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February 28, 2011 in Movies, Oscars of the Past | Tags: A Clockwork Orange, A Streetcar Named Desire, Annie Hall, Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Gone With the Wind, It's a Wonderful Life, Movies, No Country for Old Men, Ordinary People, Oscars, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, The Graduate, The King's Speech, The Social Network, The Wizard of Oz, There Will Be Blood | Leave a comment
The Oscars aren’t always right (to put it mildly). The best, most innovative movie does not always win Best Picture. So in light of last night’s events, here are ten classic examples (and one soon-to-be classic example) of Best Picture winners which, in hindsight, might not have been as deserving of the victory as certain other nominees. This is not to say that one film is better than the other, but that the non-winner is now generally viewed as the more enduring, influential film.
2010 – The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network
2005 – Crash vs. Brokeback Mountain
1998 – Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan
1994 – Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction
1990 – Dances With Wolves vs. Goodfellas
1980 – Ordinary People vs. Raging Bull
1976 – Rocky vs. Taxi Driver
1971 – The French Connection vs. A Clockwork Orange
1951 – An American in Paris vs. A Streetcar Named Desire
1946 – The Best Years of Our Lives vs. It’s a Wonderful Life
1941 – How Green Was My Valley vs. Citizen Kane
And a few bonus “Sophie’s Choice” picks (in other words, both films are beloved, but only one could win)
2007 – No Country for Old Men vs. There Will Be Blood
1979 – Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Apocalypse Now
1977 – Annie Hall vs. Star Wars
1967 – In the Heat of the Night vs. The Graduate
1965 – The Sound of Music vs. Doctor Zhivago
1962 – Lawrence of Arabia vs. To Kill a Mockingbird
1939 – Gone With the Wind vs. The Wizard of Oz
I really have no excuse to putting it off until now, but here are my favourite trailers from 2010. This is based solely on the trailers themselves, and not with the context of the film.
1. The Social Network
This is what happens when you combine the perfect song with an impeccably edited selection of the perfect moments from a film. It’s taught, exciting, and racked with emotional fervency. Even after watching it a dozen times, I find myself holding my breath by the end.
It plays out more like an abstract short film than a conventional trailer, but from what I’ve heard, the movie itself is just as unrushed and poetic. It’s full of striking images, and Phoenix provides a lovely backdrop. It’s very Sofia Coppola, and that’s probably why I like it so much.
3. Black Swan
This definitely wins the award for mindfuck trailer of the year. And while it does grab your attention with freaky imagery, it’s the ambiguity that really makes it intriguing. We don’t know what’s real and what’s in Natalie Portman’s head. And we also don’t know why Barbara Hershey is so god damn creepy.
4. 127 Hours
I didn’t care for the teaser, but the first full-length trailer for Danny Boyle’s film conveyed the vivacious spirit that the teaser suggested. James Franco oozed charisma here, the use of Band of Horses “The Funeral” is superb, and I found the whole thing incredibly moving. (I haven’t even seen the movie, but since I’ve cried at the trailer, and at this interview with the real Aron Ralston [even Leno's douchiness can't ruin Ralston's amazing story], I’m guessing I might be a bit of wreck when I finally watch it.)
5. True Grit (Teaser)
The full-length trailer is good, too, but I slightly prefer this more sombre approach to the film, rather than the guns-a-blazing action of the full trailer (though the latter is a better representation of the film). The hymn playing behind the teaser is beautiful, and Roger Deakins’ cinematography truly shines.
Honorable Mention: Blue Valentine
I really like the idea of picking one scene as the constant, and interspersing clips on top of it. That does mean that we don’t get to hear much dialogue, which would have given it all a bit more context (but nonetheless, it gets the point across). Ryan Gosling singing always make me happy, and it’s a very well-edited trailer.
January 1, 2011 in Lists, Movies | Tags: 2010 movies, Cyrus, Fish Tank, Inception, Movies, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Ghost Writer, The Kids Are All Right, The Runaways, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3 | Leave a comment
What would this blog be without a few year-end lists? My laptop is getting repaired right now, so some of the lists that I’d been working on are M.I.A., but I figured that I’d at least post a couple of basic ones, which I might elaborate on later. Here are my 10 favourite movies of the past year, keeping in mind that there are a LOT that I still haven’t seen.
Honorable Mention: True Grit
10. The Runaways
It may be a by-the-numbers rock biopic, but Floria Sigismondi’s story of Joan Jett’s teenage band has enough style, spirit, and heart to make it an unusually enjoyable watch. Though Dakota Fanning (playing petulant jailbait Cherie Currie) and Michael Shannon (as the band’s abusive manager) give the flashier performances, it is Kristen Stewart’s slow-boil performance as Jett that provides the most compelling human drama. She conveys the many facets of the introverted but driven Jett with sincerity, and sceptics of her work in the Twilight movies may be pleasantly surprised.
Directing team Jay and Mark Duplass have earned a reputation for creating high-concept films on a shoestring budget (their 2008 riff on horror movies, Baghead, is a prime example). So when they teamed up with a studio and hired big-name actors (John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei), some fans were understandably wary. But while the star-studded cast does distract a bit from the stark realism that they’re known for, there is still plenty of their documentary-style camera work and heavily improvised dialogue in Cyrus. Funny, and with more than a hint of melancholy, Cyrus is a low-key, fun ride.
8. The Ghost Writer
With help from a solid cast, Roman Polanski created a moody, subtly stylish noir drama with The Ghost Writer. The film is slow, but that patience earns the film its whirlwind of an ending (no pun intended). Thanks to Polanski’s steady eye, even the film’s low-key action (for example, a low-speed car “chase” home) feels utterly exhilerating.
7. Toy Story 3
Viewers who grew up with the franchise (such as myself) may get swept up in the nostalgia, but the fact remains that Toy Story 3 is an incredibly well-constructed film for all ages. As cliche as it sounds, it is a film that will probably make you laugh and cry. And even if it may not be the best of the trilogy, Toy Story 3 has the biggest laughs, and a very, very well-deserved heartwrencher of an ending.
The long-brewing hype around Inception reached a fever pitch just before its release. And though it failed to meet some people’s unrealistic expectations, it also became something of a pop culture touchstone, which has to count for something. It was one of the few highlights in a grim summer movie season, and Inception brought whimsy and creativity to a genre that often seems catatonic. The cast is top notch (Cillian Murphy is the unsung MVP, if you ask me), and director Christopher Nolan brought his vision to life in a way that would only be possible with a summer blockbuster budget.
5. The Kids Are All Right
The “quirky indie comedy” has been an annual staple of cinema for a while now (thanks, Little Miss Sunshine!), and this year was no exception. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore give bouyant performances as a middle-aged lesbian couple whose two children contact their charming but highly flawed sperm donor dad (played by the always fantastic Mark Ruffalo). It gets surprisingly dramatic as the film goes on, but The Kids Are All Right works because it avoids maudlin Important Moments and instead opts for realistic human drama.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
I will never understand how films like this can tank at the box office. It has a great cast, a sharp script, some of the funniest moments I’ve seen all year, and a lightening-quick pace that would suit the ADD mentality of today. And those who did see Scott Pilgrim were treated to Edgar Wright’s inventive direction (chocked full of video game sights and sounds), delightfully bizarre pop culture references (including a Seinfeld-inspired segment), endlessly quotable dialogue (“Bread makes you fat?”), and a tour-de-force comedic performance from Kieran Culkin, of all people.
3. Fish Tank
I could probably write a thousand words about how much I love Michael Fassbender’s performance in Fish Tank. The physicality alone is remarkable; even the smallest gesture seems loaded with ambiguity and menace. Yet the great charm that Fassbender brings to the role makes the viewer want to have the same optimism towards him that the young protagonist, Mia, has. However, that risky, unspecified relationship between Mia and Fassbender’s Connor (her mom’s boyfriend) inevitably begins to unspool. And even though you kind of know where the film is going, that doesn’t stop the ride from being utterly compelling, in a vaguely horrifying way. Fish Tank blurs the line between ugly and beautiful (exemplified by director Andrea Arnold’s breathtaking ability to create stunning images out of England’s housing projects), good and bad, and optimism and hopelessness. I can’t get this film out of my mind.
2. The Town
And now, my award for the most enjoyable movie-going experience of the year (yes, even more so than Scott Pilgrim!). Considering that The Town is a film about bank robbers, there is surprisingly little action (though what is there is done impeccably). But everything in between is so equally compelling and exciting that is hardly matters. Between this and 2007′s Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck is proving to be a tremendous directing talent. Here, he accomplished the difficult task of creating an edge-of-you-seat thriller that pleased crowds but also satisfied moviegoers with a desire for quality and depth. The Town is what movies are all about.
1. The Social Network
It may be at the top of everyone’s list this year, but that is for good reason. The Social Network is a smart, timely, fresh take on themes that have been explored since the dawn of story-telling (pride, friendship, betrayal, jelousy, etc.). This is to the credit of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose witty, twisty dialogue set against a Harvard backdrop somehow comes across as perfectly relatable and grounded. David Fincher also does an amazing job of taking a very contained story (which mostly consists of people talking in a room) and making it utterly cinematic. And let’s not forget Jesse Eisenberg, who is amazing as the seemingly inpenetrable but ultimately sympathetic Mark Zuckerberg. Throw in an unorthodox, rumbling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and great supporting turns by Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (and even Justin Timberlake is pretty good), and you’ve got a film that is both timely and timeless.
This blog has more love for Jesse Eisenberg love than a seventeen-year-old’s Tumblr page (…zing?), but I have to say that I’m pretty thrilled that he won Best Actor from the National Board of Review. I know that everyone gets angry about NBR no matter who wins (people are just mad that they can’t predict the winners because the whole thing is just so…well, unpredictable), but I think Eisenberg totally deserves it.
And as I think about his performance in The Social Network, I just feel more in awe of it. A lesser actor would sound ridiculous and forced trying to spew out Aaron Sorkin’s verbal venom. And anyone who says that he’s a cold or unsympathetic character missed the point of the movie, if you ask me. Zuckerberg’s not LIKEABLE, but he’s startlingly relatable. And in the scenes where Zuckerberg lets his guard down – even just the slightest crack – Eisenberg has the perfect gesture or look in his eye to let the audience in on whatever his character is feeling.
So bring on the awards season love, if that’s where this whole thing is headed. It’s an emotionally restrained performance, and I’m not sure if Oscar voters go for that, but in my eyes, he’s 100% deserving.
Throw in Franco, Firth, and Gosling, and you’ve got one sexy Best Actor line-up (oh, uh, and I guess Robert Duvall would be there, too). Can it happen? Can it PLEASE happen?
…and it was pretty fucking awesome. Not quite the masterpiece that some have been calling it (but virtually no movie is), but still a total ride. Going to a film opening day is almost unheard of for me (something about my extreme cheapness and distaste of crowds puts me off), but I’m so glad that I went.
I just wrote an 800-word review for my school’s paper, so I don’t feel like elaborating too much, but I will say that I love Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield even more now, if that were possible. Still not convinced about their award season prospects, but they’re both quite deserving. Jesse Eisenberg was actually kind of scary in it, in the best way possible. And yay for Andrew Garfield’s little black boxers!
David Fincher’s the man, and he’s done it again. Maybe it’s not quite on Zodiac level, but it’s pretty close.
The final shots of the film were so perfect (though I was kind of not expecting it to end right then). Very sad, in a way, but it seemed like the only way it could have ended.
GO SEE IT. RIGHT NOW.
August 19, 2010 in Movies | Tags: 127 Hours, 2010 movies, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Howl, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Lists, Movies, Never Let Me Go, Somewhere, The King's Speech, The Social Network, The Town | 2 comments
1. The Social Network (October 1)
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones
The trailer for this extremely topical film is perhaps the most beloved trailer since Where the Wild Things Are, and that has only helped to build my excitement for David Fincher’s latest project. I’m in love with The Social Network‘s cast, and it looks like a far weightier project than most people had initially thought. The subject matter is fascinating, and it’s refreshing to see a film tackle a current phenomenon seemingly without self-congratulation or premature nostalgia.
2. Somewhere (December 22)
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning
Somewhere looks to have a lot of similarities to Coppola’s directorial debut, Lost in Translation, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s hardly a negative. Also offering a wonderful trailer, Somewhere looks woozy and gorgeously shot. I’m already in love with the father/daughter pairing of Elle Fanning and Stephen Dorff.
3. Blue Valentine (December 31)
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel
It’s gotten raves out of Sundance and Cannes, and this drama starring two of today’s best young actors sounds harrowing. I’m excited for Ryan Gosling’s return to the big screen, and Michelle Williams is an actress that impresses me more with each project. Second Oscar nominations for the both of them?
4. Black Swan (December 1)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey
The freaky trailer (have fun getting that final image out of your mind) for this movie has helped to build interest in director Darren Aronofsky’s latest project. It’s great to see Portman getting a meaty leading role, and the film looks wholly original. I think that any concerns about Aronofsky going soft can safely be put to rest.
5. The King’s Speech (December 24)
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall
Colin Firth earned heaps of goodwill with A Single Man, and it doesn’t look like he’s putting it to waste at all. Details about this royal biopic are sparse, but with Firth in the lead and a great supporting cast to boot, I can’t help but be very excited.
6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (September 24)
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Kier Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis
I loved the book, and the trailer for the film adaptation seemed surprisingly similar to how I imagined it would look. Directors Boden and Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar) are clearly taking a large step forward in terms of accessibility (though hopefully they’re not too far the other way), and I’m excited to see what they’ll do with this darkly comedic tale. Galifianakis’ performance also looks surprisingly nuanced and touching.
7. Never Let Me Go (September 15)
Director: Mark Romanek
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Sally Hawkins
Never Let Me Go seems to be wavering on the edge of Oscar-bait-prestige-project, but it looks beautiful. Once again, it offers a fantastic cast (you go, Andrew Garfield!). I’m in the middle of the book currently, and I’m intrigued to see how it will all play out on screen.
8. The Town (September 17)
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively
The formulaic trailer made me doubt my optimism, but then I remembered how the trailer for Gone Baby Gone did that film a complete disservice. Affleck has proven to be a very capable director, and the premise of this film seems strong. I’m also really excited to see Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm work their magic.
9. 127 Hours (November 5)
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara
The concept for a movie about a trapped mountain climber didn’t seem especially interesting or fresh to me, but early buzz about this Boyle-directed project has apparently been very strong. James Franco is proving to be quite the renaissance man, and this could be just the meaty role that he needs to elevate his acting even further.
10. Howl (September 24)
Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Cast: James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn, Aaron Tveit
The cast is to die for, and even though this Allen Ginsberg biopic received somewhat mixed reviews out of Sundance, its crisp trailer caught my eye. It has a great visual style, and seems to strive to truly capture the beat poetry movement. Between this and 127 Hours, it could be a huge breakout year for Franco.
Other Upcoming Releases of Interest:
Brighton Rock, Rabbit Hole, Love and Other Drugs, Buried, Nowhere Boy, The Fighter, What’s Wrong With Virginia?, The American
Well, folks, it’s here. It’s the first trailer for The Social Network where we get to see some of the actual movie. The film, helmed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), stars Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield as two college students who team up to create a little website known as Facebook.
I really, really like this trailer. A lot of the dialogue will sound familiar to those who watched the teasers, but the accompanying images from the film look great. It looks like Eisenberg is branching out from his usual character to some extent, and Garfield provides a great kinetic energy, from the looks of things.
I love the opening (though I was momentarily concerned that it would make up the whole of the trailer), with all of the oh-so familiar ticks of Facebook that have now become part of our culture, and the use of a choral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” fits really well.
The film looks a bit heavier than I’d expected, but I really like the muted tone. This could make The Social Network a bigger awards contender than originally thought.
I’ll probably watch this trailer once more, and then try to avoid clips and info about the movie until its release to prevent my expectations from getting any higher than they already are. I’m cool like that.
After it was announced that David Fincher’s The Social Network will be making it’s world debut at the New York Film Festival, a second teaser for the movie was released. A lot of the voice-over is the same as what appeared in the first trailer, but I really like the IM subtitling of what they’re saying. According to /Film, a full-length trailer is on the way.
The first teaser trailer for David Fincher’s The Social Network was released today. I’ve been geeking out about this movie for a while now, so needless to say, I’m excited.
The trailer is both intriguing and infuriating. It’s quite short, and it doesn’t actually show us any of the movie. But the voiceover is pretty effective, and Jesse Eisenberg’s jittery voice is always a welcome sound.
June 22, 2010 in Movies | Tags: Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, Conviction, Elle Fanning, George Clooney, Hilary Swank, Jesse Eisenberg, Keira Knightley, movie posters, movie trailers, Movies, Never Let Me Go, Sam Rockwell, Somewhere, Stephen Dorff, The American, The Social Network | Leave a comment
As we sift through a cinematically awful summer, at least the studio execs are giving us something to get excited about. Forget Knight and Day and Salt – all the good stuff’s coming out in the last four months of the year. Here’s a look at some recently released trailers and movie posters that have me excited.
**And as a side-note, happy 100th post to me! I could also talk about how I’m approaching my 1-year blog anniversary, but let’s just get back to the movies…**
The Social Network (October 1)
Better known as “the Facebook movie”, David Fincher’s The Social Network (based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal) is making waves for its ultra-current subject matter. I love the first poster that they’ve released (the famous Facebook bar is great, and the photo and font are bold), and hopefully this means that a trailer is right around the corner.
Somewhere (December 22)
As I saw someone mention online, this trailer for Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere makes it look as though she’s halved the ages of her protagonists from Lost in Translation and made a rather similar movie. But by the looks of this gorgeous trailer, that’s not a bad thing at all. Even though Marie Antoinette was considered a bit of a flop (I never saw it), here’s hoping that Somewhere lives up to Coppola’s potential.
Never Let Me Go (October 1)
October 1 is shaping up to be a good day for Times Likes Those favourite Andrew Garfield (who also co-stars in The Social Network), and his work here in Never Let Me Go looks quite promising. I’ve heard about the major plot point that the trailer for Never Let Me Go alludes to, and without giving it away for those who wish to go in blind, it sounds like it’ll be a very interesting movie.
The American (September 1)
I already wrote about the trailer, which was released a few weeks ago, but this striking vintage-inspired poster for Anton Corbijn’s The American is certainly worth mentioning.
Conviction (October 15)
Formerly titled Betty Anne Waters (why did they switch to such an anonymous title?), this movie looks like Oscar bait epitomized (and it reminds me of a certain viral spoof). But nonetheless, with Sam Rockwell on board (in a role that looks like it could garner some serious awards consideration), and Juliette Lewis along for the ride, I’m intrigued.