Saturday, January 30, 2010

Amuse Bouche January 2010

Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Directed by Richard Linklater

This film started off so slow the person I saw it with fell asleep. I've always been a huge fan of Clare Danes, but she couldn't hold my attention enough to enjoy this film. Although the role for Zac Efron wasn't much of a stretch, its nice to see him try to branch of from his Disney affiliated connection. Overall, too much acting and not enough plot.

Youth in Revolt (2009)
Directed by Miguel Arteta

The idea of this film is funnier than the actual movie. I felt like they could have taken this a little further. It seems like they were going for dark comedy but it felt more like light gray. You would think a film with Micheal Cera, Zack Galifianakis and Steve Buscemi would be be dripping with comedic slap stick moments, but I was left feeling underwhelmed.

The Book of Eli (2010)
Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes

"Oh look its I am Legend (2007) with Denzel Washington instead of Will Smith!"

No one is going to argue that Denzel is a better actor then Will, but the story was surprisingly better too. Mila Kunis (That 70's Show) wouldn't have been my first pick for the role of Solare. Her voice was less annoying than usual, but she still didn't feel believable as a strong character. Unlike I Am Legend, this film touched on some important philosophical ideas that make you think.

A Serious Man (2009)
Directed by Ethan and Joel Coen

This film like most Coen Brothers films is a strange dark comedy that makes you wonder if its a comedy at all. I left the theater unclear if I liked it or hated it. The dialog seemed so authentic it felt like a running inside joke. Most of the jokes went over my head, but I appreciated the sophistication. I've always loved the Coen brothers for their cinematography and this film is no exception.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
Directed by Terry Gilliam

It took me a long time to see this film because the fact Heath Ledger died a year before is a little creepy. The creepier part is that his character is introduced to the story as someone they found hung by the neck and assumed dead. Now even if you tried to look past these morbid aspects, the film is still weird! It's not the Tim Burton creative quirky artistic but beautiful and brilliant weird either. The pace of the movie is too slow and the story line and the characters aren't believable enough for you to even take the leap. There isn't even enough creative imagery to justify seeing for the pretty pictures.

We all have to grow up sometime

An Education
Directed by Lone Scherfig

An education is a successful modern day films set in the 1960's. It captures the nostalgic innocence of the time period without ignoring the obvious cultural ignorance. The story is about a 17 year old, Jenny (Carey Mulligan) who finds herself in a whirlwind romance with a much older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard). Odile Dicks-Mireaux, the costume designer for the film, did an amazing job emphasizing the drastic difference between Jenny and David's worlds. Jenny looked much younger which made her interactions with David feel very perverse in the beginning. The more she became accustomed to the lifestyle the more her appearance reflected it. Like most women during the pre-feminist movement of the 1960's, Jenny finds herself choosing between marriage and education in order for her to gain access to a better life.

"So my choice is either to do something hard and boring, OR to marry my Jew, and listen to jazz and read and eat good food in a nice restaurants and have fun. Its not enough to educate us anymore, Miss Walters. You've got to tell us why you're doing it."

While watching this film I cringed the whole way as I witness this girl setting herself up for failure. Although, with all of my post feminist wisdom and 21st century knowledge, I could see where she is coming from. If the opportunities aren't available to you anyway, then whats the point in working so hard when the outcome will be the same. I could relate to the character of Jenny in the sense that she that rebelled against herself in quest for excitement, love and adventure. Its was so easy for her to pass judgement and think that she had life figured out, but she couldn't truly understand anything until she lived through her own mistakes. When she came out the other end she realized that she has everything she needed all along. For me to see a coming of age story at the point of my life that I'm finally feeling comfortable in my own skin seems to be ironic. All of the things that you considered red flags now wouldn't necessarily come to mind when you were younger. As you get older it becomes easier to figure out what’s real and valuable and what is fleeting and insignificant.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Sad Movie that Puts a Smile on My Face

A Single Man
Directed By Tom Ford


This is a film about a gay man named George, played by Colin Firth, who loses meaning in his life after the loss of his partner. Because Tom Ford, wrote, directed, and produced this film his signature style jumps off the screen. The way he handles the subject matter its obvious he is a fashion designer, but it also feels like the story is personal for him. This film is so stylized I couldn't help but notice all of the subtleties that foreshadow its unfolding events. Everything about it from the music, the cinematography to the production design looked and felt like they were pieces of painting. The fashion alone felt like an additional character. Ford also uses color saturation to emphasize George's mood. Towards the end of the film this felt a little redundant but was an important tool to help tell the story. The musical score almost made if feel operatic, but the moments that weren't accompanied by music are brilliantly simplistic.

The first two scenes alone would earn Colin Firth an Oscar win. Without his incredible acting the film might have been a little too perfect. Julianne Moore held her own along side Firth's powerful performance, but it was the role of Kenny, played by Nicholas Hoult that really held the film together. Hoult has come a long way from the quirky little boy we all loved in About a Boy (2002). Kenny is a young college student with an infatuation with George. He represents innocence, life and love and perhaps for George, a younger version of himself. He says one of my favorite lines in the film.

"I mean we're born alone, we die alone. And while we're here we are absolutely, completely sealed in your own bodies. Really weird. Kinda freaks me out to think about it. We can only experience the outside world through our own slanted perception of it. Who knows what you're really like. I just see what I think you're like."

A lot of movies like this one have a tendency to be too obscure, but Ford gently guides you through this film without being condescending. Too bad I didn't see this film before my top ten films of 2009 list, because this would have been my number one pick.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Amuse Bouche - Holidays 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Directed By Guy Ritchie

First of all, I’m so glad to see Robert Downey Jr. so successful post rehab. He looks great! This film is entertaining and better than I expected with a few unexpected plot twists. I can’t wait for the sequel.


Directed by Rob Marshall

I expected something else, but it did get better towards the end. Fergie was surprisingly good. Overall not a bad film but I’m not sure what all the hype is about.

Princess and the Frog

Directed by

Ron Clements and John Musker

I’m excited to see a black princess, but there isn't anything particular that stands out about this movie. Maybe I just got too old to enjoy children films without adult subtext.


Directed by James Cameron

Can we say modern day Pocahontas? The colonial aspect was a little annoying, but the film is stunning. The visual effects where amazing but the acting is mediocre. I can’t take this movie too seriously. They spent 500 millions dollars on the film and it has made over a billion dollars. It is classic Hollywood money making at it finest. What more can you ask for from a Blockbuster success.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If I had a worst of 2009 film list, this would be on it!

The Blind Side
Directed by John Lee Hancock

The Blind Side is a film based on a true story about a homeless black boy who became an all-star football player with the help of a rich family. There are a lot of people who grow up in challenging enviroments and are able to overcome great obstacles, but it doesn’t mean that each of those stories it needs to be a movie. If the perspective shifted from the Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) character to the Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) character it would have been more interesting, but all this film really does is regurgitate racist stereotypes that it prides itself of breaking. I find it pretty insulting that film portrayed a black boy who barely spoke throughout the whole movie. His academic goal was to get at least a somber 2.5 GPA and his football couch was a 10-year-old boy. How is that breaking racial stereotypes? Some could argue that that this isn’t about race but about the ability of a good-hearted person to help someone less fortunate than themselves achieve success. If we didn’t live in a racist world perhaps I could see it that way.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

BEST Films of 2009

As we ease into a new year. I'd like to look back at my top 10 films of 2009.

10. Inglourious Basterds
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

After I posted my blog I talked to a few other die hard film enthusiast and they none of them liked this movie and thought I was crazy for even thinking this was a good film. Tarantino is know for violence so perhaps people were expecting more of it, considering it was a movie about the Nazis. I still stand behind this film. What they didn't like is the sole reason why I did.

9. Its Complicated
Directed by Nancy Meyers

There are a ton of romantic comedies but its nice when it gets done right. I laughed my ass off throughout the whole film. Cute boy from The Office John Krasinski is utterly funny and steals the show.

8. Up
Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson

I like it when you go see a film and your pleasantly surprised. Up would probably rank as a close second to my favorite animated films of the 21st century.

Directed by Clint Eastwood

A perfect film that reflects our own political climate today.

6. Up in the Air
Directed by Jason Reitman

I enjoyed myself throughout the whole film but I the ending made me a little sad.

5. Julie and Julia
Directed by Nora Ephron

This film is what gave me the idea of writing this blog. I love stories about quarter-life crisis.

4. Precious
Directed by Lee Daniels

Finally a film that will hopefully begin a new genre in cinema.

3. The Informant!
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

I'm a sucker for dark comedies. I loved this movie so much I saw it twice in the theaters.

2. 500 days of summer
Directed by Marc Webb

A cute corky non love story. I also really love it when drawing gets incorporated into a film.

1. Away We Go
Directed by Sam Mendes

It made me laugh, cry and leaving the theater feeling fully satisfied.

Possible film that might have made the list but on my must see list:

Broken Embraces
Crazy Heart
A Single Man