Posts Tagged ‘jason a hill’

The Unearthing – A Student Film Makes Waves In Minnesota

Posted 15 Feb 2016 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

maxresdefaultThe Unearthing, directed, produced, edited, and flat-out hustled by Tristan James Jensen, is a coming-of-age, supernatural discovery film done on a shoestring budget that surprised a lot of filmgoers at this year’s Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Festival. The movie stars local actors Riley Yearly, Angelina Masciopinto, and Kaleb Miller. It was filmed on location in Stillwater, Minnesota. You can watch the trailer here.

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Ezra’s Favorite Movies Of 2014

Posted 17 Feb 2015 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 

The Lego MovieThis was the year I realized that my annual goal of seeing pretty much every movie released in a given year was more impossible than ever. The reason for this is the exponential growth in the number of films now being released in the digital age. When I started doing these lists back in 2001, there were about 300 official releases per year; now it’s closer to 700. With that in mind, I’d like to start with a partial list of movies I meant to see in 2014, but just didn’t get to in time. Then, to acknowledge the relatively arbitrary nature of these lists in general, I’m listing my Top 10 in categories by which each film corresponds to another one from my Top 20 (only the Top 10 is ranked in order of preference). It’ll make more sense as you read it, I promise.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN (40 movies I didn’t see in time for this list, in alphabetical order): Bird People; The Boxtrolls; Calvary; Chef; Citizenfour; Coherence; The Congress; Enemy; Fading Gigolo; Filth; Force Majeure; Foxcatcher; Frank; Fury; Gloria; Happy Christmas; Ida; Joe; A Letter to Momo; Leviathan; Life After Beth; Like Father, Like Son; Lucy; Men, Women & Children; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Mr. Turner; Moebius; A Most Violent Year; Night Moves; Palo Alto; The Rocket; The Sacrament; St. Vincent; Song of the Sea; Starred Up; Stonehearst Asylum; Top Five; 22 Jump Street; Virunga; Wrinkles.

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No Country For Old Men – An Argument

By Jason A. Hill & Ezra Stead

No Country for Old Men, USA, 2007

Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Based on the Novel No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men is full of excitement, suspense, and action, but I got the feeling that there was something deeper going on under the surface and I was expecting some revelation at the end. [Note: “An Argument” is a new feature on Movies I Didn’t Get, in which the site’s founder and owner, Jason A. Hill, and head editor, Ezra Stead, debate the relative merits (or lack thereof) of various beloved movies on which they disagree. Please feel free to get in on the argument in the comments section below.]

No Country for Old Men - An ArgumentJASON’S ORIGINAL REVIEW: I didn’t get this movie. I wanted to, and I was fully engaged as I watched the film. However, by the “end” of this film, the only way I knew it was over was by lights in the cinema coming up, and for a film that wins Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor, I really expected a lot more. Of course, I saw the movie before all of that.

No Country for Old Men is full of excitement, suspense, and action, but I got the feeling that there was something deeper going on under the surface and I was expecting some revelation at the end. What I got instead was that feeling you get when you’re at a big concert and the headlining band comes out on stage two hours late then leaves the stage after one song as the lead singer throws the mic down and flips off the crowd. At first, everyone thinks it’s a great gesture, but after a while they start to feel conned.  Read More

Prometheus – We’ve Been Here Before

Posted 24 Jun 2012 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

david holding the earth in the spaceship

By Jason A. Hill

Prometheus, USA, 2012

Directed by Ridley Scott

Much has been said about Ridley Scott’s career of late. Even though he’s given us such great additions to the Sci Fi lexicon as Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), much remains to be concluded concerning his legacy or if he can return to his former glory.  Unfortunately, Prometheus does not help the conversation in his favor.  Prometheus is visually stunning and the FX are what you would expect from a big-budget film, it’s ambitious and epic within its context, performances by Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are memorable, but the film slowly falls apart in its far-reaching themes and illogical plot.

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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

Winter’s Bone

Posted 28 Jan 2011 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

Winter’s Bone, USA, 2010

Directed by Debra Granik

Jennifer Lawrence teaches her kids how to huntMuch has been made of this film after it won the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Film and the Best Screenplay Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received two awards at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival and Stockholm International Film Festival, where it won awards for Best Film and Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and the Fipresci Prize. It has earned seven nominations at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress. It may not do as well at the Oscars, but I would say most of what the film has received has been earned.

For me, however, I have to take a step back and wonder if director Debra Granik actually knew more about the people she was portraying. Although the film is technically sound and her story structure is strong, the underlying genuineness of these characters rang hollow to me. The overall dark tone of the film also struck me as a little over-the-top and done for dramatic effect. Read More

TRON’s Legacy – Not That Far Ahead

Posted 03 Jan 2011 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

TRON, USA, 1982

Written and Directed by Steven Lisberger

TRON: Legacy, USA, 2010

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

tron legacy movies i didnt getTRON: Legacy has its moments and I admit it is entertaining, but the film falls flat on a weak plot that is little more than a facsimile copy of the original. The original TRON had interesting characters to carry its plot, but Legacy‘s characters will need the 3D dressing to un-flatten these performances. If you saw the original, nothing in this film will surprise you. It seems to be playing on old TRON fans’ curiosity of what they can do with the new CGI, whose best achievement is a young Jeff Bridges’ face. As for new viewers to the franchise, it may entertain but this film plays more like an all-night rave than a plot to save the world from digital oppression.

When the original TRON was released in 1982, computers were still a new thing in pop culture and video games were enchanting a new generation of gamers. It was able to capture a wave of interest in the new technology, as well as the culture, of imagination and the possibilities of technology. The film invented a new form of special effects and took CGI mainstream in a way that didn’t exist before. People often wonder why a film like TRON, with its fairly pedestrian plot, became such a cult phenomenon, but the original TRON was well ahead of its time in every way. Read More