Thursday, March 31, 2011
Why would God make us so different if he wanted us to be the same?
Simply put, the greatest movie dealing with teenage spirituality of all time. We seriously need more of these. Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin are both absolutely awesome. If you like "Juno" or "Glee", you need to check this out immediately!
Manech loves Mathilde, Mathilde loves Manech.
Recipe for making a movie simply for Will:
-Reunite director Jean-Pierre Jeunet with adorable sprite Audrey Tautou.
-Set the movie during World War I
-Mix in absolutely beautiful cinematography
-Add in just enough fantasy so that the movie teeters on the edge of believability
-Throw in a storyline of star-crossed lovers separated by war who'll stop at nothing to find each other
-Make it a 2.5 hour epic of a film!
And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin.
This will probably be the only movie that I add to the blog as I go (I'll figure out something to bump out...). I simply had to bring attention to this film as soon as possible. I really only have two things to say:
1. SEE THIS MOVIE IMMEDIATELY - It'll be a perfect Friday night movie for April 1.
2. DON'T READ ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THIS MOVIE!!!! In fact stop reading right now and update your Netflix/make a redbox run/insert movie aquisition method of choice!
I will simply say that this is the most moving, tense, and truly real movie I have seen in a VERY long time. I repeat, DO NOT read anything about this movie this includes, but is not limited to, reviews, imdb.com information, news articles, etc.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Why isn't love enough?
I admit that I don't remember much about my single viewing of this movie seven years ago except for its absolute awesomeness and the song "The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice (even if you don't check out this movie, check out this song; pure haunting beauty). Still, if movies were sports this would be an all-star game. A love "square" between Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen directed by Mike Nichols (of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "The Graduate" fame). I really need to rewatch this on a sleepless "world-contemplating" night...
-Not to #*$( on anyone's riff here, but let me just see if I grasp this concept, ok? You're suggesting that we take some $(#&ing parking shuttles, and reinforce them with some aluminum siding, and then just head on over to the gun store and watch our good friend Andy play some cowboy movie jump-on-the-covered-wagon bull$*#(. Then, we're gonna drive across a ruined city, through a welcome committee of a few hundred thousand dead cannibals, all so that we can sail off into the sunset on this #*@(ing #*$((#*'s boat? And head for some island that for all we know doesn't even exist?
-Pretty much, yeah.
-Okay... I'm in.
So, you don't really like horror movies? Yeah, me neither... With that said, I do have quite an affinity for zombie movies, and I have this challenge to my horror-challenged brethren. Watch the first 10 minutes of this movie (at least until Johnny Cash's opening credits song). If you don't dig it, then I understand. No problem, but there is probably a segment of the population who's eyes will be opened to a whole wonderful Romero-world because of this amazing opening sequence.
-When I think of your mother, I will always remember how happy she looked, sitting there in the parlor watching a play about her family, about her boys that never grew up. She went to Neverland. And you can visit her any time you like if you just go there yourself.
-By believing, Peter. Just believe.
It simply doesn't get any better than a true story with a touch of fantasy, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, a really talented young actor (Freddie Highmore) and the origin of Peter Pan.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
-Cause like you said, this is it. This is life. And I'm in love with you... I think that's the only thing I've ever really been sure of in my entire life. And I'm really messed up right now, and I got a whole lot of stuff I have to work out, but I don't want to waste any more of my life without you in it. And I think I can do this. I mean, I want to. I have to, right?
-So what do we do? What do we do?
So, you are a young Hollywood up-and-coming actor or actress and you want to write, direct, and star in your very own feature film. All you have to do is follow Zach Braff's quick and easy guide:
1. Write a quirky screenplay that plays off your own life but exaggerates for the sake of fantasy elements (not for the sake of entertainment alone - i.e.: don't listen to the suits and focus groups!).
2. Inject a nice little love story with an absolutely adorable costar (Natalie Portman is preffered)
3. Cast Peter Sarsgaard as one of your close friends regardless of your age. He can pull it off, he is probably the most "chameleon-like" actor of our time.
4. Cast Method Man in a bit part in which he imparts vague wisdom to the main character.
5. Get some of the best little known indie-rock bands to let you use their songs a soundtrack that fits the mood of your film perfectly (The Shins, Imogen Heap, Iron & Wine)
6. Add in just a dash of little-remembered classic music from some combination of Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, or both.
7. Sit back and watch the perfection unfold before you.
-Lets run! Don't fight them, Howl!
-Sorry, I've had enough of running away, Sophie. Now I've got something I want to protect. It's you.
Another mind-blowingly beautiful work of moving art from the genius of Hayao Miyazaki. As in "Spirited Away" a young girl gets whisked away into a magical world, but this time the spell is on her. Sophie transforms into an older version of herself and must work with a very strange "family" of spellbound objects to help a wizard fend off the attacks of an evil witch. Throw everything you know about linear storytelling and the rules of fantasy out the window, and sit back and enjoy the ride. It'll probably take a couple of views to really "get" the story, but the visuals make it more than worth repeated viewings.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
There is no remainder in the mathematics of infinity.
David O. Russell could easily be one of my favorite directors if only he made more movies. There is no excuse for only 5 movies in the nearly 20 years he has been a director. Sure, James Cameron has only done two in that same time frame, but Russell's movies aren't epic four hour special-effects shows. It also seems that he has a strange love affair with Marky Mark (his last 3 movies featured the talent). That being said, this movie is a fun romp through psychological babble, meaningless, and some of the greatest actors of our time having fun on screen.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
-Where - is - my - super - suit?
-I, uh, put it away.
-*Why* do you *need* to know?
-I need it!
-Uh-uh! Don't you think about running off doing no derrin'-do. We've been planning this dinner for two months!
-The public is in danger!
-My evening's in danger!
-You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
-'Greater good?' I am your wife! I'm the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!
The studio behind Toy Story and the writer/director behind The Iron Giant. So, so awesome! As my buddy Dave says, this is the best Fantastic Four movie ever!
Monday, March 21, 2011
-Thank you, daddy.
-Anything for you, Gert. You know why?
-'Cause you're the only thing I was ever really good at.
This movie faced two really big obstacles. One, everyone saw it as a Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie in the same vein as the infamously horrendous "Gigli". And two, it will always be remembered as the one "PG-13" Kevin Smith movie. I firmly believe if "Bennifer" wasn't part of our mid-'00s lexicon and people had never heard of Kevin Smith that this movie would have been quite a bit more fondly remembered. It really is one of the best "Father/Daughter" movies of all time. I realize that's not saying much, but in the past two and a half years I have begun to understand this movie more and more. Love you Abby!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I suppose the traditional way to conclude this is, we cross Hanzo swords. Well, it just so happens, this hacienda comes with its very own private beach. And this private beach just so happens to look particularly beautiful bathed in moonlight. And there just so happens to be a full moon out tonight. So, swordfighter, if you want to sword fight, that's where I suggest. But if you wanna be old school about it - and you know I'm all about old school - then we can wait till dawn, and slice each other up at sunrise, like a couple real-life, honest-to-goodness samurais.
So, you're wondering what's so great about this Quentin Tarantino character. Maybe you watched "Pulp Fiction" and just didn't get it. Maybe you don't really go for the super-graphic violence and language. Maybe you just think he's a pretentious copycat who thinks he is the center of the movie world. But maybe, just maybe he simply makes the coolest movies of all time. Still don't believe me...? Take 60 seconds and watch the trailer below. Have a tissue handy, you may need to wipe the condensation off of your computer screen it's so cool.
You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks Unfriendly black hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don't eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet, and the worst. Beware of plastics.
Some of the most talented young Hollywood actresses armed with a script from the wittiest woman in show business turn an entire genre completely on its ear. We've seen what Tina Fey has been capable of since: one of the best shows on TV during the '00s (30 Rock). Still, one can only imagine how big a star Ms. Lindsay Lohan could have been had she not chosen to completely coked herself into oblivion. I seriously was one of her biggest fans for the 90 days or so that she was between teenie-bopper-hood and skeleton-wreck.
On a side note, Rachel McAdams was 24 when this movie was released. Even a movie as genre-redefining as this could not avoid the stigma of completely unrealistic teenagers...
Friday, March 18, 2011
-What is America like?
-Over there... it's too perfect. Everything's straight.
A very important role that movies have served over the past hundred years is to humanize a problem that viewers would otherwise have very little idea about. Most American's would imagine that using young girls to traffic illicit narcotics in the United States inside their stomachs is pretty horrible, but it is easy to dismiss unless one actually sees it. Unlike many overtly preachy films, this film simply puts a face to the problem, and leaves it up to the viewer to decide on the solution. Catalina Sandino Mareno deserved every accolade she recieved from this movie and it remains one of the most heart wrenching performances I have ever viewed.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say '$*#&, it's raining!'
This movie is the perfect example of why I prefer the medium of film to the written word. I could be wrong, but I can't imagine enjoying this story after 464 pages and countless hours of reading. On the other hand, a much smaller dedication of 2.5 hours is perfect. I am able to completely devote myself to the storyline and do not tire of the characters. In this way, movies are able to tell a story that may not be otherwise enjoyed. While researching this film I also noticed the huge list of my favorite actors and actresses that appeared. Seriously, the list is staggering: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Lucas Black, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Southerland, Kathy Baker, James Gammon, and even Jack White (of The White Stripes). Notice I left out Renee Zellweger because squinty eyes and whining do not a good actress make (although she was pretty good in this film).
Hey, look. "Esc-a-pay". I wonder what that means? That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."
Imagine a Disney film beginning with the death of the main character's entire family except for one unborn child. It's pretty hard to do. This is a beautifully animated, touching story that further cements the Pixar animation studio as the greatest single thing to happen to animated/family/children's film since Walt Disney dreamed up a black-and-white whistling steamboat drivin' mouse.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Meet me at the corner of creation and destruction.
This is the only true "short" film on my 365 clocking in at only 21 minutes. I included it because it is absolutely awesome and it is directed by my favorite director, Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, Before Sunrise, etc.). Bohemian "tour guide" Speed Levitch shares his thoughts about New York City, September 11th, and the human condition in a whirlwind of ideas and ruminations. This is the most effective of the many twin tower "reflective" films that were made in the past decade because it does a great job of capturing the pain, hope, and interesting perspective shared by many native to America's largest city.
-Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
-Because I choose to.
Before the Matrix sequels came out I attended a meeting of the ECU Philosophy club (at the Perculator) dealing with the "free will" implications of the fictional Matrix universe. This film, in particular, stripped away most of the wire work, wizardry, and kung fu that made the original film so broadly appealing and forced the viewer to examine how they really think about themselves and mankind. Because of this preachiness, quite a few people didn't enjoy the sequels, but I felt a little different. It would've been easy for the Wachowski brothers to simply continue the same gunfights and bullet-time throughout the sequels, but they chose to explore the ideas proposed in their original movie on a much deeper level which ultimately distanced many of their fans. For me, I felt the movies were a breath of fresh air compared to the average action movie sequel which simply tries to recapture the glory of the original.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Trinity. I know you can hear me. I'm never letting go. I can't. I just love you too damn much.
When I invest in a series, I tend to go all out. Odds are I would absolutely adore any movie that started "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." simply because I love the franchise so much. Heck, I even was excited about "The Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows" because I had enjoyed the mystery surrounding the first so much. This fact probably explains quite a bit of my love for the Matrix sequels. Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rather than just sit here, feeling sorry for myself or whatever, I'll get on with it and I'll die on the way down.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to climb one of the world's tallest mountains using a route no one else had ever used with your best friend? If so, then boy is this a film for you! The unique mix of interview and reenactment tells the story of these two young mountaineers in a way that pure fiction or a travelogue never could. Even if everything went right, it would make for a pretty awesome story, but the added mix of injury, dehydration, and death-cheating makes for one of the most thrilling films of the decade. Even the reenactments are filmed in such a way that by the end of the movie the viewer can't help but be physically exhausted from the journey.
Friday, March 11, 2011
How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?
Most people probably see this movie (and all of Inarritu's movies for that matter) as pretty depressing. I choose to see it as a reminder of the things we do have. Life is fleeting, and no one knows when their ticket might get punched. This movie revolves around how three people deal with a horrendous tragedy in their lives. For me, it serves more as a lesson to cherish the living than as a sorrowful lament to the dead.
Oh Nina, what a lot of parties... Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Circus parties, parties where you have to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St. John's Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and nightclubs, in swimming baths and windmills. Dances in London so dull. Comic dances in Scotland and disgusting dances in the suburbs. All that succession and repetition of massed humanity. All those vile bodies. And now a party in a mental hospital...
Let me assure you, that as much as I love this movie, it is nowhere near as exciting as the quote above makes it sound. ;D
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I've got to be honest with you. When the September 11th situation happened, and I must say, and I wanna say this because I don't want to take it lightly. It's not a light situation. It was a devastating act. It was really a bad thing. It was one of the worst things I've seen in my lifetime, you know. But, I will tell you and every trade will tell you, who was not in that building and who was buying gold and who owned gold and silver, that when it happened, the first thing you thought about was, "well, how much is gold up?" The first thing that came to mind was, "my God, gold must be exploding". Fortunately, for us, all our clients were in gold. So when it went up they all doubled their money. Everybody doubled their money. It was a blessing in disguise. Devastating, crushing, heart shattering, but on the financial sense, for my clients that were in the market, they all made money. Now, I wasn't looking for this type of help, but it happened. When the USA bombed Iraq back in 1991 the price of oil went from $13 to $40 a barrel, for crying out loud! Now, we couldn't wait for the bombs to start raining down on Saddam Hussein. We were all excited. We wanted Saddam to really create problems. "Do whatever you have to do, set fire to some more oil wells, because the price is going to go higher." Every broker was chanting that. There was not a broker that I know of that wasn't excited about that. This was a disaster. This was something that was, you know, catastrophe happening. Bombing. Wars. In devastation there is opportunity.
Lets begin by saying that, unlike Michael Moore's movies, this documentary is by no means "entertaining". Still, its brilliant take on the entity of the corporation more than makes up for its lack of humor and wit. The main theme is that the world treats corporations like individuals (with certain rights and privileges). With this in mind, the filmmakers proceed to give the corporation a psychological evaluation, and all the signs point to that of a sociopath. This is pretty much a must-watch for any socially-minded citizen of the world.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I could hear my heart pounding. I don't know if it was because I'd just been chased by the police or because I was already in love with my new friends.
This is a movie about love. Love of movies, love of people, love of sex, love of freedom, love of family, love of fellowship, love of argument, and love of country. When all of that love combines with the direction of master filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci and amazing young acting of Michael Pitt and Eva Green, you get one of the strangest, most beautiful, and thought-provoking movies of the new millenium.
-My wife has me between a rock and a hard place.
-That's her job. You should respect that.
This movie is evidence that the Coen brothers (although at their best when spinning intricate yarns of murder and intrigue) are 100% genre proof. If your career can sustain going from "Fargo" to a romantic comedy and back to "No Country for Old Men", then you are an amazing filmmaker. The Coens are just that. Every line of dialogue, frame of camerawork, and detail of acting is perfect. It also doesn't hurt that they are working with some of the best actors in history in Billy Bob Thornton, George Clooney, and Richard Jenkins (that's right! I put him in there too! Don't believe me? Look him up! He is an outstanding actor that you know, but his name is completely unreckognizable).
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I am finished doing what I swore an oath to God 28 years ago to never do again. I've created, "something that kills people." And in that purpose, I was a success. I've done this because, philosophically, I am sympathetic to your aim. I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.
This is what happens when a studio lets Quentin Tarantino make exactly the type of movie he wants to make: A genre-bending, star-filled, ultra-violent, super-hip, superhero revenge movie. I'll have more to say about the awesomeness of this movie with volume 2.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
-And now, Peter Pan, you shall die.
-To die would be an awfully big adventure.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:3-4
Peter Pan is one of my all time favorite fairy tales and this is the best version of it to ever grace the screen. Skip the racist cartoon and the fun but corny "Hook" and head straight for this version which I'm sure would be what Mr. Barrie would have made if he had been born today.
A long time ago, my ancestor Paikea came to this place on the back of a whale. Since then, in every generation of my family, the first born son has carried his name and become the leader of our tribe... until now.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I felt that my time on the internet could be a bit more productive. To that end, I guess it has been a success. Instead of spending hours looking at funny videos, reading Star Wars fan fiction, and ogling the newest Magic the Gathering cards, I have tried my best to offer some insight into my favorite movies of all time. I have evidence of my time on the internet, but I'm not so sure this time spent is much more productive in the long run. As we sit hunched over our computers for hours on end, we are creating a new culture; one without borders, colors, or ethnicity. Still, with every keystroke we are losing the culture that our ancenstors developed for hundreds of years. This transition must be careful or we stand to lose many of the wonderful things about humanity.
This movie is about cherishing culture. It examines native culture of New Zealand through the eyes of a young girl, Paikea, who fights to return her tribe to the ideals of their elders. This is troublesome though because her culture is patriarchal. Without any male heirs, the chief has fallen into despair and most young peopel have given up hope. Paikea reminds her family and the viewer that culture is about love for your fellow man: past, present, and future. I only hope we can maintain this love for one another and our history as we transition away from regional culture to a new culture of the world.
Friday, March 4, 2011
There was abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.
The ensemble cast from "Best in Show" and "Waiting for Guffman" reunites to create a fake documentary about reuniting folk singing groups from the '60s and '70s. As Charlie Sheen would say, "That's WINNING!" Eugene Levey and Catherine O'Hara cemented there roles as male and female leads with the most touching moment in the history of mockumentary as they actually kissed during the climax of their reunion song "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow".
I have only five words for you: FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!
Probably the most entertaining documentary of all time, while at the same time being about one of the most important issues of our time. Whether you love or hate Michael Moore, you have to admit, he can make a doggone good film. I happen to see eye-to-eye on Mr. Moore's views, so works doubly well for me. What makes his movies unique is that even though he is painting the picture that he wants the viewer to see, his canvas and media are extremely broad. He interviews Marilyn Manson, Charlton Heston, John Nichols (Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols' brother), Dick Clark, and many everyday people. If you are at all curious why the United States leads the developed world (by a HUGE amount) in gun violence, then check this film out immediately.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Where do you want to take the shot? In the hand or in the foot?
I know it's a cop out, but words cannot describe the awesomeness of this movie. You should see it immediately. If you like foreign films, then you probably have already seen this. If you have never seen a subtitled film, this will make you want to see more.
That was the day I stopped believing in the wild ardor of things. Perhaps in love, as well. That kind of love. The love in books and films. The love that tells us to abandon our lives and plans, all for one brief touch of Venus. So often we fail at that kind of love. The world just seems too fragile a place for it. And of every other kind, life remains full. Perhaps it's just we who are too fragile.
For some reason, our modern society has a habit of looking at the 1950's as a sanitized, almost perfect version of American society. This film takes that presupposition and, at first, fits it to a tee with postcard-esque cinematography and an introduction to a wonderfully happy family. Then the movie thrusts the viewer into reality dealing with two seemingly modern issues: Homosexuality and interracial relationships. This technique also helps to realize that these issues are not present-day issues, rather they are issues that the more "ideal" generation turned a blind eye to while people suffered. This reminds me of my dad's "favorite" church sermon. You probably know it. It usually goes something like: "We need to return to the time when our nation was right with God!" To which my dad usually replies: "I'd like you to point out that nonexistent time!"
On a side note, it is an absolute travesty that Julianne Moore did not win an Oscar for this role. She was double nominated in best actress and supporting actress (for "The Hours") and I'm sure her votes were split. Ah, the wonderful soap opera of the Academy...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I don't want to escape punishment. I've killed four innocent people and I want to answer for that, but before I do, I want to kill him.
I really don't remember much about this movie, and I know it deserves a rewatch. All I can say is that it is a thriller directed by Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") with Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett falling in love while they are on the run. That's enough for me... ;)
-Are you in love with her?
-No... I'm in love with you. And I'm in love with your beautiful woman. And I'm in love with your kids. And I'm even in love with your unborn child. I'm even in love with your anger! I'm in love with anything that lives!
After being let down by the Oscar voters once again, it is nice to return to the blog and remind you of a truly amazing movie. If you have never heard of this movie, I urge you to track it down immediately. It is the perfect combination of hope, fantasy, heartache, innocence, and love. It deals with the issues of HIV, immigration, childhood, marraige, poverty, illegal immigration, and urban living in ways that other movies can only dream about. The power of the film rests in the narrative perspective. It is told through the eyes of the eldest daughter of an Irish immigrant family. She is in constant "contact" with her recently deceased little brother and is kept grounded by her very innocent little sister. Through this perspective the audience gets the innocence of the story without feeling the full brunt of the heartache that the family must be going through during their tough times.