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“The Ides of March” Trailer

I don’t think that there was ever any doubt in my mind that of all the films slated for a 2011 release, none of them has grabbed my attention more than George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.” Maybe it’s the sustained energy leftover from Obama’s 2008 campaign. Perhaps it’s my undying passion for the socio-political TV drama “The West Wing” for the vibes from this movie tickle me with a similar sensation that Sorkin once did (and still does. Who am I kidding?).

On the other hand, maybe it all just comes down to a film that is written and directed by as well as starring the great George Clooney (a man I have very much grown to respect in front and behind the camera, as well as in the real world) and starring a collection of the greatest performers of our time, crossing several generations.

From the looks of this trailer, the film is not going to disappoint anytime soon. The spirit of Sorkin’s political style of wit seems to be well intact, accented by Clooney and Heslov’s razor-sharp edginess. Gosling, Clooney, Tomei, Wood, and especially Giamatti all seem at the top of their game, while Philip Seymour Hoffman looks to be headed straight for his third Oscar nomination. Yet, I doubt that he will be the only individual waking up to that distinction in January. This film is going to be powerhouse of all forms of talent producing stellar entertainment.

Check out the HD trailer, below:

“Hanna” Review at The DePaulia

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I had attended an early screening of this film a few weeks ago, but had to embargo my review until opening weekend. The review got published in The DePaulia today. Once again, here’s a short excerpt:

“Joe Wright, the young director of such films as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement,” goes far out of his usual element to direct this fantastic thriller. It’s as though the man has suddenly started using artistic steroids or been abducted by aliens. Whatever the reasoning, Wright’s new style is not necessarily an improvement, but a welcome change. The pace and tone that he brings to the film create a sensation that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced from a film.”

This is film honestly still has my head spinning. I have no doubt that it’s already in contention for my eventual Top Ten List of the year and I had a lot of fun writing this review. Check out the full article through the link, below:

“Director, actress take a thrilling break from the norm”

 

NEW “Tree of Life” Poster

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow. This film either has to be god’s gift to mankind, or it shall be the biggest disappointment in recent cinematic history. I don’t think any film aside from “Inception” has gained such a heavy base of anticipation among bloggers, fanboys and cinephiles, in general.

They seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on the visual images of the film (which are honestly quite gorgeous). Highly respected cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki could be looking at his fifth Oscar nomination, or perhaps even a win. Nothing will ever offset the snub of his loss for “Children of Men,” however, so a reward is irrelevant in my eyes.

One has to wonder whether or not the story is going to come anywhere near close enough to measuring up to the film’s brilliant eye candy. One has to wonder how a film that contains both Brad Pitt as an abusive, overbearing father and dinosaurs make it into the same screenplay. Yes, that’s right. I said dinosaurs. I remember hearing the rumors years ago, which I didn’t truly believe until I noticed the center square on the poster, fourth from the bottom. That looks quite a bit to me, and a lot of other people on the web, like a dinosaur standing the middle of some kind of river. Also, the top left corner appears to feature some kind of asteroid impact, that one could only guess is the rock that killed off life on Earth sixty-five million years ago.

Will this movie make any kind of discernible sense, or will it be a big visual mess of a film. I’m ready for just about anything at this point, and I hope you all are, too.

Check out the full poster after the cut:

Read more…

NEW “Beginners” Trailer

March 26, 2011 1 comment

Amidst all of the anticipation for summer blockbusters and an ocean of Hollywood’s Spring regurgitation, I stumbled upon this glorious trailer. I had no idea of the existence of this film before a week ago. It tells the story of a young man (Ewan McGregor) who’s father delivers him two earth-shattering announcements after the death of his mother. First, that he has terminal cancer. Secondly, that he is gay, and has kept said feelings a secret for McGregor’s entire life. The main character must deal with these issues, along with his concerns over his own dating life, while maintaining a level of sanity.

Also starring Christopher Plummer (in a role that immediately appears considerable for an Oscar) and Melanie Laurent in her first role in an American film since “Inglourious Basterds.” It’s written and directed by Mike Mills who crafted the star-laden indy film “Thumbsucker.” This film has automatically been placed at the very top of my must-see list.

Check out the trailer, below, and see if you agree:

Tom Hooper in Talks to Direct “Les Miserables” Film Adaptation

March 25, 2011 2 comments

Well….shit. This is some of the best and worst news that I’ve heard in quite a long time. Perhaps more impactful things have happened to the world of cinema that have affected me in different ways. However, this news is rubbing me in a way I really can’t even describe.

I guess that it’s important to know the history. Most people have heard of or seen a production of “Les Miserables” at some point in their lives. It’s practically the most popular and adored musical of the last quarter century. I am definitely one of its fans. Little do some people know that before turning to a life of film, I did a lot of theater. I starred in a number of plays in high school, musical and dramatic, and dabbled in stage direction, as well. Without a doubt, my favorite performance that I’ve ever had the opportunity to give on stage was the role of Javert in “Les Miserables,” and ever since then, I have been eternally hooked on every aspect of said play.

Since I’m such a fan, I have been waiting and hoping for a film adaptation of the musical itself to come along for the better part of a decade. It is my absolute dream film. I would wait in line for weeks at opening night for a ticket. Now, it appears that it’s finally happening and all I can feel is disappointment.

Why, oh, why, oh, why in heaven’s name did they have to go with Tom Hooper. I can think of any number of names who I’d rather see attached to my dream project. Directors well-suited for the job would include Roman Polanski, Guillermo Del Toro, Joe Wright, Stephen Daldry, Baz Luhrman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Frank Darabont, hell, even J.J. Abrams might be a stellar choice.

You know, maybe Hooper’s not even a terrible decision. I mean, the man is not a bad director. He did, in fact, do a phenomenal job with the “John Adams” miniseries. Perhaps this film is actually right up his alley. Yet right now, I just can’t see it, because for the last few months, I cannot imagine him as anything more than an antagonist. Partnered with Harvey Weinstein, he is the arch nemesis to what what could have been one of the greatest Oscar outcomes in recent memory. Will I ever be able to shrug off this hatred and enjoy the man for what he can produce and how good his craft can be. Maybe.

Yet, for now, I mourn…..

Below is a clip, not from the musical production itself, but from the 25th Anniversary Concert. Whoever was conducting this should be shot for what he did to some of these cues, but this is still a powerful rendition of one of the show’s greatest numbers.

“Rango” Review

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Granted that last year was a phenomenal one for animated features (“Toy Story 3,” “How to Train Your Dragon”), I have to say that I didn’t give animated fare enough of my time through the course of the season. Therefore, I thought I’d get things started early this year. However, while Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” is certainly not a bad film, it doesn’t set the bar very high, in the same way that Lee Unkrich’s masterpiece did almost a year ago.

“Rango” is a simple story of an unlikely hero. The before-nameless chameleon (Johnny Depp) is stranded hopelessly in the desert. He is half-rescued by a local lizard (Isla Fisher) who brings him to her water-deprived township. Through a series of mishaps and good luck, the iguana wins the respect from the townspeople, their job of sheriff and the title-name “Rango.” Yet, when all that’s left of the people’s dwindling water supply is stolen and the town’s most ominous figures are suspect, Rango realizes that he might be out of his league. The chameleon must find the courage that he never thought he had and prove himself to a group of people who have nothing left to hope for.

The story itself certainly isn’t anything in the realm of high art. It’s a standard tale of a seemingly weak individual thrown into extraordinary circumstances and forced to become the person, or chameleon, he only dreamed that he could. That structure isn’t a bad one. It’s worked time and time again in phenomenal films, but only when there’s an added element of creativity, which this film lacks…other than all the character’s being cowboy-animals, which is a little more preposterous than it is creative. However, we’ll get into that later.

The voice cast does great work. One can tell, right off the bat that the title role was directly written for the talent of Johnny Depp. From the soft-spoken quips to random outbursts, it’s really difficult to imagine anyone else reading these lines. Bill Nighy and Ray Winstone use their sinister tones to great extent as a few of the film’s many antagonists. The only actor I could do without is the ever-growing-more-annoying Abigail Breslin. Her entire cute, mousy, adorable relief could be done away with, entirely, in my opinion.

There is one aspect of this film that is a monkey I just can’t get off my back. Some people will call me unimaginative or argumentative, but I’m sorry, this just bugs me. I’m put off by the absence of any effort to have the setting, characters or events make logical sense. This is a world in which desert animals wear Hawaiian shirts and cowboy hats. They drink out of shot glasses, sit under ceiling fans and play mean riffs on the guitar. It just doesn’t compute for me. The film takes whatever liberties it wishes and stretches the boundaries of reality however it pleases. Just because a film is animated does not mean that there are no cinematic guidelines that should be respected.

To further illustrate my point, certain other animated features have a fantastic premise, while keeping their roots firmly planted in reality. “Finding Nemo,” “Happy Feet” and all of the “Toy Story” films create improbable plotlines, but never escape the boundaries of logic. The animals in “Finding Nemo” and “Happy Feet” have a defined society, talk to each other, and in some cases, sing and dance. Yet, they don’t build auditoriums to do their routines. All of the animals basically exist the same way they do in nature. And in the case of “Toy Story,” obviously toys are inanimate objects, and yet in their world, they don’t escape the realm of possibility. They create tools out of accessible household items and their environments are their owners’ bedrooms and toy boxes.

It’s this creative sense of plausible fantasy that not only make the plot and setting of said movies easier to entertain in the mind, but funnier and ultimately more entertaining. And it’s not just the lack of logic, but the unmitigated disregard for it in “Rango” that really knocks it down in my book. It puts up as a nicer-looking version of “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” so, congratulations if you like that kind of thing. It’s that same ode to ridiculousness that ruined Pixar’s “Up” for me. The first act of that film, and especially the opening ten minutes, are absolutely extraordinary and heartbreaking. However, once the talking dogs (that could fly planes, no less) came in, I checked out.

Speaking of nice-looking, one positive note that I must leave this film on is just how incredible its appearance is. An impressive amount of detail was put into all of the visual aspects, from the fur on the chin of the hedgehog to the shine on the drinking glasses. One can definitely tell that Roger Deakins had a hand in this, being credited as a visual consultant (just as he was on “How to Train Your Dragon” and “WALL-E”). Every shot is incredibly predetermined, framed and orchestrated. It’s a real shame, in fact, that the quality of the story could not match the film’s astounding look.

GRADES:           B-            * * * / * * * * *           5.8 / 10.0

The End of Oscar Season and What’s on the Horizon

So, the Oscar season is officially over. As saddening as the result was, I am fully ready to move on and focus on other things. While I do consider this site to be a year-long awards information center, let’s face it, there’s really not going to be a lot to say about it for quite some time now. Therefore I will be offering a few Awards Updates now and again until the season really kicks in.

However, for the majority of the time, The Edge of the Frame will be focused on movies themselves. I plan on focusing more on reviews, trailers, and news updates. I also plan on continuing with certain features, such as the New Additions to the Mitchell List, my assorted lists, as well as a new feature I’ve been planning that ties in with AFI’s own Top 100 List.

On top of all that, I plan on posting more information and updates on my own productions. While it’s my goal to become a professional critic and pundit, I still do spend a lot of time working on films, themselves. When I started this blog, I had originally planned on including a lot of features having to do with my own work, but never really got around to it. I intend to reverse that by posting everything from production stills (including the one above from a short film, “The Mystique” which I recently key gripped for), screenshots and even short films that I’ve edited either for class or my spare time. It should be a blast.

To kick this off, I’ve posted a trailer for a film that I am undoubtedly looking forward to in the coming year. Anyone who played the computer game “Oregon Trail” as a kid has to be excited for what is practically the film adaptation, “Meek’s Cutoff.” While looking a lot more dry and dark than the children’s game, this film really looks to be something of great, unorthodox adventure film. I highly doubt that the film will be up for any awards and you’ll probably have to search hard to find it in theaters. Yet this unusual-looking western starring Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Will Patton and Bruce Greenwood looks like a 2011 film I will be sure not to miss.

According to IMDB the film will have a limited release on April 8th, but I wouldn’t hold any breath to see this get out of LA and NY by that point.

Or check out the full HD version from Apple Trailers.