Posts Tagged ‘Juno’

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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Hashtag: Explain A Film Plot Badly

Posted 08 Sep 2014 — by Ezra Stead
Category Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Hashtag: Explain A Film Plot BadlyIn case you missed it, there was a fun little game trending on Twitter over the weekend, with the hashtag “Explain A Film Plot Badly.” It’s kind of similar to this old thing I wrote. Here are the ones I came up with, in order of when they were tweeted (answers can be found in the tags for this article, but I think you’ll get ’em all):

Kevin Spacey has a nice time drinking coffee and telling stories to a grumpy policeman.

Sigourney Weaver risks her life to save a cat.

Sam Neill learns to like children after being forced to keep two of them from being eaten. Read More

Super – They Don’t Make Role Models Like They Used To

Posted 23 Jul 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

Super is a frustratingly unfunny comedy from a great writer. By Ezra Stead

Super, USA, 2010

Written and Directed by James Gunn

I don’t want to sound like anybody’s grandma here, but I long ago abandoned the conversational defense that movies and other popular media have no part in encouraging real-life violence. Some movies definitely glorify violence to the point of actively promoting it as a righteous lifestyle choice, and James Gunn’s pseudo-realistic costumed avenger film Super is decidedly one of these. There are many other prime examples of this phenomenon – Troy Duffy’s The Boondock Saints (1999), Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted (2008), Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America (2011) – and while I find all of these films plenty entertaining, my level of comfort about enjoying them seems to be directly proportional to how well I can relate to the worldview of the avenging angel protagonists. In other words, I feel a lot less guilty enjoying God Bless America than The Boondock Saints, despite the fact that the latter is no more mean-spirited or simplistic than the former. Super exists somewhere between these two, a surprisingly conservative and reactionary film made by a well-known counterculture auteur.  Read More

Young Adult

Posted 24 Jun 2012 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Young Adult, USA, 2011

Directed by Jason Reitman

Young Adult is a film that deals with the ideas of paralyzing immaturity, alcoholism, and delusions of grandeur. Meet Mavis Gary. Peculiar name, sure, but consider the woman: she’s an alcoholic, forever single, 40-year-old former beauty queen for Minnesota (Mercury, to be exact). Fitting that someone so alienating comes from a place named after a planet. It’s worth noting that Young Adult doesn’t follow any sort of conventional formula (even if that’s becoming a bit conventional these days). Diablo Cody, who won a well-deserved Oscar for writing Juno, and Jason Reitman, who received a well-deserved nomination for directing it, team up again to bring us this divisive film. That’s probably the best way of putting it. It seems to be something you either fall in love with or hate from the moment it starts. I’m happy to say that I fell in love with it, and its characters. Even Mavis. Read More

Six Months On A Regimen Of Woman Filmmakers – Out The Gate With Diablo Cody

Posted 20 Jun 2012 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Member Movie Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Alice Shindelar

Diablo Cody has come a long way since Juno, her 2007 debut about a pregnant teenager who decides to give her child up for adoption. About a month ago, I made the dramatic decision to limit my film and television consumption to only women writers and directors. This isn’t out of distaste for male directors and writers. I love movies of all kinds, for countless reasons. I would never allow my opinion of a film or TV series to be influenced by the gender of the creative force behind it. That said, women writers and directors are few and far between. Their struggle for recognition in the industry and the funds to make their films is well-known (although, not well-known enough). Still, even the most ingenious amongst them tends to fade into the background before they’ve weathered a full career.

As an aspiring writer-director myself, I’ve always kept my ear closely trained on the life events that lead people in this field to success, or even just a career that pays the bills. I look for myself in their stories. I imagine how my flat feet could follow their huge strides. Or, at least, I try. It’s next to impossible to picture myself following in the footsteps of any Kubrick, or Coppola, or Scorsese. My inability to grow facial hair puts a stop to that. So I watch for the women, and this project is an attempt to do that more acutely. Read More

Transformers – Michael Bay And The Cinema Of Subtlety

Posted 29 Apr 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Transformers, USA, 2007

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, USA, 2009

Directed by Michael Bay

Transformers is a pretty bad movie, but its first sequel is unbelievably awful. With the latest Michael Bay monstrosity, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, taking more than a billion dollars at the box office and potentially remaining the top-grossing movie of this year (please, please, prove me wrong, awards season), now would be a good time to revisit the first two, which might help explain why I have sworn off the third one, or any future editions. I hope no one thinks I’m a snob just for occasionally displaying some standard of good taste. Remember, I love The Toxic Avenger (1984) and The Lost Boys (1987), not to mention much lower quality films like The Room (2003) and Birdemic: Shock and Terror, so I’m not always too pretentious for a good time with a bad movie.  Read More

Juno And The Restless Virgins

Posted 10 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Stuart Nachbar

Juno, USA, 2007 Ellen Page's charm offensive nails adolescent trauma in this new pregnancy comedy JUNO.

Directed by Jason Reitman

Since I wrote a novel based around sex education, I’ve tried to pay attention to other books and movies that do the same. I reviewed Tom Perrotta’s The Abstinence Teacher, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This time, I’m reviewing Juno, a movie I enjoyed so much I saw it twice, the first time with my wife, the second time alone, so I could take a more insightful look at the story.

Juno is the story of a pregnant teenager who is trying to make sense of her difficult circumstances. Ellen Page, who plays Juno, makes the movie. She’s not only funny, but she appears wise without taking things too seriously. Juno is the geeky guy’s best friend, someone you can talk to, jam with, but you’d forget she was a girl unless she reminded you – and that’s how she gets pregnant. She reminded the cheese on her macaroni, before he ever knew he was. Read More