing from, or torn out of Mark O'Brien's dictionary. Mark (John Hawkes), despite being a paraplegic, has graduated college, earned his Master's Degree, started his own publishing company and released dozens of books of poetry. In all of that time, however, he has not shared love with a woman. Success has not been missing from his life, yet he feels a hole that should finally be looked at. Even at age 36.

These "based on a true story" tales are often derided for saccharine cliches that inevitably remove all interest from the non-fiction, yet this is not the case for The Sessions.

Mark may be confined to an iron lung and he may not have long, but TheSessions is no tale of woe. There is a sense of warmth infused throughout the film that tempers what could be a very dampened storyline. One of those key sources is William H. Macy as Father Brendan.

Premarital sex is most definitely a no-no in the eyes of the Catholic Church, but how co…

Variety Picks the Ten Best Scores of All-Time

Variety published their top ten scores of all-time today. Well, ten isn't the real answer, but with any list of importance ten is rarely the final number. Unsurprisingly, Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams all appear on the list twice. The Mission taking the top spot was definitely not the consensus I had assumed would win. I would have figured Jaws would have made the list as well.

1."The Mission" (Ennio Morricone, 1986)
2."E.T." (John Williams, 1982)
3."Psycho" (Bernard Herrmann, 1960)
4."The Shawshank Redemption" (Thomas Newman, 1994)
5."Star Wars" (John Williams, 1977)
6."Lawrence of Arabia" (Maurice Jarre, 1962)
6."Once Upon a Time in the West" (Ennio Morricone, 1968)
8."Chinatown" (Jerry Goldsmith, 1974)
9."The Empire Strikes Back" (John Williams, 1980)
9."Planet of the Apes" (Jerry Goldsmith, 1968)
9."Vertigo" (Bernard Herrmann, 195…

The Vault: Garden State (2004)

After the death of his mother, Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) faces returning to his hometown for the funeral. The moment is a contentious one for him: his career hasn't taken off since his performance as a mentally-challenged teen in a football film, he's left all of his anti-depression meds in California and then there's the prospect of reconnecting with friends he hasn't seen in years.

After leaving home, the presence of a void looms in Andrew's life. His father (Ian Holm choosing an American accent that isn't New Jersey-ish) has never forgiven him for his part in his mother's death and Andrew isn't sure he can forgive his father for holding that grudge. Their relationship is strained enough, yet pushed further when considering that his father is also his psychiatrist. If he is ever going to move on with his life, he will need to make some drastic changes.

In the process he has a chance meeting with Sam (Natalie Portman), a girl whose extroverted nat…

Second Time Around for 'Dark Knight'

For all of the hardware Heath Ledger took home and all of the guild's nominations the film received, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight got a goose egg for Best Picture four years ago. Will this time around be any different? Peter Jackson's film took best picture when the trilogy concluded, but that was against weaker competition and the reviews for Rises are not as strong as its predecessor. We shall see have to wait to see what happens.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #4

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. Readers are 1-3 thus far, so I made this weeks a little easier (as long as you consider what was released on Friday). Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from:

All of my key employees are my sons. Blood is the best security in this business.

Review: Homecoming (Skyfall)

Skyfallopens with a fatalistic sense of immediacy. The thrilling action sequence is familiar, but it ends with a gasp rather than a cheer. The problem with most Bond films is that there never a sense of urgency felt. Agent 007 will face endless numbers of enemies, gunmen, terrorists, etc. but none of them will ever seriously pose mortal danger. What Sam Mendes adds to the franchise is consequences and acknowledging a legitimate threat: that 007 may be obsolete.
Whereas the other twenty two films of this franchise spend a majority of their run-times traveling to exotic venues, Skyfall resides in the rainy U.K. The homeland is under attack and MI6 is facing a lot of critics for its handling of spy matters, "this is the 21st Century," Gareth Mallory (an always withering Ralph Fiennes) argues, 007 and his ilk aren't needed anymore.
Addressing the antiquated nature of James Bond poses a risk to the audience. Will Mendes go too far with this line of thinking and alienate audie…

Doug Liman Kills Tom Cruise Over and Over

A lot of people claim to have a dislike of Tom Cruise, but only Bourne Identity director Doug Liman is willing to take his dislike to the max. In All You Need Is Kill, Liman blows up Tom Cruise again and again. Cruise plays Lt. Col. Bill Cage, a soldier forced to relive violent battle with aliens when he is thrown into a time-loop. Lord only knows what Mr. Cruise is running away from in this set photo, but one thing is for sure, Doug Liman is a twisted man.
(Courtesy: Collider)

World War Z Trailer Promises Carnage

If this is how the world ends at least we have Brad Pitt to usher us toward the exit.

Review: Method to the Madness (Seven Psychopaths)

Stories are odd things. They take on personalities of their own, they leave loose ends, they make profound connections. Screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is not writing one of those stories. Even with the prompting of his best friend (Sam Rockwell) writer's block has kept his slate empty. With his slate empty, he's taken to the bottle and arguing with his girlfriend.

Fortunately, reality always proves to be more appealing than fiction and with a masked murderer gunning down made men in the streets of Los Angeles, this string of murders prove to be just the inspiration that Marty needs. His screenplay featuring a murderous Amish man, a very angry Vietnamese priest and a serial killing couple who only kill serial killers practically writes itself.

Billy and Hans (beloved oddball Christopher Walken) have found their own way to make a living. By stealing dogs and then returning them back for reward money, Billy and Hans have quite a sweet gig. The only problem with all of this i…

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #3

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. This week's version is a little different as it is themed for the election.

Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from.

"Who doesn't want a shortcut to greatness?"

Win A 'Friends' Prizepack

PartnersHub is teaming up with Warner Bros. to promote the entire series of Friends on blu-ray! To help publicize the event during the next thirty days readers can add their badges in the comments, take quizzes and add follow the #FRIENDS hashtag on Twitter. The contest ends Nov. 30th so get cracking, the reader with the most badges can take two oversized Monica mugs and a frame complete with the whole gang.

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