December 1, 2009
As the world transitions from fall to winter the cinematic world moves from pre-Oscar season to Oscar season with a little holiday spirit drizzled in.
These past couple of months have already witnessed many a controversial conversation piece and stirred up dissent about what has been a success, what has not, and, of course, what the expansion of the Best Picture category will mean for this upcoming Oscar night. Now at ten nominations rather than five, Oscar night will not only highlight a greater breath of films, but also (*sigh) feel a bit more like the drunk dinner-fest known as the Golden Globes.
But, there are months still to go before that. On with our fall reflections…
This fall’s release that caused the most buzz would of course be Spike Jones’ live action adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. Whether it lit you up or shut you out, there is not any denying that his visual palate and adamant abandonment of commercialized children’s filmmaking was a breath of fresh air. Another breath of fresh air was of course the little indie flick called Adam that reminded romantics everywhere that romantic comedies are not always the right date night remedy. (A fun note here is that Hugh Dancy, who played autistic Adam in this film is engaged to a Miss Claire Danes who is portraying the autistic scientist, Temple Grandin, in an upcoming television film. Coincidence? Bets are down as to who does it better. Get in on it!)
This fall’s films actually fell short on more than one occasion, story wise. Both 9 and Whip-It had far more visual punch than thematic or script success. With, of course, Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds knocking August out of the park and truly embracing the strong visual style that makes this director a possible power-player for this year’s award season.
Rounding out this season’s line-up is of course Precious. No need to go into it, my review is below. But it is safe to say it is and will continue to be the marker into Oscar territory and the winter/holiday film season. One should be prepared for dark dramas, far too many movies too see and much anticipated new media to be explored. Overall, not a bad fall, but I have a feeling this winter is bound to be better.
August 28, 2009
As August rolls away from us, school (for some) begins, summer silliness subsides, and we see the dawn of a new September upon us, it is time to look back and unpack our summer cinematic experiences. And as fall film season begins let us move past our disappointments and gripes. Because there is always another movie to see as they’re fishes in the sea…
Most of the anticipated big studio releases of this summer proved to be more of a chance to throw around some cash rather than bring something innovative or cleverly entertaining to the table. Among these, Wolverine, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe lead the pack as most audience members left the theaters feeling the stories could have been presented in a much tighter, calculated and satisfying way.
What was surprisingly satisfying was the re-invention of the Star Trek series, which gives hope to the prospect of more new films within this franchise and future feature J.J. Abrams projects. Also, among these surprises was the quality and availability of smaller budgeted films seen at mainstream/larger theaters this summer. If you missed Away We Go, (500) Days of Summer or Moon, netflix them now. And if you don’t have netflix, join it now. And I mean now…netflix.com…
Now that you’ve done that, also remember that this upcoming fall is a chance to rent those films that did not need to be seen on the big screen. Character films that are important for learning about actors’ repertoire, but structurally and as a whole will not be as significant. Lumping Julie & Julia (Streep), Terminator Salvation (Bale), and even Time Traveler’s Wife (McAdams) into this group, I would urge these to be seen at some point.
Unfortunately, this summer, a season normally plagued with exhilarating highs and horrible lows, was rather unbalanced with only few highs and so much that was middle ground and almost forgettable. Because, of course, no one forgets a disappointment at least. The winner of the film that lived up to all expectations would have to be UP. If you missed this in 3D, you missed a gem and an experience that will not be the same in a home theater or laptop. And of course, I cannot even tackle Mr. Potter as it would be pretentious of me to categorize this film as it must be taken within the context of the previous films in which it follows.
Alas, another summer escapes our grasps. But do not be downhearted. The wild rumpus has yet to begin…