Monday, January 30, 2012

'The Grey' and 'Man on a Ledge'

As I mentioned in this week's Patch movie roundup, my cinematic selections last weekend were both tales of men pushed to their limits.

I enjoyed Joe Carnahan's "The Grey," which was less of a wolf-punching Liam Neeson action film than a combination of Sam Peckinpah and Jack London. Overall, a solid film. I wasn't so enthused about "Man on a Ledge," which takes a slightly preposterous setup and maximizes its absurdity to the nth degree.

Here are my reviews.

This coming week is an extremely busy one for me. Nevertheless, I'm going to try to catch up with a number of movies, all four of which are genre pictures. I'm prioritizing Ben Wheatley's acclaimed "Kill List" and Ti West's "The Innkeepers," but I also plan to see - at some point - "The Woman in Black" and "Chronicle."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Action Packed Weekend and the Airing of Grievances Against the Oscar Nominees

It was a violent weekend at the movies. The week's best film was certainly Gerardo Naranjo's crime thriller "Miss Bala," although I was not quite as enthusiastic as some of the film's supporters at last year's Cannes Film Festival. It is, however, a solid and intense picture.

I also enjoyed Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire," but the picture is definitely an example of a great filmmaker working in a minor key. I had mixed feelings about Anthony Hemingway's "Red Tails," which is full of beautiful aerial photography and some good performances, but is a missed opportunity. It's merely an action picture that happens to feature the Tuskegee Airmen as its heroes, rather than an in-depth study of the pilots.

Here are my Patch reviews.

And then, the Oscar nominees - what's to say. I believe the exclusions this year, which were many, are the most telling. While I didn't expect "Melancholia" or "A Dangerous Method" to be included in the picture or directing categories due to their darker content, I thought it was a great sin of omission to leave Keira Knightley and Kirsten Dunst off the Best Actress roster.

And where the hell were the Best Original Score and Supporting Actor nods (Albert Brooks) for "Drive"? And Leonard DiCaprio for "J. Edgar"? And Jessica Chastain for "The Tree of Life," not "The Help"? And "Le Havre" in the Best Foreign Film category. And Michael Shannon's Best Actor nomination for "Take Shelter"? And Michael Fassbender for anything? Etc., etc.

I was glad to see "The Tree of Life" pick up nods for Best Picture and Director as well as a slew of nominations for "Hugo," "The Artist" and "The Descendants." And that was cool that "A Separation" also snuck into the screenplay slot. But, overall, it was a disappointing group of nominees.

Monday, January 16, 2012

'The Devil Inside' and 'Contraband'

I had a nice long post ready to go that was complete with some commentary on Todd Haynes's "Mildred Pierce" and links to this week's movies.

But, my piece of shit computer or internet provider or whatever failed on me not just once, twice or three times, but about six times. So screw it.

To sum it up, I loved "Mildred Pierce" and was not too fond of this week's selections: "The Devil Inside" and "Contraband." Here are the reviews.

This coming week, I'll review "Miss Bala," "Haywire" and "Red Tails." So there.

Monday, January 9, 2012

You Can't Handle the Truth: 'A Separation,' 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' (and 'The Iron Lady')

It's only nine days into the new year and I've already seen two new amazing films - "A Separation," which is actually a 2011 film, so I've update my top 10 accordingly, and "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia."

Both films, which deal with the nature of truth and the limits of knowledge, are spellbinding.

This weekend, I also caught up with "The Iron Lady," which is a well-made and mostly enjoyable - if somewhat non-provocative - take on a controversial leader. Regardless, Meryl Streep gives a terrific performance, as always.

Check out all three reviews for Patch.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Wrapup: 'War Horse,' 'Pina' and 'Pariah'

Happy New Year, everyone!

This week, I posted a wrap-up for Patch of the year's final films, including Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," Wim Wenders's "Pina" and Dee Rees's "Pariah."

I very much enjoyed all three films, but none of them managed to crack my top 20. Here are my reviews.

This coming weekend, I'm finally going to catch "A Separation" as well as "The Iron Lady." I will also most definitely be seeing Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia."