Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Fistful of Reads: July Edition


Another month is through and I've finally wrapped my hands, and my mind, around Mark Helprin's 1983 epic, 'Winter's Tale'.  Beloved by it's readers, this classic novel was a mystery to me until I saw that Russell Crowe was starring in the film adaptation, due out later this year.  Once the book was on my radar, the reviews (mostly raves) that I skimmed on various sites had my appetite whet for what turned out to be one of the most rewarding reads of my life; no joke.  Of course, since much of this site reverts back to the subject of film, I'm going to get this out of the way right now...I don't think Oscar is going to bite this AT ALL.  I'd speculate the technical categories, since the breadth of this prose could lend itself to impressive feats, but the director and the huge margin for complete failure on the part of the adaptation itself leaves me questioning the quality of the end piece.  This is just too complex, too epic.  I'm not sure how this is going to translate, and there are so many ways in which this could go completely wrong.  If, and I mean IF, they nail this, then I could see it becoming another 'Lord of the Rings' and steamrolling the nominations with nods in Picture, Director, Screenplay as well as nearly every tech and possibly a Supporting Actor nod for Russell Crowe (Pearly Soames is the flashiest and easily the most engaging character).

Still, I don't see that happening, and even if this opens to respectable reviews I think it would need to be a massive hit in order to generate any real traction, and so far nothing has been said or really seen on the film outside of some set pics and so it looks like buzz and anticipation, outside of those anxious to see how their beloved piece of literature translates onto the big screen, is pretty much dead.

But I'm here to talk about the book!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten...


So, I’ve been watching a lot of 90’s films lately as I’m trying to wrap up my Fisti Awards for the 90’s and so I decided to dedicate my Tuesday Top Ten to the decade in question.  What is so great about the 90’s is that, with regards to Oscar, there were a lot of surprises.  1998 in particular gave us four Oscar acting wins that no one predicted.  So this got me thinking, what were the biggest ‘F-You’s of the 90’s?  This is more than a mere surprise, this is a giant WTF that took everyone by surprise or could be perceived, in hindsight, as a giant mistake.  Now, these aren’t wins that I particularly disagree with or agree with (there is a solid mix of both actually), but this Top Ten is based more around what these particular wins (and snubs) meant for the losers in question.  I also tried to think about F-You's that stung hardest in the 90's, which is why Roger Deakins didn't make the list.  Yes, he was snubbed in the 90's, but this really didn't become such a huge F-You until those snubs continued to happen and the 00's took over and then this new decade came and brought more losses.

So, without further ado, the list:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Only God can link this movie...

Do I see a stinker?

I'm distraught right now.  I have NOT seen 'Only God Forgives', but in all honesty it was in my top five most anticipated of the year, thanks to my ever growing adoration of 'Drive'.  I rarely get to the movies, so I have a feeling I won't be seeing this until it is released on DVD, but now my anticipation has been dulled by so many of my fellow bloggers giving this the thumbs-down.  Not what I expected, but apparently once you reach your peak, you are bound to fall.  I will reserve all personal judgement until I see the film.  Hell, I may LOVE IT (I know a fellow cinephile who has raved this as a masterpiece), but for now I'm skeptical.

Check out some links below to some friends who were not as impressed as they wanted to be:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Down the Pike with David Fincher...


After all the talk and speculation about names like Theron, Portman and Chastain teaming up with Fincher for his upcoming adaptation of 'Gone Girl', it seems that he has found his leading lady in a less recognizable star; Rosamund Pike!  I'm so excited about this news.  This girl has been shining brightly in the background for too long and deserves a breakout role, and this looks like it could be the one.  I love it when young stars who have worked hard to make a name yet failed to reach the heights of stardom they deserve suddenly get 'that call' and their world becomes a lot brighter.  Congratulations Rosamund.  Fincher is the perfect director to give you that break!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Poster Break: Saving Mr. Banks


Simple.

Charming.

Effective.

Beautiful.

THIS is how you sell a movie.  Regardless of how schmaltzy this may appear to be, I have no doubt now that Oscar is going to EAT THIS UP!  I can even see this winning a handful of statuettes at the end of the night.  Could this be our Best Picture winner?  If Weinstein were in it's corner, I'd be tempted to say yes.

A look at 'Gravity'...



So here are the recent clips surfacing for the highly anticipated 'Gravity', due out in October.  I have to say, this looks incredible.  I've been high on it's Oscar chances for a while now, and have recently bumped it up to my predicted winner in the two main categories (Picture and Director).  This looks like such an event here, and the way that Cuaron has handled this long tracking shots is both exciting and nerve-racking.  I can see this garnering a slew of nominations, let alone wins.  The techs look out of this world, and I think if nothing else this has Visual Effects and Cinematography in the bag, with a huge lead in the Sound categories as well.  I'm still debating Bullock's chances here.  If the film is seen as more of a tech film, and Cuaron seen as the main hero, then I can see her snubbed, but she looks really in the zone here, and she is essentially the one face you'll see for the entire running length, so I'm starting to wonder if she's really going to be a threat for at least a nom if the film does as well as I expect it to.

Looks like waiting a year paid off!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The year that was 1993...

The Year of Spielberg...

Alright, so the 1993 Fisti Awards have been completed (in my head at least) and are being put to computer as we speak so within the next few weeks expect them to get dropped here.  YAY!  In all honesty, I started this blog with the sole purpose of posting my personal awards and so whenever I get the chance to complete a film year and post my personal ballots I get extra excited.  In all the excitement, I wanted to take a few minutes to actually talk about the film year because this was the hardest time I had narrowing any of the categories down.  I mean, there is so much variety in this year and so much to gravitate towards that narrowing down to twelve, let alone five, was a nightmare.

I’m just going to breakdown Best Picture at the moment, since it’ll be the first award I actually post here on the blog. 

1993 saw Oscar chose some pretty diverse films themselves, which is always nice to see.  They went with the obvious Holocaust biopic, adapted from an acclaimed book and directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, but the rest of their ballot showed a surprising range from taunt, thrilling Blockbuster to provoking period piece to an erotic indie from Australia and an Irish biopic.  Despite the fact that I personally would only consider two of these films in my top ten (another was very close to making it) you can’t argue the strength of this lineup.  Only one of the films, for me anyways, was a poor one (‘In the Name of the Father’ was just messy) but even that one had redeeming factors.

Still, this top five only scratches the surface of how awesome this year was as a whole.

So, I figured I’d use my personal top twelve to showcase the diversity of the year in question.  My top twelve contains everything from cult classics, prestige Oscar fare, foreign films, animated films, musicals, comedies, auteur films and indie gems.  In each category you can see the range in the year’s offerings.

Tuesday Top Ten


So, my initial concept for my ‘Tuesday Top Ten’ was actually going to be a ‘Birthday Top Ten’ and I was going to select one actor per week to do a top ten for on their birthday.  Then I just decided that having random film related Top Ten’s on Tuesday sounded like more fun.  Revolving them around birthdays was so constricting.  Still, the spirit of the origins of this post live on, and so while I had another Top Ten planned for today I pushed that off to next week in the light of a certain actor turning 46 today.

Some call him ham, some call him overrated, some call him obnoxious and calculated and others (you know, smart people) recognize him as one of the finest working actors today.  I’d place him easily in the top ten of his generation, and while Oscar always seems to embrace actors at the wrong time (Johnny Depp anyone) one cannot begrudge their finally coming around to showering Philip Seymour Hoffman with accolades. 

He damn well deserves it.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about his best performances.  I’ll admit, as much as I love this guy there is one performance that I have yet to see (Happiness) and I know that many of his devoted fans consider it one of his finest roles, so for that omission I am sorry, but there is such a bounty of awesome in this man’s filmography that omitting the one in favor of another should be forgivable.  I mean, this list is awesome (and no, ‘Flawless’ does not pop up here because it was awful).  Hoffman has one Fisti Award Nomination that has been posted (25th Hour) and one that is about to be posted (The Master) but as I get into the late 90’s you’ll see that he racks up two more nominations in the same year.  Sadly, he has yet to win a Fisti, but he’ll nab one eventually.  I have the utmost faith in him.


Here we go!

Monday, July 22, 2013

R.I.P. Dennis Farina

What the fuck?

I just can't with this year.  Losing both Gandolfini and Farina so close together is just horrible.  These sudden deaths (Farina suffered a blood clot in his lung) are so hard to take, especially when the actors were so young (Farina was only 69).  Farina was one of the best character actors to work on the big and the small screen.  In many ways, he was a lot like Gandolfini in that respect (so much range yet so characteristically familiar).  I'm not yet into the year of 1995 with the Fistis, but this saddened news has me willing to divulge the fact that Farina is a Fisti Award nominee; and here is why:


What a tragic loss!  My heart and prayers go out to his family in this terrible time.  He will surely be remembered.

Friday, July 19, 2013

5 Obstructions Blogathon: Obstruction #2


Well, here I am again with my entry for this month’s obstruction.  If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, you should check out Nostra’s amazing blog-a-thon and check out all of the participating entries. 

For the second obstruction, Nostra challenged us to write not only a review of a movie, but to include an interview about it.  Now we had to choice of interviewing someone who worked on the film or really anyone else (as long as it wasn’t yourself).  I really wanted to try and reach someone who worked on a film but this month has been beyond busy and there was just no way I’d have the time to comfortably seek out and conduct an interview.  Thankfully, Josh over at The Cinematic Spectacle offered up his services and I was able to interview him about a trilogy he holds near and dear to his heart.  In the spirit of July (the 4th to be exact) I decided to review Kieslowski’s ‘Trois Couleurs’ trilogy;  ‘Bleu’, ‘Blanc’ and Rouge’.  Josh has been a longstanding and rather vocal fan of the trilogy and so it felt like an appropriate choice.

Let's Review Something: Turbo


Seeing the trailer for ‘Turbo’ a few months back I was rather determined that this was going to be one of those films I skipped entirely.  Then my girls caught wind up it and begged and pleaded and I thought, I’ll rent it.  Then the film was released and they begged some more and I said “let your grandma take you” but for some reason I wound up sitting in a theater last night waiting for what I only assumed was going to be ‘Cars’ with snails.

Trailer Break: Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom)


Alright, so I've been seriously underestimating this film based on the fact that the film's title sounds like a made for television film.  I just couldn't take it seriously.  After the teaser that was released a few weeks back I started to come around to the idea of this actually being a smart and well produced film.  The teaser, while showing us nothing of the film's quality really, was beautifully composed and showed intelligence and craftsmanship in promotion.  This trailer, complete with horrible musical choices, leaves me somewhat conflicted.  Certain aspects looks wonderful, but the flow of the trailer suggests something more mainstream and generic than I expected.  Still, Elba looks FANTASTIC, and this is the type of performance that, in a year where your only clear front-runner is a veteran actor in a silent role, could take the whole thing.  I think we have a dark horse contender here!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trailer Break: 12 Years a Slave


So, I'm super excited for this.  I've been awaiting a trailer for this film and I have to say that this is far from what I expected and it has me both excited and worried.  First off, this looks far more mainstream than I thought it was going to be.  This looks like your typical Oscary tear-jerker complete with topical subject and period piece aesthetics.  It doesn't look like a Steve McQueen film at all, and I really like Steve McQueen films.  Fuck Oscar, I was really excited to see a visionary director take on such a strong subject.  We've seen so many films about slavery done in the very same way.  It is about time that someone does it differently.  I was looking forward to seeing the detachment of emotion and the abrasive technicals, but part of me fears this is going to be too familiar, too schmaltzy.  Now, maybe this is all in the trailer and just a way to get our ass in a seat, but everything from the music to the dialog felt so conventional.  Still, the cast is ridiculously good, and Fassbender may very well be on his way to an Oscar nomination, so I can't wait to pass my own judgement.  

Tuesday Top Ten...


Alright, so for my Tuesday Top Ten this week, I wanted to pay some respect to the wonderful world of Pixar.  This is, obviously, inspired by not only my recent viewing of ‘Monsters University’ but also the wonderful article I linked on Friday (did you read this yet?).  So, instead of simply ranking my top ten Pixar movies (there are only 14, and the ‘Cars’ movies are so atrocious they don’t count) I decided to open myself up to their world completely and rank my favorite ‘characters’ they have created.  Yes, the world is HUGE, and in the end this limits me somewhat since out of 14 films my list only includes 10 of them, and three come from the ‘Toy Story’ universe, so you could basically say I only contain characters from 8 of them.  Alas, I thought long and hard about this and tried to find characters that made a lasting impression for various reasons.  Some are pure comic relief, some are purely endearing, some are pure evil and some have developed into truly inspired entities. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Have a link-tastic weekend!

So, I’m pushing off for the weekend, but I wanted to leave everyone with a good read so here are some great blogs with some interesting posts to check out today, tomorrow or whenever you so please!

Josh just posted his complete Oscar ballot for 1998.  Such a great year for film, and who can fault his love for ‘The Thin Red Line’ (one of Mallick’s finest offerings).  I have to say though, nothing made me more gleeful than his Neve Campbell nomination!

Hell Fucking Yes
Louis Morgan just posted his selection for the Alternate Supporting Actors of 1994.  I’ve just begun tapping into that year, so I don’t know what all to say except PLEASE LET BRUCE WILLIS WIN!!!

Nostra hit us up with the many faces of George Clooney.  I don’t see anything wrong with staring at his face, regardless of how you feel about his acting career.

Brittani just reviewed one of my FAVORITE films of all time; Lost in Translation.

Thevoid99 gave us a review for the latest Marie Antoinette film, Farewell My Queen.  If you haven’t seen it and still think that Diane Kruger can’t act or have no idea who Lea Seydoux is then you NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Ruth drops a pretty good question on us; What movie surprises you most this year?  I haven’t seen much, but in terms of being completely surprised by my reaction I’d have to say Before Midnight, beings that I had little desire to see it, had yet to indulge in the previous chapters and yet wound up devouring all three films and loving nearly every minute of it.



And lastly, Jon Negroni posted his take on the world of Pixar, and I have to say that this is one of the most interesting reads I’ve ever set my eyes on.  The time he took to research this ‘theory’ and give us something that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense is just remarkable.  Sit down and settle it because this is a long one, but well, well worth the read!!! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trailer Break: Saving Mr. Banks


Looks like it is time to change up my Oscar predictions.  The trailer for 'Saving Mr. Banks' (above) has dropped and looks to be a huge Oscar contender.  I'm not saying anything about quality here (the film looks as generic and cliched as they come) but you can't watch that trailer and not think that it is targeting Oscar with phasers set on kill.  This movie looks like Christmas on a stick and is going to murder the box office.  It is a glossy family film revolving around everyone's favorite person; Walt Disney.  Despite the fact that both Disney and Travers were not easy people to be around, this film looks to be that classic story of gruff exteriors being melted away through the power of childhood, and Hanks is dripping charm all over the place.  The nostalgic aspect mixed with the biopic deemed importance and the heartfelt schmaltzy charm being dumped all over this trailer have me thinking this is going to be this year's 'Finding Neverland'.  Remember that movie?  Yeah, it managed a slew of Oscar nominations, and I can easily see this garnering Picture/Screenplay/Actress/Supporting Actor/Art Direction/Costumes and Score.  My only question is, are they going to pimp Hanks for the Supporting Actor nod, or are they going to go with Colin Farrell, who walked away with great reviews after the film screened a few months ago.  

Yeah, we have a real contender here.  Dark horse people!

Fincher has a new man...

Take this waltz...
So things are moving along to bring us a new David Fincher film, and I’m on board for that.  Fincher is one of my favorite filmmakers and any new film from the master of his craft is certainly welcome.  We now have a leading man, or at least a prospective leading man.  Fincher has been seen around town with Ben Affleck, who is being courted for the lead role in ‘Gone Girl’.  Now, I haven’t read the novel, which has garnered quite a fan base, but I hear that the role is quite interesting so I’m intrigued by this.  Affleck isn’t really known as of late for his acting.  He’s moved into directing and is really seen as the current cross over, so this is kind of surprising to see him put his latest film, the adaptation of ‘Live By Night’, on hold to star in a Fincher film.  And then again, this is a smart move for an ‘actor’ because Fincher is hot right now and has a way with actors, even those that aren’t technically the best at their craft.  I’m wondering who the female lead will be, but for now at least things are moving along.


I will say this…if I were wondering the streets and saw these two walking near me, I wouldn’t be begging Fincher to take my picture with Affleck.  It would be the other way around.  The sad thing is, this chick probably doesn’t even know who Fincher was.

smh


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trailer Break: Oldboy


Well, I mentioned this was dropping Monday when I swooned all over the poster.  This looks crazy intense and while I'm anticipating a hot mess disaster, I'm all in for it.  Brolin looks great (not only in great shape but also in tune with the character) and the brutality looks spot on.  Copley's voice is a bit of a turn off for me here, but I'll deal.  It also looks like they jacked with enough of the original storyline to give it a fresh spin, but god that hallway hammer scene looks every bit as amazing as the original.  If you haven't seen the 2003 film (yes, I'm talking to you Josh) you need to check it out ASAP!

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Dead Ringers


So, it’s that time again for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and this one was difficult for me.  I have a touch and go relationship with David Cronenberg.  I know that I’m told by many of my cinephile friends that I should embrace him, but I find it difficult.  I’ve really liked one of his films and I’ve appreciated a handful of others, but as a rule I find his films to be underwhelming. 

All shock and no real substance.

For many, ‘Dead Ringers’ was a turning point for Cronenberg and the way he was viewed by the entertainment community.  Here is a man who dwelled heavily in the world of shock value and horror and he was now directing a film that had almost no gore whatsoever.  The film itself maintains Cronenberg’s lust for horror and yet it feels so much more refined and thought out than his previous works.  It has a depth that feels truly grounded, and the films horrifying elements (there are moments in this film that are cringe inducing in their disturbia) feel conceived in honesty; no matter how farfetched that may seem.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten


Alright, so for my Top Ten this week I decided to revisit the 21st Century and the wonderful child performances that we saw come out of it.  Part of this was inspired by my recent viewing of ‘Mud’ and my complete admiration for what Tye Sheridan was able to pull out of his performance, and the other part is inspired by the fact that my wife is about to give birth to my third child, due any day now, so I have babies (and kids) on the brain.  In looking over my Fisti Awards for the aughts as well as this recent decade, I came up with a slew of child performances both nominated and listed in my top dozen.  I tried to limit this particular top ten to the younger kids, cutting out the teenagers (or at least the late teens) so despite Scarlett Johansson, Evan Rachel Wood, Q’orianka Kilcher and Tye Sheridan delivering some of my absolute favorite performances (they probably would have topped this list), I’m excluding them for the mere fact that they were (are) teens, not really kids. 

That being said, IMDB didn't always list birthdays for these young actors, so there may be some low teens here, but I doubt anyone on this list was over 13 so I think it stands.

Of the ten I’ve chosen, seven of them are Fisti nominees, with three of them resting in my top twelve of their particular year. 

Elle Fanning would have landed on here twice, but I decided to cut her ‘Somewhere’ performance in order to include another actor.  I’ll give a special shout out to Dillon Freasier, Saorise Ronan, Rory Culkin and Thomas Turgoose for their tremendous performances in their respective films.  I hated knocking them off this list.

I...um...have no words...

This may honestly be the worst idea I have ever heard of.  I'm seriously at a loss for words.  Isn't this kind of...in really bad taste?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Poster Break: Oldboy


So here we are.  The much talked about remake of the 2003 surprise cult classic 'Oldboy' has an official poster.  I have been VERY skeptical about this film.  Honestly, I find Spike Lee to be VERY hit or miss, mostly miss for me, and the idea of remaking such a widely known, acclaimed and beloved foreign film that is only ten years old seemed unnecessary.  I'm all for embracing foreign fare, and while some English language remakes work with the right cast and director, I mostly find them to pale in comparison to the originals.  Just read the subtitles people!  The brutality of the original film is something that most American films shy away from (Asia has that market cornered) and yet early word is that this film is even MORE brutal, so I'm wondering how well this is going to be received.  Still, this cast is exceptional (yay for Brolin over Smith) and this poster is BEAUTIFUL, possibly my favorite poster release of the year.  This is a still from the film itself, and an ode to the trailer that will be released on Wednesday.  This has my interest.  

I'm glad they didn't just go for a reincarnation of the 2003 poster.


A date with a showman: My visual reviews of the films of Baz Luhrmann


Baz Fucking Luhrmann!  The name alone evokes varying responses, even in my own household.  My wife hears his name and cringes.  She is not a fan of his showboating style and feels as though he corrodes his subjects with outlandishness that is unnecessary and uncomfortable.  I, on the other hand, hear his name and get somewhat giddy with excitement.  Sure, he doesn't always nail his film, but when he gets it right he gets it REALLY RIGHT!  I've gone to bat many times for his MASTERPIECE 'Romeo + Juliet', fighting tooth and nail against naysayers, and I'm one of those few individuals who actually feels as though David Lynch, as brilliant as he is, stole Luhrmann's Oscar nomination back in 2001.  Seriously, what would 'Moulin Rouge!' have been without Luhrmann's grand vision?  Nothing, that's what it would have been.  How can you nominate a film like that as the Best Picture of the year while snubbing the whole reason the film worked in the first place?  

With that said, I was really harsh on 'The Great Gatsby' earlier this year, and I stand by that review.  It just didn't work and felt like a messy attempt to repeat his past successes.  I recently saw 'Australia' and was surprised at how much I actually liked it, but was also let down by how un-Lurhmann it really was.  It appears that Lurhmann is in search of a balance to his own showmanship and he's struggling to find it.  His Red Curtain trilogy showed so much promise, potential and natural talent, but since closing the curtain in 2001 he has released two films that are the bottom of his own creative barrel and show cracks in his talent.  I hope he can bounce back with something resplendent soon.

So, without further ado, here is my take on his work to date:

Let's Review Something: Mud


At the heart of ‘Mud’ is a coming of age tale about adolescence, innocence and love.  This was surprising to me, and quite moving to be honest.  I didn’t expect something so honest and ‘simple’ to come from a film seemingly so much darker.  That isn’t to say that ‘Mud’ doesn’t have thrilling elements, and it certainly reaches levels of darkness, but at its core it is something softer, kinder and more delicate.

It is richer than I expected.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrity doppelgangers...

Alright, so I'm wrapping up my 1993 Fisti Awards, and in the process I'm discovering a few films I hadn't heard of and one of them was '1, 2, 3, Sun', a French film from director Bertrand Blier.  I was surprised to find out that the lead actress was NOT Juliette Binoche.  Seriously, I didn't realize that people really had doppelgangers that were THAT mirror image.  I mean, this is uncanny.

Anouk Grinberg

Juliette Binoche

I swear I'm seeing double!  Anyways, 1993 is drawing to a close (I have about ten films left to see and should hopefully have it all wrapped up by month's end).  What are your favorite films of 1993?  Have you seen both '1, 2, 3, Sun' and 'Blue'?  This is honestly the hardest time I've have narrowing my top five in every single category.  It's just such a strong year, and the more films I see the harder my job is becoming.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Poster Break: Lovelace


I almost forgot that this film existed.  Remember back at the beginning of the year when Amanda Seyfried was being considered for this years 'newbie' spot?  Yeah, I almost forgot about that too.  Still, I can't wait to see this (thanks for reminding me about it) for the mere thought of seeing Peter Sarsgaad sleaze his way to another Fisti nomination (underrate him at your own expense; he's one of the best working today).  This is kind of a great poster too.  I love the black and white element (such a rich tone) and the cliche 'legs crossed' idea may seem lazy and yet for this film and theme it works really well.  I love that 'Drive' brought back the 80's neon colors, and the pinkish purple works as a highlighter over Seyfried's assets.  I love it!  What do you think?

Tuesday Top Ten


My ‘Tuesday Top Ten’ is inspired by my catching the tail end of ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ last night and wondering just what the hell happened to Meg Ryan.  I mean, other than the fact that she jacked up her face to look like Michelle Pfeiffer’s evil twin, but where has she been artistically?  She was at one time the queen of the Hollywood rom/com, and she proved time and again to have dramatic range as well as those effortless comedic chops.  It’s depressing to think that her career has plummeted so much in the last few years.  You never see her face (dear god) or hear her name attached to any projects of merit anymore.  She’s in need of a serious comeback.  Hell, if Pfeiffer could get one (sort of), why can’t Meg Ryan?  Has she seriously gone the way of Joan Allen (jacked up plastic surgery spells the end of your career)? 

Sweet Jesus, I hope not!

So, here are my top ten performances by Meg Ryan.  She sadly hasn’t done a film since 2009 (who’s ever heard of ‘Serious Moonlight’?) and has only done television/internet since; a brief stint on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and some ‘Web Therapy’ episodes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: American Graffiti


So this is only my second time participating in Nathaniel Rogers ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ series, but I’m so excited about this that I am seriously contemplating doing this every time!  I actually sought out ‘American Graffiti’ for the sole purpose of participating in this series since I had yet to see it and had very little desire to.  Yes, I understand that it is seen as a cinematic staple by many critics and it spurned the careers of Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfus, but I often look at George Lucas as a hack who got lucky and find him to be the poor man’s equivalent to Steven Spielberg, and Steven Spielberg isn’t really anything to aspire to if we’re going to be completely honest.  Having recently watched and semi-loathed ‘Dazed and Confused’ and then reading that ‘American Graffiti’ was in the same wheelhouse, I was almost hesitant to jump in, but my desire to hit Nathaniel with my best shot overwhelmed me to the point where I couldn’t resist.

I just had to watch it.

A Fistful of Reads: June Edition


So, another month is over and here I am coming back to review the books I sunk my eyes into over the month.  This was a slow month.  I made mention last month that I was going to be tackling ‘Winter’s Tale’ this month, which is nearly 800pg, and with the kids and wife and work and life I just wasn’t sure that I’d be able to finish it in one month.  So, I had decided that since this was the halfway point in the year I’d go ahead and basically post a ranking of the books I did read over the year so far.  Well, I’m adding one book to that list since I did manage to read a book last month.  It wasn’t ‘Winter’s Tale’ (I’m only 200pg in, but DAMN is it wonderful).  I read multiple books at a time (one at the house and one at the office) and I wound up reading more at the office than usual and so the book I finished was ‘What You See in the Dark’, which is one I’ve been dying to get my hands on for a while.

Back when ‘Hitchcock’ was announced last year, I was certain they were basing the film off of Manuel Munoz’s novel, ‘What You See in the Dark’.  I didn’t know much about the novel itself, only that it centered on a small town during the filming of ‘Psycho’ and that Nate over at The Film Experience raved the novel as something truly special.  Coupling the raves with the fact that Scarlett Johansson had the plum role of Janet Leigh, I was excited.  Then facts got clearer and it became obvious that the two had nothing in common and the film left a small blip on the lives of movie goers (that blip being one of disappointment) and I was left wondering if ‘What You See in the Dark’ would really be all that wonderful.

It is.

Let's Review Something: Monsters University


From the initial teaser trailer, I was hooked.  Sure, the idea of revisiting all of these golden Pixar ideas and not necessarily giving us anything ‘new’ seemed a tad boring, but ‘Monsters Inc.’ was such a delightful film and the idea of sharing more time with Sully and Mike was something I looked forward to.  A prequel showing us how this dynamic duo started seemed promising, and from a purely entertainment standpoint, it was.  Sadly, the lack of originality truly surprised me and caused my adoration for the film itself to wane upon reflection.