The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Quick List of Anticipated Movies

I'll be honest with you all - I've been a bad moviegoer this year. I've seen not more than ten films, and I've missed out on a lot of movies I've wanted to see. Plus, besides The Tree of Life, I've not been floored by any of the year's output (though almost everything has been pleasantly and surprisingly enjoyable).

However, there are quite a few upcoming releases that I just can't wait to get my hands on - so without further ado, a quick look at my top ten most anticipated releases for the rest of 2011.

10. Shame - This would be higher based on the Fassbender/Mulligan factor (both actors I love) if there was just a bit more information about it. For now though, I'm content with my curiosity.

9. A Dangerous Method - Cronenberg is a fascinating director, and with Fassbender as one of the leads, this is a must see. Also, after Keira Knightley's surprisingly powerful work last year in "Never Let Me Go", I'm looking forward to see what she can do with what looks like strong material.

8. Crazy, Stupid, Love - The cast is impeccable. Julianne Moore and Emma Stone? Ryan Gosling AND Marisa Tomei? It's coming out this weekend so thankfully the wait isn't that long!

7. The Artist - It looks so quirky and interesting - the silent film aspect is intriguing and I look forward to something so different and unique.

6. The Skin That I Inhabit - It seems like Almodovar has been trying to make something frightening for the past few years, what with "Volver" and "Broken Embraces" having dark elements. Thus, this all out horror film is extremely exciting - plus, remember what happened last year when an auteur made a shameless horror movie? Brilliance, that's what.

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - I love the book, and though I was underwhelmed by the original, the trailer looks like Fincher's going to blow us all away. I can guarantee that I'll be midnight screening this one.

4. We Need to Talk About Kevin - I read the source material, which was unbelievably dark and disturbing, and it's a perfect role for Tilda. Honestly, Tilda's one of those actresses who I would watch reading the phonebook.

3. Contagion - OH MY GOD THIS CAST. I love every single member of this cast and the trailer looks frightening and thrilling.

2. The Future - I've not seen Miranda July's debut feature, but I'm a big fan of her writing (if you haven't read her short story collection, "No One Belongs Here More Than You", you absolutely should), and the trailer showed a lot of promise.

1. Melancholia - Um, did you guys see the trailer? There is absolutely nothing about this that I don't want, right now.

A Good Year for Westerns!

So, remember that big announcement I made the other day? Well, the first episode of Amir and my new series "A Good Year" is up over at his blog Amiresque. GO CHECK IT OUT!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Super Exciting Announcement!

Hey guys!

So I have a cool announcement. Yay! Amir, from one of my favorite blogs, Amiresque, and I are starting a new series entitled "A Good Year" in which we discuss a particular...cinematic entity (actor, director, genre, etc.) that had particular success in a given year. The first episode of this awesome project will be up this weekend and I hope you all can join us - I think you'll like what we have in store.

P.S. Here's a hint: The above gif has NOTHING to do with our series. It just looked relevant to the whole "excitement" theme of this post. Haha!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

2011 So Far: Performances, Part II

We previously discussed this year's men - now let's take a look at the lovely ladies who have made the first half of 2011 joyous. (Pardon the delay on this, some things came up - also, pardon the lack of pictures, blogger is being an annoying little poopyhead as usual!)

Marion Cotillard in Midnight in Paris

In a very general sense, Cotillard plays the muse in Midnight. I recently read an article where Cotillard was interviewed, and asked how she defined a muse. She filled up about half a page discussing the implications of being a muse - the artistic and emotional openness required, the trust, and so much more. Cotillard's complex knowledge of her potentially simple character shows in her irresistible work in Woody Allen's latest, as she turns her fantasy muse into a fascinating mix of complex emotion, motive and mysterious beauty - all while making it look effortless.

Vera Farmiga in Source Code

Speaking of silently complex performances, here we have another that fits into that category. On paper, the character of Goodwin is little more than a cipher to the audience - an expositional plot device. Of course, though, Vera Farmiga would never let her character be ONLY that. Even though the movie skirts around the philosophical questions it wants to ask, Vera is not afraid to question them herself with her performance, as she expresses every doubt, every insecurity and every bit of inner pain through her eyes, while the rest of her physical composure shields it all in a way her character must have been building up for years. It's a perfectly structured and ever-surprising piece of work.

Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: First Class

There is a lot of good acting in First Class (we already spoke about Fassbender and McAvoy) but Lawrence stands out above the rest. In the first movie I've seen her in since her impressive work in Winter's Bone, Lawrence proves that she's an actress with a bright future ahead of her. Her Mystique is, in a word, organic - everything she does feels totally natural. Even when she's spouting lines as clunky as "mutant and proud", Lawrence comes across with conviction. She's not afraid to show fear, something that's far too sparse in superhero films, and when she's scared, it's a fear from the bottom of her soul. When you consider how much of this performance was done through the guise of CGI, it is truly impressive.

Elle Fanning in Super 8

I've never been a huge fan of Dakota, but I'm starting to find a real affinity for her sister, who does such great work in Super 8. Shedding all signs of child-star pretention, Fanning turns her love interest role into an interesting piece of actorly characterization. It's hard to believe that she is, in reality, the youngest of the entire cast! Her "acting" scene at the train station alone is enough to offer commendation - in that one scene, we see a girl with talent, a sad talent that will probably never be cultivated because of her family life.

Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life

As the mother figure in The Tree of Life, the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain has a lot of different roles to fill - matron, fantasy, ideal, and human. She rises to each of these challenges masterfully. Like her costars, Chastain feels real in every frame, and in her beautiful characterization, pulls the audience in from the beginning. Watch as she contrasts a playful chase through the house with her sons to a frightened and angry flee from the kitchen after one of her husband's meltdowns - it's powerful stuff, and of all the stunning elements of The Tree of Life, Chastain is easily the most memorable.