Monday, January 30, 2012

The Descendants... why wait for a theatre near you?

It's a shame when these artistic and beautiful films get pushed out of the way for Hollywood crap like One for the Money or Underworld: Awakenings, but in all fairness I have not yet seen the other aforementioned, and I am only using intuition to assume they are crap. So far I have not failed myself too often with such intuition.

But that is what took place for this latest Alexander Payne movie that was picked up by Fox Searchlight (famous independent branch of Fox known for some great films, but often scrutinized). For a movie released in early November(limited release), and received to such critical acclaim that it is currently sitting at 90% fresh on, it is down right shocking that you barely hear mention of it in passing? Not on radio, not on TV, and not even on the streets.

So finally this weekend a local, "newer" style theatre(i.e. Stadium seating, etc. all the frills) picked up "The Descendants", and not a minute too soon from this movie-goers humble opinion.

(continue below) This powerful movie, powerful being a word that is often over or misused in the film industry but should have been held exclusive for a movie such as this; was yet just another masterpiece to the Alexander Payne repertoire. Breaking so vividly on the scene as a Screenwriter/Director to be reckoned with in 2004 after having huge success with "Sideways"(97% and a few years previous with "About Schmidt"(85% This is Paynes first return to the Tri-role of Producer/Screenwriter/Director since, and let me be the first to say, it was worth the wait. Although, that is somewhat of a lie, as my wife was actually the first one to relay the sentiment that if only all artists took the time to put out such a wonderful product rather than give into the pressures of the powers that be, there would be a lot less crap out there on the scene today.

But it is only amongst that crap that you can fully appreciate such a delicately crafted film.

Without giving away too much, this movie starts out with a thrill seeking mother of two daughters getting hurt in a power boating accident. It is through this that her husband begins to have to re evaluate what is truly important to him in his life, and for him to find a way to tie his family back together, which had been slowly slipping away from him. Through the twists and turns of this sometimes hysterical story, Payne does an amazing job pulling your heart strings in different directions, between sympathy, laughter and finally right back into sadness.

Amazing performance as always from seasoned actors George Clooney, Beau Bridges, Matt Lillard, Robert Forster, and Judy Greer, but the true stars were the new-comer children actors who stole the show. Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, playing Clooneys daughters, as well as Nick Krause playing the comedic boyfriend, were not only genuinely believable, but they were downright impressive. Much kudos to the casting of this already well written and directed movie.

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This film is just further proof if you take Hollywood out of the picture(no pun intended), things can only become better. If this had been a major box office release, it would have been shot all wrong, it would have been cast entirely improperly, and it would have been half the film it ended up being.

I'm looking forward to future contributions from Mr. Payne in which he has full control of creative direction, and if it takes another 7 and a half years I am fine with it. Someone once said, and a million have since repeated "good things come to those who wait". I'm starting to believe this I think. The only thing you shouldn't wait for is to see this flick.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summer Movie Series #1... Find out what you should be watching in the coming months!

BIG SCREEN!: This is my summer series preview number one(March-May), where I am gonna give you my box office Bash,Sleeper and Bust. Bash being the sure fire can't miss box office success, Sleeper being the one nobody saw coming, and Bust being the movie you might have been excited for, but ultimately is going to let you down.

Welcome back to Jump Street!

The Bashes: 1. 21 Jump Street (March 16th)- A sleaker Jonah Hill, and new side of Channing Tatum we've never seen before leads me to believe there maybe some chemistry here,
2. Five Year Engagement (April 27th)- It seems like every couple years Jason Segal puts out a can't miss romantic comedy, this time he is teamed up with Emily Blunt and I don't see this not getting good reviews from the outside looking in.,
3. Men in Black 3(May 25th)- Will Smith doesn't know the meaning of failure, and with a cameo from original cast member Tommy Lee Jones as well as Josh Brolin, this looks like a cool take on a story line that seemed to be at a dead end till I saw the trailer.
The Sleepers: 1. Hunger games (March 23rd)- I definitely see the potential for me to be wrong here, but at the sametime I could see this Lionsgate production being a kick ass adventure Sci-Fi flick. With a story line that looks like it resembles Brave New World meets Bladerunner I can't help but salivate at the potential of this storyline.
2. Project X (March 2nd)- Sure to cause controversy, this Todd Phillips(Road trip, Old School, The Hangover) goes back to the well of drunken debauchery and teenage angst. It appears to be shot in the new style of real time mockumentary style much like Blair Witch, Catfish and Cloverfield.
3. The Dictator (May 11th)- Without doubt Sacha Baron Cohen will once again push boundaries in his film mocking what resembles a Middle Eastern Dictator. It does not appear as if this is anything but a scripted satire in stark contrast to his live mockumentary style cinema he put forth with Borat and Bruno. Still, maybe a change was what was needed for Cohen to reach a broader range of comedy fans; as Borats and Brunos general consensus was love/hate.
The Busts: 1. American Reunion (April 6th)- Let this saga die where it should have, with the horrendous contribution that was "American Wedding". Still, I'll probably rent this movie out of pure nostalgia as I was a contemporary of the American Pie Series... but still. Hears to no Tara Reid... wait,er...,
2. Wrath of the Titans (March 30th)- With maybe the exception of Ghost Rider 2(releasing in February), has there never been a movie that left you wondering: Why make a sequel? The original remake of Clash of the Titans was so forgettable that I honestly wouldn't remember it if not for this sequel. Excitement level=non-existant.
3. The Avengers (May 4th)- I am so torn on this. I loved the new Hulk, I loved both of the Iron Man contributions. And I really enjoyed Captain America despite its hokie nature. But Thor was disappointing and if we have learned anything, it's that just loading a movie with super stars does not always equal success, sometimes leaves the viewer feeling confused or muddled. No Ed Norton as Hulk, replaced by the talented Mark Ruffalo. I'm setting hopes to just that... hopeful, but keeping the bar low as to not get too crushed when the movie fails to meet this comic book fans expectations. Sorry Marvel, I'm playing wait and see.
Coming Soon: Bash, Sleeper and Bust summer series number two (June-July) and End of Summer number three (August-September)

CABLE: America's Book of Secrets/History 2, Saturdays at 10pm. Usually I just critique movies you can watch on Cable, Rental or the Big Screen on this blog, however I wanted to pay homage to something as cynical as me, a show about conspiracy theories. This Saturday, January 28th the second episode of H2's book of Secrets airs with an episode on the Freemason's. The first episode; "The White House" can be seen by going to History Channels website and clicking on full episodes of H2 shows and is well worth the effort of finding it.

VIDEO: Check back later in the week, upcoming review of "50/50" coming! Haven't had the time to rent it yet even though I fully planned on writing this blog. Booo!