Friday, November 30, 2012

Streisand and Rogen to Talk "The Guilt Trip"

BARBRA STREISAND AND SETH ROGEN TAKE “THE GUILT TRIP” TO 20 CITIES

THE HOLIDAY FILM FROM PARAMOUNT WILL SCREEN EXCLUSIVELY AT AMC THEATRES ON DECEMBER 2ND IN SELECT MARKETS, FOLLOWED BY A LIVE STREAMING Q&A WITH THE FILM’S STARS

Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and AMC Theaters have partnered to bring the upcoming holiday comedy “THE GUILT TRIP” to audiences in 20 cities across the country in advance of its theatrical release on December 19th.

These exclusive screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s stars Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, to be streamed live via satellite from Los Angeles.

The screenings and subsequent live Q&A will take place December 2nd at participating AMC Theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

For more information and to reserve your seat, please visit http://www.gofobo.com/rsvp/landing/11245221

“THE GUILT TRIP” stars Rogen as Andy Brewster, an inventor about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, and who better to accompany him than his overbearing mother Joyce, played by Barbra Streisand. After deciding to start his adventure with a quick visit at mom’s, Andy is guilted into bringing her along for the ride. Across 3,000 miles of ever-changing landscape, he is constantly aggravated by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought. His mother’s advice might end up being exactly what he needs. The Guilt Trip is directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Dan Fogelman and produced by Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn and Evan Goldberg.

“THE GUILT TRIP” opens everywhere December 19th, 2012. To learn more about the movie, visit http://www.guilttripmovie.com


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

"Justice League: Doom" Goes Boom

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 93 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Justice League: Doom (2012) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 77 minutes (1 hour, 17 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of violent action
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Lauren Montgomery
WRITER: Dwayne McDuffie (from a comic book by Mark Waid)
EDITOR: Christopher D. Lozinski
COMPOSER: Christopher Drake
ANIMATION STUDIO: Telecom Animation Film

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/ACTION

Starring: (voices) Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumbly, Michael Rosenbaum, Bumper Robinson, Carlos Alazraqui, Claudia Black, Paul Blackthorne, Olivia d’Abo, Alexis Denisof, Phil Morris, Dee Bradley Baker, Grey DeLisle, and Robin Atkin Downes

Justice League: Doom is a 2012 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. Starring DC Comics’ ultimate superhero team, the Justice League, this is also the 13th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. Bruce W. Timm is an executive producer on the film, and Dwayne McDuffie wrote the screenplay before his death in February 2011.

Justice League: Doom is loosely based on the comic book story arc, “Tower of Babel,” which was published in the former Justice League comic book series, JLA #43-46 (July 2000 to October 2000 cover dates). The story was written by Mark Waid and drawn by artists Howard Porter and Steve Scott. A group of villains launch a highly-successful attack against the members of the Justice League using secret information compiled on the heroes by Batman.

The film begins with the Justice League beating up the Royal Flush Gang, but in the aftermath of this successful mission, the League doesn’t know that it is being spied upon – especially Batman (Kevin Conroy). The immortal villain, Vandal Savage (Phil Morris), is back, and he has a plot to destroy the world as we know it. To that end, he creates the Legion of Doom to make sure that the Justice League does not stand in his way.

Savage gathers supervillians who are individual enemies of particular members of the Justice League, and he shows each villain how to defeat his or her superhero nemesis. Superman (Tim Daly) takes on Metallo (Paul Blackthorne). Batman fights Bane (Carlos Alazraqui). Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) cat-fights Cheetah (Claudia Black). Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion) renews his struggle with Star Sapphire (Olivia d’Abo). Flash (Michael Rosenbaum) tries to outrace the schemes of Mirror Master (Alexis Denisof). Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) meets his match in Ma'alefa'ak (Carl Lumbly). This time, however, the individual members of the League are losing to the people they usually beat.

I find that of all the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, I’m partial to the ones featuring the Justice League or Batman, and Justice League: Doom features both. Although there may be some holes in the plot regarding the Legion of Doom’s attack on the Justice League, the film is very well written, in terms of a superhero action movie. The action in the film works in such a way that it captures the spirit and energy of a superhero comic book.

The animation is of a high quality so that the film is eye-candy, at least to me. I love the characters, especially Bane, Ma'alefa'ak, and Mirror Master. The voice performances are also of a high quality, although I found Nathan Fillion’s performance as Green Lantern a tad bit dry. Carl Lumbly is superb as both Martian Manhunter and Ma'alefa'ak; these characters should have their own movie, if Lumbly can reprise the roles. To put it plainly and simply, Justice League: Doom is fun.

9 of 10
A+

Friday, September 21, 2012


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Robert Zemeckis to Be Honored at Palm Springs Film Fest

ROBERT ZEMECKIS TO RECEIVE DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD AT 24th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS GALA

The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Academy Award® winning director Robert Zemeckis with the Director of the Year Award for Flight. Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 5, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Helen Hunt and Naomi Watts. The Festival runs January 3-14.

“For 35 years, Robert Zemeckis has been creating some of the most iconic and indelible images in cinema, garnering international acclaim as a filmmaker of extraordinary vision,” said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest work, Flight, Zemeckis continues to tell fascinating stories by combining strong characters with groundbreaking visual effects, which includes one of the most memorable plane crashes in cinematic history, while following the compelling emotional journey of Denzel Washington’s character of an emotionally damaged man dealing with addiction. For these achievements the Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2013 Director of the Year Award to Robert Zemeckis.”

Past Director of the Year honorees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O. Russell.

Currently in theatres, Paramount Pictures’ dramatic thriller Flight, stars Denzel Washington as Captain Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. Afterwards, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by John Gatins, the film also stars Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Geraghty, Tamara Tunie, Nadine Velazquez, James Badge Dale and Melissa Leo.

Robert Zemeckis won an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe and a Director’s Guild of America Award for Best Director for the hugely successful Forrest Gump. The film’s numerous honors also included Academy Awards® for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Picture. Zemeckis has also directed Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Back to the Future, Back to the Future, Part II and Part III, Contact, Used Cars, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. Presently, Zemeckis is at work on Yellow Submarine, for Image Movers Digital and The Disney Studios.


About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Danny Boyle, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet.

The 24th annual Palm Springs International FilmFestival is presented by Title Sponsor, the City of Palm Springs, which is celebrating its 75 year anniversary in 2013. Presenting Sponsors are Spencer’s, The Desert Sun, Entertainment Tonight, Wells Fargo, Regal Entertainment Group, Bank of America and Wintec. Major sponsors are Panavision, Ocean Properties Development, Raymond Lawrence, Chihuly, Telefilm Canada. The Festival’s Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

"Batman: Year One" a Dark Knight That Actually Rises

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 92 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Batman: Year One (2011) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 64 minutes (1 hour, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, and for some sexual material
DIRECTORS: Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu
WRITERS: Tab Murphy (based upon the story by Frank Miller and the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
PRODUCERS: Lauren Montgomery
EDITOR: Margaret Hou
COMPOSER: Christopher Drake

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/SCI-FI/ACTION with elements of drama

Starring: (voices) Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Alex Rocco, Katee Sackhoff, Jeff Bennett, Grey DeLisle, Fred Tatasciore, Steve Blum, Robin Atkin Downes, Keith Ferguson, Stephen Root, and Michael Gough

Batman: Year One is a 2011 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. Starring the DC Comics character, Batman, this is also the 12th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. Executive produced by Bruce Timm, this film is adapted from the “Batman: Year One” story arc written by Frank Miller (300) and drawn by David Mazzuchelli and originally published in the comic book series, Batman #404-407 (February to May 1987 cover date).

As the film opens, Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) returns to Gotham City after a 12-year absence from his hometown. Meanwhile, policeman detective James Gordon (Bryan Cranston) and his pregnant wife, Barbara (Grey DeLisle), move to Gotham from Chicago. Gordon quickly discovers how corrupt the Gotham City Police Department is after meeting his new partner, Detective Arnold Flass (Fred Tatasciore), who savagely assaults civilians and accepts bribes from the mob. Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb (Jon Polito) seems more like a kingpin of crime than a police commissioner.

Bruce Wayne has decided to fight the street crime that took his parents lives and to put an end to the corruption of the city’s elites. Wayne’s first mission in his war on crime goes badly, but he is soon inspired to put on a weird costume that strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. Soon, the media is calling this mysterious vigilante figure, “The Batman.” Inspired by The Batman, Selina Kyle (Eliza Dushku), a prostitute, puts on a costume and becomes The Catwoman.

After watching the first 10 minutes of Batman: Year One, I didn’t hold out much hope that it would amount to much. However, it turned out to be a very entertaining film. The animation is good, not great, but the script is excellent. The writing captures the motivations of the characters and hits the conflicts dead center. It makes clear the reasons for disputes and the consequences that will result depending on how these clashes are settled. The conflicts, personal strife, and internal battles drive the drama in Batman: Year One.

When it comes to Batman: Year One, the Dark Knight rises, indeed.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Star Trek Into Darkness" Plot Revealed?

The plot for the upcoming "Star Trek Into Darkness" has been kept secret.  Monday night, Paramount Pictures snuck a plot synopsis for the sequel to its 2009 hit, Star Trek, onto its media site.  It is only four paragraphs long and it is still vague, but it's better than nothing.  Actor Benedict Cumberbatch signed on to play a villain, but there have been no details on his character.  For your reading enjoyment:

In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes "Star Trek Into Darkness."

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

That's it.  "Star Trek Into Darkness" stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, John Cho and Benedict Cumberbatch and is due in theaters on May 17, 2013.

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Stay Together

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures Extend Partnership Through 2017

Village Roadshow Pictures Secures $1.125 Billion Film Production Facility and Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures Group (VRPG) have extended their long-standing partnership and will continue to co-produce and co-finance films through the end of 2017. In concert with the Warner Bros. deal, VRPG also renewed and upsized its now 15-year film production facility to $1.125 billion through the end of 2017 to finance its future slate of motion pictures. JPMorgan Chase and Rabobank continue as joint syndication agents.

“We now have the firepower of the financing locked away, the best management in the business and the renewal of our long-term relationship with Warner Bros. which puts us in fantastic shape. Warner Bros. continues to be the industry leader in production, distribution and marketing,” said Graham Burke, Chairman of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group (VREG).

“We have had a long, successful relationship with Village Roadshow, and we are pleased they will continue to be our partner in making great movies,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros.

“We are pleased to have accomplished our strategic goal of closing the financing hand in hand with the extension of our Warner Bros. deal. We are fortunate to continue our partnership with a great studio and grateful to have a diverse group of investors on board,” said Greg Basser, CEO of VREG.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, VRPG is one of the industry’s leading producers and financiers of studio released motion pictures, amassing a library of 72 films, 68 of which were released in partnership with Warner Bros. – representing the studio’s longest continuous relationship with an independent film financing and production company.

“Working together, our companies have produced and released many popular and successful films, and we expect that to continue into the future with this agreement,” said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

“We look forward to expanding upon the solid 15-year foundation and continuing to grow our slate of tent pole and star-driven films under the Warner banner,” said Bruce Berman, Chairman and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures. “We’re excited to start the New Year with action-packed 'Gangster Squad' releasing in January followed by the highly anticipated summer event film 'The Great Gatsby' in May.”

Warner Bros. and VRPG will continue to collaborate on high caliber, star-driven films, which have resulted in blockbuster hits including the “Sherlock Holmes,” “Ocean’s” and “Matrix” franchises and Academy Award animated picture winner “Happy Feet.”

Upcoming releases include “Gangster Squad” under the direction of Ruben Fleischer, starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Sean Penn (U.S. release on January 11, 2013), and “The Great Gatsby” under the direction of Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire (U.S. release on May 10, 2013).

Films currently in production include “LEGO: The Movie,” an animated feature film adventure starring Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and Morgan Freeman directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller; “All You Need is Kill,” an epic sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt directed by Doug Liman; and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” an action adventure starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy directed by George Miller.


About Village Roadshow Pictures Group
Village Roadshow Pictures Group is a leading independent co-producer and co-financier of major Hollywood motion pictures, having produced 72 films since its establishment in 1997 including, as co-productions with Warner Bros., “The Matrix” Trilogy, The “Sherlock Holmes” franchise, “I am Legend,” the “Ocean’s” series, “Happy Feet,” “Mystic River,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Get Smart,” “Sex and the City 2” and “Gran Torino.”

VRPG self-distributes its filmed entertainment through affiliates in several territories around the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

About Village Roadshow Entertainment Group
Village Roadshow Entertainment Group is a leading independent global entertainment company in the business of building leading, content-rich companies within the entertainment industry. It employs innovative strategies to develop, acquire and deliver intellectual property rights with timeless appeal, while taking advantage of group-wide strategic and operational efficiencies. VREG is the holding company of Village Roadshow Pictures, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia and Concord Music Group.

Village Roadshow Limited, a 47.6% shareholder in VREG, is a leading international publicly listed entertainment and media company based out of Melbourne, Australia. VRL has been the exclusive theatrical distributor for Warner Bros. in Australia for over 41 years.

"Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" Good Space Opera

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 91 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 84 minutes (1 hour, 24 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action violence throughout, and for some language
DIRECTORS: Lauren Montgomery, Chris Berkeley, and Jay Oliva
WRITERS: Alan Burnett, Eddie Berganza, Todd Casey, Dave Gibbons, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Geoff Johns, and Peter Tomasi
PRODUCERS: Greg Berlanti, Donald De Line, and Lauren Montgomery
EDITOR: Margaret Hou
COMPOSER: Christopher Drake
ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio 4’C

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/SCI-FI/ACTION with elements of drama

Starring: (voices) Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Rollins, Arnold Vosloo, Grey DeLisle, Kelly Hu, Michael Jackson, Bruce Thomas, and Roddy Piper

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a 2011 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. Starring DC Comics characters, Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, this is also the eleventh feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies (DCU AOM) line. Executive produced by Bruce Timm, this film is adapted from DC Comics’ Green Lantern mythology.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is not a direct sequel to an earlier DCU AOM film Green Lantern: First Flight, but both films use the same character designs. Emerald Knights is, like Batman: Gotham Knights, an anthology film, and it tells six stories (about various Green Lanterns) structured inside a larger, framing story. That framing story focuses on the Green Lantern Corps and their battle with an ancient enemy. While the Corps awaits that enemy, a new recruit hears stories about various Green Lanterns, including a story about the unlikely very first Green Lantern.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is set on and around the Green Lantern home world, Oa. The planet’s sun is about to become the gateway for Krona, an anti-matter, alien evil that the Guardians of the Universe (essentially the creators of the Green Lanterns) banished ages ago. While they wait for the epic battle to begin, Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern of Earth (Nathan Fillion), helps a Green Lantern rookie, a young woman named Arisia Rrab (Elisabeth Moss), by telling her stories about legendary Green Lanterns and about pivotal moments in the history of the Green Lantern Corps.

Some of the stories include “The First Green Lantern,” which tells the story of Avra, an unlikely Green Lantern who actually was not the first person to get a Green Lantern ring. “Kilowog” tells the story of the Green Lantern drill sergeant, Kilowog (Henry Rollins), and Sgt. Deegan (Wade Williams), who was Kilowog’s drill instructor. In “Abin Sur,” Hal Jordan’s predecessor, Abin Sur (Arnold Vosloo), hears a dark prophecy from Atrocitus (Bruce Thomas), an alien criminal he captured.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights has excellent visuals. I would describe this movie as the hand-drawn animation equivalent of the computer-animated series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” In fact, the action is on par with the Star Wars animated series, and the voice acting here has range, quality, and emotional resonance.

However, some of the action is laughable, ridiculous, and way too over-the-top even for superhero/space opera fantasy. The framing sequence has a paper-thin plot and story. I’d say that the writers should be embarrassed about this, but I bet they didn’t even notice. Still, the anthology part of this is pretty good, so I’d recommend Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Moonrise Kingdom" is Best Picture Winner at 2012 Gotham Awards

The first "best picture" winner of the 2012-13 movie award season is Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.  The romance film about a preteen couple caught in the intense throes of young love picked up the top prize at last night's ceremony (Monday, November 26, 2012) for the 2012 Gotham Awards.

The Gotham Awards is an annual film awards ceremony that honors independent films. The Gotham Awards are part of The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers. The Gotham Awards also signal the kick-off to the film awards season.

Nominees are selected by groups of distinguished film critics, journalists, festival programmers, and film curators. Separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved in making films determine the final Gotham Award recipients.

22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards Winners:

Best Feature:
Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson, director; Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson, producers (Focus Features)

Best Documentary:
How to Survive a Plague
David France, director; Howard Gertler, David France, producers (Sundance Selects)

Best Ensemble Performance:
Your Sister’s Sister
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass (IFC Films)

Breakthrough Director:
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Breakthrough Actor:
Emayatzy Corinealdi in Middle of Nowhere (AFFRM and Participant Media)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You:
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Terence Nance, director; Terence Nance, Andrew Corkin, James Bartlett, producers

The Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant is a $25,000 cash award for an alumna of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging women directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film.

Stacie Passon, director, Concussion WINNER

The 3rd Annual Gotham Independent Film Audience Award:
Voted on by an independent film community of 230,000 film fans worldwide. To be eligible, a U.S. film must have won an audience award at one of the top 50 U.S. or Canadian film festivals from November 2011 through October 2012. The nominees were announced November 5th, and the winner revealed at the Gotham Awards ceremony.

Winner:
ARTIFACT
Directed by Bartholomew Cubbins
Produced by Jared Leto and Emma Ludbrook

Nominees:
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn

BURN: ONE YEAR ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE BATTLE TO SAVE DETROIT
Directors: Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam
Producers: Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam

THE INVISIBLE WAR
Director: Kirby Dick
Producers: Amy Ziering, Tanner King Barklow

ONCE IN A LULLABY: THE PS 22 CHORUS STORY
Director: Jonathan Kalafer
Producers: Steve Kalafer, Jonathan Kalafer, Bao Nguyen

The Bingham Ray Award (The recipient of this award was chosen by a close group of Bingham’s friends and colleagues.):

BENH ZEITLIN, director of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Happy B'day, Kathryn Bigelow: Blue Steel

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 75 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux


Blue Steel (1990)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA - R
DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow
WRITERS: Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red
PRODUCERS: Edward R. Pressman and Oliver Stone
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Amir Mokri
EDITOR: Lee Percy
COMPOSER: Brad Fiedel

CRIME/THRILLER with elements of horror

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Silver, Clancy Brown, Elizabeth Pena, Louise Fletcher, Philip Bosco, Kevin Dunn, Tom Sizemore, Matt Craven, and Richard Jenkins

Blue Steel was director Kathryn Bigelow’s third directorial effort (her second solo feature), and like her earlier mixed genre efforts, the film is a horror flick dressed in the clothes of a cop movie.

When rookie policewoman Megan Turner (Jamie Lee Curtis) shoots an armed robber during a holdup, one of the witnesses is Wall Street broker, Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver). A psychotic who hears voices talking to him, Hunt becomes obsessed with Megan. He cunningly removes the robber’s gun, and quietly leaves the store without Megan ever realizing he was there. Hunt carves her name on the bullets and begins a killing spree. Later, Megan meets Eugene, and he woos her into a budding romance, but his extreme mental illness causes him to reveal his crimes to Megan. However, virtually no one believes that he is the killer. As the deadly psychopath draws the young cop into a deadly game of wits, Megan thinks she’s one step ahead of him, but Hunt is much closer than she thinks.

Casting Jamie Lee Curtis as the rookie female policeman was a good move. Having spent much of her early film career playing beautiful young women stalked by mad killers in such films as Halloween (1978), The Fog and Terror Train (both 1980), and Halloween II (1981), Curtis just feels right in Blue Steel as the feisty girl against the seemingly unstoppable mass murderer. She also looks the same in her early 30’s when Blue Steel was filmed as she did when she was just in his 20’s and starring in slasher movies in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The general idea of Blue Steel seems to be that Curtis’s Megan Turner never realizes just how precarious her situation is, whether she is at home (where her father is an abusive husband), in the office (where her colleagues don’t respect her), or on the streets of New York City (where the killer stalks her).

The problem is Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red’s screenplay, which attacks plausibility at every turn. This is a brutal cat and mouse game, and Bigelow presents Blue Steel as an exercise of urban violence and fierce gunplay – the kind that was fashionable in 1980’s action movies such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. Much of the violence is a kick in the gut, but this concept plays with the conceit of horror movies (where many things that happen don’t have to make sense) rather than cop movies (where most things should make real world sense). In the Blue Steel, the killer is unstoppable and somewhat supernatural and the girl hero and the police department don’t seem to have much common sense, which they should.

5 of 10
C+

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Moonrise Kingdom" is Simply Fantastic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 90 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sexuality content and smoking
DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson
WRITERS: Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson
PRODUCERS: Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven M. Rales and Scott Rudin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert D. Yeoman (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Andrew Weisblum
COMPOSER: Alexandre Desplat

ROMANCE/COMEDY/DRAMA

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Marianna Bassham, Charlie Kilgore, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, and Bob Balaban

Moonrise Kingdom is a 2011 romance film from director Wes Anderson. Co-written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, the film follows a pair of young lovers on the run from the local search parties out to find them.

Moonrise Kingdom opens in the late summer of 1965 and is set on the idyllic New England locale of New Penzance Island. Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is a 12-year-old orphan attending a “Khaki Scout” summer camp. Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) is a local girl who lives with her parents, Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand), and her three younger brothers. After meeting during a local church play, Sam and Suzy run away together.

Captain Duffy Sharp (Bruce Willis) of the Island Police and Khaki Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) launch a search for the missing children. However, adult dysfunction and the approaching Hurricane Mabeline constantly hamper the various search efforts. Meanwhile, young love remains storm-proof.

When I reviewed the Coen Bros. remake of True Grit about two years ago, I said (more or less) that the film, while quite good, seemed like an exercise of the filmmaking brothers’ directorial trademarks and flourishes. I pretty much think the same of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. This movie is the quirky style and visual eccentricities of Anderson distilled into a fragrant essence that will entice his admirers, both old and new, for ages.

It’s all here. The primary colors have never been this primary, and the deliberate, methodical cinematography captures the intensity of those colors with such clarity that it could leave the viewer in a stupor (which it did to me early on in the movie). Anderson gets good performances that take the screenplay’s flat, one-dimensional characters and transforms them into poignant humans – flawed, but graceful.

Regardless of how quirky it all seems, Moonrise Kingdom is a love story like no other. Rarely do films capture stubborn youth in love as well as this film does. Jared Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy give inimitable performances, and without them, this movie would be nothing but an oddity that was shot in vivid color. Instead, Moonrise Kingdom is a rare romance in which the romantic comedy and drama elements cannot hide the fact that this is a pure love story.

8 of 10
A

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" a Wonderful Finale

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 89 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)
Running time: 115 minutes (1 hour, 55 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
DIRECTOR: Bill Condon
WRITER: Melissa Rosenberg (based upon the novel by Stephenie Meyer)
PRODUCERS: Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt, and Stephenie Meyer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Guillermo Navarro
EDITOR: Virginia Katz
COMPOSER: Carter Burwell

FANTASY/DRAMA/ROMANCE

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Mackenzie Foy, Julia Jones, Chaske Spencer, Alex Rice, Cameron Bright, and Maggie Grace, with Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the fifth film in The Twilight Saga film franchise. Like the previous films: Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is based upon the wildly popular Twilight book series by author, Stephenie Meyer. Each of the first three films is based upon one of the first three books in the series; however, the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, has been adapted into two movies.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 continues the love story a young human woman, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), and her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who were married in the previous film. The story begins as Bella opens her eyes to find her senses sharpened. The transformation is complete; she is now a vampire. Still, all is not perfect.

Bella is shocked to learn that her recently born infant daughter has imprinted on her friend and former love interest, Native American werewolf, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Bella must also find a way to explain her new situation to her worried father, Police Chief Charlie Swan (Billy Burke). Meanwhile, Bella and Edward’s daughter does not stay an orphan for long. Renesmee Cullen (Mackenzie Foy) is undergoing a tremendous growth spurt, which leads to a bigger problem. When a false allegation puts their family in front of the Volturi to likely face a death sentence, the Cullens gather other vampire clans and old allies in order to protect Renesmee.

I enjoyed Breaking Dawn – Part 1, but I found the film to be mostly joyless, even dour and morbid. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is quite the opposite. It is joyful and celebratory. Like Renesmee, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is fresh and new and curious about the world. It almost seems like a brand new thing, unconnected to the other films, although it is.

I think this is the result of having a director like Bill Condon, who is not just good with character drama. He is also a standout, and he did not get enough credit for what he did with Dreamgirls, getting so much more out of the material than it offered. Here, in his second Twilight movie, he gives all the supernatural characters mortality, not just Edward and Bella (who have seemed forever on the edge of demise in this series). Mortality for the immortals means that not only do their actions have real consequences, but also that those consequences can mean the end of them. When everyone has “skin in the game,” conflict is rich and complicated.

However, the sense of death does not dampen this movie’s themes of hope and happiness. Who knows how many days lie ahead for each character? There may be many days (or not), but they will be happy days, with family and friends. There will also be dark days, as in any human’s life. In fact, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is about loving family, close friends, and new friends and allies made.

For Twilight as a whole, the franchise gets something that escapes even the best franchises, a superior ending. Compared to The Dark Knight Rises, the end of Christopher Nolan’s so-called “The Dark Knight trilogy,” Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is Oscar-worthy.

8 of 10
A

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"J.R. Ewing" Larry Hagman Dies at 81

Larry Hagman, best known for his iconic television role as the ruthless oil baron, J.R. Ewing, on the CBS television series, Dallas (1978-1991), died on Friday, November 23, 2012.  I first encountered Mr. Hagman when I saw reruns of I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970).  Dallas was recently revived as a drama series for cable network, TNT.

Negromancer sends condolences to Larry Hagman's family. Rest in peace, Mr. Hagman.

Bleach: Hell Verse Movie on Neon Alley

VIZ MEDIA PREMIERES BLEACH THE MOVIE: HELL VERSE EXCLUSIVELY ON NEON ALLEY

Soul Reaper Ichigo Embarks On A Perilous Mission To Hell To Rescue His Younger Sister In New Anime Feature Film Also Launching On DVD And Blu-ray!

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, delivers the supernatural anime action of the latest Bleach feature film to fans with the premiere of BLEACH THE MOVIE: HELL VERSE on Neon Alley on Sunday, November 25th at 8:00pm EST / 5:00pm PST. The film will repeat 12:00am EST November 26th / 9:00pm PST November 25th, and will air again throughout the week.

Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4th with both English-subtitled and dubbed dialogue options. The new film carries a DVD MSRP of $19.98 U.S. / $24.98 CAN and a Blu-ray MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $27.50 CAN. Bonus features include the original Japanese theatrical trailer.

Neon Alley is VIZ Media’s new 24-hour, subscription-based anime channel featuring the world’s best titles (dubbed in English and uncut) and presented in HD (when available) for a low monthly subscription rate of $6.99. Neon Alley is the first platform designed to be studio agnostic, offering with a diverse array of titles from many leading anime producers and distributors. For a limited time only, the game console based-service is offering a one-week free trial, available for fans who sign up at NeonAlley.com.

Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse (rated TV-14) takes audiences on a wild trip to the underworld – a place where beings that have committed mortal sins during their lifetime are sent. It is a realm where even Soul Reapers are forbidden to interfere. When a group of vicious Sinners plots to escape from this eternal prison, they discover that Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki is the key to their freedom. The Sinners launch an attack and in the process kidnap Ichigo’s younger sister Yuzu and take her to Hell. With the help of a mysterious man named Kokuto, Ichigo and his friends must now travel into the depths of Hell to stop the Sinners and save Yuzu, unaware that their actions could bring Hell to the World of the Living.

“ Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse is the fourth feature film of the popular Bleach movie franchise and based on the smash hit manga series originally created by Tite Kubo,” says Brian Ige, Vice President, Animation. “Ichigo will face his most dangerous adversaries yet as he journeys to the underworld on a perilous mission to save his sister. Don’t miss this special North American movie premiere on our new digital anime platform this coming weekend!”

The Bleach animated films and TV series follow the adventures of Ichigo, a 15-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow — a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters Rukia, a Soul Reaper, and inadvertently absorbs her powers. Now, he’s dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured souls find peace.

Bleach is a tremendously successful multimedia property internationally. The manga has been licensed to more than a dozen countries and has sold over 50 million copies in Japan alone. In North America, the manga has been a sales hit and the popular animated series (both rated 'T' for Teens) is viewed weekly by millions in the United States and Canada. This success has further spawned an array of related video games, apparel, action figures, trading cards and other merchandise.

For more information on Bleach please visit bleach.viz.com.

Subtitled episodes of Bleach also may be streamed on the company’s own free-to-use VIZAnime.com, as well as on Hulu. In addition, Download-To-Own dubbed episodes are available for purchase through iTunes®, PlayStation®Network, Xbox Video, Amazon Instant Video, and the Google Play store.

To read a free chapter 1 preview of the Bleach manga series, please visit VIZManga.com/bleach.


Friday, November 23, 2012

"The Expendables 2" Darker, But Still Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 88 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux - support on Patreon.


The Expendables 2 (2012)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong bloody violence throughout
DIRECTOR: Simon West
WRITERS: Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone; from a story by Ken Kaufman & David Agosto and Richard Wenk (based on characters created by David Callaham)
PRODUCERS: David Lerner, Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, John Thompson, and Les Weldon
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Shelly Johnson
EDITOR: Todd E. Miller
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler

ACTION

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, Charisma Carpenter, Chuck Connors, and Terry Crews with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Summer 2010 movie season offered an unexpected treat, The Expendables, an explosive action film co-written, directed, and starring Sylvester Stallone. It was a throwback to the macho, testosterone-fueled, action flicks of the 1980s.

The subject of this movie review is its sequel, The Expendables 2, a 2012 action movie from director Simon West. Like its predecessor, The Expendables 2 is not an homage to or parody of action movie days-gone-by. It is an authentic ass-kicking, ass-stabbing, cap-popped-in-ass action movie, but it is a little darker and more downbeat than the original.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is still the leader of the Expendables, an elite band of mercenaries. Ross and his right-hand man/knife specialist, Lee Christmas (Jason Statham); martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li); unstable Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren); demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture); weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews); and the new guy, sniper Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), charge into Nepal on a rescue mission. It is a success, of course, but Ross and the Expendables have a debt to pay. So says secretive CIA agent, “Mr. Church” (Bruce Willis).

Soon, the Expendables are escorting one of Church’s operatives, Maggie Chan (Nan Yu), to a crash site in the Gasak Mountains, Albania. The item that the Expendables are trying to retrieve is also the target of Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the leader of a large mercenary band called the Sangs. After one of the Expendables is brutally murdered, Ross leads his team into hostile territory on a mission of revenge.

Early in The Expendables 2, even with the crazy opening in Nepal, it is obvious that this is a darker movie. This sequel replaces the cartoonish and stylish violence with more grit. It seems that just as many, if not more people are casually shot and also shot to pieces, but there is something meaner here. Perhaps, it is this film’s chilly shooting locations in Bulgaria, or maybe it’s the story.

More than the original film, The Expendables 2 is a Sylvester Stallone movie, and the theme, or at least emphasis, is that his character, Barney Ross, has come to a morbid conclusion about his life. He’s a tired, old soldier, but this dog still has a lot of fight in him. But Ross is simply determined not to drag any new people into the meat grinder that is his place of work and profession. The other Expendables are largely in the background compared to the first movie, which is hugely disappointing to me. Still, wise-ass Jason Statham gets many opportunities to spread his wings of sarcasm, and he has some cool, solo martial arts fight scenes. That’s worth the price of admission.

Stallone and some of his costars are starting to look real hoary because of plastic surgery. In fact, there is enough plastic surgery between some of them that it would not be too snarky to say that they are starting to look like action figure toys. Anyway, if you liked the first movie, you’ll likely like the second. The Expendables 2 is good enough to make me ready to go on a third mission with Ross and company.

6 of 10
B

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

William Joyce Talks "Rise of the Guardians"

Academy Award® Winner William Joyce Shares His Story on DreamWorks Animation’s “Rise of the Guardians” 3D Animated Film

The Guardians -- Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Sandman and Jack Frost Emerge from Print onto the Big Screen in Theatres Across the Globe

SHREVEPORT, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the opening day of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: DWA) much-anticipated “Rise of the Guardians”, William Joyce, an Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and #1 New York Times best-selling author, today shared why he chose DreamWorks Animation to bring his characters to life, what inspired him to write the epic adventure and his role with the film overall.

“Rise of the Guardians,” which features the voices of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman, tells the story of a group of heroes – Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and Jack Frost – each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.

Joyce began his relationship with DreamWorks Animation several years ago after receiving a tremendous amount of interest from Hollywood studios to adapt his books into a feature film. His choice was easy. The author and the studio shared the same vision: neither wanted a traditional adaptation of the book into a movie form. Rather, they wanted to create a unique story featuring the same characters, but set 200 years after the version of events laid out in Joyce’s best-selling Simon & Schuster Guardians of Childhood book series.

“I wanted to set up the world in the books and then show how they deal with their lives in the movie when their ancient enemy returns in Rise of the Guardians,” said William Joyce, creator of The Guardians series and an executive producer of the film. “I didn’t want to be stuck trying to be true to something we’d already done. No studio in town wanted to do both the books and movies this way. DreamWorks Animation was the only studio who liked the idea of them being separate. They liked the idea that the audience would have a surprise narrative they would be experiencing for the first time. Director Peter Ramsey shared my vision and helped transform the Guardians from books to the big screen.”

“Bill Joyce is a master storyteller and the mythology that he created in his book series has inspired our creative team at DreamWorks Animation,” said Bill Damaschke, chief creative officer at DreamWorks Animation. “There is perhaps no more collaborative medium than the art of animation and we are thrilled to have had the unique opportunity to work closely with Bill Joyce to bring the individual stories of the Guardians together for the first time on the big screen.”

Joyce plans to write 13 books in his series, including picture books and novels that tell the story of these classic childhood heroes. The movie is really just one moment in a much larger narrative that Joyce is shaping. William Joyce’s daughter Mary Katherine inspired him to do the series when she asked if Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny knew each other. This question sparked his creativity which became the common thread of the book series and central theme behind the animated film. He hopes these stories will speak to children of all ages who are trying to make sense of the characters.

Joyce added, “My vision is to explain the mythology for these classic characters in picture, film and story form. This movie is just the beginning.”


About Dreamworks Animation
DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series and live entertainment properties, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE® Magazine for four consecutive years. In 2012, DreamWorks Animation ranks #14 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation's feature films are now being produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 24 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. The Company's theatrical releases for the current year are Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted on June 8, 2012 and Rise of the Guardians on November 21, 2012.

About William Joyce
William Joyce has achieved world-wide recognition as an author, illustrator and pioneer in the digital and animation industry. In February 2012, he won an Academy Award for “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” an animated short film about the curative powers of story. Working with his team at Moonbot Studios, Joyce also created two best-selling, interactive iOS Apps, “Morris Lessmore” and “The Numberlys.” In past two years, he has also written seven hard copy Simon & Schuster children’s books including “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” “The Man in the Moon,” “The Guardians of Childhood,” “The Sandman: Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie, "Toothania: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies," “Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King,” “E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core!” Named by Newsweek magazine as “One of the 100 people to watch in the new millennium”, Joyce has been heavily involved in the world of digital animation from its full-scale inception at Pixar Animation. His projects have been produced by nearly every major film studio including Disney, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation. His feature films and television shows include the films Robots and Meet the Robinsons and the television series Rolie Polie Olie for which he won three Emmy Awards.

Joyce was an executive producer of the animated feature, “Rise of the Guardians,” for DreamWorks. Additionally, he is the writer, producer, and production designer on the Fox Studios feature film, Epic, based on his book The Leaf Men. Epic is scheduled for a summer 2013 release. The combined box office total of the films he has originated or been an integral part of is close to a billion dollars. All five of his feature films have earned over $100 million worldwide. Both of his television series achieved worldwide status, the rarest and most difficulty level of achievement in broadcast television.

Negromancer's Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to all you readers and visitors.  We are thankful for your support, from visits to purchases and donations.  You keep us going.  Let's do this again next Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

71 Nations Seeks 2012 Foreign Film Oscar Noms

71 Countries Vie for 2012 Foreign Language Film Oscar®


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®.

The 2012 submissions are:

Afghanistan, "The Patience Stone," Atiq Rahimi, director;

Albania, "Pharmakon," Joni Shanaj, director;

Algeria, "Zabana!" Said Ould Khelifa, director;

Argentina, "Clandestine Childhood," Benjamín Ávila, director;

Armenia, "If Only Everyone," Natalia Belyauskene, director;

Australia, "Lore," Cate Shortland, director;

Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director;

Azerbaijan, "Buta," Ilgar Najaf, director;

Bangladesh, "Pleasure Boy Komola," Humayun Ahmed, director;

Belgium, "Our Children," Joachim Lafosse, director;

Bosnia and Herzegovina, "Children of Sarajevo," Aida Begic, director;

Brazil, "The Clown," Selton Mello, director;

Bulgaria, "Sneakers," Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors;

Cambodia, "Lost Loves," Chhay Bora, director;

Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;

Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director;

China, "Caught in the Web," Chen Kaige, director;

Colombia, "The Snitch Cartel," Carlos Moreno, director;

Croatia, "Vegetarian Cannibal," Branko Schmidt, director;

Czech Republic, "In the Shadow," David Ondrícek, director;

Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;

Dominican Republic, "Jaque Mate," José María Cabral, director;

Estonia, "Mushrooming," Toomas Hussar, director;

Finland, "Purge," Antti J. Jokinen, director;

France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;

Georgia, "Keep Smiling," Rusudan Chkonia, director;

Germany, "Barbara," Christian Petzold, director;

Greece, "Unfair World," Filippos Tsitos, director;

Greenland, "Inuk," Mike Magidson, director;

Hong Kong, "Life without Principle," Johnnie To, director;

Hungary, "Just the Wind," Bence Fliegauf, director;

Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;

India, "Barfi!" Anurag Basu, director;

Indonesia, "The Dancer," Ifa Isfansyah, director;

Israel, "Fill the Void," Rama Burshtein, director;

Italy, "Caesar Must Die," Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani, directors;

Japan, "Our Homeland," Yang Yonghi, director;

Kazakhstan, "Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe," Akan Satayev, director;

Kenya, "Nairobi Half Life," David 'Tosh' Gitonga, director;

Kyrgyzstan, "The Empty Home," Nurbek Egen, director;

Latvia, "Gulf Stream under the Iceberg," Yevgeny Pashkevich, director;

Lithuania, "Ramin," Audrius Stonys, director;

Macedonia, "The Third Half," Darko Mitrevski, director;

Malaysia, "Bunohan," Dain Iskandar Said, director;

Mexico, "After Lucia," Michel Franco, director;

Morocco, "Death for Sale," Faouzi Bensaïdi, director;

Netherlands, "Kauwboy," Boudewijn Koole, director;

Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;

Palestine, "When I Saw You," Annemarie Jacir, director;

Peru, "The Bad Intentions," Rosario García-Montero, director;

Philippines, "Bwakaw," Jun Robles Lana, director;

Poland, "80 Million," Waldemar Krzystek, director;

Portugal, "Blood of My Blood," João Canijo, director;

Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director;

Russia, "White Tiger," Karen Shakhnazarov, director;

Serbia, "When Day Breaks," Goran Paskaljevic, director;

Singapore, "Already Famous," Michelle Chong, director;

Slovak Republic, "Made in Ash," Iveta Grófová, director;

Slovenia, "A Trip," Nejc Gazvoda, director;

South Africa, "Little One," Darrell James Roodt, director;

South Korea, "Pieta," Kim Ki-duk, director;

Spain, "Blancanieves," Pablo Berger, director;

Sweden, "The Hypnotist," Lasse Hallström, director;

Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director;

Taiwan, "Touch of the Light," Chang Jung-Chi, director;

Thailand, "Headshot," Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director;

Turkey, "Where the Fire Burns," Ismail Gunes, director;

Ukraine, "The Firecrosser," Mykhailo Illienko, director;

Uruguay, "The Delay," Rodrigo Plá, director;

Venezuela, "Rock, Paper, Scissors," Hernán Jabes, director;

Vietnam, "The Scent of Burning Grass," Nguyen Huu Muoi, director.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at The Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

21 Entries Chase 2012 "Best Animated Film" Oscar

21 Animated Features Submitted For 2012 Oscar® Race

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Twenty-one features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®.

The 21 submitted features, listed in alphabetical order by title, are:

"Adventures in Zambezia"

"Brave"

"Delhi Safari"

"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax"

"Frankenweenie"

"From Up on Poppy Hill"

"Hey Krishna"

"Hotel Transylvania"

"Ice Age Continental Drift"

"A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman"

"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"

"The Mystical Laws"

"The Painting"

"ParaNorman"

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits"

"The Rabbi's Cat"

"Rise of the Guardians"

"Secret of the Wings"

"Walter & Tandoori's Christmas"

"Wreck-It Ralph"

"Zarafa"

Several of the films listed have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying runs. Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and comply with all of the category's other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process. At least eight eligible animated features must be theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated.

Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BronzeLens Film Festival Announces Fest Awards

Six of the Nations Most Provocative Filmmakers Receive 2012 BronzeLens Film Festival Awards

Top Honors given in Short Film, Documentary and Feature Categories

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The third annual BronzeLens Film Festival (BronzeLens) was host to over 3000 attendees from across the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa. During the course of four days 50 films in the Feature, Narrative Fiction, Documentary and Shorts categories November 8th-11th were screened at Georgia Pacific Center, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, World of Coca-Cola, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia Power Auditorium. A total of six films received prestigious BronzeLens Awards top honors in the following categories:

Best Documentary Short, Best Overall Film and Winner of the Panavision $50,000 Camera Equipment Prize

Colored My Mind: Diagnosis Director: Nia T. Hill
The synopsis: In this powerful Short Docu-Drama by award-winning writer and director Nia T. Hill, an educator, an actress, a lawyer, a music manager, and a homemaker are our guides as we explore the overlooked world of autism. Intercut in the documentary Nicole Ari Parker and Blair Underwood dramatize how a couple faces the reality of their autistic child.

Best Documentary

The Contradictions of Fair Hope Director: S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf
The synopsis: The documentary sets the stage in rural Alabama, prior to Emancipation, and traces the development, struggles, contributions and gradual loss of tradition of one of the last remaining African American benevolent societies, known as "The Fair Hope Benevolent Society" in Uniontown, Alabama. Through gripping human stories the film provides an unprecedented look at the complex and morally ambiguous world of Fair Hope juxtaposed against the worldly pleasures of what has become known as the annual "Foot Wash" celebration.

Best Feature Film

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty Director: Terence Nance
The synopsis: A quixotic artist explores his life after getting stood up by a mystery girl.

Best Short

Barbasol Director: Ralph K. Scott
The synopsis: A man has a desire to bond with his aging father that is suffering with dementia. He comes to realize he needs to turn that attention toward his own son.

Best International

Otelo Burning Director: Sara Blecher
The synopsis: Based on true events, three teenage friends from a South African township discover freedom through the joy of surfing. Otelo Burning is a strikingly dynamic portrait of hope and growth for a group of proud adolescents and a nation at the end of apartheid.

Audience Award Winner

Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles Director: Elvin Ross
The synopsis: Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles chronicles the pride, strength and journey of the most celebrated captive African, Kunta Kinteh, who was enslaved and brought to the New World during the West African Slave Trade. Recently Dr. Yahya Abul-Aziz Jemus Junnkung Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, reclaimed and renamed the old British Fortress from James Island to KUNTA KINTEH ISLAND to honor his legacy during the Roots Festival in February 2011.

Honorable Mentions

Features: Homecoming, Director: Eugene Ashe, Documentary: Color Outside the Lines, Director: Artemus Jenkins and Short: The Christmas Tree, Director: Angel Kristi Williams, International Short Documentary, On Our Land: Being Garifuna in Honduras,

Directors: Neal Dixon, James Frazier, Erica Harding

Other BronzeLens Award honorees were legendary film, television and theater director Kenny Leon who received the BronzeLens Trailblazer Award and television and film producer/director Roger Bobb received the BronzeLens Film Advocate Award. Also noted Atlanta community advocate W. Imara Canady received the BronzeLens Faith Award.


About the BronzeLens Film Festival
Founded in 2009, The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. Its mission is twofold: to promote Atlanta as the new film Mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers. Since its inception the BronzeLens Film Festival has evolved as one of the most comprehensive film festivals for filmmakers of color in the United States. Visit www.bronzelensfilmfestival.com for more information regarding the BronzeLens Film Festival.

Sponsors of the BronzeLens Film Festival are Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Lottery Corp., Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Turner, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Panavision, Delta Air Lines, HBO Documentary Films, The Levy Group, Georgia Pacific, Macys, AT& T, Morehouse College, France Atlanta 2012, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, The Sai Sai Group, Inc., White Oak Restaurant, Organix Food Lounge Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, MHR International, Movie Magic and Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council. Media Partners Include: 11Alive/WXIA-TV, WCLK-FM, Atlanta DAYBOOK, Modern Luxury and Oz Magazine

Original "Red Dawn" Remains an 80s Curio

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 87 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Red Dawn (1984)
Running time: 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13
DIRECTOR: John Milius
WRITERS: John Milius and Kevin Reynolds; from a story by Kevin Reynolds
PRODUCERS: Barry Beckerman and Buzz Feitshans
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ric Waite (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Thom Noble
COMPOSER: Basil Poledouris

WAR/DRAMA

Starring: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Darren Dalton, Jennifer Grey, Brad Savage, Doug Toby, Ben Johnson, Harry Dean Stanton, Ron O’Neal, William Smith, Powers Boothe, Lane Smith, and Frank McRae

The subject of this movie review is Red Dawn, a 1984 war film from director John Milius (Conan the Barbarian). The film is set in an alternate version of the 1980s and depicts an invasion of the United States launched by the Soviet Union and its Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. The story follows a group of American high school students who launch a guerrilla war against the invaders.

World War III begins on a September morning. It arrives in the small town of Calumet, Colorado when paratroopers begin dropping from the sky. These are Russian Airborne Troops, and soon after them, Cuban and Soviet troops begin an occupation of Calumet. Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze) and his teenage brother, Matt (Charlie Sheen), take a small group of Matt’s fellow high school students and flee into the surrounding mountains.

After taking in two teen girls, this group begins an armed resistance against the occupation forces. These young people start calling themselves “Wolverines.” Meanwhile, back in town, Colonel Ernesto Bella (Ron O’Neal) is punishing the townspeople for the Wolverines’ attacks on his troops. Which side will give in first?

When Red Dawn was first released to theatres in 1984, I ignored it, although I knew many people around my age who loved the movie. I recently watched it for the first time, and I found little about it worth loving or hating. Red Dawn is basically a misfire with a lot of good ideas. It is not pro-war and is not so much a war movie as it is a movie about children leading a resistance group during wartime. In fact, I guess that I can best describe Red Dawn as a poorly realized movie about guerrilla warfare and child soldiers.

I cannot say the acting is bad because the actors don’t have much with which to work. The script offers very little character development, and the action scenes that should help to develop the characters or at least help the audience to get to know them better actually make the characters’ motivations increasingly murkier.

Red Dawn essentially has no plot, unless the depiction of a series of skirmishes and battles is the plot. The concept has potential; it simply was not developed nearly 30 years ago when the movie was made. As it stands, Red Dawn is a time capsule movie. It is a piece of pop culture, reflective of the mid-1980s, a time of Ronald Reagan, anti-Soviet Union propaganda, paranoia, and warmongering. At the time, there seemed to be a mood in the U.S., an aching for a fight with someone we could beat, especially if it was a country or entity that could act as a stand-in for the Soviet Union/Russia.

Red Dawn delivered what reality could not. Here, white guys wearing tight jeans, wielding high-powered firearms, and packing lots of military gear get to shoot some Ruskies. Too bad no one thought to shoot a good movie.

4 of 10
C

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Remembering Alan J. Pakula: The Parallax View

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 199 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Parallax View (1974)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – R
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Alan J. Pakula
WRITERS: David Giler and Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (based upon the novel by Loren Singer)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gordon Willis
EDITOR: John W. Wheeler
COMPOSER: Michael Small

DRAMA/MYSTERY with elements of thriller

Starring: Warren Beatty, Hume Cronyn, William Daniels, Kenneth Mars, Walter McGinn, Kelly Thordsen, Jim Davis, Bill McKinney, and Paula Prentiss

The subject of this movie review is The Parallax View, a 1974 drama and political thriller directed and produced by Alan J. Pakula. The film is based on the 1970 novel, The Parallax View, which was written by Loren Singer. While David Giler and Lorenzo Semple, Jr. are credited as the film’s scriptwriters, acclaimed screenwriter, Robert Towne, also contributed to the screenplay, but did not receive screen credit.

Joseph Frady (Warren Beatty) is the kind of rash and reckless reporter who needs to defend his reputation, both to colleagues and to his editor. So when a colleague comes to Frady and tells him that all the reporters who witnessed the assassination of a leading U.S. Senator are being murdered, even he is skeptical. The reporter was a witness, and she is frantic with fear that someone is out to murder her. After her mysterious death, Frady comes to believe there is some truth to the story. His investigations leads him to a shadowy and nebulous conspiracy involving an enigmatic therapy institute called The Parallax Corporation. Frady infiltrates Parallax to become a patient, unaware of how much they know about him.

The Parallax View is a fairly good suspense thriller with a good take on conspiracy theories. Director Alan J. Pakula uses lots of long tracking shots that follow the action and film narrative from a great distance. This heightens the film’s sense of mystery and confuses the audience in such a manner that they can sympathize with Joe Frady’s confusion. The film has many twists and turns, and often the audience must wonder who knows what. How successful has Frady’s infiltration of Parallax been, and who is the hunter and who is the hunted?

The film’s major flaw is flat and stiff acting that sticks with the movie until the last act, and the Parallax Corporation itself seems like a B-movie convention or the kind of trite villain found in potboiler fiction. Still, The Parallax View is a good movie about bureaucratic intrigue, government chicanery, and especially makes a good point about the intervention in political affairs by mysterious and private interests. I highly recommend this to conspiracy theory fans.

6 of 10
B

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy B'day, Alan Moore?: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 108 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence, language and innuendo
DIRECTOR: Stephen Norrington
WRITER: James Dale Robinson (based upon the comic book by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill)
PRODUCERS: Trevor Albert and Don Murphy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dan Laustsen (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Paul Rubell
COMPOSER: Trevor Jones

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER

Starring: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Shane West, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh, Terry O’Neill, and Tom Goodman-Hill

The subject of this movie review is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a 2003 superhero film directed by Stephen Norrington (Blade). The film is based on the six-issue comic book series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One (1999-2000), written by Alan Moore (Watchmen) and drawn Kevin O’Neill.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen may have an unusual name, and the advertising for the film may leave you dumbfounded, wondering just what the heck this film is about. Don’t fret. The plot is not that important. LXG (the title abbreviation, a thing that is so trendy and important for action films these days) is a simple, lumbering beast that is mildly entertaining, if you set your sights low enough. It’s not the dumbest of action pictures, and maybe it isn’t at all dumb, just not special, but it could have been. Sadly, it’s a by-the-numbers rendition of a concept that could have been so much smarter and more unique than most summer movies, but director Stephen Norrington and screenwriter James Dale Robinson, a former comic book writer, stay the course and make a standard action thriller that’s set in a non-standard action movie world.

It’s 1899; the British Empire is in trouble, and the rest of the European powers with it. The colonialist, imperialists bastards, it would serve them right to die for the genocide and cultural destruction they reigned across their empires in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. However, for the sake of the movie, the British crown and Europe must be preserved lest millions of innocent lives be destroyed, at least, that’s what the protagonists keep telling the audience. It seems an evil warmonger named The Phantom is using advanced weaponry like tanks to ferment war fever. Mycroft Holmes (Richard Roxburgh), some high muckity-muck in the circles of British power gathers a band of special people to battle the Phantom. Mycroft wants to form a league, and the special people he gathers for his team are people we, who read a fair bit, will recognize as famous literary characters from the 1800’s.

The leader of the group is the adventurer, Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), the same character Richard Chamberlain played in two 1980’s movies. A hero of turn-of-the-century English fiction, Quatermain was kind of a precursor to Indiana Jones. Other literary characters who spring to life in this film are Mina Harker (Petra Wilson) from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend) from writer Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Doctor Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng) of the famous novel of the same name, and Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), a man who is invisible like the character from The Invisible Man. The studio added Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain’s famous juvenile, who is now an adult and a Secret Service agent. Together they form The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The movie is pretty much a standard thriller with lots (and I do mean lots) of explosions and gunfire. It all seems a bit out of place. LXG is really a period adventure, set in the 19th Century with lots of 19th Century architecture and lavish period costumes. With all these literary characters, you’d think that the film would have been a little more thoughtful and imaginative. In the end, the story is so much like other noisy movies. LXG is based on the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, and that comic stood out because it was so different from other comics featuring heroes with special powers, knowledge, or abilities. Obviously, the comic’s uniqueness and concept wowed Fox Studios, so what do they do? They buy the film rights to the comic and promptly turn it into another pedestrian fast food film for the fickle masses.

These characters might be called “extraordinary,” but they are really quite dull and mundane. Allen Quatermain is so boring that it’s best to ignore the character. Just think of the League as seven freaks and Sean Connery dressed in raggedy clothing. Take The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for what it is and not for what it could have been; in the end, I liked it the way I sometimes like trashy food. Dog knows I went in expecting so very little. It’s clear the director and writer were too clueless to do something special, but even the heavy handed predictability can be entertaining at times, about as often as not, just another movie that’s a not too painful way to kill two hours.

4 of 10
C


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy B'day, Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 170 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


Raging Bull (1980)
Black & White (with some color)
Running time: 129 minutes (2 hours, nine minutes)
MPAA – R
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
WRITERS: Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (based upon the books by Jake La Motta, Joseph Carter & Peter Savage)
PRODUCER: Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Chapman
EDITOR: Thelma Schoonmaker
Academy Award winner

DRAMA

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, Mario Gallo, Frank Adonis, Joseph Bono, Frank Topham, Johnny Barnes, and Jimmy Lennon, Sr.

In 1980 and 81, Robert De Niro won several acting awards including the Oscar® for Best Actor in a Leading Role” for his portrayal of the boxer Jake La Motta in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. Filmed in black and white, the movie harks back to classic Hollywood film noir and the black and white boxing telecasts Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Chapman grew up watching, “Friday Night Fights.” The film covers La Motta’s struggle to earn a middleweight title shot (which he would win) to his downfall as a middleweight boxing champion and the start of his career as a night club act when he middle-aged and overweight.

It took awhile for me to warm up to this film because all of the characters are so unlikable, even the ones who occasionally earn sympathy like La Motta’s wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty in an Oscar® nominated supporting role) and his brother, Joey (Joe Pesci, in the film’s other Oscar® nominated supporting role). La Motta as a boxer was physically tough, but he was allegedly emotionally self-destructive, and hard headed i.e. mega stubborn. He severely physically and emotionally abused Vickie and Joey, and combined with his unreasonableness, it is easy to see why he was not liked, although he was and is respected as a boxer.

De Niro’s turn as La Motta is considered one of the top acting performances in the history of American and world cinema. He manages to make La Motta a total asshole, jerk, bully, maniac, psycho, but beneath all that is a man worthy of sympathy. La Motta is proud and stubborn, and guides his life by his own strict code of total machismo, and although he is (in the film) a paranoid chauvinist, he is the way he is because that’s how he survives. Being the man he is gets him to the top when everything and almost everyone works against him. That De Niro can make this man worthy of derision and admiration; that he can take a fictional version of a real person and make both the real and surreal worthy of respect is a work of art on De Niro’s part.

Scorsese has always been upset that Raging Bull did not win the Academy Award for Best Film, and many critics and film fans are still angry that Scorsese lost Best Director (to Robert Redford, nonetheless), Raging Bull is more the work of De Niro’s acting than it is of what Scorsese and the rest of the filmmakers (including editor Thelma Schoonmaker who also won an Oscar®) did. Don’t get me wrong because this is a very good film, and Scorcese put boxing on film like no one ever had and probably will ever again. However, the only thing great about Raging Bull is De Niro. Redford deserved his acclaim that year.

7 of 10
B+

NOTES:
1981 Academy Awards: 2 wins: “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Robert De Niro) and “Best Film Editing” (Thelma Schoonmaker); 6 nominations: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Joe Pesci) and “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Cathy Moriarty), “Best Cinematography” (Michael Chapman), “Best Director” (Martin Scorsese), “Best Picture” (Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff), and “Best Sound” (Donald O. Mitchell, Bill Nicholson, David J. Kimball, and Les Lazarowitz)

1982 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Best Editing” (Thelma Schoonmaker) and “Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles” (Joe Pesci); 2 nominations: “Best Actor” (Robert De Niro) and “Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles” (Cathy Moriarty)

1981 Golden Globes, USA: 1 win: “Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama” (Robert De Niro); 6 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Martin Scorsese), “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Motion Picture Actor in a Supporting Role” (Joe Pesci), “Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role” (Cathy Moriarty), “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin), and “New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female” (Cathy Moriarty)

1990 National Film Preservation Board, USA: "National Film Registry”

Friday, November 16, 2012

"The Raven," Nevermore? How 'Bout Nevermind

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 86 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Raven (2012)
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – R for bloody violence and grisly images
DIRECTOR: James McTeigue
WRITERS: Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare
PRODUCERS: Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy, and Aaron Ryder
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Danny Ruhlmann
EDITOR: Niven Howie
COMPOSER: Lucas Vidal

MYSTERY/THRILLER

Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Dave Legeno, and Sam Hazeldine

The Raven is a 2012 mystery-thriller from director James McTeigue. This film is the most recent one to take its name from the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “The Raven” (first published in 1845). The Raven stars John Cusack as Poe, who is trying to solve a series of horrific murders that are seemingly inspired by his stories.

The film opens in 1849, and Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) has just returned to Baltimore, Maryland. Broke and drunk, Poe is hoping to get some funds from the newspaper, the Baltimore Patriot, for publishing one of his reviews. What he finds instead is a general disinterest in him and his recent work. Poe also hopes to marry a young socialite, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), but her father, Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson), would rather just kill Poe.

Things can’t get worse, can they? But they do when police Inspector Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) confronts Poe. Baltimore is rotten with unsolved murders, and the latest are two ghastly slayings that Fields believes is connected to Poe’s writings. Taunted by an unknown madman, Poe and Fields are forced into a cruel game of wits in which they must uncover the killer’s identity or more people will die.

When I first started reading about movies, I came across the term “high-concept.” It was used to describe a movie premise that could be pitched briefly and concisely. Imagine a movie that can be described in 20 words or less. The Raven is basically a high-concept: Edgar Allen Poe has to uncover the identity of a murderer who gets his ideas from Poe’s stories. That sound’s clever especially when you consider that Poe basically invented the genre of detective fiction as we know it with his stories starring the character, “C. Auguste Dupin.” Poe also died under mysterious circumstances, and this film’s story offers a fanciful version of events during Poe’s last days.

The Raven the movie is not clever. It’s just a bad movie. There were times while I was watching this that I could even convince myself that the filmmakers tried hard to make a good movie, but I just as often found myself thinking that at some point, the people involved with The Raven knew they had a really bad movie on their hands.

This movie is clumsy, but even worse, it’s ridiculous – from preposterous concept to silly ending. The whole thing is just a procession of absurdities. I like John Cusack, but he is awful in this, and the (dis)credit cannot go to the screenplay alone, which is amateurish (to put it mildly). Sometimes, Cusack seems disinterested and bored and other times lost. Poe deserves better.

1 of 10
D-

Friday, November 16, 2012