In 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.
Everyyear, I struggle with the relatively arbitrary process of ranking movies, so this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of a traditional Top Ten list, I’m grouping two thematically connected films together for each place on the list, resulting in a hopefully more interesting Top 20 list. I’ve also included a more traditional Top Ten below that, for all you “too long, didn’t read” folks. One final note before we get to the list: it should tell you a lot about my credibility as a film critic that I liked Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa more than most of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees for 2013.
10. THE WICKER MAN: FINAL CUT / JURASSIC PARK 3-D – BEST RE-RELEASES. Obviously, this category doesn’t really count, as both of these films were originally released decades ago, but I can’t deny that each of them provided one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in a movie theater in 2013. This new cut of the original 1973 classic The Wicker Man adds some nuance and more musical numbers to an already great film. Most crucially, it opens with a scene of Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) praying in church, emphasizing his piousness from the very start, which enriches the events to follow. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, is quite simply my favorite movie (it has the most dinosaurs in it – I rest my case), and seeing it on a big screen again, in 3-D no less, made me fall in love with it all over again. Read More
Let’s stray from the beaten path for awhile, shall we? Instead of a review in the usual format, today I’d like to offer up thoughts on over 25 films, mostly some of my favorites, but with a few that I love to hate thrown in for good measure. Only a few of these actually work as reviews; most are free-form poetic interpretations of the feelings they brought up in me. Some are just plain silly. At any rate, all are written in the form of the ancient Japanese art of haiku. For those who don’t know, that means five syllables in the first line, seven in the next, and another five in the last, preferably with some sort of twist in the last line or, failing that, at least a sense of poetry throughout. Almost all of these were written sometime in 2005, which explains why there are three inspired by Frank Miller’s Sin City, my favorite film that year. Let’s begin with a couple of actual Japanese films:
The net is vast and / infinite. Now that we two / have merged, where to go?
– Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Tetsuo – not the / Iron Man, but a bike punk / transcends earthly life.
– Akira (1988) Read More
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
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:
BlackSwan — 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 DillahuntRead More