Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Fincher Birthday Top Ten!

So, today David Fincher turns 52.  We talk a lot about Fincher on this blog.  We love him.  Of all the modern filmmakers today, he’s probably my favorite.  He has crafted such a signature style, but he’s one of the most effective directors when it comes to allowing his material room to breathe.  His style never overtakes the film, but he uses it as a compliment, as a way to embellish.  I’ll be the first to admit that he’s had some rocky moments.  The Game is an utter mess, and Alien3, while not the disaster so many think it was (or have been told to think it was) just didn’t hit all of the right marks, and Panic Room feels like an admirable attempt at blending his two most prolific films (Fight Club and Se7en) but a sadly uneven attempt at that.  Still, amidst these missteps, Fincher has maintained his reputation as one of cinemas greatest talents thanks to his ability to excite all of our senses within a single frame.

David Fincher is always the brightest star of all of his films.

So, this brings me to my top ten for today.  I wanted to celebrate his career with a birthday top ten, but I didn’t want to just rank his films.  I’ve kind of done that before.  I considered ranking my ten favorite performances in Fincher films, and yet some of those are so obvious (some not) and so that got me thinking…Fincher is just SOOOOO good with his actors, even actors we would never think could pull off the roles they’ve been assigned.  He just knows how to make an actor look good.  Maybe it’s the hundreds of takes he takes that gives him the one good take he needs, but I chose to feel that there is something that emotes from his vast talent that just overtakes the actors and pushes them far above what they’ve been capable of before.

So, I want to talk about ten often overlooked performances in Fincher films.  This is an unranked list, because rating them isn’t really the point.  I just want to raise awareness.  Watch these films again.  Take your eyes of Brad Pitt and look at the actors who are sharing the screen with him!  Don’t focus on the Oscar nominee or the actor who nearly got that Oscar nomination (sorry Garfield, you would DEFINITELY be on my Top Ten performances in a Fincher film, but you are not here) but look deeper, to the performances that didn’t get the critical attention or don’t have the rabid fan base. 

And, here we go!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gurl, be gone...

HOW DARE YOU!?!?!?!?!?!
I was originally going to lump this post with the news that Mike Epps is attempting to snag an Oscar nom by playing Richard Pryor, but then I realized that Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry are not the same person and so I decided not to even try and find a link, even though the link is obvious, and she's probably incredibly pissed about this post.

Does that make me racist, or does it just further prove the sad state of the quality of their work?

Anyways, I had to talk about this recent interview with Tyler Perry where he talks about singing show-tunes with Ben Affleck and being absolutely oblivious to the career of David Fincher.  This has got to be some of the most ridiculous admissions and stories told by any celebrity in an interview since Joaquin Phoenix looked like a homeless man.  From belting out Bette Midler (gurl, you're too hefty to keep that closet door closed) to saving a terrified crew member from the wrath of David Fincher (let that ego marinade a bit, my friend), Perry comes off like a GIANT douche.

But, it gets worse.  And I quote:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why do I get myself in these kinds of situations?

Apparently, teen novel adaptations are all the rage right now.  This year alone we have the first part of the conclusion to the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy (or is it a quadruplet or some other made up word like that?) as well as films like ‘The Giver’ and ‘The Maze Runner’ and earlier this year everyone went crazy (or at least a bunch of teenage girls did) when Jennifer Lawrence 2.0 (a.k.a. Shailene Woodley) starred in the big screen adaptation of ‘Divergent’.  I initially had no desire to see this, considering that I kind of loathe Woodley as an actress, but I used to hate Jennifer Lawrence too, and ‘The Hunger Games’ was partly to blame for my shift in opinion of her. 

Beside, this also stars Kate Winslet, and I’ve been in love with her since forever so I’ll stoop to watching just about anything in order to see her school everyone around her.

It’s a shame that ‘Divergent’ is a ridiculous, lazy, halfhearted, underdeveloped and over stylized absolute mess of a film, because it had the makings of something that could have been halfway decent and yet, well, this was outright awful.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blind Spot Series 2014: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

It's that time of the month again!  Another Blind Spot entry in the bag, another notch on my cinematic belt, another smile on this movie watcher's face!  I've said it once, I've said it seven times, and I'll say it again; these films have been so good to me this year!  This month I've tackled a real goodie, one that is beloved by many and marks my second Bogart (and my favorite of the two) that I'm seeing this year (for this series).

If you want to take a gander, here are the previous entries in this series:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Fistful of Thoughts...about some old news, dumb celebrities and truisms spoken too soon!

Bare with me.  I know that most of this is old news, but I've been so busy that all of these 'thoughts' I wanted to gossip about got shelved, but I still want to gossip about them!  So, whatever.  Let's rehash some stuff that everyone has already beat to death, but this know...let's do it here, on my blog!

First, can we just all agree that Jason Biggs needs to go away.  He is seriously the most annoying so-called celebrity working today.  I feel like boycotting Orange is the New Black for the sheer fact that it reignited his career and gave him this newfound sense of celebrity that he feels the need to rub in everyone's faces.  We don't care about you, your wife, your baby or your existence.  The fact that you try and sabotage every single talk show out there is repulsive enough as it is, but you are basically the second coming of Mark McGrath, and we all know that he is simply the WORST celebrity talk show guest ever.  Stop trying to make yourself interesting by supposedly hiring prostitutes for your birthday or whatever.  It just makes you desperate and gross.  

I want to punch him in the face.

So, when he got all that heat about his insensitive Malaysian Airline remarks on Twitter, I was actually relieved.  Revolt against this a-hole.  Make him go away.  Dig his grave.  His ridiculous response and subsequent apology was even more incredible.  Please, PLEASE, lash him for this. 

Thankfully, since this crap, I haven't had to endure him popping up on a couch somewhere talking about his awesomeness. 

So, Freddie Prince Jr. is still alive (who knew) and apparently Kiefer Sutherland is the reason he hates acting.  I love how classy Sutherland's PR team is.  Yes, Sutherland is apparently a jerk, but who cares.  He's a star (and THE star) for a reason.  Deal with it.  Go cry on your wife's shoulder...she has the time...neither of you are famous anymore.

So, Orlando Bloom is a local hero, right?  I mean, he missed, but at least he tried to punch Justin Bieber in the face.  I wish it wasn't about a girl.  Like, why can't we just think that he punched him for the rest of mankind?  Why can't he just have tried to punch him because, well, he's Justin Bieber?  This is what I choose to believe.  

So, Charlize Theron is a bitch, right?  LOL, I kind of love that though.  This story about her and Tia Mowry is like my favorite thing in life right now.  The fact that she couldn't be bothered to say hello while at spin class is so epic in its diva-ness that it may make her the most diva-diva in the business right now.  Like, WHO DOES THIS?  Her response was even better though.  LOL, calling Mowry a washed up actress, a, YES!!!  Thank you for being yourself, for being awesome and for not caring that you practically deserve to be hated by the rest of the world.  You are the classiest classless person working in Hollywood, and that is really, really cool.


And lastly, let's talk about how Barry Norman is a jerk.  Like, even if he's got a sort of point, was this necessary?  Don't get me wrong, I've called out hyperbole regarding deceased actors before.  I got heat when I posted about the legions of fans mourning the cinematic loss of Paul Walker, which baffled me since it wasn't a cinematic loss.  But, Robin Williams was a cinematic treasure, and while his later career was pitiful and he did make a lot of crap, isn't this a little too soon?  Do you think it makes you cool or edgy to buck the trend of honoring a fallen legend by posting an article designed to tear them apart?  It doesn't.  It makes you look like a heartless ogre.  Like I said, even if you have a point, NOW IS NOT THE TIME, and the format with which you made your comments is distasteful and disgusting.

Burn him.

OK, I've said my peace.  Your turn.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Fisti Recast-athon!

Alright, so I've been waiting to wrap up Twice a Best Actor before starting any blogathons, but since posting my list of The Ten Most Interesting Actresses, I've been wanting to start this.  I started the conversation with regards to minorities, especially women of color, getting interesting roles in Hollywood, and you took that and ran with it, throwing out names we should all be familiar with (thank you so much for the bounty of comments on that post!) and so I'm here to say...let's GET familiar with those names!

Here is my issue with Hollywood.  It seems like these talented women (the men have it much easier) are either relegated to minority-necessary casting (like, we NEED a black actress in this movie because the character is a slave) or they get shoved onto television, where they flourish in short lived TV shows that the average cinephile has probably never heard of.  It is very rare that a top rate director is going to use an actress of color in a role that doesn't call for one.  Just look at the Oscar nominated actresses to see proof of this.

Of the ten black actresses nominated for Lead Actress at the Oscars, only the character of Hushpuppy (played by Quvenzhane Wallis) didn't require a black actress, and even that could be slightly debatable.  

Look at the rest of them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Avengers can suck it!

So, last night my best friend calls me up and says “let’s go see Guardians of the Galaxy” and because he’s my best friend (despite going to see Lucy with his wife and NOT me) I readily said yes, even though I had never even heard of the comic book before the movie was announced.  Now, I want to get my hands on these comics.  You see, as a young boy, while the rest of my friends were into sports and collecting baseball trading cards, I was into Marvel comics and Spider-Man trading cards and pretty much dreamt of one day waking up with super-powers.  Yes, I was kind of a nerd, but I owned it and basically didn’t care at all.  But in recent years I’ve kind of gotten away from that obsession.  I grew up, got married, had kids and gave all of my super-hero memorabilia (TONS OF IT) to my younger brother.  I haven’t played a video game in about five years, and I haven’t read a comic book since I was like sixteen.  I’m so out of the loop.  I like super-hero movies, to a degree, but the recent barrage of them has left me somewhat indifferent, especially with regards to Marvel movies.  Maybe I take myself too seriously, but I like my superheroes with an edge, a darkness, and I like my superhero movies to feel grounded in something weighty.  I was a huge vocal fan of what Christopher Nolan did with Batman, and I was also a huge vocal detractor to what Whedon did with The Avengers.

I didn’t hate that movie, but the hyperbolic praise made me roll my eyes.

So, walking into Guardians of the Galaxy last night, I kind of expected to find myself indifferent.  It looked like fun, and the rise of Pratt has me curious, but mostly I expected Avengers redux, and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to writing a scathing review that got me a ton of hate mail.

No hating here, at all!

I find it rather funny that I’m pretty much ecstatic about this movie and I read online that a lot of fans are rather cool on this, despite critics praising it to the high heavens.  It never fails that I’m in the minority about things, but I have never had an issue with that.

For me, there are a few clear reasons why this film works better than the majority of superhero movies I’ve seen in recent years, making this possibly (OK, not possibly) the best superhero movie since 2008’s The Dark Knight.

And here they are.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The 1987 Fisti Awards!

How many kisses do I give Oscar's Best Picture?

Well, the 1987 Fisti Awards are here!  Are you excited?  I hope you are.  Click the link and check them out and let me know what you think!!!  There is so much greatness happening this year, one of the best of the 80's.  From war to childhood to fairytales to horror, 1987 is a bounty of greatness, and I hope that my personal awards reflect it well.  

An interesting tidbit, this is the only time in the history of the Fisti Awards (so far, obviously) where I nominate every actor off of one of Oscar's ballots.  Yup, all five of Oscar's Leading Ladies are here (one of them was put in Supporting, where she belongs) and I'm not ashamed of it at all.  This may be Oscar's greatest Leading Actress ballot to date!  

So give it a gander and let me know your thoughts!  1997 and 1971 are in the works, so be looking for those to come shortly.

Twice a Best Actor Bloggers Roundtable: STATS!!!

Well, Twice a Best Actor is over.  It’s been a real blast, but we have gone through all 9 actors to have won the Lead Actor Oscar twice and have now reached the end, where I present to you the ranked list!  But, before I do, I wanted to go ahead and present to you a few stats on our grades and our panel.  This was such a diverse and varied panel and that made for such a fun discussion.  Some of us seemed to love everything, some of us were never pleased and others seemed to moderately appreciate everything.  This made for interesting analysis and shocking results. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams: a celebration of his career...

Yes, we live in a world where information is at our fingertips.  We are constantly being informed, and quite frankly we don't have to wait at all to find the answers to the questions we have.  As soon as we think of the question, we can Google the answer.  This is almost even more true with regards to celebrities.  We can find out anything we want about their lives with the click of a button, and people have made it their profession to uncover every tidbit and make it readily available.  But, as I mentioned just a few months ago when Philip Seymour Hoffman died, is this really a good thing?  Do we need to start examining Robin Williams' depression just a few hours after his body is found?  I don't think now is the time for that.  Awareness of the disease that is depression; yes.  Let's do that, but do we really need to try and examine the sadness that had overtaken the man so soon?  I don't think so.

I hate you TMZ.

Let's celebrate his career instead.  I know that I already posted a little tribute to my memories of the man, and the impact he had on my childhood, but I have been enjoying all of these posts by my fellow bloggers highlighting their favorite moments and performances by this legend, and so I wanted to chime in with my personal five favorite Williams' film performances.

You shall be missed, my friend...

I'm at a loss for words right now.  I was at a loss for words yesterday evening, sitting on my recliner, scrolling through my Twitter feed and I literally read this post and knew something horrible just happened:

Fuck fuck fuck.  Please be a hoax.

It wasn't a hoax.  Robbin Williams was dead of an apparent suicide (the autopsy will be done on Thursday, I believe).  Robin had been reportedly suffering from depression and had a history of alcohol abuse (recently checking into rehab for it) and yet this was one of the most unexpected passings in recent history.  We've lost some incredible talents over the past few years.  I wept for Gandolfini and for Hoffman most recently, and last night I wept for Williams.

This is a very different kind of feeling for me though, and as I've seen on Twitter and even here in the blogosphere, there seems to be a common thread to all the mourning.  Robin Williams was such a large part of everyone's childhood.  Whether you grew up in the 70's, 80's or 90's, Robin Williams has been a real staple in households for nearly 5 decades.

Robin Williams was our friend.

One of my fondest memories growing us was snuggling in my parent's bed watching Mork and Mindy reruns before bed.  I remember mimicking Williams, acting out scenes with my father, "Na-no Na-no" being a common phrase in our house.  My earliest memory of television at all was watching Mork and Mindy.  In fact, true story, I dressed up as Mork for my first day of kindergarten (it was show and tell) and, while this did set a precedent for how I was going to be treated in school (I was never popular, always considered a bit of a nerd but excelled in drama class, thus snagging the hot chick by the end of Middle School), it was a comfort for me on my first day to be dressed as someone that made me happy.  Yes, regardless of my thoughts on his film career as a whole (I've been vocal about not really being supportive of his Oscar nominations, and his recent film output has been lackluster), Robin Williams always made me happy.  As a child it was Mork and Mindy, as a teen it was Mrs. Doubtfire and as an adult it was discovering gems like The World According to Garp (where he should have been Oscar nominated, and maybe even won).

His voice made me smile.

So here's to you Mr. Williams.  Here's to the times you brought my family together, made us laugh.  Here's to the memories of crying with you during Patch Adams and truly shivering from your tremendous performance in One Hour Photo.  Here's to the first time I saw you mimic fellatio in that apelike arm of yours or the childlike glee I had the first time you popped out of a bottle.  Here's to the fact that you were an icon, a truly recognizable presence and a man who touched everyone.    Here's to you, my friend; you will be missed.

And here is to anyone out there suffering from depression.  Please, I beg of you, talk to someone!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Twice a Best Actor Bloggers Roundtable: Spencer Tracy

Well, I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but we’ve reached the final entry in the Twice a Best Actor Bloggers Roundtable.  This is all very bittersweet for me.  I’ve had nothing but a wonderful time collaborating with these amazing bloggers and getting to rewatch these films and engage in a way that we don’t often get to in this big ol’ blogosphere!  Before we get into this I really want to extend a HUGE thank you to these five bloggers.  Alex, Andrew, Josh, Mario and Shane didn’t have to do this, but they were so willing to sit down, watch some films, jot down their thoughts and debate these performances with me…not just once, but over the course of ten weeks!  It’s been a huge project, a big undertaking and yet they willingly extended themselves, and I am grateful to them for this. 

I’ve wanted to debate these particular performances for a few years now, but I knew that my opinions alone would not do this discussion justice.  I knew I needed a panel, and so I want to thank these five bloggers for making this possible for me.

And now, let’s talk about Spencer Tracy!  It only seems appropriate that we close out this whole series with the actor who was the very first to win two of those golden basterds!

For the last time, here is our panel:

Alex from And So It Begins
Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Mario from Two Dollar Cinema
Shane from Film Actually

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Fistful of Links!

Well, obviously I've been slacking here.  It's been too long since I've linked off my fellow bloggers, so here I am with a special 'Review Edition' of A Fistful of Links.  Here are 12 reviews from 12 awesome bloggers!

Mario reviews A Streetcar Named Desire On the Waterfront for Twice a Best Actor!

Kevin reviews one of my favorite films of last year, Blue is the Warmest Color!

Rhys reviews Lucy, a film I'm still dying to see despite the mixed response!

Alex reviews the latest from Brit Marling, I Origins!

Sati reviews Fugitive Pieces, and schools me on my lack of Stephen Dillane knowledge!

Hunter reviews Lifeboat, one of the lesser known (sadly) Hitchcock films!

Steven reviews The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, a film I sadly bumped low on my Netflix queue recently, but now feel a strong desire to move back up!

Ruth reviews Guardians of the GOD I need to get to the movies!

Wendell reviews D.C. Cab, taking us back to his childhood!

Josh reviews A Most Wanted Man, continuing to make me jealous of his movie watching ratio!

Allie & Jenna review the back of an airplane seat!  MY GOD WATCH THIS ON A LARGER SCREEN!

Brittany reviews I Killed My Mother, the debut from the magnificent Xavier Dolan!

Twice a Best Actor: Quick Update

Just wanted to let everyone know, in case you were awaiting the...FINAL POST in the Twice a Best Actor series's not coming...yet.  It'll be here Monday instead.  Yes, we are at the end of the bloggers roundtable.  It's bittersweet for me.  I've had such a wonderful time collaborating with some bloggers that I wholly respect and admire, and their contribution to this series is what has made this so special, and even possible!  So, check back Monday for our take on Spencer Tracy's Oscar wins, and then look for a special wrap up post to come on Wednesday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Ten Best Superhero Movies Relay!

Well, I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m catching up on my blogathons right now!  LOL, this is what happens when you procrastinate.  Bubbawheat, the blogosphere’s chief authority on all things Superhero Movies, has started his own Bloggers Relay (those are popular right now, aren’t they?) and he’s passed the first baton over to me!  I’m honored and privileged and slightly terrified, to be completely honest. 

Here’s why.

Bubbawheat didn’t want this to be some never-ending relay that is soon dismissed or forgotten about (honestly, all of the ones I have participated in have been awesome and fun and yet after about seven or eight entries, I stopped keeping track) and so he set in motion a set of rules to govern this relay, giving it a definite end date.  So, the initial list was presented by Bubbawheat and then I have a week to work on it.  I have to remove 3 movies, with explanations as to why, and then replace them with 3 more (also with explanations).  If a movie lasts five rounds, it’s cemented onto the list.  If a removed movie is added and then removed again three different times, it is locked out and can no longer be chosen.  Once 4 movies are locked onto the list, bloggers remove 2 titles…and once we have 8 locked in films, we can only remove 1.

Eventually we will have a locked in list of 10.

Here is why I am terrified.  I’m nowhere near as versed in the world of Superhero films as Bubbawheat is…and his initial list of 12 (yes, there are 12 due to the rule changes, but it will end with 10) looks pretty damn perfect!

But, I will press on and hope that this works out for me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Attack of the Sequels!

I love meeting new bloggers and becoming acquainted with their sites and their personalities.  A new blogger on my radar is Feeling Fuzzier, and I’m quickly becoming a real fan!  A few weeks back he decided to host his first every blogathon, and I’ve been meaning to participate.  I hate when time slips away from you, because here it is the day before the deadline and I’m just now scrambling to put something together.

Well, not really scrambling.

You see, the blogathon in question is Attack of the Sequels!, a blogathon about just that; movie sequels.  The task at hand is to choose a movie (even if it already has a sequel or two) and explain why you think it needs one (or another).  This is about GOOD movie sequels, not those crappy ones that keep getting green-lit. 

I kind of knew right away where I would go with this, because I’ve had this idea in my head for going on four years now about pretty much the only Pixar sequel I want to see, and so I knew it would be perfect for this.  The only thing was, I’m not really sure how well it qualifies because it wouldn’t really be a sequel but a prequel, and on top of that, it would kind of be more like a spinoff.

If you are a longtime reader of the blog, you probably know where I’m going with this, as I’ve mentioned this idea a few times.

Guilty Pleasure Movies Blogathon!

So, Jenna and Allie, two of the coolest chicks blogging about movies right now, have put together their first blogathon!  We've talked about it here before (awareness, people!) and I hope that everyone is playing along.  There are still a few weeks left (the deadline is August 31st), so if you haven't given this much thought, starting giving it!  The blogathon is a pretty cool idea.  

Guilty Pleasures...we all have them, especially when it comes to movies.  We all have that one movie that we know we shouldn't love that we can't help but shamelessly ADORE!

I immediately knew the movie I was going with.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ten...of Many!

So, John over at Hitchcock’s World had run a bloggers relay last month calling for the Ten Most Influential Directors of All Time.  That is such a loaded question, such a subjective list, and the response (both the ones removed and added…as well as the ones no one would touch) says a lot.  Opinions were all over the place.  This got me thinking about not just the directors I feel are the most influential, but the specific directorial achievements I consider to be the most influential, or at least the most spellbinding.  I have to admit, compiling a list was incredibly hard because limiting myself to ten meant excluding some really impressive work.

I can’t even order these.  Like, I’m presenting them to you in chronological order because, well, I can.

So, I’m going to call shenanigans (yes, I stole your word Mario) on myself for compiling a list that DOES NOT include names like Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Jane Campion or Jean-Luc Godard, but this was HARD to narrow down.  But this isn’t a list of the ten best directors or even the ten best directorial achievements but the ten directorial efforts that I think beautifully shape what makes film so special.

UGH, I don’t even want to put a label on it.  This list was my Sophie’s Choice and so labeling it is hard, because it makes me feel like I’m shaming the one’s that missed the cut.  Let’s just call this Ten Directorial Efforts We Should All Appreciate and call it a day.

Ten...of many!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Twice a Best Actor Bloggers Roundtable: Tom Hanks

I can’t believe it, but we are almost to the end of this series.  It’s been such a joy to take part in this with these awesome bloggers, and I really hope they’ve had fun exploring Oscar’s double dips, and I hope that you have had fun reading what we’ve had to say. 

Today we are discussing Tom Hanks.  I have to say, these results shocked me.  As a panel, we’ve been all over the place, and this is no different.  I expected a different result, I’ll be honest.

Well, you’ll see for yourself.

First, our panel!

Alex from And So It Begins
Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Mario from Two Dollar Cinema
Shane from Film Actually

August Oscar Predictions!

Alright, so it’s August 1st and that means we need to update our Oscar predictions.  I have a little commentary this month (maybe too much), so let’s just get right into it.