Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4 Ways a Best Picture: 2010

We are getting to the end of this thing.  Now we're crossing over into the current decade, which means that (this week included) we only have five discussions left.  This is exciting (nearing the end and the final ranking) and also sad, since I've had such a wonderful time with these incredible bloggers just talking movies!

But let's not dwell on the negative (yet...because there is a lot of negative to chew on below).  Instead, let's be happy and get all excited for the conversation below.  This year saw a lot of variations in our views of these films.  One film in particular had ecstatic reviews from 3 of our five panelists, while another received nothing short of a verbal assault by 4 of us...and then glowing praise!


Before you dig in, here is our panel:

Britt from Rambling Film
Drew (me, duh) from A Fistful of Films
Jeffery from jdbrecords
Wendell from Dell on Movies

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about talking asses, shattered dreams, piqued interest and the murderer of love!

I missed last week due to a crappy weekend and made my Monday feel like hell, but I'm back this week due to a nicely paced and refreshing weekend of relaxation and fun to talk to you about a bunch of stuff (some of which I had lined up for last week) in this week's episode of A Fistful of Thoughts!

We got some juicy stuff to talk about!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Red rover, red rover, send Martin Luther King Jr. right over…

I feel bad for ‘Selma’.  Initially intended for a 2015 release, the post-production was pushed through in a seemingly weak year and the hype machine built this film as the socially important film of the year and immediately the faith the studio had in its Award’s chances started to seep into the prognosticators fingertips and, before it was shown to the world, it became the film to beat.  Then it was seen and reviewed and the response to the film was tepid, to say the least.  The social relevance was obviously seen and the importance of the message was heard loud and clear and yet, the film itself wasn’t warmly embraced.  Then Oscar season heated up and the word ‘racist’ started getting thrown around and the fight for this film became ugly, even though it had no chance to pull a win away from the two clear frontrunners.  When the nominations were announced, and ‘Selma’ managed the BP nom and…a Song nomination, the film in a way became a joke.  Its BP status was immediately questioned (no writing, directing, acting…not even a costume nod!) due to the fact that it was clear it wasn’t really liked that much.  This was a case of ‘we nominated you here because we had to’ and not a case of ‘we think you were one of the best films of last year’ and because of that, ‘Selma’ kind of has this stigma around it.

Like I said, I feel bad for ‘Selma’.  I was one of exploited that stigma after the nominations were announced.

I’ve seen the film now (I hadn’t seen it then) and at the end of the day, the fact remains that ‘Selma’ was not one of the best films from 2014.

It’s also not a joke, which is why the whole Oscar BP nom, in a way, hurts this movie.  If the film had just been regarded for what it was (or given the extra few months to hone and develop better and then been released, as intended, in 2015), then I think the film itself would have a better reputation.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

But enough about all that, let’s talk about the movie.

Get your priorities straight…

The Chris Kyle murder trial was a huge deal near me.  It took place roughly 40 minutes from my house, and so that is all I heard about for months.  The murder itself was a big deal, but after the movie it was like our whole area capitalized on the success of the film in order to make this trial is BIG DEAL.  Regardless of your thoughts on war itself, there is no denying that Chris Kyle’s story is not only a fascinating one, but a profoundly poignant one.  I will never hide my neutrality.  I hate warfare and find it to be an unnecessary means and I am NOT ok with the way that this particular war transpired and progressed, but that is no disrespect to the men and women who lay their lives on the line for something they believe in.  Granted, not all are there for the right reasons (I literally had to sit at dinner for a week on a cruise with strangers, one of which was a marine, and hear them talk about how the only reason they would want to go to war would be to kill people), but for those who are there for a just cause, I can’t fault them their convictions.

Chris Kyle seems to have been there for the right reasons.

Still, ‘American Sniper’ takes those best of intentions and helps us to see why war is such a disastrous ‘means to an end’.  I only wish that it had developed those themes a little tighter.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


We all remember when the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards were being read off to us and we got to the Animated Film category and…no one heard the name ‘The LEGO Movie’.  Actually, you may not remember it.  You see, the film was heavily considered the frontrunner to such an extreme that I personally didn’t notice the snub until a few minutes later when I was compiling my list of the nominees and I noticed I didn’t type ‘The LEGO Movie’ down in the list.  I did a double take, looked it up, and low and behold, it was indeed snubbed.

Outrage ensued.

I, personally, was pretty upset about it.  I was upset because I had seen three of the actual nominees (‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’, ‘The Boxtrolls’ and ‘Big Hero 6’) and while I liked all of them to a certain extent (some more than others), ‘The LEGO Movie was a notch above the rest.  I was NOT upset because ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’ and ‘Song of the Sea’ were nominated.  I had not seen those films, but I had read the raves, and I have no problem with foreign films sneaking in anywhere, so that was not a problem for me at all.  It was the American films I took issue with.

But, a lot of people didn’t look at it that way.  Did you happen to read the ‘Brutally Honest Oscar Voters’ comments from that year. 

And I quote:

“…for that movie not to be in over these two obscure freakin’ Chinese f***in’ things that nobody ever freakin’ saw, that is my biggest b***.”

Ignorance people, ignorance.  I absolutely hate ignorance, but when  it comes from your craft then I hate it even more.  These are Oscar voters, which means they work or have worked in the industry.  Have some class.  Honestly, it shows that these voters consider Animated Films to be lesser works that are to be judged by their children (one voter actually stated that she let her children decide the winner) and not judged on the merit of what they contribute as a standalone film, and this is a shame.

Here’s the thing; ‘Song of the Sea’ is a better film than ‘The LEGO Movie’.  This isn’t a knock on ‘The LEGO Movie’ a film I found endlessly entertaining and extraordinarily clever, but ‘Song of the Sea’ is pretty close to absolute perfection and, in a just world, would have won the Oscar (I still haven’t seen ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’).

I wanted to love you...

Michel Gondry has directed one of my Top Three favorite films of all time; ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’.  I’m starting to feel like Gondry is a one-hit wonder.  I haven’t seen ‘The Science of Sleep’, although the reviews left me cold and I never felt drawn to it.  I did see ‘Be Kind Rewind’, which was…interesting.  It was fun, but it also felt forgettable.  ‘The Green Hornet’ had some sharp moments, but overall it was a thankless film.  I never even knew ‘The We and the I’ was made, so I guess I’ll need to check that one out (or will I?), and then we have ‘Mood Indigo’, a film that didn’t get very good reviews but managed to snag my attention with the visual look of the film.

So I was excited to see Gondry excite me again.

He didn’t.

Theatrical conversations of bipolar lovers and their semi-retarded conscience…

Liv Ullmann.  What a tremendous actress.  She was the muse of the great auteur Ingmar Bergman, and she earned that status by repeatedly delivering complex and shattering performances in films like Face to Face, Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata and Persona.  She is, without question, one of the greatest actresses who ever walked the earth.

Did you know she’s also a director?

Yeah, I knew this, and yet I still haven’t seen any of her work (she’s only directed 3 feature films, a segment in another film, a documentary and a television movie), until now.  Yes, my introduction to the world of Liv Ullmann ‘the director’ was with this little-seen (or is it just widely ignored) adaptation of ‘Miss Julie’.

I prefer Liv Ullmann ‘the actress’.