Tag Archives: Oscar buzz

Black Swan: I Kinda Laughed.

People may get pissed off at me for this one. I… laughed quite a bit at Black Swan. It wasn’t a bad movie overall, but the things I found strange or wrong with this movie made me laugh out loud, kinda like watching a dark comedy. Although this movie wasn’t a comedy. Oh well, it can’t be helped. I hope Natalie Portman never sees this post and hates me for the rest of eternity if some infinitesimal chance allows me to meet her. Let’s just keep this post a secret.

What a beautiful pout. Still in love with her since I was 9.

So this is a movie about the ballet Swan Lake. The twist? The ballet she is performing is Swan Lake and she is living out the events of Swan Lake. Oh the twist! Other than the WTF middle section of the film, yeah, it follows it pretty closely. Prince has party, Prince meets White Swan, fall in love, Black Swan tricks Prince, Prince and White Swan commit suicide for love. The end. I think it’s the liberties that Darren Aronofsky took at assuming ballet is synonymous with sex. I would sayyyyyyy… No. That is an artistic leap and assumption I wouldn’t necessarily associate.

So… plot now. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is an up and coming ballerina at her dance studio. She’s nice and quiet and just hopes to make a bigger name for herself. And then her dance director Mr. French McCreepy Bastard, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) announces they’ll be having a Swan Lake run at their production company. He, like every other pompous director who thinks they’re a visionary, says they’ll be doing it differently than ever before. I guess he was going for more rape and sexy. Alright there Leroy, that’s your own choice.

Ah yes, the creepy mother.

Nina begs for the position and gets mouth fondled by Cassel, because for some reason in 2011, it’s still shocking for a director/boss to take advantage of his cast/employees. With all that said and done, Nina takes on the lead role of the White and Black Swan. From this point on comes some “messed up” and thriller like elements that push the boundaries of what’s real and what’s not. The arty version of The Matrix, if you will. And don’t call me sexist or naive or ignorant at this point. People can have their opinions about a film, negative or not. I can say these ignorant things because from what I’ve seen of the hundreds of movies I’ve seen before, this movie isn’t necessarily anything impressive in the way of

Vincent Cassel, crossing toolish lines since… this movie.

groundbreaking. It seems more important for me, at this point, to say how disappointed I was with this film. Because, as serious and mentally disturbing as it was supposed to be, I still laughed.

Should I talk about my problems with this film? Let’s go. I knew there was going to be a conflict when Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) flips out. She’s bought Nina this nice big cake for getting the part and Nina simply says no, I can’t eat right now, my stomache is upset. Reasonable reason right? “Well that’s fine, don’t have any.” The music becomes serious and tension filled, she heads towards the can with the cake. A simple pleading no from Nina and you see the smile instantly and bizarrely  return to her face. I laughed. Hard. Yes, this was supposed to point out the stressed and overprotective relationship that sparks Nina’s problems in the film. But it was campishly delivered and I enjoyed it. For any Tim and Eric fans out there, this scene may tickle your fancy.

I wanted to put this next to the word “lesbian”.

All the lesbian/finger banging scenes in this film feel out of place. That’s probably because I don’t make an automatic connection in my mind between ballet and sex. For me, ballet in particular, is a purist sport. It has a set amount of moves that allow you to express a gamut of emotions. Other forms of dance, sure, why not? There’s sex everywhere at a high school dance. Just not with ballet. Nina is exploring her sexuality and, for the whole film, until she said it, I thought she was 18, maybe 21 at most. Living with her mother threw off my radar on her age and calling her Mommy (with her room and clothing choices) I assumed 18. Why would a 28 year old dancer be attempting to get big in dance? Her prime is gone. Error right there.

I disliked Vincent Cassel in this movie. I think you’re supposed to. To the extent I did, maybe was a bit extreme. Not death threat level, I’m talking more ruined any scene he was in for me. As a sex icon in the movie? Didn’t really believe it. Mila Kunis though? She was her normal, old relaxed That 70’s Show self in this one. Typical Mila out for a good time, who just happens to be a diabolical dancer. I did love

You made this movie better Winona.

Natalie Portman’s performance in the film. She did have to do a lot of things you never typically see her do in this film. And I was IN LOVE with Winona Ryder’s performance in this film. The fallen dancer and raging spurned lover? That was a convincing and devastating performance for her.

Let the weird begin.

Other than that, I don’t really wanna shit on this movie too much. I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I do see how this movie didn’t beat The King’s Speech for best film. It was too edgy for the Oscar community. But it was a well done film itself. The cinematography was jarring and uncommon, something I just can’t stand. Watch this movie again and see if the still shots outweigh the fluid and nauseating moving shots. You’d be surprised. The acting for the most part is what you would expect from a movie with Oscar buzz and all that good stuff. Just not my film. And because I’m the one rating for my own interest, I have to give this movie a 4 out of 10.

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Best

Awwww yeahhhh...

Just to let everyone know, I’m about to rave about how good this movie is. I’m already gonna give this a 10 out of 10, no worries. I’m gonna give this best animated film of 2011. As if there was any competition. I’ve been reading Tintin graphic novels since I was a wee lad. This stuff, pardon my French, is my shizz. I love Tintin and his trusty wire fox terrier, Snowy. Captain Haddock is hilarious with his alliterative swear words. The mysteries are fun and engaging for all ages. And this movie EPITOMIZES everything that was good about the comics. I can’t think of a single book/comic/graphic novel that completely translates a movie from the work that you loved. (If you can refute this statement, post one. You can’t, but you can try.)

From the amazing minds of Steven Spielburg and Peter Jackson, the story of the ace journalist/detective Tintin comes

Tintin and Haddock, on the adventure.

straight from the first comic. The meeting of Haddock. Flawless. I felt I was re-reading the first graphic novel. Page for page. In 107 minutes, I was taken into a world I could completely believe in. A world I wished I existed in since I was 9. Now this has been a ridiculously good year for Spielburg. He directed The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. One is a heartwarming story about a horse getting Oscar buzz, the other is an amazing story about the greatest hero of all time, and it was judge by its earnings in America. Come on, are you serious? Let’s see… Oh my, it made a measly $10 million domestically. It floundered here in the U.S. Hmmmm… $270 in foreign box offices? It just looks to me as if people abroad (where Tintin originated) appreciate it far more than those here who lack a bit of ecclesiastical appreciation. I’m not blaming anyone, it just goes to show we need to publish and distribute more Tintin comics here.

How great does that look? Bell and Serkis, experiencing innovation.

Back to Spielburg. (Sorry Peter.) Along with these great directing jobs, Spielburg executively produced 4 T.V. shows (one of those being Terra Nova, getting some buzz there, the other big one, Falling Skies) and a series of big blockbuster movies. Those being Cowboys and Aliens (need to see), Transformers 3 (eh… no), Real Steel (big no), and Super 8 (HELL YES). Toss in War Horse and Tintin and you got a sextuple threat right there. I’d call that a year of bank. But I guess that’s not to try to detract from Peter Jackson’s contribution. Jackson has The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey two parter to look forward to releasing. That’s gonna do just as well as the LOTR series for shizzle.

What other names can I boast about related to this movie? Well, there’s John Williams on the orchestra chops. Check out about every single Spielburg/Lucas movie and you’ll find J. Williams name tagged on there. Anybody who can cinematically sweep me off my feet with a recognizable build, that’s gold right there. AND THE VOICE ACTORS. That’s just think about that for a second. Voice actors. I know they’re acclaimed actors, but they use their voices to bring this movie together. And a bunch of great names to talk about in relation to their characters.

There are no words for how incredible this is.

Jamie Bell as Tintin. Right there. That’s a big name with some great roles attached to it. The boy of Billy Elliot among other great English roles this guy has taken? Fantastic. I used to do my own English accent in my mind to pretend I was Tintin, but now Jamie Bell’s voice will forever signify and epitomize who Tintin is. Andy Serkis and Captain Haddock. PHENOMENAL. I’ve never known an actor who can throw out a cacophony of voices and make them all sound legitimate. His drunken Scottich drawl is just exactly what Haddock ordered. His buffoonery and hijinks really carry the story along, as Tintin and his levelheadedness truly get them out of some sticky situations. Here, get this. Daniel Craig AS THE BAD GUY. Who saw that coming? Playing the nefarious Sakharine/Red Rackham, Craig really steps it up by expanding his acting chops inside a recording booth. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as the Thompson twins? I’ll take some of that. They were funny in the comics and in the movie as well. Spot on. Toby Jones as Silk the pickpocket? I thought at first that he would be Professor Calculus when I first saw him, but that wasn’t the case. (Professor Calculus was supposed to be in Red Rackham’s Treasure, but only introduced.) Even Mackenzie Crook, side star of the Pirates series as the wooden eyed lackey and star of The Office (U.K.), offered his voice as Tom, one of the lackeys of Haddock’s former crew. And, get this as well, even Cary Elwes, star of Saw 1 and The Princess Bride, lends his voice as a minor character! (Look for him as a pilot on the biplane!) Everyone English wanted to get in on the action of Tintin!

Let’s talk about the animation! This new age of 3-D digital animation is just phenomenal. Anything can be done with today’s technology. I would give this movie and the recently made L.A. Noire game the tops for this category of innovation. When you can make iconic cartoon characters seem real and RESEMBLE the voice actors who play them? Kudos. I will give a standing ovation to that. The amazing attention to details with shadows and minor costume effects and the tiniest of details is just mental. You have to really care about the work you’re doing to be that good. And I’m sure all the people that worked on this movie were.

There are so many great comedic/fast paced action sequences in this movie as well! The scenes on the Karaboudjan ship and the flashbacks to the Haddock/Rackham fight were epic (and I don’t use epic lightly). And the final chase scene at the end are the epitome of badass. Even the final battle between Haddock and his ancient rival are just too amazing. Bravo on all accounts of action.

Just. Fantastic.

I gotta tell ya, there is just no end to my love of this movie and Tintin and all his adventures. I hope they make a movie for every single graphic novel. The start up of every story is great. Tintin stumbles on some piece of history and it ties him into a dangerous adventure that will test his mind and body. He should be every young man’s hero and role model. And speaking of young children, I was happy to see how many parents took their children to see this movie. It’s age appropriate and wonderful for the entire family, young and old alike. It has everything and leaves you wanting more. The entire time. I can’t get over it. A

Tintin 4 Life.

perfect, flawless 10 out of 10. Best film of 2011? Maybe… Tintin will tell.


The Fighter (AKA, Christian Bale)

So I’ve had this desire to see The Fighter (2010) for a while, and just recently, I saw it. It was one of David O. Russell’s first movies I’ve seen, and I was impressed from beginning to end. I know this movie is getting Oscar buzz and it’s up for quite a few categories. I saw it for many reasons, but I won’t go into those just yet. Let’s go over some other things first.

This movie is about Micky Ward, (Mark Wahlberg, funny, M.W., huh…) a boxer in the 1980’s who fought as a welterweight and made it big training with his older brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). You may be wondering, why not the same last name? Different guys, different dads. Now, Dickie Eklund was the guy who knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. Some say he tripped, but it’s up for those who see it to judge. In the movie, Dickie has fallen in hard times after his race for the championship title, and now he’s down on his luck with a kid, no wife, and a massive drug addiction to cocaine. While all this is going on, Dickie and the boys’ mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) are trying to fix Micky up for some fights, all the while, Micky gets destroyed. Literally, worked. As the movie goes along, Micky finds a girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams) and goes on his merry way to winning the welterweight title. Very uplifting and quite moving at the end.

The meat and potatoes (forgive my Irish reference) comes from the acting chops and superb way that the movie was filmed. I always appreciate cinematography, but when you can make a movie feel like and look like the era it came from, bravo. Mark Wahlberg was great, going back to his roots. beating the living crap out of people, but not getting thrown in jail for it. (No offense, he did beat people up in Boston though…) I’ve always thought of him as exceptional, and I found this to be another Invincible role for him. The real acting came from Christian Bale, my favorite actor. Ever since his role in Empire of the Sun, I’ve been hooked to his work (Pocahontas as Thomas, Mary, Mother of Jesus as Jesus, American Psycho as Patrick Bateman, quite a versatility as my friend said.) and this movie is no different from anything else he’s done. He goes into the job, fully focused and literally nails the part he’s given. There’s nothing more to say then that Christian Bale is an A-List, top-shelf actor.

So, now that you know my love of Christian Bale, you know why I went to see this movie. The acting was great, the cinematography, especially the scenes where they switch it to late night 1980’s boxing style filming, was fantastic, and the story was moving. It reminded me of a modern day Cinderella Man, another boxing movie that I’ve come to really appreciate. Amy Adams really stepped it up from the only other movie I’ve ever seen her in (Enchanted) and I found Jack McGee, who played Micky’s father, George, was quite good. The sisters were a laugh and the mother was aggravating, all of it came together, and this movie deserves a solid 9.5 out of 10. (The played a Red Hot Chili Peppers song in there too, Strip My Mind. Out of context, but sounded great. Kudos.)


The Kids Aren’t All Right

My mother, (see Everything I Know about the U.K. … I Learned from the BBC blog on WordPress.) got the movie The Kids Are All Right (2010) from the library. Not knowing a thing about this “critically acclaimed movie,”we as a family decided to give it a watch. Let me just say you see more sex acts in the first hour than you would see in most HBO or Skinemax shows. This, to say the least was a bit alarming. (Mind you I’m open to plenty of movie styles, but I’ve never been very keen to unneeded sex scenes in movies.) The idea of this movie is quite interesting, what I would call one of those Sunshine movies. What I mean by Sunshine is a movie that is given a quirky edge with heavy and hard topics, some of the more popular ones being homosexuality and death. (Examples being Little Miss Sunshine and Sunshine Cleaning. Get it? Not my bag though.) But yes, the plot of the movie is that Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are lesbians. Even the director’s a lesbian. And what do lesbians want? Children. The have one part of a two part equation for this. What do they need? Some Mark Ruffalo action. Lo and behold, two children, Mia “Alice” Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson. Joni’s (Mia) on her way out of the house and ready for college while Laser (Josh) has a tool for a friend, and seemingly no other friends. At least Joni has a dumb slut for a friend and an Indian kid who reminds me slightly of the love interest in The Lovely Bones (and don’t get me started on that let down.) Laser (Hippy homage to Dodgeball?) wants to meet his biological dad, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and it takes off from there. Not to toot my own horn, but I did call the need for penis/straight sex in this movie and found it to be a realistic dilemma (sort of). All in all, I didn’t find this movie to be quite the rabble-rousing, critical acclaim film I felt it was when I saw its ratings in Entertainment Weekly. I have liked Oscar buzzworthy movies in the past, this one in particular just struck me as bland. Mark Ruffalo was great, I have a real respect for him. (If you’ve seen Reservation Road, you’ll know why.) I’ve never gotten over Julianne Moore’s role snatch of Clarice in Hannibal or her performance in Evolution shortly after. Mia Wasikowska was quite good for such a small career under her belt, but what got me was how underutilized Josh Hutcherson was in this movie. He had his tuffle with his toolish friend and that was about it. Ever since he was in Little Manhattan he’s been doing great work and I’ve found him able to handle more than he’s been given. (Firehouse Dog… come on…) Other than that, this movie was okay and I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10. Until next time (and that might be soon) welcome to the abyss, I hope you’ll stay for a while.