It's called Crazy Heart & features a great Jeff Bridges performance as Bad Blake a has been country music star that looks to get a second crack at the industry. I expected some cliches to come roaring down -& they do- but director Scott Cooper gets through them by bringing joyful spirit and musicality to a script that demands it. Talkin' about musicality, T Bone Burnett supplies the music and creates what might just be my favourite soundtrack from the past year.
Not to mention Maggie Gyllenhall who's just phenomenal as Blake's love interest and will likely get an Oscar nom when they are announced in 2 weeks. Ditto Bridges. This movie could have easily sunk down if Bridges hadn't succeeded in bringing life to his fictional character and the alcoholism and heartbreak he goes through. Yep. It's your typical bio with a somewhat stale flavour but the performances are just swell.
Take Note- I've just rewatched Bridges in The Big Lebowski & truly find it amazing how the movie has become a complete cult hit over the years. Bridges' performance when first released wasn't payed too much attention to but now it is considered one of the great characterizations of the 90's. For good reason. His Dude totally abides to the laws of cinema as a one of a kind natural of the camera and a complete original. Something tells me the Coens aren't done working with Bridges, it's a given that these mavericks have a chemistry to make much more.
Trust me, I have seen Blind Side & it is not a performance as deserving as the actresses already mentioned here. I'll take all this buzz towards Bullock with a grain of salt and hope the academy gives the award to the deserving actress -any of the four would do. Then again if anybody say the Golden Globes, they saw a humble Bullock winning Best Actress & giving a very gracious speech. Peter Travers is already calling her the winner of the Oscar & I'm sitting here writing this, about to gag.
Usually the Hollywood machine releases all the stuff they want to get rid of in the first months of the new year- January to April is usually a wasteland of these sorts of picture. 2010 might be an exception, as Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski & Paul Greengrass -3 singular directors- are releasing new stuff in the next month or two. Which begs me to ask the question, which is highest on your list?
I'm a Scorsese nut so I'm drooling over Shutter Island- which was delayed last year due unknown circumstances (Scorsese claimed the film needed more editing). I know a few people that have already seen it and are considering it high on the Oscar contenders list for 2011 ! woah there cowboys, don't go too ahead of yourselves but nevertheless Scorsese's been on a roll lately with stuff like The Departed and Gangs Of New York already classic stuff in my books.
Roman Polanski -on the other hand- hasn't had much to offer since his triumphant Pianist came out 7 years ago. He missed the mark with his follow up, Oliver Twist, remember that one? I didn't think so, the above trailer is his new movie and -although it has a kind of State Of Play feel to it- I'm looking forward to watching his new movie, remember kids this is the guy that gave us Chinatown 35 years ago.
Last but certainly not least is another director that made his mark in the past decade with THE best post 9/11 movie around United 93. Greengrass' style is very influential -with its handheld camera and add type editing- but I'm looking forward to him reuniting with his Bourne star Matt Damon, in a movie that pushes the questions of the Iraq war.
In the coming days I'll be releasing my 20 favourite movies of 2009 and then we'll be looking ahead to a new decade of movies and a new batch of hopefuls that will want to take a bite out of Oscar.
Picking up steam, Avatar is not dropping down the rankings of the Box Office- as a few boneheads had predicted. It's quite steady and increasing its overall gross. Which begs me to ask the question, does it have the UMPH to beat out Titanic as the highest grossing movie of all time? It's 150 million away and is still at number one- looking at an upcoming weekend gross of (this is my estimate) around 40 million. The reason why this movie is not slowing down must be due to the fact that it is something new and unseen among movie watchers. Here's a movie that demands to be seen on the big screen and has its effect relinquished once seen on the Tele. Add the fact that Cameron is known for going over budget & still producing something essential & spectacular and you get a combo that cannot be fought or dealt with.
My prediction? Avatar will beat Titanic's box office, just in time for the Oscars, where it will be crowned in numerous categories. Best Picture? not sure yet, it's a tough call, especially with this year having 10 nominees, a fabulous George Clooney Vehicle, his ex wife's -Kathryn Bigelow- triumphant war movie The Hurt Locker & the fact that Cameron has already had his moment when Titanic came out 12 years ago. One things for sure, this is gonna be fun times ahead and very interesting to watch as the Box Office and Oscar Noms slowly trickle in during the next few weeks. Let's keep in touch on this.
James Cameron's Avatar (4/5) has already made 1.4 Billion dollars in 24 days, that's a record and a sense of the crazed mania happening in theatres these days towards Cameron's latest opus. Does it deserves everything it is getting? considering it is a breakthrough in cinematic visual, I'd say yes. The technological achievements are major and only near the end do they wear thin to an unoriginal plot.
You see, Avatar's story is not very well realized nor is it very involving but watching it in 3D makes it a one of a kind experience that cannot be shaken when you leave the theatre. It is very flawed with its limp dick story but a complete breakthrough with its visual images that pop out at you like nothing else seen before it's release. Especially the scenes that take place in Pandora- home of the Na'avi & glowing with colour and fierce light that crowns a nation of blue. Guess what? as much as the story sucks, there's no denying the breakthrough that Cameron has created here. He basically gives the finger to the industry and sets his own rules as far as to what he can and cannot do. As far as we are concerned we are now living in a post-Avatar industry of movie making, whether that is a pleasant thought or not (It isn't necessarily to me)
It's going to change everything and anything in terms of 3D and movies in general. Deny it all you want but that is basically what it has come down to. Sure, its final 40 minutes start to die down the exuberance of its first 2 hours but there is an incredible adrenaline rush in watching something that is new and completely fresh on screen. Cameron has never been about dialogue, he's always been about visuals. He has a talent to make his movies look great and visually rich. just think of his classic movies (T1, T2, Titanic, Aliens) those movies could easily be watched with a mute button and you could still experience the hell out of it- The images mattered more than the words. He has made a movie that demands to be seen on a big screen with goofy looking 3D glasses, which is one of the reasons why people are actually churning out their hard earned cash instead of just settling for the illegal download or official DVD (whenever that is out)
If there is one movie that I have seen in 2009 that should and will be called groundbreaking in the years to come, this is it. A flashy, flawed, hokey, visionary epic made by a man that was once king of the world and getting back that title as we speak.
Opening nationwide on January 15th, The Lovely Bones has been unfairly dismissed in the press as a low point in Peter Jackson's career. When in fact it is an achievement that only he could have made, blending gorgeous special effects with an intimate story of loss. I mentioned it before but Stanley Tucci is crazy good and will likely get the supporting actor nod he deserves this month. Of course, the negativity that has surrounded this movie isn't without reason. The PG-13 Rating prevents it from going into darker and more arduous territory- the murder isn't shown & rape barely hinted at. & the changes between the in between and life at times suffer overtly drawn dramatics. I wish Jackson could have pushed this to an R rating and -in the process-pushed the boundaries of the film. He also has a badly set tone, switching from bleak to comic relief &- trust me- the last thing this movie needs is a change in tone, even if it plays with both Fantasy and Drama.
It'd be easy to nitpick @ Peter Jackson's latest movie. It has melodramatic tension that sometimes reduces its powerful impact. However -& this is a biggie- its strongest moments are dreamy and terrifying as a 14 year old girl (Saorise Ronan) is murdered by a rapist -incredible played by Stanley Tucci. The girl narrates the movie as she struggles to find her way to heaven, she's stuck in between our world and another life. I don't know why this movie struck me as powerfully as it did but it could be because of its themes and spirituality- which have always been part of me & the fact that it looks at death not as a terrifyingly bleak consequence, but as an experience for thought and spirituality. There's a humanity here that I found very resonant, it ain't gonna hit everybody but it sure did hit me.
I recently caught up with Walking Tall. No, no. Not the action blockbuster starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson but the original one from 1973 starring Joe Don Baker as an ex marine moving into a corrupt town and looking to clean it up from Prostitution, gambling &blackmail. Mind you, the picture I saw was not significantly any better than the remake from 5 years ago. In a way it was a step lower in its action sequences and effects- most likely because the damn picture was made 36 years ago. The characters were overacting, the direction was sloppy and the action was -at times- not very well staged.
So why remake a movie that has clearly not the best of reputations? Most likely cause Walking Tall is based on an ideological, nowadays primitive, sense of violence in a male dominated society and portrays it as such in a macho kind of way, a way that would be copied by future action filmmakers and is still being copied to this day. It's was part of Americana where the man was the boss.
It was the start of action movie Machoism and came out right as the black panthers -& black people in general- were getting more and more freedoms due to the civil rights movement. It was a time when they started revolting and talking against all that was wrong in American society. It was also the end of Vietnam and the end of a presidential regime that had single-handedly destroyed the country. The movie explicitly draws upon these issues in a very thorough and direct way but it seems to be labeling these issues instead of going into them in a more forthright manner.
Walking Tall was the beginning of the action picture and the ticking point of the blockbuster era (2 years later Jaws would get released). If it weren't for this picture, there would probably be no Schwarznegger, Van Damme, The Rock or Stallone. Joe Don Baker brought forth the first alpha male action hero.
With all this talk about lists, I'm reminded of an article by EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum, in which she refuses to make a top ten of the decade, declaring she finds it odd how men are obsessed with making lists of everything (movies, girlfriend's, Cars etc.)
Oddly enough, she ended up making one a few weeks later. I'm assuming her editors had something to do with it & something tells me they might be male.
This is one of the best things I've seen on Youtube. Sergio Leone's classic backed up by my favourite current band as we speak- The Arcade Fire. The blend is pure and simply amazing and the video deserves the close to 2 million hits it has received since its posting. I'm actually quite surprised that whenever I talk about this video I don't always get a person that knows this band or any song from them. It's time to get with the program people ! You are missing out on some of the best Rock and Roll of the past decade.
The blend of cinema and music here is just very fitting, as fitting as putting on Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon w/ The Wizard Of Oz. Every sound and gesture dances with the music in the background. & If you haven't already heard the Fire's Neon Bible, check it out. Very cinematic also and terrifyingly beautiful in its delivery.
- ► 2016 (698)
- ► 2015 (37)
- ► 2014 (35)
- ► 2013 (65)
- ► 2012 (58)
- ► 2011 (47)
- RIP JD Salinger
- My top 16 of 2009
- Image Of The Day 01/24/10
- "Crazy Heart"
- What If? Bullock and Oscar?
- Scorsese, Greengrass & Polanski
- Titanic Vs. Avatar
- "Fish Tank" released today
- Douglas Sirk and Queer Cinema
- Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones
- Original & Redux. "Walking Tall" in the 70's and T...
- RE: TOP TEN
- Leone and The Arcade Fire
- The White Ribbon
- ▼ January (15)
- ► 2009 (173)