July 2, 2012 |
There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not the new Ridley Scott“Alien” prequelish spin-off “Prometheus” is any good. I'll clear this up right now: No. It is not. [Warning: spoilers galore ahead] Certainly “Prometheus” is a lot of fun, and if people were just talking about it like the schlocky sci-firomp it is, I'd feel no need to crap in everyone's ice cream, but I've now read too many reviews lathering up Scott and writer Damon Lindelof for “asking Big Questions” or “melding sci-fi with philosophy” or some equally asinine critique (And I hate to say it, but Roger Ebert's review may be one of the most airless, insipid pieces of film criticism I've ever read)
January 15, 2012 |
"So where was I? Nervous? Don't be. This isn't about you. " With that, Ricky Gervais was off and running Sunday as host/roastmaster of the 69th annual Golden Globe awards, putting Hollywood's A-listers on notice but also referencing the hype he's gotten for hosting the ceremony. "Tonight you get the world's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second-biggest awards show on America's third-biggest network," he said in his opening monologue during the ceremony that aired on NBC. "Sorry, it's fourth.
December 15, 2011 |
Allow me to begin my take on this morning's Golden Globe nominations with a sigh of relief: the extremely shallow, incredibly exploitative assumed Oscar contender "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," one of the worst movies of the year , received zero nominations. None. Not, as some predicted, for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Max Von Sydow) or Best Supporting Actress (Sandra Bullock). Well done, Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Now that I got that off my chest, some other thoughts: -- "The Artist" maintained its front-running Oscar status, picking up nominations in every major category expected (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress)
November 29, 2012 |
*** (out of four) Writer-director Andrea Arnold's last film, 2010's “Fish Tank,” starred Michael Fassbender in one of many fantastic performances that all but guaranteed he'd be a huge star. One year later, Fassbender held his own in Cary Fukunaga's big-screen take on Charlotte Bronte's “Jane Eyre,” which has been covered so many times it will probably be adapted again tomorrow. Now, completing this little circle, Arnold takes her turn at a Bronte classic with her stark, breathless version of “Wuthering Heights.” Purists may find it too atmospheric; personally, I bring no pre-conceptions about the material (never read the book in English class)
May 9, 2013 |
** (out of four) For all the exaggerated rumors swirling about Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), you'd think he was Chuck Norris. He's a German spy! He kills for fun! He's richer than God! Does he also pay his bills with a roundhouse kick to a bank vault? A main point of F. Scott Fitzgerald's arguably overrated Jazz Age classic “The Great Gatsby” is that Gatsby's not the enigma he appears to be. He's merely a man in love with the past and his past love, Daisy (Carey Mulligan)
September 26, 2013 |
** (out of four) Just as unpleasant movies can be fantastic (“Requiem for a Dream” comes to mind), entertaining movies can be mediocre. That's the case with “Don Jon,” the writing-directing debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also stars as Jon, a buff, church-going New Joysy ladies' man who believes none of his one-night stands can live up to porn. As each girl sleeps in his bed, he gets up, turns on his computer and enjoys what he perceives as his ultimate sexual experience.
October 17, 2013 |
**** (out of four) “12 Years a Slave” is a raw, powerful film that matters, but watching it doesn't feel like work. If this movie ever appears on a syllabus, students will look forward to class. Adapting a horrifying true story, director Steve McQueen (“Shame,” “Hunger”) refuses to compromise the truth about a hideous period that's a part of us all. The filmmaker is no stranger to long takes, and he incorporates them repeatedly into his latest and arguably most daring work.
October 31, 2013 |
**** (out of four) My wife reminds me how much I liked “Magic Mike” and how often I had to defend that to people who made assumptions without seeing it. Well, here we go again. Every moment counts in the remarkable, three-hour, NC-17-rated “Blue is the Warmest Color,” and that includes the sex scenes. As you may have heard, the French drama, which took the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, features extended and explicit lesbian sex scenes that are intimate and significant in ways that movie sex scenes, particularly in America, rarely are. If you assume this can only be gratuitous, and huh-huh-that's-why-this-movie-gets-four-stars, all I can say is that you're wrong and you should see the movie before judging.
December 12, 2013 |
Let's take a collective deep breath and begin with the good news from this morning's sufficiently ridiculous Golden Globes nominations. -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Enough Said”) and Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”) deservedly appear in the Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) category. See those movies, people; they're really good. -- To no one's surprise, “12 Years a Slave” justly earns nominations in almost every category it could. Hoping Michael Fassbender wins Best Supporting Actor.
February 20, 2014 |
The Academy Awards (being held March 2) bring out all kinds of extreme emotions and opinions from some people, but not me: I'm always totally even-tempered and maintain perspective that, in the grand scheme of things, Oscars don't mean a lot. Yeah, right. It's easy to get wrapped up in overrated nominees, undeserving winners and the occasional smart choice. On that note, here are my edited, post-deep breath thoughts about the major categories along with the unedited thoughts running through my head.