Thursday, November 29, 2007

Romola, Romola, Romola...

I watched Amazing Grace yesterday (great movie btw), but what really struck me was how astonishingly and overwhelmingly beautiful Romola Garai is. Really before the buzz for Atonement came along, I wasn't quite sure who she actually was. But

GOD

she's beautiful. And she's one hell of an actress. But so beautiful... *sigh*

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Zooey as "DG"

Squee!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Very Large and Encompassing Post Containing Capsule Reviews of Most of the 2007 Films I've Seen and Haven't Reviewed In Any Form Yet

Hannibal Rising (dir. Webber) -- The first film I saw this year. Why did I see this? Because I was supposed to see Pan's Labyrinth. Supposed to. But this surprised me. It wasn't great or anything, but it wasn't bad at all. The best thing about it is easily Gaspard Ulliel's seriously great performance as Lecter. And Gong Li for that matter. But like I said, nothing too brilliant. B-

Bridge to Terabithia (dir. Csupo) -- I still don't understand why I never made a review for this of any kind 9 months ago when I saw it. I really need to re-view it. In fact, if I don't, my ordering of the films will never be right; this keeps swimming around the Top Ten like it were melting Jell-O. But, what I do remember is that it's even more emotionally devastating than the book, which was a feat I couldn't believe. I was still crying as the credits rolled. I'm sure it'll stay the course on a second viewing. A

Zodiac (dir. Fincher) -- Surprisingly excellent. On top of it all is it's brilliant cinematography, writing, and Fincher's direction. Even though this is the first film of David his I've seen, I already know this isn't anywhere near his niche. The acting is great, especially Mark Ruffalo. Robert Downey Jr. I thought was a bit overrated but still pretty good, yeah. Well-paced, beautifully suspenceful, and overall amazing. A-/A

The Reaping (dir. Hopkins) -- It's my kind of movie, and that's why I liked it. It's not a great movie. Hilary Swank only has had fleeting sparks of brilliance in her career, and this is not one of them. It is for my AnnaSophia though. She's brilliant. I mean, if they got say Dakota Fanning to play the freaking anti-christ, it'd be like getting Tommy Lee Jones playing a Texan sheriff -- OBVIOUS -- so I'm glad they got my g/f. My kind of movie. B+

Breaking and Entering (dir. Minghella) -- Binoche was infreakingcredible, Penn was great, Law was great, Gavron was great, Farmiga was great, the direction was great, the writing was great, the cinematography was great, the production design was great, the music was great. The film? Very great. I'll never understand why this only has a 6.6 on IMDb. A

Breach (dir. Ray) -- Very understated and calculating and ultimately brilliant. Laura Linney is co-God, Ryan Phillippe doesn't suck, and Chris Cooper gives one helluva villainic performance. He perhaps deserves the Oscar, but of course it'll never get it. But he's so fantastic it doesn't even matter. See it. B+/A-

Jindabyne (dir. Lawrence) -- Even though Glenn has been raving and forcing it down everyone else's throats for like a year now, I don't think I knew what to expect. it was most definitely good, but... it just didn't connect. Most likely because I don't understand shit about Australian anything, especially anything racial, but it's slow and interesting and great performances from everyone, especially Laura Linney, who was flat-out brilliant; I'm glad they didn't make Claire an Australian, because she's not as good as she good be with accents. But in her own, she's always great. It's good, written very well, photographed well, but God, they ended it annoyingly. Justice makes me feel better than confusion and tasting earwax. B

Away from Her (dir. Polley) -- A masterful work of intimate art like I've never seen before. Sarah Polley, only 28, has already proved herself worthy of being called a great director. And Christie! Oh, boy, Christie. Just freaking incredible. One of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen. But all that would be nothing without Gordon Pinsent's suffering husband, watching his beloved wife disappear before his eyes and fall in love with another man. We his his strife, her strife, and the whole strife that is Alzheimer's. Completely heart wrenching and noble. A

Planet Terror (dir. Rodriguez) -- Totally. Frickin'. Awesome. So much in fact, that I can't help but to rave Rose McGowan, of all people. And Marley Shelton. And Freddy Rodriguez. It's always fun to see idiots and genetic engineers and a woman with a MACHINE GUN LEG dealing with unrestrained zombies. May Robert Rodriguez never make a "family film" ever again. A-/A

Meet the Robinsons (dir. Anderson) -- Holy cow! It's a great Disney animated film! Who'd have thought they'd have it in them? Even though this is one of the most mile-stretching predictable films I've ever seen, it doesn't matter in the end, because you care about Lewis, and Wilbur, and the Robinsons, and Goob, and Mildred, and even the talking T-Rex. You want to see it continue on. And it definitely doesn't hurt that's it one of the most visually inventive animated films in a long while. A-/A

Knocked Up (dir. Apatow) -- A perfect comedic blockbuster, for sure. Completely hilarious, weirdly heartwarming, and concerningly bipolar. Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl are greta, and yes, so is Leslie Mann, but less than everyone else, apparently. Really very good. Nothing else to say, really. A-

A Mighty Heart (dir. Winterbottom) -- I'll just say it: It's a masterpiece. Nary a film that keep me this entertainingly and emotionally invested. Gritty but beautiful, in a sense. Jolie, of course, knocks it out of the park as Mariane Pearl, and Daniel Futterman is great in his smaller flashback scenes as Daniel. It's all very tragic, and even though we all know it's ultimate outcome, the tears flowed. Winterbottom directed the hell out of it -- I'm a major fan of anti-steadicam techniques, and he reaches them to brilliant heights. Excellent. A

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (dir. Lumet) -- How can you be disappointed when you have no expectations? There could have veen sooo much more to this, but there wasn't. The acting was great, especially Finney and Hawke. But the entire film completely lives and dies by Marisa Tomei and her character Gina. She's damn great, even though she doesn't really do anything. But that's just it -- there should've been more. It's my major problem with the whole thing. Throughout the film, I kept thinking that she would be the key to the film, that she, in the final act, would have her own past thing where we learn she was in the plot as much as anyone else and she'd be a sabotager, or something. The movie made me think that, and I was wrong. All she did was be naked and whining about being ignored. That's scary appropriate. Sometimes powerful, sometimes I wanted to slit my wrists. It's all so incredibly mixed. C+

Hairspray (dir. Shankman) -- I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have liked this as much as I did. Everyone is anywhere from great to excellent, Nikki Blonsky first among them, along with Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, Amanda Bynes, and even John Travolta. Except when he's singing. I couldn't help but to kinda cringe and feel awkward when he sang. But Edna's normal scenes -- great. Like everyone says, how on earth is this from the guy that brought us The Pacifier and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Weird. It's light and fluffy, but you can hurt your teeth expecting it to empty. A-/A

La Vie en Rose (dir. Dahan) -- Damn. Well, it's definitely an actor's showcase, and that actor fared well. Very well. Oh, screw it. Give her the Oscar now! Come on! Concerning everything else... it's good. So is Sylvie Testud. It's one of those movies where I can't tell the direction in the film, which is always weird. The cinematography was damn great, even though it was way too dark (literally) for my liking. But this is The Marion Cotillard Show. And she not only ran with it, but she's already in Siberia, from the beginning of this sentence. Magnificent. B+/A- (There's some restraint in that grading because I think if I did it properly, it would be embarrassing to any sort of reptutation I might actually have. I'm being serious there.)

Damn, that took a while.

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FYC: Millions

It's great for the Christmas season, so be sure to see it, 'kay?

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When Did Quads Become Bitchin'?

Someone tell me. Seriously.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

First Snow

Sorry for the spacing in posting. I've been trying to figure a few posts together, and they should be posted today. BUT, yesterday was a very important [and bipolar] day. Why?

1) It was Thanksgiving,

2) It was the first snow of the season, which is WAY more of a celebration than stupid Thanksgiving,

3) My TV randomly burned itself out, which led to

4) The most destructive emotional breakdown I've ever had, and

5) They've started majorly advertising The Water Horse, which is starting to look downright brilliant.

See what I mean? If you waht to ask about any of the five points, just ask in the comments, but I won't say them in the post.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There's An 'E', Douchebags

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

That Predict Blog is Going Well...

[/sarcasm] So I might as well do some prediction updates here, in a big post.

BEST PICTURE
1. Atonement
2. No Country for Old Men
3. The Kite Runner
4. There Will Be Blood
5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Atonement and No Country are as close to locks as you can get this far into the race, and Runner is easily the most likely of any political or liberal guilt-y films this year, but we still have to see what it does and how it does it. Blood's chances all rest on whether or not the Academy is willing to Anderson at this point. And Sweeney Todd is only here because there's nothing else I can get behind, not even that. If Tim Burton hasn't been embraced for films that were a lot of his typical style, what are the serious odds this'll make it in?

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Joe Wright, Atonement
2. Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
3. Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
4. Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
5. Marc Forster, The Kite Runner

The hurricane of Atonement also has storms of legitimate merit, and Wright is a huge one. The Academy loves the Coens, and there is no doubt in my mind they'll be here. Lumet has the legend spot, Forster has the culmination spot, and for Anderson, like I said, it all depends on whether of not they'll take to him.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
1. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
2. James McAvoy, Atonement
3. Denzel Washington, American Gangster
4. Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
5. Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild

This is Daniel Day-frickin'-Lewis' game, and everyone else is just playing in it. But McAvoy could pull a fast one, as he is a major standout. Denzel Washington is still Denzel Washington, and he has been wazoo-raved. Elah is one of the many dead-in-the-water films and Jones is it's only chance for a nom at all, but it's strong. As for Hirsch... well, I don't see Hanks or Depp happening, and he's a fresh face in the "people who can actually act" curcuit, and the film is big fat bait, but I don't see it doing anything big weirdly.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
1. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
2. Julie Christie, Away from Her
3. Laura Linney, The Savages
4. Keira Knightley, Atonement
5. Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart

Cotillard explained here. Christie is INCREDIBLE, and that combined with the fact she's Julie Christie should (hopefully) get her in. Laura Linney just seems likely, and Keira has her hopes more invested in the hurricane than anyone else in the film because of a lack of raves. Angelina Jolie, who is quite excellent, will re-emerge. The campaining will be relentless, and DVDs to all Academy members. It worked for Crash.

So, that's right: No Page, no Adams, no Carter. Ellen's Juno seems too smart alecky and quirky for the Academy's liking, Adams is a DISNEY PRINCESS (It's not gonna happen people!), and Carter... well Carter has a better chance than both, I think. As time goes on I'm starting to warm to Sweeney, and she could just make it in. And my hope for Cate has faded, sadly...

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1. Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
2. Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
3. Casey Affleck, TAoJJbtCRF
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
5. Philip Bosco, The Savages

Bardem seems the safest lock in all the races, by far. Wilkinson has the "due" thinking. Affleck has the über-raved category fraud. Hoffman has the "body of work" vote, definitely. And Bosco has the underrated and under-the-radar career vote. It all works out.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1. Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
2. Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
3. Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
4. Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
5. Kelly Macdonald, No Country for Old Men

SAOIRSE '08!

Beyond that blind fury, Blanchett's a lock, Swinton looks incredibly strong and due, Ryan has the buzz, and Macdonald is a whim placement. Although she should have like 70 gazillion Oscars by now.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Brad Bird, Jim Capobianco, and Jan Pinkava, Ratatouille
2. Diablo Cody, Juno
3. Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
4. Steven Zaillian, American Gangster
5. Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Christopher Hampton, Atonement
2. Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
3. Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
4. Sarah Polley, Away from Her
5. David Benioff, The Kite Runner

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
1. Ratatouille
2. Persepolis
3. The Simpsons Movie

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Romania)
2. Persepolis (France)
3. The Counterfeiters (Austria)
4. The Edge of Heaven (Germany)
5. Secret Sunshine (Korea)

Also Keeping An Eye On
The Art of Crying (Denmark)
Days of Darkness (Canada)
Katyn (Poland)
M for Mother (Iran)
The Orphanage (Spain)
Postcards from Leningrad (Venezula)
Silent Night (Mexico)
The Silly Age (Cuba)
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (Brazil)

BEST ART DIRECTION
1. Dennis Gassner, The Golden Compass
2. Dante Ferretti, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
3. Sarah Greenwood, Atonement
4. Stuart Craig, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
5. Arthur Max, American Gangster

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. Alexandra Byrne, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
2. Jacqueline Durran, Atonement
3. Ruth Meyers, The Golden Compass
4. Colleen Atwood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
5. Rita Ryack, Hairspray

BEST MAKE-UP
1. Sweeney Todd...
2. Elizabeth: The Golden Age
3. Hairspray

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1. Transformers
2. The Golden Compass
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Does any of this sound good to you?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Silencio! Serafina! Sweeney!

I watched Mulholland Drive this morning, finishing around 3 am. For ten minutes after, I couldn't move, I couldn't tell if the world around me was still there, and the only intelligible word I could say was "I..." By 4 am, I completely understood it (thank you internet!) and felt relieved as f@#k. Mindf@#k, to be exact!

Ha ha, never gets old.

Beyond all that pure brilliant loopyness, this is a true masterpiece, one of the greatest films ever made. Diane is one of the most messed-up characters you can find, and Naomi Watts runs with her and gives one of the best performances I've ever seen. Laura Harring is damn great too, but less. It's a film I actually cared about all the way through; I couldn't take my eyes off it. I, well, loved it. Completely. A+

i'd also like to add that Rebekah Del Rio's "Llorando" is one of the most haunting, wrenching, and powerful scenes in the history of film. I'd post a video, but it wouldn't do the sequence justice.

In other news, Eva Green is perfect. It's one of the less-obvious truths in this world, but that doesn't mean it's false. The woman has proved she can hella act and be hella sexy, so why am I bringing her up? Because she can be hella Galadriel-ly. I said it. In a TV spot for The Golden Compass, currently sitting an ever-climbing #2 on my anticipated list, she spoke beautifully with much grace and woe, and very prophetic. She looks like a Grecian goddess in her flowing violet dress (seen in my favorite of the afore-mentioned character posters), and boy am I in love with her.

One thing that has been bugging me a lot lately is how many posters there are being released for Sweeney Todd. The first one was great, but then there was that pointless second one and that starf@#king hybird third one, and now two more there be, including one with that's not Depp exclusive! GASP! The even more frustrating thing is that I have no idea which one of these will be the final poster (doubt the second one though), or if it'll be another poster we haven't even seen yet! GAWD! So, I'm asking you, my public, to vote on which poster you like the best: The first, second, third, fourth, or fifth?







Neatarino. Don't forget to tell me too.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Rats Taste Good

After a second viewing tonight, I'll reiterate: Ratatouille is the best Pixar film yet AND the best picture so far this year. I can't stress this enough. The writing is pure brilliance, the visuals do Paris justice and more, and the fact that it, not only for what it is about but in general, is freaky realistic. Remy nevers speaks a word in clear English to Linguini, violence and language are real (It's Disney; It gets a G no matter what), and ESPECIALLY the rare thing in "kid's movies" where consequences happen, and dramatically so. I mean, [SPOILER] it would've been patronizing in a sense if Gusteu's would be left unchanged after they released Skinner and the Health Inspector, right? [/SPOILER] It takes it's compromises and runs with them brilliant, is what I'm saying. I haven't found one thing wrong with this movie. Magnificent, hilarious, inventive, daring, pure enjoyment, and... brilliant. I love that adjective almost as much as I love this movie. A+

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Zodiac... The Director's Cut -- On DVD 1/8/08

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Put On a Happy Smiley Face!

Greg Araki's Smiley Face, the Sundance stoner comedy starring Anna Faris, has been in release hell ever since. It was announced two months ago that it would be a direct-to-DVD release in January, but tonight, in my weekly e-mail from Box Office Mojo about the theatre counts of films, well...

NEW
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Fox) / 3,164
Beowulf (Paramount) / 3,153
Love in the Time of Cholera (New Line) / 852
Southland Tales (Samuel Goldwyn) / 63
Redacted (Magnolia) / 13
Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) / 2
Smiley Face (First Look) / 1

I didn't see that last part coming. I don't know where that ONE theatre is that's playing (probably in NYC), but at least it's getting a release, albeit mega-mega-MEGA-limited. You're welcome, JA!

*Also, I'm really surprised Magorium's has a wider release than Beowulf. Doesn't quite make sense, does it?*

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Only Imagining Atonement

Ya'll know how much I want Atonement. (Just search the label.) Why am I bringing it up again? This poster, showcasing the back of Saoirse's head, is very brilliant. The tagline stretched across the three posters:
You Can... Only Imagine... The Truth.
Just adds A LOT more to this thinking. Especially that, if viewed alone, Briony's share seems hella intriguing. A young blonde girl with her back to us staring off into the distance while holding a letter in the bright sunshine with 'ONLY IMAGINE...' written across the top...

It just seems like a thing that'll make you wonder about the film, doesn't it? I really should be paid for all the unintentional studio whoring I do even without having seen the frickin' thing, but alas, I am an illegal c/o my age. They think I'd probably spend it on candy and gum and video games or some shit like that.

I HAVE NEEDS KNEES TOO!!!!!!!!

What were we talking about? Oh... right. Brilliant. Yes. [runs]

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Before the Devil Knows I'm Still Alive

Oh good god, am I sorry for this severe drought. It's like Atlanta up in this bitch! But it will change... maybe.

In the mean time, waiting for that to happen, here's a picture of a grumpy/confused monkey with glasses and a uniquely weird senior citizen person.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Enchanted. Awesome.







In theatres next Wednesday. I can't wait.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's All Eric Bana's Fault. Duh.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Collagiate Code

Who are they?

Why are they here?

What does it mean?

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, J.D.?!?!


These and many other questions WILL be answered...
whenever the hell I get around to it, so nah.

NOW.

These are actually a very (VERY) rough approximation of the best performances by (VERY) roughly my twenty favorite working actresses, in order of (VERY) rough bestness. Just go from Julia to Cate to Emily to Ziyi to Kate to Audrey, and you should see a pattern emerge. (And yes, you have that right -- I put Anna Coleman above June Carter.) I like making collages, and I just made this. I'm weird.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Born of My Mother Yocheved

--- This post is part of RC's Film+Faith Blog-a-Thon ---

From the moment this thang was called together, I knew what I would do, and obviously so. I mean, it is my #2 favorite film of all time.

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT

The only problem was I didn't know what to do. I thought about doing some kind of long and complicated and great post describing every fasset of my love and it's effects on my thoughts on humanity and religion and life, but then I realized...

I suck at that crap!

So, in quality's stead, I shall reverberate a simple group of lines that inspires me beyond the point of gushing. A songette that means more to me than most things in this world. A lullaby I am proud to recite.

Hush now, my baby, be still and don't cry
Sleep as you're rocked by the stream
Sleep and remember my last lullaby
So I'll be with you when you dream
River o river, flow gently for me
Such precious cargo you bear
Do you know somewhere he can live free?
River, deliver him there...


Not only is her three minutes the most astonishingly beautiful moment in film history, but also the greatest cameo performance by a very wide margin. Nothing can compare to Yocheved. Her misery, her chaos, her faith, her trust, her hope, her maturnity, her love.

I know this is a major cop-out to the blog-a-thon, and I'm not discussing anything relgion-related, but in a way I am. The entire sequence is one giant battalion of faith. The opening shots of the clouds represent a form of God, and of distraction in a way. The entire "Deliver Us" sequence is more obvious; the strife vocalizes the loss of the slaves' hope, lamenting for a god to rescue them, to hold up his end of his own deal. But it hasn't come. And then we drift to the village, the rampant run of soldiers come to kill the Israelite babies, a power struggle that might not have actually existed but a paranoic response nonetheless, and Yocheved trying to spare her child, a child she knows will deliver them from the chains of bondage one day. Her faith in that makes her not fear death. The only thing she fears is for the life of Moses, and losing him. The lullaby, much like everything, is lament, hope, joy, and strife mixed into one. A true bittersweet symphony.

Ofra Haza sang this in 17 of the 21 international versions of the film, including her natural Hebrew. But sadly, on February 22, 2000, she died at the age of 42 of an undisclosed illness. She was one of the greatest voices in the world, and it saddens me to think of her as gone. She's not. She made more than 20 albums, and inspired many people, and will keep doing so. As for me, her legacy lies in Yocheved, and as long as I live I'll never extinguish it. Rest in peace, Ms. Haza.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Very Quick Note on Ratatouille

It's better than Cars.

And A Bug's Life.

And Monsters, Inc.

And the Toy Story movies.

And Finding Nemo.

And The Incredibles.

And The Lives of Others. A+

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Penny For the Guy

"Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

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