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Archive for December, 2010

The Beauty of Pixar by Leandro Copperfield

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a great little compilation made of all the films made by Pixar in its 15 year existence. I use the term “little” lightly, for it is actually quite expansive. If there are any folks out there not convinced of the leaps and bounds that this studio has taken to advance the form of not only animation, but cinema as a whole. Some of these films I like, some of them I’m not to crazy about, and some of them absolutely changed my life. After incredible, game-changing movies like “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E,” I wasn’t sure what more they could possibly present to the public…and then came “Toy Story 3.” The original has been my favorite animated film for quite a long time, and I’m not convinced that the third installment doesn’t just pass it right by. What a phenomenal experience that will hopefully stand the test of time just as the original did.

Here is a touching tribute to everything Pixar has done for cinema. Credit to Leandro Copperfield for such a great montage.

[NOTE: Well, sorry about the mishap, there. It appears YouTube put an embed restriction on this guy. Just click the “Watch on YouTube” in the box and it will take you directly there. Apologies.]

NEW “Red State” Teaser and Poster

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So, I go back and forth a lot with Kevin Smith. He did make two of the funniest and most insightful comedies of the 90s in “Clerks” and “Dogma” and I love him for that. And yet, I really don’t think he’s made a film worth much more than a grain of salt in the decade since, and his endless tirades with airlines and…really anything…are just downright annoying.

With his new film “Red State,” Smith has gone COMPLETELY out of his element to make a straight-up horror film about Christian fundamentalism gone to the extreme, as though evangelical Christianity wasn’t already the scariest thing on the planet. Seriously. If you never want to sleep again, see “Jesus Camp.” When I go to sleep, I don’t see boogeyman, I see little indoctrinated children with red tape over their mouths. Therefore, a true horror film about Christianity is music to my ears, especially with a cast featuring John Goodman, Michael Parks, Melissa Leo and Stephen Root. Stellar.

Anyway, I am stoked for this film. There have obviously been a number of posters released for the film, including ones for the priest, sons and virgin characters. However, the one selected above, I believe carries the most weight. The teaser is  fast, nondescript and absolutely brutal. I hope distribution comes to this quick because it may just be the film that puts Kevin Smith back on the map, at least in my book.

Check it out:

Eric Roth on “The Social Network”

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recent online, slideshow piece, Salon asked some of today’s filmmakers about their favorite films from the last year. A lot of the responses are fascinating and great reads, but this one by four-time Academy Award nominated writer Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Insider,” “Munich”) really got to me. It’s written with such elegance and prose that it raises the overall impact of David Fincher’s “The Social Network” to an even loftier level. A great little read:

“What’s going on here? They don’t let people make movies anymore that have a wit of thought, with great ideas expressed articulately by artists … these are movies of another time and place when giants roamed the Earth, and not Middle-earth either. That was the time of the Bonnies and the Clydes and the mean streets and the godfathers and the Kubricks and Leones and Godards and the names that are part literature, part poetry, all youth. So what is this movie that has something to say about the culture, about the way we think about each other and the ways we don’t? What is a movie doing today where the hero is unlikable and nasty and greedy and incredibly smart and lonely and part of a generation that has to announce who they are when they open a door to make sure they are noticed? What kind of a movie is that? Where does that happen in this landscape where Clashes and Crashes and Smashes are king. Where does it happen that a movie can make you talk about it all night, where it makes you remember why you went to the movies in the first place? Where does it happen that people with golden tongues and vision get to tell stories anymore? Where does it happen that a movie has near unanimous praise of critics afraid of their own shadows, and the public decides to give it a shot and it makes you want to be an awful lot younger and start all over again? Did I mention David Fincher’s “The Social Network?” We all should be so lucky and so good.”

Check out the full slide show with more comments from Scott Rudin, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, David Koechner, Malin Akerman, Andrew Jarecki and many others…

“Spin Around” with the Go-Pro

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

A friend of mine at film school who runs a great blog over at Gaffers Unite turned me on to this video and it’s pretty amazing. It was made by taping a GoPro (a small, waterproof, HD helmet camera) to the tip of s sword and pulled some crazy tricks. It’s an example of how to use the simplest ideas and techniques to get absolutely incredible footage.

New Additions: “Duck Soup,” “Harold and Maude,” “The Battle of San Pietro”

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Hello, readers. Hope that everyone had a happy holiday. I, myself, finally got a hold my first Blu ray player (yes, I said my first). And I’ll tell you what: if I had known that I’d be able to stream my Netflix instant queue onto my TV in full HD through said player for no additional charge, you can bet I would have gotten one a long time ago.

So, now that the The Mitchell List has gone public, I feel that it’s worth noting to my readers when new films that I’ve never seen before get added to the ranks. Therefore, I’m starting a new series of posts which I will call New Additions. In these, I will offer a brief, paragraph-long review and the usual rankings so that you know my basic thoughts on the film. And you can bet, now that I have an infinite wealth of movies into my living room, there will hopefully be a wealth of these.

 

“Duck Soup,” (Leo McCarey) – 1933

I must say that I am not as fluent with the works of the Marx Brothers as I am with those of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Yet after viewing “Duck Soup,” it’s certainly no joke that they are raucously talented and hilarious. The gags come as fast, witty and very well-planted. The mirror gag and hat-stealing scenes in particular are just a joy to watch, mostly due to their incredible choreography. The film also contains a hint of social commentary, even if it seems weak compared to today’s standards. However, the film runs into trouble when the comedy bits start to get in the way of things like structure, character and all of the other things that make up a film. The movie, then, encompasses more of the traits of a fantastic stand-up routine then a feature.

GRADES:           B            * * * 1/2 / * * * * *           7.4 / 10.0

 

“Harold and Maude” (Hal Ashby) – 1971

My understanding is that this film is known for having an insane cult following, in essence, almost inventing the term. I will say that the film takes on some unorthodox and original concepts. The suicide concept is particularly dicy (although I’m still kind of confused as to how he pulled some of them off, and galled that they didn’t explain them). It also contains great performances from Ruth Gordon and Vivian Pickles. However, the film raises too many unanswered questions. One that constantly got on my nerves was, why aren’t any of these people in jail? They really are a lot more horrible and less sympathetic than the plot lets on. And the ending leaves the viewer a lot less satisfied then one would wish from an “inspirational” film.

GRADES:           B-           * * * / * * * * *           6.4 / 10.0

 

“The Battle of San Pietro” (John Huston) – 1945

Some of the stories about this movie are just as interesting, if not more so, than the film itself. In a response to to claims from the military that his documentary was anti-war, John Huston said that if he ever made a pro-war film, he should be shot. Another tale tells of a woman standing up in the theater and shrieking that she sees her son during a montage of American corpses. One thing is for sure: this film paved the way for the modern-day documentary. When most of the war time news was only showing the cheerful and inspiring moments of the war, Huston displays the gritty realities of combat. It is a direct influence on films like “Restrepo,” and really, well, every other war film made since. It is also an ode to filmmakers who must overcome huge obstacles to get their films viewed, for what’s a bigger obstacle than the U.S. Military.

GRADES:           A-           * * * * 1/2 / * * * * *           8.6 / 10.0

 

My Top Ten Trailers of 2010

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

So, it’s been a while since I’ve made my last list, aside from the unveiling of the Mitchell List. My last compilation was the Top Ten Movie Monsters of all time, which was a reasonable hit for the site. Now, it’s time for the second edition: The Top Ten Trailers of 2010.

I love movie trailers. I know that some people can’t stand them and even refuse to watch them, but I believe that they can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of going to the movies, as long as their made well. It’s always, actually, been a semi-dream job of mine to edit trailers, because there’s really nothing more fun.

In order to be phenomenal, a trailer must have many of the same qualifications of a great film. It has to have stellar pacing, it must give proper introduction to the film’s character’s and plot. However, unlike a film, it cannot give too much away of the plot and has to leave something exciting for the ticket price. It usually doesn’t hurt to have a decent choice of music, too.

The following are a selection of my favorite trailers that encompass all of these aspects. This includes trailers only for films released during the 2010 year, or else “Battle: Los Angeles” would most certainly be here. Without, further ado, here are the five runners-up:

Read more…

“Hanna” Trailer

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

So, I really don’t know what to think of this. “Hanna,” the new film by Joe Wright (director of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement”), I suppose has the ability to either be really bad or really phenomenal. Whatever the outcome might be, it’s pretty difficult not to be intrigued by this new trailer.

The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. Check it out and stay tuned for the my Top Ten Trailers of 2010 to be released, shortly.