Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movie Review: Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Nature's Inherent Beauty 

      Werner Herzog, an enigmatic visionary in an obsessive search for truth and meaning, is responsible for some of the most provocative, ambitious, and enrapturing documentaries/films in cinema's history: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser represent some of his finest work. His latest documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, could have been a painstaking dissection detailing the history of crayons. I would have been captivated. But Forgotten Dreams, fleeing the doldrums of industry, actually documents something extraordinary: Mysteries of France's Chauvet Cave, a clandestine site that houses the oldest-known paintings in the world.

Movie Review: 50/50

Compassion For Life

      Embedded in Will Reiser's autobiographical script, which springs to life from the jovial stewardship of Jonathan Levine (The Wackness), is an axiom of humanity that I, myself, learned from an Eastern Philosophies class after being subjected to a quaint little film, Patch Adams. This axiom, transplanting space and time, consists of a core human function: Compassion. While Patch treats this universal philosophy blithely, almost in a reductive course, the message still resonates. A philosophy of compassion, exemplified in the treatment of patients through humor and humility, is one I suspect Reiser identifies with most closely.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Movies of 2011 (PREVIEW)

A Preview of My Top Ten Movies of 2011




      As I formulate my year-end list of my Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011, I've decided to highlight the first two: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Guard. For very different reasons, I enjoyed both these films immensely. 
      One defies the big-budget, blockbuster model while the other achieves a measure of genius, which I've come to learn, is far more prevalent in the world of independent cinema. You see, indies operate free of big studio control, which, while neglecting a seemingly limitless swath of funds, affords a certain artistic freedom. Blockbusters, existing within the dimensions of a self-fulfilling prophecy, are burdened by the mitigating tentacles of studio interference: marketers, producers, artistic or capitalistic, and hordes of other artistically-draining forces. 
      Independent filmmakers work within a manageable, focused center of control, which allows the director's message to work in concert with their technical proficiency. This is not to say blockbusters cannot achieve artistic excellence—look at Scorsese and Spielberg, just to name two—but more often than not, the bigger the budget, the greater the likelihood of a costly, unwatchable albatross (I don't think anyone in Hollywood has forgotten the legacy of Waterworld; certainly not Kevin Costner). So, in this spirit of polarity, I've highlighted the first two qualifiers in my Top Ten Movies of 2011 List. Enjoy and, as always, feel free to comment.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Movie Review: Hugo

Hugo Go Gadget 

      Since the Inception of the Motion Picture, at the dawn of the 20th Century, creative endeavors have blossomed appreciably. Willed by a creative purpose, at its core both tangible and attainable, the progenitors of cinematic arts, progressively forward and vitally distinct, have spearheaded an industry of ever-changing parts: That industry is, of course, film. Movies, foremost in their design, necessitate a fervent willingness to dream, capture and effectuate that ephemeral yet instinctual spirit of imagination. Nursing this spirit, a surmountable though arduous challenge, are the generational Fore Fathers of Film: Names like Chaplin, Eisenstein, Bunuel, Lang, Renoir, Hawks, Ford, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Coppola, Fellini, Truffaut, Spielberg, Woo, Kar-wai and yes, you guessed it, Scorsese. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Short Review

Driven To Critique

      This is a teaser of my next "What I've Been Watching" segment. A veritable assortment of Classical Cinema, from Scarface: The Shame of a Nation to Sunset Boulevard, has assaulted my exuberant eyes and ears. And at some point in the foreseeable future, I intend to share my sincerest thoughts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Film News

Gangsters, Gangsters, Read All About It!

     A real palpable odor, which is both discomforting and disorienting, overwhelms me: Something stinks...and no, I'm not talking about Slider from Top Gun, because as you know, Maverick proved him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, what reeks has the unfamiliar tinge of frustration. Maybe it's the frustration of Boardwalk Empire, a de facto must watch show from last year, which, on the eve of its season finale, has miserably underperformed; naturally high expectations, for me at least, unmet. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 TheMovie411 Blog Awards

 Misadventures of a Missed Cineaste 

      I'm back! I don't imagine those two words conjure up memories of a famous press release from only the greatest basketball player alive? Whether they do or don't, I'm back like Die Hard: With A Vengeance. Actually, scrap that analogy...Unless we could trade Zeus Carver for Jules Winnfield? In that case "with great vengeance and furious anger," FilmMattic announces his return. Needless to say, my posting attendance record would make Ferris Bueller shriek in horror. Of course, then Brian De Palma would finally (as if he's been tirelessly in search of such a thing) have the perfect scream to conclude Blow Out. Heck, even a stoned out-of-his-mind Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High would disown me. I can hear the chants already: Truancy, truancy. And to my dismay, they're charged with the same stoic passion as the Notre Dame Football team chanting Rudy, Rudy. In other words, my unexcused absence from the blogosphere warrants the deepest of scorn even from the likes of the Dazed and Confused.