Jared Cowan rewatched
Goddamn, Alexander Payne is a master storyteller. His films always end up being in my top 5 films of the year if not my number one favorite. I hadn't seen ABOUT SCHMIDT in a long time. I popped in the DVD today and immediately remembered how melancholy and bitter-sweet the movie is. jack Nicholson is brilliant in this. Can't wait to see Payne's upcoming NEBRASKA.
CLOUD ATLAS is ambitious to say the least. The scope of this film is so grand that it sometimes gets in the way of the story. On the other hand, I applaud the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer on visualizing and completing a film that spans the ages and connects us to one another.
This is one of those documentaries that makes you start to doubt what your own beliefs are because the film's main subject is so convincing. Danny Lutz is one of the children who moved into the so-called "Amityville Horror" house when he was ten years old. Along with his two siblings, mother, and step-father, George Lutz, he experienced many instances of paranormal activity. This included possession, being physically assaulted by unseen phenomena, and experiencing those bumps in the night that are right out of any haunted house story.
It's true that Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in the house before the Lutz's moved in, but was DeFeo possessed by something that made him do it? Danny Lutz's recollections of what happened to him and his family in the house are chilling. There were times the hairs on my arms were standing up. The fact that this grown adult is so convinced of what he experienced makes you start to wonder if any of it's true. Or, is all of this just the fabrication of an unhappy, 10 year old boy who has never been able to let go of what he believes happened? Either way, it makes for an interesting doc.
The value of friends is the driving force behind STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, one of the best sci-fi/action-adventure films to come around in a long, long time. The support and love of friends can give regular human beings the strength (physically, emotionally, and mentally) to become heroes in order to protect the people they care about.
I have never been a fan of J.J. Abrams and admittedly was pretty skeptical about him taking on the STAR WARS franchise. However, I am now a believer that this man can make great movies. Abrams' direction of this film is impeccable. He has a great sense of how to direct huge action sequences, knows how to use music, uses comic relief at approriate times, and knows how to get to the heart of each charcter, characters who are so very different from one another, but who are also one and the same. I've also been a hater of the duo of Kurtzman and Orci and was convinced Damon Lindelof didn't deserve nearly any of the fame he's received as a screenwriter. However, here the trio has managed to create an exciting adventure story full of great characters, grand set pieces, and universal themes.
I've been so tired of movies shot entirely on green screen and filled with visual effects, things that in the past have amazed me. Don't misunderstand, there's plenty of that in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. However, there's also a great percentage of footage shot on practical sets that look really good. Many alien characters have real, prosthetic makeup effects applied to them. The visual effects are excellent and not distracting at all because you're so invested in the characters. It all works to serve the story.
It doesn't matter that people, regular people, can do impossible things in this film. As I mentioned above, when you're fighting for the safety of your friends you'll find that you can do almost anything.
What I read is that Will Smith called up Shyamalan to say "happy birthday" and Shyamalan asked Smith when they were going to make a movie together. And hence, you have AFTER EARTH. I think in this case it was a bro thing, the both of them being from Philly…
I'm generally a David Cronenberg fan. However, a tend to gravitate toward his films that tell a coherent story like THE FLY, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, or DEAD RINGERS. Cronenberg started out as an experimental filmmaker, creating very cerebral movies. The man is a very smart filmmaker, no doubt. I like smart movies, but I hate when a movie is too smart for its own good. That's COSMOPOLIS. Movies can be art, they can be intellectual, but they should still be entertaining in some fashion. Entertaining this film is not.
This film is proof that it all comes down to the story. If the story isn't there, the movie is ultimately a waste of time.
I really had no interest in seeing AFTER EARTH, especially after M. Night Shyamalan's last six films. I saw it at a free screening on the Paramount Pictures lot. The screening itself was the best you could get: the Paramount Theater, 4K Projection (the film was shot on Sony's 4K F65 camera), and the best Dolby sound, which had just been tweaked especially for this screening by a Dolby technician. None of that could make up for the fact that this movie is a dud. The story is not there. You can have the best director, cinematographer, editor, etc. working on a film, but all of that goes away if the story sucks.
The film is a physical representation of Will Smith's ego. It's his original story and he hired his son, who's just a flat-out awful actor, to take the leading role in this film. There are basically no other characters in the film besides the two Smiths. And what's with those accents they have? If you've seen the trailer you know what I mean. They sound like "South Park" characters.
Look, I'm from Philly so there's a small part of me that's routing for Shyamalan (also from Philly), hoping he's going to someday make a great picture again. It doesn't have to have a twist ending. Just make a great film with a great story.
Let's face it. Most actors (excluding some theater actors perhaps) strive to be in first-run, motion pictures. Motion pictures that are exhibited on large screens in movie theaters. What's the ultimate prize a film actor (even those that say they don't care about awards) can achieve? An Academy Award. An Emmy or a Golden Globe (both of which Michael Douglas will win this year) is fine, but the Oscar is the ultimate prize. That being said, it's unfortunate because Douglas is deserving of an Oscar he'll never get because this film premiered on HBO. I love HBO as much as the next person, but this film should have had a theatrical release. From what I've read, studios didn't want to greenlight it because they were worried the film would only attract a gay audience. That's ridiculous. With stars of this magnitude and a story that's part love story, part train wreck, people would have gone out to see this in a heartbeat.
Good directing from Soderbergh. He's relatively tame here, not using his usual arsenal of different color tints or various shooting styles to tell the story.
A really good film about a larger than life character we haven't seen depicted in the movies before.
There were minutes upon minutes that went by in THE HANGOVER PART III without a laugh. Not just from me, but from my friends and the 8 other people who were in the theater on an opening Thursday. That was because sometimes the jokes and situations just fell flat and other times because there was nothing funny happening... ON PURPOSE!
I didn't like PART 2 a whole lot because, I guess, I was in the camp of people who were like, "how and why would this happen to the same people again?". However, after watching PART 3 I kind of miss the old hijinks and formula of the previous two films.
Many times this movie just got too bogged down with doing something different, which, from what I've read, was deliberate; done as a response to all of the critics of the last film. There was too much Mr. Chow in this film. He provides a great deal of laughter in the first film and some in the second (as a small, supporting role in both films), but even if you're trying to do something different, why did he become the device that the whole film revolves around? Fine, do something different, but it should still be about the Wolf Pack. Period.
Why am I going on and on about THE HANGOVER PART III? That's a good question. I'm not sure, so I'll stop.