Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Garner’

Ezra’s Top 10 Favorite Films of 2012

Posted 15 Feb 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Grey is nothing but desolate Alaskan wilderness and people being brutally murdered by wolves for two hours. What's not to love?I’ve been making these lists, in one form or another, for a dozen years now, and every year I’ve done my best to balance my own personal preferences with an objective and educated view of cinema in order to recommend not only my personal favorite films of any given year, but also those I believe to be the best. Well, no more! This year, and forever onward, I strive to give you only my own subjective favorites, the films that I have watched and am likely to watch over and over again throughout the years. When I look back over the last five years, for example, I have to admit that these have proven to be my actual favorite films, despite what I may have written at the time in an effort to recognize other worthy cinematic achievements to which I may or may not have returned even once in the years since: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007); The Dark Knight (2008); Inglourious Basterds (2009); Dogtooth (2010); and Drive (2011).

Of those five, only Dogtooth actually topped my list at the time. So, with this in mind, I present my favorite films of 2012, in all their highly subjective glory. Since ranking films in order of preference is often at least somewhat arbitrary, I should admit that some of these may have made it into the top 10, rather than the runner-up category, solely because they were more fun to write about. However, my top 5 is solidly made up of films I have already seen at least twice, and feel strongly that I would be more than happy to watch again at absolutely any time. Read More

Juno – Worst Hipster Movie Ever (So Far)

Posted 08 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Juno, USA, 2007

Directed by Jason Reitman

Juno is an insufferable and overrated quirk-fest.

Juno is, in my decidedly non-humble and belligerent opinion, not only the most overrated film of the last decade, but also one of the worst. Before we go any further, let me assuage any accusations you might be formulating that I’m just trying to espouse an unpopular opinion for the sake of doing so, or that I didn’t want to like the movie: the second part is true. But I also went into Little Miss Sunshine (2006) expecting and wanting to hate it, and it won me over. I didn’t think it deserved to be regarded as one of the best films of that year, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let it also be known that I like all of Wes Anderson’s films (to varying degrees), The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Napoleon Dynamite (2004), so please don’t think I just hate quirky indie movies. That said, let me expound upon why this is the most insufferably cutesy and irritating film I’ve seen since Zach Braff’s Garden State in 2004 (and I think this one just might be worse).

The first thirty minutes or so of Juno are almost unbearable, as Ellen Page (an excellent actress who, like the rest of the cast, is completely wasted on this tripe) struggles to bring life to a character whose every line sounds like it was written by an angry, dumb teenager who thinks the audience callbacks at The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) are the height of wit. Worse than that, some of those lines are uttered into a hamburger phone that the character admits is awkward to use, but it’s all part of the ironic facade she uses to mask her true vulnerable, compassionate humanity. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in writing, so I should probably point out here that the film spends another hour unmasking this facet of the character, all the while indulging in the kind of dialogue that would get you a “D” at best in any self-respecting screenwriting program. Read More

Arthur

Posted 17 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott MartinArthur starring Russell Brand

Arthur, USA, 2011

Directed by Jason Winer

There are moments of genuine comedic genius in this updated remix of 1981’s Arthur, starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, and John Gielgud. Here, Russell Brand portrays our titular loafer in wildly expensive loafers, while Helen Mirren takes Gielgud’s spot as his live-in nanny Hobson. Greta Gerwig, affable and luminous as ever, takes over for Liza Minelli as Arthur’s love interest/savior. He drinks more than anyone should, to a debilitating degree, and every time he steps out of his house, it’s a party. Drinks are on him, of course. Most remakes today have nothing to offer audiences, and do nothing to improve upon or rethink the original films. Admittedly, this version of the popular Moore film (for which he was Oscar-nominated, and Gielgud won) doesn’t do much to rethink the original, but the improvement is there. In the original film, Arthur’s alcoholism isn’t treated with the same touch (it’s merely a plot point, it feels) and Brand’s performance here has more heart than most things Moore did. Both are fine films, and this one certainly won’t see the Oscars, but that doesn’t stop it from being a warm and abstractly hilarious afternoon at the movies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again with confidence: Russell Brand is an excellent actor. More important than being funny, he’s lovable. There’s a certain heartwarming quality to his humor, even when it’s vile, so that you can’t help but want to hug him when you should want to slap him. That’s an important quality for Arthur Bach, a man with about a billion dollars and a billion fewer brain cells, to have. Matched with Helen Mirren’s gift for dry wit and being so damn lovably herself, it’s easy to find why this movie works. On one hand, the film underuses just about everyone except Brand, almost like it’s a vehicle for his comedic riffing. It isn’t as balanced as last year’s Get Him to the Greek, but everyone gets their fair share of screentime, and no one is forced. That’s probably the best thing about this over-the-top film – nothing feels like it isn’t natural. We live in Arthur’s billion-dollar world, and what we see is a normal day for him. Read More