Posts Tagged ‘jason hill’

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

Black Swan – Sinks In Its Own Shallow Lake

Posted 31 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Jason A. Hill

Black Swan, USA, 2010

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

black swan ballerina natalie portman movies i didnt getBlack Swan has to be one of the most talked-about films of 2010. You might enjoy this film, but it may be for different reasons than you expect. I give director Darren Aronofsky credit for creating such a provocative and alluring spectacle; it’s all his doing. I don’t think the ballet is any more popular than it was before; the subject matter doesn’t seem to be catching any sort of momentum in pop culture, so why does this film seem to find its way into the middle of so many film conversations?

Aronofsky is known for his psychologically damaged characters, from Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) in Pi (1998) to Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) in The Wrestler (2008), these characters equally recognize their faults and fight to regain their sense of importance as much as they fail and self-destruct. Aronofsky has become the leading director of character destructive descent, but with his latest doomed protagonist, he’s stepped away from the reasonable situations that lead people into their own destruction and settled for pure insanity. Read More

The Kids Are All Right – The Movie Is Okay

Posted 27 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Jason A. Hill

The Kids Are All Right, USA, 2010

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko

the kids are alright movies i didnt getThis surprise hit at Sundance got a wave of momentum going into Oscar season and promises to pick up several nominations. It has already won Best Picture at the Berlin International Film Festival and three nominations at the Golden Globes. The film was well received by most critics, scoring 94% at RottenTomatoes.com and a respectable showing at the box office.

There’s plenty to like about The Kids Are All Right, given the star power it wields in its most pivotal roles, played by two of my favorite actresses, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. It also shows courage in profiling a non-mainstream family and the issues they have to deal with. My only issue with this film was that it played a little too much on the progressive macro subject matter and not enough on the strength of the film, its characters. Read More

Toy Story 3 Hits The Shelves

Posted 02 Nov 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Industry News

By Jason A. Hill

Toy Story 3, USA, 2010

Directed by Lee Unkrich

toy story 3 alternate movie poster movies i didnt getToday may be Election Day, but as the votes come in for Congress many people will be heading for stores or staying home and ordering on Amazon. That’s because Toy Story 3 is being released today on DVD and Blu-ray. Toy Story 3 is the highest grossing animated film of all time, earning over a billion dollars at the box office worldwide. Pixar will also be in the Oscar running once again for this latest effort. Sequels don’t usually outperform their predecessors, but Toy Story 3 did so both at the box office as well as critically. All this with stiff competition from Pixar’s first real challenge to the animation mantel by Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon, released earlier the same year.

Toy Story 3 tells the story of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of Andy’s toys as they once again face separation from Andy as he prepares for college. The film is packed full of action, humor, and heart. Read More

How To Train Your Dragon

Posted 15 Oct 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Animation, Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

How To Train Your Dragon, USA, 2010

Directed by Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders

hiccup and toothlessToday Dreamworks releases How To Train Your Dragon on DVD and BluRay Disc. The release is highly anticipated due to the film’s underdog success. Its initial opening was a decent one, but its residual and viral attention has made it a hit despite being overshadowed by James Cameron’s Avatar. With 3-D becoming such a phenomenon, some films are going to rely too heavily on this appeal to snare viewers. I feel 3-D is especially effective in animation, where technicians have more control over color and light, which allows Dragon to fire on all cylinders.

How To Train Your Dragon opened strong but seemed to lag in an overly weak box office weekend, finishing just ahead of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland and Hot Tub Time Machine. The film may have suffered from Dreamworks’ lower than Pixar status because of the enormous success of Up (2009), which was released just a year before and took the film world by storm, becoming the first animated feature nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in the general category. But soon after a lull hit the box office due to lack of any real contenders, How To Train Your Dragon got a second wind via residual viewers, and returned to #1 five weeks later.

It’s taken a while for word to get around about how good this film really is, and I will dare to say it is quite possibly the best 3-D animated film ever made. That’s right, Toy Story, I said “best ever!”  Read More

Bangkok Girl – What’s In A Smile?

Posted 12 Oct 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

Bangkok Girl, Canada, 2005

Directed by Jordan Clark

pla smilingAfter the first few minutes into this film, I realized it wasn’t your typical big-budget, Michael Moore-style documentary about global/macro world issues. However, Jordan Clark, with his low-budget quality, gives us a film that is free-flowing and spontaneous, with the kind of scenes that are often missing from many higher profile docs. The filmmaker gets close to the subject of the film, perhaps too close. He blurs the line of objective observance while digging into Bangkok’s seedy underworld. The film deals with the comparatively seldom recognized issue of Bangkok’s “sex tourism” industry. Prostitution is a thriving part of the city’s economy, but it’s also a cause of crime and the exploitation of Bangkok’s young women. Clark arrives just like many other westerners on holiday, but he is armed with a camera and the intent of capturing a story. Read More