Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Grey (2012)

Usually when we come to a close on the month of January for movies, there isn't a whole lot that's really worth reflecting upon where we end up saying "oh yeah, that film was really good!" Surprisingly however, Steven Soderbergh managed to make me say that after seeing his stylish action flick "Haywire," and now writer-director Joe Carnahan has made me do the exact same thing with his latest production titled "The Grey," a film about the survival of men in the midst of harsh mother nature and unrelenting, intimidating forces of the wilderness.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movie Marathon #1: The Films of Wes Anderson

During this past week, I decided to embark on a five day marathon of a famous filmmaker in cinema. To keep it contemporary as well, I chose to watch all of director Wes Anderson's films this week. In order to keep this post short, I have written short one paragraph reviews written for all of his films, and finish them all off with most to least favorite rankings of the movies reviewed below. Enjoy...

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Anderson released his debut film "Bottle Rocket" in 1996 (which is also adapted from his 1994 short film of the same name), which stars Owen Wilson (also co-wrote the script), Luke Wilson and Robert Musgrave as a trio of friends trying to pull off a simple robbery and go on the lam. Even though it may be classified as a crime film, it's also a smart comedy infused with moments of hilarious yet sophisticated moments of humor. The three leads are all terrific, but Owen Wilson is the true scene stealer as the trio's leader Dignan. Beautifully directed by Anderson, in addition to constructing the most hilarious "robbery gone wrong" I've seen so far, "Bottle Rocket" is a very solid debut for both Anderson and the Wilson brothers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Haywire (2012)

You know the archetype of there being one film released during January that actually turns out decent? Well look no further, because Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" perfectly fits that description. This has been my most anticipated film for the month of January, and I had the special privilege of seeing it at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. So does it stand alongside other great femme fatale action films like "La Femme Nikita" and the "Kill Bill," or is it a rugged entry in director Steven Soderbergh's lengthy filmography?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Contraband (2012)

January releases are typical every year as they derive from repetitive cliches, generic characters and lifeless direction. When I first saw the trailer for "Contraband," those three aforementioned phrases immediately popped into my mind. Mark Wahlberg is one of the most talented actors of this generation, but I strongly question some of his career decisions, hence the infamous movies he starred in during the year 2008, and now this film.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Enter the Void (2010)

What the hell did I just watch? I mean I know I finally watched the infamous 2010 film "Enter the Void," but I'm still stuck between choosing whether I was in more of a state of hallucinatory awe or complete shock from some of the beyond graphic scenes I witnessed. It's a rare occurrence where I'm so conflicted on a film where I don't know whether to rate it average, or just grant it a grade that's slightly above passing. However, I'm going to try my absolute best to pour out my extremely conflicted thoughts on this mindf*ck of a film.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Artist (2011)

Back in the year 2005, an independent movie titled “Brick” helped both resurrect the fading neo-noir genre and serve as a strong tribute to the genre’s most notable conventions.  Last year in 2011, the previously well-known silent film genre was brought back from the dead by up-and-coming French filmmaker Michel Haznavicus’s “The Artist.” As a long-time film buff, I’ll admit that I surprisingly have never seen a silent film in my life, but “The Artist” was quite the experience for an introduction to the famous genre.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

World's Greatest Dad (2009)

Ever since his bravura underrated performance in 2002's "One Hour Photo," Robin Williams seemed to be back on track to delivering dramatic performances. Unfortunately though, his career took a steady downturn by starring in supremely mediocre comedies including "RV," "Old Dogs," "Man of the Year," and "License to Wed." However in 2009, Williams returned to his dramatic roots in 2009 with "World's Greatest Dad," a dark comedy indie that was a festival hit, but didn't get a whole lot of attention during its theatrical run. Fortunately however, the film has attained a cult following over the years, which it highly deserves because of its no-holds barred approach to the dark comedy subgenre.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Everyone is aware that the romantic comedy genre has turned into the biggest cliche in Hollywood over the past few years. However once in a while, there's at least one movie a year that attempts to do something new with the fledgling genre, and surprisingly ends up succeeding with it's innovations. The most important example of that kind of film is 2004's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," which not only added a science fiction/fantasy twist, but also now stands as one of my favorite movies of all-time, too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trailer Time #1: ATM, Goon, Silent House, Thin Ice, and Wrong

Welcome to Trailer Time, the segment where I take several trailers released from this week, and give my review on them in addition to my anticipation rating, too.

First up is "ATM," the newest thriller starring Josh Peck, Alice Eve and Brian Geraghty. The plot is three friends out at late night in town but one of them needs cash, so they stop at a dimly lit ATM. However when they're about to leave, they see a man outside that's staring them down and it turns into a game of surviving in the cold in addition to trying to outwit the psychopath outside. I'm one that's usually up for a people-trapped-in-a-place thriller movie, but this just looks so silly! The three lead actors are all talented, but they look completely wasted of their potential. If these characters had their phones on them, then none of this would ever happen. I expected a better sophomore feature for writer Chris Sparling (2010's Buried), but he has stopped down so low considering the material shown in the trailer along. Overall, "ATM" has forgettable thriller written all over it, so my anticipation is...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

The classic form of espionage films have withered away in today's generation, and have mostly been portrayed in over-the-top manners in several blockbusters over the years. Leave it to the British film industry though to deliver us a spy film of complexity and class with the newest adaptation of John le Carré's classic spy novel "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," which was originally a seven part BBC miniseries that starred Alec Guinness as British intelligence officer George Smiley. This adaptation though, takes what is quite possibly the greatest British cast ensemble in quite some time and a director climbing the ranks of the greatest current international filmmakers, which turns into what has to be one of the most overlooked potential award-nominated films of last year, and the perfect kickoff to my awards season catching up marathon.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Being John Malkovich (1999)

In the present day, Charlie Kaufman has become one of the most well-known screenwriters in Hollywood for his brisk originality and high concept themes. Whether it's a satire of Hollywood cinema conventions in "Adaptation," or a scientific study of the human memory and love in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Kaufman has created some of the most original movies for almost a decade and a half. However, his true introduction into the face of cinema was with the contemporary classic "Being John Malkovich."

The Devil Inside (2012)

Well we have officially embarked upon a new year for cinema. Unfortunately though, we have to begin with the first week of January, a month that is infamous for usually releasing movies that are either made for mindless entertainment or just plain generic to the genre being portrayed. Over the past years, several films have defined that archetype, which include 2011's "Season of the Witch," 2010's "The Book of Eli" and 2009's "Bride Wars." To kick off this new year, we have the exorcism horror film "The Devil Inside."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brick (2005)

Looking at today's brand of cinema, we have seen many classic genres wither away over the last decade. However last year, hope was brought to old school film buffs with "The Artist," a silent film that payed tribute to the once famous, but fading genre. Another genre that has faded over the past few decades is the neo-noir hardboiled detective film. Back in 2005 though, a first-time filmmaker and relatively unknown cast made the acclaimed indie "Brick"  that payed tribute to the genre, in addition to partly resurrecting interest in the genre, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

About Schmidt (2002)

Alexander Payne is a director that has really grown upon me over the past few months since seeing "The Descendants." Lately, I have decided to watch the other films he's won acclaim for in the past decade (except Sideways; Already saw it). "About Schmidt" is one of his lesser known films alongside "Election," but don't let that deter you from experiencing this genuine, heartfelt independent dramedy.