Showing posts from April, 2010

Film Faves: 2006

Welcome to another edition of Film Faves, a feature wherein I count down my 12 favorite films from each year.  Remember, Film Faves is not to be taken as an end-all, unbiased, objective list of the best films of each year.  It is a fun editorial about the movies I enjoyed most from a given year.  Instead of a top 10 list with honorable mentions tacked on, I decided to cut down on all of that and list a dozen films I recommend most.

The year 2006 was an interesting year for movies.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was the highest-grossing film of the year.  Meanwhile, the decade's greatest film, United 93 was also released.  Documentaries continued their popularity by getting environmental with An Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed The Electric Car?.  They also examined politics (Why We Fight), entertainment (This Film is Not Yet Rated), and religion (Jesus Camp).  The year brought us Slither, Pan's Labyrinth, Mission: Impossible III, Dreamgirls, Over the Hedge, T…

Kick-Ass Lives Up to Its Name

It’s been ten years since Hollywood discovered the full potential of comic book adaptations, specifically the superhero genre. We’ve since seen mutants unite, webs slung thrice, a man without fear, a dark knight get serious, an iron man soar, a vigilante obsess over the letter v, and a group of superheroes watch as a world-peace-via-nuclear-holocaust conspiracy unfolds. During this time, the superhero genre has touched on darker moods, become more violent and has edged closer to realism. This is part of what made The Dark Knight a phenomenon in 2008. And what earned Watchmen, the most violent and solemn of all, its necessary R-rating in 2009.

This is nothing new to comics; the medium has been serving up mostly adult fare for over 20 years as adults gradually became its primary readership. One could say that films like The Dark Knight and Watchmen (as well as non-superhero stories like Sin City and Road to Perdition) represent an inevitable step in the genre’s filmic evolution; Hollywo…

An Education & Crazy Heart: A Double Review

I thought since An Education was just released on video two weeks ago and Crazy Heart is about to be released soon, I’d review these two quieter, more under-the-radar Oscar nominees. What struck me as I watched these films this past week is that while they have their distinct differences (one about a present-day drunken country music has-been, the other about an early ‘60s wide-eyed English academic teenager) the main characters of these films also have their similarities.

An Education is written by author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy), adapted from Lynn Barber’s memoir. Its central character is Jenny, a 16 year-old intellectual with dreams of going to university, gaining vast amounts of knowledge, and earning a career among the bourgeoisie. She meets David, a young (but significantly older) man who is charming, sweet, and exposes Jenny to the culture, high art, and intellectual discourse she dreams her future will center around. Jenny becomes seduced intellectually by David…

Remember That Movie: Magnolia

Phillip Baker Hall, Tom Cruise, Henry Gibson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards, Melora Walters, Melinda Dillon, Luis Guzman, and Ricky Jay.

Take another look at that cast listed above. I thought I’d begin by listing the cast, because I felt it was worth pointing out how many people star in this slice-of-life tapestry set in the San Fernando Valley.  It’s very Altman-esque in that way, as well as its naturalistic dialogue.  Magnolia is very similar to Robert Altman’s early nineties film Short Cuts in that it also follows a couple of days of the lives of average people in a southern California region.  They both also end with a sudden, bizarre event.  However, Magnolia is a cut above Altman's film.

Magnolia is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and was his follow-up to 1997's Boogie Nights. While Boogie Nights was very clearly about people involved in the porn industry during the ‘70s …