Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Top Twenty

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2. Zodiac
3. No Country For Old Men
4. Hairspray
5. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
6. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
7. Ratatouille
8. Once
9. Atonement
10. Superbad

11. Eastern Promises
12. Waitress
13. The Bourne Ultimatum
14. Charlie Wilson’s War
15. Away From Her
16. The Hoax
17. Knocked Up
18. Gone Baby Gone
19. A Mighty Heart
20. The Devil Came on Horseback

BEST FILM: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher, Zodiac
RUNNER-UP: Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

BEST ACTOR: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
RUNNER-UP: Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

BEST ACTRESS: Helena Bonham-Carter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
RUNNER-UP: Niki Blonsky, Hairspray

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
RUNNER-UP: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
RUNNER-UP: Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson’s War

BEST SCREENPLAY: Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
RUNNER-UP: Brad Bird, Ratatouille

WORST FILM: Redacted
RUNNER-UP: Shoot ‘Em Up

War & Legend

Charlie Wilson’s War is an almost great film if not for a few clunky scenes in Afghanistan. Mike Nichols’ film is so close to greatness you can’t taste it, but atlas it is not to be. What is there is very funny and a fresh view of warfare and politics. You also get three great performances from Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and the scene stealing Phillip Seymour Hoffman who deserves some serious recognition from the Academy.

I Am Legend is another film that shoots for greatness, though it’s farther away. The film is almost completely undone by the shabby CGI work and the character design of the Dark Seekers. Why didn’t they just use real actors for those roles? The character design of the Dark Seekers, which is atrocious, looks like something you’d find on the cutting room floor for The Mummy series. You can clearly tell the director was far more interested in the last man on Earth plot than the action-adventure aspect.

Will Smith’s truly great performance carries the motion picture and saves the day at the end. I’ve never seen the Fresh Prince so completely vulnerable before. Easily his best performances to date.

Seems a Downright Shame

I've watched this video well over twenty times now with out any real explanation. Perhaps it’s the way this Norwegian gal gets her groove on to the words and music of Stephen Sondheim in super speed?

A Girl and a Gun

My friend Irvin finally got himself a blog. Twas I who gave him the title for the blog and not Jean-Luc Godard.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Paging Norman Rockwell

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is taking some time off the campaign trail to… pheasant hunt? The guy hasn't picked up a gun since 1963!

Little Children

I don’t understand why some parents are so determined to take their children to films that are intended for mature audiences only. I was reading a member’s post on an internet bulletin board recently about how their young child is “very mature” and is very excited to see Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

I’m sorry but your six year old child doesn’t need to see a motion picture that was clearly made for adults. He won’t understand it. He’ll be horrified. Let your kid be a kid.

These parents have this fantasy of turning their little children into little versions of themselves. It’s a sickness really.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Call It

Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men only gets better with repeated viewings. You pick up on all the little subtleties and Easter eggs much easier. This is a title to savor and over again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

More Human Than Human

Watching Blade Runner: The Final Cut is like seeing the film for the first time. A masterpiece reborn.

I’m usually against director’s tinkering around with their work in the hope of appealing to modern sensibilities, but Blade Runner is a special case for obvious reasons. Every alteration in The Final Cut is so subtle that unless you were a super fan, you would never detect anything. The credit of this belongs to director Ridley Scott.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Great Debaters of Fleet Street

I got a chance to watch The Great Debaters this afternoon. It’s a much better film than Antwone Fisher, Denzel Washington’s first film as a director. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. I have really nothing negative to say about the film.

Sweeney Todd did good at the box-office weekend with a respectable ten million dollars in fifth place. The 28% drop-off between Friday and Saturday is a tad alarming. The better picture of it’s box-office prospects will be painted next weekend.

"Now you know..."

Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone isn’t entirely successful, but what’s there is very good.

First, what’s up with the Silence of the Lambs middle section? Where did that come from? The film would have been much better without it. I did on the other hand enjoy the casting decisions… those faces rival anything you’ll see in a Sergio Leone film. See the film and you’ll know what I mean.

Second, I was far more impressed with Casey Affleck’s performance than Amy Ryan‘s, who is barley in the film. The love she is receiving from critic’s groups is completely uncalled for.

Casey Affleck on the other hand made one hell of a tough guy, an unlikely one too. This may sound strange but he reminded me of a young Robert Mitchum. I’m now really excited to see The Assignation of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford just for Affleck alone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Quick Ratings - DVD Screener Season

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet) ****

The Kite Runner (Marc Foster) **

Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck) ***1/2

The Bucket List (Rob Reiner) **1/2

Atonement (Joe Wright) ****

King Goes to the Movies

Cinema is King has reviewed three huge winter titles.


"Juno is a film that has so much heart, honesty, and such a hopeful look at life that it is extremely hard not to like. The characters are simple, the plot is simple, the direction is even great but simple. It's the strength in the screenwriting that sells the film and adds that extra kick that makes it stand out so much."

Sweeney Todd:

"Burton is really at his best in every single possible way. His dark gothic/German experssionism? Check. His gorgeous moody lighting and cinematography? Check. His bight, playful, and colorful side? Check. His morbid sense of humor? Check. All of his trademarks are here but he reaches a level of command and perfection to them all that they all serve to paint a beautiful and masterful film."

There Will Be Blood:

"I wont be going into plot specifics. This film can not be summed up so easily. I will just say that it is pure perfection and greatness non stop. The last act of the film is sure to leave most people just in stunned silence. There are also a lot of select scenes which are sure to strike up some controversy and debate between people. Anderson has created a film that is so dense with so many layers of depth and symbolism that I am sure will have everyone talking as well as having many people rewatching as soon as it hits DVD."

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

Zodiac, Hairspray, and No Country for Old Men cannot hold a candle to the magnificent mayhem that is Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film lived up to it’s up and more. I now have a new favorite film of 2007.

I’ve been madly in love with the material ever since I discovered it while in high school. Burton’s film is incredibly faithful, yet slightly different in the right places so that it’s not just a record of the stage show. Stephen Sondheim should be very proud. More people will see it this opening weekend than they saw it during it’s original run on Broadway in 1979. That just warms my heart knowing that Sondheim will reach such a large audience in such a short time.
The whole cast knocks it out of the park. I couldn’t imagine any other actors in the roles. If Johnny Depp isn’t nominated for Best Actor, I’ll riot at the Kodak Theater. His voice is excellent for the film. It’s rawness only enhances the film. The same can be said for Helena Bonham Carter who delivers a Mrs. Lovett who is one sultry devil woman. She too deserves a nomination from the Academy.

I’m just so ecstatic right now. I just wanted the film to be “Rent-good”. That’s all I asked for… What a surprise to find out that Burton has managed to make a masterpiece from a masterpiece.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

There Will Be Sondheim

I'm seeing Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street tonight at midnight. Life is good right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free Michael Vick?

This just in…

(AP) - Roddy White and four other Atlanta Falcons were fined by the NFL for violating uniform regulations with tributes to Michael Vick during last week's Monday night game.

Vick, Atlanta's suspended Pro Bowl quarterback, was sentenced to 23 months in prison on federal dogfighting charges the morning of Dec. 10. The Falcons played at home against New Orleans that night.

After scoring a touchdown, White displayed a "Free Mike Vick" T-shirt under his jersey. He, along with tight end Alge Crumpler and cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Houston, were fined $10,000 each. Crumpler, Hall and Houston all wore black eye strips with written tributes to Vick, which the league called "displaying an unauthorized personal message."

Wide receiver Joe Horn was fined $7,500 for pulling up White's jersey to show the black T-shirt with handwritten white lettering. The fines were confirmed Tuesday by NFL spokesman Randall Liu.

Hall also had a poster of Vick on the field during pre-game introductions.

Free Michael Vick? Are you fucking kidding me? The man tortured dogs to death because they failed him in dog fights. What is going on with society?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Your Daily Scarlett

Scar-Jo gettting her Bergman on.

Far From Dylan

I’m not too sure what to make of I’m Not There. I think I have an idea what Todd Haynes was trying to accomplish… I think, and I consider myself a Dylan cultist.

Haynes clearly takes all the poet warrior shtick Dylan’s been throwing out for years seriously, which is a shame as I believe that that’s the least interesting thing about Bob Dylan. It’s just a stupid routine Dylan just got stuck doing since his early years.

Call me a square but I much prefer Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home over Haynes’ film. No Richard Gere as Billy the Kid (?) in sight. Now that’s a good thing. Still, I'm Not There is always interesting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Guitar Hero

Cinema is King's Ramses' excellent review of Once, one of the better films of 2007.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Get Off the Bus

Bus Stop is a insane movie that has enough camp for several troops of boy scouts.

Bus Stop tells the charming story about a psychopathic man-child by the name of Bo, who leaves the ranch in search of rodeo glory and a woman to loose his virginity to. Lucky for him that woman is Mrs. Marilyn Monroe. Unlucky for her, Bo doesn’t except no as an answer.

After much stalking and psychical threats, dear Marilyn falls for the mongoloid after he gets his ass kicked by a bus driver who apparently enjoys intercourse with older woman who run truck stops.

I’m not joking… That’s Bus Stop in a nutshell.

On the plus side it’s one of the most gorgeous Widescreen Technicolor films I’ve ever seen. You also get a scene where Bo eats three raw hamburgers with onion. Really, this is the fucking movie you’re going to get.

Diablo Cody Has a Posse

I am fascinated by all things Diablo Cody right now and I haven’t even seen Juno yet.

This on-set photo… It amuses me.

Punch it, Baby!

The best film I’ve seen in the past few days was Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway. I watched it with a friend on a rainy Saturday and was rather blown away. The Getaway is like the best film Jean-Luc Godard and Jean Pierre Melville never made together.

Up until now, the only Sam Peckinpah film I’ve really treasured was The Wild Bunch. I’ve always found the work of Peckinpah really messy and unrealized, which is not entirely his fault. The man had practically picture he made altered by studio forces.

Friday, December 7, 2007

By the Sea

Looks and sounds wonderful. December 21st can't come soon enough.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Decline of Western Civilization

No Country for Old Men is easily one of the best films of the year. It’s a film I can’t wait to saver over and over again on DVD. The way the film uses it’s aspect ratio and sound for pure effect is mesmerizing.

Major props to Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly MacDonald, and Josh Brolin.

More later…

NBR Results

Best Director: TIM BURTON, Sweeney Todd
Best Actor: GEORGE CLOONEY, Michael Clayton
Best Actress: JULIE CHRISTIE, Away From Her
Best Supporting Actor: CASEY AFFLECK, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Supporting Actress: AMY RYAN, Gone Baby Gone
Best Documentary: BODY OF WAR
Best Animated Feature: RATATOUILLE
Best Ensemble Cast: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: EMILE HIRSCH, Into The Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: ELLEN PAGE, Juno
Best Directorial Debut: BEN AFFLECK, Gone Baby Gone
Best Original Screenplay (tie):
DIABLO CODY, Juno and NANCY OLIVER, Lars and the Real Girl
Best Adapted Screenplay: JOEL COEN and ETHAN COEN, No Country For Old Men

Top Ten Films:
(In alphabetical order)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Lion King in Detroit

The Lion King was a phenomenal experience, even though I had what you would call an “obstructed” seat in the balcony. It didn’t matter. If a player was out of view, it was only for a matter of seconds.

There was only one hiccup during the night when the actor who was playing Scar had trouble with his microphone, which went out during the tail of ‘Be Prepared’. He swatted at it in effort to fix it, but it only made it worse. He sounded like he was under water. Lucky for the audience it came back a few seconds later.

The standout out for me was the actress who played Nala, Erica Ash. Her rendition of ‘Shadowland’ was a real “scorcher” as I like to say.

A truly once in a lifetime experience.

By the way, while in Detroit I ate an à la carte restaurant called The Sign of the Beef Carver. I had a hot turkey sandwich smothered in gravy with a slice of pumpkin pie on the side.