Jump to content

The Movies thread!


CRASHER
 Share

Recommended Posts

Reading Quinn's post in the TV thread reminded me ... I watched Conan O'Brian Can't Stop the other day on Netflix, a documentary that follows Conan on his "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On TV" tour after getting the boot from the Tonight Show. It's pretty crazy. He's totally addicted to performing live. The crowd's adoration is a drug to the guy. And I don't mean that as a knock. In his field, it's great to see a guy who feeds off the crowd instead of becoming some stuck up dickhole. He's constantly cracking wise, busting his staff's chops and putting on a show.

The only part that seemed kind of off was during a backstage moment when Conan was expected to entertain an unholy sh!tload of people, and among them was the guy who plays Kenneth on 30 Rock. In typical Conan fashion, he busts his chops relentlessly. But it seems to actually hurt the guy's feelings. And Conan just keeps going and going and cutting deeper. It's a brief moment in a full length documentary, but it kinda left a sour taste.

But that minute aside, the whole thing is an eye-opening and entertaining look at Conan. Definitely recommend it for any Conan fans out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn

As a kid I was a huge fan of the Tin Tin series, so I got really excited when a movie adaptation was planned with none less than Steven Spielberg directing and Peter Jackson producing. I was disappointed though to find out that it wasn't live action but motion captured. After seeing the movie though, I can only say that it was absolutely the right decision as the action is sometimes so over-the-top that this couldn't have been done with live action.

After seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tin Tin creator Herge apparently said that Spielberg was the only one who could bring his books to life. It's easy to understand why as Tin Tin is very reminiscent of Raiders, both in terms of storyline and action. The biggest difference and major flaw of the Tin Tin movie is that, unlike Indy, the main character is very boring and uninteresting and you actually don't really care what happens to him. This actually makes Tin Tin an exercise in style over substance. But regardless, this is the most fun movie Spielberg has had making a movie since the final Indiana Jones film (not Kingdom of the Crystal Skull but the real final one - The Last Crusade)

One final note, if you are watching this movie in the cinema, please go see it in 3D. This is finally a movie where the 3D has an added value.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Opening This Week – Nationwide

Tower Heist – Ever imagine what the Occupy Wall Street folks would do if they actually had the initiative to bite back against the banks that wronged them? Well, the latest fil by director Brett Ratner tries to answer that question and while it may not be cutting political commentary, it does seem to be stupid enough fun to make it worthwhile. Ben Stiller stars as a disgruntled condo manager who, after learning one of the fancypants living on the top floor has defrauded the entire staff, decides to get back by breaking and stealing what he thinks is rightfully his. Going along on the heist is Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick and, in what critics are calling a return to form, Eddie Murphy as an ex-con hired to help the team out. While everyone admits this is pure schlock, the concession is that it’s damn entertaining schlock. Featuring some nicely drawn action scenes, a very funny Eddie Murphy and enough likability in the main cast, Tower Heist may not be a brilliant film, but if you’re looking for some good times this November, you could do much worse. A very tentative See It!

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (Also in 3D) – Christmas? In November?? Evidently so, as Harold, Kumar and the rest of the collegic stoner crew return this weekend in the third installment of the Castle Craving franchise. This film finds our heroes trekking through New York City on the search for the perfect replacement Christmas tree. What happened to the original you may ask? According to the synopsis, it has something to with a certain flammable illegal substance. The first Harold & Kumar was a surprising success and a film I openly enjoyed when I saw it not too long ago on DVD. Depsite the law of diminishing returns, this film has been getting some reluctant praise form critics, with most saying if you enjoy the sophomoric humor, you’ll get all you need and even a bit of a soft side from the dazed duo. Not exactly Miracle on 34th St, but a movie that just may sate the appetites of viewers itching for some holiday cheer.

Opening This Week – Limited Release

Young Goethe In Love – Period piece about an 18th century love triangle between a poet Johann Goethe, a fair damsel and the man she is promised to be wed to. Critics have said despite a strong director and some good actors, the story is so riddled with clichés, the film sinks under the weight. Unless you’re a huge fan of 1700’s era poetry, give this yawner a miss. Showing at City Cinemas Paris Theatre and Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Charlotte Rampling: The Look – Documentary about legendary actress Charlotte Rampling as told through conversation with friends and fellow artists. While the movie does make an effort to show you why she’s so revered in the acting community, if you’re already a fan, there’s not much more to say. That said, the pure energy of the films subject shines through the narrative, making this a critical favorite this weekend. Showing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

Killing Bono – Irish comedy about two brothers trying to make their way to rock and roll stardom in the 1980’s music scene. However, when a certain band called U2 makes it big, it casts them deeper into the shadow of the limelight. Critics have been mixed on this with half saying it’s a charming look into the drive for success and the other half saying the protagonist is annoying in his ineptitude. I’d recommend seeing a trailer or two before running out to catch this. Screening at AMC Loews Village 7

The Son of No One – Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Ray Liotta and Katie Holmes star in this gritty crime thriller. Oh, did you stop reading at Channing Tatum? Good, because despite a varied and interesting cast, critics have been flagging this film as an incomprehensible mess. What’s the story about? Who knows as the one line synopsis seems just cornball as critics have said. Enough blabbing…skip!! Playing at City Cinemas Village East

Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

The Last Rites of Joe May – Homage to the gritty crime films of the 1970’s this film stars Dennis Farina as a two bit hustler who, after a brief stint in the hospital, comes home to find his apartment rented to a single mother. She agrees to share the place as Joe plots his comeback to the underground life. Critics have been giving both the film its star high praise, saying the performance is deep, engaging and strangely moving. Recommended! Screening at Quad Cinema

The Other F Word – Every wonder what happens when punk rock grows old? They become daddies! Taking some the stars of mid nineties punk, including Mark Hoopus, Tim Mcllrath (Rise Against), Ron Reyes (Black Flag) and Fat Mike (NOFX), this tribute to punk rock grown ups have been getting mixed reviews from critics. While the filmmaker manage to get some emotion from the usually bratty rockers, critics don’t really know where the film is going and in a documentary, that’s a bad omen. Still, fans of the Bay Area punk scene may still find something to enjoy in this doc. Screening at the Film Forum

Dragonslayer – A documentary dictating the trials of living in economically depressed America through the eyes of a disenfranchised skate punk. Featuring a great independent soundtrack, and some interesting characters, critics have praised this doc as fascinating and timely. Showing at Cinema Village 12th Street

My 3 To See

Tower Heist – Silly, stupid and mindless, this Ben Stiller vehicle overcomes the shtick thanks to a great performance by Eddie Murphy.

The Last Rites of Joe May – This well received film about a hustler regaining his groove has been getting fine reviews, especially concerning the work of star Dennis Farina.

Puss In Boots – Really? This is the best reviewed film out in wide release? I need to take my medication…

Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

New Movie Review

The Rum Diary

Turning a book into a film is one of the trickiest tasks a filmmaker can tackle. The pitfalls are endless: you have to deal with the book’s ardent fans, while appealing to those who’ve never read it. A book can tell you what a character is thinking where a film has to show you visually. People spend much more time with novels, 8 hours on average, than they do watching a 2 hour film, creating a deeper connection with the story. Even the issue of, “that’s not what the lead looked like in the book” will cause nightmares for directors, simply because they can’t compile a cast that will match everybody’s imaginations. So, when director Bruce Robinson set out to make a film based on Hunter S Thompson’s second novel, The Rum Diary, I was skeptical at best. The only other Thompson book to make it to the screen was 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and thanks to the near maniacal mind of director Terry Gilliam, became an instant cult classic. The Rum Diary, on the other hand, is a much more subdued affair and I was curious how Robinson would take on this unique challenge. The answer? Simply ignore the novel’s plot almost entirely and use choice elements from the book as a back drop to tell the origin story of a literary revolutionary. It’s a fine idea, one that I appreciate as a huge fan of the late novelist. Too bad the film itself is a poorly made mess.

For those who don’t know, The Rum Diary stars Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, a rum soaked New York journalist who finds himself in 1960’s Puerto Rico working for a struggling newspaper. At the paper, Kemp meets the jaded editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), the habitually intoxicated Moberg (Giovanni Ribisi) and Bob Sala (Michael Rispoli), a fellow drinker/journalist who Kemp ends up staying with. Money is tight at the newspaper, so when a high powered land merchant by the name of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) offers Kemp a job writing brochure material for a fantastic new Puerto Rican hotel, Kemp jumps at the chance. Puerto Rico, however, is not without hypocrisy and as Kemp delves deeper into the good life of the island’s nouveau riche, he discovers just how full of s**t the whole place happens to be. Fans of the book, beware: while the plot has a passing resemblance to the novel, the similarities end at the synopsis. Literally 85% of the film is the invention of Mr. Robinson who reassigns character roles, makes up strange situations from thin air and removes entire characters from the screenplay. More on that later.

Playing the Thompson-esqe lead character, Depp’s reprisal of the role he played in Fear and Loathing is much more restrained this time around. While still a good performance, he doesn’t get the opportunity to come as unhinged as Gilliam allowed, so fans expecting Fear and Loathing Part 2 will be a bit disappointed. The rest of the cast ranges from welcome surprises to flat out awful. Both Jenkins and Rispoli do fine jobs in their respective roles, giving the film a much needed dose of comic timing while Eckhart is believable yet one noted as the opportunistic land baron. The only blemish in the cast is Amber Heard as Chenault, lover of Sanderson and object of affection for Kemp. While undeniably beautiful, Heard is woefully miscast in the role, a character changed dramatically for the film and not for the better. The result is a strangely plotted love triangle that never gets off the ground or generates any heat.

As a whole, the cast has their moments but much of the work is lost in bland pacing and boring direction. Robinson is a competent director but doesn’t have the visual imagination to inject the type of energy the source material requires. Sure that material is lacking in its own plot, but the scenes Robinson conjures up to make a cohesive story only detracts from the final product. From the cockfighting angle to an uncomfortable scene featuring a witch doctor to Depp’s ridiculous meeting of Chenault, nothing connects properly to the scenes straight from the novel. As a result, the film comes off disjointed and episodic. In fact, the best scenes in the movie are those pulled straight from the book, such as Sala and Kemp’s escape from the burger shop and Chenault’s Carnival dance. The rest of the film suffers from poor pacing and head scratching plot devices, making the end product a fitfully entertaining mixed bag.

All that said, I can’t be too hard on Robinson for the final product. The work of beat writers like Thompson, Kerouac and Ginsberg are often difficult, if impossible to bring to the screen. Not reliant on narrative, beat writing tells the story through the energy of the language. These authors were literary revolutionaries, casting aside traditional form and structure for a mad, freewheeling joyride, saying whatever they want, however they wanted. The Rum Diary is no different, making Robinson’s task an exceedingly difficult one and in the end, I greatly appreciate his efforts. This is the film version of The Rum Diary Thompson himself would have liked to see, a brash strike against commercialism and a triumphant cry for journalist honesty. Problem is, the film itself has so many holes, problems and pratfalls, I have to label it a disappointment, despite my respect for the director’s intentions. Not a good film, but not a miserable one either, The Rum Diary should be seen by those not familiar with the original novel. For those who are already fans, this adaptation is just going to annoy you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BP, I can't thank you enough for reviewing this movie.

As a HUGE Thompson fan, I've been among the many clamoring for a Rum Diary film adaptation ever since the first time we read the novel. I remember reading years ago that Depp planned on doing a film adaptation, but it would have to wait until after he was done with all of the Pirates movies. (Sidenote: That's actually why I hate those movies so much. Not because they're bad. I haven't even seen them. But they delayed something I wanted so badly.)

HST nuts like myself have been clinging to the rumor mill for years because of that. I remember reading that Benicio del Toro was set to play Sala and Josh Hartnett would play Yeamon, and shooting was practically underway. Then nothing. For years. Several agonizing years.

So now that the film is done, I've been anxious to see it. But, like you allude to, fans of the novel always hope to see the pictures that played out in our mind's eye as we read it, and that's rarely what we get.

I'm disappointed to hear the film is a let down. I was also shocked to see that Yeamon wasn't even included as a character, but it sounds like they combined him with Sanderson, a move that I could see making sense for a film.

Maybe I won't rush to see this in theaters, and the fact that I'm considering that saddens me. But so much anticipation is extremely difficult to live up to. If I'm going to be disappointed, I might as well be disappointed from the comfort of my own home.

Thanks again for the review, and keep up the great work!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BP, I can't thank you enough for reviewing this movie.

As a HUGE Thompson fan, I've been among the many clamoring for a Rum Diary film adaptation ever since the first time we read the novel. I remember reading years ago that Depp planned on doing a film adaptation, but it would have to wait until after he was done with all of the Pirates movies. (Sidenote: That's actually why I hate those movies so much. Not because they're bad. I haven't even seen them. But they delayed something I wanted so badly.)

HST nuts like myself have been clinging to the rumor mill for years because of that. I remember reading that Benicio del Toro was set to play Sala and Josh Hartnett would play Yeamon, and shooting was practically underway. Then nothing. For years. Several agonizing years.

So now that the film is done, I've been anxious to see it. But, like you allude to, fans of the novel always hope to see the pictures that played out in our mind's eye as we read it, and that's rarely what we get.

I'm disappointed to hear the film is a let down. I was also shocked to see that Yeamon wasn't even included as a character, but it sounds like they combined him with Sanderson, a move that I could see making sense for a film.

Maybe I won't rush to see this in theaters, and the fact that I'm considering that saddens me. But so much anticipation is extremely difficult to live up to. If I'm going to be disappointed, I might as well be disappointed from the comfort of my own home.

Thanks again for the review, and keep up the great work!

Thanks for the compliment! It's funny, I remember when you first broke the news about this movie about a year and half ago and knowing you're a big fan, I kept you in mind when writing the review! Whenever I would get lazy on it I'd think, "Keep going, DiG needs to know not to run out for it". Yeah, the changes and omisions were shocking but I didn't mind them so much because the book has a very loose narative as it is. Problem is, everything Robinson wrote into the film to make it work just didn't connect up to the scenes pulled straight from the book. You're a big fan and while I recommend you check it out, I wouldn't pay the 12 bucks to do so.

Problem is, and I think I allude to it in the review, is that style of writing doesn't lend itself to standard filmmaking techniques, which is why Fear and Loathing worked so well. Gilliam filled the movie with manic energy but still allowed the central theme to shine through, which is why it worked so well. This film has none of that energy, leaving a very fabricated story that has great intentions but simply doesn't work.

Sorry to report it, DiG!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the compliment! It's funny, I remember when you first broke the news about this movie about a year and half ago and knowing you're a big fan, I kept you in mind when writing the review! Whenever I would get lazy on it I'd think, "Keep going, DiG needs to know not to run out for it". Yeah, the changes and omisions were shocking but I didn't mind them so much because the book has a very loose narative as it is. Problem is, everything Robinson wrote into the film to make it work just didn't connect up to the scenes pulled straight from the book. You're a big fan and while I recommend you check it out, I wouldn't pay the 12 bucks to do so.

Problem is, and I think I allude to it in the review, is that style of writing doesn't lend itself to standard filmmaking techniques, which is why Fear and Loathing worked so well. Gilliam filled the movie with manic energy but still allowed the central theme to shine through, which is why it worked so well. This film has none of that energy, leaving a very fabricated story that has great intentions but simply doesn't work.

Sorry to report it, DiG!!!

Wow, many thanks for keeping me in mind!

Whenever I watch F&L in LV, I'm reminded of why I like it so much ... Gilliam actually found a way to make the images leap off the pages of the novel. It's a film that remains truer to its original novel than most, and with Thompson's lucid descriptions and wild scenes, it works. But Rum Diary is certainly not F&L.

It's funny ... watching the previews, I remember thinking "Cock fighting? Fire-breathing? What the hell book is this movie based off of?"

Anyway, thanks again for the review! I owe you the difference between the theater ticket + popcorn + soda and rental price. :lol:

Edited by DaneykoIsGod
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 11/20 best picture list - all I have seen, otherwise noted. If I haven't seen it then I nominatet hem based by recommendations from friends whom I trust.

1. Hugo

2. The Artist

3. The Descendants

4. War Horse (Missed the screening, but was told it was epic)

5. Shame

I'll be seeing Dragon Tatoo most likely next Monday. Hopefully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 11/20 best picture list - all I have seen, otherwise noted. If I haven't seen it then I nominatet hem based by recommendations from friends whom I trust.

1. Hugo

2. The Artist

3. The Descendants

4. War Horse (Missed the screening, but was told it was epic)

5. Shame

I'll be seeing Dragon Tatoo most likely next Monday. Hopefully.

All films I will certainly be seeing and reviewing once they get theatrical releases, my most anticapted being War Horse and The Artist. That said, early reviews for Hugo have all been screaming Oscar, same for Shame and The Artist. Glad to hear you enjoyed The Descendants as it has a very good director behind it (same guy who did Sideways and ABout Schmidt whose name escapes me) and the trailer looked great. Friday is going to be Martha Marcy May Marlene if it's still playing in Montclair, followed closely by My Week With Marylin and Melencholia only because I promised myself I'd give Lars Von Triers one more shot. If this stinks, I'm done with him!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bill, as you saw on my facebook. HUgo, I just fell in love with. Same for The Artist.

You know it's funny, I wouldn't give Martha Marcy a best picture nom, but I'd give it a best director, best actress, supporting actor, and editing.

I missed the Marilyn screening, people who were positive on it, but not best picture happy. It might get a nod from NBR because of the Weinsteins, although they'll be happy with The Arist getting nominated.

I'm seeing Dragon on Monday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont like the girl in The Artist. She's too modern. The blonde looks right but the brunette -- hmeh -not a fan. Everyone else looks good though. The male lead looks perfect - he's got the style down really well too. Girl doesn't --- too modern and smokey and not the right kind of broad expression. I'm all about authentic style.... but conversely I can see she's representing a new order so... I see the logic.

I want to see it regardless!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm seeing Dragon on Monday.

I HATE HATE HATE Daniel Craig cast as Blomkvist. He's supposed to look like Kalle Blomkvist :rant: and you know - I love that type and that's the whole point - he's not some tough guy. He's a dumb old (not literally) investigative reporter who's brain gets him in trouble (and out of it). He's a wise ass not a tough guy and it ruins it when they make him EXACTLY what he's not. Wiseasses can be tough - they're a wise ass first though. Tough guys who crack wise often just seem stupid. Wise asses who wax tough seem lucky. AND THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CHARACTER! He's a lucky guy. Men dont like wise ass lucky guys. That's why they always ruin it and hire a tough guy.

Did you all see the Swedish version? He was too old and wimpy I thought - tried to go too Noir. He's supposed to be this un-noir guy caught in noir situation after noir situation.

Edited by Pepperkorn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I HATE HATE HATE Daniel Craig cast as Blomkvist. He's supposed to look like Kalle Blomkvist :rant: and you know - I love that type and that's the whole point - he's not some tough guy. He's a dumb old (not literally) investigative reporter who's brain gets him in trouble (and out of it). He's a wise ass not a tough guy and it ruins it when they make him EXACTLY what he's not. Wiseasses can be tough - they're a wise ass first though. Tough guys who crack wise often just seem stupid. Wise asses who wax tough seem lucky. AND THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CHARACTER! He's a lucky guy. Men dont like wise ass lucky guys. That's why they always ruin it and hire a tough guy.

Did you all see the Swedish version? He was too old and wimpy I thought - tried to go too Noir. He's supposed to be this un-noir guy caught in noir situation after noir situation.

I did see the Sweedish version, and while I see where you're coming from with the character, I thought the Blomkvist casting was spot on. In reading the book, I pictured him as an older fellow with a rugged handsomeness, a trait the actor pulled off quite well. Rememberr in the book, Blomkvist is quite the ladies man, and I think Michael Nyqvist really captured that side of the character. I do agree, however, that Craig will be too "ruggedly good looking", but if the intelligence is there, I think it can work out just fine. Really enjoyed the Sweedish version, so i'm hoping Fincher brings some of his trademark visual style to the American version.

However, this all goes back to what I wrote about in my Rum Diary review about how casting films from books is so difficult because everybody has their own mental projection of what the character should look like. Perfect example!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MOVIE NOTE: Being the big Thanksgiving weekend, many of these movies are being released today, Wednesday the 23rd. Any film with an asterisk next to it (*) is already out in theaters for your viewing pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!

Opening This Week – Nationwide

*Arthur Christmas (Also in 3d) – When I was a younger lad, I used to freak my sister out with tales of a high tech Santa. Ol’ Saint Nick didn’t cruise around with reindeer, he had a jetliner that cruised at supersonic speeds. Rudolph? A figurehead long replaced with sonar and radar. Good thing my sis is out of college, because if she had seen this brand new Christmas movie featuring a more modern take on the classic tale, she’d be screaming her head off. More of a story of a dysfunctional elfish family than anything else, critics have been hailing this animated feature as a new Christmas classic, on par in both feeling and tone to The Polar Express. While the bare synopsis’s I’m finding online don’t tell much of the plot, critics have said this movie is sue to satisfy adults and children in equal measure. Tired of the same old re-watching of Miracle on 34th St and It’s A Wonderful life? This film will certainly fill the void and provide some well needed cheer this Holiday season.

*Hugo (Also in 3D) – Getting some of the finest reviews this year and an early contender for a Best Picture Oscar, Hugo is the story of a young boy who is left a key from his father, a key that takes the child on a wild and magically journey. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this movie is not only getting rave reviews for the pure magical of the filmmaking, but for being the best 3D experience since Avatar. Nearly every review claims this is a must see in 3D experience, so it’s worth the upcharge. Technology aside, most critics are embracing this film, saying it not only has a sweet center, it’s filled with old movie references and homages to the past, perfectly balancing the new tech and classic cinema. A film buffs fantasty, Hugo’s extraordinarily high marks is making it a must see this holiday season.

*The Muppets- – It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights! Everyone loves Jim Henson’s magical creations but fans haven’t seen a Muppets movie since 1999’s lukewarm Muppets In Space. The film stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper but you don’t care about that. You, like everybody else, wants to know how those delightful felt puppets hold up in the new century and reviews are unanimously positive. The film centers around an evil land baron who threatens to raze the now famous Muppet Theater and an effort by the three super fans to reunite the Muppet team to help save the stage. The plan? To hold a Great Muppets Telethon designed to raise to $10 million needed to keep the building up. Critics say the film is on the nose, perfectly blending the charm of the TV show with the size of the films, creating a new Muppet classic. Another must see!

Opening This Week – Limited Release

*My Week With Marilyn – Michelle Williams stars as the titular blonde bombshell in this fascinating and well received film. Centering around a plucky 23 year old film hopeful and his week showing Monroe around the English country side, this film attempts to not only show us the movie star in action, give us a chance to really see a different, more honest side of her. Every writeup for the movie unilaterally praises Williams in the main role but as for the actual plot, reviews have been somewhat mixed. Still, Williams is one of the finest actresses working in Hollywood today and her performance along makes this more than worth seeing. Showing in select theaters throughout NY and NJ

The Artist – An early front-runner for Best Picture, this sumptuously made homage to 1920’s silent cinema has been getting awe inspiring reviews ever since it first screened at Cannes. Taking place in 1920’s Hollywood, the film focuses on a declining silent film star and his struggle to maintain relevance in the “age of the talkies”. Oh yeah, the film is shot entirely in black and white and, oh yeah, the film itself is a silent one. Luckily for audiences, this lack of sound isn’t just a gimmick, it allows the visual storytelling to really stand out and thanks to a brilliant performace by lead Jean Dujardin, the film is reportedly a triumph. Be sure to check this out, even if the idea of sitting through 100 minutes of silence seems completely wrong to you. Playing at City Cinemas Paris Theatre and the Angelika Film Center

*A Dangerous Method –Staring Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, this film centers on Dr Carl Jung, a turn of the century psychologist who had a complex relationship with an unbalanced yet beautiful patient. Unfortunately, Jung’s mentor, the great Sigmund Freud also falls for the woman, creating a triangle of both science and passion. Directed by auter David Cronenberg, the film has been getting mostly positive reviews, despite the strange blandness of the filmmaking. Cronenberg has never been a director of restraint, making this effort seem out of place in the filmmaker’s catalog. Still, critics have been praising the work of the three leads and the chemistry between them, so I say See It, just so long as you’re not expecting something in the director’s signature style. Screening at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Landmark Sunshine Cinema

*Rampart – The acclaimed writer/director of 2009’s The Messenger, Oren Moverman, returns with his latest film. Again staring Woody Harrelson, this films find the actor playing a dirty cop embroiled in LA’s Rampart corruption scandal. Signorney Weaver, Ben Foster and Robin Wright all lend a hand in a film most critics are saying is tense, exciting and full of great performances. One esteemed critic even mentioned Harrelson himself should get a Best Actor nomination playing the unhinged, self-destructive cop, so if you’re a fan of flicks like Dirty Harry and Bad Lieutenant, this one should be a no-brainer. Showing at Landmark Sunshine

Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

Romantics Anonymous – Charming French film about two awkward chocolatiers who works to save a struggling shop while developing a relationship. Critics have been very positive about the film saying that while it runs down the middle in its emotional tact, the charm and wit of the film, hallmarks of modern French cinema, make this a quiet joy to watch. Sure the film may be a bit uneven, but there’s enough positive buzz about it to make me say See It! Screening at the Quad Cinema

My 3 To See

The Artist – Sure, this bad boy may scream Oscar bait, but when 47 critics give it near perfect reviews, who am I to say otherwise. Give the silent film one good try with The Artist.

The Muppets – Oh, you need to actually hear your movies? Well, wrap yourself up in some nostalgia as you take one more trip into the weird with Jim Henson’s adorable creations.

Hugo – While you could make an argument for every film coming out this weekend, this Martin Scorsese film not only pushes the envelope with regards to 3D technology, provides a heartfelt and beautiful story to go with it. Prestige season is officially upon us!

Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

Edited by Bulletproof
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw The Rum Diary but wasn't too impressed. Loved the book but don't think it was a very good adaptation. I was especially disappointed in the dance scene as it was brilliantly written, but in the movie it's over before you know. The movie just seemed to cash in on Hunter S. Thompson fans and the success of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which was a way better film that this. Johnny Depp is a great actor but he seems to take the safe route lately and take on roles that are more or less the same and it's getting tired already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New Movie Review

The Descendants

Brutal honesty mixed with dark comedy has become the hallmark of director Alexander Payne. With films like About Schmidt and the Oscar nominated Sideways on his resume, Payne has become known for creating complex characters and putting them in strange yet often hilarious situations. With his latest film, The Descendants, Payne puts George Clooney and three young newcomers in a tropical paradise that provides a beautiful backdrop to a film that just may be the most emotionally gripping work he’s ever done. Fans fearful that this film fails to match the comic beats of his previous work have to little to worry about as Payne has become a master of balance, providing a nice dose of humor to go with the tragedy. The result is the best film he’s ever directed.

Clooney plays Matt King, real estate lawyer in his native Hawaii and absentee father of two children, Alexandra and Scottie, played by newcomers Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller. Clooney is wrapped up in a number of different issues: the sale of a premier piece of untouched Hawaiian beachfront that’s been in his family for generations, a life threatening accident that has left his wife in a coma and the sudden care of his two rebellious daughters. While this seems like more drama than a Lifetime movie special, Payne has an uncanny knowledge of human emotion, writing a screenplay that’s heavy handed but never overbearing. This is not a raucous comedy to be sure, but a well balanced one. I’ve often said comedy works best when it involves characters you care about and The Descendants does not disappoint in that respect.

On the acting front, Clooney has always been a very reliable actor and in the role of the daddy in tumult, he puts forth his best performance since 2009’s Up In The Air. Clooney creates a believable and complex character, fully channeling the pathos in the script. This is a tough role, even tougher than the one he played in Up In The Air and he hits his marks perfectly in what very well could be an Oscar nominated performance. The rest of the cast is equally wonderful, especially newcomers Woodley and Miller as Clooney’s children. Much like the kids in 2010’s The Kids Are Alright, the siblings are believable and engaging, propelling the film thorough the difficult subject matter.

The film is also benefited from a fantastic script and some fine direction from Mr. Payne. The setting of the movie provides some great juxtaposition between the toughness of the situation and the surrounding beauty. As somebody who has spent a good deal of time in Hawaii, I’m well aware of how revered tradition is to the native people and Payne elegantly captures this with the story point of the land sale. The film is full of nod and winks to the Hawaiian way of life and while many viewers may not catch these little nuggets, they were well received by a “haole” like me. The actors are also wonderfully directed, something that should be no surprise to those familiar with Payne’s previous work. The script is biting, sometimes shocking but always relatable, providing humor in the most dire of situations.

If you are really curious about what the central theme of the film is, all you need to do is look at the title. The children are dealing with being descendants of a wealthy yet absent father, the family is wrestling with being descendants of Hawaiian royalty and Clooney is swimming upstream against the pressures of keeping a crumbling family unit together. A complex yet fully entertaining film that hits all the right buttons, The Descendents should get more than a few looks for some awards come January. While I do think this movie will be pushed out by the influx of top contenders being released this month, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Golden Globe or two in the future for this well made film. One the most satisfying films I’ve seen all year, Payne continues his tradition of being a director of patience, empathy and wonderful storytelling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The weekend after Thanksgiving is often a Dead zone of new releases and this weekend is no exception with no major releases out in theaters. Cineplexes are full to the brim with holiday flicks, Oscar bait and puppets, so there’s nothing big coming out this weekend. Still, there are some decent indie flicks hitting theaters, including the buzz worthy Shame. Enjoy the previews!

Opening This Week – Limited Release

Shame –Getting some Best Actor buzz for awards season, this weekend’s “big” opening stars Michael Fassbender as a sex addicted Manhattanite coming to grips with his life altering affliction. Also starring Carey Mulligan as his sister turned roomie, critics have said this movie earns its NC-17 rating but does so with validity, providing plenty of substance to go with the graphic nature of the film. Fassbender is a fine actor and even though this film may put off those who are on the more sensitive side when it comes to sexuality, this should be a must see for fans of “Awards Season”. Playing at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Answers To Nothing – When the tagline reads, “Dane Cook leads an all star cast”, you know you’re in trouble. Featuring a Crash style story of interconnecting lives all connected to a missing girl case in Los Angeles, the trouble is a) that style of filmmaking went the way of the Rio mp3 player and b) if the characters are boring, the connections don’t matter. Both of these issue plague this film, spurning terrible reviews from critics. That and Dane Cook is in it. ‘Nuff said. Screening at AMC Lowes Village, Kew Gardens Cinemas and Clearview Clairidge (Montclair)

Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

Outrage – Directed by Japanese superstar Takeshi Kitano, this film about the Yakuza underworld has been getting fine reviews from critics. Most reviewers say the movie is well made, taught and full of entertaining action, a nice middle ground between the art house flicks currently in theaters and good, old fashioned action. Worth a watch! Screening at Cinema Village 12th St

Sleeping Beauty –This film stars Emily Browning as an apathetic college student who takes a strange job as a “lingerie waitress” in a strange sex club. Requiring her to be fully sedated before she can service her clients, this film has a sleepy, dreamlike quality to it that has been rubbing some reviewers the wrong way. As a result, reviews have been mixed for this film with some saying it’s precisely staged and others saying it’s just a bore. Watch a trailer or three before giving this a shot. Screening at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and the IFC Center

A Warrior’s Heart –Dealing with the death of his father, a young man find solace and recovery in lacrosse. Yeah, I’m already bored too. Getting terrible reviews, this one isn’t even worth spending time on discussing…so I’m not going to! Playing at the Quad Cinema

My 3 To See

The Artist – Ton’s of Oscar buzz can’t be wrong concerning this silent film about a 1930’s actor struggling with his transition to the talkies.

The Muppets – Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m sure you’ve heard a ton of Facebook buzz about this already, so just see it!

Hugo/Shame – Since I already praised Hugo last week, if you’ve seen it already, switch gears entirely and see the latest sexual thriller starring Michael Fassbender.

Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BP, where does one go to find out where movies in very limited release are playing?

I get all my information from fandango.com, so that's a good place to start. That said, if a movie has a really small release, as in community theaters, libraries, "small room venues" as I like to call them, a great idea is to check out the film's website. Even the smallest of films have some sort of website, and from there they'll certainly have a list of screenings.

Good hunting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw Moneyball yesterday and it's instantly one of my favorites films of the year. Great story of the general manager of the 2002 Oakland Athletics who went on a 20 game winning streak. It's a weird thing that for a sports movie, there isn't much sports involved at all. Most of it takes place off the field and not on it. Weirdly enough that's actually what makes this sports movie interesting. Add in the terrific script by Aaron Sorkin and good performances by Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and it's a must see film, even if you know nothing about baseball.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw Moneyball yesterday and it's instantly one of my favorites films of the year. Great story of the general manager of the 2002 Oakland Athletics who went on a 20 game winning streak. It's a weird thing that for a sports movie, there isn't much sports involved at all. Most of it takes place off the field and not on it. Weirdly enough that's actually what makes this sports movie interesting. Add in the terrific script by Aaron Sorkin and good performances by Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and it's a must see film, even if you know nothing about baseball.

Yeah, Atterr, I didn't get a chance to check out Moneyball in theaters but I'm looking forward to based on Sorkin's script alone. Thanks for the write up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Review My Collection #15

Animal House

85% Rating

Whenever you bring up John Landis’ third film in mixed conversation, you’ll often get a dreamy gaze and a wry smile. Anybody who’s seen this 1978 comedy classic is immediately brought back to simpler times. Days of class schedules, wild parties and sleeping to noon usually comes to mind and even if you didn’t have that type of college experience, this film not only makes you wish you did, makes that debauchery seem more of a rite of passage than a waste of daddy’s money. In short, I’ve never met somebody who didn’t enjoy Animal House. One of the films that define the term “cult classic”, Animal House is a runaway train through the absurd, a juvenile take on college life through the eyes of the offenders. One of the originators of the “gross out comedy” genre, Landis’ tale of the drunken exploits of the Delta Chi fraternity is high on energy but low on story and character development, creating a fun yet slightly hollow look into early sixties college life.

Then again, this is Animal House were talking about. Rather than create a hard hitting look into early sixties college life, writers Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller instead penned a tale of heightened antics, punctuated with sight gags, slapstick and shameless nudity. Larry Kroger (Thomas Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) are freshmen at Faber College and after getting recruited by the self proclaimed “worst frat on campus”, find themselves in the midst of mayhem. The competing frats find them repulsive and the school board wants them expelled, all for their propensity for toga parties, pranks and excessive drinking habits. The film does a fine job creating a sense of community amongst the wild boys, allowing the audience to root for them, bad taste and shameful behavior be damned. Landis also does a nice job drawing up distinct dividing lines between the “good guys” and everybody else, all of which who want the party to end. There isn’t much grey in the storytelling, but in the case of Animal House that’s a good thing, allowing for some exceedingly humorous situations and storylines.

And with actors this funny, why get in their way. Featuring an ensemble cast of mostly unknown actors, Animal House has some standout performances. Tim Matheson is great as the frat’s Dou Juan, Donald Sutherland has a memorable turn as the pot smoking professor and Kevin Bacon, in his debut role, is totally believable as an opposing Greek. One of the most underrated performances, however, comes from John Vernon, who plays Dean Wormer. Wormer is the perfect foil to Delta Chi’s shenanigans, playing it straight yet for big laughs as he schemes to get the lads kicked off campus. The performance is a bit one noted but when that note is deadpan hilarity, it’s perfectly acceptable. And yes, the line, “No fun of ANY kind” is permanently burned into my filmgoing lexicon.

Of course, all these performances pale in comparison to the career making role of Bluto, played by the late, great John Belushi. Pulled by Landis from a regular gig at Saturday Night Live, Belushi has perfect physical comedic timing. The catalyst for the entire film, Animal House soars on the edge of his energy, propelling the movie to classic status. What the film doesn’t do well is give us more than a series of episodic scenes that are all funny in their own right but do not lend themselves to a cohesive story. The relationship between Boone and his more mature girlfriend doesn’t really work, the situations are beyond ludicrous and there is absolutely no character development to speak of. These issues aside, there’s not much else you can say about a movie that defines cringe comedy. Despite the less than perfect score, this a landmark comedic film filled with funny performances and larger than life situations. While I never personally experienced the type of college the Delta Chi boys did, I still remember that sense of boundless optimism, a feeling like the world was yours to conquer. Animal House captures that sentiment perfectly, creating a world of youthful energy and timeless friends. And yes, it’s still really damn funny.

**Check out my RT blog entitled "Review My Collection" for the rest of the series!!**

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hugo

Martin Scorsese's latest is a long overdue love letter to film and pure cinematic magic from beginning to end. The first scene of the film where the title character and location are introduced is quite simply brilliant. Maybe it's the Parisian landscape but it reminded me so much of the start of Moulin Rouge, another movie that sucks you in right from the start and never lets go.

The story might not seem like typical Scorsese at first but actually it is: it's about the magic of filmmaking. You can tell how much fun cinephile Scorsese has had during the filming of the movie. There are numerous shots that pay homage to films from the 1900s as well as actual footage of those films throughout the movie. Even though every shot is so detailed, full of life and carefully framed, the real evidence of Scorsese as a great director is the 3D. This is not just a gimmick but it actually adds value to the film. It's one of the best uses of 3D I have ever seen. I won't say it's better than Avatar but supposedly James Cameron thought so.

The acting is strong throughout. Ben Kingsley is dependable as always and the young actors are decent enough. Sacha Baron Cohen might seem a weird choice but his character's redemptive arc prevents him from becoming just a caricature.

One final note has to be made about editor Thelma Schoonmaker. As great a director as Scorsese is, his films would probably not be this good without his long time collaborator, who once again does a beautiful job with Hugo.

Even though I still have to see a whole lot of films from 2011, Hugo just might end up being my best film of the year. Well done Marty, well done!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hugo

Martin Scorsese's latest is a long overdue love letter to film and pure cinematic magic from beginning to end. The first scene of the film where the title character and location are introduced is quite simply brilliant. Maybe it's the Parisian landscape but it reminded me so much of the start of Moulin Rouge, another movie that sucks you in right from the start and never lets go.

The story might not seem like typical Scorsese at first but actually it is: it's about the magic of filmmaking. You can tell how much fun cinephile Scorsese has had during the filming of the movie. There are numerous shots that pay homage to films from the 1900s as well as actual footage of those films throughout the movie. Even though every shot is so detailed, full of life and carefully framed, the real evidence of Scorsese as a great director is the 3D. This is not just a gimmick but it actually adds value to the film. It's one of the best uses of 3D I have ever seen. I won't say it's better than Avatar but supposedly James Cameron thought so.

The acting is strong throughout. Ben Kingsley is dependable as always and the young actors are decent enough. Sacha Baron Cohen might seem a weird choice but his character's redemptive arc prevents him from becoming just a caricature.

One final note has to be made about editor Thelma Schoonmaker. As great a director as Scorsese is, his films would probably not be this good without his long time collaborator, who once again does a beautiful job with Hugo.

Even though I still have to see a whole lot of films from 2011, Hugo just might end up being my best film of the year. Well done Marty, well done!

I've heard nothing but raves for this movie and this review has helped bump it up to my next must see, even before The Artist, Shame and The Muppets (a flick that will certain fall by the wayside in favor of the first two). Really looking forward to this based on everyhting I've heard!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.