Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Adventures of Tintin

I have to say one of my greatest fears about Steven Spielberg’s and Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin is that it’s going to make me what to marry a CGI-created character for the first time in my life, because we know the film is going to be fantastic.

 

The Adventures of Tintin hits theaters everywhere in America on December 21st! What a marvelous holiday gift!

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A Life in Movies

So over at Yam Magazine they do these great features from their contributors called ‘A Life in Movies’, and I just love the idea of transcending time and mapping out a life through movies. So I’ve done my own version, haha. Enjoy!

1987- Some Kind of Wonderful
This is one of the lesser known teen ’80s movies but I absolutely love the dynamic between Watts & Keith.

1988-Big
Tom Hanks just glitters in this film and really captures the essence of a boy trapped in a man’s body.

1989-Do The Right Thing
This is hands down my favorite Spike Lee joint and I ADORE the use of the ‘love/hate’ speech from ‘Night of the Hunter’ (1955)

1990-Pretty Woman
I love, love, love the this movie. Julia Roberts really captured my heart and i’ve been dreaming of my Richard Gere, “knight in a white limo”, ever since.

1991-Delicatessen
There are no words that do this film justice, just do yourself a favor and watch it.

1992-Howard’s End
Emma Thompson always shines but in Howard’s End she is absolutely divine.

1993-Groundhogs Day
Bill Murray is my favorite actor. I’ve been known to say I would leave anyone for Bill Murray. Especially Bill Murray as the brusque yet loveable and endearing Phil. This is my go to movie for when I am down.

1994-Pulp Fiction
I do not like Quentin Tarantino but i LOVE Pulp Fiction.

1995-Sense and Sensibility
Emma Thompson AND Kate Winslet! Too much to handle. Most Austenites look upon this particular adaptation the most favorably, and I am one of them.

1996-Romeo + Juliet
This version of Romeo + Juliet made me want to make movies. Baz Luhrman just has such an amazing vision and put a fresh spin on a classic tail without have to change the stories core meaning.

1997-Gattaca
This is one of my favorite sci-fi movies, especially made during my life time. It’s smart, clever, and thrilling.

1998-Pleasantville
The cinematography and use of color was absolutely groundbreaking when it was released and I don’t think any other film has been as creative with their post color correction since.

1999-The Iron Giant
I love this film, it’s animation is crisp, it’s 50’s references are divine, and there is such heart behind it.

2000-High Fidelity
I don’t know why but I always find myself relating to the protagonists in Nick Hornby’s novels even though they are always male. However, John Cusack is one of my favorites. Plus the Chicago setting is beautiful, the cast is relatable and the idea of relating to life through music is something I believe many people experience on their own levels.

2001-The Royal Tenenbaums
Wes Anderson is one of my top favorite directors but the work he and his brother, Eric, put into the design of this is movie so fantastic. That along with the backstory really led to strong performances by the wonderful cast of character actors and made the film that much stronger in my eyes. Plus kick-ass soundtrack, hello?!

2002-Bend it like Beckham
I was 15 when I first saw this movie and all I was doing was dreaming about love and finding a boy who would love me for me, who would stick up/fight for me, and give me strength. So it’s easy to see why this particular film holds such a soft spot in my heart.

2003-Lost in Translation
I love the loneliness of this film. I truly feel that Sofia Coppola captured my loneliness and put it up on screen.

2004-Garden State
Garden State followed Lost in Translation’s portrayal of a generation Y struggling to come to terms with their existence, but Zach Braff and Natalie Portman were so much more relatable in their Jersey setting and all of their awkward, not cool, emotions. Plus I think that everyone has those asshole friends who they grow up with admiring and then meet later on in life, unimpressed or even disgusted by them.

2005-Pride & Prejudice
Say what you will about this film’s cast–Keira Knightley is definitely flat, and while it is Carey Mulligan’s break out role, it definitely does not portray her acting range at all. But point being Joe Wright is such a talented director. He has the ability to make me desire to live in his films, and Pride & Prejudice is definitely one of them.

2006-Stranger Than Fiction
I moved to Chicago thinking that it would be like Stranger Than Fiction, it wasn’t really, but I love that power that  movies have to make you dream of a place being as great as it was on screen.

2007-No Country for Old Men
Who cares? Everyone knows this film is great!

2008-The Brothers Bloom
I first saw this movie at the Chicago International Film Festival, and I was absolutely captivated. Thrill, Intrigue, Rinko Kikuchi! Awesome hats as well. Amazing production design, some of the best visual storytelling in quite some time.

2009-Watchmen
I have been a longtime fan of the Alan Moore novel. The film adaptation is one of the best in the string of superhero films. Wonderful. Favorite. & Patrick Wilson 🙂

2010-Paper Man
This film is amazing. Odds are you haven’t heard of it unless 1) you’re an indie sweetheart or 2) a huge fan of one of the film’s several talented actors. Either way, you. need. to. watch. this. movie. It’s fantastic.

2011-The Beginners
The cinema audience was blessed with many great films in 2011 *cough*drive/bridesmaids/jane eryre/wrecked/hanna*cough* but the beginners is the one I related to the most. And the first film I’ve seen since Lost in Translation where I’ve related to the feeling behind a script.

Management (2008)

I stumbled upon the film via Netflix Instant a couple of years ago before things got so crazy over there with service fee spikes and collusion lawsuits. But back to the topic at hand, this film really struck a chord with me, as I was just getting over a similar situation that concluded in a drastically, different way–I read into this film a lot more than I should have but I believe that is mainly because this film is so relatable. Steve Zahn, Jennifer Aniston, and Woody Harrelson are the leading actors in this movie, so it’s not that ‘off the beaten path’ as prior films that I have reviewed.  This movie was severely underrated. I don’t know why this movie didn’t perform as well as it could have–perhaps it was the failing of it’s distribution company or it’s potential audience (2008 was a rough year for America with the economy, the U.S.A. presidential election, and Tina Fey making her infamous appearance’s all over the place) but this film is definitely worth watching. I know it made my head snap while I was flipping past the Lifetime Movie Network this evening (still looking for a job–whoo! post-grad). There are hundreds of reasons to watch this film but here are a few of my favorite, in handy-dandy bulletpoints:

  • Steve Zahn’s and James Hiroyuki Liao’s rendition of ‘Feel Like Making Love’
  • Margo Martindale…enough said
  • The close and brutally honest portrayal of human relationships
  • Woody Harrelson as the off-kilter ex-punk ‘Jango’
  • the New Pornographers leif motif of ‘Adventures in Solitude’
  • Jennifer Aniston as a Three Dimensional character and not just a flat girl-next-door, for once

Please watch this film, it’s the kind that not only makes your belly ache from laughing, but your heart as well. There is a sincere and realistic depth to this film that I’ve been want more often then I’d like to admit.

November 14th, 2011 Movie Quote of the Day

“The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has their own beauty. But the last phase is always the most glorious. Then, very quickly, they all go to seed. Which makes it ironic. My favorite flower isn’t indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire.  I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower.  For me, that’s because of the reason behind its name.  Not because it looks like the sun, but because it follows the sun.  During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky.  A satellite dish for sunshine.  Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it.  And that’s such and admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

Helen Mirren as Chris Harper in The Calendar Girls

what is ‘the’ movie season?

Woman in the Fifth


Ethan Hawke attempts to return to the big screen after two years doing a majority of TV and stage work. Unfortunately, Hawke falls short of his character Tom Ricks in the new thriller The Woman in the Fifth–co-starring Kristin Scott Thomas as a mysterious widow whose role seems to teeter between a has-been muse and an obscure, femme fatale.

The film is suspenseful and pulls the crowd of the Chicago international Film festival on the edge of their seats, but I am wondering if this is because of the film, the strategic editing, or the fact that it is the final showing of it’s three screening run, or if it is actually a successful thriller.

Again Hawke finds himself in Paris, this time as a tortured writer who is attempting to do right by his estranged wife and daughter. However, the Parisian magic captured inBefore Sunset years ago is absent from The Woman in the Fifth. Hawke’s performance is found to be flat and wanting, where the most dimensional aspect of his acting was the coke bottle glasses he wears throughout the entirety of the movie. The artist in pain cliché is ultimately disappointing and dissatisfying. The love and determination Ricks displays for his daughter, who is being held at more than an arms length by her mother with a restraining order, and the determination he shows to connect with her is endearing but it is also overly melodramatic and illogical. Hawke portrays this desperation well and convincingly but ultimately Ricks is an unlikeable character that is hard to relate to and evokes little sympathy in it’s audience members. It’s unfortunate to see another flop from Hawke as his early career held so much promise and talent. Will he ever be able to successfully move on from the brooding, nineties, twenty-something fete? Only time will tell but at least he has a solid stage and directing career to fall back on.

The cinematography of The Woman in the Fifth is very promising and Ryszard Lenczewski’s skill and artistic style really shine throughout the film, as does Benoît Barouh’s production design of the dusky, dirty, yet romantic Paris. But for some unfortunate reason The Woman in the Fifth just does not ring true or enjoyable as a whole.

Salaam Dunk

I worked the children’s screening of ‘Salaam Dunk’ this morning & this movie was so fantastic! It’s a wonderful look at how the role of women is changing in a country that has been ultimately very conservative up until recent years.  It’s also a marvelous look at life as a young woman in other countries.

The documentary centers upon the women’s basketball team of the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani during their second season.  This is David Fine’s first feature length documentary as a director and it’s a fantastic expose on everyday Iraqi life that we are not often exposed to through the American media.  I found it to be quite diverting and enjoyable, as a young woman the young women of the AUIS are inspiring.  Throughout the documentary they face obstacles with family, societal pressures (as women did not participate in sports in the middle east until the 1970’s, and even now it is still taboo), and learning the balancing act that every scholar faces when they partake in extracurriculars.  Fine has proven to have the eye for picking out relatable subjects in an extraordinary situation that is quite different from the life of audiences outside of the Middle East.

If you have a chance to go see it I highly recommend that you do so.