Monday, May 30, 2011

FilmMattic Reflections

Memorial Day Magic

      First off, I'd like to send my sincerest blessings to all of our U.S. Service Members. I have two older brothers in the military and many close friends in the Marine Corps. I have only a faint idea of their commitment and sacrifice to our greater good, our freedom, our security, but I thank each and every one of them for their brave service. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Film Meme

Fifteen Movie Questions Meme

      The movie blogosphere, an arena I'm proud to navigate, is full of unusual and unique ideas. Al Gore's Internet distinguishes these ideas based on causal traits: in this case, repetitive, transmittable musings that bloggers freely share. What I'm referring to, of course, are the nifty man-made creations known as memes. The latest one to capture my unbridled attention is called "Fifteen Movie Questions." It's the brainchild of Anna from Defiant Success. And after perusing my blogroll, it came to my attention. My fellow movie buff gal deserves the J-Kidd worthy assist. Rachel  (aka [film] girl, interrupted), a talented fireball of wit and reason, recently jumped on the meme bandwagon. And as bandwagons go—I'm talking squarely to fair-weather Miami Heat fans—others must climb aboard. Well, heeere's Johnny, and by Johnny, I mean Matty. This would be the point in time when Tony Soprano's shrink would advise me to tone down my obsessive film tendencies. But, like the brooding Mr. Soprano, I casually ignore her advice. For those of you who are keeping score: Film Obsession - 1 / Normal Behavior - 0. I kid, of course. Naturally, I'll leave such self-deprecating gimmicks to Kathy Griffin. There is nothing abnormal about loving movies. Griffin, on the other hand...well, I try to keep my blogspace PG.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Movie Review: Too Big to Fail

 Ask Dirk Nowitzki: Big Equals Bountiful

Just like Dirk Nowitzki, a seven-foot stud whose playoff performances embody Sheen's "Winning" trademark, Too Big to Fail delivers its own game-winning performances, elevating stale, often bland dramatic non-fiction to gripping achievement. 

       I was poised and committed to watching game four between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. But then a familiar slogan hit me like a ton of bricks: It's not TV. It's HBO. Unbeknownst to me, an appalling admission that I'm forced to concede, the king of premium cable was debuting its made-for-TV movie about the 2008 U.S. economic meltdown; the repercussions from the calamitous downturn are still keenly felt. As a student of the economy and a lover of cinema, this two-hour production exemplified my most impassioned plea for entertainment; a marriage of intrigue and personal edification. In other words, I passed on Dirk, Durant and Westbrook. Just like the late 90's, early 2000's (think The Sopranos), HBO had my full and undivided attention. So the question I'm forced to face, appropriate given the opportunity cost of missing a compelling playoff game, is did they succeed?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Film News

Cannes Film Festival 2011 Winners

      What's the prevailing message from this year's Cannes Film Festival? Terrence Malick rules the Earth. Listen up Hollywood: It's all about quality, not quantity. The Cannes jury, presided over by Robert De Niro and including Uma Thurman, Jude Law and a smattering of foreign luminaries, has selected the winners of this year's competition slate. The results are illuminating.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Movie Preview

Super Psyched for Super 8

Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by J.J. Abrams
Produced by J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Bryan Burk
Starring: Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, AJ Michalka, Ron Eldard and Noah Emmerich
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Editing by Maryann Brandon
Studio: Bad Robot Productions & Amblin Entertainment
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Budget: $45-50 million

Release Date United States: June 10, 2011 in both standard and IMAX theaters.

      The promotional might behind J.J. Abrams latest film, Super 8 is robust—perhaps, akin to today's massive gasoline prices. People pay more at the pump, but question the nature of the increase. That is the genius of Abrams (and no, I'm not saying he's responsible for exorbitant gas prices). He unveils just enough in plot detail to satiate the colossal intrigue of super fan boys, but never alludes to that one critical feature. It leaves even the most hardened of investigative cyber cinephiles dumbfounded. More importantly, implementing clever marketing tactics escalate the anticipation of every moviegoer from NY to Shanghai, necessitating a rise in interest that's second only to congenital curiosity.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cannes Film Festival

You Cannes Do It

      My man De Niro's in charge. That's enough to get me in front of my computer, typing on a Saturday night, instead of standard weekend dance fever. If that's not an intimation of my love for movies, I don't know what is.  
      Held in the South of France every year, the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most respected festivals in the world. It opened this past May 11th and runs until May 22nd. There's a total of 20 films in the 'main competition' category, but many 'out-of-competition' films will also generate substantial buzz.
      Cannes is a cineaste's wet dream. It is my dream. An opportunity to witness a great cinematic work of art before the rest of the world is a privilege, one that shall not be treated with casual indifference. To be one of the lucky few in Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is, in my film-centric estimation, equivalent to winning a lottery ticket. And unlike Will Hunting, if I'm ever given the chance to partake in the prestigious festival, I won't be "too much of a pussy to cash it in."  For now, I can only fantasize about that possibility. In an effort to temper my fantasy, I've assembled a list of Ten Films Debuting At Cannes That I Will Not Hesitate to Watch. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Movie Review: Thor

Stop! Hammer Time!

      Like Charlie Sheen at a porn convention, I am conflicted by the glut of superhero movies right now. The kid in me never thought the day would come when Marvel characters would invade the big screen. But now that it's happening, and now that I'm an adult, I don't know how to feel. How does one evaluate the efficacy of dudes in costumes wielding fantastical powers? On the surface, these superhero films exist (like any pornstar in Sheen's voracious, party-blazed eyes) as pure eye candy. Thus, the crux of the evaluation process is whether the "fun" factor takes precedence over any "profound" pretension. 
      Well, much to my surprise, Kenneth Branagh streamlines the evaluation process. The early 90's wunderkind, famous for early Shakespearean successes, synthesizes a story that not only appeals to that always faithful childhood enthusiast, but entertains and engages the hardest believer among adults. Thor delights us old folk almost as much as it dazzles those youngsters. Bravo, Kenneth Branagh.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo!

Mexico Duh, Winning!

      Today, we celebrate our Independence Day! Actually, that is entirely untrue. I just really admire Bill Pullman's character in Independence Day. The common misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that it's Mexico's Independence Day. I hate to be the one to dispel the glaring misnomer, but Mexico's Fourth of July actually occurred 50 years earlier in the month of September. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla. On that fateful day in history, May 5, 1862, 5000 inadequately trained, ill-equipped Mexican peasants fought against a sizable regiment of French soldiers. Unfortunately, the French eventually occupied Mexico and defeated the Mexicans. But the Battle of Puebla showed the Mexican people that bravery and conviction could serve as lynchpins for a country yearning for unity and teetering towards nationalism. 
      Oh yeah, one other thing. Why does the U.S. even care? Well, May 5, 1862 marked a time when my country was embroiled in its own war. May 5th is a date that we commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of our American Civil War.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Movie Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

McConaughey Legalese

"Furman's legal thriller skirts morality, remodels expectations and overhauls conventions; a man strides into court confident and leaves conscious."  

Admittedly, this review is a bit tardy and I'm sorry. As you know, there was something called the A-To-Z Challenge that consumed all of my waking blogging time.
      Who could've anticipated the creepy but endearing older dude from Dazed and Confused—making his feature film debut—would become one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the last 15 years. It all boils down to an admission that would land most of us in jail:  "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." It's a disconcerting confession. If any other actor spoke that line, I'd find 'em utterly detestable. Lest we not forget Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Til Dawn character...I mean talk about a total scumbag. But Tarantino is best served behind the camera and McConaughey's not any other actor. Like "The King of Cool," Matthew McConaughey, no matter how unsavory his character, exudes an effortless cool. It is that cool factor—specifically, the approachable guy-I'd-like-to-have-a-beer-with type of charisma—that distinguishes the handsome Texas-born actor from most other prominent performers. And it's precisely this measure of charisma that makes The Lincoln Lawyer a super-fun movie. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

FilmMattic's Great Alphabet of Films


*Tom Cruise' expression pretty much sums up how I feel.

      Over the past month, I have reviewed 26 films that I consider absolute required viewings (you can find them all HERE in a neatly organized directory). And with this post, I am listing them...because well, who doesn't like a list?