Blog Archives

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Contagion

Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s return to “mainstream” cinema, boasts a lot of big-named Hollywood stars, but at what cost? For each plot thread picked up by a Damon or a Fishburne just as many are left to flounder without consequence or reason.

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Director Spotlight: Jersey Girl

Isn’t that cute? It’s 8 o’clock and you both get a bottle.

Kevin Smith…what can I say about the man?!  In the 90’s, Smith hit Hollywood by storm with his “Askewniverse” series of films that I adore.  My first film that I saw of his was 1995’s Mallrats.  I was floored with his tongue-in-cheek humour which promptly has me viewing 92’s Clerks and one of my favorites 1997’s Chasing Amy.  Smith’s style of filming was an indie hit.  It wasn’t till 2004’s Jersey Girl that he kind of hit a wall when he so-called tried going more Hollywood by breaking his indie style and going a new direction.  With that said, that’s the film I’m going to discuss here.

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Director Spotlight: Chasing Amy

See that man right there? He the Devil, understand? Never take your eye off the man.

The first film in our Kevin Smith spotlight is Chasing Amy, one of Smith’s most lauded and well received films.  The movie tells the story of Holden McNeil, played by Ben Affleck and Alyssa Jones, played by Joey Lauren Adams, and the romance that could never be, but somehow was. Alyssa is a lesbian, so right off the bat you can see the complication.  Interestingly enough, the complications don’t stop there as the revelations keep coming.     Read the rest of this entry

Contagion

Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s return to “mainstream” cinema, boasts a lot of big-named Hollywood stars, but at what cost? For each plot thread picked up by a Damon or a Fishburne just as many are left to flounder without consequence or reason.

Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: The Adjustment Bureau

Let’s face it: the world loves to see Matt Damon run. Why else would he be hoofing it so much? There has to be better ways of escaping danger; the public must be demanding to see his galloping stride. Graciously, for all of Damon’s running, jumping, and space-dimensional warping in The Adjustment Bureau the camera remains steady and the edits are regularly placed so one knows what the hell is going on (*cough* Paul Greengrass *cough*).

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: True Grit

Constantly reinventing themselves, the Coen Brothers throw their ten gallon hats in the ring with their adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, True Grit. The story centers in on young Mattie Ross, played by newcomer Haillee Steinfeld whose main goal is avenging her father’s murder by capturing the man responsible. Knowing her limitations she seeks out the help of U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by the dude himself, Jeff Bridges. Backing up Cogburn on the treacherous manhunt is Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger, who simply goes by LaBoeuf. The Coens, who both adapted and directed the film, manage to create a western that holds true to the genre, while also finding appeal within the mass market. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Hereafter

A film like Hereafter could easily become exploitative.   Playing on people’s emotions in connection to death or the hopefullness connected to the afterlife.  Pandering to crowds looking for a definitive answer regarding what the afterlife might look like.  In the theater I attended there were hordes of senior citizens, on a Sunday morning.  There are two things that could contribute to this: Heavy advertising in AARP magazine due to Clint Eastwood’s involvement or seniors are looking for answers due to their own looming mortality.  Now, this is not to imply that Hereafter exploits these notions, but perhaps the way the film was marketed implied there were answers to be found.

Read the rest of this entry

The Adjustment Bureau

Let’s face it: the world loves to see Matt Damon run. Why else would he be hoofing it so much? There has to be better ways of escaping danger; the public must be demanding to see his galloping stride. Graciously, for all of Damon’s running, jumping, and space-dimensional warping in The Adjustment Bureau the camera remains steady and the edits are regularly placed so one knows what the hell is going on (*cough* Paul Greengrass *cough*).

Read the rest of this entry

Episode 55: True Grit

Rene proves himself to be a man of true grit this week as he and Mike discuss…True Grit.  This week they ruminate on the Coens, the dude, and the man that killed Yogi Bear.

Give us a listen because we’re not LaBoeuf.

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True Grit

Constantly reinventing themselves, the Coen Brothers throw their ten gallon hats in the ring with their adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, True Grit.   The story centers in on young Mattie Ross, played by newcomer Haillee Steinfeld whose main goal is avenging her father’s murder by capturing the man responsible.  Knowing her limitations she seeks out the help of U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by the dude himself, Jeff Bridges.  Backing up Cogburn on the treacherous manhunt is Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger, who simply goes by LaBoeuf.  The Coens, who both adapted and directed the film, manage to create a western that holds true to the genre, while also finding appeal within the mass market.   Read the rest of this entry

Hereafter

A film like Hereafter could easily become exploitative.   Playing on people’s emotions in connection to death or the hopefullness connected to the afterlife.  Pandering to crowds looking for a definitive answer regarding what the afterlife might look like.  In the theater I attended there were hordes of senior citizens, on a Sunday morning.  There are two things that could contribute to this: Heavy advertising in AARP magazine due to Clint Eastwood’s involvement or seniors are looking for answers due to their own looming mortality.  Now, this is not to imply that Hereafter exploits these notions, but perhaps the way the film was marketed implied there were answers to be found. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Green Zone

Heading to the theatre, I felt I needed a Jason Bourne fix, the dude is simply a bad ass and after viewing the trailer for Green Zone, I had thought I finally found something to hold me over, but did I really see a military version of the Bourne films? Read the rest of this entry

Green Zone (Devil’s Advocate Review)

Heading to the theatre, I felt I needed a Jason Bourne fix, the dude is simply a bad ass and after viewing the trailer for Green Zone, I had thought I finally found something to hold me over, but did I really see a military version of the Bourne films? Read the rest of this entry

Green Zone

Thanks to the success of The Hurt Locker, I had a lot of anticipation for the newest Iraq War film, Green Zone. The pedigree of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass didn’t hurt either, not to mention a four-star review from Roger Ebert. What I got was a much more preachy action film than I’m used to, and I’m still not sure how I totally feel about it.  Just go with me here. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: The Brothers Grimm

In 2005, following a seven-year hiatus since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam released two very different movies: Tideland and The Brothers Grimm.  After such a (relatively) long break, it is odd that these two films were released the same year; odder still how diametrically opposed their storylines are. Read the rest of this entry

Awards and Award Season: Golden Globes 2009

Most people usually see the Golden Globes as the pre-cursors and foreshadowers of the Academy Awards, but there’s one big difference: Best Picture is divided into Drama and Musical/Comedy. This allows for a lot of variety, plus two winners in each of the biggest categories: Picture, Actor, and Actress. The Director, Screenplay, and Supporting Actor/Actress awards are lumped together, so it becomes a bit more prophetic of the Oscar race than the others (for example, the winners of Best Actor were Sean Penn (the eventual winner) and..ahem…Colin Farrell). This year’s three front-runners for Best Picture-Drama (and the coveted Best Picture Oscar) are Up in the Air (likely for Screenplay), The Hurt Locker (likely for Director, unless the “King of the World” has any say about it) and Precious (which is more actor-driven than production), with blockbusters Avatar and Inglourious Basterds weak competition. The Best Picture-Musical or Comedy section has the same variety: indie darling (see my piece on the Spirit Awards) vs. big-budget musical (the most viable candidate) vs. silly comedies (The Hangover? way to defy expectations, you snooty critics). Here’s the full list: http://www.goldenglobes.org/nominations/ Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 World War II drama that follows Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men through the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach. After surviving D-Day, as depicted in one of the most visceral opening 25 minutes ever filmed, Miller and his squad are ordered to risk their lives and find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Ryan’s three brothers have all been killed in action within days of each other. The last one dying on Omaha Beach.  Miller is sent to find Ryan somewhere in Nazi occupied France and bring him back home alive. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: The Rainmaker

Matt Damon has always been a favorite of mine. He seems to really understand what it takes to be an actor. As opposed to his counterpart who seems to just want to be a movie star. (Ahem* Ben Affleck) Take him, a cast of great actors (Danny Devito, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke, Jon Voight, Danny Glover), and Francis Ford Coppola and you will have the makings for a great movie.

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