Friday, January 23, 2009

Oscar Nominations

Oh my god am I glad to see this years Oscar Nominations. The Dark Knight was completely snubbed, which I think it should have been because it is not an Academy worthy film. The Reader picked up a couple of nominations (which is good), but I was surprised by the lack of nominations for Doubt and The Wrestler. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button picked up I believe somewhere around 13 nominations which is exciting, because perhaps David Fincher will finally get the recognition he deserves, atlhough it was not his best film. I will be tuning in this year as I do every year and hopefully Slumdog Millionaire will not sweep the awards.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


So I finally got around to seeing Zodiac. This is a film that I blindly purchased when it was on sale about 6 months ago and never had the time to invest in it (considering it is 157 mins. long). All I can say is that while I was watching this film I was in pure awe. From the production design, to the great cast, to the amazing story that is actually true, and the screenplay that comes from the main characters actual book and account of the events. Zodiac is a film experience, and to be perfectly honest with you I think it is David Fincher's best film. This is hard for me to say since I am a big fan of David Fincher and love most of his films and consider them modern classics (Se7en, The Game, Fight Club).
Jack Gyllenhall is fantastic as the main character Robert Graysmith. He is a cartoonist for the San Fransisco Chronicle and once the letters from the Zodiac start rolling in he slowly becomes obsessed with the case. Likewise, an outstanding Robert Downey Jr. who is a reporter for the San Fransisco Chronicle becomes obsessed with the case but through substance abuse fades out of his job and his passion for the case. The last main character Inspector David Toschi, is also very well acted by Mark Ruffalo. The way these three characters indivdually handle the case is a great character study and insight into three professionals lives.
The film also has a great soundtrack. It is very fitting for the time period being mainly from 1968 to about ten years later in 1978. Also, for its era the production design is outstanding. From the clothing, to the cars, to the buildings, it is all a very interesting look at the era and it really brings you into the story. If you have read my previous reviews for films particularily Revolutionary Road you know I am a sucker for production design and David Fincher scores big points here.
Overall, If a film approaches 3 hours and keeps me completely sucked in the entire time it counts as one of the greater films I have ever seen, and over time will probably become a favorite of mine.
My score for this film 10/10

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden Globes

This has been the first year that I have ever bothered watching the Golden Globes. I think that for the most part they are nowhere near as important as the Oscars. But for my first time I was pleased with most of the awards that were given out. Especially Mickey Rourke's win for Best Actor in The Wrestler along with Bruce Springsteen's win for the song "The Wrestler". I was also pleased with Kate Winslet's win for Best Actress in Revolutionary Road, but was not pleased with Slumdog Millionaire sweeping the shows awards because looking back I feel Revolutionary Road and Doubt were more realistic and better films overall. Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Dark Knight, although I feel that if he was still alive it would have gone to Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (which he totally deserved). Anyways, now I am pumped for the Oscars and hopefully this time around Doubt and Revolutionary Road will be larger contenders.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gran Torino

So tonight I saw Clint Eastwood's new film Gran Torino for the first time in theatres. I previously saw a bootleg screener copy of it and watched it on my computer feeling so so about it. Now that I have seen it on the big screen I feel a little different about it. I still feel that Tao the young Asian boys acting was poor/over the top in some cases, and really ruined some scenes for me. I also did not enjoy the ending on the first time around but after this last viewing I have grown to except it. Eastwood at 78 years old is still a powerhouse in the film industry, pumping out two films this year (Gran Torino and one of my favorites of the year Changeling). I have to give him props for being so involved in his productions on every level and just being shy of 80 years old. He still puts out films that are better than most at an age that most people are out of commission. So overall, Gran Torino has a great performance from Eastwood, and some memorable scenes and themes.

My rating for this film 7/10

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clint Eastwood

I am pretty sure that my friend Will (probably the biggest film nerd other than myself that I know) is coming over to my apartment in a little bit. When he comes over we are probably going to watch a movie. Right now I'm thinking we should watch a Clint Eastwood film. Why, you ask? Because Clint Eastwood is the biggest badass to have ever been in modern American film! His facial expressions, line delivery, classic smirk make for a great American film. "Now I know what you thinking ... Did he shoot six shots or only five? Well, you've gotta be asking yourself ... Do I feel lucky? ... Well do ya punk?" That is one of the most iconic lines from any American film and it comes from Dirty Harry, the film that was Eastwoods major American breakthrough role, although he was widely known at the time for the Man With No Name Trilogy. So I figure when Will comes over I might have to pop in "Dirty Harry/Magnum Force/The Enforcer/Sudden Impact/The Dead Pool" on Blu-Ray from my Dirty Harry Ultimate Collectors Edition (which by the way is the best Blu-Ray collection available besides Blade Runner Five Disc Complete Collectors Edition and The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration). I think everyone should watch a Dirty Harry movie every once in a while ...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Thing

So I just got off of a double at work and my plans bailed on me. But thank the gods because my copy of John Carpenter's The Thing has arrived on Blu-Ray at my doorstep. I cannot rave enough about this film. It seems like John Carpenter could have saved his career if he just kept Kurt Russell in his films. I mean come on Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Thing are all really great campy, fun, and are all pretty much on my guilty pleasures list. Scratch that I don't even feel guilty for liking these movies because they are great. The Thing also has an amazing soundtrack by none other than Ennio Moricone (the composer of the Man With No Name trilogy's soundtrack), and great special effects for its time.

My rating for this film 10/10

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sam Mendes has done it again! A review of Revolutionary Road

I have decided that Sam Mendes is one of the greatest living directors just after watching Revolutionary Road. With his past films being American Beauty, Road to Perdition, and Jarhead. In my opinion he has never made a bad film. He gets great performances out of his actors and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet really shine in this film. Another great touch is the addition of Michael Shannon to the cast who plays a minor role as the realators son John Givings, but really steals the show. The story is a heartbreaking one about a young family whose parents feel trapped in a life that they never intended to live. This is the subject matter Mendes knows best. I mean after all he swept the Oscars with a similar theme in American Beauty. But unlike American Beauty this film deals with a different era, with a different set of morals which complicates the characters lives more than the previous film. The tension builds throughout the film with great character studies between Frank (DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Winslet).

That being said the production design in the film is absolutely wonderful. You really feel like you are in 1950's Connecticut and Manhattan. The effort that is involved in producing period pieces always amazes me, but this film in particular has a look to it that I can only recall seeing on the T.V. show Mad Men. Whether its the cars, the houses, the clothing, the furniture, and even the kitchenware, its all been tediously recreated and really gets you involved in the time period. But Sam Mendes is no stranger to the period piece and succeeded in reproducing the 1930's just as well in Road to Perditon. Along with some great screenwriting, directing, and a moving soundtrack, all I can say is that this is going to be one of the better movies to come out this year. Check it out when it gets a wide release on my birthday January 23rd!

My rating for this film 9/10

My Top Fifteen Films of the Year

So tonight I finally saw Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and I think it is fair to say that I have seen every major or important film released in 2008. It is hard to come up with a top ten list so I figure I'll go for a cop out and come up with fifteen. I have thought about it really hard and here it is!

15. The Wackness
14. The Fall
13. Burn After Reading
12. Happy Go Lucky
11. Milk
10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
9. Synecdoche, New York
8. Changeling
7. Tell No One
6. I've Loved You So Long
5. The Dark Knight
4. Let the Right One In
3. Doubt
2. Slumdog Millionaire
1. The Wrestler

These are the best movies that were released this past year or so I think. The list is in no specific order, but if I had to pick a favorite I would say it was The Wrestler for its realistic portrayal of a washed up professional wrestler in a great performance by Mickey Rourke (pictured above).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Post

This is my first post on hopefully what will become my thriving film blog. I have never blogged before, but hopefully I will put my film insight on here and people will start to check it out. I am also in the process of developing some short films and I will get those up as soon as possible!