Yet again

•September 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Alright, alright, I’ve been lagging on this blog and as much as I’d like to blame it on the slow year film has had so far, the year is not over and there are some notable films and topics I have yet to cover.

Won't happen again guys...

That being said, I’ll summarize everything that needs mentioning since my last blog: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Toy Story 3 and Inception are the only films I feel like were worth seeing this year. The Academy will really need to reconsider last year’s expansion of best picture from five to ten nominees cause I’ll tell you right now, from what’s come out so far this year, it’s going to be slim pickings. Granted, the fall season has yet to pick up steam, but as you’ll see in my next post, there’s not too much to look forward during these last few months. *le sigh*

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Oscars 2009: Best Picture

•February 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With the buzz  for this year’s Academy Awards on the rise, I’m taking a look at the best picture nominees and who I think deserves to win

Avatar: Well, James Cameron is richer than God now. While technically impressive on a scale yet to have been seen, Avatar proved to be an exciting and jaw dropping ride, despite the poor script and uninspired dialogue. While it may not be the best film of last year, it’s definitely one of the more important ones in recent memory

The Blindside: the Academy’s requisite, tearjerker bait film. Without a doubt the weakest and most conventional film of the group

District 9: a$30 million sci-fi film that takes in place in South Africa? Not exactly Oscar bait at first glance. But Neill Blomkamp gives us a summer blockbuster with a pulse and a heart and proves that the genre can compete with the rest of them

An Education: the lesser known of all the films, it is anchored by Carey Mulligan’s performance. Despite the favorable reviews, it stands the least chance of winning

The Hurt LockerKathryn Bigelow’s intense and nerve-racking film about a bomb disposal unit in the Iraq war. A frontrunner for best picture and may also end up winning best director for the first female in Academy history

Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino’s return to form after the self-indulgent Death Proof is evidence of his weird genius and how much better the cinema world is with him in it

Precious: a harrowing look into a world of abuse and hate, Lee Daniels’ film shocks the viewers with the powerful performances. I hope Mo’Nique’s speech is just as good as the one she did at the Globes

A Serious Man: another critically acclaimed film by the Coen brothers, A Serious Man boasts their taste in odd ball humor mixed with pathos. An engrossing film that deservedly belongs in this list

Up: a personal favorite from the past year, Pixar’s new film practically dares any other animation studio to go toe-to-toe with their creations (Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr.Fox definitely being the huge exception), and for very good reason. Too bad its nomination for best animated film is going to split votes

Up in the Air: Clooney was made for the role of a traveling employee reaper in this reflective film


Back in the saddle

•February 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I know, I know, I’m slacking on this blog but to the one person that reads this  (which is probably me) I’m getting out of my funk and I should be doing this regularly again. Since my last blog, quite a bit of things have been going on in the film world.

The Oscars are right around the corner and in the past, I’ve felt pretty bitter of some of the omissions the Academy has made, but I realize that some of the greatest films ever made either never won or even nominated for one but have been able to stand the test of time(Pulp Fiction lost to Forrest Gump but is widely considered the best film of the 90’s). However, it is interesting to see that they’ve expanded their best picture nominees from five to ten this year and to be honest, they’ve done a pretty decent job of with the selections. The Blind Side not withstanding, pretty much every film nominated seems like a solid choice. I’ll be breaking down the nominees in my next post so until then, ciao.

The Best Summer Films of 2009

•August 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey folks, sorry for the long delay (I know, I know, 3 MONTHS!) but things should be getting back to normal. It’s been a good summer for movies (nothing as memorable as last year’s Dark Knight though) so here’s a quick rundown of what I think are the summer’s best films…

  • Up- c’mon, when was the last time Pixar made a film that didn’t hit paydirt? Unlike other animated features that rely on big-name voice talents(cough, cough DreamWorks), Pixar has the most important element of a great movie on their side: the ability to tell a story. No animated feature this year comes to close to being as exciting, heartbreaking and original as this one. Heck, most anything this year for that matter, animated or not.
  • The Hurt Locker- Kathryn Bigelow has done what many directors have failed to do: create a film about the Iraq war that doesn’t polarize its audience. Unbearably intense, The Hurt Locker doesn’t preach about political ideologies, but rather the risks and dangers soldiers have to endure in order to do their job. And no one shows more relish in doing their job than sergeant William James(played by Jeremy Renner, who is a sure-fire lock for an Oscar), a member of the United States Army bomb squad. James’ obsessive nature and recklessness with disarming bombs unnerves his teammates. It also captivates us.
  • District 9- a science fiction film with a heart? Huh? Yup. Already destined for super stardom, South African director Neill Blomkamp has turned the genre on its head, making a movie where humans are the villains and where the audience sympathizes  with the aliens. It’s said that some of the most important science fiction works act as mirrors for our society, and District 9 is no different. Strong undercurrents of apartheid that ravaged Africa 60 years ago appear throughout the film, but is never heavy handed. G.I. Joe and Transformers 2, THIS is how you make a great summer blockbuster.
  • Inglourious Basterds- Quentin Tarantino gives history the finger as he attempts to re-write the past in his new World War 2 flick. Those expecting a bloodbath on the scale of Kill Bill might be disappointed, but any true Tarantino fan will have a smile on their face the second they start hearing his trademark dialogue as well as his choice of music for the eclectic soundtrack. There are scenes of pure dialogue that are just as intense as any thriller this year, a testament to his writing skills. Some may have qualms with the way Tarantino has taken liberties with such a sacred topic, but they’ll be missing the point. In this fantasy, the Nazis get what they deserve and it acts almost as a cathartic release for the horror they created. As I was leaving the theater, I overheard an audience member comment on the film. “Man, that’s the way history should have happened.” Tarantino couldn’t have said it better himself.

De Niro memorabilla showcased at UT

•May 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

De Niro's hack license used for "Taxi Driver"

De Niro's hack license used for "Taxi Driver"

Since last Monday, the Harry Ransom Center displayed material from Robert De Niro’s films, donated by the actor. Located a mere thirty or so miles from here at The University of Texas, the Ransom Center holds a pretty impressive collection of memorabilia from De Niro’s films, including his robe from “Raging Bull” as well as scripts and other materials used in his films. Even though Sunday was the last day to visit the collection, it’s neat to think that one of cinema’s most important and influential actors would be generous enough to have props from his works displayed to the public, especially since the public very rarely gets a chance to delve behind the scenes of such a high caliber actor.

Release date for “The Road”? Thank you Jesus

•May 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After being postponed from a 2008 release, it looks like the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer winning “The Road” will be released October 16 according to Dimension Films. John Hillcoat directs Viggo Mortensen as a father who travels through post-apocalyptic America was his son (played by twelve year old Kodi Smit McPhee) in order to survive. I’ve been exicted ever since I heard that Hillcoat was directing, thanks in part to the job he did on “The Proposition”. As bleak and dark as it was, Hillcoat is going to outdo himself with this one. Word has it that the film studio that’s producing “The Road” decided to wait a year in order to have it ready for awards season.

Live action Ninja Turtles film in the works!

•April 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yes, the films have not received good reviews. Yes, the films are geared towards kids. However, there’s a part of me that can’t help but give myself to the franchise, no matter how old I am. According to Variety, film company The Mirage Group is planning on releasing a live action film of the Turtles. The film will have actors in rubber suits complete with CGI faces, a la “Where the Wild Things Are”. No official title has been released yet, but it is planning to be released in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s inception. I’m hoping the original creators, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman are on board for this one, given the fact that they had an entertaining and influential comic book run with them during the 1980’s.