Posts Tagged ‘Darren Aronofsky’

MIDG Podcast #2: The Good And The Bad

Posted 20 Apr 2014 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill & Ezra Stead

 

Jason and Ezra discuss the basic elements of good and bad film. From dramas to comedies, action to science fiction, good and bad movies come in many forms and take on many critics. Here are just a few examples as we ponder the idea of what makes a good film good and a bad film bad.

 

 

 

 

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Your Highness – David Gordon Green’s Lowness

Posted 23 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Your Highness, USA, 2011

Directed by David Gordon Green

Your Highness is a 2011 fantasy comedy film directed by David Gordon Green.What happened to David Gordon Green? I remember seeing George Washington (2000) years ago on IFC and having my mind blown. Then I got to see All the Real Girls (2003) shortly after its release and I thought to myself, “This man is a genius.” After Undertow (2004) and Snow Angels (2007), I could safely say that he was one of my favorite directors. Admittedly, I didn’t care for Snow Angels at first, but it has grown on me over time.

Then we get Pineapple Express (2008), and while it doesn’t fit in with the rest of his filmography, it’s a solid film toting subtle homages to films Green loved growing up, and even he has said it’s a film he wanted to get out of his system. But Your Highness? This is a strange inclusion to an otherwise flawless canon. I feel like he’s lost himself, or fallen in with the wrong crowd.

I don’t know if this is supposed to be a farce, a spoof, a straight comedy, or what. It’s all played for laughs, which is a plus. No one takes any second of it seriously; perhaps if they had, it would have been funnier. I think the safest thing to call this film is a misguided effort from almost everyone involved. Danny McBride and David Gordon Green have been friends since college, which is common knowledge; Green has even helped produce and direct episodes of Eastbound and Down, McBride’s brilliant television series. Pineapple Express was born of their friendship, and a mutual adoration for that sort of film, which worked purely because of their dedication to the material and Green’s unique ability to put a satirical and sarcastic twist on even the most vile subject matter. He used to remind me of Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter), and perhaps he might again, if he avoids further films like this. Read More

The Tree Of Life

Posted 10 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Tree of Life, USA, 2011

Written and Directed by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is a beautiful and extraordinary film that will undoubtedly remain one of the best of this year or any other.

Terrence Malick is a truly extraordinary and enigmatic filmmaker; over the course of the last 38 years, he has directed only five films, each one of which is widely regarded as a consummate masterpiece. The beauty and complexity of his images are almost in a league of their own. Between the sheer cinematic perfection of his work and its anti-prolific output, he is reminiscent of perhaps the cinema’s greatest auteur, the late Stanley Kubrick. His latest film is likely his best work to date (I still haven’t seen 1978’s Days of Heaven, widely regarded as his greatest achievement up until now), and it certainly feels like his most personal, while simultaneously tackling the huge metaphysical ideas of Kubrick’s own greatest work, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The Tree of Life is a staggeringly ambitious film that evokes not only the monumental beginnings of all existence in the universe, but also the tiny, specific details of ordinary lives; the result is a flawed but profound epic on the scale of 2001 with the emotional resonance that Kubrick’s more detached approach is often accused of lacking. It is also a film that deserves comparison to Darren Aronofsky’s extremely underrated masterpiece The Fountain (2006) in its themes of the interconnectedness of all time and space and the way in which we are all affected by forces beyond our control and understanding. It is the rare film whose flaws only make it more intriguing, since life itself is flawed and disconnected in much the same way. Above all, while comparisons can be made to other masterpieces in Malick’s own career as well as those mentioned above, this is a wonderfully unique and original film, with a style and voice unlike any I can recall. Read More

Rango

Posted 25 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Rango, USA, 2011

Directed by Gore VerbinskiRango film

I wasn’t prepared for Rango to be as dark as it was. Gore Verbinski has always been a director to dabble into life’s bigger questions with a lot of subtle ease, without losing the ostensibly fun side to his films, but, with this being an animated Nickelodeon production and all, I was blind-sided by the depth of John Logan’s screenplay and the heartfelt genuineness of Johnny Depp’s performance as a chameleon with an identity crisis. To be fair, the screenplay’s base elements are very standard – there is a formula, and you know where the film is headed as soon as it starts – but, to the film’s credit, everything that happens in between is remarkably intelligent.

And the whole thing feels like a painting. Gotta love that.

Consider that this one of the rare CGI films that pays respects to traditionally animated films; remember that Tangled (2010) was specifically designed to look like oil paintings and 2D animation. Rango achieves this without the oil painting angle, and does so seamlessly. I couldn’t point to one shot that didn’t look carefully rendered. I also had a hard time not picking out references to other films. I like movies that respect their elders. Nods to Star Wars, Raising Arizona (tell me that score doesn’t have echoes here), and obviously older westerns are everywhere. There’s even a certain cameo that ties the entire story together and references that by which the entire Western genre has come to be recognized. Read More

The Legacy of Silent Film

Posted 04 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

A Trip To The Moon is one of the best of the very early silent films.

Perhaps one of the main reasons that so many of us, myself included, fail to “get” certain films, or certain aspects of film as a whole, is that we have not spent sufficient time studying the beginnings of the art form. We have not looked to the past. This, then, is a look at the first few decades of the cinematic arts, and the influence of these early films on what we see onscreen today.

When Louis and Auguste Lumiere first showed their short film The Arrival of a Train in 1895, they certainly had no inkling that, almost 100 years later, it would be the film-within-a-film in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Nor could Carl Theodor Dreyer have suspected that his 1928 feature The Passion of Joan of Arc would one day be the major inspiration for Mel Gibson’s hugely successful The Passion of the Christ (2004). But no matter where these and other early filmmakers envisioned the medium in 100 years, or whether they even believed it would last that long, the films we see today are undeniably the legacy of these pioneers of a nascent art form. Read More

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards – Some Thoughts

Posted 02 Mar 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Animation, Essay, Film Industry News, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

James Franco and Anne Hathaway host the Oscars.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards have now come and gone, and as usual, I have a few gripes. Nothing too unexpected happened, but you must understand this is my Super Bowl: an excuse to get drunk and yell at the TV each year, so I can’t help but complain a bit about some of what went down the morning (and the rest of the week) after. Please bear with me.

Last year, I dominated my friendly Oscar pool, with 18 out of 24 categories guessed correctly. By the time they got to the last four categories, it was mathematically impossible for anyone at the party I attended to beat me, and then I got those four categories right, too. I say that to say this: oh, how the mighty have fallen. Perhaps as a result of having bet against Roger Ebert in an online competition, and thereby allowing too much of his presumed wisdom to influence my choices, I failed miserably this year, with only 15 correct guesses. I did manage to outguess Ebert by one vote, but not quite as simply as that makes it sound: he picked Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor and I picked Christian Bale, who won; I also guessed correctly in the make-up category (Rick Baker and Dave Elsey for The Wolfman) while Ebert guessed Adrien Morot for Barney’s Version, but then he managed to get a point back in the Best Director category (more on that shortly). Read More

Oscar Predictions 2011 – Which Movie Will Win the Best Picture Award?

Posted 22 Feb 2011 — by contributor
Category Box Office News, Film Industry News

The question of the year in the movie industry: Who will win the Best Picture award? Who will take another Academy Award home as winner and who will just spend the night applauding others? As no one knows for sure yet, let’s take a look at the list of the Best Picture Nominees and try to come up with some system to make predictions.

Best Picture Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards:

Black Swan — director: Darren Aronofsky; writers: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz; stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel

The Fighter — director: David O. Russell; writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy; stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

Inception — director: Christopher Nolan; writer: Christopher Nolan; stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page

The Kids Are All Right — director: Lisa Cholodenko; writers: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg; stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo

The King’s Speech — director: Tom Hooper; writer: David Seidler; stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

127 Hours — director: Danny Boyle; writers: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy; stars: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara

The Social Network — director: David Fincher; writers: Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich; stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

Toy Story 3 — director: Lee Unkrich; writers: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton; stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack

True Grit — directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld

Winter’s Bone — director: Debra Granik; writers: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini; stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt Read More