Monthly Archives: January 2013

Recent Movie Round-Up 1/29/2013

In today’s Recent Movie Round-Up: The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective continues, and a Studio Ghibli marathon ensues! MOVIES! ALL OF THEM!

#17 – The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective: ‘The Fountain’

One of my five favorite films of all time, and one of the most painfully misunderstood films ever made. Wanna know why? How about reading this huge-ass article I wrote on it for Movie Mezzanine! Analysis is fun!

#18 – Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

Spirited Away is another one of my favorite films of all time, and perhaps my favorite animated film in general. Here’s an experience that is purely, wholly imaginative. Not a single element of this film feels like it’s been done before and yet not a single emotional cue rings false either. Achingly melancholic, optimistic, and gorgeous, with Joe Hisaiashi’s moving score sweeping you across this unbelievable setting, everything about Spirited Away just feels perfect.

#19 – Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)

Porco Rosso, meanwhile, is one of the few Miyazaki films that I hadn’t seen before, and god damn, where has this movie been all my life? Miyazaki is always terrific when it comes to his evocation of innocence and yearning, but Porco Rosso manages to highlight an oft forgotten staple of his films: They can be really damn funny when they want to. And Porco Rosso is simply hysterical. The humor is just pure and warm and comes organically from the characters and the settings in wonderful ways. Yet Miyazaki still manages to fit in his signature moments of quiet beauty as well. Simply put: You’d have to be a fascist to dislike this film.

#20 – Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondo, 1995)

One of the most underseen, underappreciated films of Studio Ghibli, Whisper of the Heart is a deceptively heart-breaking coming-of-age story that understands the melodrama of teenage relationships without trivializing them either. The film starts out as a light but fun teen film, but as it progresses, it transcends its own trappings in ways I would’ve never anticipated to create a moving, and surprisingly inspirational study of discovering your place in adulthood. A small, but just as wonderful gem as the rest of the Ghibli canon. Seek this one out.

Leave a comment

Filed under film, movie

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective: ‘The Fountain’

The Fountain Poster

Here’s my write-up of The Fountain, which is both one of my favorite films of all time and one of the most under-appreciated films ever made in general. Click this link to read it.

2 Comments

Filed under film, movie

Recent Movie Round-Up 1/22/2013

On today’s installment of Recent Movie Round-Up: Drug addicts galore, killer mamas, KFBR392, Ahnuld’s return, Wahlberg and Crowe duke it out, and Robert De Niro has a really bad week. Movies, movies, MOVIES, OMG!

#11 – Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective: ‘Requiem for a Dream’

I wrote an article of this baby you could read here, but yeah, this one’s always a tough watch. The rare film that can induce physical discomfort with its brutally unflinching direction. The article I wrote is on MovieMezzanine.com and part of my retrospective of director Darren Aronofsky.

#12 – Mama (Andres Muschietti, 2013)

‘Mama’ Buries Originality Under Formula

A pretty decent if not problematic horror film. And OMG I WROTE A REVIEW OF IT ON MOVIE MEZZANINE YOU GUYS! #TheMostShamelessOfPlugs

#13 – MacGruber – (Jorma Taccone, 2010)

I see why many people find this film unfunny. It’s completely stupid beyond belief and its protagonist is beyond unlikeable. But the sheer silliness of it all is enough to win me over and earn big laughs out of me. As juvenile as the whole thing is, hey, funny is funny.

#14 – The Last Stand (Kim Jee-Woon, 2013)

The Last Stand really doesn’t do anything revolutionary, and its very oddly paced, but there’s enough fun in here to make it worth a watch. Arnold really doesn’t do much until the climax of the film, which goes back to the pacing and structural issues of the film, but the action scenes are competently directed enough to elicit some thrills, even though one should expect more out of Kim Jee-Woon who directed the terrific Korean films The Good The Bad The Weird and the problematic but brutal I Saw the Devil. The rest of the cast helps elevate it, with character actors like Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville giving the whole thing a tinge of personality. It’s not mind-blowing or as insanely fun as something like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but fans of the Ahnuld should have no qualms with it.

#15 – Broken City (Allen Hughes, 2013)

Broken City is a movie running entirely on autopilot. The second you walk out of the theater, you forget that it even existed. Wahlberg and Crowe do all that they can to make this script interesting, and while the movie is safe and routine, it’s at least watchable. Yet there’s always a spark missing. On top of that, the film employs a pathetic twist near the end that’s as surprising and unpredictable as the glow in the horizon turning out to be sunlight. By no means bad, but so astonishingly mediocre that whatever it was trying to do totally failed.

#16 – Midnight Run (Martin Brest, 1988)

In the realm of odd-couple style buddy-action movies, Midnight Run is in the top tier. When people say “they don’t make ’em like that anymore”, they refer to films like this. Though it has all the predictable elements of buddy-action movies and chase movies, the chemistry between De Niro and Grodin allows for scenes of surprising poignancy and insight. Meanwhile, the rest of the movie outside of De Niro and Grodin is populated with great supporting performances that flesh out the world and manage to make the scenes without the odd-couple of the movie not a drag to watch, something that few of these kinds of movies succeed in. Everything about this movie is purely entertaining, and the fact that it has a heart to go along with it elevates it to greatness as well. Simply put, they really don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Leave a comment

Filed under film, movie

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective: ‘Requiem for a Dream’

What’s that? A new post from yours truly on Movie Mezzanine? Why, yes it is. Click here for my analysis of Aronofsky’s notoriously grim Requiem for a Dream.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mama Movie Review

My latest review for Movie Mezzanine: Mama, directed and co-written by Andres Muschietti and produced by Guillermo Del Toro. Also starring American Treasure Jessica Chastain Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (a.k.a. Jamie Lannister). My full review on this link.

Leave a comment

Filed under film, movie, movie mezzanine, review

Recent Movie Round-Up 1/17/13

This week on Recent Movie Round-Up: A man finds the patterns in the everyday, a hitman is forced to kill his future self, a woman is hellbent on searching for the greatest war criminal of this generation, a group of police officers take out an army of gangsters, and…Ron Burgundy plays the hell out of that jazz flute. MOVIES GALORE!

#6 – Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective: ‘Pi’

Pi remains a harrowing, haunting film about the realtionship between science and religion and the nature of obsession 15 years after its release. I wrote a whole article on it right here.

#7 – Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012)

I’ve already written a review of Looper, but it should be noted that my original review listed a bunch of flaws that I had with the film. After my second viewing, all those flaws instantly evaporated. When I saw it a third time in the theater, I knew it was a legitimately great movie. And even with my fourth viewing on blu-ray, it manages to keep getting richer. It’s that rare sci-fi film that truly makes you think as much as it makes you feel. The entire cast is superb.

#8 – Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)

I’ve seen Zero Dark Thirty twice in the theater now, each time still thoroughly enjoying it. Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have crafted a gripping procedural that manages to be about so much more than just the hunt for Osama bin Laden. It also manages to ask what the sacrifice for freedom is, how much we’re willing to let go in order to keep a nation safe. In a way, it’s almost like the ultimate revenge film, with Maya representing the American zeitgeist during the War on Terror, and Jessica Chastain plays her marvelously. Maya remains enigmatic and without backstory, but all we need to know is her determination and ruthlessness, which come in spades. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, you’re missing out.

#9 – Gangster Squad (Ruben Fleischer, 2013)

Gangster Squad just sucks. It’s not bad enough to be good, it’s not fun enough to be mocked at, and it’s not serious enough to be taken seriously either. It’s just a vapid waste of space of a film; the cinematic equivalent of a long sigh extended for 2 hours; the apex of a film with potential in so many of its aspects getting wasted by the second. None of the actors of its fine cast allow for anything resembling a memorable performance, with the exception of Sean Penn, who is over-the-top in the worst possible way. Penn chews scenery like he’s on a different planet, but instead of using that over-the-top nature to inform the audience on his character like, say, DiCaprio in Django Unchained, he just wallows in gangster villain cliches and comes across more like a parody.

The direction is ugly in its slickness, the script is phoned in, each character is underdeveloped, and everything feels hastily slapped together in the most haphazard possible fashion. And the pacing makes it a chore to sit through. The film tries so desperately to be part of the big boys club, wanting to have its mobster movie cake and rip it apart too, and it ends up failing at everything. A worthless, bland piece of nothingness.

#10 – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay, 2004)

Let’s play a game: Try watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy without quoting a single line of dialogue from it for a whole week. That’s right, it’s impossible. McKay’s gleefully silly period satire only gets funnier with age thanks to its dynamite cast, the ridiculous characters they inhabit, and the irresistibly quotable humor at the center of it all. And this year, we’ll thankfully get to return to these characters in the much-anticipated sequel. Lamp, oh how I’ve missed you so…

Leave a comment

Filed under film, movie

The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective Part 1 – Pi

The Director Retrospective series returns! This time, on Movie Mezzanine and with our next featured director being one of my favorites of this contemporary generation: Darren Aronofsky! Click this link to read.

Leave a comment

Filed under film, movie, movie mezzanine