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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fav's of 2011

This is a list of my favorite movies of 2011. I know this is a lot to read, but if you do, great, if not, well, oh well. I hope this helps you to seek out different movies that you are not used to seeing. I had a great time in the theater in 2011 and these are some of my thoughts on certain films. I felt, for my own need, I had to put some kind of reason why I liked the top 10 movies, the following 10 were great movies as well (I got greedy), they just didn't strike me as great/fun/amazing/positive movie adjective here, as the others did. Welp, enjoy.

20) Barney's Version

19) Hesher

18) The Gaurd

17) The Ides of March

16) X-Men: First Class

15) Hanna

14) The Artist

13) Warrior

12) Bridesmaids

11) Attack the Block

10) The Help - So.... I'm a sucker for a period piece that tells an underdog story. That's what "The Help" is all about. The film is fueled with phenomenal, top notch acting by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard and Emma Stone. Although I'm not a huge fan of Stone, she notched a few points on the belt with this one. I can't forget the feeling I got when "the help" one-upped their employees, it left me cheering on the inside. I really took to their stories and the bullshit they had to put up with. When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be some soft, bubble-gummy, family comedy. Turns out, I was wrong. It's a little heavier handed then I thought it was going to be.

9) Drive - When this move first came out, I loved hearing stories of people being pissed about it. Because of the trailer, they assumed it was going to be way more action packed than it actually was. Which is why I like to dub this movie, "a smart person's action film." It had all the elements of an action film, but did it with grace and style and not with an over abundance of explosions, sex or violence. Ryan Gosling's character was one of my favorites this year. The man with no name and a bad ass mother f*cker with a scorpion jacket. Drive contained one of the most beautiful scenes I've witnessed all year in the "elevator-kiss-bad guy killing scene." I'm pretty sure I had a sparkle in my eye during that moment. With a simple storyline and excellent soundtrack, the whole film came together perfectly.

8) Shame- Here's a movie that will stick with you well after the credits go up. In the trailer, I saw a quote saying "A cinematic jolt" and that's a great description. Although this is a movie that I will probably never watch again, I'll recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different your everyday, big cineplex movie. Audacious to the extreme, garnering an NC-17 rating and marketed as a mature adult film, Shame will shed a whole different light on what you thought addiction was. Steve McQueen, Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan = brave.

7) Fast Five- Hard to believe, I know, but take my word for what it's worth. I've had the most fun I had in the theaters in a long time with this movie. It's non-stop FUN! It's over the top with its corny one-liners, beautiful people, outrageous (FUN) stunts and, fast cars, plot holes, and a simple story. This movies makes no apologies for what it is, and embraces that. It doesn't add any elements it to make you think you're watching a smarter, edgier, grittier, more "real" type of action movie. You are watching an action movie that is FUN! In the light of Hollywood's newest obsession to reboot, remake, or sequelize everything, I'm glad something like this can be a product of that.

6) Young Adult - I was skeptical about this movie at first, as I'm not a huge advocate for Diablo Cody. Her last pairing with director Jason Reitman gave us Juno, which I despised. However, her writing definitely shined through in this film. The humor was very subtle but also hilariously demented and twisted while also being charming and intelligent. Dare I say a dark comedy? Charlize Theron is brilliant in bringing out the awful, evil and dark characteristics of her character, Marivs Gary, as well as portraying her not so hidden agendas throughout the film. Does evil win in the end?

5) The Devil's Double After seeing the trailer, I was so excited to see this movie! Boy oh boy, was it fun! Fun in the same way that Blow was fun. This is a movie about decadence, opulence, power and over abundance. It's about how one man was given everything and one man was forced into it a psychotic lifestyle Dominic Cooper gave an outstanding performance as Saddam Hussein's corrupt son, Uday Hussein, and the man forced to be his body double, Latif. I don't know why his name never came up for any kind of acting award, major snub in my humble opinion. The characters he portrayed were polar opposites which must have made it so difficult to play, but he did it with such ease. It's a suspenseful, thrilling and fun ride, seeing Latif being forced into this life and watching him handle one of the most psychotic people in the Middle East.

4) 50/50 - This film is about the true story of a man who gets cancer and how he deals with life after his diagnosis. Based on lead character, Seth Rogan's best friends story, the truth comes out in the writing. Joseph Godon Levitt, who has been doing nothing but great recently, stars as said character who finds out he has the cancer. I don't think I've ever laughed and cried in such abundance, at the same time, with any other movie. The combination of Rogan and JGL produces a lot of emotion. with the help of Angelica Houston, JGL's mother and Anna Kendrick, JGL's helpful yet very young therapist. This is one emotional ride that had me wiping away tears due to extreme sadness and extreme laughter.

3) Win Win - I must to say that Paul Giamatti has got to be one of my all time favorite actors. He always seems to give it his all in every performance. The characters are very relatable because the movie is about how life can get you down and keep its foot on your neck. However, sometimes, something comes a long that brings you some hope. This is a down on your luck, route for the underdogs, feel good type of film. Giamatti's character gets stuck in awkward situations because of little white lies he tells and it only gets more interesting when he befriends a young wrestler.. It's also a bit of a "fish out of the water" story where the fish just kind of finds another pond to swim in without his crazy fish mother?? A great mixture of feel good comedy and life's small dramas makes for a fun-filled, feel good film!

2) Take Shelter - I remember sitting in the theatre after the end scene with my jaw on the floor. My sister, her friend and I looked at each other in amazement. "THAT WAS AWESOME!" After having radical dreams about a storm that will change the world, a family man with a "great life", played by Michael Shannon, begins to build a storm shelter to keep his family safe. It starts as a side job he takes on but the fear swells inside of him and it becomes an obsession that slowly starts to break his sanity. The town, along with his wife, played by the lovely and talented Jessica Chastain, begin to notice his mind start to degenerate. The feel of the movie has all these subtle aspects of drama, suspense and fear which are combined with creepy, haunting music for and extra umpff of emotion. There are countless powerful scenes that are sure to have you forgetting to breath.

1) The Tree of Life - To start, The Tree of Life is not a movie, but a film, a piece of moving and living art. This film is not for your average movie goer, it's for someone looking to use their brains and not be spoon fed for a runtime of about 139 minutes. You do not just go into this film and watch, you experience it. You journey to a conclusion that is not spelled out but contrived in your own mind. Deep stuff, I know. This movie dares you to have a proper film experience. After seeing it twice, I was gifted with two different experiences but linked together with the same sense of awe. I call The Tree Of Life, possibly the 2001: A Space Odyssey of our time, a breath of fresh air. YES PLEASE! Terrance Malik's work on this film was mind blowing. He uses amazing angels and shots that I have personally never really seen before, great juxtaposing frames of modern day sky scrapers to the 1950s in a field with surrounding mountains, along with juxtaposing ideas of life and death. The beauty and audacity in Tree of Life blew me away, as well as Malick's engaging camera ad command of his young actors to get believable performances. I understand some people don't go to the moving pictures to think, but to escape. However, if you put in the time for this film you will get tenfold in return.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back from the Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanaunka, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays. Which ever you prefer, I hope thw holidays were as fun filled and and movie crammed as mine was. I got the Oliver Stone dvd collection, a book of the 101 Must See Cult Movies I have to See Before I Die, and a bunch of tickets that used to be free but now are $2 off. I hope you all got some movie goods from Santa as well. Because in reality what else is there to get?

The last we left off we had a Best Philadelphia Movie poll and we got 1 vote and it was a good vote because it was for the Rocky movies (sorry I forgot to put the Happening on there). Welp, hopefully we get a few more votes next time, but to each their own.

With all the time off I did get to see a handful of movies some new, some old, some off the beaten path. I'm going to do a few small reviews so that we can fit them all in here. With out further a do...

Brothers Bloom

The Brother's Bloom is an intelligent, charming con movie that turns the genre on its head. It has the feel of an eccentric Wes Anderson film that met The Sting. It's not your typical (Ocean's 11 or CONfidence) con although it keeps the same approach by explain the different steps of the scam. With some great characters you can get behind and route for, an ingenious idea of pulling off a con and an interesting twist at the end, this movie will have you thinking you know whats going on, to not knowing whats going on, to figuring it out, but making you also re-think what you think just happened. Features Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, CONfidence, The Constant Gardener), Adrien Brody (Angels in the Outfield, The Darjeeling Limited, The Pianist) and Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shutter Island, The Kids Are Alright) and Directed by Rian Johnson (Brick).

The Fighter

The Fighter was an amazing film. Though it's a boxing movie, I think the sport takes a back seat to the whole family dynamic and relationships that saturate the screen. I feel like this is a family relationship movie with boxing in the background. The acting was top notch, to be more specific, Christian Bale (American Psycho, Equilibrium, The Dark Knight) was top notch. He stole every scene he was in, and when he wasn't on screen you wanted him back where he belonged, in front of you. Amy Adams (Catch Me if You Can, Enchanted, Doubt) was also a scene stealer going from a Nun in Doubt to a bad-ass bartender who won't take no shit from nobody. "The Sisters" were also a treat to watch, it was as if they plucked them up in a nearby trailer park in the outskirts of Boston somewhere. Also featuring Mark Wahlberg (The Basketball Diaries, The Italian Job, The Departed) and directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees).

Inside Job

Inside Job is a documentary about why we fell into the economic crisis we are in and who's responsible. I didn't get the finance/accounting jargon or political flim-flam, but I did get the overall jist of the movie. The ideas are portrayed easily enough, that even if u don't understand the jargon or flim-flam you know the good from the bad. A great look into what happened to our country and who is to blame. You'll come out of this film being able to have conversations about the downturn of our economy, which I never really did before but try to find every opportunity to.

Wall Street

Wall Street didn't blow me away like I thought. I think due to all the opulence that permeates our TV screens and movie theaters I was a little desensitized to all the wealth in the movie. The idea of growing from nothing, working hard and making money but doing it in a dirty manner is the idea behind the film. Gordon Gekko is an awesome character how ever, making people do whatever he wants and getting everything he yearns for. "Greed is good" Featuring Charlie Sheen (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Platoon, Major League) Michael Douglas (Basic Instinct, Romancing the Stone, Falling Down) Daryl Hannah (Blade Runner, Kill Bill, Splash) and directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon, The Doors, Any Given Sunday)

True Grit

True Grit was a very entertaining and light hearted movie which is a surprise considering it came from the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men) who are known for their violence, twisted humor and dismal and serious themes. Another great performance all around with Jeff Bridges leading the pack as Rooster Cogburn. The feel of the movie is so authentic looking and the dialogue feels as though I was sitting in on conversations from the 1880's (or whatever the era it was they were in, the old west). The movie doesn't have necessarily dark humor per say, but this is by no means a comedy. Fueled by a story from the novel with the same name (and not the movie from 1969) the film will leave you with a feeling that you did in fact just have a positive movie going experience.

I thought of a random movie quote, see if you can guess where they're from...ok now you've guess so here's the answers

1) "SUCK BRICK KID!" (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York)

2) "Lotta sap in here! Mmmm... Looks great! Little full, lotta sap." (National Lampoon's: Christmas Vacation)

3) "I think so but I'd have to get pretty high" "I bet you would Panama Red" (Meet the Parents)

4) "You're what the French call les incompetents." (Home Alone)

5) "Buddy the Elf whats your favorite color" (Elf)

6) "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine." (Casablanca)

Netflix Instant Watch of the Week: Tin Man. The Scyfy Channel did their own take on The Wizard of Oz which was such a great idea. I'm glad they took something we recognize and cherish and revamped/rebooted it, but did a made for tv movie that was absolutely phenomenal. They didn't do a giant spectacle on the movie screen, that was crap to make a buck, they actually made something decent. It takes the universe we know and builds off of it and creates something memorable. Features Zooey Deschanel ((500) Days of Summer, Elf, Yes Man) Alan Cumming (X2, GoldenEye, Spice World) Richard Dreyffuss (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Mr. Hollands Opus)

Netflix DVD of the Week: Alice. Another Scyfy original that is based on a beloved story, Alice in Wonderland. Taken from a universe we hold dear to our hearts, the Scyfy channel took it and made it something unique and memorable. They didn't fake it or force it, they gave it the TLC it needed and made it happen.

A Little movie news...

Tarantino top 20 of 2010
With the end of the year already behind us top ten lists of all sorts start to pop up. Top 10 movies of 2010, Worst movies of 2010, Best Music movie moments of 2010, and so on and so forth. As some know my favorite director of all time would be the one, the only Quentin Tarantino. He put out a top 20 movies (in his opinion) of 2010. I would have to agree with most but #12 and #18 are probably no where near my top any list of anytime. But he is who he is and I have to accept it, and now I'm going to see #12 and #18 whether I like it or not. Catch the list at

Boats and Hoes Rap Album by John C. Reily and Will Ferrell
If you remember correctly Prestige World Wide debuted with there opening hit song "Boats and Hoes" in the hilarious Step Brothers. Well there won't be a a sequel to Step Brothers but there will be a rap album which either features hip-hop star Mos Def or is having him produce. I feel like this is running off the coat tail of Lonely Island who has the hit "On a Boat" and "Dick in a Box" which were made famous on SNL. I'm actually looking forward to this because I love boats and I love hoes and I love John C. Reily and I love Will Ferrell and I love Step Brothers. The whole article on

One More List
One of the Slashfilm writers wrote up a little article on his most anticipated movies of 2011 and revisits his most anticipated movies of 2010. I don't care for #1 and I wouldn't put #7 on my most anticipated out of its specific genre. Gotta love top ten lists, cause I do. Catch the full list at Slashfilm

Thanks for all the support =)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that played with Fire then Kicked a Hornet's Nest

In another great voting pool, "When Tron Legacy Comes out, Will you go see it?", we had a three way tie for second place, 1 person will be at the midnight showing, 1 person is gonna wait for a few weeks and 1 person thinks it's dumb or isn't there cup of tea. However, 3 of us are going to see it opening weekend, hope I see some of you there. I don't think you need to see the original, btw, to get the drift of the second one. I'm only guessing there though.

This week I'm doing a 2 part review, and the first movie is

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The movie tells the fictional story of a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist played by Michael Nyqvist, who's damn good at his job. He's at a rocky patch in his career and in his life. He is tried in court for libel and found guilty, but before he serves his sentence he's asked to solve a 40 year old "disappearing" case. While trying to solve the case he runs into a computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander played by Noomi Rapace (due to play in the Sherlock Holmes sequel and the Aliens prequel) who is a computer hacker and is a bit socially strange. The unlikely team uncover something way more then just a disappearing child case, they find out about 5-6 murders all linked starting from the 1940's to the present. Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll ensue.

The first thing that was very refreshing was that it was a step outside of the realm I'm used to...The United States. The picture was filmed throughout a few of the Scandanavian countries and Germany. Beautiful. To see different architecture and cities (that aren't Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago) was refreshing. The environments were beautiful fillers in between the craziness of the story. The story is based on Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, which he wrote, then died without having seen them become popular. The story is sort of your run of the mill, who done it, follow the clues to the next clue type of movie, very Sevenish. Regardless of that fact you still want to find the connections to the clues and figure out who done it along with the characters.

The characters, namely Lisbeth, are very intriguing. Lisbeth is the girl refereed to in all three of the tittles The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and she isn't entirely the main character but the one you want to see the most of. As soon as you see her on the screen you just want to know about her, but you don't get much. Just her attitude, and her social ostracism. You can tell she's been through a lot, through the way she interacts with people, how she dresses and how she reacts to the "bad" guys and the "good" guys. There's a great dynamic between Lisbeth and the dominant male character, where he's the soft, sensitive, caring one and she's the cold hearted, don't take no shit, tough one.

Violent, twisted, demented...Lisbeth still comes out alive. Oh did I mention its in Swedish, with English subtitles?

The Girl Who Played with Fire

This film played off the first one great. The story however starts to get a little bit convoluted. We start learning about these Secret Agencies and government officials in cahoots within this sexual trafficking ring and how they all tie in together with Lisbeth.

I feel like this movie and the last movie don't translate into films as well as the last one. Either that or whoever translated them (not language to language but medium to medium) didn't do a very good job. The story keeps the same twisted type feel and action but started to loose me at parts in the middle. Still a great follow up to the first flick.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The third installment and end of the story tells the conclusion of Lisbeth Sander and her involvement with a twisted government who is locked up in conspiracy and sexual perversion. Now, don't get me wrong the movie is good, but it's definitely not great. The movie is a huge exhibition and detective case which sets up the court case to finally put these sick perverts in their rightful place. Blomkvsit sets out to take down these sick government leaders who think they can do whatever they want. The exhibition might be to involved which, as i said before, may not have translated that great into a movie. The first 2 movies had the right amount of violence and action mixed in with a sick and twisted story line. I think the third movie relies on this idea of the first two, to take it to the last 20 mins of the story/conclusion. I wasn't bored by the detective talk and investigating and the rehab, but I was expecting something different.

I really liked the first one, enjoyed the second one and watched and liked the third one because it was the conclusion. The first one seems to be a separate story from the last two. The third movie uses some elements from the first but it didn't do it for me.

All in all I enjoyed the Millennium trilogy, but I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, enjoyed the The Girl who Played with Fire, and watched The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest to see the conclusion.

I thought of a random movie quote, see if you can guess where they're from...


2) "Lotta sap in here! Mmmm... Looks great! Little full, lotta sap."

3) "I think so but I'd have to get pretty high" "I bet you would Panama Red"

4) "You're what the French call les incompetents."

5) "Buddy the Elf whats your favorite color"

6) "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

Netflix Instant Watch of the Week:
Almost Heroes. This has to be on of Farley's most underrated films that most people haven't seen. Everyone's seen and Tommy Boy and Black Sheep but most people haven't seen this. Trying to beat Lewis and Clarke across the young U.S. the antics they he and Matthew Perry get into are hysterical. So many "I'm crying cause I'm laughing" moments and very easily quoted.

Netflix DVD of the week: Doubt. A very thought provoking movie with some STUNNING acting via Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams (who was a slightly a new comer). At the end you will be amazed by the acting and you'll be scratching your head asking what really happened.

a little bit of movie news...

The AFI's top 10 Movies of 2010

The AV's top 15 Movies of 2010,49101/

Happy Holidays folks!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leslie Nielsens Conviction

I LOVE IT!!! I seem to be getting a lot of hits/views on the blog, which is so amazing, I love watching the number go up. This means 1) People are just being nice and just go on my blog and keep hitting the review button or 2) People are actually reading...Thank you greatly either way.

For those of you who are visiting why not vote on the movie poll on the right there, or add a comment. Maybe you've seen the movie(s) I'm talking about or recommended or you want to let us (or me) know. Maybe you want to cry out about some of the movie news, even if you want to say I'm an idiot....I'll take it

To recap the movie poll, Out of the AFI (American Film Institute) top 5 movies of all time, which one would you like to see (or if you've seen them is your favorite)...We got a total of 3 votes (kinda weak but I'll take it) and all three of those votes were allocated to 3 different selections. It was a 3 way tie between Citizen Kane, Casablanca (My pick), and The God your part, ROCK THE VOTE!!

now for the movie review...

Conviction is the story of a brother and sister, Betty Anne and Kenny Waters, played by Hillary Swank (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby) and Sam Rockwell (Safe Men, Moon, Iron Man 2), that are an inseparable duo, from rambunctious childhood to a much more complicated adulthood. Kenny is a low life, trouble maker with a little daughter and Betty Anne is a "try to do good" mother of 2 boys. Both are from a small suburban town outside of Boston. Based on a true story, a murder was committed and Kenny was pinned with the heinous act but swears up and down he's innocent. Betty Anne can't just sit around and let this injustice go on, she decides to enroll into law school and become a lawyer no matter if it tears her, her family, and even her and Kenny apart. Sibling love ensues.

Conviction, directed by first time big screener Tony Goldwyn ("Dexter", "Damages", "Justified) is based on a true events and is a big time character based movie. Acting drives the film from one scene to the next, along with the story line and dialogue, but mainly by the acting. I wanted to see this film because I'm a big fan of Sam Rockwell. He reminds me of Jeremy Piven ("Entourage", PCU, Smokin Aces) in the sense of his mannerisms and nonvocal communication. Not as jerky, abrupt or grand as Pivens, but so precise and seemingless. He nails his character, so cool but yet a bad ass, who loves himself, his sister and his daughter. His transformation throughout the film is remarkable, you watch him grow up and become a man. Hillary Swank I didn't buy at first. I feel like everyone's now trying to get into a movie where they can try to show off their "Bahstan" accent. I didn't buy hers at first, but she grew on me. She has some intense sad scenes which I felt like she may have over done, but still great. The one who stole it for me though was Juliette Lewis. (National Lampoons: Christmas Vacation, Natural Born Killers, Old School) She played an ex-girlfriend of Kenny's who testified against him at the trial. Later on they talk to her again, strung out on drugs and alcohol and the guilt of putting Kenny to jail. The 5 min scene she had revisiting the court case, mixed with a cigarette, a never ending glass of wine and whatever drugs she was on stuck with me after it was done.

The dynamic of the brother and sister, when younger and older, was captivating as well. I have a younger sister so it resonated with me pretty strongly. The play on the relationship was a key factor in the movie for me. They, being the actor/actress, the writers and director made it feel real, that this sister would spend 20 years of her life fighting for her brother. Not one of her parents, or a lover/husband, her brother and they made it believable.

A slow movie you have to committed to to get the payoff at the end. Keep a close eye on the actors/actresses and it will help.

A Tribute to Leslie Nielsen

I remember the first Nielsen movies I saw was Naked Gun 33 1/3 and it was right up my alley. Stupid, dry, simple humor, crude jokes and vulgar happenings. Leslie Nielsen will be remembered as a funny man. His characters were never to bright, but they always knew how to deliver a punch line. He passed away November 28th 2010 and left behind some of the funniest movies of all time. Ask the AFI, who voted Airplane the #10 funniest movie of all time. I'm sure Leslie Nielsen had a hand in making that movie as funny as it was, even if that hand was on a busty women's breast by accident, someone's crotch, or on his gun. Starting on a string of tv shows starting around 1950, he had rolls in some comedies some dramas, with a roll in one episode on the famed "Bonanza". He then scored a roll as the Captain in the original The Posideon Adventure, followed by a roll in one episode of the hit tv show, turned movie "M.A.S.H." After scoring a roll in a couple of episodes of both "Kung Fu" and "S.W.A.T' he made it into his first "hit" movie in The Kentucky Fried Movie which was what made him become famous. Airplane hit in 1980 which will be Nielsen's big start and his corner stone. Followed by a bunch of movies and tv shows I've never heard of, The Naked Gun series started in 1988. It was followed by a sequel in 1991 and a final chapter in 1994. His movies all had a spoof theme, and he followed that all the way to his death. His humor will be missed, but u can always pop in a VHS to feel it again.

Netflix Instant Watch of the Week:
Army of Darkness. A mash up of horror and comedy, but all "its so terrible its good". Bruce Campbell is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. When he finds the Necronomicon its hilarious, the whole movie is hilarious.

Netflix DVD of the Week: Airplane. Leslsie Nielsen's cornerstone and the #10 funniest movie of all time according to the AFI. If you're looking for silly humor and really good one liners, spoofs out the rear end and some crude jokes this movie is for you.

now some movie news...
Tis the season....for villains
Great list of the top 5 movie villains of all time. The list comes from

The director from Tron 2 started doing commercials
The new director for Tron, Jospeh Kosinski, is a rookie. He hasn't done anything big screen yet but this commercials is speculated to have gotten him the spot. The commercials is very simple but you can see where producers would pull this guy in. See the commercial at

Thanks to errbody, and my editor-in-assistant-chief Amy

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You wouldn't cut your arm off...

Hello to all, I have returned. The creative juices are flowing and the film watching has gotten back up to its normal pace of "as often as possible." Not gonna lie, I fell into a little movie drought and lost motivation but I'm back at it. Watched Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which is part of my quest to see the AFI top 100 movies of all time (42-100). I also had the pleasure to see the hit documentary Waiting for Superman at the Colonial Theater. If you live in or around Phoenixville get your behind into a seat for a film there.

To recap, the last Movie Poll was Matt Damon's Best Film(s). It was a tie with two votes each for The Bourne Trilogy and The Departed, both stellar films, and Rounders getting one tally (that would be my vote). Do your part and vote!

Now for what you've all really been waiting for...

127 Hours

Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting, The Beach) the movie tells the story (based on true events) of Aron Ralston, played by James Franco (Pineapple Express, Spider-Man), a man who lives for adventure and is off spending a weekend hiking in Utah. One misstep changes his entire vacation as he falls into a gorge and has a boulder pin his arm down and has him trapped. With food rations depreciating and water diminishing, he looks back on his life and tries to figure out how, and if, he'll ever get out. Cringing ensues.

I enjoyed thoroughly what Danny Boyle did with the camera, and what the editor created as well. The first part of the film was a great little montage of life and our protagonist getting ready to embark on what he didn't know was going to be a brush with fate. There was one stunning shot of James Franco on this giant boulder and a 360 degree spin, allowing the audience to engulf the setting of vast, dry, rolling land. It spins to Franco and has him set to the left of the screen. Something about the way that was filmed stood out for me, like we were getting a sense that it was not just the character we need to be thinking about but also what's around him.

As the story goes, similar to that of Titanic, it's not a spoiler to tell you that he cuts his arm off. The movie is just the anticipation of this ridiculously flabbergasting event, making you think what is it going to take for a person to cut his own arm off. He imagines different scenes of his life, family, friends, past events... some happy, some sad. He also video tapes himself, again, sometimes almost drawing tears, but also drawing laughter. The idea of films based on true events always have me guessing what was added to the story to dramatize it and what in fact truly happened.

The scene of Franco cutting his own arm off is so cringe worthy and intense, highly intense. You know this scene is coming, so you are just wondering how he's going to pull it off. In the almost 15 minute scene, my muscles were tensed, teeth were clenched and my heart was racing. The sound effects used to help the audience feel what the pain may have felt like are so powerful. The acting of course is so believable I almost thought Franco may be actually cutting his arm off. I have a weak stomach as well when it comes to blood and gore, so I may have gagged a little. The scene pulled off what is so hard to do, making the audience feel a physical reaction as well as an emotional reaction.

127 Hours from what I've heard is going to get a nomination, but may not have what it takes to be best picture. With the one man show Franco put on I also won't be surprised if he gets a nod for best actor.

Netflix Instant Watch of the Week: Banlieue 13. I've always been an advocate for mindless action movies with great one liners. This sort of falls into that realm. Great mindless action. This film has some of the greatest action ever, lots of great choreographed hand to hand fighting. No good one liners, well because it's all in French. Still great action flick.

Netflix DVD of the Week: Little Miss Sunshine. A great quirky movie, with that small indie feel. A great cast telling a bizarre story. The movie is about a families journey to get their daughter Olive to a talent/beauty pageant. The father is a motivational speaker struggling to provide for his family, all the while trying to teach them of his theories. The mother seems normal and rational, minus the fact that she and her husband are constantly fighting. The son has taken a vow of silence until he hears of his acceptance into the Air Force. The uncle is recently discharged from the hospital for a suicide attempt after the man he loved ran off with someone else. The grandfather is a heroin addict, and little Olive is the glue that keeps the family together. Yea its crazy, but it's feel good.

Now a little movie news...

Spider-Man...On Broadway??? You know it!
Spider-Man "Keep the Dark out" is in fact the name of the new Broadway play that is about a year late. The play was supposed to go into production about a year ago, but it ran out of money. Julie Taymore (Across the Universe, Frida) is helmed to direct it. The "play", if that's what it can be called, is set to the original soundtrack of Bono and his U2 buddy The Edge. I really dislike U2, but I'd definitely go to check this out. I'm not even kidding you, 60 Minutes did a great little 15 minute piece on the show that is set to start in the next few weeks after it had its first live dress rehearsal. The video from 60 Minutes at

The Hosts for the 83rd Academy Awards are...
This years Academy Awards will be hosted by two people. The first is the main star of our reviewed film above, James Franco. The second, and the one I'm much more interested in is the one, the only, Anne Hathaway. I have a huge crush on her ever since I accidentally turned on Ella Enchanted in my basement at about 4 a.m. I think they could both very much carry the Awards, but not as great as Billy Crystal. The choice between these two must be to try to draw a younger crowd. Check out the full article at

Thanks to everyone for the support and to my editor Amy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Random Quotes on a Train Ride Home

Hey now everyone. Hope you had a good Halloween weekend (and watched lots of movies - I'm guessing horror, I didn't partake in that genre), ate lots and lots of candy, dressed up (or dressed someone else up) in great conceived costumes, and howled at the moon.

In our movie poll, your favorite Halloween themed movie, I got a lot of guff. I wasn't talking horror movies, I was talking Halloween themed: Halloween ideas, Halloween happenings, etc., which is why E.T. made the cut. The movie surrounds that time of year and the characters even go trick-or-treating, so that's why it made it. We got a total of six votes, a small drop off from last week. The winner was... well it was a three-way tie between Halloween, The Adam's Family and E.T. Make a difference, rock the vote!

Now to our movie review....

The Last Train Home

This movie is a documentary about a Chinese family and their struggle to make it home from the city where they work during the busiest time of the year in China: the Chinese New Year. Some people will know that I'm biased because I lived for a year in the country and experienced this migration. When I found out about this movie I knew I had to see it because I can relate to it. While others may not be able to relate to the film for that reason, it is still a great story.

The parents in the documentary are migrant workers who make clothing in a factory in the city of Guangzhou (which I have visited) about 2000 km southwest from their home town where their children, parents, and friends live. Their home town is a little village in the Sichuan Province of China (a province I've visited) where their children go to school and work on the farm. The documentary depicts how the parents migrate from Guangzhou to the Sichuan Province and how their daughter deals with living as a migrant worker while going to school.

Just because I've lived in China doesn't mean that someone who hasn't won't enjoy this story. It's a strong story about a family trying to deal with hardship and their falling apart. It becomes clear in the movie that the daughter resents her parents for leaving her and her younger brother at such a young age to make money for the family. At the same time, the parents found it extremely disrespectful that their daughter didn't acknowledge that what they were doing was for her benefit.

The director of the film, Lixin Fan, followed this family from 2006-2008 and filmed it beautifully. From my experience in the country, she showed the real China and the real people. There were no voice overs and very few moments where music influenced the way we were meant to feel. The real life characters and the natural story itself evoked all of the emotions we needed. Beautiful scenes of the countryside are scattered in between shots of the rough lifestyle of the migrant workers and the overcrowded, dirty cities.

"The largest human migration on the planet" is what Fan captured, and the main selling point of this film. She weaves the camera into the massive stampedes of people rushing to pile onto inadequately spaced trains. Some people wait five hours to get onto a train, others five days. Once on board, some travel six hours to get to their places of origin, others suffer weeks. Think Christmas on heroin. The scenes make you feel helpless and claustrophobic, not because of walls closing in on you, but because of humans shoulder-to-shoulder in every direction.

This heart wrenching story will make a poignant poke at your emotions. You want this family to work, but in reality, not Hollywood, things don't always go as we the audience want it too.

Guess the random movie quote that I picked straight from my mind...

1) "Somebody's poisoned the water hole"

2) "I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

3) "Get that corn outta my face! "

4) "Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?" "That's right, Matrix! You did!" "I lied."
5) "I can't, Billy... you already cut me too deep. I think I'm dying here, man!"

*Good luck, have fun. Don't hurt your brain to much...

Netflix Instant Watch of the week:
Cool World. Okay, so I'm a sucker for cartoons. One of my favorite movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, mixes cartoons and people. Cool World is the same way, except these cartoons are a little more risque then Roger and his friends. Brad Pitt plays a detective in the cartoon world and tries to send back a cartoonist who thinks he created this Cool World. The movie's animation is great but it definitely doesn't mesh well with the humans. However, like I said, I'm a sucker for cartoons.

Netflix DVD of the week: The Fall. Now this movie can be played instantly or on DVD. I've found it's hard to find movies that are JUST DVD. The Fall is about a stuntman who gets hurt and has become suicidal while in the hospital. He meets a little quirky girl who connects with him as he tells her a story that she creatively imagines. This movie is beautiful to behold. I believe it is first art, movie second because of its great shots, color combinations, set pieces and costumes. It is adventurous and the ending is well worth the wait. Check this little guy out.

Now some movie news.

True Grit, new release date
If some of you haven't seen a Coen brother's movie, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO IT. They have so many great ones (Fargo, A Serious Man, No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where 'Art Though, Raising Arizona, I didn't like Burn Notice though) and they've made another called True Grit. The movie is already making Oscar buzz and no one has even seen it yet. It stars Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Iron Man, Tron), Matt Damon (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Departed, The Bourne Trilogy) and Josh Brolin (The Goonies, Milk, No Country for Old Men). I'm super pumped for it and can't get enough news, images, and trailers. The movie has now been moved from Christmas to December 22nd, CHYEA! Check out the trailer

The Dark Knight Rises, rumors on female leads

I'm also very excited for the new Batman movie, now dubbed The Dark Knight Rises. Rumors have come about that Charlize Theron (Monster, Hancock, Mighty Joe Young), Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Running Scared, Up in the Air), and Kaci Thomas are all sparking interest. Each actress has seemed to be pinned to specific characters, so who knows how strong this rumor is. I honestly don't think I'd like to see Charlize Theron. Her face and style are too recognizable, as the other two ladies aren't embedded in my brain as, "Oh that was the girl in..." and "I only see her as that..." Check out the rest of the article on

Thanks everyone, happy reading...Thanks to the editor- and vice-chief Amy.