Friday, May 1, 2015

the Directors: Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach’s films are about people of a certain age, and how they respond to the time they’ve had, and the time they have left. These ages vary – from the confused collection of college grads in Kicking and Screaming, to the fortysomethings with twentysomething hearts in While We’re Young. Isolation is another theme of his work; how one deals with the confusion of the hyper world around them. 

In discussing Baumbach’s career, I’m going to be talking a lot about time. The time expressed in the films themselves, but also how time in real life has allowed me to appreciate his work more. Rarely have I had a reversal on so many films by the same director. Proof that, as we get older, sometimes films really do get better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Character: Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper’s film and television career spanned nearly six decades, in which he delivered more than 200 roles. From loyal sons to crazed photojournalists, easy riders to drunk fathers – there was never a role too dark, or an area of the psyche left unexplored. A pioneering Method actor who trained under Lee Strasberg, Hopper was known for fully immersing himself into his work, which often caused problems, but consistently generated amazing performances. There were many roles to choose from for this post, but I do hope you enjoy my picks. As always, feel free to share your favorite Hopper roles as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Top 97 Things I Love About The Thin Red Line (that no one talks about) Part 2

A few days ago, I highlighted several things I love about Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line that I feel are rarely (if ever) discussed. Here’s the second part of the post, which will, to be clear, spoil all major plot points of the movie. So please see the movie first before reading this post. This is too good a film to have ruined in print. 

Catch up by checking out Part 1 of this post here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Top 97 Things I Love About The Thin Red Line (that no one talks about) Part 1

Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line is the best war film I’ve ever seen. I’ve always considered it one of my favorite films of all time, and in watching it for this post, I couldn’t contain my praise. So, for the first time, I’m splitting one of my “That No One Talks About” lists into two parts. Part 1 today, Part 2 later this week. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on this film. And fair warning: I’m discussing The Thin Red Line in full here. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest doing so immediately, then, if you want, coming back and checking out these posts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Character: Marcia Gay Harden

It’s no secret that, unfortunately, the film business is notoriously unkind toward women. But amongst all the horror stories and latent misogyny, it’s always very affirming when a talent like Marcia Gay Harden is able to brave through and keep her insanely impressive career going. Harden caught her first big break when she was 31, and her second, even bigger career launch, exactly 10 years later. Since then, she’s remained one of our finest working actresses. Her filmography is stacked with excellent characters, women who make whatever they’re in, that much better.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Top 10 First Date Movies

One of the best parts about getting to know someone is showing them movies I love. But in the beginning, I’ve found that it’s important to be slightly cautious. On date two, for example, I wouldn’t suggest watching Cries and Whispers while you eat a nice dinner you’ve prepared (not that I’ve ever done that or anything). Instead, below are a handful of great films that, in my experience, are good at easing your way into the movie side of a relationship. Some are romantic, others are funny, and some are just plain fun. No matter the genre, whether you watch them on your first date or fifth, I’m confident that they’ll all go over well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In Character: Frank Vincent

Frank Vincent is one of the premiere mafiosos currently in the film game. For nearly 35 years he’s brooded and beat his way all over contemporary classic cinema. With notable tough guy work in various Spike Lee Joints and Martin Scorsese Pictures, it’s impossible to look at Vincent and not be intimidated by him. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on Vincent’s career (and the embedded clips). When you’re done checking out the post, I expect you to go home and get your shine box.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top 5 Uses of Marvin Gaye’s Music in Film

Yesterday was the great Marvin Gaye’s birthday, and I was reminded yet again that, for some very strange reason, there has never been a movie made about him. Gaye has been my favorite musician since I was 15. He lived such a beautiful and tortured life; his story is so naturally cinematic, it just begs to be given a worthy film treatment. So while we wait for a much deserved filmic version of Gaye’s life, here’s a look back at the films that have utilized his soulful sound the best.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Top 15 Films of the 2010s (so far)

We’re a few months past the halfway point of the 2010s, and I thought it’d be fun to take a look back over the past five years and highlight which films I’ve loved the most. It’s funny, while I typically remember 2010 as a weak year for films, after drafting this list, that’s clearly not the case. Most of these movies are about pain. Others are about love. Few, but some, are just plain damn fun.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Character: Tom Noonan

We all know Tom Noonan. Whether he’s masked by monster make-up, shadowing Philip Seymour Hoffman, pulling a cameo in a Michael Mann flick, or terrorizing young women, Tom Noonan is a character actor whose face is impossible to forget. His career is full of such excellent choices. Large roles in tiny films, or tiny roles in large films, Noonan always delivers with his unique brand of restraint. I just love watching this guy work.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Top 10 R-Rated Films Every Kid Should See

Two things to make very clear about this post: I don’t have children and I have a very liberal attitude about kids watching mature movies. My parents let me watch whatever I wanted by the time I was 10 years old, but I was different. When other kids were talking about how big that actresses boobs were or how awesome it was to watch that guy’s head explode, I was trying to figure out why the director chose to move the camera that specific way, or why they held that shot for that long. Movies were my education in so many ways, and I’m glad I was exposed to them at such an early age.

And while all kids are different, with different standards and sensitivities, I truly believe most children would benefit from watching the movies below. All these films have something profound to offer, including potentially poignant conversations with parents. I hope you appreciate my picks, many of which inspired great conversations with my own parents when I was young. And do feel free to share your choices as well.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wild Tales

You’re on a plane. Minding your own business, flipping through a magazine. A man sitting next to you strikes up a conversation. You make idle talk – “Business or pleasure?” – those sorts of things. He tells you what he does for a living, and through this bit of information, you both soon realize that you have an acquaintance in common. You used to date someone who this man offended a long time ago. How odd. The conversation continues, and a woman sitting close by chimes in. She knows this acquaintance as well. So does the dweeb in the back of the plane. So does… seemingly everyone on the plane. What’s going on and where are we going? And how in the ever loving hell did we get here?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In Character: John Doman

If you’ve immersed yourself in pop culture over the past 15 years (particularly in television), then you’re undoubtedly aware of John Doman and his effortless command. Seriously, few modern performers possess an overall demeanor more intimidating than John Doman. This guy has the tough-as-balls, perpetual hardass persona down pat. When John Doman shows up, you know trouble is close by, and I have yet to grow tired of it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Top 10 Janusz Kaminski Films

If you’ve seen a film directed by Steven Spielberg in the past 18 years, then you’re familiar with Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography. Kaminski has lensed every live-action Spielberg film since Schinder’s List, netting six Oscar nominations and two wins in the process. Best known for his use of stark shadows, harsh white light, and interior fog, Kaminski is a master of atmosphere. The man knows how to put us in the world of a film as well as the best of them.

Monday, March 2, 2015

In Character: Laura Linney

Laura Linney is one of the best, most dependable performers in the business. Her career has been repeatedly lauded on film, television and the stage, and, thankfully, has no signs of slowing down. Linney is the type of actress you see a movie for. No matter what it is. You may not fully like the final product, but you know that the simple fact of her being in the film will automatically make it worth it.