Showing posts from 2010

Best of 2010

It’s that time of the year when movie lovers look over film’s shoulder at the year that was and count down their picks for its best movies. It’s been nearly a year since The Gibson Review first launched so I figured I’d count down the ten best - those films that were reviewed best by yours truly and some that weren’t featured on this site.

This time, I’m not playing favorites. There may come a time when Film Faves circles back to this year, but not today.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of this year’s movies (41 to be exact). But before I count down, I must first admit there are a few bright spots of the year that for one reason or another I have yet to catch, but fully intend to during the next couple months.

Those films are: Animal Kingdom, Blue Valentine, Buried, Catfish, Cyrus, Dogtooth, Fair Game, The Fighter, Four Lions, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The King’s Speech, Never Let Me Go, Rabbit Hole, Restrepo, Salt, Somewhere, The Tillman Story, and Waiting for ‘Superman’.

It may be said th…

Coens Kick Aside Dusty Classic with Grit

The Coen brothers are among the great auteur filmmakers of our time. They might occasionally lean too much on quirk and despicable characters as in Burn After Reading and The Big Lebowski – which formed my love/hate relationship with their work - but they are undeniably talented, which is why we now have such great American films as Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and last year’s A Single Man. Now, the Coens can add True Grit, adapted from the novel by Charles Portis, to their list of great films.

True Grit stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, with appearances by Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper. It is a film, like the brothers’ other work, that’s about faith, selfishness, and solitude. It relishes the American landscape and the English language. It is what one would call a “traditional western” where its only frills are its gorgeous Big Country photography, its 19th century manner of speaking (so foreign in an age of LOL text-speak), and its lack of larger-than-li…

The Gibson Revue: Taking It Down a Notch

Hey folks!

Plans have changed for the upcoming Gibson Revue: Winter Movie Marathon.  It will still be held at 12:30p on Saturday, January 15, 2010.

The difference is that due to some complications that come with screening movies in a public event, I have been forced to scale it back down.  Instead of being held on campus with a crowd of folks from both The Evergreen State College and all over the South Sound area, it will once again be an intimate gathering with just you devoted readers at my house.

This means the event is once again free of admission!  And there will also be free food! 

So, how can you resist?

Once again, join me for an afternoon of three movies - all love stories from the male perspective - with audience/host discussion and breaks after each film.

Annie Hall - the legendary and hilarious romantic comedy starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. 1hr. 33 mins.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - the brilliant sci-fi romance starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.  1hr. …

Golden Globes Prove Laughable with Comedy Noms

Last week, the Hollywood Foreign Press (via a couple famous celebrities) announced their nominees for next month’s Golden Globe Awards. In the past, the Globes have earned credibility as an indication of the best picture nominees for the Academy Awards. But in recent years, the awards show has received some derision as nothing more than an industry frat party. This year’s nominees didn’t help.

At a glance, one may not think twice about this year’s nods. The Social Network, Inception, Toy Story 3, and The Kids Are All Right all received attention. But let’s take a look at what is nominated alongside The Kids Are All Right for best musical or comedy:

Alice in Wonderland



The Tourist

Some may argue a couple of these are enjoyable. With the exception of Red, most critics would disagree. The Tourist was nearly universally disparaged; Burlesque was often compared to the campy Showgirls; and Alice in Wonderland was deemed appallingly dull (full disclosure: of the films nominated, I…

TRON: Legacy - Dazzling Fun, Little Else

In 1982, Disney released a computer-generated special effects extravaganza that sent audiences into the world of technology, a world that at the time was still in its infancy. Accounting and security programs were sentient beings that lived on a physical plane of existence divided by blue and red neon highlights and used discs with their identity and information as weapons. It featured religious allegories with programs created in the user’s image and the idea of the existence of these creators as a persecuted religious concept. Unfortunately, TRON failed to use these ideas to say anything interesting. In hindsight, TRON is a cheesy, dated experiment with great unrealized ideas and bad dialogue.

Thirty-eight years later, a sequel is born, TRON: Legacy, full of whiz-bang special effects of the 3D digital age that makes the original look ancient. The sequel, directed by newcomer Joseph Kosinski, tells us that a few years after the original, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the cocky yet eas…

The Gibson Revue: Winter Marathon

The wrinkles are currently being ironed out as preparations for the 2nd biannual Gibson Revue movie marathon are under way.

Due to campus needs, there has been a change in the location of the event.  It's still being held at The Evergreen State College campus.  Instead of Lecture Hall 2, as previously announced, I will be hosting the event in Seminar II B, room 1105.  If that sounds a bit more complicated it's because it is.  But fear not! A map can be found below to help you find your way on campus.

The Winter Marathon is still taking place on January 15, 2011.
Featured are three films, love stories from the male perspective, with a short audience/host discussion and break after each film.
The films and start times are:

12:30p - Annie Hall, Woody Allen's legendary comedy that the AFI ranked as the 31st greatest American film and 4th greatest comedy of all time.  Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Carole Kane, Paul Simon, and a slew of cameos.  1hr. 33mins.

3p - Eternal Sunsh…

Holiday Movie Guide

Getting into the Christmas spirit and looking for something to watch during the holiday season? Here is a list of a dozen movies and TV specials to help pass the time during the wet and chilly month.


Scrooged (1988)
An updated re-imagining on A Christmas Carol with Bill Murray as a TV executive that exploits the holiday season in order to boost ratings. If you enjoy Murray’s droll performances of the ‘80s then this must not be passed up. A Christmas Carol has been retold many times in different ways, but Scrooged must be the best update; after all, there are now cable channels devoted entirely to exploiting the holiday spirit. Directed by Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon series).

Gremlins (1984)
A young man is given a strange creature for Christmas that, if not cared for in very specific ways, can sprout mischievous and vicious monsters capable of tearing an entire town to pieces. Guess what happens. You may have forgotten this classic ‘80s farcical creature feature takes p…

Remember That Movie: The Green Mile

Stephen King is best known for stories about the horrors we inflict on each other and the dark side of humanity. Perhaps that’s why so many were surprised that The Shawshank Redemption, a film about hope and friendship in the loneliest of places, surprised so many. That picture was directed by Frank Darabont, who seems to take great interest in stories about the good in us shining through the darkest of situations, which is perhaps why he’s adapted such works as the aforementioned Shawshank, The Mist, TV’s current hit The Walking Dead, and 1999’s The Green Mile.

In case you don’t remember, The Green Mile begins with an old man, Paul Edgecomb, in a nursing home, thinking about the past. He’s so afflicted by his memories that he begins sharing them with a friend (a.k.a. the audience). This, an old man remembering astonishing days of the distant, serves as the framework for a three-hour-plus story.

The memorable year is 1935. Edgecomb, played with nice guy authority by Tom Hanks, is in c…

Boyle and Franco Put In a Solid 127 Hours

We live in a time of great modern technology, what with our iPods, Blackberries, streaming internet, and digital this or thats. We’re so connected to our own inventions we are almost completely removed from where we came from, the great outdoors.

127 Hours is a movie about a man who in some ways is the opposite of a culture that wants to know everything we’re doing every hour of every day. He distances himself from everybody and enjoys getting outside alone. He tries to conquer nature, even going so far as to video record his efforts. This man, Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, takes a trip to canyoneer in the dry crevasses of Utah, free of any cellular connection to anyone, and finds himself in a bit of a jam, wishing he hadn’t cut himself off from everybody so cleanly.

One of the biggest challenges of shooting 127 Hours, based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, is three quarters of the story takes place in one spot where Aron gets stuck, which can be dif…

The Gibson Revue: Winter Marathon

It's official!

Join me, cinephiles, as I host this winter's 2nd biannual Gibson Revue.

On Saturday January 15, 2011

At The Evergreen State College, Lecture Hall 2
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505

Featured are three love stories from the male perspective, with a short discussion and break after each.

12:30p - Annie Hall, Woddy Allen's legendary comedy that influenced hundreds of subsequent movies, including those in this marathon.  Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Carol Kane, and Paul Simon.  1hr. 33mins.

3p - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the modern classic about the pain of lost love.  Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, and Mark Ruffalo. Directed by Michel Gondry.  1hr. 48mins.

5:30p - (500) Days of Summer, 2009's brilliant romantic comedy about the idealized perception of love and its clash with reality.  Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, and Chloe Moretz.  Directed by Marc Webb.  1hr. 35m…

The Expendables: Action's Biggest Failed Idea

Growing up in the eighties and nineties, action films seemed to almost always be about the three Bs: Big guns, Bulging muscles, and Babes. The bad guy always represented corruption (drugs, crime, financial power, or politics) or incited revenge (perhaps by wronging or endangering the good guy’s family). Sometimes that unlikely of evil, the terrorist, would rear its head. The good guys were guns-blazing anti-heroes, law enforcement, or martial arts experts. The movies themselves either became classics of the action genre (Die Hard, Predator, First Blood, Escape from New York, for example) or were clichéd formula pictures with forgettable titles that were mediocre at best (Hard Target, Hard to Kill, Eraser, The Specialist). Most of the time, regardless of quality, they gave us cool stunts or creative kills.

Those kinds of action films went by the wayside in the sobering aftermath of 9/11. We wanted our heroes to be relatable everymen who became super (Spider-Man) or are at least relied…

Potter & Co. Near Their End in Darkest Chapter

The day has finally arrived. After a decade, the final chapter of the Harry Potter film series is here… well, almost. The final book of the beloved and seminal fantasy series is split into two movies, so the fate of the wizarding world first introduced to theaters by Chris Columbus nine years ago is delayed for another eight months, at which point readers will already have known the outcome for exactly two years.

Regardless, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 suggests no one will be disappointed when the screen goes black and the credits roll after the final moments of the series.

As per the last film, The Half-Blood Prince, The Death Eaters, led by Sirius Snape, stormed Hogwarts and assassinated Professor Dumbledore, after which our teenage trio flee the school. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron are absent from class, so is the school from The Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The three young adult heroes are on the hunt for horcruxes, which help make Voldemort immortal, while also being…

Film Faves: The Digital Age - Directors

Here we are at the final part of this special three-part edition of Film Faves.  If you haven't already, please start with parts one and two of this series before reading on.

Here we are at the visionaries behind the camera, those who actually choose to shoot digitally or with film, the directors.  Here are my six favorite directors to debut or break out during the Digital Age of film.


6. Darren Aronofsky
Favorite films:
Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler

You may say Darren Aronofsky is a pretentious visionary, who takes himself too seriously, but I find Aronofsky’s work to be some of the most powerful and expertly-handled films I’ve ever seen. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of his debut, Pi, or his existential fantasia, The Fountain. But I am looking forward to next month’s The Black Swan and his much-courted crack at geek culture (he’s been interested in Batman and RoboCop before), 2012’s The Wolverine. Why? Because Aronofsky always has something interesting to say in interest…

Film Faves: The Digital Age - Actresses

Welcome back to a special edition of Film Faves.  This is part two of my look at the talents that emerged during the Digital Age.  If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you go back to part one, where introduce the topic and countdown my favorite actors from this period. 

This time, I'll be counting down my favorite actresses of the Digital Age.  While my previous list was only six actors long, there were so many actresses worthy of mention that I couldn't pare it down to the same amount.  Besides, men also make up the entirety of part three's list of directors, as well, so it's only fitting for the actresses to make up half of this entire edition of Film Faves.  So, here are my twelve favorite actresses.


12. Anne Hathaway
Favorite performances:
Brokeback Mountain, Rachel Getting Married

Like her princess alter ego in the misguided, yet popular, Princess Diaries films, Hathaway has really blossomed over the past decade. She left the family-friendly f…