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Showing posts from February, 2010

Powerful Performances, Hope Found in Precious

Some movies are made to entertain us; to do nothing more than make us laugh, feel good, or astonish us. Some movies are made to teach us something (most of these prefer a smack on the head over an encouraging nudge). And then there are those movies that are made purely about a way of life; for some people these are fairly relatable, but for others they are an insight into an experience they will never know. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is a movie that falls under the final category.

The film, in case you’ve been living in a hole since November, concerns a teenage African-American girl who is obese, not yet out of junior high, pregnant with her second child, and living in Harlem in the late 1980s. Oh, and her children are the result of an occasional raping by her father – which is, of course, no secret to her mom. Does the story sound depressing enough yet? Well, you’ll be happy to know that the first child has Down ’s syndrome. The main character, Claireece ‘Precious’…

Remember That Movie: The Italian Job

I was recently reminded of this 2003 remake of a late ‘60s caper film, this one starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. But all I could really remember was that it existed and it served as a great advertisement for Mini Coopers, those half-pint Euro-cars that could fit in your bedroom. Apparently, there was a reason for this, because there really isn’t much else to remember from this film.

The Italian Job, directed by F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, Be Cool), is about a group of professional thieves who get betrayed by one of their own and seek to get back what they deem is theirs. Mark Whalberg stars as Charlie and Donald Sutherland is John Bridger, the retired leader of the group who is passing the torch to Charlie, the son he never had. The rest of the troupe includes Seth Green, the tech specialist; Mos Def, explosives expert; Jason Statham, the charismatic hunk; and Edward Norton, who doesn’t appear to specialize in anything. Charlize Theron plays Stella, a professional saf…

The Lightning Thief Lacks Spark

He’s a boy who discovers he’s got an unusual heritage. He’s the target of many villainous creatures. He becomes the newest recruit in a school for special kids like him. And he becomes the star in an extraordinary sport.

No, we’re not talking about Harry Potter. Meet Percy Jackson, the latest of many run-of-the-mill Potter wannabe’s. The one defining trait of The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series is it is steeped in Greek mythology.

Percy is a young man (high-schooler in the film, younger in the book) who is discovered to be the half-man, half-god – or demigod – son of Poseidon, god of all things aquatic. Percy is suspected by many in the Greek God posse to have stolen Zeus’s lightning bolt. Some want the bolt to satisfy their own control issues. Others want to help Percy return the bolt to its rightful owner and prevent war among the gods. Percy is quickly whisked away to Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven that trains young demigods to become b…

Oscar picks

So, now that I recently dismembered the Academy Awards, I'll put out there my picks for who should win a few of this year's Oscars.

I admit, I haven't seen everything that is nominated (only 6/10 Best Picture nominees).  But I've kept up, read, and heard a lot about each of them, so my opinion is a resulting conglomerate of what I've seen and my impressions based on those things.  So, here's my first (and sometimes 2nd) choices:

Best Picture:  The Hurt Locker or Inglorious Basterds
    Anybody who's seen these films can understand these are the two greatest films of the year.  While IngloriousBasterds is probably the slightly better film since it has more to it than what's on the surface, I'm more partial to TheHurtLocker.  But these two are the most solid of the 10 picks.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow or James Cameron
    Who can argue against Kathryn Bigelow's work in The Hurt Locker?  I wouldn't be too bothered about James Cameron getting …

Film Faves: 2009

Welcome to my first edition of a new feature called Film Faves.  In this feature, I will list my favorite films of a given year and talk a bit about why each is a favorite. 

Now, every time somebody tries to create a top ten list of movies there's always those "honorable mentions", those films that just barely got edged out of the group.  Well, I thought I'd cut down on all that and instead of listing 10 movies of each year, I'll list 12!  A dozen films from each year; sometimes easy, sometimes... not so easy.

Now, unlike my feature The Best of the Decade, this is not to be taken as a serious, unbiased, objective statement on movies.  This is a favorites list, not a best-of list; the films I enjoyed and gravitate to most.  So, let's have some fun!

2009

12. Where the Wild Things Are

This was a rare entry in the children’s movie genre; it was quiet and understated, and avoided talking down to kids and being cloying. It also had a very indie aesthetic to it, sort of…

Oh Academy, My Academy: The Fall of the Best Picture Award

Over the years, there’s been much debate over the Academy Awards’ recent picks, particularly for Best Picture. The nominations for Best Picture were extended this year from the usual five to ten, considered by most to allow for more popular fare to have a shot at being represented. The nominees for the Academy Awards were announced yesterday and the list would certainly support this theory since it includes movies like Avatar and The Blind Side. This is the culmination of what has long-been the disintegration of the award season’s integrity and merit, and in turn the regard with which the critical community and public give the Academy Awards.

The Academy Awards (nicknamed the Oscars after its statuette), first bowed in 1929. Its purpose: to honor excellence in cinematic achievements. It is considered the most prestigious award in the United States for the film industry. It upheld those beliefs consistently for the better part of seventy years. Oscar has since fallen from grace a…