Friday, June 18, 2010

Toy Story 3

Around the same time last year Pixar -an animation giant- released Up, that film got a rapturous reception from critics and audiences. Actually, anything Pixar has released over the past decade got drooled upon by us film lovers. Toy Story 3 is no exception & expect it to get nominated come Awards time. It's quite a feat in how it mixes its dramatic and comic undertones so damn well & gosh, how serious & dark & scary it is. In fact its got such deep darkness that some online bloggers and critics are saying that somewhere in the movie there's an allegory to the holocaust. Watching the picture on Friday, I could see why some folks would think in such a way, but I highly doubt first time director Lee Unkrich and his Pixar peers had this idea in mind while making the film.

All the characters we've come to love are back but -as I said before- there is an extra layer of darkness added. The idea of being trapped and imprisoned looms deeply in the movie, giving the viewer an almost claustrophobic feeling throughout its 100 minute running time. Not a dull moment or second pops up in this fascinating film, the best of the series. It all comes together in a finale that divides the gap between what it means to be innocent and what it's like to let go of the things we love and welcome adulthood. Heavy stuff for the kiddies he? That's why Toy Story 3 -and for that matter Pixar- is such a special gift, it is wrapped on the outside with vibrant colors that pop out and stun your eyes but it is layered deep inside with adult themes and a darkness that cannot be shaken.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 mid-year report

One thing that has been very frustrating about 2010 is the lack of quality on display. As I’m writing this very article, only Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island stands out as a possible nominee (even though many would wholeheartedly disagree with me). Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer came out to rave reviews in the spring but so did controversy & the infamous situation the director found himself into.

Paul Greengrass released Green Zone, audiences and critics yawned. Ridley Scott tried to revive Robin Hood for a generation that probably doesn’t even know who Kevin Costner it, that bombed. Mel Gibson counted on Edge Of Darkness to mark his acting comeback, did he even read the screenplay? Tim Burton & Johnny Depp struck out with their overwrought adaptation of Alice In Wonderland & Atom Egoyan failed remaking of kitschy French film Chloe with former nominees Liam Neeson and Julliane Moore. Do you sense a trend going on here? Disappointment after disappointment came to your local movie theatre, which would explain the Box office drops weekend and after weekend nationwide. The blockbusters were no fun & so was the more serious fare.

Expect the same old same old right up until July 16th, which is when Inception comes out. Christopher Nolan’s bold futuristic picture about dreams & their consequences. Toy Story 3 might also cause a little buzz this weekend, which could fare well in a 10 nominee field. Anything with Pixar should be considered a serious contender and –since we are living in the golden age of animation- academy voters are gaining more and more respect for a genre that is supposedly just for kids. Then there’s Debra Wanik’s Winter’s Bone which, an independent film that could just be this year’s In The Bedroom- but the buzz must reach further than just L.A and New York. As it goes wider and wider in the coming weeks we will know for sure what its chances truly are but make no mistake about it, Winter’s Bone is the best reviewed movie so far this year and that can carry it far.

We are already halfway through 2010 and contenders are sparse. There were –however- a few movies that caught my attention. Scorsese’s Shutter Island & Polanski’s The Ghost Writer are on the short list, with their undeniable mastery of the classic Hollywood form. Closing it out are Jacques Audiard’s great gangster movie Un Prophet (Foreign Language loser last year & better than eventual winner The Secret In Their Eyes), Andrea Arnold’s mesmerizing Fish Tank from the U.K & Matthew Vaughn’s Hollywood superhero product Kick-Ass, featuring a great performance by Nicolas Cage & horrible ending notwithstanding. What are yours? Did I miss a movie you are passionate about? Do you disagree with something I said? Chime away !

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stuff I'm currently working on..

Just to give you guys an update on yours truly (I know, how selfish). I've started as a contributor over @ many thanks to the lovely Sasha Stone for giving me an opportunity to write for a web site I've respected & read for over 10 years. Here's the link to my first -of what will be many more POST. I'm also working on getting my voice out on local radio, Montreal station AM 1650, details are still being worked out but there will be more development (or so I hope) in the coming weeks. Finalement, come end of summer you can count on more written stuff in The Concordian. An exciting few months to come & I hope you will all share this ride with me.

Although it's been a very dry year for film, don't forget about the coming movie weekend where stuff like the acclaimed Winter's Bone starts to get a wider release. I'll make sure to catch that one asap, especially considering it looks less and less like your typical sundance film (& I do mean that as a good thing) + another thing that caught my attention this week is the lack of good movies out there @ the moment. I'm gonna write something soon about the sad state of movies in 2010 and what were the movies that didn't have the stench of failure.

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