Friday, January 27, 2012


  • Declaration of War* / 88%
  • The Grey / 76%
  • An Inconsistent Truth*
  • Man on a Ledge / 22%
  • One for the Money / 0%
  • The Theater Bizarre*
  • The Wicker Tree*
* = limited release

  • 50/50 / 93%
  • Godzilla CC
  • The Moment of Truth CC / 80%
  • Paranormal Activity 3 / 66%
  • Real Steel / 59%
  • Restless / 36%
  • The Whistleblower / 74%
CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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The beginning of the trailer (trailer 2 of the link) for "October Baby" had me worried. I thought we were aboard a teen angst road trip. The self-narration from this young woman even tells us that we don't know her story and that her whole life has been a lie. Oh, boy. I was able to admire the cinematography, which allowed me to appreciate what was going on narratively. As our protagonist tries to find her mom the film finds its legs. It certainly looks to have a good message (about forgiveness) even if it is heavy-handed about it.

Peter Facinelli plays a young pickpocket in NYC whose life is turned upside down when the woman he slept with three months ago informs him he is going to be a father. "Loosies" is a love story between the two, you can bet she sure has problems with his choice of "career." It is also promises to be a drama between the two as they try to stay one step ahead of the inevitable justice on their tails. There looks to be plenty of action when he messes with the wrong people and in his ettempts to escape the police. Oh yeah, it is also played as a comedy. Overall, very entertaining and engrossing stuff. It is currently playing is select theaters.

Nothing to quite mix things up like a foreign family film. A cat drinks a toxic barrel of something and is transformed into a young woman, "Miss Minoes." She aids a journalist with her diverse abilities and together they strive to make public some dark secrets in town. It looks like it has a strong enough narrative, based on an acclaimed children's book across the pond, but when the trailer man said, "Look inside your heart and listen to your felines," I groaned, not purred. It was showing in select theaters by Christmas, but I suspect most of us will have to check it out when it hits shelves.

Amanda Seyfried looks for her younger sister who she is sure has been adducted by a murderer in "Gone." When the police don't trust her pleas she has to take matter into her own hands and kill the killer while evading the cops who now think she is crazy. I like the subdues colors and tones throughout, but for a thriller, nothing sizzled or snagged my interests. Will you find it in theaters on February 24th?

"Haywire" hit cinemas around the country last week. It is the newest film from Steven Soderbergh, from whom we never quite know what to expect. His "Ocean's" trilogy was a big success, his experimental indie films (like "Bubble") were always interesting, and his most recent film ("Contagion") was one of the year's best and most important. Gina Carano plays a CIA agent who is betrayed and goes rouge. Essentially it is a premise for a woman to kick a whole bunch of male butt. Those who enjoyed the "Bourne" films will surely find a lot to like here. It looks incredibly violent and yet classy. Also, with a list full of recognizable names (like the "Ocean" films and "Contagion") it has plenty of star power behind it.

"Red Tails" also landed last weekend. What "Glory" was to the Civil War, "Red Tails" is the WWII. Well, with a lot of CGI planes thrown in. Herein the Pentagon relies of the Tuskegee, a force of African-American pilots, to fight our air battles in Europe. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. headline the feature. Obviously nothing on this scale could have been made without CGI, and yet that is what gives the film a heavy artificial feel, especially when comparing the plane scenes to everything else.

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" is a doc about Sukiyabashi Jiro, the sushi master who runs a small restaurant in a Tokyo subway. Despite his old age he is working every day to perfect the way of the sushi. Classy trailer with compelling subtitles, classical music, and clean visual. I wonder how many people are going to go out for sushi after they see this... You can smell it in select theaters on March 9th.

"Indie Game: The Movie" will be showing at this year's Sundance and follows the year(s)-long quest of independent game developers doing what they do. For one of the largest industries in all of entertainment there has been a surprising lack of documentaries about video games. This gets at the struggle of those who make them and seems the capture the allure that these ever-changing things we call video game have.

"Albatross" is a rebellious comedy about a rebellious 17-year-old girl. Naturally, she's writing a novel and naturally, its title is the film's title. With a troubled past and seemingly nothing to lose, she says what's on her mind, goes to parties, and even seduces her friend's dad who was said he'd teach her creative writing. Some pretty shots and convincing performances, even if it is yet another teenage angst dramedy.

Finish that whisky, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards:

The Head-Scratcher:

Definitely a case of "seen the trailer, feels like you've seen the film" with "Big Miracle." John Kransinski (AKA Jim from "The Office") plays a reporter in small town Alaska. He gets a big story when three gray whales are trapped by walls of ice nearby. His friend (and love interest?) played by Drew Barrymore is a Greenpeace volunteer and sticks it to the man in hopes to save the leviathans. Anyone else kind of reminded by Disney's "Snow Dogs"? The dogs were certainly the best part of that film. Having spent some time in Alaska and its whales I can testify of these divine creatures and the reverence they invoke. This trailer has been swimming around for months now, but recent TV spots have put this picture on my radar. See the miracle for yourself on February 3rd (and yes, it is based on a true story.)

Lasso of the Week:
Ross McElwee, the one-man team documentarian, is back with "Photographic Memory." For the past few years, all students who apply to BYU's film program must watch and analyze the film "Bright Leaves." I absolutely loved the film. It was creative, funny, and poignant, not to mention incredibly small in scope. It was one man's journey with a camera to learn something. I believe that is why they want all film students here to experience it. That was a film McElwee. This trailer supposes "Photographic Memory" is going some very interesting (and personal) places just as "Bright Leaves" did. What starts has a father struggling to understand his teenage son leads this man to delve back into his own past. Not sure when or where we'll be able to see it, but I for one am very interested.

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FILM: Johnny Depp

IMDb has released their Top 10s of the last decade, including films, movie stars, and TV shows. Keep in mind, these are the top of their various meters, which I believe correlates to being the most popular. Anyone else surprised that Johnny Depp tops the stars list? The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Coinciding with this weekend's release of "The Grey" Rotten Tomatoes is sharing "The 10 Best Survival Movies." Happy to see "127 Hours" topping the list, my favorite film from 2010. Other modern classics like Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn" and the forgotten "Cast Away" (the namesake for the casting news section of this very series) make the list. What other good survival films come to mind?

Even though we are weeks into the new year I'm still going to be posting top ten lists of others (call 'em as I see 'em). Besides, I'm still taking my sweet time to post my own. As great as it is to see what various critics and bloggers alike are ranting and raving over, it is particular exciting to see what filmmakers' favorites are. However, you don't see it all that much. That said, Quentin Tarantino is one outspoken person you can always expect to hear from. He shares the best, worst, and even the "nice try"s of the year here. As always, the results are quite surprising. I cannot believe he called "Meek's Cutoff," an incredibly acclaimed film, one of the worst!

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John Hurt is now attached to Bong Joon-ho's next film, "Snow Piercer." Joon-ho is the South Korean director behind "The Host" and "Mother," two of my favorite films of the last decade. He is one of the front-runners of Korean directors, who I believe are among the most talented filmmakers today. This is his first time doing an "American" film and I am eagerly anticipating the result. Chris Evans, Jamie Bell (Tintin himself!), and Tilda Swinton are already on board. /Film has more details.

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The Academy Award nominations were announced this week. See the nominees here. I put this in "The Good" because I am actually a fan of the Oscars and appreciate their process and picks. Of course, anyone can find something to disagree with, but where would be the fun in everyone agreeing on something? It is no possible to please everybody, but I thought they did a great job at nominating a wide array of films this year. There a nine Best Picture (instead of the usual ten in recent years), including "The Tree of Life." That's good. Another pleasant surprise is Demian Bechir getting a Best Actor nod for "A Better Life." He is far and away the best part of an otherwise good film. What were you glad to see on there? What made you upset?

Here is Roger Ebert's article regarding the nominations. He discusses the love for movies about movies, such as "Hugo" and "The Artist," which led the pack in the number of nominations.

Sundance Film Festival is winding down. I'll be going up to Park City tomorrow to catch a couple showings. /Film has a recap of their crew's experiences there during the first half.

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Deadline explores who got snubbed during the Oscar nominations this week.


Also, The Hollywood Reporter shares "12 of Oscar 2012's Biggest Snubs." Some love for Leo playing "J. Edgar" here and "50/50" not taking that tenth Best Picture spot.

"The Help"

Check out these brutally honest 2012 Oscar nominee posters as found on BuzzFeed.

"The Hangover II" got a lot of critical hate this last year, but became one of the top grossing R-rated comedies of all-time. It should not surprise anyone that a third is in the works (or at least in the talks). What's more, each of the three stars are asking for $15 million a piece for the project. The Hollywood Reporter reports.

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Zade Constantine (I don't know who that is either) has a 12-minute video on Vimeo entitled, "A History of Film As I Understand It." He takes us chronologically from 1920 to 2011 showing us some of his favorite moments. Enjoy the show!

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Tower Heist

As if the posters above were not enough, here are "9 Rejected 2012 Oscar Campaign Posters" courtesy of Next Movie.

Nerd Approved imagines the result for, "Siri, what's the forecast for Mordor this week?" This nerd approves.

In conclusion, it seems everybody found something to complain about regarding the Oscar noms... even Hitler.

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Galyn said...

I've seen the commercials for Big Miracle and I usually like movies based on true stories. Won't see it at the theater though. Speaking of Johnny Depp, Scott thought he saw him last Sunday sitting at a table reading the newspaper with a hat and sunglasses on in Santa Barbara. Could have been.... I have to vote for The Tree of Life, but I also enjoyed Hugo. I remember your post about A Better Life. I saw the trailer for Albert Nobbs and that Glenn Close is one amazing actress. The TOL might also win for cinematography. And I've also heard great things about The Artist.

J.S. Lewis said...

Yeah, if "The Tree of Life" wins anything, it'll be cinematography.

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