Saturday, July 9, 2011
When the The Simpsons Movie was released in the summer of 2007 it was widely criticized as being just a longer episode of the show, not deserving of a theatrical release. To counter this sentiment, the writers included a line in the movie where Homer made this exact same complaint before mocking the audience for paying to see The Simpsons Movie.
While The Lincoln Lawyer isn’t based on a television show, it opens itself up to the same criticism. The movie feels like a full season of a TV series crammed into a 2-hour film, in all the good and bad ways. However, unlike The Simpsons Movie it is completely unaware of this criticism.
Love in film is many things.
It can be a mariachi band under a windowsill, a confession of love at New Years, a first kiss that breaks a spell, a boom box overhead, a magic carpet ride, or even a ride on the bow of the Titanic.
It can also be tender, raw, and explosive. Blue Valentine shows that like a firework, a love that burns the brightest may be set to explode in the most dazzling way.
For years an interesting and somewhat perplexing relationship has formed between the two most unlikely of partners, Hollywood and British royalty. In a market that demands dramatic heroes, flashy special effects, and self-made heroes, where do all these films about characters born into a life of luxury find an audience?
Friday, July 8, 2011
With the recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” it seems that our country is slowly becoming more and more accepting of gays in our everyday lives. With the passing of this repeal there couldn’t be a better time than this past Christmas to release a film like I Love You Phillip Morris, a film that openly presents and flaunts its gay protagonists.
After sitting two years on the shelf, debuting at Sundance in 2009, and with numerous studios debating its release (something that looked like it would never happen), the film has finally been released worldwide.
As New Years rapidly approaches it's a common impulse to look back on what the past year had to offer. It can be hard to sum up a year in anything as the year is ending. Often one can find oneself caught up in the moment, unaware of what the present may look like through the lens of the future.
Many times, one votes or bases his/her opinion on their initial reactions and the spirit of judging in the moment. Something happening today may hold a stronger meaning in the future, only developing relevance and importance with time.
It is with this knowledge that I hesitantly take a look back on the films of 2010 to compile a list of my 10 favorite films. Many of the films on my list, and ones that didn't make the cut, will gain cultural relevance and added meaning as time passes. Some that made the list will lose their importance and fade away.
There are movies that when audiences leave the theater - they never speak of them again. Not because the film is bad but because it is so utterly forgettable. Then there are films like Black Swan. Viewing Black Swan is a date with the sublime. It is a film that invites the viewer to get lost in its world, colors, thrills, and then escape from the theater electrified.
"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."When Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs burst into theaters in 1937 it quickly became the most successful film of all time. Film as a medium was young and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs offered something no one had seen before. As the first animated feature film, it offered beautiful images and a riveting musical storyline, based on a famous fairytale by the brothers Grimm.
After the tremendous success of Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle, having won an Oscar for that film, could have tackled any story he could imagine. Boyle has directed some truly epic films, with 28 Days Later and Sunshine, but is notorious for changing his style with every film he creates.
However, instead of widening his scope Danny Boyle has decided to widen the valley of possibilities in modern filmmaking by narrowing his scope to a particular valley in Utah.
Here is what you've been waiting for, the beginning of the end, the first part of the final story in what is probably the most successful film saga in history. We've come to expect quality from the Harry Potter film series, with last year's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince nearing perfection. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a long film, and a long time coming, but is it as full of Potter-goodness as its mouthful-of-a-title might suggest?
"This is our time!” Napster-creator Sean Parker shouts to Facebook-creator Mark Zuckerberg over the blaring sounds of an up-scale techno party. At its core, this statement is what The Social Network is all about. David Fincher (Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) delivers a film that not only portrays the rise of Facebook but also documents the fall of business of old.
Mark Zuckerberg, chillingly portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland,) represents everything that old business, which once relied heavily on having a wealthy, privileged arbitrator, fears. He is a self-obsessed 20-something with an axe to grind and the brains to pull it off.
Unfortunately, many of the good-intentioned characters in The Social Network happen to be on the other end of Zuckerberg’s uncaring agenda, executed via Facebook.