...or the amazing chronicles of everything that I like and stuff.
Here is a fantastic trailer for Edgar Wright’s THE WORLD’S END. Personally I don’t need to see anything else in terms of trailers, just the whole damn thing please.
Michale Mohan’s SAVE THE DATE looks utterly lovely and is available today at the iTune store and various other On Demand outlets. It’ll be in theaters later this year. I’ll be watching it tonight. Please do things right and don’t download this small independent film illegally, because you’re not a complete douchebag.
The trailer for Wong Kar Wai’s five years in the making kung fu epic The Grandmasters delivers on it’s promise. This looks great!
Fascinating interview by David Poland with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. It’s so great to hear those guys open up about their work. There is a segment where Lana Wachowski (incredibly articulate and intelligent woman) talks about, for her, the meaning behind the Matrix movies, and it’s really great to hear her perspective on them. A great watch!
I don’t know where to start.
It is funny that, earlier this week, I saw Leos Carax’s brilliant HOLY MOTORS and tonight I have seen Cloud Atlas. They are both movies that refuse to adhere to the conventions of classic film narrative. And yet, in there own way, they are linear. I did not find it hard at all to follow Holy Motors, only fascinating, and I can say the same about Cloud Atlas. Now I should stop drawing parallels between the two movies because in all truths they are very different, and I have covered Holy Motors a little right HERE, so let’s shine the spotlight on Cloud Atlas, shall we?
I don’t know where to start.
Cloud Atlas is magnificent. It’s a symphony. It’s a spralling, thrilling, intimate, funny, harrowing epic about the beauty, bravery and consequences of the choices we make. And it is epic. The scope here is almost limitless. The movie tells six disparate stories, each belonging to a different time period, some past, some present and some future. All the stories are good. They differ in tone and that could have created a mess of a movie but it does not. The cuts from one story to another are calculated. This movie is a marvel of editing, in fact. The movie flows beautifully, cutting from hundreds of years into the future to a conspiracy mystery in the 70s without betraying either storyline’s scenes and how they are meant to resonate with the audience. The crowd I saw this with laughed at all the right moments (some parts of this movie are incredibly funny) and remained silently enthralled exactly when they were meant to. The movie clocks in at about 2hours and 40mins, I was not bored for one minute of it.
The actors are all having a field day here. Each are playing multiple roles, sometimes villains, sometimes heroes, sometimes females, sometimes males, sometimes black, sometimes white. It is a brilliant device just in terms of tying the stories together but it’s also a fabulous opportunity to see some great actors really strech their wings. Jim Broadbent is astonishing in this movie, and Tom Hanks has not felt this relevent since Saving Private Ryan (not that he hasn’t been good since, but this is different, this showcases everything this guy can do, which is a lot). Halle Berry, who has not had much luck with some of the projects she’s attached herself to over the years, shines here. She has no problems holding her own with Mr Hanks. I could list all the actors and sing their virtues but really, there isn’t a sour note in the bunch and one of the great joys of this movie is that you get so much bang for your buck if your a fan of any one of them (Hugo Weaving as a mean nurse is worth the price of admission, trust me).
The movie is directed by a trio of talented directors. Andy and Lana Wachowski, who brought us Bound, the Matrix trilogy, and 2008’s amazing and criminally underrated Speed Racer, and Tom Tykwer, who gave us the now-cult Run Lola Run, the beautiful Heaven, the somehow hated by some but loved by me Perfume as well as many others. I am less familiar with Tykwer than I am the Wachowskis, whom I absolutely love. They are risk takers and have without a doubt some of the most original voices in Hollywood right now. No one takes chances like these two. The first twenty minutes of Speed Racer are a masterful feat of storytelling. There are very few truly artistic voices who have managed to work within the studio system, which is a true shame, but there they are, pushing and pushing to take the artform to places it’s never been. And Cloud Atlas, while not as showy as The Matrix movies or Speed Racer, sees the directors (I’m including Tykwer here) allowing the possibilities of narrative story-telling to stretch and take us to such fresh territories it’s invigorating. Six stories, interwoven on a huge canvas like a kaleidoscopic tapestry, and yet it’s cohesive, it makes sense, and it never sacrifices tone or emation for the sake of a good editing choice or a clever transition.
People bemoan the state of cinema these days, what with all the sequels and remakes and television show adaptations and videogame movies. People say there are no original movies anymore. This, in a year where we got The Cabin in the woods, The Raid, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the southern wild, Looper, Holy Motors and now Cloud Atlas.
The great movies are out there, passionate artists with exciting visions are working hard to make them, and all that is required of us, our only duty as film lovers, is to see these works of art. That’s it. If you want more good movies, all you have to do is see good movies. How great is that? Just let the money people know that you like it when visionaries are taking the wheel and doing something new.
Go see Cloud Atlas this weekend. There are a hundred reasons to see this movie and I would list them all for you, but I don’t know where to start.
Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN is about men, in rooms, talking. It has, seemingly, every good actor ever, and one of the greatest american directors alive today, one of the best composers in the business, a cinematographer at the top of his game, and a fantastic script. And it’s about men in rooms talking.
I didn’T repeat that last bit to discourage you from seeing the movie. I loved the movie. It has one great dialogue scene followed by another, for two hours. And what’s more, the stakes are high. These dialogues matter. Great men are talking, and their words will shape history. It’s riveting.
It’s also a beautifully shot movie. Janusz Kaminski has been Spielberg’s director of photography for well over a decade now, and I understand with the beard refuses to let him go. Since there was not much in the way of artificial lighting in 1865, Kaminski uses natural light whenever he can and what results is often absolutely beautiful.
Spielberg is all subtlety in his camera work here. It just flows with the dialogues, pushing in slightly when needed, panning softly accross a room to find a specific reaction, often just standing almost still, almost, like a child listening to every word of a wonderful story.
John William’s score is also very subdued. If a lonely piano echoing a few perfect notes to accentuate a moment is all that is needed, this is what Williams will go for. No imperial march to be found here.
All of this in the service of the words. Words given to today’s most capable actors. There isn’t a sour note in the bunch, of course, and it would take days to list all the great performances, but I have to mention that, as expected, Daniel Day Lewis makes an astonishing Lincoln. From his posture to his frail yet powerful voice, to his conviction and his incredible charm, to his weariness, this is another performance for the books by this incredible performer. And wouldn’t you know it, Tommy Lee Jones shows up and steals every scene he’s in. He is fantastic and his character (Thaddeus Stevens) is so well written I found myself eagerly anticipating when he would show up next, and giddy whenever he did.
LINCOLN is a long movie, but it kept me engaged and I found pleasure in every scene, just spying on these great men trying their damndest to change their nation for the better, while lesser, but no less capable men try their damndest to stop them. It makes for great cinema.
Absolutely lovely deleted scene from Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. I love the character of Steve Rogers (Captain America) so it’s really nice to see this.
Embed courtesy of Latinoreview.
Here is a trailer for Ben Wheatley’s SIGHTSEERS.
It looks fucking great.
The new SKYFALL trailer is here and, if you ask me, it’s everything a trailer for a new James Bond nmovie needs to be. What a blast! November can’t come soon enough!
I’ve been wanting to write about Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts Of The Southern Wild for two days now, but it’s super daunting. I’m afraid I won’t do it justice. I’ve never seen a film like it. I admire not only its ambition and bravery, but the fact that, beyond these great qualities, it succeeds at everything it aims for. Terrible movies can be ambitious and brave, too, but Beasts Of The Southern Wild is great.
The razor-sharp movie focuses on Hushpuppy and Wink, her dad, living in a small community in the swamp lands of Louisiana, in abject poverty. These two performances are electrifying and I’m convinced I won’t see better this year. Hushpuppy is played by a young girl named Quvenzhané Wallis and she is the heartbeat and voice of the film. Her narration is moving, beautifully written and performed, and makes the everyday world around her seem both magical and perfectly normal (for her). She is amazing, but never better than when she shares scenes with her on screen dad, Wink, played with heartbreaking, scary, passionate accuracy by Dwight Henry. Together they are riveting to watch. The father is an extremely complicated character and I was never sure if he was an amazing or a terrible father. In the end I would lean towards amazing, but there is no denying what a flawed human being the man is. There are moments in the movie where Hushpuppy gets very angry with her dad, and the two of them are absolutely stunning in those scenes, and the way the father handles his daughter’s disappointment in him is, well, it’s fascinating.
The camera very rarely looks down at Hushpuppy, instead showing the world from her height, her point of you, which helps us understand what a few feet less can do to a world we’ve become accustomed to witness through our adult eyes. It’s mostly handhelp but rarely shaky or annoying. Cinematographer Ben Richardson does an amazing job if keeping the film alive and energetic without relying on cheap tricks. He takes the time to let the camera linger on something when it’s called for, which is often. The movie takes place in a world I am completely unfamiliar with. I’m a kid from the suburbs, I moved to the city and live in an apartment and I honestly can’t complain about my situation. Its heaven compared to what’s going on three quarters of everywhere else. So to see where this community lives, a place they refuse to leave even though it is threaten by floods, and to see them celebrate life and make the best of what a guy like me would call a really shitty situation (even though to them it’s really not, and a fair point could be made that they’re right) is fascinating.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild is a drama. It’s a fascinating, eyes-glued-to-the-screen movie about people trying to live. There isn’t one single known actor in the film and yet everyone is perfect, I’ve wondered if they didn’t just go to Louisiana (they did, it’s all shot there) and cast the people living in a similar community. It’s possible, I guess. In any case, the cast is riveting.
There is also a hint of fantasy in the movie, and some truly beautiful creature effect work. It all fits completely within the film’s micro-universe and narratively speaking, never seems out of place or irrelevant. Beware: there’s also some graphic imagery. There are some dead animals, victims of the conditions of the harsh land they live in, and the camera doesn’t shy away from showing you that this is a part of Hushpuppy’s reality.
I also have to speak about the truly wonderful score by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin (the film’s director). I have no idea who these guys are (they both scored a couple of short films before but this is their first feature length work) but the music in this film is perfect. It feels very New Orleans-y, with beautifully festive melodies and quieter contemplative moments and, when it’s called for, gloom and foreboding. It’s a score that always complements what you are seeing, never overshadows it.
Benh Zeitlin has done everything right with this movie. It is harrowing and beautiful and wonderful and often truly moving and at times even funny and, even though it’s different than maybe what you’re used to, I urge you to give it a chance. Beasts Of The Southern Wild is pure cinema set free, wild and daring and meaningful. That’s what art is supposed to do.
There will be no greater film news today.
Find more on this HERE.
Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie has a new trailer out and it’s much much better than the first one.
This made me giggle…
This wins best news of the day. Joe Cornish is the director of my favorite 2011 movie, Attack The Block. Any announcement involving him is great, but RUST actually sounds amazing. It’s a graphic novel by Royden Lopp, which which Joe Cornish will adapt for the big screen, and you can read more about it HERE.
I found out about this at comingsoon.