Check out the first substantial trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show, The Newsroom:
Yes, it looks just like Sports Night crossed with Studio 60 crossed with The West Wing. In other words, a little familiar. But I don’t care, I am pumped. Can’t wait.… [continued]
Yesterday I began my list of my Top 10 Movies from 2010. Here now are numbers 5-1!
5. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work – This documentary totally took me by surprise and completely changed the way I look at Joan Rivers. As the cameras follow Ms. Rivers for a year of her life, we see the struggles of this aging comedienne who wants, above all else, to keep working, working, working. The film gives one ample opportunities to analyze just why Ms. Rivers is so intent on remaining in the public eye, whether that be by doing stand-up in clubs, hawking merchandise on the Home Shopping Network, or appearing on Celebrity Apprentice. But whatever one’s conclusions, positive or negative, I found it impossible not to be astounded by this woman’s endurance and stamina. The film is well-crafted, and presents what I felt was an extraordinarily well-rounded picture of this iconic and polarizing figure. (Click here for my full review.)
4. Toy Story 3 — One of these days the folks at Pixar are going to make a bad movie (I’m afraid it might be Cars 2, but we’ll see…) but for now I can only relish in their unparalleled recent win-streak of amazing films: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and now Toy Story 3. This movie is simply deliriously entertaining. It’s incredibly funny and also extraordinarily poignant. While the ending certainly isn’t tragic, I nevertheless found it to be devastatingly sad. It’s a wonderfully emotional climax to the story of Woody, Buzz and the gang, and pretty much every note is exactly perfect. The voice cast is stupendous, and the animation is absolutely beautiful (as are the 3-D effects). Pixar, my hat is off to you. (Click here for my full review.)
3. Black Swan — I’ve been an admirer of Darren Aronofsky’s work for a while now, but this film made me a fan for life. I couldn’t believe I’d ever go see a film about wrestling, let alone love a film about wrestling as much as I did Mr. Aronofsky’s last film, The Wrestler (click here for my review). And I DOUBLY wouldn’t have believed I’d ever go see a film about ballet dancers, let alone have been as head-over-heels in love with one as I am with Black Swan. The film is magnificent. Natalie Portman dazzles in the lead role of Nina Sayers, the young dancer cast in the lead role of Swan Lake, who just might be losing her mind as she struggles to take her dancing to the next level. The film is viscerally intense, with an escalating what-is-going-to-happen-NEXT mania that builds to a … [continued]
It’s hard for me to a recall another film that has so bravely allowed its lead character to come off as so completely unlikable. In The Social Network‘s power-house of a first scene, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is clearly presented to us as a Grade-A, prime-cut jackass. It’s a hell of a way to start a movie!
As you are all probably aware, this arrogant Harvard undergrad is the man who will go on to become the billionaire creator of Facebook. Based on Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaire, The Social Network follows Mark from his days at Harvard through the world-wide explosion of Facebook and the eventual lawsuits brought against him by several former Harvard classmates, including the young man who had once been his closest friend.
There has been some questioning of the accuracy of The Social Network, but screenwriter Aaron Sorkin defends the film. He told Entertainment Weekly: “If we know what brand of beer Mark was drinking on a Tuesday night in October seven years ago when there were only three other people in the room, it should tell you something about how close our research sources were to the subject and to the events.” Producer Scott Rudin makes similar statements: “You can’t make untrue statements about someone without running the risk of getting sued. Look around and notice that nobody has sued us.”
While of course I myself have no idea about whether events truly unfolded the way they are depicted in The Social Network, I can say that the film FEELS real to me. All of the characters in the film — including Mark Zuckerberg — are depicted in a three-dimensional way. There aren’t easy heroes and villains in the film — most of the characters seem likable and unlikable at different points in the narrative, just as real human beings are. (This, to me, is in contrast to a film like A Beautiful Mind, in which it seemed so clear to me as a viewer that the filmmakers had shaved away any unlikable aspects to John Nash in order to create a more heroic lead for the film.)
But knowing that the parties involved strongly dispute just what went down over the course of the creation of Facebook, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin cleverly decided to embrace that ambuguity with the film’s structure. As we watch events unfold chronologically, the film regularly cuts forward in time to the depositions in the two lawsuits eventually brought against Zuckerberg. In those scenes, we see the participants debate and argue about the moments that we, the viewers, just saw occur. This is a really smart way to allow the film … [continued]
A Few Good Men is one of those movies that I saw countless times in the nineties, to the point that I knew the film so well that it bored me. But then I stopped watching it, and when I decided to pop the film into my DVD player earlier this month, it had been many years since I’d last seen it.
While there are a few moments that haven’t aged well, overall I found A Few Good Men to still be a powerhouse of a film – just phenomenally entertaining.
This film is part of Rob Reiner’s astounding run of films – This is Spinal Tap (1984), The Sure Thing (1985), Stand By Me (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), When Harry Met Sally (1989). Has any other director had such a run of such phenomenal films, one after another? And what’s really astounding is how different they all are from one another – different genres, different styles. It’s unbelievable how good all of those films are (and how well they all hold up to this day).
Take a director at the top of his game, and mix him with a screenplay by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin (adapting his own play), and you have a recipe for an amazing film. As with much of the work of Mr. Reiner and Mr. Sorkin, the story has a strong dramatic core – but it is also filled with a lot of humor.
It’s fun to watch this movie now and to see just how young Tom Cruise and Demi Moore are in this film. Cruise is just great – you can see his star-power shining through, bright and strong, in his protrayal of hot-shot young lawyer Daniel Kaffee. Moore is a little flatter, but still does well in the role of the stiff Lt. Cdr. Joe Galloway. I think this is one of her best performances. I feel the same way about Kevin Bacon. I tend to think that he’s a much better actor than Demi Moore, and there are certainly plenty of other films in which I’ve really enjoyed his performance. But still, I would argue that his role in A Few Good Men is one of his very best. I love the way he plays his relationship with Cruise’s Kaffee. There’s deep friendship, but also some rivalry and antagonism, between the two young men. In the hands of less-skilled actors, the relationship could have so easily tipped over to one side or the other – but Cruise and Bacon walk that fine line perfectly. I find their characters’ interplay to be endlessly fascinating, and one of the secret treasures of this film.
The great Kevin Pollack is amazing, as he … [continued]
So is Peter Jackson going to direct The Hobbit? Or will it be his protege Neill Bolmkamp, who directed District 9? Who knows — I just hope this mess with MGM gets sorted out soon. I’m still getting over my enormous disappointment that MGM’s financial situation resulted in Guillermo del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit films. But boy would it be great to see PJ take the helm once again…
Great new trailer is up for The Social Network, the new film about facebook directed by David Fincher and scripted by Aaron Sorkin.
So, we finally got out first glimpse at The Green Hornet and… I’m still not quite sure what to think. This film is either going to be awesome or a total catastrophe…
CHUD’s list of the Worst CGI in Film History continues, and it’s well worth your time.
Will we ever get another decent X-Men film? I loved X-Men and X2, but X3 was a crushing disappointment and the less spoken of the abominable X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the better. I hate prequels, as a rule, so when word came out last year that the next X-film would be a prequel entitled X-Men: First Class, I thought that was a big mis-step. So what now gives me hope? Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick Ass) and stars James McAvoy (Children of Dune, Atonement, Wanter) as Professor X and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) as Magneto. An ember of hope is fanned…
Are we about to finally get another decent Predator film? The first Predator is awesome — one on my favorite movies ever. But the second one (set in the future with Danny Glover as the lead) is weak, and the less spoken of the two Alien Vs. Predator films the better. But Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal’s Predators is set for release in just a few short weeks, and damn if this new trailer isn’t pretty awesome. An ember of hope is fanned…
It’s hard for me to believe that a new Planet of the Apes film is really happening. And now I read that John Lithgow and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) have joined the cast? Um, okay… An ember of hope is… well… we’ll see…… [continued]