Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I got myself to a theater a few weeks ago to see "Avatar". In one word, it was awesome. Everyone should see this film. That includes all of you "nay-sayers"- so at least you can actually have an educated opinion on the matter. Most interestingly, the film not only has made its money back (however much that actually is) but almost hit a billion dollars in box office sales world wide! But this isn't about money anymore-it's about witnessing a new kind of film making and being a part of a a new kind of sci-fi adventure.

Avatar blew my expectations away. I admit that I was very skeptical about this movie, setting my expectations low, but knowing that I would make it to a theater. But let's discuss what a visual spectacle this really is. The colors are so vibrant and the depths of field are unlike anything you have ever seen. It really takes about 30 minutes for your eyes/mind/body to settle into watching the film.

Now I have heard many critiques of the film that say the storyline is too predictable. But as a viewer, do you really want to have to work that hard? It is almost selfishly pleasing how predictable the plot follows basic story lines. James Cameron isn't trying to make us think differently, look at "Titanic"- we all knew exactly what would happen there. This is no "Star Wars" trilogy (and yes, there are two more films that might be put into production, making "Avatar" a trilogy), so don't be mad when it does not perform to these standards. Instead enjoy the blue creatures on screen, let yourself believe as much as the characters do.

See it because it is simply beautiful (in 3D, please-it's a must). And see it because it brings back classical storytelling to fantasy epics. This is the first film in ten years from Cameron and he still has the ability to get masses of people to the theater. Whether we like it or not, it is making film history as we speak. See it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A recap...quickly

With no post in a month, I realize that I am simply swamped at the film festival...but that does not mean that I am not watching films! I have decided to simply list off and quickly review the past few films that I have seen, no synopsis, maybe a spoiler and just my thoughts. I hope you find them helpful when deciding what to go see in the next few chilly weekends. Happy movie watching and Happy Holidays!

This film is touching and surpassed all expectations that I had for it. It is good entertainment all around. I just love inspirational sports stories! If you are looking for a film that you will simply enjoy, see this.

This is a great simple story. The script weaves the characters together nicely, giving Sarsgaard a platform to be a charming "bad guy"- not often seen - and Mulligan is perfect. Directed by a female, it is a very effective film for both male and female audiences.

This movie is all about the acting. Yes, the subject matter is difficult. Yes, you will probably cry. Yes, you should see this movie. It will be all over the award shows this season, racking up many nominations. And there is a reason...Monique "brings down the house" with this one.

For those that have read the book, you won't be disappointed. For those of you that have not read the book I think you will enjoy it as well. This movie is bleak, but somehow holds onto the touching relationship between father and son. Viggo Mortensen carries the entire film and he does it so well.

For lack of a better word, this film is fantastic. Not only is it magical, but Wes Anderson has added his own distinctive tone to a beloved story by Roald Dahl. It is a perfect adaptation to film. The animation is beautiful and I bet that you will want to see this film multiple times, if only to be brought back into this tangible, charming world again and again.

Yes, I admit that I had to see this film. And no, I am not ashamed of it- for I am not above being entertained by good-looking people on screen. It did not fail completely, but simply average at best. I am more astonished that so many women banded together to fantasize about a 17 year-old werewolf. Hot. But if I may say something...I hate the Bella character for everything that she stands for and believe me, she is not giving young women a good rep. But she likes vampires and werewolves, so I guess fans will continue to forgive her until the next film.

This movie is about failure. A time and place where people tried to do something and failed, however crazy they were. I think the public wanted this movie to be something great, to really send a message and were disappointed. The film created a world that reflected the craziness of a certain time and people. Don't take it too seriously, because they did and it didn't work out the way they wanted.

This is a solid film, but far too depressing. I think that I would like to see the original Danish version because the tone might have been handled differently. I'll let you know when that happens. The cast is wonderful, they capture a middle-class life perfectly. Nothing in it seems fake, but the film never lets you breathe, leaving you unsure of what they were really trying to do with it.

ANTICHRIST (A...could almost be an F for how offended I was- I DO NOT recommend for the average viewer) *spoiler alert: do not read on if you do not want to know what happens

Ugh. I think that is all I can really say about Lars Von Trier's new film. It is simply beautiful, dark, inhumane and challenging to sit through. Both actors give the best performances that I have seen all year and yet I am torn on liking the film for one reason. The genital mutilation that occurs is shot is such a grotesque way, that NO female could have watched it. In fact, I challenge any woman to go see this movie and try not to turn away when "She" takes scissors to her clitoris. Snip. I simply do not see the point in why it was shot in such a way. It really is a beautiful film that captures basic gender roles, but is majorly flawed in its presentation.

Nicolas Cage has returned as a bad-ass and Werner Herzog proves yet again that he knows what he is doing, even if this is a remake. The film never tries to be anything that it isn't- to better explain myself- it remains dingy, unglamorous and flawed in some of its development but that is the kind of story it is trying to tell. You will also really enjoy Cage as an emotionally and physically crippled drug addicted cop. Somehow, you still like him.


There are many more films that I have seen that are old news now (A SERIOUS MAN, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, etc.) but I will not get into titles from October. Sigh.

But for films that I am excited to see...there are so many!

NINE (Daniel sings and dances!)
UP IN THE AIR (yes, I know it is out already but I have not been able to get to a theater yet)
AVATAR (I really do want to see what 500 million dollars looks like)
IT'S COMPLICATED (I love the writer/director of this film...and Meryl, Steve AND Alec-you can't go wrong)

Not so stoked on...SHERLOCK HOLMES

My top films of 2009 is coming soon!