Monday, January 18, 2010

THE BEST OF 2009



After a long wait which I am sure you were all on the edge of your seats. It is time for my end of the year best of movies list for 2009 so without further ado

BEST FILMS I SAW FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
CASABLANCA
A CHRISTMAS TALE
THE WORLD OF SUPER EL BEASTO



DISAPPOINTING
PUBLIC ENEMIES
PAPER HEART
BROTHERS
JENNIFER’S BODY



HONORABLE MENTION


THIRST
TWO LOVERS
AWAY WE GO
OBSERVE & REPORT
DEAD GIRL
THE WATCHMEN
THE BROTHERS BLOOM
DEAR ZACHARY – Not a film from this year but so powerful if it did it would be my #1 but since I saw it this year I decided to include it here
UP
THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX
A PERFECT GETAWAY
AVATAR
ADVENTURELAND
CRANK 2
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
TWO LOVERS



20. TRICK R’ TREAT

19. WORLD’S GREATEST DAD

18. WHIP IT!

17. MEDECINE FOR MELANCOLY

16. THE HANGOVER

15. PRECIOUS

14. OUTRAGE

13. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

12. BIG FAN

11. UP IN THE AIR

10. TYSON

9. IN THE LOOP – Which should be nominated for best original screenplay and best supporting actor

8. THE MESSENGER

7. ZOMBIELAND

6. STAR TREK

5. GOOD HAIR

4. BLACK DYNAMITE

3. 500 DAYS OF SUMMER

2. DISTRICT 9

1. THE HURT LOCKER

I didn’t see
BROKEN EMBRACES, A SERIOUS MAN, THE WHITE RIBBON, CRAZY HEART, BRONSON, THE INFORMANT

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THE SOLOIST (2009)


Directed By: Joe Wright
Written By: Susannah Grant
Based On The Book By: Steve Lopez
Cinematography By: Seamus McGarvey
Editor: Paul Tothill

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Rachael Harris, Tom Hollander


The film is perfectly fine entertainment of a film that really doesn’t have a plot. Sure it’s a fascinating fact based story that may have been better explored as a documentary or maybe even better reading about it but the film leaves a lot to be desired as not much really happens except that it makes the main character feel better by discovering and trying to help a talented homeless schizophrenic . Which is pretty much the plot of the film.

Everyone does a perfectly serviceable performance I really like Robert Downey Jr’s look. Jamie Foxx’s performance doesn’t really hit me hard as it seems like his intention sure he is a spot on mimic but the performance seems exactly like that a act or impersonation in it’s not really ground in any sort of reality though it is based on a true story. It feels empty with no heart which is how the film feels. It tries to get you emotional in many scenes but fails to do so.

The film plays like a contemporary movie that seems only made to try and be Oscar bait and a crowd pleaser. Like the film THE BLIND SIDE only the later seemed to know how to appeal to the masses this film seems more directed at a more artsy audience. That is why it feels so basic with artistic touches and indulgence.

Other then the two main characters we really never get to know any characters. Which is especially daunting as the film has a established supporting cast. So we never get to know the past of the main characters as far as what they tell us. Like we know Steve as played as Downey Jr. has demons but we only get hints at it. But in the film we are supposed to believe he faces his own to help another person but other then having serious looks on his face and seeming vulnerable we never know exactly what he has to overcome. The film also introduces a character who insists that Jamie Foxx’s Character needs to find god and religion but the first time he suggests it he goes ape-shit. So when right before a recital he tries the same plan again it’s hardly surprising that he messes him up. If this was a traditional film he would be seen as a villain but here he is a normal supposedly intelligent side character.

I can see why this was held over for a few months. When it was thought at first to be Oscar bait then the studio watched the film and realized what a dud they had on there hands and held it for a anonymous release, that would be the best to just make a quick buck on the film.

The film just seems like it is desperate to pat itself on the back especially by including actual homeless people as characters and extras. That it feels false and like a waste of time. I just hope Joe Wright picks better material for his next film to show off his talent rather then waste it on drivel like this that requires more of a workman like director with not as much creativity.

GRADE: D+

Friday, January 8, 2010

FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE DECADE


83 IN ALL NOT REALLY IN ORDER UNTIL YOU GET TO NUMBER 30

MASTER & COMMANDER

HELLBOY 2

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP

COLLATERAL

MILLION DOLLAR BABY

THE GOOD THIEF

GRINDHOUSE

LOST IN TRANSLATION

ZOMBIELAND

KING OF KONG

BLACK BOOK

STAR TREK

ELEPHANT

THE WRESTLER

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

ME, YOU & EVERYONE WE KNOW

BIRTH

AKEELAH & THE BEE

BEFORE SUNSET

THE PROPOSITION

JUNO

THE HOST

GOOD HAIR

THE LIFE AQUATIC

BLACK DYNAMITE

TIME CRIMES

THIRTEEN

SUNSHINE

TRAINING DAY

BRICK

I’M NOT THERE

SEXY BEAST

OFFSIDE

COMMON WEALTH

KILL BILL. VOLUME 1 + 2

GANGS OF NEW YORK

I HEART HUCKABEES

CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS

IN BRUGES

KISS KISS BANG BANG

THE PIANIST

ZODIAC

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

UNBREAKABLE

21 GRAMS

THE AVIATOR

THE FILTH AND THE FURY

THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN

500 DAYS OF SUMMER

VOLVER

MYSTERIOUS SKIN

ADAPTATION

BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE

30 - FARENHEIT 9/11

29 - UNITED 93

28 - SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGENCE

27 - DISTRICT 9

26 - 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

25 - 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE

24 - THE HURT LOCKER

23 - JESUS’ SON

22 - THE ROYL TENNENBAUMS

21 - THIS IS ENGLAND

20 - CHILDREN OF MEN

19 - THE INCREDIBLES

18 - THE DEPARTED

17 - OLDBOY

16 - THE DARK KNIGHT

15 - 13 TZAMETTI

14 - WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE

13 - DEAR ZACHARY

12 - LORD OF THE RINGS – TRILOGY

11 - 25TH HOUR

10 - PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

9 - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

8 - MEMENTO

7 - LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

6 - REC

5 - BATTLE ROYALE

4 - AMELIE

3 - HEAD-ON

2 - THERE WILL BE BLOOD

1 -CITY OF GOD

Monday, January 4, 2010

THE WORST MOVIES OF 2009



Sure some of these had some value somewhere in there but it was not enough to make these film either good or enjoyable enough to not make you feel like you wasted your time. Some may even make you physically ill.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

HACKERS (1995)




CAST: Johnny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Matthew Lillard, Jesse Bradford, Angela Watson, Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco, Wendell Pierce, Marc Anthony, Renoly Santiago

Directed By: Iain Softley
Written By: Rafael Moreu
Cinematography By: Andrzej Sekula
Editor: Chris Blunden & Martin Walsh


More noted for stars Johnny Lee Miller’s Romance and quickie marriage afterwards then anything else. But the movie is a good time capsule of styles and computer technology of the early 90’s since computer technology is always updating so fast them marveling at software that by now is epically slow seem like a ancient artifact.

The film is a totally unbelievable cyber thriller with too old actors playing teenagers. It also has Fisher Stevens Hamming it up as the films villain. Who like most villains is more brains then brawn. The only thing this movie opens your eyes to is how easily technology can take over our lives and be troublesome. This film tries to make hackers look like rockstars. The film isn’t bad it’s entertaining as long as you are not looking for too much in it.

Even for it’s time period the film looks like it was filmed cheaply great for a indie but bad for a studio film.

There is really no reason for Lorraine Bracco to be in this film. She serves no purpose other then for the villain to have a accomplice to explain his evil plan to sort of a audience surrogate. The writers still could hae found a better way to include the audience. Maybe at the time she added star power to the film, being that she is a academy and Emmy award nominee.


It’s the story of Jabe who was a 11 year old hacker who took down a business and the feds arrested him starting out a new life in New York five years later he is not allowed anywhere near a computer. He is initially a outcast but finds friends in a group of hackers who don’t know his past a wannabe member of the crew steals a file that a master hacker was using to ransom the government saying it would sink a oil tanker. The master hacker who is a consultant for the FBI wants the file back and blackmails jabe to help him get it back. While placing all the evidence on the wannabe.

What will happen watch and you will see. This is a perfect film to watch when nothing else is on or to put on while you do other things just to look up once in awhile to see where it’s at. Angelina Jolie was already setting herself apart frmo the cast with her amazing beauty here you really notice her eyes. That you can tell she was a star in the making.

There is nothing wrong with making smart people or nerds cool but this film makes hackers and hacking cool as a form of teenage rebellion though it has worldwide consequences and the finale is ridiculous showing hackers as a community. Though in life they seem more antagonistic and competitive with each other.

The film definitely doesn’t age well and feels more like a fad film. Cool for when it came out but years later you look at it and laugh. You can’t believe you once thought this was cool though when it hit theatres it still felt aged or like the film was talking down to the audience.

I have unfortunately seen this film way too many times as it was in constant rotation at my job when I worked at Tower Video. We were a young staff and could only play PG-13 and under movies and who ever was on register picked the films to play and this was one of the go to films if you really couldn’t think of anything good to play. Sometimes we got to play Rated R films in the evenings. Other titles that were on constant rotation were BLUE STREAK, BLACK KNIGHT, EMPIRE RECORDS, WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN And MALCOLM X. plus the video collections of Michael Jackson, The Cure, Madonna. I used to try and expose the customers and staff to undiscovered gems via screening the film throughout the store, but instead they liked movies like this.


It is fun to see a movie made just when the internet was coming into play. I say check it out if you can’t find anything else.

GRADE: D+

EXTRACT (2009)



Cast: Jason Batemen, Kristen Wiig, Dustin Milliagan, Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Mila Kunis, Gene Simmons, Clifton Collins Jr., David Koechner, Hal Sparks, Tom Virtue

Written & Directed By Mike Judge
Cinematography By: Tim Shustedt
Editor: Julia Wong


No one quite does satire or the mundaness of life like mike judge. The fun of this movie is that like his show king of the hill it involves normal characters that see so real you could swear you know someone just like each of them but he then throws these characters into increasingly outrageous situations that are believable.

The comedy is dry and subtle which is why I liked this film so much. It’s a film to discover that never goes over the edge. it’s best if you not know what happens other then. Jason Batemen’s character owns a flavor extract company and is involved in a domino effect involving lawsuits, a con woman, and his best friend a bartender.

The film is pretty cut, dry and simple it’s entertaining but not something you remember too much longer after watching it. I nice slice of life that is a good time passer. That is Funnier the more you think about it. It just never really reaches a tone or settles on a point of what it all means. It just seems random no center almost like it is meant to be a character study that is supposed to be about the workers of this factory but just becomes about Jason Bateman and his challenges.

It’s a return to form for the director as this is another workplace comedy this time it is seen more from the boss’s point of view and instead of cubicles this takes more of a look at a factory setting. What works for mike judge is that he writes movies with characters that you feel like you have meet or known in your life.

Ben Affleck returns to the screen in a role more suited for him. The supporting role the comic relief instead of the leading man can do no wrong type characters. It reminds me of his comic roles in movies like DAZED & CONFUSED

The problem with the film is that one of the main reasons things happen in this film is that Bateman’s character is trying to make a deal to sell his company. Everything that happens threatens to mess up the deal so he has to straighten things up. It drives the events of the film but is treated as a second thought then a real problem. Almost like another side story that is not interesting.

Jason Bateman’s Character is neurotic and exaggerated as a person in his position would be that you can understand if this was another filmmaker’s movie but since this is a mike judge film it seems not to fit in the laid back characters and world of this movie. In fact during this movie nothing feels like it is on the line it all feels random and inconsequential staying true to the films laid back nature


GRADE: C+