‘ahems and ahahs’

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Spider

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Erin and I had breakfast this morning and we were randomly channel surfing when we stumbled upon a film that I’ve wanted to see for a long time, David Cronenburg’s Spider. The premise is as follows: Dennis Clegg is in his thirties and lives in a halfway house for the mentally ill in London. I would provide a bit more but it would spoil the film. Cronenburg has obviously been reading some Beckett as the film relies heavily on many of the nuances and charms that Beckett-like dramatic pieces contain [minimalism, silence, suffering, tragedy, solitude]. Spider_15

The film follows Ralph Fiennes, Spider, as he works through memories of his childhood life, particularly his relationship with his mother. An oedipal-psychoanalytic analysis begs to be made in this film. The movie is a bit slow, but methodical in the way it builds up to the final thirty minutes of the film. There are only a handful of actors and for the most part it is a quiet film that gives Ralph much room to silently explore the depths of this sad and lonely pathetic character. The reason for his isolation, misery, and mental illness is finally revealed in the end. It’s a fairly dark film, so be prepared for some sadness. Well worth your time though, enjoy.

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Written by thebeliever07

May 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

“Live long and prosper.”

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poster_star_trek_xiThis is one of the most amazing films I’ve seen in a long, long, while. For those who doubted J.J. Abrams, I feel bad about you and your lack of faith. This is just the (re)boot that Star Trek needs. The film is fast paced full of action and ends perfectly. My only complaint is the way that certain cliche quotable lines were inserted into the film. I understand why they were used, they were necessary as a type of homage to the original and the influence of all previous Star Trek franchise related media, still they felt forced and simply for the sake of making fans realize that this new film acknowledges the past. But considering all that could be wrong with this film, I’m very pleased with the result. The casting was perfect and dead on. Once the first action scene starts, it does not let up. The pacing was perfect and well executed, worth your time and your money. (Haha). Enjoy. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

May 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Posted in film, reviews

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2009 Oscar Picks

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BEST PICTURE
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] Frost/Nixon
[   ] Milk
[   ] The Reader
[X] Slumdog Millionaire

DIRECTOR
[   ] David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
[   ] Gus Van Sant, Milk
[   ] Stephen Daldry, The Reader
[X] Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
[   ] Frozen River
[   ] Happy-Go-Lucky
[X] In Bruges
[   ] Milk
[   ] WALL-E

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] Doubt
[X] Frost/Nixon
[   ] The Reader
[   ] Slumdog Millionaire

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
[   ] Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
[   ] Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
[   ] Sean Penn, Milk
[   ] Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[X] Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
[X] Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
[   ] Angelina Jolie, Changeling
[   ] Melissa Leo, Frozen River
[   ] Meryl Streep, Doubt
[   ] Kate Winslet, The Reader

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
[   ] Josh Brolin, Milk
[   ] Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
[   ] Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
[X] Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
[   ] Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
[   ] Amy Adams, Doubt
[X] Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
[   ] Viola Davis, Doubt
[   ] Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
[   ] The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
[   ] The Class (France)
[   ] Departures (Japan)
[   ] Revanche (Austria)
[X] Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

ANIMATED FEATURE
[   ] Bolt
[   ] Kung Fu Panda
[X] WALL-E

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
[   ] The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
[   ] Encounters at the End of the World
[   ] The Garden
[   ] Man on Wire
[X] Trouble the Water

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
[   ] The Conscience of Nhem En
[   ] The Final Inch
[X] Smile Pinki
[   ] The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

SHORT FILM – ANIMATED
[   ] La Maison En Petits Cubes
[   ] Lavatory – Lovestory
[   ] Oktapodi
[X] Presto
[   ] This Way Up

SHORT FILM – LIVE ACTION
[   ] Auf Der Strecke (On the Line)
[   ] Manon on the Asphalt
[   ] New Boy
[   ] The Pig
[X] Spielzeugland (Toyland)

ORIGINAL SCORE
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] Defiance
[   ] Milk
[X] Slumdog Millionaire
[   ] WALL-E

ORIGINAL SONG
[   ] “Down to Earth” – WALL-E
[X] “Jai Ho” – Slumdog Millionaire
[   ] “O Saya” – Slumdog Millionaire

ART DIRECTION
[   ] Changeling
[X] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] The Duchess
[   ] Revolutionary Road

CINEMATOGRAPHY
[   ] Changeling
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] The Reader
[X] Slumdog Millionaire

COSTUME DESIGN
[   ] Australia
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[X] The Duchess
[   ] Milk
[   ] Revolutionary Road

MAKEUP
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[X] Hellboy II: The Golden Army

SOUND MIXING
[   ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] Slumdog Millionaire
[   ] WALL-E
[X] Wanted

SOUND EDITING
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] Iron Man
[   ] Slumdog Millionaire
[   ] WALL-E
[X] Wanted

VISUAL EFFECTS
[X] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] Iron Man

FILM EDITING
[X] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[   ] The Dark Knight
[   ] Frost/Nixon
[   ] Milk
[   ] Slumdog Millionaire

Written by thebeliever07

February 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

The Film Experience

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Its Oscar season and most of the quality films for this year come out during December and January. I’ve watched a number of films this Christmas break, some are contenders and some are not, here is the list:

  • Milk*
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • Gran Torino
  • Slumdog Millionaire*
  • Che*
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button*
  • Wendy & Lucy*
  • Seven Pounds
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Defiance
  • Yes Man
  • Bedtime Stories
  • Humboldt County
  • Frost / Nixon*

UPDATE: * next to films that are must see

What a way to spend the Christmas break, at work and at home watching films getting away from papers and paper writing and editing, and ugh, it starts all over again tomorrow. There are many quality films out in theatres right now, well worth checking out.

Miscellany

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So I finished my paper. It turns out it was not a minimum of 20, it was 15-20 pages. Sadly I only managed to get to the end of page 14, but it is a quality paper and I’m pleased. I would not have been able to endure the past week without Miss Erin so a hearty thank you to her, huzzah!

I’m done for the term and now I can relax a bit.

I’ve watched a number of films the past few days, distractions for the paper I did not want to write at the time.

MILK

milkposter08

Starring Sean Penn and James Franco, this film centers around Harvey Milk one of the California’s first openly gay politicians. Set in the 70’s, the film is entertaining and it does open you eyes, as it should, to the difficulties that minorities face and the type of blatant bigotry and hatred that exists in our society, something we’re still dealing with. I use the word minorities, b/c this film touches on  number of issues (union, feminist rights, racial, etc)  not simply those that affect homosexuals.

This will definitely be an Oscar contender, whether it wins will be another matter all together. Penn’s performance tugs at the heart and he really gets inside of this character. Paul, as much as you hate homosexuals who meet an untidy end, usually through a form of extreme violence and/or degradation of some kind, this cannot be avoided in the film as there is history that they must follow. Harvey Milk was brutally murdered at work one day in City Hall. It is a difficult scene to watch, but I think it’s important to show that this type of thing occurred and still does to that part of our society and we should be attuned to these types of social issues, it effects all of us when it effects any part of our society.

Gran Torino

gran_torino_poster

Directed and Starring Clint Eastwood, this film is about connections and a clash of cultures.  Clint stars as Wally, a recent widower who is unable to connect with his family, yet somehow through a series of neighborhood events, becomes caught up inside a gang war. His next door neighbors are from South-East Asia and its a film that I think beautifully portrays the misconceptions that people have about other cultures.  Forces you to admit that we all have these social stigmas and bias tendencies towards culture and people that we are unfamiliar with. I want to share more but its a short film and to reveal more would ruin it. This will also be an Oscar contender, though it is unlikely to win. One criticism is that the relationship between Clint’s character and his next door neighbors occurs a bit too rapidly, but for the sake of a film they cannot avoid it without stretching out the length of time that occurs in the film. Worth checking out though, will not be a waste of your money at the theatre, will leave you smiling. One of the best parts is the old 1940’s racial slang that Clint puts into his character Wally, most of it is offensive but in a way that you sort of just grin and bear, as it is from a generation that was much different from ours.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

daytheearthstoodstillposter

Finally a role that allows Keanu Reeves to really make use of his dead-pan stare acting technique. A re-working of a film that probably should have been left alone to begin with, it is still entertaining. There is a large ECO-message that works and yet sort of feels a bit too in your face a times, as if we’re being hit with a hammer to confront these issues. Earth must redeem itself and prove that it is worth saving, this is the essential story line, we must explain ourselves to the aliens who have come to destroy us. The effects of this film are spectacular and its a fast paced thriller, full of action. What to watch out for: Will Smith’s son, Jaden who plays the most horribly precocious child since Dakota Phanning, watching the U.S. Government behave in the most absurd ways, continually making stupid mistake after stupid mistake, oh wait, maybe thats not something thats too far off from the truth. If you’re wanting something fun, its worth checking out, though probably better off waiting for the rental. The best part of the film is sadly the shortest, John Cleese as a scientist, in one of his most serious roles, it’s good times. This film is much like the recent adaptation of H.G. Wells’s War of the World, but wait, while that film was kind of shitty in large part to Tom Cruise’s under-acting, this film has all the fun and action of that film, minus the Cruise, just insert Keannu, and as shitty as he is as an actor he’s much better than Cruise.

2666

Now that the Christmas break is here and I have some time to relax, I shall be jumping into my Christmas Read, and it is a large one. Roberto Bolano’s 2666 a sprawling story of Academics in a hunt to track down a reclusive author along the likes of (Salinger, or Pynchon), interestingly enough this is written in a very Pynchonian way, has some echoes, maybe not as playful, more somber, but still very much a story about lives that cross one another and stories built upon stories inside of stories. Divided into 5 parts, at a massive 896, I’m only about 115 pages in, but loving every moment. To be reviewed later. Cheers.

In Search of a Theme, Lost in Time?

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My first blog posting here at wordpress. I’ve maintained a blog over at blogger: http://theemperoroficecream.blogspot.com/ “The Crazier Letters”. I am considering a blog theme for this new blog, something to focus on, which will exclude the more personal aspects of my life. I have not yet decided if I will be maintaining the previous blog as two blogs could easily become quite overwhelming. My friend Casey over at Biscuits & Gravy, has said that he would miss reading my personal views on film and literature.

What I might do with this particular blog is focus in on just reviews of film and/or literature. Those are two of my passions in life, what would be excluded, personal postings about work, school, and/or life in general. Those types of posts are only interesting to those who really know me, I think I might do well to post in a more professional manner about literature and film. Still figuring it out, but until then, enjoy this random posting and feel free to share your thoughts about where you think this blog should lead.

Written by thebeliever07

July 26, 2008 at 1:10 pm

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