31 December 2013

The Year in Film: Hustle and Isolation


Last year made Academy voters feel good about themselves, but in 2013 films about the life-affirming power of love, collaboration and unity were replaced with greed, corruption and isolation.

Three very prominent winter releases were about conning the system or using it to enrich yourself. Dallas Buyers Club chronicled the true story of Ron Woodroof and his efforts to find alternative treatments for HIV. American Hustle told the tale of Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser's transition from conning the public to doing it for the FBI. Perhaps the biggest picture about corruption was Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street based on the life of Jordan Belfort, the titular lead of the film, a man who did everything (and everyone) he could to make a name for himself.

25 December 2013

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street


Any word synonymous with Wall Street hasn't been a friendly one for some time now. Gordon Gekko's infamous declaration that "Greed is good" sealed the fate of Wall Street brokers' reputations for good. For this reason Oliver Stone's searing indictment used to be the seminal film on the rampant greed that takes place on America's most corrupt street, but that title now belongs to The Wolf of Wall Street.

20 December 2013

At Movie Mezzanine: History of Film - The Godfather Pt I and II


Few people could have anticipated during the course of adapting Mario Puzo’s best-seller The Godfather to the big screen that it would become a lasting legacy in cinema. Forty-plus years have passed since its theatrical release, yet it stands the test of time as not only one of the greatest depictions of a crime family, but as one of the best films ever made.
The audience is introduced to the Corleone family during the wedding of patriarch Vito’s only daughter. We learn something about the family members as each vignette coalesces into a portrait of organized crime. Francis Ford Coppola chronicles the ins-and-outs of the organized crime business, from Vito’s fair-handed rule over his territory to Michael’s cruel, calculating and lasting reign over New York City and eventually Nevada. When Vito bare survives an attempt on his life, the family quickly seeks to fill the power vacuum left by his absence.
 Keep reading at Movie Mezzanine!

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Announces 2013 Winners


’12 Years A Slave’ has been winning a rash of critics awards the last week, and today the Las Vegas Film Critics Society joined in the fun also awarding top prize to the Fox Searchlight film along with Steve McQueen for directing and Lupita N’yongo for Supporting Actress. All total ’12 Years A Slave’ took six Sierra Awards.

'Legend of Hercules' Giveaway


"In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero -- the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom."

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a poster of The Legend of Hercules signed by Kellan Lutz. Only U.S. residents may enter, contest ends January 1st.

Each household is only eligible to win ONE Autographed Poster via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

18 December 2013

Review: Her


How difficult it must feel to be lonely surrounded in a city of 8 million people. Wrapped up in your devices, eyes glued to your shoes on a crowded street. Removing one's self from society is easier than ever in the digital age. Plug in the ear buds, tune out the crowds, bury your head in your iPad and divorce yourself from reality. Women who would be completely unattainable in person are available at the convenience of a few clicks.

Spike Jonze excels in his studies of characters that fall back in the crowd and Her is perhaps his finest entry to date. Romantic comedies are largely considered a dead genre, but Her is proof that when a romantic comedy is done well, it can be one of the finest experiences moviegoers can have in a theatre.

16 December 2013

Review: American Hustle


 Confidence is a dangerous trade. It allows people to be taken advantage of and trust to be used as a currency. Men like Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) uses what people project on him, what big-time opportunities they want. The lies stare them right in the face, but the perks are far too much to resist. People see what they want to see. As American Hustle opens, Irving plants himself in front of a mirror and carefully crafts an image for himself, assembling his comb-over, putting on his shades and sealing the deal with a crushed velvet suit. If a con is to work, everything must be presentable.

14 December 2013

Interstellar Trailer Debuts



Paramount and Warner Bros. made a lot of cinephiles happy today by posting the first trailer for Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi Interstellar. Like the teaser trailer for Inception, very little about the film's plot or characters is made clear during the footage unveiled, but Mr. Nolan has certainly brought the "wow."

How bad should Congress feel for cutting all funding to NASA? Pretty damn awful. With any luck maybe this film will re-ignite an interest in space again.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi.

Interstellar is set to hit theatres and in IMAX November 7, 2014.

06 December 2013

Review: Out of the Furnace


The town that Out of the Furnace takes place is one of those communities that hasn't quite died yet, but there is no hope for a future. The steelmill dominates life and once the mill closes, the outlook is grim. With few to no prospects left, locals resort to gambling and underground activities for cash. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) pushes on, working extra shifts at the mill, hoping for the best and saving for a child with his girlfriend, Lena (Zoe Saldana).

Review: Inside Llewyn Davis


Making it as a professional musician comes with its own set of challenges, namely finding that first big break. Millions chase dreams of playing music professionally, but only a precious few get to realize them. Faceless and forgotten by time, nearly all of these strugglers never get their fifteen minutes of fame.

There are the Bob Dylans and Jimi Hendrixes of the music world and then there is Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac). He lacks a marketable name, a shadow of mystery and the air of cool those other counter-culture artists have. The only distinctive thing about him is the black cloud that trails him everywhere he goes.

Inside Llewyn Davis follows Llewyn over the course of a week on the music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village. He carries all his possessions on his person, guitar in hand, bumming it on friend's couches around the Five Boroughs. He's staying with fellow singers Jean (Carey Mulligan) and Jim (Justin Timberlake), but that arrangement comes to a halt when Jean delivers Llewyn a hand-written note with the message "I'm pregnant."