Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
The Book of Eli
The latest film from the Hughes Brothers plays like "The Road" meets "Mad Max" with stunning cinematography and well choreographed fight scenes added to the mix. While the Hughes may work at a deliberate pace (five films over 17 years), their attention to detail pays off in a fast paced film that takes on religion and responsibility without becoming overwrought or belligerent.
Denzel Washington gets back on track to A-List status (after several clunkers: Man on Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123) and shows he has some action star chops. The cast is filled with a strong array of talent from Gary Oldman and Jennifer Beals to Ray Stevenson and Mila Kunis.
Washington stars as Eli, a man walking west with a bible in his possession. The scenery is scorched and bleak - the result of nuclear fallout 30 years prior to the film's time frame. Eli enters a town, which are few and far between, run by Oldman, who is searching for a bible. Oldman wants to utilize the book's "powers" to expand his empire. While the post-apocalyptic premise is old hat in the movie industry, the Hughes instill some fresh air into the staid plot. The resolution even pays homage to a Japanese staple. See it.
Tom Ford has made the jump from American fashion design to movie direction and he has done so with great aplomb. His first feature is saturated with keen composition and each shot is reminiscent of a fashion ad. Each shot, however, contains reverence and poise - a depth that most ads lack. Colin Firth is transformative as George: a gay, middle-aged man in the 1960s who has lost his lover (Matthew Goode) and struggles to maintain his composure amidst an empty bed and an emptier heart. The film is a juxtaposition of present day strife, memories of happier times, and George's morbid dreams and fantasies of Jim's death.
I really liked the cinematography and composure of this film. Ford was very delicate with the set up and executed every shot as if it was the most important of the movie. His fashionable eye for detail has translated well to the screen and the performance by Firth creates a very strong film overall. Given the subject matter and the nature of Ford's background, the film maybe overlooked - which is a travesty. Hollywood rags should be talking about Firth as the Academy's best actor, not some chump named Clooney. See it.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Kill me if I ever want to watch this again.
Please allow me the pleasure of posturing myself as some great film know-it-all by annoying you with my lists of top movies of 2009 (good and bad). I won't kid myself by calling these the best films of '09, just my favorites.
I'm in a position that allows me to see many films throughout the year via advance previews or press screenings. It's because of this, coupled with my Netflix subscription, that I've been able to watch over 100 of the films which debuted in 2009 (more or less). Given the market that is the St. Louis film scene, some of the more heralded works haven't screened here yet (The White Ribbon, Police, Adjective, Collapse). Some are good, some are bad, many are in the middle. Even with all of that exposure, there are many films I wasn't able to see, but hope to at some point in the future.
Those films include Antichrist, State of Play, Tetro, Whatever Works, Bruno, Humpday, In the Loop, Cold Souls, Amreeka, Black Dynamite, The Maid, Pirate Radio, Gentlemen Broncos, Ninja Assassin, A Serious Man, Precious, Ponyo, World's Greatest Dad, Taking Woodstock, 9, Seraphine, The Goods, Extract, GI Joe, Gigante, Lake Tahoe, and Lorna's Silence
Let's start things off with the films I did not enjoy very much...
4. Year One
6. Whip It
7. The Box
8. Astro Boy
Dishonorable Mentions: Angels & Demons, Cheri, Paranormal Activity, Terminator Salvation, Two Lovers, The Great Buck Howard, Lymelife, Invictus
With definition, here are my Top 10 Favorite Films of the Year!
7. Star Trek
6. Away We Go