Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I know it's early to say this...

I stand behind this 100% Lars Von Triers' new film "Antichrist" is the best film of 2009. I will provide you with a detailed review soon enough.


(thank you to ioncinema.com for providing me with the link)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Films of 2009 (cont.)


Observe and Report - Dir. Jody Hill

The raunchy comedy era has come back in a big way. The last few years, it's been lead by Judd Apatow with his directorial debut; The 40 Year Old Virgin. Along with Apatow, his cast and crew have branched out to become stars in their own right. Everyone from Seth Rogan, Bill Hader, and Danny Mcbride, to behind the scenes writers and rising comedy directors like Jody Hill and David Gordon Green and writers like Evan Goldberg. Observe and Report is the second film by Jody Hill; who has already gained notoriety for his debut "The Foot Fist Way" with Danny McBride. Seth Rogan plays Ronnie Barnhardt, the head of security for his mall; who takes his job a little too seriously. His duty is especially called when a local streaker has hit the property and terrorizes any mall patron that crosses his path. Ronnie along with his associates; a spanish security guard named Dennis, surprisingly (but brilliantly) played by Michael Pena, and two twin asian gun nuts, jump on the path to solving the crime. Other subplots begin to emerge, including a theft that brings in Det. Harrison, played by Ray Liotta, an Ronnie's obsession with the cosmetics girl, played by Anna Faris. Those not familiar with Jody Hill's tone, may be rubbed incorrectly with certain aspects of the humor in this film. Like Hill's fantastic HBO series Eastbound and Down, the humor is lowbrow, offensive, but surprisingly subtle. With a lot of Rogen's films feeling like his comedy comes natural, the main character's complete darkness is actually a departure from Rogen's previous films and makes this character fresh and extremely entertaining to follow. The Apatow branched comedy troupe shows no signs of slowing down with all his alumni consistenly finding work with their own projects as well as other big directors; Rogen was also lucky enough to work with Kevin Smith for his 2008 hit Zach and Miri make a Porno. Observe and Report may not be for everyone, but for the fans of other strange films like The Cable Guy, The Weather Man, and Serial Mom, Observe and Report is another gem from Hill and Rogen that in my book has tremendous replay value and lots of laughs.


Rogen and Pena on Patrol in Observe and Report. (thanks to chud.com for the photo.)




The Hangover - Dir. Todd Philips

What happened in Vegas is out like dirty laundry in Todd Philips' return to his very best; after his A-Team-esque cinematic misses like Starsky and Hutch and School for Scoundrels. The Hangover is about a group of friends celebrating their best friend's final night of freedom before marriage in none other than Las Vegas. Before long, the characters wake up dazed, confused, and worse...missing their best friend. What begins is a journey that's filled with as many questions and answers that make you feel like you're watching Chinatown replaced with a bunch of misfits. The mystery and pacing of the films answers to the plot unfold just as precise as if you were watching a murder mystery or a serious dramatic political conspiracy. With no recollection of the previous evening, we follow these characters on what chalks up to be a more fun filled day in vegas than actually partying in the sin city nightlife. Bradley Cooper heads the cast as a raunchy school teacher named Phil Wenneck, Cooper isn't a stranger to comedy with his previous; and great portrayal of a self important rich man on campus in Wedding Crashers. Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis co star with Cooper in helping Phil (Cooper), the best man of the wedding, find their friend and make it back to the wedding on time. This film was actually the biggest surprise of the summer grossing over 100 million and garnering extremely positive reviews; which is not typical of a comedy film with this type of subject matter. The hype isn't just hype though, the film is extremely worth the praise. It's gag-factor is high and the pacing of the film is the exact type of formula we knew and loved from Philips' earlier films such as Road Trip and Old School. The Hangover is easily Philips' best film and one of my favorite picks for the year 2009.


Cooper and crew, trying to figure out what happened.
(thank you to cleveland.com for the screencap.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

I just stumbled on this trailer and I really felt the need to share it with you. I love Clooney in his comedy roles and the rest of the cast is excellent. The trailer alone, had me laughing hysterically. Enjoy!

The year of 2009 (so far)

I must admit, in the beginning of this year, I wasn't looking forward to much of anything. All I really had to look forward to in cinema, were the films that were yet to be released in theaters where I live, that came out in 2008. The summer actually brought some quality films and not to mention made me appreciate certain genres that I never found myself appreciating before. The following films are in no particular order or importance...just films I saw this year and my abridged reviews for them.


Watchmen - Directed by Zach Snyder

The genre of comic book films got a huge notice as of last year with the monstrous Dark Knight; Christopher Nolans vision of Batman for the new age. After a film like that, comic book films definitely became something more critics were noticing. With the right writers, you can easily meld a story that resonates within cultures, beliefs, mirror society, and of course still have the fun of dressing the characters up in costumes. I use Dark Knight as my stepping stone in this write up because many people consider it to be the greatest comic book film of all time, I beg to differ. When Zach Snyder first came onto the scene with his lackluster debut of the re-imagined Dawn of the Dead, I wrote him off as another young director that hollywood would use to exploit older creations and just bring in the run of the mill audiences into the multiplex. Then, Snyder makes you notice his next film 300, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. 300, shot entirely on green screen, turned out to be a pleasant surprise and showed Snyder blossoming into something more special as a director, not to mention, creating a style of action that's as noticeable as John Woo's gunplay of the 1980's. Based on a graphic novel that has a rabid following starting since it's release in the mid 1980's, Watchmen is a story of a grand scale, dealing with the indignation of a group of superheroes that are wondering if the society they've spent years protecting, is still worth saving. The film feels as if each scene is literally taken directly from the pages of the graphic novel, which isn't a bad thing in this case. In the first scene consisting of a beautifully choreographed fight, scored to the Nat King Cole classic "unforgettable", Snyder immediately grabs your attention and shows you that his maturity as a filmmaker has grown tenfold. Watchmen is a story that speaks and entertains in volumes to nearly every age group. What's more interesting about the story, and what I found to be absolutely fascinating, was the amalgam of historical events that were true in society, being altered by these pivotal characters. In return, the involvement of these characters in such events as The Vietnam War, The Kennedy Assassination, and the US reaching the moon, give us the product of the society we see in this film.



Watchmen are the second generation of heroes following the Minutemen. The novel contains more of a detailed history on the older generation heroes. However, since the story is so vast, Snyder covered the history of these characters respectfully and beautifully, with a montage in the opening credits of the film, scored with the Bob Dylan classic "The times they are a changin". The film generally follows Rorscach, the more sadistic of the group, investigating the murder of one of his peers; Edward Blake otherwise known as The Comedian. As he continues to pry more into the reasons behind the murder of his friend, he goes out to warn the rest of his fellow Watchmen, who are living normal lives due to a law banning their vigilante actions as per the president. The Casting is excellent with a melting pot of seasoned film veterans and great up and coming talent. The film is epic in scale and is saturated with character studies that greatly add to the central plot of the film. The metaphors of the film/novel's society and message of right and wrong easily transcend to this generation and are just as important as they were when the novel was originally written in the mid 1980's. Watchmen was the first film of 2009 that I thoroughly enjoyed and surprisingly enough, is actually in the top 3 of best films of 2009.

more films of 2009 to come...including Up, The Hangover, Drag Me To Hell, Star Trek, Inglorious Basterds, and District 9.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My apologies....

Things have been running slow on this website. I've been working on a screenplay and a lot of personal things that have kept me pre-occupied from posting on here. Soon to come, Inglourious Basterds review, as well as other films throughout the summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recent DVD(s) to look up.

Thanks for checking out my section on DVDs. Most people who know me well, know that i'm an avid DVD collector, almost rabid to a degree. I've been collecting since high school. I enjoy to purchase and add to my library your average hollywood pictures and normal all around great films (as well as guilty pleasure from time to time), but what I really look for also, are things you don't normally find. I'm going to review a few recent purchases that I've had the privilege of watching and giving you; the reader, some insight on what I enjoyed.

1. Waltz with Bashir - Directed by Ari Folman



Unfortunately in America, we tend to be oblivious of a lot of atrocities that go on in the world around us. Usually because since it doesn't involve our country, we are pretty selfish to turn a blind eye and instead litter our news coverage with inept celebrities and news about things that really do not matter in the least bit. So the subject matter of Waltz with Bashir is automatically going to be a subject in which most domestic viewers will know absolutely nothing about. In 1982, Sabra and Shatila were two refugee camps that were being controlled by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and this was in the middle of a heightened war that was centralized in Lebanon. The film's approach to the subject matter could've easily been another run of the mill documentary that you've seen on many other occasions. However, Folman's approach was that of innovative, creative, and overall devastating. Shot in real time and later all actors are animated (like Linklater's 2006 film A Scanner Darkly), the film approaches the subject in the form of an interactive documentary, for both the protagonist (director Folman) and the audience. We are listening to the testimonials of people involved in these atrocities, all the while seeing these actions recreated in a form of animation that is truly captivating. The documentary/narrative film involves Folman involved at one point in this war as a soldier, bewildered of the fact that he can't remember his participation in this war. He then begins to visit and speak to other comrades that stood by him to piece together the events that unfolded, to find out his true involvement. The fast paced nature of the film runs at a 90 mins that seems too quick (not in a bad way of course) and the overall impact of the film is unparalleled. The film itself is impressive but this review is also about the DVD too. The features are few and far between but Sony Pictures Classics makes the time worthwhile by giving you insight on things that are really interesting. There is a great segment on the creation of the film starting from storyboards to real time filming and to the eventual animated process that follows to give you the finished product of what you see. The commentary is enlightening if not educating as well, giving you further insight on the events the film takes you on a journey through. The making of the film itself is also short but sweet. Overall, the DVD (and film of course) is a good buy and a great film to watch alone and with friends. It's subject matter that can definitely bring a reflective thought within yourself after viewing, and great conversation between others as well. I highly recommend this DVD.

2. Gran Torino - Directed By Clint Eastwood



Clint Eastwood returns again to the director's chair with another film just as special as some of the legendary films he's created in the past few years. This one had more attention mainly because it was also he return the silver screen as an actor and sadly, his apparent final screen performance. Gran Torino is a metaphor about the changing of the times, racism and tolerance. Walt Kowalski is a Korean War Veteran dealing with the next chapter in his life, Solitude. Walt's wife passes away and he continues to move on in his life in the best way he knows how. The neighborhood around him continues to change (for the worse in Walt's eyes) but he refuses to move. Like the stern brick wall character he is, he drinks his beer, banters with his dog, and continues the household chores and keeps living. Until one night when the neighbor Thao is caught attempting to steal his Gran Torino in an apparent gang initiation. Walt's life becomes involved with these new neighbors through a series of different events that make him question his bigoted past and whether life is really worth living in hatred. As he understands his new neighbors, he forms a bond with the youngest one Thao in a father/son style relationship that clearly wasn't ever established with his own son. Trouble continues to be a face in Walt's neighborhood as he deals with the Korean gang that keeps bothering Thao and his family, so Walt feels compelled to protect them. Gran Torino is a beautifully shot, wonderfully paced story from Eastwood; who brings another character that will live in the annals of film history. The dialogue is amusing as much as it is shocking, but ultimately in all the rough wooden exterior that this film possesses, you'll find that Eastwood has put more heart into this film than expected, which resonates within you by the start of the film's end credits. Being that this was one of Eastwood's most successful films critically and financially, you can't help but feel cheated with the DVD's release. Eastwood has been a staple of the silver screen for more than 4 decades, and being that this is his final acting job is pretty big deal. You would expect maybe a retrospect on his career, or the preparations he may have taken for his last role in front of the camera. You dont... Maybe you'd want to know why he chose this as his last role? You won't know... What about his approach for casting the film? Why he chose to use actual Hmong people with no acting experience what so ever for the film? Sadly, we won't know. All we get is a simple short documentary on the history of the Gran Torino car (which is somewhat interesting within itself) and another documentary on america's obsession with the muscle car and a festival that celebrates such automobiles. I wouldn't be surprised if the film gets a stronger release later (because that's how companies are now a days, look at the Dark Knight's pitiful DVD release). It just seems as though this DVD wasn't worth the delayed wait. Where most films generally make the DVD shelves in about 3 months after it's theatrical release, this film took 6 months. Kind of like opening a package on christmas day that you knew was sitting there since july...and it's clothes from Wal Mart. The film is fantastic, the special features however are nearly close to being easily forgotten.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and I'll be reviewing more DVD soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daniel Day Lewis' new film "Nine"



Daniel Day Lewis is quite possibly one of the most gifted actors of our generation. Every role he touches is literally award winning gold! My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood, there isn't a role he can't do. So I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you if I said he's an actor that I always looks forward to seeing. When I first heard of his next project "Nine", I was intrigued. It's supposed to be a re-imagining of Federico Fellini's classic "8 1/2". I'm 50/50 on remakes because I feel as if they are absolutely unnecessary if you plan on just tracing over someone's work. I feel to do a solid remake to a film (classic or not), you should bring something new to the table, use your vision in respect to the predecessor's work to create something as special. Otherwise, just leave it alone.



Now on to my next order of business, the director of "Nine". I'm not very fond of musicals typically. I can name the musicals I've enjoyed over the years with one hand. While I applaud Marshall for deciding to do something different with this film, I'm not quite sure if this translates well into a musical. I might be one of the only people in the world that thought "Chicago" was an absolute embarrassment and felt it didn't deserve not 1 oscar that it received in 2002, especially Best Picture. The Academy does enjoy making a lot of mistakes from time to time, Slumdog Millionaire, as good as it was, definitely didn't deserve best picture either...but that's for a whole other discussion entirely. Rob Marshall then followed up Chicago with Memoirs Of a Geisha. I wasn't thrilled on finding out he was directing, but I give everyone a shot; except for Michael Bay. Memoirs Of a Geisha turned out to be a pretty nice picture and I felt it was a little underrated. So now we have Rob Marshall bringing us "Nine". A story about a creative man juggling the many women in his life, from his wife to his mistress, star of his picture to his own mother (played by the legendary Sophia Loren).

The cast of this film brings together Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson, Judi Dench, and it pains me to say...Stacey Ferguson (yes, Fergie...). The trailer has been released and here it is for your viewing pleasure. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I mean, Day-Lewis typically comes out with a movie at the minimum of every 3 years because he becomes very involved in his roles; and it shows with the spectacular performances he always brings us. I guess There Will Be Blood is a tough act to follow and I was expecting anything but a musical as his next offering. I have high hopes for this due to it's casting over wonderful leading ladies and of course with Day-Lewis, but I have my reservations just as much because of Rob Marshall and Fergie. The scale is in the middle and it's just about balanced, let's see which side it leans more towards as the release date comes closer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Expendables (update)



I got a hold of a picture from the set of the new Stallone action epic "The Expendables" starring Stallone; alongside Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, and many more. This is seriously one film I can't wait to see. Stallone has proven to be on top of his game as an action director; as well as a director period! Rocky Balboa and Rambo were fantastic films to finish off his dead franchises on the good note he intended to give us years ago. Anyway, this first photo I found looks great and I'll post more as I get them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus


It's very sad that Heath Ledger is no longer with us. He's proven in the later films of his last years; like I'm Not There, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight, etc...that he was becoming an actor to really look forward to. In the middle of filming Dr. Parnassus, Ledger passes away, leaving director Terry Gilliam with a tough decision...Should he continue? Eventually he decided he will. Production continued forward and word got out about his idea to finish the film.

Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, is a stylized and imaginative story in the style of his early work, such as Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. It's about a traveling show led by the mystical Dr. Parnassus, allowing it's participants to enter through a mirror; into another world entirely. Dr. Parnassus is over 1000 years old and his only family is his daughter; who has been promised before she was born, to the proprietor of his immortality. Gilliam has stated that in the script, Ledger's character enters the mirror 3 times. With that in mind, every time he enters the mirror, he becomes a completely different person. That's where the new actors come in. Colin Farrel, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp are all versions of Tony; Ledger's character, once they enter the mirror. Led by a phenomenal cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Verne Troyer, and music legend Tom Wait as the devil.

It gives me great pleasure to make you as excited as I truly am, by posting a link to a foreign site that has some video clips available. Terry Gilliam in my eyes, has always been a true visionary and one of the best directors of recent decades. 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland, and Brazil among others...are fantastically staged, shot, acted, and beautiful all the same. I hope you enjoy these clips. As soon as I have an official US release date for Dr. Parnassus, I'll post it.

http://www.filmstar.se/sv/149880/ovrigt/2009-05-23/klipp-fran-the-imaginarium-of-doctor-parnassus/

Friday, May 15, 2009

More films you NEED to look forward to...

It is my duty, to inform you guys (my loyal readers) about the movies you should be seeing and/or looking forward to. I've decided to add two more entires for you and I hope they excite you as much as they excite me.

The Road - Dir. John Hillcoat.

The Road is based on a book written by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) about the journey of a father and son through a catastrophe ridden landscape, in search of a new place to call home. McCarthy's novel is extremely dark, disturbing, and moving all the same. This was supposed to be released last year in Nov 2008, it was the film I was most looking forward to. However, the film wasn't finished and was pushed back to this year. Rumors were circulating that it was because the film wasn't good and they wanted to do re shoots. Quite frankly, from the looks of the trailer...the rumors couldn't possibly be more false. Director John Hillcoat, clearly wants to release a film he is proud of. Unlike most international directors that are trying to break in the United States, he's making every second clearly count with the look of this film. Hillcoat is best known for his autralian western drama "The Proposition" starring Guy Pearce, which is as special as other classic westerns like High Noon, Once Upon A Time In The West, and The Wild Bunch. His style resonates from that picture on to this one clearly, and that's not a bad thing. Viggo Mortensen, Robert DuVall, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce, all star in this post apocalyptic drama, with music done by the legendary Nick Cave; who penned the screenplay for Hillcoat's The Proposition". Enjoy the trailer...and read the book.



Give Em Hell, Malone - Dir. Russell Mulcahy

Grindhouse was one of the best pictures that came out in 2007, it's a fact. The fact that it didn't make money in the theaters didn't prove anything except people have too small of an attention span to sit in a theater for more than an hour and a half; which is sad. But hey, keep bringing the flop argument to me and I'll mention the same thing I always say, "Blues Brothers, National Lampoons Vacation, and Donnie Darko were all flops, which became monsters over years with video rentals, cable broadcasts, etc..." Give Em Hell, Malone is a small indie film by director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction) about a hard boiled cop who shoots firsts and asks questions later. Simple but absolutely intriguing. The style of the film looks like a 70's exploitation film and the cast is great. Thomas Jane (who I feel is clearly underrated), Elsa Pataky, and Ving Rhames among others, star in what looks to be a fantastic trip to the days of Coffy, Death Wish, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Born Losers, Vanishing Point, I can go on and on. The exploitation genre is clearly coming back for the sheer fun of it, and it has clearly inspired many of our generations best directors. Without further a do...I give you Give Em Hell, Malone!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" (First Look)



Early last year, there was buzz about Coppola's next film "Tetro" going around. Matt Dillon and Javier Bardem were set to star and things seemed to be moving along harmoniously. Then I hear that Bardem drops due to scheduling conflicts with another project, Dillon shortly after. I got nervous to say the least. Then Coppola does a bold move and casts the acting scene's bad boy Vincent Gallo, in the lead! Now, I've been a fan of Vincent Gallo's since Buffalo 66. I really believe this man has talents beyond the capabilities of most actors. His performance in Buffalo 66, The Funeral, and Truth or Consequences NM, are some of my favorites. He's also an accomplished filmmaker who with just two films under his directing belt, has made quite a dent in the annals of film history. Especially the controversy that circled his second film "The Brown Bunny", which sparked a feud between Gallo and Chicago Film critic Roger Ebert. The Brown Bunny isn't a film for everyone, but I personally love it, the way it was filmed, it's slow pace, and it's eventual masochistic ending that shows a display of ego and pain all the same. I don't recommend it to anyone but anyone who truly is a fan of beautifully shot films, might enjoy that one. I digress, this post is about Coppola and not about Gallo.

Tetro is Coppola's second film returning after a decade hiatus from film; to concentrate on his wine vineyard and resort business. His first film Youth Without Youth; like Gallo's The Brown Bunny, was a personal film of Coppola about love and history that struck quite a chord in me, after repeated viewings that is. Tim Roth delivered a beautiful performance juxtaposed to scenery and landscapes that were absolutely breath-taking that only Coppola could truly capture. Tetro is Coppola's second feature of his "personal" films which he claims will be making a lot more of.

Tetro synopsis:
"Fresh faced and naive, 17-year-old Bennie arrives in Buenos Aires to search for his older brother who has been missing for more than a decade. The family had emigrated from Italy to Argentina, but with the great musical success of their father Carlo, an acclaimed symphony conductor, the family moved from Argentina to New York. When Bennie finds his brother, the volatile and melancholy poet Tetro, he is not at all what he expected. In the course of staying with Tetro and his girlfriend Miranda, the two brothers grapple with the haunting experiences of their shared past."

I'm truly excited to see this film and Gallo's performance, along with the phenomenal cast he's put together of spanish talents like Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien, La Zona), Rodrigo De La Serna (The Motorcycle Diaries), and Carmen Maura (Volver). Anyway, the real reason why I'm discussing this film in my post is because Apple.com/trailers has posted a special sneek peek at the first 3 minutes of the film. The cinematography is outstanding and the film looks like it's going to be in black and white. Release date is set for June 11th 2009 in limited release.

Monday, April 13, 2009

(News) Phil Spector has been found guilty.


In 2003, Phil Spector was involved on suspicion of murdering actress Lana Clarkson. Spector is a very important and legendary man in the music business. Having worked with everyone from The Beatles, The Ramones, Tina Turner and writing hits like Then he kissed me, Da Doo Ron Ron, Rock N High School, and many more...Spector definitely seemed like an unlikely murder suspect. Apparently, he was involved in a volatile relationship with Lana Clarkson; who got her start as Mrs. Vargas in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

According to WENN News:
"Jurors, who were handed the case on 26 March, reached a verdict at Los Angeles Superior Court early on Monday, and ruled the mogul shot and killed actress Lana Clarkson in the foyer of his Alhambra, California mansion in February, 2003.
Spector and his defence team maintained depressed Clarkson shot herself. Throughout the trial, prosecutors depicted the producer as a sadistic misogynist. Spector was in court for the verdict. A sentencing date has still to be set.
Spector's first trial ended in 2007 with a jury deadlock. The majority favoured conviction."

Spector is known for his wild antics while recording groups as well as his increasingly bizarre behavior. According to sources, he actually held the Ramones at gunpoint and made them play in his home. He's also known for creating the "Wall of Sound" and the Wah pedal which was used a lot by many recording artists. He's 69 years old now and is looking at up to 18 years in prison.

(Memorial) Marilyn Chambers passes away.



70's bombshell Marilyn Chambers was found dead on sunday by her daughter. No details as to what was the cause. Chambers is known for her career defining role in Behind The Green Door; which is said to be the most successful porn film besides Deep Throat. Chambers also went to a feature film acting career with her first appearence in David Cronenberg's Rabid in 1977. She was also the model for Ivory Snow Detergent, which she had given up for her porn career. She was 57. R.I.P.

Friday, April 10, 2009

(News) Lots of actors are Expendable.



For those of you who know me on a personal basis, you've heard me speaking about this since last year. After Rocky Balboa and Rambo, Stallone has become a celebrity on another level to me. He's managed to make sequels just as near and dear to me as the originals were and right all the wrongs from before. So it's no surprise that when I heard he's doing another war film, I immediately was all ears. It's a project he's writing, starring, and directing called The Expendables. In the spirit of those great action films that we don't get to see anymore, (I'm not kidding, you call what we get these days action movies?) Stallone has combined some of the best talents of today and yesterday to make a monster of a film. His casting continues to grow and principal photography has already started, if he's on schedule that is. The many actors lined up for this opus of testosterone are: Slyvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Charisma Carpenter, Eric Roberts, Terry Crews (who replaced 50 Cent within days of his announcement, thank you Stallone), and Arnold Schwartzenegger is rumored to appear as the president of the United States. As of today, I got wind that two more people have been added to the cast, Brittany Murphy and David Zayas. To my understanding, Zayas is supposed to be the dictator that Stallone & crew is sent in to overthrow. Zayas is a phenomenal actor on so many levels. You may know him best as the lovable cuban detective Angel Batista in Dexter. Though if any of you dig a little deeper and watch OZ, he's possibly the best villain the spanish crews had on that show. His one day takeover with Enrique Morales is proof enough that Zayas is more than qualified to do this role. As soon as I get more info on this project, I'll let you guys know. On that note: THANK YOU STALLONE!!!

(News) Clash of the Titans remake: update



It's been confirmed that Liam Neeson has signed on to play Zeus in the remake of Clash of the Titans. Ralph Fiennes is also slated; but not signed as of yet, to play Hades, the god of the underworld. I'm extremely excited about this casting because Neeson has such a great screen presence and to counteract that balance with Fiennes? I downright loathe the Harry Potter films, though I hear he's great in those. However, I love In Bruges, Chumscrubber, Spider, and lots of other films with Fiennes. He definitely has the versatility to pull off something like this. I can't wait to see what they make of this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(News) Year One gets an R Rating from the MPAA.



The mighty MPAA have decided to give the Judd Apatow/Harold Ramis comedy Year One, an R rating. Apatow and Ramis have apparently been taking it to the appeals board, but they won't budge on this decision. I don't know what the big deal is personally. I'm wondering if it's really Apatow and Ramis that are upset about it, or the producers of the film? Maybe they have plans to gear the film towards a younger audience, and an R rating won't quite get their target audience. I'd be a nightmare to work with when it comes to making films. When I make a film, I wouldn't let a bunch of cretins like the MPAA tell me what I can and can't show in a film. I could care less about drawing in the pre-pubescent protoplasms that litter the theaters texting their garbage on twitter about watching my movie. I'd take a limited release, X or NC-17 and release the film the way I'd want it to be released. Then again, plenty of producers would probably not want to work with me either. I doubt this film really deserves an R anyways, judging from the scenes I've seen thus far in the trailer. We'll see?

EDIT (April 10th 2009) - I just read that Apatow and Ramis have cut the film to the liking of the MPAA and they won the PG-13 rating. Honestly? I don't care...

(Opinion) Movies to look out for in 2009.

For the past two years, there have been a number of movies coming out in theaters that rejuvenated my interest in going to the movies. We've seriously had streak the past two years that's reminiscent of my favorite decade in cinema, the 70's! So with this in mind, I will admit that so far this year; aside from watchmen, it hasn't been a really extraordinary year so far...but it's only looking to get better folks. I'm here to bring a few films to your attention that you should be on the lookout for and/or look forward to.


Inglorious Basterds - Release Date: Aug 21st 2009
Quentin Tarantino's return to the big screen has been looked forward to since his last film Death Proof. This time, he brings us a throwback to war films starring Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Mike Myers, and Cloris Leachman. Interesting cast? Definitely! If you've already seen the trailer, you know this is going to be entertaining to say the least. Skeptics are saying that Tarantino has lost his touch ever since Pulp Fiction. He's been a victim of what I call "The Orson Welles Syndrome". He did one of his best films in the eyes of his fans so early in his career, that it's almost as if everything he does after is a disappointment. Not true, as good as Pulp Fiction was, I truly believe his craft has improved over the years. Jackie Brown and Death Proof have been my personal favorites. Debates ensue whenever I say this statement, and by this time I'm used to it. However, everyone judges Tarantino's merit on comparing what he does to Pulp Fiction, which is what people did to Orson Welles after Citizen Kane. If you stop looking at it that way, you might find something more special. Orson Welle's best years weren't behind him, his whole career was his best years...just like Tarantino. Basterds is about a group of specially picked soldiers assigned to reign fear among the nazis during World War II. Rumors are that it's a remake of the 1978 original with Fred Williamson, though Tarantino says it isn't. Hence why he purposely spelled bastards "basterds".


Public Enemies - Release Date: July 1st 2009
Michael Mann returns to the genre he knows best, crime. Public Enemies is the true story of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and the tenacious Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) out to arrest him, set in the 1930s. Mann has been at the forefront of superb crime drama since the 80s. Starting with "Miami Vice", being the first person to bring Hannibal Lector to the screen in 1986's "Manhunter", and creating possibly the greatest crime drama of all time; 1995's "Heat". Don't worry, I have not forgotten possibly the best role in Cruise's career which was Mann's ode to the L.A. nightlife "Collateral". We are already aware that Mann has a knack for this genre and it's also due to his unorthodox method of story telling along with the way he shoots his films. Using DV since Collateral, he's given the crime drama a new layer of grittiness that we haven't seen since the 70's with Sam Peckinpah's style of direction. As lackluster as it was, Mann even made his revamped Miami Vice look absolutely stunning with his style of shooting. Armed with a stellar cast including Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, Giovanni Ribisi, Rory Cochrane, Stephen Dorff, and Billy Crudup, this film shows that Mann has worked on bringing us an odyssey to the underworld as engaging as Heat was.


The Hangover - Release Date: June 5th 2009
Todd Phillip's career showed a lot of promise, from his college film Hated; a documentary about the infamous GG Allin, to his big studio comedies like Road Trip and Old School, he's proven to be a director to look forward to. He's hit a few bumps in the road with Starsky & Hutch and School For Scoundrels (the failure of this film in particular I blame Jon Heder for, absolutely one of the worst actors ever) but Old School has to be one of the most hilarious comedies in the style of greats as Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, etc... The Hangover stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianikis as three groomsmen who lose their guest of honor during a drunken night of partying in Las Vegas. Little promotion has been going on for this film right now, but there is definitely a buzz. Test screenings have done well over above average, and word on the street is it's going to be greenlit already for a sequel. Raunchy R rated comedies have been making a serious comeback, thanks to movies like Superbad, Knocked Up, and the 40 Year Old Virgin. I'd like to Phillips and Apatow at the helm of this generations raunchy comedy front like John Landis was back in the 80's. Check out the trailer for yourself, hell! even Mike Tyson's cameo looks worth paying the admission fee alone.


Where The Wild Things Are - Release Date: October 16th 2009
I have to admit that when I first heard about this, I completely wrote it off. I mean how did the last few films based on 30 page children books do? Remember Cat in the Hat? How The Grinch Stole Christmas? Exactly... However, Spike Jonze is a visionary director and I must admit that Adaptation and Being John Malcovich are two films that I think EVERYONE should see. Jonze brings Maurice Sendak's classic book to life in a way of which I've never seen, at least from the looks of the trailer. The story is about a boy who's sent to bed without his supper after being disobedient, He then creates an imaginative world with different creatures that crown him king, and so the story begins. The trailer as I said, turned my opinion completely around. This is something Jonze has apparently wanted to do for a long time considering he produced/directed and did all the legwork to bring this to the screen, all by himself. Check out the trailer for yourself courtesy of WWW.APPLE.COM/TRAILERS


The Informers - Release Date: April 24th 2009 (limited release)
This movie has been done for a while, the cast is outstanding and the reviews are really positive...yet this film had a hard time finding a distributor? Bret Easton Ellis' work translates well on screen, but in the hands of a good director. American Psycho is probably the hardest book in the history of literature to adapt, aside from Naked Lunch. I'd say because the book is absolutely psychotic. That didn't stop Mary Herron, who penned the adaptation as well as directed. Roger Avery also did an exceptional job on Rules of Attraction. Less Than Zero has it's moments, but fell somewhat flat. Like Ellis' Less Than Zero, The Informers is a multi layered narrative story about the high life of L.A. You've got your movie executives, rich drug addicted teenagers, ex cons, etc... Their lives all mix in this surrealistic setting that Ellis created of 1983 Los Angeles. Ellis' books are visceral in the storytelling department, which makes the books a hard sell for movies. If you tame it down, it loses it's impact. If you follow to the last line, you make a deplorable and morally depraved film. It's a fine line you have to walk with Ellis' work, which is partly to blame for the adaptation of Less Than Zero. The cast is illuminating with everyone from Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thorton, Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke, and the late Brad Renfro (in his last film appearance since his death in 2008).

Monday, April 6, 2009

(News) Watchmen director's cut coming soon.


Watchmen director; Zach Snyder, has revealed news of a director's cut of his hero epic.

Collider.com reports:

"As you might remember during the “Watchmen” junket a few months back, Zack announced a plan to release the director’s cut of “Watchmen” this July in a very limited run - maybe in New York and Los Angeles.

Since the movie didn’t do as well theatrically as all of us expected, many have wondered if that meant the theatrical run of the director’s cut might be called off. According to Zack, that isn’t the case and the plan is still to do a limited run.

But, while the theatrical cut of “Watchmen” was released in IMAX, don’t expect an IMAX version of the director’s cut. Zack told us the movie barely fit on the IMAX projector as a 2hr 40 minute film, so it’ll never fit as a 3hr 10 minute release."

I'm all for a longer cut of the film. As of this year, Watchmen is still possibly the best movie I've seen thus far. It was so complex, intricate, and imaginative. I knew nothing about it prior to it's release and I was amazed by the film's intensity. I read the book after and I must say that it's pretty faithful, though it's such a massive story that Snyder clearly couldn't have covered everything in one film. A 3hr and 10 minute running time would still not be enough to do this justice. However, it is an ambitious film for Snyder; still fresh in his career. He's proving to be getting better as he continues though. I'm excited to see what he does next.

(News) Joel Schumacher's "Twelve" has a set cast.


It seems as though Joel Schumacher is coming out with another movie soon called "twelve". The cast has been set, mostly good, and one really bad choice.

Variety.com reports:

"Gaumont, Radar Pictures and Original Media have set a Joel Schumacher-directed adaptation of the Nick McDonell novel "Twelve."
Pic will star Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Ellen Barkin and Kiefer Sutherland.

Production begins April 20 in New York. Jordan Melamed wrote the script.

In 2002, then 17-year-old McDonell wrote a novel that starkly depicted teenage drug use and decadence on the Upper East Side.

Story follows a high school dropout-turned-drug dealer. His lucrative life sours when the dealer's cousin is brutally murdered on an East Harlem playground and his best friend is arrested for the crime."

It's no secret that I down right loathe 50 Cent. The fact that he keeps getting roles is beyond me. He became especially laughable after his role in "Righteous Kill". Remember him? How could you not? He was the cliche gangster/club owner that had his own music actually playing in the club sound system; I'm not kidding. Schumacher's career is very hit or miss at this point. He's done a few memorable hits but he's done more bombs too. We'll see how this turns out.

(DVD) Do The Right Thing gets 2 disc treatment!



Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing is receiving the special edition treatment very soon. They haven't released the artwork yet, but I found the new features which are as follows.

"Universal Studios Home Entertainment have announced the US DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Do The Right Thing (20th Anniversary Edition) on 30th June 2009. This Spike Lee joint is given the Anniversary Edition treatment by Universal with both DVD and Blu-ray offering what looks to be most of the old Criterion edition extras alongside a new commentary by Spike Lee. Features are outlined below...

DVD

Disc 1: Main Feature
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
English, French and Spanish DD5.1 Surround
English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles
Do The Right Thing: 20 Years Later
Deleted and Extended Scenes
20th Anniversary Edition Feature Commentary by Director Spike Lee
Feature Commentary by Director Spike Lee, Director of Photography Ernest Dickerson, Production Designer Wynn Thomas, and Actor Joie Lee
Trailers

Disc 2: Bonus Disc
Behind the Scenes
Making "Do The Right Thing"
Editor Barry Brown
The Riot Sequence
Cannes, 1989

Blu-ray Disc
1080P 1.85:1 Widescreen
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
French and Spanish 5.1 DTS Surround
English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles
BD Live: Download Centre
Do The Right Thing: 20 Years Later
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Making "Do The Right Thing"
Editor Barry Brown
The Riot Sequence
Cannes, 1989
20th Anniversary Edition Feature Commentary with Director Spike Lee
Feature Commentary with Director Spike Lee, Director of Photography Ernest Dickerson, Production Designer Wynn Thomas, and Actor Joie Lee
Trailers"

Especially interesting, is the footage of Lee and crew going to Cannes. The film was praised there and put Lee on the map as a sought after director. Years later, he would continue his great streak with amazing films like Mo Better Blues, Malcolm X, Get on the Bus, Summer of Sam, and The Inside Man. Lee is a really gifted and versatile director and this is a nice retrospective after 20 years. If you guys wanna see something really special, I highly recommend Lee's documentary "When The Levees Broke". It's a 4 hour eulogy to the chaos and impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans as well as this country.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

DVDs to look out for in April.


JCVD - Release Date April 28th 2009

"Jean Claude Van Damme can't act" That's a quote that comes out of virtually everyone's mouth and I can't say I disagree with them. We're not exactly talking "avant garde" cinema when we think of movies like Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Double Impact, and so on. However, when I first heard about this film, I was intrigued. There was a buzz going around saying that this is Van Damme's ticket back to fame and he's proven to be a truly great actor. I have this theory about foreign artists breaking into the American market. Whenever they seem to come here to really "make it", they become a self parody and are chewed up and spit out. The American movie circuit has this habit of making wonderful foreign artists, jump through hoops to be noticed here and it sometimes ends up being their downfall. Think about it, John Woo was making some of the most incredible action films to have ever been seen in Hong Kong during the 1980's. Can you honestly name a film that he's made here in the U.S. that was worth seeing? or rather made any money? Aside from Face-Off; which wasn't all that great to begin with, you just can't think of any. Instead of allowing the person to flourish here and maybe surprise audiences, these people are stuck doing sequels and remakes. But I disgress, Jean Claude Van Damme may not have proven from the get go that he was a great actor...because he's never been given the chance.

Now that Hollywood has spit him out like the rest of the 90's stars, he's "forced" to do foreign films and films that get released in other countries and maybe straight to video here in the U.S. Which brings me to JCVD, a pet project that Van Damme has wanted to do for a long time. Director Mabrouk El Mechri shows us a side of the "Muscles from Brussels" like we've never seen. First with an incredible one take scene of Van Damme on a movie set, doing an action sequence that looks long, tiresome, and well...cheesy. We then see Van Damme arguing with the director saying it's too much and he can't do it. The director then says to his friend next to him "what does he think we're making? Citizen Kane?" In essence, that's Van Damme's career. Stuck doing films you wouldn't watch and are just laughable at this point. We then see he's going through a grueling custody battle with his wife and children, he's practically broke, and he's being passed on roles for an overweight Steven Seagal. Things aren't looking up for him at this point and the film amplifies that strongly. He then returns home; to Belgium, to oversee some financial duties and to just go home. A chance stop-in at a local post office to wire money to his lawyer in the states, gets him involved in a robbery/hostage situation. Ultimately, he's confused as the robber and a man desperate for cash due to his dire straits. In the post office though, something much bigger is happening besides the media circus outside. Van Damme is dealing with the initial robbery situation as well as his realization that he's not much of anything these days. It's shown in many different and subtle ways throughout the film. I'm not sure if it's because the film is in his native language or maybe he's more comfortable in his stomping grounds, but he really proves to be a commanding presence on screen. You can think that maybe since he's playing himself it's easier to act. That's not always the case, being that 50 Cent is even awful at playing 50 Cent in his biopic. What Van Damme does in this film though, is show that he's really trying to be taken seriously and is willing to start from the beginning. The man loves being an actor and he wants to show audiences the things he feels he never got to share with his fans. He expresses that tearfully and eloquently in a monologue that could've been scripted? could not have been, who knows? Touching and engaging, he expresses remorse for never giving the audience the joy he initially intended on giving with his films. He asks for one more chance and offers this film as a way to prove he's really trying.


I won't lie to you, after watching this, I'd definitely give this man another shot and wouldn't be surprised if he continues on a path to greater success. Ultimately, the film is a testament of a broken and fallen idol that wants to give back what he's taken. JCVD has a great mixture of humor, action at some point, and dramatic elements that you don't get to see everyday in a film such as this. It's not indulgent and it's not glorifying in any way. One thing you will get from watching this, a new found sense of respect for an actor that's been long forgotten. El Mechri's skilled direction is complimented by the hypnotic and almost dream-like cinematography by Pierre-Yves Bastard. The screen was literally a work of art that captured your attention at even the most tame moments of the film. It was a pleasure seeing this in theater and I can't wait till it's release on DVD.

(News) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Criterion.



Ever so enthusiastically, I wrote last month about how The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is being released by Criterion. I promised to post the artwork once I had it available, and here it is! I can't tell you how excited I am for Criterion to handle the pressing of this film. For those of you not familiar with this company, do yourself a favor and visit . Learn about this fantastic company, for which I have the utmost respect for. This film is honestly the most breath-taking representation of classic cinema. It captures the true spirit of a slew of wonderful characters, elaborate historical settings, a story full of emotion, and the spirit of an epic film of past generations like Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, etc.

The DVD's special features are as follows:

Interviews with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
- Audio commentary featuring Academy Award-nominated director David Fincher
- Never-before-seen footage revealing the innovative techniques behind the Academy Award–winning visual effects and makeup
- Step-by-step examination of the motion-capture process aging Brad Pitt
- In-depth exploration of David Fincher’s creative process on the set
- Interview with acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat about the score
- Featurettes on the film’s storyboards, costumes, and Academy Award–winning art direction
- Stills galleries, including costume design and candid behind-the-scenes production photos
- Optional French- and Spanish-dubbed soundtracks
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, and optional French and Spanish subtitles
- PLUS: An essay by film critic Kent Jones

Release date is slated for May 5th 2009.

Don't believe the Slumdog Millionaire hype, this IS the best film of 2008. Slumdog was a good film, but this film captured the true art of movie magic in a sense that has been lost for years in the hollywood film scene.

(News) Freddy Krueger has officially been cast.



Jackie Earle Haley has been enjoying a great career resurgence after his engaging performance as an ex pedophile trying to fit in a normal suburban neighborhood in Litte Children; for which he received an Oscar nomination. Producers feel confident enough to cast him as the new wearer of the sharp glove, in the remake of Wes Craven's 1984 classic "Nightmare on Elm Street"

UPI.com says:
"LOS ANGELES, April 4 (UPI) -- Director Samuel Bayer says U.S. actor Jackie Earle Haley has hired to play killer Freddy Krueger in a remake of "Nightmare on Elm Street."
Bayer, who will direct the remake of the 1984 horror film that starred Robert Englund, said Haley showed his ability to evoke emotion in viewers by playing the superhero Rorschach in "Watchmen," The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

"Looking at his performance in 'Watchmen.' Here's a guy playing a character under a mask yet you feel tremendous empathy for him," Bayer said.

"Elm Street" follows the disfigured "undead" child molester as he seeks revenge on those who burned him to death by stalking their teenage children in their dreams.

The Reporter said production will begin May 5 using a screenplay written by Wesley Strick."

I've heard so many rumors about casting for this film, mostly with Billy Bob Thorton. I looked this up for quite a while before I decided to post it, just to make sure it's legitimate. Apparently, it really is! I'm not necessarily a fan of remakes. As of now, all of Wes Craven's films haven't translated well in the remake department, but it's also in the casting as well as the director and screenwriter. Samuel Bayer hasn't done much in the movie department that I know of. In fact, he's actually done NOTHING, only music videos, which is shaky. On a good note, Wesley Strick has written some choice screenplays that show he's capable of doing an original justice. Strick is responsible for the screenplay of the Scorcese 1991 classic remake "Cape Fear", which I adore. He's also done Wolf; with Jack Nicholson, and True Believer. I'm hoping this can be something actually worth seeing, not every remake is deplorable, but not every remake is great either. Time will tell with this one.

Update for the readers (if you care)

I'm attempting to make my site a little more professional. Therefore, I'm changing the name of the site to "The Film Frequencies" I will attempt to change the address of the site to www.thefilmfrequencies.blogspot.com please feel free to make the necessary changes. Thanks for reading.

(News) Weekend Numbers are Fast & Furious?



Apparently, this country is jammed packed with more people that serve as the lowest common denominator of entertainment seekers than we thought. Fast & Furious, the notorious return of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker; probably because their careers haven't amounted to anything since the first, has made a surprising 72.5 million this weekend. Believe me, I'm as stunned as you are.

Box Office Mojo reports:

"Revving way past its predecessors' redlines, Fast and Furious packed an estimated $72.5 million under its hood, summarily dusting Anger Management's $42.2 million to notch the biggest April debut ever. Driven by the action sequel, the weekend as a whole was the busiest on record for April, grossing an estimated $185 million and surging 65 percent ahead of the same weekend last year.

Not only did Fast and Furious have the highest-grossing opening for a car-themed movie (beating Cars' $60.1 million), it was also tops for a straight-forward action picture (as opposed to the superhero or fantastical kind), surpassing The Bourne Ultimatum's $69.3 million. What's more, during the January-to-April timeframe, only The Passion of the Christ had a larger-grossing debut in the past."

Apparently, the obvious absurdity that the trailer already had as well as the awful reviews didn't mess up this film's draw. Monsters vs. Aliens is still going strong (kinda) and ranked in second with 33.5 million, making it's total gross 105.7 million in 10 days. Haunting in Connecticut is in 3rd, with Knowing and I love you, man finishing off the top 5. Let's see how next week's opener; Observe and Report, does against Fast & Furious.

Friday, April 3, 2009

(Trailer) Bruno

I hope you enjoy the new red band trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno. This looks hilarious!!!!

Memorable Bad Guys in Cinema History (Part 2)

Welcome back to my second installment of my favorite bad guys of cinema. I was honestly so torn between 6 people in particular, that's I'm debating on whether I should keep at 10, or just add one more and make it a list. Let's see?


6. Detective Stansfield - Leon: The Professional
Played by one of the greatest actors of the past few decades, Gary Oldman bring us Detective Stansfield. A crooked cop for the NYPD that is involved in the drug trade and homicide racket. I'm not really quite sure if Gary Oldman's performance was more from him, or if the screenplay made this character to be so psychotic in the first place. Either way, his performance stays with you well past the film's running time. Out of my 2 point criteria, I'd have to say that Detective Stansfield falls under #1. Even though he's a symbol for good wearing an officer's badge, the man's capabilities go beyond any reasonable breaking point the outcome is borderline psychotic. Why? We don't know, maybe he just likes to make more money and is absolutely selfish. We don't get to spend enough time delving into the psyche of Stansfield...but it doesn't really matter. Charismatic, intelligent, precise, and absolutely insane, and we love every second of him.

Memorable Quote: "I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin' and you can hear the insects."


7. Hannibal Lector - The Silence of the Lambs
This is an easy yet hard choice to make. Silence of the Lambs had two of cinemas most prolific antagonists, but what makes the choice easier is the fact that this one resonates for years after the film's release. Even though Hopkins has been a commanding presence on screen since the mid 60's. It wasn't until his career defining performance in Silence of the Lambs that made him a household name and it's easy to see why. Originally brought to the screen by Brian Cox in Michael Mann's 1986 thriller "Manhunter", Hopkins takes over the role and brings the true face of absolute horror as the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lector. His empty, wide eyed stares and soft spoken demeanor makes him all the more terrifying as he tears apart the mind of FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who's only reason for communication is help to catch our other antogonist, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Hopkins' approach to this role was impressive because he gives a chilling ambiance whenever he's on screen. The feeling of impending doom never seems to lighten up whenever Starling is speaking to the Doctor, which gives the performances on both ends praise due to the wonderful chemistry between them. His stimulating intellect, articulate vocabulary, and great achievements as a doctor, make him a strange candidate for this type of character. The character is said to have been molded from the behavior analysis of Ted Bundy; a real life serial killer who claimed over 100 murders in the US. As accomplished as he was, he was a monster through and through, which makes him fall under criteria #1. We don't know why he does what he does and that makes him all the more terrifying.

Memorable Quote: "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."


8. Max Cady - Cape Fear
Very rarely, do I ever feel the need to praise a remake. However, once in a while, a truly gifted filmmaker comes along that manages to bring a new revision to an older work and turns it into something more special. Cronenberg did just that with The Fly as John Sturges did with The Magnificent Seven as well. Martin Scorcese accomplished the very same with his 1991 psychotic thriller Cape Fear. Scorcese's mile a minute pacing and frantic camera work is almost reminiscent of Hitchcock's with this particular film. Taking over the role made famous by Robert Mitchum is a man who needs no introduction, Robert De Niro. De Niro's performance as Max Cady is still in my book to the best and most haunting of villains in cinema to this day. You learn quickly what Cady is capable of and feel the tension each time he's on screen. Snappy dialogue and pressing mind games with Samuel Bowden (Nick Nolte) and his family only get worse as the film continues. Ultimately, Cady's intentions are revenge and retribution...at any cost. This criteria lands him under #2 with a small hint of #1. De Niro's performance is haunting and intriguing all the same and to this day is still my favorite performance of his career.


9. The Joker - The Dark Knight
The most talked about performance of 2008. The role that defined Ledger's career as a masterful film player and not just a pretty face in the hollywood circuit. When I first heard the news about Ledger taking over this role; made famous in 1989 by Jack Nicholson, I had a hard time accepting it. Director Christopher Nolan already brought a darker side to the Batman franchise with Batman Begins. It was only natural that this vision of the Joker was going to be not just different, but special. Before the film's initial release, Ledger passed away from a pill cocktail he took to help him sleep and calm his nerves; clearly from work exhaustion. It created a buzz and The Dark Knight was a huge hit and even got Ledger a posthumous Oscar Win; The only other actor in history to achieve this since Peter Finch in the 1976 film Network. Ledger's joker has no motive and his character clearly states that in a fascinating monologue between him and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). He has no purpose but chaos and does just fine with that realization. Criteria #1 is an understatement for this character but we loved him anyways. You couldn't take your eyes off the screen the minute he was on, and you couldn't wait till his next appearance. Though Ledger is no longer with us, he's left us with a performance that will be talked about for decades. The world's favorite psychotic remembered. Heath Ledger RIP (1979-2008)

Memorable Quote: "You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren't you? Huh? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever. "


10. Anton Chigurh - No Country For Old Men
Did you really think this man wouldn't make the list? It seems that in the past few years, we've grown exceptionally close with bad guys. Two years in a row, our best supporting actor winners are 2 of the worst human beings brought to the big screen. Don't think I'm saying it like it's a bad thing either. Armed with a cattle air gun, a horrible 60's boy band haircut, and a quarter that decides your fate. Javier Bardem's rendering of Anton Chigurh is the performance that truly shows the talents of an actor like Bardem. Having read the book, I can only imagine how hard it must've been to bring this character to life. Cormac McCarthy's only way of describing him in the book is simply put "He has no sense of humor". A quote that is actually used in the movie as well. The performance of Anton Chigurh feels as if you're watching the grim reaper himself in the shell of a human being. Out of touch with humanity and actually fair; frighteningly enough, Chigurh goes through every which road Texas has to offer looking for his stolen money and literally killing every person he comes across...well, almost every person. Scary as he is, this character has also proven to be a man of principles, sociopathic principles but they are principles, I assure you! Chigurh's character is the personification of fate and it's shown in his strong belief that if your time is up, the coin will show it. This character falls under criteria #1. A precise killing machine with no respect for human life, not even birds. He's the whirlwind of the criminal underground and everything gets swept away along with him...and it's never been so fun to watch it. The Coen Brothers directed a masterful and exciting film, and quite possibly the masterpiece that their entire career has built up to.

Memorable Quote: "So this is what I'll offer - you bring me the money and I'll let her go. Otherwise she's accountable, same as you. That's the best deal you're gonna get. I won't tell you you can save yourself, because you can't. "

I have to admit guys, writing this section in particular has been a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I've also come to the conclusion that I can't only pick 10 people. I'm going to continue this little list for as long as I can. Got any suggestions you think fall under my criteria? Let me know, comments are appreciated. Thanks again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top 10 Memorable Bad Guys in Cinema History (Part 1)

The villain has always been an interesting concept to me when it comes to watching movies. I've always had a theory that sometimes doesn't always add up, but it does about 90% of the time. To be a truly great villain, you have to possess one of two important characteristics.

1. The character has to be completely vacant. I sometimes don't need an explanation as to why this person is doing what they are doing. Sometimes a character's destructive force is so intense that adding a back story or explanation can sometimes sour it. The shroud of mystery works to the advantage sometimes and it also gives the character more complexity in my opinion.

2. The character is absolutely convinced that the chaos they are causing is for the greater good and absolutely justified. When you have someone committing atrocities; there is no end to their capabilities, especially when they believe that it has to be done for the benefit of something greater. A self righteous villain, is a really intimidating one.

Those are my two characteristics that I look for in a memorable character. So with this in mind, I've decided to compile a list (not in order) of my top 10 favorite bad souls to have been created on screen. I may have some runner(s) up and it's so hard to choose just 10, but I hope you enjoy my picks!

TOP 10 Best Bad Guys on Film:


1. Hans Gruber - Die Hard

Masterfully played by Alan Rickman. Hans Gruber is the ultimate bad guy for a few reasons. He technically falls under the category of criteria #1. A professional, well educated, intelligent, charismatic, theif that is quite capable of putting a bullet in someone's head with no qualms. Even though we knew a portion of history proved that he was a privileged individual growing up, he still went the route he did. All eyes were on Rickman every time he was on screen and for a good reason. He managed to take the "bad guy" to another level of class and sophistication, with a touch of absolute insanity.

Memorable Quote: "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." Benefits of a classical education.


2. Bill The Butcher - Gangs of New York

Daniel Day-Lewis is no amateur when it comes to bringing memorable characters on screen. His performance as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting was one of a criteria of mine that I'd file under #2. The man spilled blood for the good of country and for the prevalence of his people. He was intense, commanding, and intimidating. Audiences couldn't help the excitement and smiles his character brought every time he appeared and there's a good reason for that.

Memorable Quote: You know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike, raise it high up so all on the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear.


3. Annie Wilkes - Misery

Ok, I know what you're thinking...she's not a guy. Although, guys all over the world at the release of this film were scared out of their minds to accept the help of a nice rural stranger, thanks to Annie Wilkes. The brainchild of Stephen King, Kathy Bates gives the best performance of her career; in my opinion, as Annie Wilkes. Annie, is a nurse who has her idol; Paul Sheldon land at her lap for care after a gruesome car accident. It's a dream come true...a dream that Annie doesn't ever want to wake up from. When it comes to my criteria, this sociopath falls under both. Absolutely vacant and self righteous. Her intentions of harm on her idol Paul Sheldon make absolutely no sense and to her, she's just trying to continue to make her world better by keeping him around.

Memorable Quote: God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here. I am going to help you write a new book.


4. Darth Vader - Star Wars

I'm not going to lie, I'm not a Star Wars fan in the least bit. I've seen every film and they just never really appealed to me. I wish I can give you a good description on Vader, but I can't. I'm fair however, and I recognize this character's significance in the history of film, especially as a bad guy. If I had to classify him under my 2 point criteria, I'd probably put him under #2. I welcome my readers of this blog to submit a good description to this character.

Memorable Quote: I find your lack of faith disturbing.


5. Alexander Delarge - A Clockwork Orange

Bad guys as the main character? It's not uncommon, and it's certainly an interesting journey. In Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell personifies the true face of evil in youth. Based on Anthony Burgess' book of the same name, the character who is said to be in his teen years, enjoys rape, violence, and classical music? The most interesting aspect of this character is; like Hans Gruber, his privileged upbringing that still has no effect to deter the character's destructive behavior. Like the book, the film centers around the central idea of evil not being a product of society, but more of the mind. You can't supress it, no matter how hard you try. That's what makes the character absolutely haunting and interesting all the same. Oh, as if you had to ask, this would fall under criteria #1.

Memorable Quote: Watch that. Do watch that, O Dim, if to continue to be on live thou dost wish.

Thanks for reading, part 2 will be up in a day or two.

(NEWS) The Three Stooges cast announced!

The announcement of the casting for the film adaptation of the slapstick 1930's comedy "The Three Stooges" was announced earlier this evening. Needless to say, it's definitely an odd pairing.

"Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro have been lined up to star in a new movie based on 1930s comedy icons The Three Stooges.

Director siblings the Farrelly Brothers are behind the new project, about the slapstick antics of Moe and Curly Howard and Larry Fine.

Oscar winner Penn is expected to play Larry, with Carrey and Del Toro taking on the roles of Curly and Moe, respectively, reports Daily Variety."

This is going to be interesting. I can see Carrey and Penn hitting it off well. The only one I seem to have trouble with is Del Toro. As great an actor he is, I wonder if his abilities outstretch to comedy as well? Let's see.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More underrated classics...



The Cooler - Dir. Wayne Kramer (2003)

I'll never forget the first time I heard about this movie. I saw a late night film review program that mentioned this film and from the get-go it intrigued me. I've always been fascinated by the "american dream" mentality that surrounds Las Vegas. As much as I personally love the city, it's history fascinates me tenfold. Films like The Cooler, are metaphors to me for the conditioning and destruction of the human spirit and the american dream. In Bugsy, we had a gangster starving for something more and opted to create a mecca of entertainment for adults...it killed him. In Casino, we have low level gangsters being given the keys to the palace to do as they please! It killed them too. The Cooler isn't quite as catastrophic per say, but the film is a wonderful practice and testament to the spirit of Las Vegas' broken road plague that's continued since it's inception. Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) is an employee at the Shangri-La Casino. The last of the mob run "old school" casinos in Las Vegas. The casino is run by an old gangster named Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin). Like the traditional gambling superstitions, Shelly has Bernie working for the casino as a "Cooler". Believing that his bad luck is contagious, Bernie actually shows the ability to make good luck go sour. Crap tables, Slot Machines, Roulette, Blackjack, anything and everything goes bust at the very second of his presence. It seems like a very good arrangement, until Bernie meets casino waitress Natalie Belisario (Maria Bello). Bernie soon falls in love with Natalie and his luck finally starts to change. He doesn't seem to have the effect he had on people and Shelly plans to put a stop to it. Director Wayne Kramer; with only 5 movies under his direction belt, has a really distinct style that manages to bring the beauty and colors of Las Vegas with an unsettling gritty undertone. This film opened my eyes to Kramer's stunning visual techniques and has kept me interested with most of his films so far. The Cooler is a great testament to the idea that we all eventually learn, which is that all good things must come to an end. It manages to bring out a strikingly beautiful romance out of the most unusual circumstances, and it's absolutely sincere in the best way possible. It's also a testament to the true value of friendship; and with a superb supporting cast with greats like Paul Sorvino, Ron Livingston, and screen veteran Arthur J Nascarella, it still baffles me why no one has seen and loves this. That's why it's on my list of underrated classics.


Trailer: The Cooler

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button announcement!

I'm so pleased to tell you guys that the faithful and personal favorite DVD company Criterion Collection, has picked up the rights to release and distribute The Curious Case of Benjamin Button! The release date is slated for May 5th and I saw the artwork for it already; looks amazing to say the least. As soon as I get more info on this, I'll post it up immediately.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Underrated Films? No...like there is such a thing!

So what makes a movie underrated? Sometimes an up and coming director that no one knows about, makes a brilliant film that no one sees. Why is that? Maybe he's not a household name yet? Are people going to pick a movie on saturday night by a guy named Abel Ferrara? or are they gonna go see the new Michael Bay film? Unfortunately, the odds are with Bay, because that guy has dropped more cinematic turds on american audiences that rake in millions of dollars. Abel Ferrara has a new film coming out the same weekend as Bay right? You see posters, trailers, stand up displays, newspaper write ups, etc...and for Ferrara, You'll probably find a corner review in the newspaper, maybe a listing in the new films of the weekend section on your website, or probably just word of mouth by the select amount of rabid fans he has. Would it shock you to know that even though Ferrara has made amazing films like The Funeral, Bad Lieutenant, and King of New York? and yet still, no one knows who he is? Some of these films have eventually grown to a cult status by word of mouth though. The films end up growing in popularity through the great medium of home video. But who decides that? What if a movie that is special that no one saw in theaters...could even get a re-release on DVD at all? Look at Donnie Darko for example, the film upon original release in the US theaters tanked! It made a little over 500k in it's theater run. Lonely and forgotten, the film grew to a massive monster it is today by word of mouth, DVD, and the love of the film in theaters by European Audiences. Same happened with The Big Lebowski by the Coen Brothers. Film didn't do well in theaters...now it's a cult monster! With an Annual Lebowski Festival to boot! It's so odd how the film industry works and quite frankly, I dont care to understand it. In honor of this little jumping off point...I've compiled a list of films that are forgotten, underrated, and unknown to anyone and everyone who loves film. These are just a few movies I'd love to bring to your attention to give another chance and maybe feel the impact it really has.



Copland - Dir. James Mangold (1997)

You wouldn't believe how many scoff at the idea that Sylvester Stallone can act. Need I remind you that the man received critical praise and did win awards for his big screen debut Rocky. He created one of the most incredible and beloved characters in film history; who unfortunately was bastardized in too many needless sequels, but that's besides the point. Stallone has proven with a few films, that he has the ability to bring a wonderful character to life. Alongside an amazing cast with the likes of Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, and Peter Berg, Director James Mangold created an outstanding small film about a sheriff uncovering an enormous veil of corruption in his little town that goes as high up as the NYPD. Stallone's "less is more" approach to the character was exactly what was needed to make this character so special and the film so memorable. Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone) is one of 2 cops in a small New Jersey suburb that lies right over the bridge to New York City. Always dreaming of being a cop, an accident where he helped prevent the loss of an actual life, cost him his hearing; and unfortunately his ticket to the NYPD. His only chance closest to his dream, is watching over the little town in Jersey that basically houses many if not almost all of the NYPD force. The residents walk all over him and he spends his time pining over the woman he helped save the day he lost his hearing; who is now married to an NYPD officer. Ultimately, a crime is involved with an NYPD officer that involves the residents of Freddy's town as well as Freddy himself. Stallone brings such a relaxed and subtle approach (including gaining over 50 pounds for the role) and transforms himself into what you can say is the village idiot that eventually has his day, and prove he did (and does) have what it takes to be a great cop. Along with a great cast, wonderful dialog, and a script that unfolds little by little at the right moments, Director James Mangold created one of the best crime dramas of the 1990's. Mangold clearly showed no signs of stopping as he continued to create wonderful films such as Walk The Line, Identity, and a stylish remake of the western classic 3:10 To Yuma. Copland is wonderful for a few reasons, but the most important ones to me being that 1. It holds a commendable performance by Stallone alongside an incredible cast. 2. It's a great early showing of the monster Mangold is becoming in the director's chair. 3. It's a great perspective that proves to create a great crime drama, you don't need a huge budget with lots of destruction and chaos. That's why I chose to make this my first entry in my underrated classic section.



Bringing Out The Dead - Dir. Martin Scorcese (1999)

Martin Scorcese is synonymous with some of the most intense and visceral films of any generation. We've watched him bring us the lives of up and coming gangsters in Little Italy destroy themselves in "Mean Streets". We've followed the eventual psychological breakdown of an ex soldier brought to his breaking point by his surround society in "Taxi Driver". We've watched him create the date from hell in "After Hours". The many gangster epics he's also created from the true life of Henry Hill in "Goodfellas", the rise and fall of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal in "Casino", and of course the widely praised police drama "The Departed" So is it hard to believe that Scorcese who has created dozens of movies that are beloved by millions, actually has one that has slipped through the cracks and when mentioned you get a response like "he did that?" Yes, believe it or not...it's quite possible. Bringing Out The Dead starring Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, Tom Sizemore, and Ving Rhames is about a paramedic named Frank Pierce (Cage) who is experiencing insomnia, guilt, and an overall sense of defeat from his job as a graveyard shift paramedic in Hell's Kitchen. Dealing with the guilt of losing a patient while on the job, the film centers around 3 days of shifts with different partners and Frank's nihilistic view that continues to grow about life. He sees visions of the patient he lost and it breaks him down almost completely. That is until he meets Mary. Mary is the daughter of a patient Frank saves and eventually starts to bring him the light he's needed to realize that what he's doing is a very special thing, not just for himself but for everyone he comes across. Scorcese teams up with writer Paul Schrader (who collaborated with Scorcese in Taxi Driver) to create a fascinating character study set against the backdrop again, of New York City. Nicolas Cage has unfortunately become a parody of himself with his "quantity over quality" approach to choosing roles, so it's not a surprise that I get skepticism from people when I say Cage is a wonderful actor. Cage's presence on the screen is commanding in this film and clearly disproves your theory about him. Scorcese's direction in this film is almost hypnotic. The dreamlike state he brings to this film is almost surreal and really sucks you in with Cage's character. The frantic fast/slow pacing of the film, along with the soundtrack; that includes everything from the Clash to REM, only adds more to this already engaging and special film. Ultimately, the film's overall nocturnal descent into spiritual redemption is what makes the film not just unique and a breath of fresh air...but yet another classic film that made it's cut into my underrated film section. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Trailers:

Copland



Bringing Out The Dead