Saturday, February 20, 2010


still here.  be back soon.  promise.  don't worry.  more reviews.  so it goes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

James Cameron ain't no Godard, that's fer sure

Okay, this is getting ridiculous.  First James Cameron blatantly steals from poster and album artist Roger Dean for the look of his precious Pandora.  That was bad enough.  Now he does the unthinkable and steals from Jean Luc Godard for the look of his Pandoran natives.  The bastard.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Up In The Air Reviewed at The Cinematheque

It's almost audacious in its very ordinariness, yet it is beloved by many, both middle management types and the critical elite.  It has won and/or been nominated for many an award lo these past two months and is now up for Best Picture, Actor, Director, Screenplay and Supporting Actress (twice) at the Academy Awards.  It stars the ever-charming George Clooney and is directed by the ever-mediocre Jason Reitman.  One of these things does not cancel out the other and therein lies the problem with Up in the Air.  Well, that and about a baker's dozen worth of other things. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two New Reviews (Me and Orson Welles AND Youth in Revolt) Reviewed at The Vigilant Monkey

I have two new reviews over at the esoteric webzine The Vigilant Monkey.

The first one is Me and Orson Welles and it is the latest film in the uneven, but mostly well accomplished oeuvre of Richard Linklater.  It is definitely Linklater-lite, but it is on the higher rung of such distinction.  It is surely nowhere near the auteuristic heights of Dazed & Confused and Before Sunset, yet it is also equally as far from the lowlights of his inexplicably well-received School of RockBad News Bears remake.  The thing that does make the film work (other than Linklater's usual command of deceptively fluid camerawork) is the performance of Christian McKay as the titular ultimate auteur.  A spot-on portrayal of Welles - so much so that one forgets that they are not actually watching Orson Welles himself.  Otherwise the film really goes nowhere, which is very un-linklater-like.  and the rather superfluous

The other film is the Godardian (yea, believe it or not) Youth in Revolt from The Good Girl director Miguel Arteta.  The film, a loose (very loose) rendition of JLG's Breathless (or A bout de souffle if you rather) for the teenage set, never lives up to its high potential or even higher aspirations.  Star Michael Cera, despite playing the exact same role as he does in every other movie he has ever made, does have his moments (and requisite quippish asides) and these moments are what keeps the otherwise haphazard and rather rushed film from falling too much apart. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Predix - How I did (pretty damn good...but not perfect)

Okay, so I got 9 out of 10 right in Best Pic (picked Invictus over The Blind Side - which was a big surprise of sorts) and of course aced Director, Actor and Actress (pretty much everyone aced those three).  Went 4 for 5 on Supporting Actor (was really hoping Christian McKay would sneak in there).  Supporting Actress was my weak spot but then I figured I was stretching with picking Melanie Laurent.  I did correctly predict District 9's Best Pic nomination.  Overall, I went 31 for 35 or 89%.  Anyway, enough of this, now let's all hope Avatar doesn't take home the Oscar and the award keeps at least a little integrity (if it has any left that is).

Full List of nominations can be viewed at the offiical Oscar website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oscar Predix

I suppose I must, so here goes...

  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Precious
  • Avatar
  • Up in the Air
  • An Education
  • Up
  • Invictus
  • A Serious Man
  • District 9
The first five are the ones that would still be nominated even if there were still only five nominees (you know, like there should be!).  The next two are pretty solid too.  The last three are anybody's guess.  I seem to have gone out on a limb with District 9, but who cares.  Other notables that could sneak in are The Messenger, The Last Station, Nine, A Single Man, Star Trek and/or The Hangover.

  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
These are all pretty solid.  I suppose Clint Eastwood could sneak in but not likely.

  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • George Clooney (Up in the Air)
  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
  • Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
These ten actors are pretty much what it's going to be.  Haven't seen a single Oscar pundit claim otherwise.  There are bound to be a surprise or two but those are more likely in the supporting realms...and speaking of which...

Supporting Actor
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles)
The last two are shaky and Tucci could surprise by getting nominated for Julie & Julia instead.  Matt Damon's buzz has all but evaporated but he is Matt Damon, so I suppose we shouldn't count him out.  The two dark horse in the race (other than McKay - who qualifies for that moniker as well) are Anthony Mackie for The Hurt Locker and/or Alfred Molina for An Education.  Neither one's nomination would surprise me.

Supporting Actress
  • Mo'Nique (Precious)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
  • Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Julianne Moore (A Single Man)
  • Penelope Cruz (Nine)
I said there would be surprises and here they are dammit!!  Laurent is probably a no go but I couldn't leave my phantom of the cinematheque angel out of the race.  Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air is probably the safer (and smarter) bet.  We could also possibly see Samantha Morton (The Messenger), Emma Thompson (An Education), Marion Cotillard (Nine) or even Sigourney Weaver if the Avatar bandwagon keeps rolling all the way down the line.

I suppose I could go on and predict all twenty-four categories but I'm tired of typing so that is that.  I guess we'll all find out tomorrow in the a.m..  See you then...

A Single Man Reviewed at The Cinematheque

One expects a certain sense of style when a fashion designer turns filmmaker but one doesn't expect much depth beyond surface beauty.  What one gets with Tom Ford's A Single Man is the unexpected.  A sumptuous film to behold AND a deeply touching (semi) modern day romantic tragedy.  Not much more to say that I haven't already said in my review - which by the way, can be seen and read just on the other end of the link below.