The Academy seemed to regard Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine as a performer’s piece not worthy of a Best Picture nomination, despite having an open slot in their new-ish top ten. It’s performances, unique casting and apparently personal story (it bares some similarities to Woody Allen’s life, apparently) wasn’t enough to move the Academy, but if you haven’t seen Blue Jasmine yet, I suggest you take a look. Read the rest of this entry
More than any movie I’ve seen in the last few years, Dallas Buyers Club is a strong character study and performance piece for the actors, but as a movie over all, it has some problems. Read the rest of this entry
The 86th Academy Awards has come and gone, and it went about as expected – no surprises save one, and it wasn’t a big deal. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve tried to see all of the movies before, but like previous years, I just couldn’t get to it. So here we are: the 86th Academy Awards, and I’m making my picks from more of “I understand the people who actually get to vote” sort of view as well as based on what I’ve seen. And, rather than go through the entire list, I shall now most humbly present to you my picks for Best Picture and Best Directing for the 2014 Oscars. Read the rest of this entry
I wouldn’t call Hyde Park on Hudson a riveting film, but it’s certainly watchable. It’s full of lots of fun and interesting performances, particularly from its leads: Bill Murray (as President Franklin Roosevelt), Laura Linney (FDR’s cousin, Daisy), Olivia Colman (as Queen Elizabeth – Movies and shows featuring Olivia Colman just keeps popping up, don’t they?) and Samuel West (King George VI).
Hyde Park on Hudson is really just a short snip of people’s lives. It gives us a chance to see a side of FDR that is not well known, but I think The King’s Speech covered all we’ll ever need on King George VI. I suppose the movie is about Daisy, but frankly (if you’ll pardon the FDR-ish pun), Daisy just isn’t that interesting and their story arc together isn’t especially compelling – this goes with for the ark between FDR and the royals, too as we know the hist and the movie doesn’t do much to heighten the tension. In fact, the movie’s settings and manner sorta downplay the lead up to the second World War, which seems impossible, but people fretting over eating hot dogs at picnics will do that to a picture.
Definitely check out Hyde Park on Hudson for the performances, but don’t expect a great film. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
There is so much to like about Highlander - and yet, the movie is kinda silly. In many ways, it’s the perfect 1980s action-adventure-fantasy flick as it checks off the boxes while pushing the limits of the genre and is still careful not to go too far. It’s Godfather II styled interwoven past and present story telling is ambitious and a bit grand for a movie about guys who are compelled to cut each other’s heads off, but that’s 80s movies for you.
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There’s Alfred Hitchcock movies and then there’s Rebecca. It’s one of his older flicks (1940 – his first picture for Hollywood) that is consistently on everyone’s list of best Hitchcock movies, and it’s easy to see why. It flows like a lot of his other movies in terms of narrative, but the performances and revelations push this one above most of its peers.
Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier are great in the leads – especially Fontaine (Hitchcock sure did like his leading ladies, didn’t he?) Meanwhile, Judith Anderson is great as Mrs. Danvers, the head housekeeper. She’s completely over the top in a way I’ve never seen before… She’s over the top understated. It’s fascinating to watch. If you ever wondered how an actor could do so much by doing so little, Anderson is doing it here.
Here’s where the wheels start to come off.
If you’ll check my Batman post, you’ll see that while I love the movie, I’m quick to admit that it’s not without fault and I’m not the world’s biggest Tim Burton fan. Batman Returns is chock full of Burtony goodness, and it’s to the film’s detriment - but, if ever there was a movie that was saved by performances, it’s this one. Read the rest of this entry
Most 1980s movie sequels were lame all around: they usually couldn’t get the lead actors back, the story was lame, and for some reason, most of these sequels end up taking place in Manhattan. (Short Circuit 2 and Splash Too are examples of this sort of 80s sequel.) 1990′s Gremlins 2: The New Batch decides to parody that sort of stuff and the first movie to hilarious results, making it one of the most underrated movies of its kind. Read the rest of this entry
It might be a comic book movie classic now, but when this movie was on its way to theaters, nobody knew what to expect. People complained that Mr. Mom wouldn’t make a good Batman, nobody knew who the hell Tim Burton was, and I still get confused every time I watch it when I see that Jack Nicholson has top billing in the flick. Batman might be short of story, but it’s got great atmosphere, fantastic performances and is responsible for the flood of comic books movies we’ve had since, for better or worse. Read the rest of this entry
I Hate Valentine’s Day is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s poorly written and cheap looking… But to be fair, most of the camera work is well done. (That’s about the only nice thing I can say about this movie.)
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If you’ve seen one Wes Anderson movie, you’ve seen ‘em all… but that doesn’t mean they’re not all awesome. Life Aquatic is a bit outside the usual WA box and The Royal Tenanbaums is a bit darker than most of the other movies, but essentially, they all have similar themes, visual elements and at times, even story points, like writing plays, suicide, the slightly-exotic-unobtainable-girl, or running away. Rushmore might be typical Wes Anderson fodder… but it’s damn good fodder. If you want the cliff notes version of WA movies without anything too heavy happening, than Rushmore is the WA flick for you.
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We’ve discovered an alarming trend of characters (mostly protagonists) employed as writers in various works of fiction we’ve encountered – especially at the movies. For example:
- The dad in August: Osage County is a well known, published writer.
- The husband in I Give it a Year has published one novel and is struggling with his second.
- Just about everyone except the mom and her new husband are writers in Stuck in Love; [SPOILERS!] the dad is a well known, published writer, the daughter publishes a book mid-movie and the son publishes a short story at the end of movie
- Everyone in Wonder Boys is a writer, but it’s at least central to the plot of the movie
- Everyone in No Man’s Land is a writer… maybe specifically a poet?
- Colin Firth is a writer in Love Actually
And this is characters we’ve noticed just in the last two or so weeks. I’ve heard the adage, "Write what you know," but this is ridiculous.
I Give it a Year features every possible mistake one could make in a farce. The pace is all wrong, the scenes go on too long and almost every moment somehow leads to character/defines a relationship and yet at the same time still feels like filler. It’s really incredible, what they’ve done here. And how many wacky comic relief characters can you pack into one movie? There are at least three in this flick. (The best man is the most annoying, by far, but they’re all over exposed and annoying in their own way. At the end of the movie, a character says to him, "I never have to see you again," and the audience thinks, "Hooray! Neither do I!" and then he comes back during the credits, just so he can be unfunny one more time. Again, incredible.)
This is the sort of movie I usually rail on and on about, but I just can’t. Every scene has the same problems, but the biggest problem is this movie is BORING. It’s 97 minutes, but it feels like an eternity. (Oh, there’s a joke: "I gave it 97 minutes – I should have gave it 5!")
I Give it a Year is on Netflix for your viewing displeasure. Let’s just say it’s a 3 out of 10 so I can stop thinking about it and hopefully purge it from my brain.
What can one say about Nebraska? Well, it’s great. Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk and the rest of the cast are all spot on. The black and white really helps solidify the atmosphere – as does the soundtrack. There is one moment toward the end that I thought was cliche, but, had it not occurred, I think I would have been disappointed, so it’s a "damned if they do, damned if they don’t" sorta thing.
Yeah… that’s it. Go see Nebraska – I’m giving it a 9.5 out of 10; it’s a nearly perfect movie.
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It may be safe to say that Dr. Girlfriend and I were the last two folks in American to settle down and watch Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and frankly, I don’t think either of us have much to say about it. I think I liked it a bit more than she did, but it’s safe to say that neither of us think it’s the comedy classic that it’s made out to be.
Let’s see, what did we learn? Well, now we know why "I’m kind of a big deal" shows up on t-shirts. The movie is totally watchable, but it feels a bit underwritten and the pace is a bit too slow for me – most of the first act feels like bumbling from one thing to the next with little structure. I enjoyed Will Ferrell; he’s great, as always, but there’s only so much one man can do. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I wasn’t a fan of Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate and the totally underutilized Steve Carell, I enjoyed the jazz flute scene… I loved the ending – the dog vs bear negotiation is one of the best out of left field endings I’ve seen in a long while.
I’m not sorry we watched it, but I can’t help feeling that Anchorman is shockingly overrated. I’m giving it a 7 out of 10; it’s got some laughs, but I don’t think I need to see it again.
What can I say about Stuck in Love? Here’s some rambling thoughts: It features great performances from its cast, it has quality cinematography (although not what I would call a visually memorable film, but there’s some good stuff in there at the beach and the reflection on a car windshield, etc) and the movie movies at a decent pace… It’s a fine story but I’m not sure I buy the ending (or much of the plot between Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly), but it’s a satisfying enough movie. Perhaps it would have been better to focus on one of the love stories rather than trying to make all three the center of the film… the thing is, none of them are really strong enough on their own but when placed all together in the same film, they almost distract from each other.The second act turn doesn’t come out of nowhere, but… that’s not what I thought was going to happen, that’s for sure, so I can’t say that the movie is especially well written, but it’s not badly underwritten, either. I wouldn’t say this is a melodrama, but it’s dangerously close and yet somehow still pulls it off.
Anyway, Stuck in Love is a decent film and worth a look. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, so this is a low effort watch, too!
The more I watch, the more I dig short films. Sure, it’s certainly a mixed bag in terms of quality, but it’s always fascinating. The Sundance Film Festival has pointed out 14 short films they’ve accepted that are also on YouTube, and we watched them all this past weekend. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
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