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Showing posts from January, 2011

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) PG-13

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I remember way back in June before Inception was released when all the critics were talking about The Social Network, Inception and this film being Oscar bait. They were obviously right about the other two films, but they were way off on this one. This isn't a bad film by any means, but it's awfully average and didn't deserve the hype. The original Wall Street (starring Charlie Sheen) wasn't even that good, but it was a fresh idea. Oliver Stone (Wall Street, W.) is of course back in the director's chair, but you could've fooled me. Instead of thinking of this as an average film, think of it as a showcase for a couple good young actors and a final goodbye for Michael Douglas (Solitary Man, Basic Instinct).

Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko, the cocky, self-absorbed, business man. Almost a decade has now passed since his release from prison. Since his release he has managed to screw up his relationship with his daughter after a family disaster. Our main ch…

The American (2010) R

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The always marvelous George Clooney (Michael Clayton, Solaris) is The American, in Anton Corbijn's (Control) second feature film. Corbijn is best known for his work with bands like Metallica, U2, Bryan Adams and Depeche Mode. I think it's easy to say that he has made a terrific transition into feature length films. Now, let me start out by saying that this is not a Bourne-like film. It's methodically paced and quiet. The action is scarce, as is the dialogue. But the wonderful cinematography and Mr. Clooney make up for it.

Clooney plays Jack, a quiet, paranoid, lonely and rugged hit-man. The film starts out with a beautiful opening shot set in Sweden. Jack and an acquaintance are lodging at a remote cabin. While going for a walk on the frozen lake they come upon footprints in the snow. Immediately Jack knows something isn't right. He grabs his lady friend and they book it for cover. Two shots are fired from a sniper and are near-misses. Jack pulls out his gun and the wom…

83rd Annual Academy Awards

Winners to be announced Sunday, February 27th. My predictions will be in bold, and my personal picks will have asterisks after them.

Best Picture:
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network*
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Best Actor:
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)*
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

Best Actress:
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)*
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale (The Fighter)*
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams (The Fighter)*
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Best Director:
Darren Aronofs…

Black Swan (2010) R

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Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) has already proven himself as one of the top directors in Hollywood. Is Black Swan his best work? You're going to have to read on to find out. The critics love this film, as well as audiences, so I had extremely high expectations going in. Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta, Brothers) has already won best actress at the Golden Globes for her role as Nina Sayers. She's one of my favorite actresses, and it's safe to say that this is her best role yet.

Nina is a ballerina who works for a prestigious New York City ballet company. Nina's been there for a long while and feels like she deserves a leading role. She still lives with her controlling, yet loving mother, played by Barbara Hershey (Riding the Bullet, Hoosiers). Hershey has also never been better. She's awkward, creepy, manipulative and altogether magnificent.

The company Nina works for is putting on a performance of the famous Swan Lake. It's directed by big s…

12th Annual Golden Tomato Awards

Rotten Tomatoes does a lot of great things for the film industry. They're practically the only site that takes every review available and turns them into a ratings system. It's usually quite accurate. Sometimes there isn't much of a difference between a "fresh" film and a "splat." A few days ago they released their 12th Annual Golden Tomato Awards. Here's what they came up with:

The best reviewed films of 2010
Wide Release:
1. Toy Story 3
2. How to Train Your Dragon
3. The Social Network (A)
4. True Grit (B)
5. The King's Speech
6. The Town (B+)
7. The Kids Are All Right (B)
8. Let Me In (A-)
9. The Fighter (A-)
10. Black Swan (A-)

Limited Release:
1. Last Train Home
2. Marwencol
3. Waste Land
4. A Prophet (A)
5. Restrepo (B)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (B)
7. Inside Job
8. Ajami
9. Animal Kingdom
10. A Film Unfinished

Rotten Tomatoes user ratings:
1. The King's Speech
2. Inception (A)
3. Exit Through the Gift Shop (B)
4. The Secret in Their Eyes (B+)
5. Toy Story 3
6.…

Richard Roeper's Top Ten Films of 2010

As more and more of my favorite critics release their top films of 2010, I will post them here for everyone to see. I usually agree with Mr. Roeper, as he's one of the best critics out there. He has an open mind and isn't afraid to enjoy a less than popular film every now and then. I've seen six of the films in his top ten and am eagerly waiting to see three of them (not interested in Toy Story 3).

10. Somewhere - Directed by Sofia Coppola. Starring Stephen Dorff.
Coppola (Lost in Translation) is an intriguing director. Apparently this film will rejuvenate Dorff's (Blade, FeardotCom) career.

9. The King's Speech - Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Colin Firth.
I have little doubt that this film will be amazing. Firth (A Single Man) and Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean) are two fine actors.

8. True Grit (B) - Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring Jeff Bridges.
While I don't consider it a top ten film, it's still very good. Hailee Steinfeld is sensational…

The Fighter (2010) R

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I've never really been in love with David O. Russell's (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) work, but this film is just phenomenal. David is still reasonably young, 52, so he's got a lot of years ahead of him. As far as sports movies go, this is one of the better ones I've seen. It's based on an amazing true story, and I love true stories. Mark Wahlberg (Invincible, The Basketball Diaries) stars as Micky Ward, a Lowell, MA boxer on the verge of a tailspin. He's best known as Dickie Eklund's brother. Eklund, played by Christian Bale (The Machinist, Harsh Times) in a Golden Globe winning role, is a once famous boxer who knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard.

The movie begins with a documentary look as cameras follow Dickie's every move. He claims the film crew are making a documentary on his big boxing comeback. Meanwhile, Micky is two or three good wins away from possibly getting a chance at a title. It isn't long before we see just how crazy Micky's family …

The 68th Golden Globe Awards

Here are the important Golden Globe winners. The Social Network led the way with four wins, while The Kids Are All Right and The Fighter both nabbed two. If this is any indication, it looks like The Social Network will have their way at the Oscars as well. But we shall see. I correctly picked all but four categories, which is much better than last year.

Best Drama: The Social Network
I completely agree, although a case could be made for both Inception and The Fighter.

Best Actress - Drama: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
I'm planning on seeing this film in the next few days...

Best Actor - Drama: Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
I saw this coming, even though I would've voted for Eisenberg (The Social Network).

Best Comedy/Musical: The Kids Are All Right
I agree 100%. By far the best film out of the five choices.

Best Actress - Comedy/Musical: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
I actually liked Julianne Moore's performance more, but that's just me.

Best Actor - Comedy/Musica…

True Grit (2010) PG-13

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Hey folks, I'm back in business! I know I saw this film way back on Christmas day, but better late than never. While this film isn't Oscar worthy (in my opinion), it still has some wonderful performances and some great scenes. It's directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo), who are two of my favorites. They do a great job, as always, setting things up for a fantastic finish. Even if we didn't quite get that in True Grit, the final showdown will keep you on the edge of your seat. The lead is played by young Hailee Steinfeld. She has never been in a feature film before, which is simply shocking. She plays Mattie Ross, whose father was murdered on his front doorstep by a common thief named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Mattie immediately wants retribution and justice. So, she attempts to hire someone to track Chaney down. Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski) plays Rooster Cogburn, a once infamous character played by John Wayne. He's a bounty …