Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Fistful of Reads: March Edition

So, another month is through and I was able to tackle three novels that I responded to in very differing ways.  I have nothing but respect for all three novels, and yet I only truly love one of them and while one is an undisputed classic it remains a novel I’m not entirely sold on, at least not as a complete package.  You can get a glimpse at my reads for Jan. and Feb. by clicking on those links. 

For March, here is my ranking and thoughts on the three books I was able to read:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Comic Strip Double Dip Blogathon!

Bubbawheat over at Flights Tightsand Movie Nights has started a blog-a-thon revolving around none other than comic characters!  I have to say, I’m not as well versed here as I should be, considering that comics in general were a huge passion of mine as a kid.  Sadly, as I got older I veered away from watching many of the movies adapted from those comics, but now we get about twenty or so comic movies a year (slight exaggeration, or is it?) and so they are unavoidable.  Head over to his page and check out the gist of the blog-a-thon (comparing and contrasting two performances by the same actor in comic related films) and stake your claim on a pair.  Just don’t think about snagging my pick! 

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to write about.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll just post another ‘visual review’!  I don’t think I’d get too many objections there.

What the hell did I just watch?

‘Holy Motors’ has been that one film released this year that has garnered so much critical attention for its mere being that I was convinced all year it was going to be the best thing I’d ever seen.  The amount of outlandish and unrestrained hyperbole that was spewed all over this film for months had me anticipating the second coming.  It has me recalling when ‘Margaret’ was finally released after being shelved for like five years and people saw it and claimed it to be the most remarkable film they had ever laid eyes on.  That was just a year ago.  Already people have abandoned that notion and moved onto Leos Carax’s ‘Holy Motors’.

The similarity between the two entities doesn’t die there, for my reaction to each over-hyped masterpiece is the same; they are both the best and worst films of their respective years, which leaves me at a bit of a crossroads as far as my own personal attachment to the piece is concerned.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The all expressive gaze of Mr. Stewart.

I’m really late to this party, and it saddens me because when I saw that the Acting School 101 this month was James Stewart I knew instantly that I wanted to write a piece on him.  I adore him.  He was truly one of the greats, an actor who had not only the range to carry a multitude of roles, but the charisma to become a brand himself.  He was such a bankable face, a man who could peak your interest not only because of his sheer talent but because was so damn likable and fun to watch.  Whether he was pouring himself into comedic roles, romantic leads or dramatic assignments, he was always at the top of his game.

What to make of these films...

So next month I’ll be embarking on my first attempt at predicting to Oscars this year, but before I get into that I decided to call out ten films that I’m having the most trouble collecting complete Oscar thoughts on.  I think all of these films will be in the conversation somewhere, and in many ways they could even be my ten most anticipated films of the year, considering that my collective assessment of their potential is so up in the air.  I expect to enjoy all of them and I want so badly to assume that Oscar will too, but for each film I wonder if there aren’t too many stumbling blocks in their way.  I’ll be talking about a few of these films as we get into my early bird predictions next month, but for now here are a few thoughts (and concerns) on each.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 Movie Reviews Page

Alright, so here we are in 2013.  It will take me well into 2014 to actually see all the films from this year that I so desire to see, but there is no harm in dumping all movie grades and reviews here on this page.  So, much like the page dedicated to movie grades for films of 2012, this page will be updated all year long (and next year as well) as I see more films.  The difference is that I plan on actually trying to give a review of sorts for every film I see this year, and so I will link those reviews on this page as well.  Just click on the icon on the right side of the blog and it’ll bring you to this page with links to every review I write for 2013 films I’ve seen.

Easy enough.

Number of Films Seen: 101

A+ (Masterpiece)
A (Nearly Perfect)
A- (Highly Recommended)
B (Definitely go see)
B- (I liked it)

C (It wasn’t all bad)
C- (It had potential)
D (The sooner forgotten the better)

The Timberlake Effect…

Justin Timberlake is all over the place now.  There is no denying the power of his celebrity.  Over the past few years he has separated himself from the stigma of a Boy Band and created an empire on his name alone.  Seriously, don’t doubt the power he has in the industry, both musically and otherwise.  He has taken a seven year hiatus from music in order to attempt to prove himself an actor, and he has obviously garnered enough respect within the movie industry to not only be courted by high profile directors (Fincher, Coen Brothers) but also become a regular face at awards shows and red carpets.  The people (all people) love him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday meanderings…

I always love it when Sati over at Cinematic Corner has an ‘actor appreciation day’.  She always informs me of a slew of interesting facts about said actor that I wasn’t privy to and probably would never be privy to without her obsessions, and to be honesty she has this knack for appreciating the underappreciated, which I tend to adore. 

Today she chose Lee Pace as her main focus of attention, and I must say she is shedding light on a filmography I am unfamiliar with.  It’s weird to say that because I have seen ‘The Fall’ and absolutely loved his performance within it (Fisti Award nominee) and for a quick minute I was actually obsessed with his face and wanted to know more and see more of him; and then I moved on for some reason.  To this day I’ve seen three of his films; ‘The Fall’, ‘A Single Man’ and ‘The Good Shepherd’.  I only remember him in ‘The Fall’, so I’m assuming that his roles in the other films are VERY small.

Let’s Review Something: The Croods

It was definitely an unexpected weekend over here.  All my plans got flipped and I wound up doing things I wasn’t planning on, starting with seeing The Croods.  So, I beat last year (I didn’t see a film from 2012 until around May/June) and saw my first 2013 film Saturday afternoon.  I’m not sure what I was expecting to get out of it, but here are my thoughts on the film itself:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trailer Break: The Bling Ring

OMG, this is going to be amazing.  It’s no surprise I’m obsessed with Sophia Coppola.  I find her a fascinating director who just understands her own breed of film and delivers such beautifully crafted depictions of adolescent dysfunction.  I’ve been waiting to see something of this film, her latest offering, and I must say that this teaser has me whet with anticipation.  I’ve been thinking for a while that this could be one of her biggest films to date, simply because of the social awareness of the subject and the obvious draw that the cast and particular brand of teen debauchery is going to have on the movie going public.  This will certainly be her loudest and most outlandish venture, and yet I have a feeling that this teaser is specifically designed to make us believe this film is something that it isn’t; quite.

What do you think?  I’m completely all over this right now.  I cannot wait to see this movie!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The crazy continues…

Sayonara, bitches!

This story just gets better and better.  After Fassbender leaves to have Ramsay just plain NOT SHOW UP, Jude Law (Fassbender’s replacement) up and leaves ‘Jane Got a Gun’ today after reports that ‘Warrior’ director Gavin O’Connor has been brought on to replace Ramsay as the film’s director.  This is just so…bizarre.  I actually feel really bad for the film’s screenwriter, Brian Duffield.  This is his first produced screenplay, which is supposedly a very good one at that (despite everything about this film screaming ‘DON’T WATCH ME’) and now it’s become this rapidly degrading hot mess of a disaster.  Who knows what will happen now.  Tapley tweeted yesterday that he wouldn’t write off Fassbender’s involvement in the film, which may be because he caught a whiff of Law’s decision to scram and figured Fassbender would be wooed back to the set.  All I know is this is simultaneously the best and worst thing to ever happen to this film.  Worst because, well, the obvious; but best because people are talking about this film and honestly, before this, I couldn’t give two fucks about it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In crazy movie news…

What is wrong with you?!?!?!

So, this is a shocker, but it appears that Lynne Ramsey (director of Swinton’s 2011 Oscar bait ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’) has pulled out of her latest cinematic venture ‘Jane Got aGun’.  That isn’t so shocking in itself, but the fact that she did so on the first day of production is.  Yup, the cast and crew show up for their first day of shooting and…there is no director in sight!  I’m kind of baffled by this turn of events.  I could understand pulling out pre-production, if things weren’t going how you artistically ‘saw them headed’ or even mid-filming, if shit just got too real for you to handle, but this is an odd decision and one that leaves the studio and the cast and crew in a bit of a tailspin. 

Processing Paul Thomas Anderson...

Back in October I participated in the Director’s Chair Blog-a-Thon, which was centering on the works of DarrenAronofsky.  For my piece, I decided to use a visual approach to review all of his theatrical releases.  Aronofsky is one of those rare directors whom I’ve actually seen all the work from.  That had me thinking about what other directors I’ve been able to indulge in all their films, and with finally seeing ‘The Master’ this past weekend I can add Paul Thomas Anderson to that list.  Much like Aronofsky, Anderson is a visual director and so his filmography lends itself to being scrutinized and even defined by pictures.

So, I had a little fun this morning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Processing 'The Master'...

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors that I can’t help but respect, even if I don’t always respond to his films in the way that I would expect to.  I’ve seen all of his theatrical offerings and I love the way he pieces his films together.  They are truly ‘director heavy’ films that thrive on his knack for building tension with such visual and visceral flare.  Even when his films don’t complete themselves in the way I want them to, Anderson colors so many of his frames with such rich backstory and character development that you can’t help but be drawn to the film as a whole.  He’s had two masterpieces as far as I’m concerned; ‘There Will be Blood’ and ‘Boogie Nights’, and after that his films run from messy (Punch Drunk Love) to cluttered (Magnolia) to sincere (Hard Eight) and I’d say that ‘The Master’ is certainly sincere, if not a tad messy.  Anderson has so many ideas associated with his films that it takes a really steady hard to reign them all in, and he’s managed that before but something about ‘The Master’ feels incomplete, which is sad considering how much brilliance is here.

The one face of Matthew McConaughey...

I love how this year was the year of Matthew McConaughey and people were talking about how he had these four very divisive films that showed such range from him and he was working with these great directors like Soderbergh and Friedkin and recent Oscar inductee Lee Daniels, not to mention cult-favorite Linklater; and he was said to be entering this new chapter of his career and then I saw all four films and I’m left scratching my head as to why in the hell people made such a big deal about McConaughey this year; at all. 

I’ve been pretty vocal about not being a fan of the man.  I don’t think he has a lot of talent, and then again I dedicated my ‘Crimes of Oscar Snubbery’ to him back in 2011 for his role in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ because I was completely blown away by his command of the screen.  When people went ape-shit over McConaughey this year I was skeptical yet intrigued.  Sadly, what I found were four films that proved McConaughey has one face with slight shades that don’t really do much but confirm his reputation as a southern charmer.

The monument has crumbled…

I hope this is just rash ‘journalism’, but The Huffington Post is reporting that Daniel Craig is no longer attached to George Clooney’s ‘Monuments Men’.  This is sad news because I was really anticipating this to be Craig’s big break with The Academy.  I’ve been a fan of Craig’s for a while now.  In fact, I give him a nomination in 2006 for his brilliant interpretation of James Bond in ‘Casino Royale’.  Early word was that Craig was not only playing a villain in ‘Monuments Men’, but that he was also playing…A NAZI!  This was like prime Oscar bait and I really expected him to be on Oscar’s final ballot.  Now it looks like I have to rearrange my predictions before posting next month! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

80 years of Michael Caine...

Michael Caine turned 80 today, and so I felt it fitting to dedicate a top ten to the man's career.  I've been a huge fan for a long time, but honestly I have yet to see all of his lauded performances.  That being said, I've seen enough of him to be completely enamored by his talent, and he personally snags six Fisti Nominations and he even wins a couple.  What is your favorite Caine performance?  What would your top ten look like?

Let's Review Something: Life of Pi

I’ve given myself a few months to digest this film, since I feel as though my initial response to it may have been jilted thanks to my unapologetic adoration of the novel.  Jilted in a bad way, since I felt this paled in comparison and so I was almost angry at the film for being critically successful.  Taking these few months to let it all marinade, I have to admit that not a whole lot has changed from my initial feelings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Out and about: Renner and Adams prep for Oscar nominations...

Now I'm pissed that I didn't stick around in Boston long enough to see any of this go down, but Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner were spotted out and about getting ready to shot the new David O. Russell film (as of yet still untitled).  I'm currently predicting this pretty heavy with this coming years Oscars (you'll see my thoughts soon enough), and I'm beginning to think that this could be Amy Adams' ticket to the podium, but only time will tell.  She looks rather amazing in these pics, and despite my personal feelings towards Renner 'the actor', I kind of love his hair here so there's that.  Looks like the weather rebounded nicely.  I was there this past weekend and, well, blizzard anyone!  I only wish I had stuck around long enough to see Amy Adams waltzing down the street.  You can catch the rest of the pics here.

I'm back...

Well, I’m back.  I always love going in vacation and then I wind up thinking about my blog the whole time and how much I miss spouting off on it.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  It never fails that whenever I’m away I’m completely out of touch with everything.  I didn’t even have phone reception for half my vacation and have ZERO internet access, so I don’t even know what’s what with the movie world right now.  My work day is wasted, since I’m probably going to be scouring every website and blog I can just to bring myself up to date.  Two weeks is a long time in this fast paced world.  Anyways, I have some plans for this blog (I say that all the time), not the least of which involves a pretty cool ‘co-predicting’ Oscar post with a certain blogger friend.  Look for that early next month.  Until then, I better get to blogging!