Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar nominees


Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)
The Fighter (Paramount)
Inception (Warner Bros.)
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features)
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company)
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight)
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney)
True Grit (Paramount)
Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions)


Javier Bardem in “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions)
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit” (Paramount)
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)
James Franco in “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight)


Christian Bale in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions)
Jeremy Renner in “The Town” (Warner Bros.)
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features)
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)


Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features)
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate)
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions)
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight)
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company)


Amy Adams in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit” (Paramount)
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom” (Sony Pictures Classics)


How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
The Illusionist (Sony Pictures Classics) Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich


Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)/span>
The King’s Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)


Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins


Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres


Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter (Paramount), David O. Russell
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Tom Hooper
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), David Fincher
True Grit (Paramount), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen


Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency)
Gasland, A Gasland Production
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics)
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment)
Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films)


Killing in the Name Nominees to be determined A Moxie Firecracker Films Production
Poster Girl Nominees to be determined A Portrayal Films Production
Strangers No More Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production
Sun Come Up Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger A Sun Come Up Production
The Warriors of Qiugang Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon A Thomas Lennon Films Production


Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter


Biutiful, Mexico
Dogtooth, Greece
In a Better World, Denmark
Incendies, Canada
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi), Algeria


Barney’s Version (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot
The Way Back (Newmarket Films in association with Wrekin Hill Entertainment and Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey


How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross


“Coming Home” from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman


Day & Night (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo A Magic Light Pictures Production Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute A Geefwee Boedoe Production Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) A Sacrebleu Production Bastien Dubois


The Confession (National Film and Television School) A National Film and Television School Production Tanel Toom
The Crush (Network Ireland Television) A Purdy Pictures Production Michael Creagh
God of Love A Luke Matheny Production Luke Matheny
Na Wewe (Premium Films) A CUT! Production Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite


Inception (Warner Bros.) Richard King
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) Mark P. Stoeckinger


Inception (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland


Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick


127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini


Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

Thursday, January 20, 2011

OK, hold the goddamn phone

Hollywood, it's time to chill the hell out about Ricky Gervais's hosting duties at the Golden Globes. Was he harsh? Was he mean-spirited? Maybe if you're 12 years old. You ever hear the expression "taking the piss"? That's exactly what he was doing!

I can't tell if the overreaction to the hilarious job that Ricky Gervais did is largely the press's fault or if Hollywood really is that sensitive. Yeah, he made some jokes about Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Tim Allen, and the fact that The Tourist sucked. Big deal! I'm sure Robert Downey Jr. is doing just fine. Don't you realize that showing people that Hollywood aren't taking themselves too seriously is a GOOD thing? There's been a growing sense of discontent between Hollywood people and the commoners that perhaps people from Hollywood aren't sensing. We hear more and more negative tabloid press on random Hollywood stars. Hollywood stars who make a shitload of money for every film they make. Films of which, by the way, that aren't very good. The fact of the matter is that of the five films nominated for best drama at the Golden Globes... two were produced by a major studio. The rest? The Fighter, Black Swan, The King's Speech----all independently produced. Last year's Oscar winner? Independently produced. Slumdog, No Country---Independently produced. Great, prestige films produced by Hollywood are few and far between. The two main ones this year: Inception and The Social Network; one film came from an original mind who just had a movie make $500+ million at the box office and the other one was the result of a remarkable collaboration among producer (Rudin), writer (Sorkin), and director (Fincher). The latter film, that success of that collaborative vision is like what you'd see in the '70s. Chinatown-esque. Where Robert Evans (producer), Robert Towne (writer), and Roman Polanski (director) would come together to make a truly great film. But that's a rarity in Hollywood filmmaking! And it's sad because, check the box office receipts, The Social Network made a lot of money for a film of its stature. And yet, you'll never see Hollywood take more chances like that so the growing disconnect between audiences and mainstream films continue to grow. The big budget films that wind up making a lot money don't make so much money because of the stars anymore. So, nobody really gives a shit about stars anymore and when they see a man like Ricky Gervais saying what the rest of the country is thinking, it's very refreshing. Honestly, I've never heard so many people talk to me about the Golden Globes before Sunday. Why? Because nobody cares about the GGs. Even still, nobody cared who won any of the GGs. Ricky Gervais hosting the GGs is good for you. He gives you all personality. You should like that.

But no, you have people like Judd Apatow complaining on twitter that Ricky Gervais just "wasn't funny enough" and that he went after easy targets and was too mean-spirited for what was supposed to be "Hollywood's night." Excuse me, Mr. Apatow? Hollywood's night? It's fucking awards season. It's Hollywood's night EVERY OTHER NIGHT. And the Golden Globes are the least important awards out of all of them! It's right there with the Critics Choice Awards and slightly above the People's Choice Awards. I think we can have one night where we celebrate film and we have a great comedian up on stage taking shots at celebrities. And yes, his shots were easy targets, so why are you so offended and upset? Why was anyone surprised? They were easy targets because he'd know the audience that watch the Golden Globes would understand and laugh at the jokes.

What a shame. Judd, you have become one of them. Shame on you. You should know better. As for the rest, grow a pair. Wait 'til next year when Ricky Gervais doesn't host and nobody's watching the GGs because nobody cares. People are tired of Hollywood. They couldn't care less about a "Hollywood celebration." Save that for the Oscars. Let's the Golden Globes be the funny, black sheep of the Awards ceremonies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Inevitable Will Come (Golden Globes results)

It feels like we go through this almost every other year. One movie stands out from all the others and just runs away with the Awards race up until the Oscars. Some films crap out before the Oscars, but most other ones ride it out 'til the end. This year, The Social Network looks to be one of those films that will be getting every award imaginable until it can't possibly win any more.

A lot of people expected The King's Speech to win over the HFPA's hearts moreso than The Social Network. But, as the evening went on, it became apparent that The Social Network was easily going to win. Having seen both The King's Speech and The Social Network, aside from being the "safe pick," I didn't see how The King's Speech could win over The Social Network. As I said in my review, The King's Speech felt light and very easy to swallow. It had a predictable, feel-good ending that didn't really have much emotional punch even though King George VI just gave a very important speech that would affect millions of lives. The Fighter had a predictable, feel-good ending too, but it had that emotional punch that is necessary for feel-good endings to really work. Let's face it, we live in a cynical world nowadays, you just can't end a film happily without leaving some sort of mark. In the Fighter, Christian Bale's performance is what resonated with you because it was so unpredictable and his character was dangerously living on the edge almost throughout the whole running time. Whereas, The King's Speech just didn't resonate with me as much as it should have and I think that, overall, that's why it won't win the awards that was first expected for them.

Now I enjoyed Black Swan and Inception more than I enjoyed The Social Network. I feel that they are the better films. But those films are so ambitious and try to do so much that, overall, I think it wound up dividing people on just how good those films really are. I think, in time, those two will be the clear standouts of 2010 but for right now, The Social Network just has too much going for it that it makes a lot of sense that it would win everything. It was a box office success and it was a film that people were buzzing about for quite some time. It has the cultural relevance and most importantly, it has a star writer/director package: Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, two guys who have yet to receive major accolades from the film industry. So it's obviously their time to shine. And you know what? They completely deserve it. They did everything right. It's not like they made a bad film, they made a great film that is nearly perfect in every aspect of filmmaking. It's endlessly entertaining, the story is engrossing, it's well-written, superbly directed, and the music fits so well with the story that I can't imagine how the film would play out without it. It also has great acting all around with a very talented up-and-coming cast. The reason why I can't rate it above Black Swan, Inception, or even Toy Story 3 is because the stakes just didn't seem high enough and I just wasn't emotionally involved enough or completely wowed by it. But it did everything that it was supposed to do, it was as good, if not, better than anyone could have expected from it. So the reason why it will win out and why I don't care if it does win out is because, it is indeed a film that does everything right. David Fincher took what was an excellent script and brought it to a level of greatness that most other directors could not do. I watched the film a second time the other day on DVD and his stamp is all over that film. Just like Aaron Sorkin's words all over that film, David Fincher's signature, slick visual style is absolutely all over that film and it completely works. Still, when I watched it again, it confirmed to me that it simply isn't as good as Black Swan, Inception, or Toy Story 3. But that's just my personal opinion.

What people have to realize is that, overall, it doesn't matter if your favorite film wins all the top awards. In fact, Inception and Black Swan NOT winning the top awards can only do it good. You don't want either film to win the top award if you're a big fan of those films because they will forever be subject to scrutiny and there will always be people who felt those films didn't deserve to win. Contrast that with The Social Network. The Social Network had like 95% on rottentomatoes and metacritic's score was right around there too, but the detractors are talking louder than ever. People will voice the same opinion as I did when talking about the movie but they will amplify it to absurd and undeserving levels. Because, yes, it may not be as good... but so what? It's still a damn fine movie in its own right and when you break it down, there's nothing wrong with it winning as many awards as it is. So don't feel let down when the inevitable comes. You may think The Social Network was overrated, but you and I know that it's not a bad film and it should be looked at as a positive, knowing that Fincher is gonna get an Oscar this year. Who would've thought? It's gonna be a great moment, just like Danny Boyle winning the Oscar was a great moment. Was it for the right film? No, but RARELY will a director win best director for the right film. Just like I'm sure Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan could very well wind up winning Best Director at some point in their careers. We'll be happy for them, but it won't be for the right film. So there's no reason to go crazy over this upcoming Oscar race. Take it all in stride and appreciate the fact that great filmmakers will be winning Oscars this year.

Best Picture - Drama
Winner: “The Social Network”

“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“The King’s Speech”

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Winner: “The Kids Are All Right
“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Tourist”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Winner: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”
Mark Wahlberg, “The Fighter”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Winner: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

Halle Berry, “Frankie and Alice”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Winner: Paul Giamatti, “Barney’s Version”

Johnny Depp, “Alice in Wonderland”
Johnny Depp, “The Tourist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Love and Other Drugs”
Kevin Spacey, “Casino Jack”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Winner: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”

Anne Hathaway, “Love and Other Drugs”
Angelina Jolie, “The Tourist”
Emma Stone, “Easy A”
Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Michael Douglas, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Director
Winner: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Best Screenplay
Winner: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, “127 Hours”
“Lisa Cholodenko, “The Kids Are All Right”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
David Sieber, “The King’s Speech”

Best Animated Feature
Winner: “Toy Story 3”

“Despicable Me”
“The Illusionist”

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: “In a Better World”

The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love

Best Original Song
Winner: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” “Burlesque”

“Bound to You,” “Burlesque”
“Coming Home,” “Country Song”
“I See the Light,” “Tangled”
“There’s a Place For Us,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

Best Original Score
Winner: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

Alexandre Desplat, “The King’s Speech”
Danny Elfman, “Alice in Wonderland”
A.R. Rahman, “127 Hours”
Hans Zimmer, “Inception”

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The King's Speech review

I saw The King's Speech last Friday and tried my best to just erase any and all expectations from my mind and just try to enjoy the film. You see, The King's Speech has gotten rave reviews across the board, critics calling Colin Firth a surefire Oscar winner and with people also saying that the film is likely to be the Oscar frontrunner.

Is it those things? Yes and no. Indeed, Colin Firth gives a great performance and it's hard to see otherwise. The man goes through the whole movie successfully portraying George VI as an honorable man with a stammering problem. The important thing is that he also gives King Geroge VI personality. To me, the problem with a lot of stuffy English films about English royalty is that... the kings or queens being portrayed just aren't interesting. But, much to the credit of Colin Firth and the screenplay, King George VI is actually quite down to earth and, oddly enough, relatable. The fact that King George VI goes through the whole film with this stammering problem, brings him down to earth. As much down to earth as a king could possibly be, of course.

As the story goes, the eventual King George VI, previously known as the Duke of York, has a stammering speech problem that seemingly is unfixable. Then his wife (played by Helena Bonham Carter) winds up hiring a speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), from Australia (who has his own speech therapy business in England), his unorthodox rules... at first unwelcomed by the soon king, eventually becomes the only method of learning for him. By the end, King George is unable to give a successful speech without him... and I use the word "successful" loosely.

The film is almost exclusively about King George's speech problem as well as the relationship between him and his wife, Queen Elizabeth. There's also the story of how his brother winds up becoming King Edward VIII only to be forced to relinquish this title when he winds up marrying a twice divorced woman from America. This subplot adds more depth to the story of the Duke of York eventually becoming (a reluctant) king and the impending start to World War II only amplifies King George's speech problem. The King is supposed to play a key role in bringing his country together in time of need. So communication is a really important role for the King especially since, overall, a King's role in England has been significantly diminished with the country turning into a Republic. Nevertheless, the King is still responsible for being the voice of the country and King George has a hard time being that voice. His one role, the one thing he has to do... he can't do it, not without the help of Lionel Logue. The relationship between him and his speech therapist is crucial for King George to wind up being a great king. Lionel Logue knows that King George can be a successful king which is why he's so driven to help him succeed.

So yes, The King's Speech is a really good film even if, in the end, the King's plight doesn't really seem as significant as the country's plight heading into World War II. This is a good film, but overall, it feels slight. While we're happy for the King when he winds up delivering his successful speech, which happened to be one of the most important speeches of his life, the meaning behind his speech was more important than the fact that he could give the speech. England would wind up in a very brutal war with Germany for many years to come so King George's speech difficulties seems to be the least of country's problems. So that's why this story, when you put it in historical context, ultimately feels light. It's a happy story for what would become a very dark times for the world.

Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter give solid performances in this movie. Carter proving she can actually act when Tim Burton isn't forcing her to ham it up. Tom Hooper also does an impressive job. While the film occasionally has some interesting visuals, Hooper understands that all he needs to do is present the story as straightforward as he can and the best thing he can do is to stay out of the way from that. But the only really great thing from the film is Colin Firth's performance. It proves that he is indeed a great actor and his Oscar will come and it will be well-deserved. I cannot say the rest of the film is as great, but I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some films to get excited about in 2011

Note: this is a very preliminary list and I can't really go into much detail about some of these films because there's not been much info released about them, but either way, this is a list of films that I'm most excited about that is scheduled to be released this year. Later this week, I'll be making a list of early 2011 titles that have peaked my interest. For now, this is just an overall look of what to expect this year.

To be honest, I'm not too terribly enthralled by this year's list of upcoming films, but there are still a handful of films that I'm foaming out the mouth for.

top 15 films I'm definitely excited about:

The Tree of Life
Directed by Terrence Malick
starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn
coming out in May

I've been waiting for this film for quite some time now. I'm a big Terrence Malick film and considering the length of time that passes between his films, whenever one of them does come out, it's an event... at least for film geeks. Even though I'm expecting this to be as poetic and as philosophical as his other films, I'm hoping that there's an audience for this film. Malick's a really special director, one of the very best, and I'm expecting to be blown away by this film. I hope others will be too.

directed by Steven Soderbergh
starring half of Hollywood http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/
coming out in October

Knowing that Soderbergh is considering hanging it up for good in about 2-3 years, means that we have to take advantage of the fact that we still have some time watch his films. Contagion is looking to be an amazing film with a wide array of cast members. After "Knockout" and "Contagion," there only appears to be about two more films left on Soderbergh's plate. So let's enjoy seeing his films on the big screen while we can.

The Descendants
directed by Alexander Payne
starring George Clooney
coming out this Fall, most likely

This will be Payne's first film since 2004 so I am definitely excited about "The Descendants." Alexander Payne is a great visual storyteller and he always brings the best out of his actors. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he works with George Clooney and am hoping he'll make more than two films this decade.

Young Adult
directed by Jason Reitman
starring Charlize Theron
release date TBA

Reitman, directed his second Diablo Cody script, is coming fresh off the success of "Up in the Air" which showed a lot of growth and maturity within the young director. Reitman only turns 34 this year and yet this will be his fourth film and he's already got two best director Oscar nominations. Obviously it's way too early to know if Young Adult will fall in the same path as "Juno" and "UITA" but I've been hearing that the Young Adult script is Cody's darkest, most mature. It'll be interesting to see how Reitman handles her script; how dark is he willing to go?

War Horse
directed by Steven Spielberg
coming out in December

Any sane person would put a dramatic, non-tentpole Spielberg film at #1 on their most anticipated films list but I'm not that sane. Regardless, I still am very excited to see Spielberg tell a non-blockbuster story and consider this is supposed to be a World War I story, I'm interested in seeing Spielberg explore that territory. It comes out in late December so you know that this film will be garnering a lot of awards attention by this time next year. Will it deserve it? We'll see.

The Skin That I Inhabit
directed by Pedro Almodovar
starring Antonio Banderas
release date TBA

A horror film directed by Pedro Almodovar, starring his old collaborator Antonio Banderas. Count me in.

Cowboys & Aliens
directed by Jon Favreau
starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford
coming out in June

Though I'm not a real big fan of Daniel Craig, the trailer for this film has definitely left me interested. This could be the big blockbuster film of the year, it has all the right pieces in place.

Hugo Cabret
directed by Martin Scorsese
starring Ben Kingsley
coming out in December

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited as hell for this movie. But, I have some reservations about the fact that it's being shot in 3D. Scorsese is master craftsman and I have no doubts about his skill, but I just wonder how well he'll be able to handle the 3D technology. Either way, this still is shaping up to be one hell of a film.

Red State
directed by Kevin Smith
starring Michael Parks, John Goodman
being shown at Sundance, release date TBD

Judging by the one minute teaser, this looks to be unlike anything Kevin Smith has ever done. Even if this turns out to be a failure, kudos to Kevin Smith for trying something new. I have feeling this is gonna come out successfully. Looking forward to it.

Damsels in Distress
directed by Whit Stillman
starring Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig

If you haven't heard of Whit Stillman then do yourself a favor and go rent Metropolis, Barcelona, and Last Days of Disco right now. Stillman was one of cinema's brightest back in the '90s with very sharp, well-written comedies of manners. Once you start to get into his films, you'll be wanting to wear a suit, drink some wine, and discuss existentialism while being extremely witty and sharp-tongued. That being said, Stillman hasn't made a film in 13 years! So that should only double the excitement. The old pro is going back in for another round. This time with a young cast and in a brand new decade. Let's see if he's still got it.

Rum Diary
directed by Bruce Robinson
starring Johnny Depp

As if 13 years was a long time between films, try 19 years. Bruce Robinson hasn't made a film since 1992, but two of the films he made are considered cult classics (Withnail & I, How to Get Ahead in Advertising). He's back behind the camera directing Johnny Depp in "Rum Diary" which is based on the classic Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name. Fans of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas shouldn't expect the same type of craziness with this film as both novels that they're based on are remarkably different. Still, this looks like one hell of a combo. I'm excited for this.

Source Code
directed by Duncan Jones
starring Jake Gyllenhaal
coming out in April

Normally, I'd brush this film off to the side as its material could easily go wrong really fast. But Duncan Jones is the man behind "Moon," one of the best sci-fi films of the 2000s. Yeah, I said it. Even though this is just his 2nd film, the trailer actually looks really promising, and of course I want a young director like Duncan Jones to succeed. Here's to hoping that he will churn out another great film.

A Dangerous Method
directed by David Cronenberg
starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbinder

There are people who love Cronenberg but hate the fact that he's gone "mainstream" over the last decade. I'm not one of those people. Even though Cronenberg used to be one of the most daring and iconoclastic directors, his decision to helm some more serious films is applauded by me. Cronenberg has proven in the last 5 years that he's very skilled at directed other people's material and he's just as great at crafting films as a Scorsese or a Spielberg, it's just that he's spent so much of his time making his own weird, quirky films. A Dangerous Method looks like it could be a very interesting film, about the relationship between psychoanalysts Freud and Carl Jung. I'm really interested in seeing what Cronenberg does with this.

We Bought A Zoo
directed by Cameron Crowe
starring Matt Damon
coming out in December

Once again, we come across a filmmaker who just doesn't make films very often, but when he does, he strikes gold more often than not. However, Cameron Crowe hasn't really struck gold with his last two films. Vanilla Sky was a highly uneven affair and Elizabethtown kinda flat out sucked. But there's no reason to think We Bought a Zoo won't be a good film. Crowe has had six years between this and Elizabethtown. A good film by Cameron Crowe is something the world really needs this year.

Your Highness
directed by David Gordon Green
starring James Franco and Danny McBride
coming out in April

This film just looks flat out ridiculous and could turn out to be a massive failure, but I like almost everyone behind this film so there is no reason for me to think that it won't be good. It looks funny, judging by the trailer, and word on the street is that this film is so dirty, people can't believe it was only rated R. I can't wait.

some excitement, need more convincing
Muppet Movie

Jason Segel is largely behind the new Muppet Movie. Any normal person would be excited over a brand new Muppet Movie and I'm interested in seeing what Segel does with it. That being said, there are a number of ways this film could go wrong and, because of that, it has a chance to not be very good. So I have to wait for more before I officially get excited. Comes out in November.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Who am I to doubt David Fincher on this one? Over the last three years, Fincher has made three really good to great films. There's a pretty good chance that this will be great too and yet, I'm not too crazy about the whole Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Perhaps after seeing a trailer, I will get more excited. This is coming out in December.

Jeff Who Lives at Home
The Duplass Bros are my new pair of directors that I constantly check up on. I really started getting into their films this year, especially with Cyrus, which I thought was a really good, very solid film and it has peaked my interest on these guys. I'm very interested in seeing what their second "mainstream" film will be like, but I'm not head over heels for these guys just yet. This could be the film that puts me over the edge.

The Ides of March
Directed by George Clooney, this could wind up being a great film but I'm not too fond of George Clooney the director. I don't think he does very interesting stuff, visually. So, I have some obvious reservations for this film.

Super 8
The next JJ Abrams film. The teaser for Super 8 has left me pretty excited, but I need more.

One Day
From the director of "An Education," starring Anne Hathaway. I thought An Education was good, but I wasn't too crazy about it. For director Lone Scherfig, I do see tons of potential and Anne Hathaway usually picks good material to work with. So this could be a very good film, but I need a little more than what An Education offered to me, which was a good film, but the plot was just too thin and superficial for me to fully embrace.

On the Road
Of course I'm excited for this adaptation of the classic Jack Kerouac novel, but then again... that novel was quite the classic so it'll be hard to imagine this film topping that. Walter Salles is the man responsible for the great "Motorcycle Diaries" though and he's behind this film as well. It's also being shot in black and white. So, who knows... still would need to see a trailer first.

Take This Waltz
Take This Waltz is the second film by bright up-and-coming director, Sarah Polley. Her first film Away From Her garnered a lot of acclaim so naturally her follow up should be getting a lot of attention. Starring Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams, it'll be interesting to see how Seth Rogen handles more serious material and if Sarah Polley is skilled enough to steer Rogen in the right direction. Even a great director like Noah Baumbach sort of faltered when he cast Jack Black in "Margot at the Wedding." Then again, there have been plenty of talented comic actors who have had success in dramatic films. Still, it needs to be seen to be believed.

The second film by director Steve McQueen. Here's another director who received a lot of acclaim for his first film. His first film was "Hunger" starring Michael Fassbinder which, unfortunately, I have not seen. Nevertheless, I'm still looking forward to this and I'll probably more excited for this after I eventually watch "Hunger."

New film by Lars von Trier. I loved Breaking the Waves from von Trier, but I'm not that huge of a fan of his work (although, to be fair, I haven't really seen his work before Breaking the Waves). Still, this highly controversial director looks to be at it again with this film and I have no reason not to be excited about it.

Obviously, there are other films coming out in 2011 that I missed, but these were the ones I'm most excited about. I will cover them more as I get more information on them, as well as other films that I missed out on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One full, official year in with Ken on Cinema

I've had this blogspot for almost four years now, but it only became ken on cinema just a few months ago and this has basically been an exclusive movie blog for just a year. So it's been a full year since I started doing this and you may wonder why I do this despite the fact that there are probably hundreds/thousands of blogs similar to this one. While that is true, I do this blog for myself and for the people that know me and know about my love for film. And I hope that people who don't know me as well can appreciate the fact that I do have a love for film that is unbreakable.

I've watched over a thousand films in my lifetime, maybe more. I watched way over a hundred films last year, including 30-35 films that came out in 2010. I'm still working my way through all the other 2010 films and I will still be reviewing them until they all come out on DVD, at least. Then, it'll exclusively be 2011 films. And yes, I am a bit selective when it comes to what new movies I watch. I've reviewed every single new movie that I watched in 2010, except for Unstoppable but I still gave you a score on that one, at least. I watch films that I want to watch, from filmmakers that I like, or maybe just because that particular movie interested me enough to want to see it. That's mostly why I tend to give more good reviews than bad reviews. I like to give some filmmakers the benefit of the doubt. That may also be why a movie that I rated "8/10" might have more negative feedback than positive. By saying it's an 8 out of 10, I'm already telling you that I liked the film a lot. But I want to be clear as to why I don't view it as highly as I do other films.

One thing I've learned as I've grown and gotten more comfortable with publicly evaluating films is that when you do something like this, you're putting yourself out there for everyone to see and, in that case, you could be subject to ridicule. Luckily, I've never been personally ridiculed for my taste in films and most people have had nothing but kind and encouraging words to say about my blog and that's great. Another thing I've learned that has helped me mature is that I no longer insult people for liking a film that I didn't like. I used to do that at one point, I know I did. But when you review films and you put your opinion on paper, I find it disrespectful to display a complete distaste for people who did or didn't like a film.

This is especially true when you consider my taste. The truth is, I love films that divide people or that get a rise out of people. Films that really stick with you after you've watched them and resonate with you as time goes on. It was funny because I was wondering when I knew it would be right to reward a film with my perfect "10/10" rating and, basically, I know as soon as I see it. The films that were in my top 15-20 films of the 2000s, I knew how good they were almost right away. That doesn't mean I liked the film as much the first time I watched it, but I knew after watching each of those films at least once, that there was something special in those films.

This is the case with a film like "Black Swan" which so far has been the only recipient of my perfect score for 2010. And yes, it absolutely deserves that score in my opinion and I will stand by it. That being said, I know that it's not for everyone and I know that some people may come away hating the film but that's exactly the type of film that I go for. I know for sure that Black Swan is a great film with a lot of artistic merit, I know that I was personally riveted through the 108 minute running time and I know other people who felt the same way. I also know people who didn't feel that way and while I understand where they may be coming from, I would never chastise them for not feeling the way I feel. By the same token, I expect an equal amount of respect when it comes to that. It doesn't matter if you personally enjoy evaluating films or if you just feel like you have something to say about a particular film, but regardless... if a film has compelled you enough that you feel the need to say something about it, either positively or negatively then the film did something right. I'm sorry but that's true. I remember when Children of Men, There Will Be Blood, and Inglourious Basterds came out. There were people who loved those films as much as me and there were people who hated them, absolutely hated them. At first, I found it hard to believe that they come away from those films feeling that way. But I've since noticed that if those films stirred them in that way then the film must be good. It re-affirmed to me that those films are really that good, that these are the types of films that stick with people long after they've watched the film... even if they hate it and even if they normally don't have strong feelings about any films.

Since I know that my favorite films of each year will tend to be films that other people may hate, I expect the scrutiny and the hate. But this is the first year of which I have publicly expressed my opinions on these films and so when I see someone hate on a film that I liked so much, I feel personally obligated to respond. I know film, even at my young age. I know film inside and out. That type of confidence is what drives me to talk in so much depth and to publicly express my feelings on those films. So when my intelligence is insulted, or when I see people insult other people's intelligence when it comes to liking/disliking a film, I can't help but lose some respect for that person. It's ok if you don't like a film, that doesn't give you the right to insult the people that do like it. And that's the main thing that I've learned since I've started this blog and I just want to express to everyone that you would never get that type of disrespect from me. I made this blog because I love film and I love talking about film, I didn't make it to insert a sense of superiority. I expect that same level of respect from others.

Neverminding that, 2010 was a great year for film and 2011 is looking to be just as good. Although I expected 2011 to be a lot more top heavy than 2010. 2010 has about 20-25 films that are very solid with 10 of those films being just wonderful. Looking at the 2011 lineup in film, seeing the names of Malick, Payne, Speilberg, Reitman, Soderbergh but not much else... leads me to believe that 2011 will have some really great films but the top 5 films of 2011 may be on a much higher level than films 6-10 of 2011. I could be wrong and I hope that I'm wrong. Either way, I can't wait to find out. I will keep soldering on with this blog and I hope to update it even more in 2011 than I did in 2010. I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Expect some more observations about films that came out from last year as I officially expect to close out the year of 2010 with my top 10 list later in the month (or in February).

The blog must go on!

p.s., I know that I dedicated one blog to ridiculing moviegoers who went to see Vampires Suck, but I feel that there is an exception to every rule. My only rule is, all films are fair game except films made by the idiots behind "Disaster Movie" and "Epic Movie." Forget it, those films are terrible and you shouldn't watch them because they're bad for you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

best film posters of the year

Kenoncinema will first honor 2010 by listing some of his favorite film posters from 2010

Most bad-ass looking film poster:
Damn that looks badass. The best types of film posters, in my opinion, are ones that say almost everything about the film without actually saying anything. This poster here is exactly what I'm talking about. I haven't talked about Carlos at all on kenoncinema and, as you may expect, I haven't seen it yet. I'm a fan of Olivier Assayas. As you may remember, "Summer Hours" was listed as one of my favorite films of the 2000s. From what I hear, Carlos is on an entirely different planet. A 5 hour mini-series epic is what it is. Most critics say it's definitely worth the watch and it's been on the top of many top 10 lists already. Can't wait for this to come out on Criterion in 2011.

Most improved movie poster:

The King's Speech marketing campaign started off with this clunker of a poster.
Too airbrushed, too lame, too boring.

But then, last month, they came out with this:

Ah, that's more like it. Beautiful.

Classiest film poster of 2010:

It's a tie... between ALL of these Black Swan posters.

Those aren't posters, they're works of art!

Most mind-blowing film poster of 2010:

Oh my God that's brilliant.

Most disturbing poster of 2010:

Who thought this poster would be a good idea? What the hell?

Best International Poster of an American film:
Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Raddest looking poster of 2010

I didn't know how else to describe this poster other than the fact that it looks pretty rad.

Sexiest poster of 2010:

Still can't wait to see this film.

Most constipated poster of 2010:

Ryan Gosling goes from looking sexy with Michelle Williams to looking constipated with Kirsten Dunst. "Damn I really have to go pee... won't she get off me?"

Least Favorite Poster for a Movie that's coming out in 2011:

Sigh. Covering this film is gonna be interesting. I don't even know what to say about The Beaver at this point. There's just something about Mel Gibson holding a beaver in his hand that I can't take seriously and yet this is supposed to be a serious, heart-warming film about redemption. Yeah... I don't know about this.

And finally, my favorite poster of 2010:

This poster for "The American" just has this really slick, cool, '70s style, European look to it that I really think is cool. In a year full of some pretty nice looking posters, this one is my favorite... and I haven't even seen the film yet.

Worst poster of 2010:

When you consider what "The Switch" is supposed to be about, the look on Jason Bateman's face and just the whole situation behind that picture does not scream "poster" material to me and it also exemplifies the worst type of film poster. It too literally expresses what the film is supposed to be about, especially if the film is about switching sperm samples.

Happy New Year.