Friday, December 28, 2012

Django Unchained, or Cinematic Reparations.

My biggest problem with Django Unchained is that it's not as good as Inglorious Basterds.  That's not a bad problem to have.  Thankfully, unlike Inglorious Basterds, Django doesn't have any moments that make me want to slap Quentin Tarantino in the face.

The film really shines in the first act.  Christoph Waltz purchases Django from some slavers and the two form a bounty-hunting partnership that results in some of the funnest movie moments of the year.  Christoph Waltz seems incapable of being outsmarted or killed, and claims each bounty with panache.  It is in these first scenes that we get the best of Tarantino's dialogue, humor, and cleverness.  Christoph Waltz talks himself out of every threatening experience, befuddling a US marshall, a southern plantation, and a group of Klansmen who can't seem to get their headwear in order.

Les Miserables, The Movie Killed the Dream.

So far, the trailer for Les Miserables is one of the best films of the year.  Anne Hathaway whimper-singing "I Dreamed a Dream" gets me every time.  Unfortunately, the trailer somehow made me forget that Les Miserables only has four good songs (I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Master of the House, and Little Fall of Rain).  The film reminded me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lincoln: The Great Storyteller.

Don't you just want to slap that face?
The best part of Lincoln, is the amazing tangents that Daniel Day-Lewis takes us on.  Certainly, the film is purportedly a tale of overcoming ignorant white people and changing history, but it would have been dull and predicable without Lincoln's penchant for storytelling.  Some of the tensest moments of Lincoln are broken up by a non-sequitur from the commander-in-chief.  His whimsical nature is the highlight, and it's probably enough to make the rest of the film worthwhile.

Wreck-It Ralph: Rated E for Everyone, but Mostly Children.

Animated video game nostalgia.  What's not to like?  Not much, but Wreck-It Ralph just doesn't have the flair to pull off the Pixar style it attempts to emulate.  It's a cute, mildly funny feature that just doesn't accomplish all it set outs to.

It's a fantastic idea really: Wreck-It Ralph, the destructive villain in the fictional video game Fix-It Felix, just wants the chance to be a hero for once.  Unhappy with his day job, he begins jumping between video games in an attempt to prove his worth.  Unfortunately, after the first thirty minutes, Ralph finds himself in a saccharine racing game called Sugar Rush, where he stays for the rest of the film.  There a few amusing references to Tapper, Q-Bert, and a few others, but almost all occur in the film's opening moments.  Once Ralph reaches Sugar Rush, the film evaporates into little more than a childish underdog/outcast story and one amazing Oreo joke.

There are plenty of recognizable voices, but the typecasting is so meticulous, they might as well have named one of the characters "Sarah Silverman".  Disney Animation is trying its best to blend the adult with the childish, but it hasn't quite graduated from elementary school.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Seven Psychopaths and Colin Farrell

Dear Martin McDonagh,

Good idea.  Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and a shih tzu?  I like where this is going.  It doesn't come off as well as I'd hoped; it's certainly no In Bruges (Good work, by the way).  However, the cast, and your talent for dialogue, is more than enough to turn out an entertaining couple of hours.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Sophomore Year Must Have Sucked.

Ten points for Gryffindor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower will resonate with anyone who remembers feeling like an outsider in high school, which as one eventually discovers, is pretty much everyone.  It's a well-crafted, capsule of nostalgia focused around an incredibly dull, yet invariably scarred, loner named Charlie who finds himself befriended by an intriguing band of misfit youths.

The film manages to capture the mood of youthful insecurity and the transitory sense of entering and leaving high school, all the while reminding us, perhaps a little too often, of the ignorance inherent in children's ploys at maturity.  Charlie seems to be the only real wallflower of the bunch; he acts as narrator, and would be a completely vapid character if not for a tragic past and a crush on Hermione Granger.

It is the friends Charlie makes that drive the plot.  Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) are step-siblings whom, after the realization that Charlie has no real friends, adopt him as their own.  Charlie seems to contribute little to this friendship, apart from being a virginal target for corruption and a fresh face to talk to.  I suppose that's more than most friendships are based on, but I think I harbored a small grudge for Charlie's uninteresting personality.  I mean, sure he reads books, but he's not that cool.  And he has a stupid trapper keeper.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Looper, or Joseph Gordon Levitt is Bruce Willis.

Yippee Ki-yay?

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Bruce Willis.  Do I need to continue?  You know what?  I'm not going to.  It's pretty good and it's filled with plot holes.  Enjoy.  This post is to prove that I'm still here.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Needed More Yeast.

Batman vs. Predator.

You know, for all the talk of "a storm coming", I don't think it rained once in The Dark Knight Rises.  As I was anxiously awaiting excessive precipitation, I have to admit that I'm heartbroken.  Maybe I wouldn't be so down if the film had been up to par.  I know I have a history of downplaying mega hits just to piss people off–including The Dark Knight–but I've always felt that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are really good films.  The Dark Knight Rises is not.

It's really unfortunate that so few trilogies actually have three good movies in them, and it's equally upsetting that I have to consider The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan's only miss.  I assumed TDKR would follow the trend of third-in-the-trilogy films and be less than the previous two, but I did not expect what I got: a bloated, clunky exercise in mediocrity.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

To Rome With Love, or Lingering Alec Baldwin.

Midnight In Paris ruined everything.  I went to see To Rome with Love today and, believe it or not, there were other people in the theater.  It was terrifying.  Can you imagine sitting alongside fifty or so elderly couples who are actually laughing at the trailer for Hope Springs?  May you never experience such horror.  Thankfully, To Rome with Love should scare off the masses.  It's getting destroyed by critics, and it certainly won't win any Academy Awards.

But it was still enjoyable.  Well, three fourths of it was.  Most of the dialogue misses its mark, and the characters have little to no merit, but To Rome with Love offers just enough absurdity to keep itself going.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Magic Mike, or What Matthew McConaughey Does in His Free Time.

Sorry for the absence.  I bought a computer today because I knew you all missed me.  Although I've been without the means to deliver my delightfully slanderous criticism, rest assured that I have been keeping tabs on all things cinematic.  If you haven't seen a theatrical release since my absence, you haven't missed much.  However, as with all things in life, just as you're getting comfortable with the bland emptiness of it all, Channing Tatum shows up and takes off his pants.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top 10 Films of 2011.

Regardless of the quality of his films, Nicolas Cage must feature in all collages.

Although the Academy is being particularly offensive with their nominations this year, 2011 has made the atrocity of 2010 seem like a bad dream.  There were twenty to thirty films in 2011 that I wouldn't yell at someone for including in their best of the year list.  Either I'm growing as a person (I'm not), or 2011 was a pretty good year.  So, brace yourself, this is going to be a long entry.  This list, as always, does not include documentaries.  Let's start with some honorable mentions/films of note.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chronicle or, Don't Fly At Me, Bro.

At this point, I'm so sick of superhero movies, I don't even want to see The Avengers.  In about ten years, we've had four X-men films, three Spiderman films, three Batmans films, two Fantastic Four films, two Iron Man films, Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, three different actors playing the Incredible Hulk...  Chris Evans has even played two different superheroes.  It's gotten out of control.  Of course, not all these films are bad, but I'm burnt out.  Let's move on to something new.

Likewise, apart from Rec, found footage films are welcome to follow the repetitive superhero formula into hell.  After The Blair Witch Project, Hollywood suddenly decided to stop hiring writers and just give their actors camcorders.  The results are mixed, but a gimmick is a gimmick.

And now we arrive at Chronicle, the found footage superhero movie.  I use "superhero" in the loosest sense; but superpowers are involved, so we'll count it.  It is entertaining, which is more than I'll say for half the movies previously mentioned, but the justification for a diagetic camera grows weaker and weaker with every scene.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Some Not Top Ten Films of 2011

I promise you:  All the films below are better than Real Steel.

I just thought I'd pop in and note that while I haven't posted in a while, it is due to my focused effort to see every noteworthy film of 2011 before the Oscars.  I've considered articles on quite a few films this past month, but there always seems to be another film to watch.  You will, however, soon be treated to my annual summary, which will encompass most, if not all, of the films I've been scrambling to get through.  Thankfully, 2011 has provided a much greater supply of quality films than 2010, and I assure you the title of this year's entry will not be "This Year Sucked..." like last time.  In fact, let's take a moment to highlight some films that won't quite make the top ten.