Monday, November 28, 2011

Out of the Past: 'A Dangerous Method,' 'Hugo' and 'The Artist'

Wow. It was a great Thanksgiving weekend for movies. All three pictures I reviewed for Patch this week could be possible top 10 of the year contenders: David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" and Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist."

"Method" is a cerebral take on the birth of psychoanalysis, with Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen dueling it out as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, respectively. Caught between their battle for the future of the "talking cure" is Sabina Spielren, played with intensity by Keira Knightley. The picture may not immediately appear to be a likely choice for Cronenberg, but it fits perfectly into his oeuvre. It's one of the year's best.

Both Scorsese's 3D fantasy, "Hugo," and "The Artist" are loving tributes to classic cinema. The former actually includes pioneer George Melies as a character, while the second comes off as the best, unreleased film of 1927. Each film is moving in its own way.

Check out my Patch reviews for all three films.

This coming weekend, I'll review Steve McQueen's controversial new picture, "Shame." Other possibilities include "My Week with Marilyn," Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty," "The Yellow Sea" or Ralph Fiennes's "Coriolanus."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Twi-Hardly: 'Breaking Dawn' Fails to Deliver, but Payne's 'The Descendants' is One of Year's Best

I've never exactly been a fan of the "Twilight" series, but "Breaking Dawn Part 1" is pretty much a mess. This is a shame because the picture was directed by Bill Condon, of whose "Kinsey" and "Gods and Monsters" I was a big fan. But this latest in the series of films based on Stephenie Meyer's popular novels is an all-around bust - wooden acting, melodrama galore and semi-ludicrous plot twists.

The weekend's brightest spot was Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," which features a particularly vulnerable performance from George Clooney. I've always admired Payne's work - from "Election" and "About Schmidt" to "Sideways." His latest represents a shift toward more dramatic material. "The Descendants" is often funny, but it's a more solemn occasion. Regardless, I really liked it.

I also caught up with Paddy Considine's directorial debut, "Tyrannosaur," which I admired, especially for its performances by Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman. But it's a tough sit - and by that, I mean it's brutal and bleak. I'd recommend it, but be prepared for an uncomfortable experience.

Here are my reviews for Patch.

This coming weekend, I'm definitely going to catch David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" and new Oscar frontrunner "The Artist." I'll also eventually see "My Week with Marilyn," but most likely not this weekend.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apocalypse Wow: Lars Von Trier's 'Melancholia' (and Eastwood's 'J. Edgar')

Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" could be the cynical brother of "The Tree of Life." In Terrence Malick's film, a man views the origins of the universe through the scope of his own life and fall from grace. Von Trier's picture tells the tale of a woman who witnesses the destruction of the Earth through the prism of her crippling depression. It's a fascinating movie and a highpoint in Von Trier's career.

I also really enjoyed Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," which has been getting some (what I consider to be) unfairly negative notices. Critics have chided the legendary filmmaker for apparently letting the notorious G-man off the hook, which begs this question: Were we watching the same film?

Regardless, it's a complex movie with a fantastic lead performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Here are my reviews for Patch.

I tried, but just couldn't make it to "Immortals," "Into the Abyss" and "Letters from the Big Man" this week. I'll try to catch up with some of them soon, especially the Werner Herzog film.

This week, I'll definitely review Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" and Paddy Considine's "Tyrannosaur... as well as "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I." You heard correctly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yuk, Yuk, Yuk: The Hollywood Comedy

To say the least, I'm a little late with my post this week. But late is better than never.

Here are my Patch reviews for "Tower Heist" and "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas," both of which had me going meh, the latter more so than the former.

This week, I'm going to review Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia," Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" and Tarsem Singh's "Immortals." At some point, I'm also going to have to catch up with Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss" and Christopher Munch's "Letters from the Big Man."