Archive for September, 2011

NEW “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” 2nd Trailer

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Ironically, less than twelve hours after I published my post of My 25 Most Anticipated Films of the Season, in which I ranked David Fincher’s new film as No. 1, Sony Pictures has released a brand new trailer for the thriller.

At three minutes and forty-five seconds, it’s possibly the longest studio-made trailer I’ve ever seen. Perhaps that is a testament of the film, being that they can reveal that much of the film and still have plenty left with which to play with their audience. I won’t lie, this trailer does not raise my heart rate and blow my mind like the effective teaser trailer did. Yet, I have now watched it three times, and I still have a nagging urgency to watch it again. Another testament, perhaps?

One thing’s absolutely for sure. Outside of Fincher’s outstanding crisp, desaturated, gloomy style that he brings to the look and feel of the film, it appears that the reason to see this is going to be Rooney Mara. Her transformation from the sweet, brunette, girl next door in her first big roles like the “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake and “The Social Network” into this devilish, tatted-up, pierced-out heroine with an insane attitude is remarkable. I cannot wait to see her chew up this role.

Enjoy the new trailer, below:

My 25 Most Anticipated Films of the Season

September 21, 2011 1 comment

Tis the season. What season is that? It’s kind of hard to say. I suppose it’s a combination of fall and winter. I suppose it’s when the awards season really starts to heat up. More than that, however, it’s the time of year when good movies are released. That’s what it is, primarily. It’s the season of good movies, and I look forward to it all year long.

In honor of that, I thought I’d throw up a little list entailing the movies that you absolutely should not miss. Now, these are not necessarily films that you’re guaranteed to like. I’m not even guaranteed to approve. Neither is this an Oscarish type of list, for its guaranteed that nearly half of these movies will never even see a nomination at the Kodak.

What these films do have in common is that they have not yet been released to the general public and from trailers, stills, stories, festival performances and what some critics have already said about them, they look pretty good to me. These are the movies that I really cannot wait to see. With each title in the countdown, I’ve included a few words about why I find these films so promising. I’ve also posted each film’s trailer (except for the small few that have yet to release one). So without further adieu, enjoy, and remember this list if you plan on seeing at least twenty-five movies in the next few months.

NOTE: Two films most would expect to be on here, are not. “Moneyball” would have made a spot on the list, but I have already caught an advance screening of it (AND LOVED IT). “Drive” would also certainly find its place on here, since I have not yet gotten a chance to see it, but since it has already been released, it excludes itself from the rest of films featured.


25. “Margaret”

September 30th (limited)

WHY IT’S  HERE: Pretty weird situation here. The film looks to have an interesting plot, a great cast. However, after being delayed release for six years, you’d think this film’s going to have some severe flaws and issues. The winning flip side is that after that much time of waiting and hoping, the amount of anticipation this film carries with it is more than enough reel me in.

Read more…

NEW “J. Edgar” Trailer

September 20, 2011 1 comment

Well, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…well at least I have. Perhaps the Oscar season’s biggest contender has finally shown its face. Now that we have a glimpse, from this point in the game, anyone not putting this film at the head of the pack for practically every single award should take a good long look in the mirror and rethink themselves.

This trailer does not disappoint. It displays absolutely phenomenal performances by DiCaprio, Dench and the man who I have said will be the key to this film all along, Armie Hammer. On top of that, the lavish costumes, production design, cinematography and, surprisingly, the music, if that is in fact the film’s score, appear to all be top notch.

At this state of the race, this is not only the film to beat, but the film to see as well.

Check out the HD trailer below or watch the gorgeous Apple version below that.


Apple HD

“We Bought a Zoo” Trailer

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

In the last few months, this film has been one of the big mysteries of this Oscar season. Up until now, we haven’t really seen anything aside from a few stills. I’m not sure if any film other than “J. Edgar” has been as elusive in terms of how big of a contender it will be. Now, we finally have a trailer for Matt Damon’s project…and I still can’t tell what to think of it.

Most of this indecision can be attributed to the director’s hit or miss track record, especially with the Academy. “Jerry Maguire” was a huge hit with the Oscars. “Almost Famous” had big potential to take home the gold, but somehow missed out on Picture and Director nominations (though Crowe did nab an award for Best Original Screenplay). Then came “Elizabethtown.” Everyone thought it would automatically become a massive contender…and then people saw it, and that notion pretty much went out the window.

Trying to tell if this film is going to be the next “Jerry Maguire” or the next “Elizabethtown” is proving to be quite difficult, even with our first glimpse of it. There are moments that give it an air of striking originality and others so cheesy they made my teeth grit. Will the Academy embrace it? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. The field is closing up, fast, and with new voting regulations for Best Picture, it’s hard to imagine it making the cut. I would never count out a dark horse Original Screenplay nomination, though. They seem to adore Crowe much more as a writer than director. Also, Matt Damon appears to give an honest and down-to-earth performance so I wouldn’t quite KO him yet from the Best Actor competition.

Check out the trailer, below:

“Contagion” Billboard is LITERALLY “Viral”

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

So, now I have now seen “Contagion” and all the cards are on the table. I thought it was decent, but frankly, quite underwhelming. However, I have to give props for this brilliant marketing tool. After all, who needs a regular billboard when you can have a billboard made completely out of bacteria?

To gain publicity at the Toronto Film Festival, Warner Bros. tapped the Canadian advertising company Lowe Roche to design a form of marketing acute to the disturbing plot of Steven Soderbergh’s film. The artists used fungi and bacteria to illustrate some posters. When first hung up, they appeared like simple, blank billboards. However, after some time passed, onlookers were excited and horrified to see that the substances had rotted and evolved in a way that beautifully (and, at the same time, disgustingly) advertised the movie.

I must say that in the past decade or so of viral marketing, this is the first advertisement to take that phrase to a whole new level. Well done to the “Contagion” marketing team for really using the creative side of their brains.

Check out the awesome making-of video, below:

Venice Film Festival Winners

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Three down, one to go. After the Sundance and Cannes Film Festival announced their choices for best of the year, Venice has joined in. The 68th Annual Venice Film Festival had a lot on its plate and picked some interesting winners. It’s hard to tell what the frontrunner was in this battle, given the festival’s international diversity. If there was an American favorite, it would probably have been “The Ides of March.” George Clooney’s political thriller did pick up some descent reviews and some steam, but not enough to take down the big one. The festival’s grand prize went to Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Faust,” an adaptation of the classic German tale of Doctor Faustus. Little is yet known about this film in the states, but several reviews have called it a life-changing experience. I remain a bit speculative.

The award for Best Actor was a bit more interesting. A number of contenders were abound at the start of the festival. However, once it debuted and its’ themes began to sink into audience’s minds, it was clear that Steve McQueen’s “Shame” held the front-running performance. Michael Fassbender has been generating enormous amounts of buzz ever since his breakthrough performance in Steve McQueen’s previous film “Hunger.” Since then, he has delivered electrifying work in films like “Fish Tank,” “X-Men: First Class” and “Inglorious Basterds.” Fassbender also starred in Venice entry “A Dangerous Method,” however, it was his role as a sex addict in “Shame” that won him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. The young performer even beat out the veteran Gary Oldman for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Michael did give props to his idol during his acceptance speech, saying that Oldman has inspired him since he was fifteen years old.

This news of Fassbender comes on the heels of an important announcement concerning Fox Searchlight picking up the distributing rights for “Shame.” This is a very bold stroke by the studio, considering the film will almost assuredly carry an NC-17 rating. Unlike “Blue Valentine’s” absurd and easily overturned brand, this one will most likely stick, considering the apparently graphic sex scenes and more than a little full frontal nudity. It will probably not do very well in box office terms, but this win definitely puts Fassbender into contention for the Oscar. This is good news for him considering that “A Dangerous Method,” while not DOA, is certainly taking a hit from a fairly lackluster response from critics and audiences.

As far as the rest of the victories go, nothing really exciting that will likely transmit into Oscar potential. The under-the-radar British “Wuthering Heights” adaptation won for Cinematography, but will probably fly under the radar in the U.S.. Giorgios Lanthimos’ follow-up to his disturbing Oscar nominee, “Dogtooth,” entitled “Alps” took down Screenplay. Overall, considering how outside the box and, no offense to Giorgios, weird his films seem to be, I’m surprised the AMPAS even embraced his last film. We’ll see how this one turns out.

Here’s the breakdown of the substantial winners:

Golden Lion for Best Film
Faust by Aleksander Sokurov (Russia)

Silver Lion for Best Director
Shangjun CAI
 for the film Ren Shan Ren Hai (People Mountain People Sea) (China – Hong Kong)

Special Jury Prize
Terraferma by Emanuele Crialese (Italy)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor
Michael Fassbender
 in the film Shame by Steve McQueen (United Kingdom)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress
Deanie Yip in the film Tao jie (A Simple Life) by Ann Hui (China – Hong Kong)

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Shôta Sometani and Fumi Nikaidô
 in the film Himizu by Sion Sono (Japan)

Osella for the Best Cinematography
Robbie Ryan
 for the film Wuthering Heights by Andrea Arnold (United Kingdom)

Osella for Best Screenplay
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
 for the film Alpis (Alps) by Yorgos Lanthimos (Grecia)

“The Raid” Red Band Trailer Pulls No Punches

September 10, 2011 1 comment

Wow. Not gonna lie, I haven’t had a trailer knock me flat and leave my jaw hanging as close to the ground as this one just did in quite some time. This is a red band trailer that truly lives up to that distinction. “The Raid” is an Indonesian film directed by Gareth Evans debuting at the Toronto Film Festival this week. While the film is probably not poised to take home many prizes, it will definitely create a bit of stir.

The plot is sweet and simple. A team of twenty SWAT officers engage in a raid on a building ran by a drug overlord and infested with criminals of every kind. The operation was meant to go smoothly, but the building’s tenants are alerted to the cops’ presence and the officers must choose to risk their lives to complete the mission or attempt escape and survive.

Many insiders are claiming the film is one of the most cut-and-dry action films since John Woo’s “Hard-Boiled”, while echoing the newer styles of movies like “Old Boy.” To me, it looks like a whole lot of unadulterated, shamelessly violent fun. Can’t wait for a US release.

Warning: This movie and its trailer have got some brutality in them.

Eddie Murphy the Next Oscar Host?

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Last year, the Oscars took another step out of their old playbook by bringing back the dynamic of two Oscar hosts. They also made an attempt to fetch a youthful energy to the show with a couple of attractive thirty-year olds, playfully trying to gear the show towards…I don’t know…teenagers, I guess. As it has gone down in the history books, both of these choices failed, miserably. The Academy needs to re-evaluate where it stands in terms of presentation. It now appears that they may have taken a smart stroke towards rehabilitating themselves.

For a while it was rumored that the Board of Governors was ready to crawl on their hands and knees back to Billy Crystal and beg him to return. It appeared for a time that Crystal was actually ready to accept. He even issued a list of demands. Said list, in my opinion, would have ruined the show for those viewers who are actually watching for the sake of the movies, rather than the presentation. One stipulation was to create another non-televised event for all technical categories, including Best Editing and Cinematography, saving more time for the actors’ limelight and a bunch of song and dance.

However, this week, it was announced that the show’s producer, Brett Ratner, has issued Eddie Murphy as his preference as a host. Ratner, a Hollywood director (who’s a studio favorite because his films usually bring in a crowd, though not thoroughly talented or classy) is helming one of Murphy’s films, “Tower Heist,” slated for release this year. Not only does Murphy have extensive experience as a stand-up comedian, and therefore not under-qualified as a primetime emcee, but was recently inducted into the Academy, following his nomination in the film “Dreamgirls.”

Speaking as a person who has never been a big fan of Murphy’s stand-up routine, his stint on Saturday Night Live, or his acting career (outside of “The Nutty Professor,” which people forget actually netted him the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Actor), I believe that Eddie Murphy would be a fantastic choice for a host. He’s vibrant, nostalgic and a little bit edgy. And despite the popular belief, due to many of his recent flops, he actually can by quite funny. He also might be the key to the wider audience that the Governors are searching for.

While Billy Crystal definitely does know what he’s doing and could probably pull off a pretty decent show, he is not going to bring in any new viewers who weren’t already watching the show a decade or so ago. Eddie Murphy has the ability to reach across a far range of viewer blocks. Grown adults will remember him from “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” My own generation is reminiscent of his work from “The Nutty Professor” and “Dr. Doolittle.” Finally, younger audiences will recognize his work in the “Shrek” movies and “Dreamgirls.” Even when his career is a on a downturn or he’s pissing people off, he still has an element of fulfillment to a viewer, sort of like comfort food.

Granted, Murphy is not a lock for the job yet. But as producer, Brett Ratner will have a lot of pull with the decision. If it be true, he has my endorsement. If anyone remembers, I had my disdain for the Hathaway/Franco decision from the very beginning. Therefore, I have faith that my outlook will hold true again.

In my real opinion, the absolute best choice, who would both put on a great show and bring in younger viewers in droves, is Conan O’Brien. I mean, honestly, who could do better? One day the Academy will realize this.

In the meantime, I’m satisfied with Murphy. Thank goodness, too, because I don’t believe we’ve had even a decent host since Jon Stewart. Calling him decent is an insult, however. In my opinion, he’s maybe the best host of the last decade, and then some:

UPDATE: It is official. Eddie Murphy will host the Oscars, and I’m actually feeling pretty pumped about it. Check out the official AMPAS press release. Here is an excerpt of Murphy’s remarks:

“I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others,” said Murphy.  “I’m looking forward to working with Brett and Don on creating a show that is enjoyable for both the fans at home and for the audience at the Kodak Theatre as we all come together to celebrate and recognize the great film contributions and collaborations from the past year.”

More on this, later.

“Margaret” Trailer……..Finally

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not sure if there is a track record for how long a film has sat on the shelf before finally being released into theaters, but “Margaret” has got to be pretty high on whatever list that might be. The film is writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s sophomore effort about a young woman who witnesses a bus accident and gets caught up in the blame-game whirlwind that follows. The film was shot in 2005 and has been withheld from cinemas for the last six years. Reasons include difficulty finding distribution as well as the director’s inability to leave the editing suite.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this film’s unheard of stint on the cutting room floor is the impressive cast. It’s hard to imagine a film carrying performances by an newly minted Oscar nominee (Mark Ruffalo), two of television’s biggest stars (Anna Paquin and Allison Janney) and one of Hollywood’s top-grossing actors (Matt Damon) could have trouble finding distribution today. However, it was a different time, half of a decade ago. Neither “The Departed,” nor “True Blood” had debuted to the public and Mark Ruffalo wasn’t known for much more than Lonergan’s previous film, “You Can Count On Me.”

It’s really hard to believe that after 6 years of anticipation, we’re finally going to get a chance to see this film. The burden, however, is that those five years equate to quite a bit of anticipation, not to mention the fact that it has now been eleven years since Lonergan’s first film titled him one of Hollywood’s most aspiring young filmmakers. It will certainly have a lot to live up to.

Check out the trailer, below. Note, particularly, how Matt Damon looks like he’s about twelve years-old compared to his current appearance:

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