Tag Archives: Tilda Swinton

Best of 2017 (So far)

27 Aug

Yes, I know it’s well past the halfway point of the year, but I’m lazy and have been splurging too much on TV instead of at the cinema so have patience with me. Looking back on the year we have seen a lot of good, bad, and ugly films hit theatres (looking at you, Emoji Movie) and so now it’s time to separate the wheat from the tares and give a rundown on what has stood out for me so far.  I’m not taking into account documentaries here – just narrative stuff and, as always, I’m counting anything that had a widespread theatrical release this year (so you might see some stuff leftover from late-2016 awards season):

 

10 –  Silence (Director: Martin Scorsese

Scorsese again brings his A-game to the table and creates a meditative, profoundly moving drama about the nature of faith. 7/10 

 

9 – Okja (Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Director Bong Joon-Ho puts a fresh spin on the human vs animal story trope and gets amazing performances from Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Seo Hyun-Ahn. 7/10 

8 – Raw (Director: Julia Ducournau)  

Blistering performances delicately combine with top-notch direction and impressive visuals to create a compelling and intimate take on teenage sexuality. Not for the faint of heart. 7/10 

7 – Wind River (Director: Taylor Sheridan)

A western thriller set deep within a Native American reservation, Wind River delivers the goods and once again proves Taylor Sheridan as one of the most powerful storytellers in the genre. 8/10 

6 – Free Fire (Director: Ben Wheatley

I haven’t had this much fun watching a shoot em’ up since I first saw the epic finale from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Director Ben Wheatley heats up the action gradually over the film’s run time, but the juicy dialogue and impressive action never take a backseat to the consistent suspense and well-timed bits of humor. 8/10 

 

5 – Get Out (Director: Jordan Peele) 

It would be so, easy for this film to go bad. Creating an original and genuinely spooky horror flick is tricky enough, but Jordan peele outdid himself with his directorial debut and dared to spice up the genre with just the right amount of nuanced racial satire. Looking forward to seeing what Peele does next.

4 – It Comes At Night (Director: Trey Edward Shults) 

Speaking of horror, nothing all year had quite the same terrifying effect on me as It Comes At Night. A post-apocalyptic psychological drama that seems deep into your skull with the help of it’s claustrophobic cinematography and eerie-but-subtle score. 8/10 

3 – I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (Director: Macon Blair

There are few things everyone can seem to agree on in 2017, but one of them is the notion that people are becoming less and less nice to each other. A genre-infused piece that shows Macon Blair’s inherent directorial sensibilities,  I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a deliciously clever and innovative take on the vigilante revenge story. It’s also incredibly suspenseful and drop-dead hilarious.

2 – The 4th (Director: Andre Hyland) 

Besides being the funniest movie of the year so far, The 4th might also be the most honest. Taking place over the course of 24 hours and shot on location in the streets of Los Angeles, the story unfolds around our hero Jamie as he tries to fight the increasingly unlucky happenstances around him in order to throw a cookout for Independence Day.  It’s also a brutal examination of the effects our modern passive-aggressive attitudes have on one another. 8/10

1 – Person to Person (Director: Dustin Guy Defa) 

An interconnecting film structured by many distinct stories and characters, Person to Person is reminiscent of great independent NYC films from the past while still containing a fresh spark of modernity that resonates long after the credits. play 8/10

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Trainwreck (2015)

30 Aug

Director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, This Is 40) brings us his latest comedic adventure with the feminist-tainted Trainwreck. Written and starring comedian Amy Schumer, Trainwreck tells the story of Amy, an immature, self-obsessed, alcoholic trying to find love among a surplus of one-night stands.

After seeing her parent’s relationship fall apart, Amy decides the life of monogamy isn’t for her, and thus spends most of her nights with a variety of detached sexual encounters. “My rule is: never to spend the night”, she quips. A young journalist by trade, Amy is given a lead feature about a talented sport’s doctor’s (Bill Hader) recent work with the NBA. Of course the two end up falling for each other despite having complete character incompatibility, and now Amy must learn to grow up and face her fears of settling down with someone for the long term.

Schumer, mostly known for her work in stand-up comedy, makes a convincing enough entrance into the acting world and brings a lot life to her deadbeat and offensive character. Her and Hader create interesting on-screen chemistry, and the scenes featuring the couple getting to know each other are some of the film’s best.

Unfortunately, they don’t last long. Most of the film is too busy trying to negotiate between Apatow’s and Schumer’s differing comedic styles, resulting in a finished product where the jokes really don’t land and instead fall awkwardly flat on their face (sometimes literally). The supporting characters are lifeless and uninteresting comedic tropes; so dull not even the ensemble of Colin Quinn, Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, Brie Larson, and LeBron James (yes, you read that right) can provide relief. Useless cameos of Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, and Matthew Broderick, while good intended, feel uncomfortable and stale.

And then you face the issue of the story itself (or lack thereof) facing a whopping 2+ hour running time, which, (saying as how most audiences will predict how this thing plays out after the first 20 minutes) feels tragically unnecessary. Most of the film feels like a mishmash of random deleted scenes played with direct voiceover exposition; there is a particular lunch exchange between LeBron and Hader that goes on for way, wayyyyy too long. Little is done here to create an actual dramatic story, which is an absolute necessity when the comedy wears thin.

Bottom Line – More cringeworthy than comical, most of Trainwreck tries too hard to make you laugh by awkwardly combining jokes from Apatow and Schumer. 

Rating: 4/10 

Film Recipie: She’s Gotta Have It  – any artistic sensibilities + Space Jam

Top 10 Anticipated films of 2014

5 Jan

Well hats off to a new year. In the midst of all this awards season talk (you can catch my top 15 list of 2013 here) I’d like to present the films I’m most looking forward to seeing this next year. If available, I’ve provided the trailers and release dates. Make sure to let me know what films you are looking forward to seeing and if there are any I missed.

10 – Knight of Cups

This one is still a bit of a mystery as director Terrence Malick hasn’t officially said anything about Knight of Cups (or much else about his other projects). What we do know is that is stars Christian Bale, Imogen Poots, Joel Kinnaman, Cate Blanchet, Natalie Portman, Jason Clarke, Wes Bentley, and Antonio Banderas (wow!!). If the cast isn’t enough to get you excited, rumor is that Malick has a few additional films planned (though these are most likely to be pushed back to 2015 and beyond).  No release date yet.

9 – Foxcatcher

Director Bennett Miller made waves a while back with his Oscar-winning film Capote and 2011’s Moneyball. Next year he returns with a film based on Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz. Originally intended for 2013 (there was even a trailer released last fall), the film was pushed back due to editing issues and concern the awards season would be too crowded. Channing Tatum and Steve Carell (supposedly playing against type) star alongside Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, and Tara Subkoff.  Foxcatcher is rumored to be released in the spring, but could be pushed back to fall.

8 – Boyhood

This mysterious project from Richard Linklater supposedly has been in production for the last 12 years, chronicling the life of Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette’s son. As a huge fan of his Before trilogy, I can’t wait to see what frequent collaborators Linklater and Hawke have in store. No release date yet.

7- Transcendence

Wally Pfister, who is mostly known for his cinematography work with Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial debut next year with a mind-bending sci-fi about artificial intelligence. This looks like it has all the right ingredients to be the next Minority Report, and I’m excited to see Johnny Depp actually using his talent. Depp stars alongside Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall. In theaters April 14.

6 – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Boasting an amazing all-star lineup of Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Jude Law, Edwards Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, and Harvey Keitel (!!!), the film from Wes Anderson promises mystery, laughs, drama, superb music and Helvetica font. In theaters March 7.

5 – Enemy

After filming the Oscar-nominated Incendies, and last years incredible Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve is making a name for himself and this year he agian reunited with Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. The thriller is supposedly about a man who goes after his look-alike after seeing him in a movie. I’m intrigued. In theaters March 14.

4 – Gone Girl

One of my favorite directors, David Fincher, gives us a film about a man whose wife mysteriously disappears while on honeymoon, starring Ben Affleck. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Gone Girl could become this year’s Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. In theaters October 8.

3 – Noah

Yes, you are familiar with the biblical story, but director Darren Aronofsky is sure to put a new spin on the tale. Staring Russel Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, and supposedly boasting some of the best digital effects ever to be done by Industrial Light and Magic, Noah arrives March 28.

2 – Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is back in action with a story about wormholes, space travel, and corn shortages. Yup. Staring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, and Ellen Burstyn, the film is out November 7.

1 – Inherent Vice

My most anticipated film of 2014 brings back Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson into a thriller/comedy/crime story about a detective investigating the disappearance of an ex-lover.  Jena Malone, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Maya Rudolph star. No release date yet.

2012 film categories

27 Dec

here are my votes for this year in film (films that had their widespread theatrical run from jan-dec 2012) 

 

Best Achievement in Directing:

Lynne Ramsey, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

 

Best Lead Performance by an Actor:

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Runner Up: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

 

Best Lead Performance by an Actress:

Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Noomi Rapace, Prometheus

 

Best Supporting Performance by an Actor:

Emile Hirsch, Killer Joe

Runner Up: Leonardo Dicaprio, Django Unchained

 

Best Supporting Performance by an Actress:

Ann Dowd, Compliance

Runner Up: Amy Adams, The Master

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Moonrise Kingdom

Runner up: Silver Linings Playbook

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Killer Joe

 

Best Cinematography:

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner up: The Master

 

Best Film Editing:

Cloud Atlas

Runner Up: We Need To Talk About Kevin

 

Best Make-up and Hairstyling:

Cloud Atlas

Runner Up: Hitchcock

 

Best Sound Mixing & Editing:

Prometheus

Runner Up: Looper

 

Best Score:

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runner Up: Moonrise Kingdom

 

Best Production Design:

Moonrise Kingdom

Runner Up: Prometheus

 

 

Best Non-English Film:

Holy Motors

Runner Up: Headhunters

 

Best Documentary:

The Imposter

Runner Up: Chasing Ice

 

Best Visual Effects:

Prometheus

Runner Up: The Dark Knight Rises

Best films of 2012

27 Dec

2012 was a great year for film-lovers.

With a slew of veteran directors including Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, Ridley Scott, Ang Lee, Peter Jackson, Robert Zemeckis, Tom Tykwer, The Wachowski siblings, Rian Johnson, P.T. Anderson, Ben Affleck, Sam Mendes, David O. Russell, and Tom Hooper all releasing films this year, there was no shortage of high-quality movies to choose from. Heck Steven Soderbergh, Tim Burton, and Joss Whedon each had two 2012 films.

This is why making a “best-of” list was no easy task, but after some thought here are my personal picks for the top 25 films of 2012 (meaning they had a widespread theatrical release from jan-dec).

25- Cabin In The Woods 

As cliche’ as it might seem, there is a subtle mix of playfulness and horror throughout Cabin In The Woods that makes it such a fun ride ride to see over and over again.

24 – Les Miserables 

The music, acting, and look of the film all work nicely together to create one of the most powerful musical adaptations I have seen in recent years.

23- The Avengers 

Joss Whedon’s super-super-hero movie provides enough laughs and thrills to leave both the casual viewers and hard-core fanboys satisfied.

22 – Skyfall 

Bond is back and better than ever in this wonderful addition to the 007 franchise.  Hopefully Daniel Craig will not hang up the suit quite yet…

21 – Compliance  

A simple concept brought to life with amazing performances with an even better nail-biter of a script.  This is the stuff great indie flicks are made from.

20- Chasing Ice 

The single most gorgeous-looking documentary I have ever seen.

19- Argo 

Great screenwriting and cinematography create a well-balanced political thriller. The great cast was the icing on the cake.

18- Carnage 

Four people arguing in a living room for hours might not seem like much, but when those four people are John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, and Kate Winslet…….   things get interesting and dramatically hilarious.

17- End of Watch

While it might seem like a feature film about the TV show COPS, End of Watch is actually one of the most emotional movies I have seen all year.  Great chemistry from Gyllenhaal and Pena.

16- Seven Psychopaths 

An amazing cast mixed with an ever-unpredictable story makes for an offensively wild film. From the writer/director of the cult-favourite In Bruges.

15- Django Unchained 

Tarantino returns with a revenge/western/drama/shoot-em-up set in the South 2 years prior to the Civil War. It’s long and overly playful, but Django Unchained somehow manages to be one of the year’s most entertaining films (if you can get past the hefty amount of racial slurs and fake blood).

14- Headhunters 

Part heist-flick, part survival-drama, Headhunters tells the story of one man’s quest to steal a million-dollar painting. And what ultimately happens when things go sour.  If you are a fan of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, don’t miss out on this.

13- The Master 

P.T. Anderson’s sprawling epic about the life of a  very peculiar WWII veteran. Both Phillip S. Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give amazing performances and the cinematography is stunning.

12 – The Imposter 

The bizzare-but-true story about a missing Texas boy who winds up in Spain over three years later. This is the WTF documentary everyone will be talking about.

11 – Looper

Good movies are usually either intellectually, sensually or emotionally stimulating.  Looper manages to be all three at the same time.

10 – The Dark Knight Rises

While it doesn’t quite have the thrills of it’s predecessor, Christopher Nolan’s third and final installment into the Dark Knight franchise is emotionally satisfying and clever with all the twists and turns that make the franchise unique among super-hero films. Even if they don’t make any logical sense.

9- Hitchcock 

The dark recesses of violence and horror come full-front in this biopic of “The Master of Suspense”.  Though the story shifts around a bit, the production design and acting feels spookishly authentic.

8- Holy Motors 

Obscure and senseless, Holy Motors is a collage of surreal scenarios and situations that make up a thought-provoking and mesmerizing piece of cinema.

7 – Cloud Atlas 

From the costumes to the cast to the six interwoven stories, everything about Cloud Atlas begs to be called epic.  While the first third of the film is a confusing mess of ideas and characters, things get straightened out nicely in the end once you figure out who is playing who and what planet they are on.  With such an ambitious project as this, it is really, really easy for things to go wrong. Miraculously, Cloud Atlas gets everything right.

6 – Silver Linings Playbook 

David O Russel cleverly mixes bi-polar disorders with the Philadelphia Eagle’s in this witty romantic comedy.  Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, and Jennifer Lawrence are great, but the real treasure is seeing a chic-flick that is this entertaining without being cliche’.

5 – Killer Joe 

A low-budget crime thriller that hits all the right spots, and then some. Killer Joe boasts some of the best acting of the year, and a script that leaves you on the edge on your seat. You will never look at KFC the same way again.

4 – We Need To Talk About Kevin 

A powerfully gripping psychological thriller about a child who is…. different. This is one you will want to see a second time around.

3- Prometheus 

The epic and visually stunning prequel to Alien, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus proves you can reach the end of a journey looking for answers, only to have more questions that when you first started. The film’s many mysteries had Alien fans scratching their heads for ages, and left me wanting a sequel. And a pet David of my own.

2- Beasts of the Southern Wild 

A simple low-budget film that captures the innocence and curiosity of childhood, mixed with the drama and emotion of an entire community. This movie is brilliant, well directed and breathtakingly beautiful from start to finish.

1- Moonrise Kingdom 

Wes Anderson’s magnificent drama about a boy and a girl who leave the world behind and set out together for adventure. Not only does the film look amazing, but Anderson has really outdone himself (again) with the set pieces, characters, use of music and brilliant screenplay.  Though it has an all-star cast, Moonrise never lets celebrity get in the way of it’s story and splendor.

So there ya go. An honorable mention goes to 21 Jump Street for being the funniest movie of the year.

My picks for film categories can be seen HERE.

Feel free to disagree as there were so many other great films that I didn’t mention, and  if you want to take a look at what i’m most excited about in 2013, click HERE

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

20 Sep

You pretty much know what your going to get with a Wes Anderson film these days.

Offbeat situational comedy,

bright colors,

fast-paced dialogue,

romance,

witty characters,

Bill Murray playing “the old man”…

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and an overall quirky tone have become staples of his directing style.

Moonrise Kingdom polishes up everything that makes Wes Anderson great and presents itself in a humorous and charming 95 minutes.

The film takes us on a journey to an unknown island where two lovers happen to cross paths at a church’s stage adaptation of Noah and the ark. Visually, this film is amazing, mostly thanks to Anderson’s clever use of color, mis en scene and deep space. The set pieces are incredibly detailed and work wonders for the film.

Moonrise Kingdom is genuinely funny with an all-star cast, but it doesn’t let humor or celebrity get in the way of it’s real nostalgic and child-like wonder.

rating 9/10 

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