Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Part of what makes Steve McQueen’s new film, 12 Years a Slave, so great is its eclectic cast. Throughout the film, familiar faces pop in and out of scenes for brief periods of time, proving that it isn’t the amount of screentime that matters to an actor, but rather, what they do with the time they’re given. From superstars to virtual unknowns, here’s a breakdown of the talented people who help make 12 Years a Slave one of the very best films of the year.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
But there’s more.
In fact, when you measure Scott’s entire career, you see that he’s dedicated his craft to tell all kinds of stories. Big and small, war-torn and love-ravaged. There’s simply no topic Ridley Scott is shy of tackling. Over the years, Scott’s dedication for reinvention has made way for a number of substandard films. When making such large genre leaps from picture to picture, missteps are bound to occur. But thankfully, Scott will always be remembered for his achievements. Those genre-bending masterpieces that continue to change the game.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
This isn’t the first scene of 12 Years a Slave, but it’s the one where I knew for certain that I was in the midst of a masterful film. The scene occurs shortly into the picture, moments after freed and famed musician Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is kidnapped and sold into slavery. During his hellacious boat journey to the south, Solomon angrily describes his confusion while Hans Zimmer’s thundering music underscores the horror, and Joe Walker’s repetitive editing make it clear that there is no escape.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
That’s the notion beautifully realized in J.C. Chandor’s harrowing tale All Is Lost. The film stars Robert Redford, and only Robert Redford. We never learn a thing about him as a man, including his name. We have no idea why he is 1,700 nautical miles away from shore, on a sailboat, alone. We haven’t a clue of his marital status, number of children, or professional occupation. All we know is that he is a man lost, fighting to survive.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Is David Fincher’s Se7en the most disturbing, yet endlessly rewatchable film ever made? That was my main thought while watching the film recently. Here are a handful of other things that popped into my mind – moments rarely discussed that help make Se7en one of cinema’s most effective thrillers.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Shows currently on the air were not considered here. Why? True Blood, that’s why. If I made this list soon after True Blood finished its third season, it would be near the top. But as it stands now, True Blood wouldn’t crack the Top 30. A show isn’t over ‘til it’s over.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
So far, 2013 has fared pleasantly in the middle. Moments from Short Term 12 and Upstream Color caused me to get a little emotional, while Fruitvale Station and Captain Phillips had me bawling. Below are 10 films that get tears out of me everytime I watch them. For a nice change of pace, I’ve split the tears into two categories: films that make me cry because of their sadness, and others because of the happiness they evoke.
Please be forewarned that this post contains many spoilers. I hope you enjoy the list, and please do feel free to share the films that get you watery eyed.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
There’s a fine class of actors that Spike Lee keeps in his pocket. People he can rely on to deliver, no matter the size of the part. Likewise the Coen brothers, who write with a specific actor in mind, all but knowing that they will accept the part because it’s a… Coen brothers movie. But few people have the rare distinction of being in the pocket of both the Coens and Spike Lee. That’s the effect of a John Turturro performance. Whether he’s the wiseass or the moron, the crook or the cop, the ill fated or the hero, you know that when John Turturro appears in the role call, you’re in for something worthy and oddly enjoyable.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
The beauty of Cuarón’s films is that although they vary drastically in subject matter, there’s no denying that an Alfonso Cuarón film is indeed just that. Much of this is thanks to Cuarón’s longtime friend and collaborator, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has shot all but one of Cuarón’s films. Their work together, matched with Cuarón’s audacious storytelling, have made for some of the finest films of recent years.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The very extended opening shot of the film sets up the entire story. High in the limitless depths of space, astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on a space walk mission to fix a portion of a shuttle. Stone’s commander, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is right there with her, cracking jokes about days past. Soon into their mission, satellite debris destroys their ship and kills the rest of the crew, leaving Stone (who is on her first ever space mission) and Kowalski (who is on his last), to fight for themselves.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Leave it to Steven Soderbergh to describe the abilities of a great actress so succinctly and accurately. Catherine Keener is the queen of portraying neurotic confidence. Her characters rarely have it all together, yet they put up this great façade of false assurance. But there’s more. In fact, Keener has proved to be just as effective in gentler roles, standing in the background, lending a kind word when necessary. Forceful or quiet, manipulative or kind, Kenner can simply play it all.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Enough Said is Holofcener’s fifth feature film, following the accurate desperation of Please Give and the on-the-surface hopelessness of Friends with Money. Those adjectives don’t describe the films, per se, but rather the mentality of the characters living within them. Words I’d use to describe Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the lead of Enough Said, are blindly content and unknowingly eager. Eva is a private massage therapist living in L.A. who’s dreading the final weeks before her only daughter goes to college. Eva is a lot like the other women in Holofcener’s films, which means she’s happy where she’s at in life, if no other reason than she’s used to it.