Friday, October 3, 2008

speak english!

woody allen. thank you thank you thank you for another poignant expression of human nature. vicky cristina barcelona was a pleasure to watch and a reminder of how well mr. allen is at creating a realness to his fiction.

the film follows two american tourists and best friends, vicky (played by rebecca hall) and cristina (played by scarlett johansson) on a summer long journey in spain. the trip and their lives take an unexpected turn when a chance encounter with a seductive spainard, juan antonio (played perfectly by javier bardem) opens their eyes.

the film takes us on a beautifully shot walk thru barcelona as these characters encounter and expereince life in a: fresh and whimsical, humorus and heartbreaking, honest and sexy, playful and innocent way.

johansson truly shines in this film, reminding me of why i fell in love with her in the first place. this is arguably one her best cinematic moments since lost in translation. she plays the free thinking, open-minded cristina which such carefree charm. her performance is nothing if not strengthened by a remarkable cast. hall is wonderful with her neruotic and uptight portrayal of vicky. patricia clarkson is humorus as (vicky's distant relative judy nash) who tries to live vicariously thru her. bardem couldn't have been more perfect as the, charming, witty, intelligent, straight-forward, unconventional, juan antonio. and rounding out this talented ensembled is penelope cruz (juan antionio's firey ex-wife maria elena), reminding us that she is utterly remarkable, in her native tounge.

every aspect of the film comes together, from story, to direction, to cinematograpy, to pacing, to music, to talent and creates a wonderful cinematic experience.

thanks to woody allen for this refreshing summer film. what a great way to end a season.

this has been my best day ever.

i've seen some good stuff since the last forever ago post. but i have been super busy and haven't had the time to comment. i definitely haven't seen enough though, need to make more time for theatre visits.

i enjoyed: the dark knight, son of rambow, american teen, and probably other i'm forgetting to mention. oh well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

i was gonna listen to that, but then, um, i just carried on living my life.

being a lover of all things jason segel, especially of the how I met your mother variety, i had high hopes for his film, forgetting sarah marshall. knowing of course that this would not be Oscar worthy, but hoping it could be added to the list of "go-to comedies" such as; knocked-up and wedding crashers. even the rumour of jason's full frontal, though leaving me slightly apprehensive, couldn't keep me away. I wanted to know if the phrase "from the guys who brought you the 40-year-old virgin and knocked-up" could regain its meaning after the less than enjoyable dewey cox.

well, in my opinion, he did it. the story is not unique, but it does; boy loses girl, boy finds new girl, old girl wants boy back, so well.

jason plays peter bretter, a composer for popular tv show “crime scene” that spoofs csi. but, he is better known for dating the shows star, sarah marshall, played by kristen bell of veronica mars. when sarah dumps him after 5 years for the sleazy british singer aldous snow, peter’s seemingly perfect world falls apart.

peter, amidst a possible nervous breakdown turns in to a one-night-stand machine. this opens the door for a laugh-out-loud montage of awkward sexual encounters, my favorite of which is the “hi” girl. when this method of healing seems to fail, peter decides a trip to hawaii and a stay at a place sarah always raved about might just fix him. peter’s highly opinionated half-brother brian, played by bill hader, thinks heading to a place that will likely remind him of sarah is a bad move. and he was right.

in comedy world something is bound to go wrong, and it does. peter arrives, with no hotel reservation, hoping to get lucky. in the midst of finding out the only room available is a $6000 a night suite, sarah emerges arm-in-arm with new beau, aldous. the helpful rachel behind the counter played by that 70s show’s, mila kunis, sensing the bad situation offers him a free stay in the luxury suite.

what ensues is a depressed and slightly psychotic peter stalking his ex and “crying like a girl” in his room. it doesn’t help that aldous is overly friendly and accommodating, making it almost impossible for peter to hate him, other than the small fact that he’s sleeping with the love of his life.

peter, trying to make the best of the bad situation, befriends the cute rachel, who unlike sarah is supportive and intrigued by peter’s dreams and goals of moving past composing for a cheesy tv show to finish his dracula rock opera. while peter is busy falling hard for rachel, sarah is busy regretting her break-up. awkward double-date dinners and sexual encounters with his ex complicate the situation.

forgetting sarah marshall doesn’t skip a beat. segel’s writing fulfills my hopes and leaves me anticipating what he will do next. in addition to the script, he wrote all the music for the rock opera, which was hilarious perfection. five thumbs up to jason segel for adding forgetting sarah marshall to my “go-to comedies”

notable mentions:

30 rock’s jack mcbrayer is incredible as the sexually challenged newlywed, darald

and I can’t forget the classic video chat moments between peter, half-brother brian, and sister in-law liz.

Friday, March 28, 2008

do you remember my hand.

been away from the theatre for a while. the academy awards came and went without a list of my picks(despite the fact that i saw most of the nominated films)

whether its been my lack of time or the seemingly uneventful releases i have been on theatre hiatus. although a few good rentals came my way, nothing struck up enough desire in me to share my thoughts, good or bad.

i should have written about the wonderful film noir i saw at the belcourt's (nashville's charming independent theatre) film noir festival. some i saw for the first time, and favorites like, billy wilder's, sunset boulevard, were a pleasure to see on the big screen. yes, those too i should have written about. but i didn't, and now i don't want to.

so hopefully something will strike me soon and hopefully this hiatus is drawing to a close and hopefully the nashville film festival next month brings some new favorites my way.

here's to hoping.

Monday, February 4, 2008

it all started with a chair.

my favorites of 2007

(in no particular order. it's long. 2007 was a good year for film.)

charming. funny. clever. quirky. fresh. it made me want pie(and I don’t even like pie).
knocked up:
so funny. seth rogen and paul rudd are a match made in heaven.
i would have loved to see this at a drive-in. this was such a cool idea. rodriguez and tarantino did a fantastic job. the fake trailers were hilarious.
eagle vs shark:
loved it. awkward love is the best love.
the hottest state:
one of my favorite novels lived up to itself on the big screen. the soundtrack is wonderful.
charlie bartlett:
so much fun. anton yelchin is fantastic. i can’t wait to see more of him. i left the theatre smiling.
2 days in paris:
julie delpy participated in practically every aspect of the film. wrote, directed, edited, produced, starred in, she even did the music. what can’t she do? a dysfunctional relationship at its finest.
my best friend(mon meilleur ami):
sweet. sad. and so funny. an interesting look at friendship.
the darjeeling limited:
wes anderson makes me smile. i always love the look of his films. the colors are perfect. the music is delightful. it made me want to go on a “spiritual quest” with my sisters.
3:10 to yuma:
christian bale was great as always. i love westerns and i loved this.
no country for old men:
the best thing from the cohen brothers in a while. javier barden is chilling. my stomach was in knots the entire time. brilliant.
perfection. a fresh, original comedy. The music was superb and matched the quirkiness of the film and its characters. ellen page’s cynical, sarcastic juno is fantastic. michael cera stole my heart. I am so excited at all the nominations it received.
margot at the wedding:
noah baumbach is a master at showcasing dysfunctional families. his filmmaking so is honest and real, which makes it hard to watch sometimes. It leaves you feeling uneasy and exhausted like every cunning remark, memory, and laugh is somehow a part of you.
so simple. so unassuming. such lovely music. it pulled me in and left me wanting more.
there will be blood:
reference previous blog.

honorable mentions:
superbad, reign over me, charlie wilson’s war, in the land of women, the number 23, the orphanage, zodiac and i’m not there(both 30 minutes too long).

the ones i wish i saw:
lars and the real girl, bella, the assassination of jesse james by that coward robert ford, before the devil knows you’re dead, gone baby gone, interview, rocket science, sweeny todd, wristcutters: a love story, youth without youth

Thursday, January 24, 2008

i am a false prophet. God is a superstition.

"if you have a milkshake and i have a milkshake and i have a straw and my straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. i drink your milkshake! i drink it up!"

again, i am left mesmerized by p.t. anderson's magic. his achievements as a writer and director are remarkable. anderson really outdid himself with his recent film, There Will Be Blood. every aspect of the film, the story, the cinematography, the acting, the score, they form a perfect harmony that carries the film. anderson moves away from his traditional ensemble work, in this stunning portrayal of a man(daniel plainview)who dreams of oil.

There Will Be Blood, tells a story of family, greed, religion, and oil. anderson's script was inspired by upton sinclair's novel, oil!, which i now have to read. anderson allows the film to speak for itself. there is no unnessesary or cliche dialogue. so many films say too much. anderson takes There Will Be Blood, in the opposite direction. the dialogue feels so carefully chosen. every conversation, so quotable.

so many of the recent film releases have been in the 2 1/2 -3 hour range. many of these films seem to drag on, leaving the feeling they could easily have ended 20 minutes sooner. i feared the same thing would happen with the 2 hour 38 minute, There Will Be Blood, but i was pleasantly surprised. from the moment it began the film swept me off my feet and into the 1900's. there was no squirming, no checking my clock, only complete submersion in anderson's haunting tale.

There Will Be Blood, is a visual masterpiece. the film has an antique look, which i later found out was partially due to one of the lenses used in the filming. anderson has a 1910 pathe camera whose 43mm lens was modified to be used in the film for certain shots. there is such attention to detail. robert elswit's dream-like cinematography captures the brilliance of the scenery. he manages to make barren land breathtaking. the thick black of the oil covering the white skin is a beautiful contrast.

anderson makes wonderful use of music in his films. There Will Be Blood, is no exception. the score from radiohead guitarist, jonny greenwood grabs you from the first moment. the music intensifies throughout the film, as plainview's hunger grows. it sets the mood and never lets up.

daniel day lewis' haunting portrayal of daniel plainview is a masterpiece. both charming and cruel, every inch of him is daniel plainview. his accent and characteristic walk combined with his confidence and growing hatred ignite the screen. anderson pulls you in, and daniel day lewis keeps you there, holds you, and refuses to let you go. paul dano is remarkable. his portrayal of paul and eli sunday is superb. originally cast only as paul, his role expanded to include eli, and how lucky we are for that. dano's, eli sunday attempts to fool us and plainview as a soft-spoken preacher, but a wildly charismatic evangelist soon ensues. plainview and eli sunday's hatred for each other is chilling. dillion freasier, also deserves mention as plainview's son and business partner, h.w.

every moment of There Will Be Blood, is phenomenal. it deserves constant praise and every award it's up for. a film i will not soon forget, in years to come it will be considered a true classic. lets hope p.t anderson continues to offer up his creations.

"i'm finished."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

23 on August the 12th.

"what's your favorite movie?"
impossible. that's one of the hardest questions i've been asked...and it's asked a lot. sometimes there is my favorite, "movie of the moment". and there is of course the ever-changing "top ten". and if you really want to get into it, you can have the "top ten" in various genres. you have your classics, your cult classics, your guilty-pleasures, your dramas, your comedies, your westerns, your foreign films...but that seems like cheating. it's best to stick with the all encompassing "top ten"...and no matter how often that changes, it usually holds tight to a few.

so here it is, my "top ten", of the moment. in no particular order:

Breakfast At Tiffany's
there are so many layers to this film. it's beautiful. and sad. and audrey hepburn is magical.
Leaving Las Vegas
at times painful to watch. dark and haunting. mike figgis captures the utter loneliness, connection, and acceptance of these characters with perfection. nick cage is dead on and elizabeth shue is tragically vulnerable.
American Beauty
a hell of a directorial debut. this film perfectly encompasses the dysfunctional suburban family. each character outshines the next. not only is it visually appealing, the score is brilliant and the writing is remarkable, and the acting is impeccable. i rule!
Lost In Translation
sofia coppola is remarkable. she captures the characters connection with ease. there is a mellow, relaxed pace that ads an unassuming quality to the film. the metaphor of being "lost in translation" is expressed in various ways throughout the film creating layer upon layer. the film is beautiful. bill murray is a pleasure. it gets better with each viewing.
pt anderson is always impressive. every character's story is heartbreaking. the way one life connects to another and the idea that it can't all be a coincidence, can it? this film is so smart and powerful and warrants multiple views, there is way too much to process for just one.
On The Waterfront
brando is remarkable. it's not so bad having the mob run the labor union, when you're on their side. disappointments, tragedy, and rising above yourself.
The Conversation
those damn coppolas'. this is a psychological thriller at its finest. it's haunting. genius.
stunning. roman polanski captures the pure grittiness of this tale. the web of deception weaves deep in this film. it's powerful and tragic.
The Apartment
billy wilder is one of my all-time favorites. jack lemmon and shirley maclaine shine. this film is time-less. funny. sad. lovely.
Conversations With Other Women
this film has managed to hold the position as my favorite "movie of the moment" for the past year and a half. it is like nothing i have seen. the simple complexities. the honesty. it's brilliant and i can't get enough of it.

Honorable Mentions(is this cheating?):
apocalypse now, the royal tenenbaums, sunset boulevard, fight club

so there it is, my "top ten", for now.

now it's your turn.

Friday, January 18, 2008

i am by no means a film expert. if 4 years of film school taught me anything, which i'd hope it taught me a lot, it's that sometimes the more you know about film the less you really know.
maybe it just seems that way because something that can come off as so simple, a moving picture on the screen, really is so much more. once you open your mind up to the fundamentals of film it's like this huge explosion. there is so much to learn. not only do you have the terminology(covering every aspect of the film spectrum) which ranges from beautiful french phrases like film noir and mise en scène to basics like grip and best boy. there are the directors, the writers, the producers, the classics. everything has a reference. in music you "tip the hat to the teacher" in film, well, it's a "hommage". as the brain expands the more it needs to fill the space. the more you know the more you want to know to the point that it seems like you don't know anything at all. so maybe the big thing film school taught me was the art of absorbing.

i love film. i love every aspect of it. i love the idea of film. the idea that you can be somewhere else for 90+ minutes. i love the act of seeing a film in the theatre. being surrounded by darkness and just losing yourself in the glow of the screen. i love sitting back and watching the credits after a really good film and just feeling content. i love walking outside of the theatre when it's all over and slowly easing back into reality as the dialogue and imagery lingers in your head. i love that.

i guess more than anything this blog will just be some sort of outlet for the films i see, or have seen. and hopefully it can eventually serve as some sort of connection to others who are reading this to share what you've seen, what you love, what you hate, and what you can't live without in regard to film.

this should be fun.