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More or Less: 5 More of My Favorites

May 30, 2012 2 comments

Since this blog’s inception, I’ve posted 85 times, and while that is not necessarily one of those significantly recognized numbers like, say 25, 50, or 75, I must say, I didn’t know whether or not that I would stick with this blog for as long as I have, and while I’ve at times wondered if I could continue writing for this, 85 seems like a good enough number to definitively say to myself, “Yes, this is what I’m meant to be doing, even if it’s not for a living.”

You see, even though I might not be getting paid for what I’m doing here, there’s still a significant part of me that absolutely loves the cinema, even the crap movies sometimes, and I love discussing them with people when I can. Writing this may be a somewhat of a one-way street, as I’m still not entirely certain how significant my readership is here, but the more I write about it, the more I know that my audience will grow, and  even if I’m not getting quite the comments level that I probably naively expected/hoped, hopefullyThe Viewer’s Commentary has at least helped in elevating this art medium that I love so much, if even by a small amount.

Going forward, I hope to have more reviews and commentary up more often. Going through a few sites around the blogosphere, I’m inspired to stop caring so much about the scope of my posts as much as I am posting from both my gut and heart and only worry about the high concept stuff when the mood strikes me just right. This will enable me to not burn out after work in trying to do a ton of research only to decide to abandon all plans to write that night. Less pressure, more pleasure, I guess you could say.

And, so, with this, the 86th published post, I’m going to make good on that promise to myself and my readership with a follow up to my very first article on the site — Here are, in no particular order, five more films that I would consider to be, more or less, my favorites!

The smug face of evil

Inglourious Basterds I initially fell asleep during this movie. There. I said it. I blame my friend, who was also present with me during our recent viewing of John Carter — another film I fell asleep during. (Though, with that film, it was likely the fact that it was a midnight showing after a tame hockey-game bachelor’s party — that and it was also kind of a boring flick in general.) That bad luck for me apparently rubbed off once he got married, as he was also present when we went to go see The Avengers, and I was glued for that. (Honestly, Inglourious Basterds was also a late night showing during a very hectic and busy school schedule for me, so it wasn’t great timing.) But I’m digressing. Read more…

Review: “K-PAX”

May 22, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: Iain Softley
Produced by: Robert F. Colesberry, Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
Written by: Gene Brewer, Charles Leavitt
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Music by: Edward Shearmur
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard
Based on the novel by Gene Brewer
Year: 2001

 

For this review, I decided to outsource the suggestions. While I’m always open to friends and family recommending films to me, it isn’t often that a film suggestion catches me off guard as much as this particular friend’s suggestion did. To understand this, you must understand the friend who recommended K-PAX to me. You see, he’s not really into films. In fact, aside from a few anime productions and some other random suggestions that he would so characteristically justify the viewing of, my friend is relatively disconnected from films, especially sci-fi films. This is a man who has not once, not twice, but countless times told me, “You watch too many movies,” and said it as if it was out of some kind of concern I was in need of intervention. (It’s totally cool, though, I can quit any time I want!) So, that being said, I was rather stunned when his response to my admittedly mildly antagonistic question of “What film should I review next?” was the rather quick response of “K-PAX.” Read more…

Trailer: “Skyfall” Teaser

Hey, everyone! So I’ve got a new review coming which I will be working on tonight:K-Pax. It’s kind of an odd film starring Kevin Spacey that came out quite a while ago, and, while, it was on my radar at the time, I mostly ignored it when the reviews started coming in denouncing its quality. It currently holds a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, and, really, since then, I’d kinda forgotten it existed up until I decided to outsource my viewing habits to a friend who doesn’t really watch movies. Oddly enough, that was his suggestion. How did I like it? Well, you’ll just have to read the review. How’s that for a tease?

Anyway, speaking of teasers (How do you like that segue?), Kevin Spacey’s friend Sam Mendes (I assume they’re friends since Spacey was in Mendes’ big break, American Beauty, but that may be me being naive about how Hollywood platonic relationships work) has a new teaser trailer out, and it’s for a film that looks much better than K-Pax — at least from an aesthetic perspective. The teaser trailer, of course, is for the next James Bond film, Skyfall:

So, what does this tell us about the next Bond film? Well… not much, really. Starts out with a few word associations as Bond is debriefed/interrogated(?) as onlookers M (Dame Judi Dench), Agent Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), and I believe MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear, whose work I’m not too familiar with) look on with concern. Bond seems to keep his cool, even sort of reveling in his clever association with the word “murder” and “employment,” but when they come to the word “Skyfall,” it all suddenly turns grim as Bond flashes back to the mission and ends the session.

Obviously, this being a teaser trailer and all, very little plot is given away, but we do know that the plot deals with an attack on MI6 and Bond’s loyalty to M and the agency. This jibes with the images of coffins draped with the Union Jack and Bond stating in the end, “Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” Much of what comes in between is standard fare for teasers, banging music and all. New locales, a few brief, ambiguous explosions and scenes of Bond either staring intently in exotic locales or engaging in daring acts of violence and destruction, and, of course, a few brief glimpses at the Bond girls, Naomi Harris and Bérénice Marlohe.

That all being said, this does look to be one of the prettiest Bond films. I think the imagery is very strong in this film. It’s dark with accents of neon color, but, at least from what I can tell from the trailer, not in a sense that the film looks tacky like, say, Mission: Impossible II did (and that was an ugly action film). Sam Mendes has an eye for visuals, and so I’m expecting this to at least be a great-looking film.

What don’t we see in this trailer? Aside from more plot, we still don’t have any glimpses of Javier Bardem as the film’s villain, nor do we see the return of the long absent gadget-supplier Q, who is making his re-debut in this film with the much younger Ben Winshaw taking the place once filled by Desmond Llewelyn and briefly by Peter Burton (Dr. No) and John Cleese (Die Another Day).

Altogether, it’s a serviceable teaser, but not much else. It got me excited, however, but then again, that’s what it’s supposed to do and the film could still turn out crap despite any number of trailers. We’ll just have to wait for more meaty trailers to come out in the meantime before we pass judgment on whether this looks worthy enough to satiate our desires for another Casino Royale. In the meantime (shameless plug alert, why not go speculate about who will do the theme song for this film by checking out my overview of all the Bond themes up to this point?

Here are your convenient links:

James Bond: The Themes – Part 1

James Bond: The Themes – Part 2

Mother’s Day Review: “Aliens” Special Edition

May 12, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: James Cameron
Produced by: Gale Anne Hurd, Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill
Written by: James Cameron (screenplay & story), David Giler and Walter Hill (story)
Music by: James Horner
Cinematography by: Adrian Biddle
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Year: 1986


Mother’s Day is coming up, and so of course I had to do something for the site. I was considering two of many other ideas floating around in my head to commemorate the occasion: The first idea was to review one of my own mom’s favorite movies in honor of her. Certainly, this would have resulted in a possibly more diverse list of films in the Reviews section of the site. However, my second idea was far more enticing to me, as it involved a film that I hadn’t seen in its entirety for quite sometime: Aliens. Of course, if the title of this review didn’t give it away, I went with the second idea. (I’ll just have to review one of my mom’s favorites on her birthday.) Read more…

Theatrical Review: “The Avengers”

May 8, 2012 11 comments
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: Joss Whedon (screenplay & story), Zak Penn (story)
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by: Seamus McGarvey
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård
Year: 2012

 

I don’t think I need to tell you that you need to go see this movie. If you’re among the several who contributed to this film’s current $641 million intake globally, you’ve likely already seen this film and are, probably, very likely going to go see this again sometime within the next month, if not within the week. While I’ve eagerly awaited the release of The Dark Knight Rises this past month plus, and while I’m fairly certain that it’s easily, very likely going to be among the best of what the superhero genre has to offer, its importance to the genre is fairly minuscule compared to the importance of what Marvel has done with The Avengers. They’ve taken years of development and the creation of five films starring four drastically different heroes and featuring several others and built it up to this one film. And you know what? They absolutely succeeded in this ambitious project of theirs. Bravo, Marvel, you’ve broken box office records!

But you know what? I could go on and on about how revolutionary the film is for you and possibly leave you with that much more knowledge about the inner politics of rights holders and stubborn studios and we’ll all be all the smarter for having taken a closer look, examined the specifics of Hollywood politics, and all that other crap that’s important to know but, good Lord, is usually boring to learn. And I’m not going to do that. You know why? Because when I went to that theatre two days early to buy tickets as soon as they went on sale at my local Harkins, when I went to the theatre about two hours early, by myself like the nutcase that I am, and waited in line in order to grab the good seats for my friends and myself, and when I sat there, watching the trailers and then the movie and then not one but TWO secret endings to the film, and when I left the theatre afterward having seen the film in its entirety, I could only think of one thing: “HOW AWESOME IS THIS!?” Read more…

The Dark Knight Rises – Trailer #3

I kinda missed updating last week. I promise to you and myself that I will have a new review up this week, but I kinda needed a mental break and had a lot going on. To ease back into things, how about a new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, eh?

So, what do you think? Like the new Batwing (or whatever its equivalent is in this film)? Like the eerie No Man’s Land vibe of the trailer? This its definitely more of a larger scale movie than the first two films, that’s for sure!

The new glimpses of Catwoman are pretty interesting. I’d previously thought that they had possibly made her it to be a reluctant(?) henchwoman for Bane, but it looks like they’re going with the antihero after all, though she definitely still has tires to Bane in some way, since you hear Bruce asking her questions about him.

Bane looks pretty fierce himself and is also notably more intelligible than previous audio from him showed. Dare I say it, but it does sound a bit… off, but we all hour through The Dark Knight despite Christian Bale’s apparently chronic throat condition and it was still a brilliant film.

Notably, we also get way more footage of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cop character, albeit in silent clips of his reactions to the happenings in Gotham. He’s still fairly shrouded in mystery, and, to be honest, I’m kinda glad since I’ve pretty much a given that so many other spoilers are likely to reveal themselves as truth. It’s nice having one original character who can be dealt with in so many ways and who brings up so many questions, isn’t it? Like, why do we see him kneeling as if in the presence of… something? I don’t know if it’s malevolent or not, and that is probably going to help bring a great deal of tension to the role.

I’m obviously a Batman fan, as the past few weeks have proven (I promise my next review will be of a very different type of film), so to say that I’m extremely excited for this film is an understatement…

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