Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Movie Wrap-Up!

So it's the beginning of the year and it's of course award season. In my life this subsequently means, in the truest of holiday fashions, a slew of movies are viewed. In no particular order of appreciation here's what has been watched recently and some thoughts on em. Enjoy.

127 Hours
So 1. You're not going to faint it's not that graphic. Be that as it may the success of the film comes from the editing, writing and of course the acting which is in turn from the directing. Ha! No it's not perfect, but it's really well done and goes back to more of the Trainspotting (1996) Boyle traditions than those of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) which is oddly refreshing. The film is smart and manages to keep pretty well on the ball for an action movie about a man who doesn't move for 127 hours. Every visual is anchored with meaning so inevitably the film is beautiful. However it's also impassioned despite how stripped down Franco becomes as Aron Ralston and how brutal his story is. It's easy for something like this to fall into just another Alive (1993) but it works on another wave length and allows for you to be in engaged weather you know the true story or not. Go watch.

True Grit
Oh fratelli coen! Firstly I had a chuckle and a half through this film, so A+. But the more and more I think about it, it wasn't mainly due to script or anything of that fun O Brother Where Art Thou? manner but to Jeff Bridges' performance. So I began to wonder why I was going around telling people I liked it. So it's a great text, but when the DP of your film is saying it's not his best stuff and that DP is Roger Deakins.....it's time for.....awkward silence....and....oh fratelli coen how I wish you would do something like Fargo again. Good effort but you are committing the crime of making us all think your under studio eye and trying to pump out films like it's the 30s and it's just not working for you. Close but no cigar.
Black Swan
It's interesting to watch Aronofsky over the years. But I feel like no one scares me quite like him. For some odd reason I just always feel some type of frightened watching his films. I don't know if it's the ultra reality of the world of the film or further more the ultra reality of the emotions and obsession of the film world. Perfection is not a word I'm unfamiliar with, but I believe I have the sense to realize that it's not possible. But where I find this ultra reality comes from is in the sense that I can understand the roots that the protagonist's obsession has. It's a matter of giving up every fiber of your being for your art. No matter how you slice it, you'll find a Nina in every artistic medium and that is what's important here I think and it's done wonderfully. Must watch!

Watched this with my Brosome! and Pa on a sunny winter's afternoon. FUN AS HELL! Who cares the script is a crapola pot. And who cares that the protagonist doesn't quite live up to any of the acting skills of his counterparts he shares the screen with. Forget it all....cause it's zen Jeff Bridges time! and you know the "dude's" and "awesome's" were improved and kept because they didn't care either. It's the Dude in sci-fi, gaming, zen, magical white castle, in the digital world, fun times and that's it. Just go and watch some cool shit and don't be so up tight! Enjoy!

Black Dynamite
I can't believe I've finally watched this. Michael Jai White is the screenwriter and star of the film and is quite fabulous. Although I enjoyed it immensely, this movie is too funny at times I think and I wouldn't do it justice to even begin to describe it correctly to you. Just watch it! Trust it's a good time. It parodies the American 1970s blacksploitation films, mostly things like Shaft and Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song. But it's this sense of parody as opposed to satire that deflates it's moments of genius and it falls flat at times. But this film is refreshing to say the least and continues to provide contemporary moviegoers with new avenues to understand cinema a little more. 

Get Low
This film is an exemplar to why casting is so, so, SO important to a film, cause I'm not sure I would have watched it otherwise. Robert Duval is a revelation. Although not sure why I say revelation cause who didn't know he was an amazing actor; but this is definitely one of his best performances. Bill Murray is top notch as usual and I think I might have actually liked Sissy Spacek. A. The story is great. B. You have amazing actors. C. Pretty good script. But unfortunately due to "C's pretty good script" somewhere along the lines the film just looses the roll it had at the beginning and becomes quite flat toward the end. It was a little sad I must say.

Harry Potter
This is a perfect example of a stellar opening set of lines. The image itself is also awesome. (Looked better when I watched it then this screen grab <--) But that's about it that I enjoyed. Which is sad since I am a Harry Potter fan. But I feel now I need to clarify and say I am a Harry Potter book fan. This film is unfinished to say the least and is lacking on so many levels. It's too bad they're making them into two films in order to bank on the franchise as opposed to presenting an audience with a finished narrative. What ever happened to intermissions? Fail. Just Fail.

The Social Network
Now this I loved. I don't know why, but shit, it just hit somewhere. I am not a fan of some of the situations that revolved around the release of this film, particularly TIME putting Mark Zuckerberg on their cover as "Man of the Year." Jesse Eisenberg's crazy amazing performance has nothing to do with, in actuality, who this person is. But I believe one thing is true about why I liked this film. I do not see this as a film about Facebook. It's about friendship, loyalty, honor, pride, shame. It's about deep rooted evils in humans and how they come to pass and how they decay what they've touched. Fincher is getting better and better I think. And despite what all might think right now, I liked the look. It was filmed mostly with practical light and I believe it aids to nature of the film. There are moments when parts of the frame are full of action but hardly visible or in complete darkness. This is the nature of humans, no matter how much we see or think we know about someone there are pieces of us in darkness that only come out to play when we're being challenged (or when money and credit is involved) . How we meet that challenge is the question. This movie is no solution to what has happened but it's definitely asking the right questions. And if Andrew Garfield had a vagina this film could have quite possibly swept the top five nods at the Oscars this year, which hasn't been done since Silence of the Lambs. Watch it!

Probably one of the best representations of celebrity I've seen in a while. Nature to Coppola the film is quite static, there are many shots that just sit and watch. It must have been a joy to shoot...I'm not lying. It's a wait. We see people and things move in an out of frame slowly, swiftly, with gusto at some points, which present itself within the narrative as well as on the screen itself.  Elle Fanning is a marvel as usual and Stephen Dorff is actually quite good and these are the only two constants and anchors here. But I feel indifferent to this film. I feel like I might have caught something undone or that something was missing when I left the theater. But maybe that's the very nature of the film, and maybe my indifference is a garnered and focused response to a very bleak vision of the nature of celebrity and that entire lifestyle. Go watch it's a interesting text to say the least.

No matter what you agree or disagree with, that's about it for now folks. Happy moviegoing!

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