October 19, 2014
Fury (2014)

Fury (2014)

With Halloween just around the corner, horror films are a dime a dozen at your local cinema. However, I opted to watch this super intense WWII film instead, so judge all you want but at least I won’t have nightmares all month. Plus I saw shirtless Brad Pitt for a solid 3 minutes, God Bless America.

The film bases itself around a tank, “Fury,” and its crew, who are all stationed on the German front. Brad Pitt plays “Wardaddy” who leads Fury and its crew. The crew also includes Bible, played by Shia LaBeouf, Gordo (Michael Pena), Coon (Jon Bernthal), and Norman, played by Logan Lerman. As the crew travels through Germany’s countryside, they heroically engage in brutal fights and finally end up incredibly outnumbered by the Germans in a climatic stand-off.

Honestly, there isn’t anything wrong with this film. I thought it was perfectly casted, LeBeouf and Lerman were brilliant, which I really didn’t expect given that Lerman still reminds me of a socially awkward white boy and LeBeouf will always be Louis Stevens to me, aside from his recent purple pants wearing incident. Brad Pitt also did wonderfully, although this eerily reminded me of the serious version of Inglorious Basterds, do I mind? Not really, but it was very strange to not hear him refer to the Germans as “damn Nat-zis.”

The storyline was also quite interesting; it had just enough tragedy to make me cry within the first hour but just enough sheer luck to make sense of the overall film.

Visually, Fury, is quite mediocre. Obviously being the serious war film that it is, it won’t be a brightly lit and very colorful film. It just wasn’t spectacular. Fury is also pretty grisly, the first scene involves Brad Pitt mounting himself on some guy, which sounds really hot but in actuality he stabs this guy repeatedly in the eyeballs.

Like I said, there wasn’t anything wrong with this film, but it just wasn’t my favorite. The plot was interesting, the cast was great, but there are definitely better war films out there. Also, Fury is pretty graphic, which isn’t bad, but it wasn’t fun. This was probably the most stressful film experience I’ve had since Zero Dark Thirty. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re really into the World War II era, in which case then you should totally watch this.

Rate: 6/10

October 5, 2014
Gone Girl (2014)

David Fincher’s latest film adapted from the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl opened in box offices this weekend. The film stars Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) as Nick Dunne, who has recently captured the public eye after the suspicious disappearance of his wife Amy Elliot Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice, Jack Reacher). All signs begin to point to Nick as more evidence comes about during the investigation, leading him to frantically prove his innocence. Fincher, also known for directing Fight Club and The Social Network, encaptures the attention of the audience with this intense thriller that is definitely worth the trip to the movie theater this weekend.

I’m a huge fan of David Fincher’s work, so I’ve been pretty excited for the release of this film since it was announced. As one of the best filmmakers of our time, technically speaking this film is outstanding. In fact, I could probably write a six page paper on how visually stunning Gone Girl is and how well made the production was, but you guys would most likely never read my reviews again and that would be my ultimate demise.

Ben Affleck’s penis. There we go, do I have your attention again? Now, as underwhelming his performance in this film was, you do see the privates of the Boston native. I call his performance underwhelming, but it wasn’t actually bad at all. It’s just pales in comparison to Rosamund Pike’s role as Amy Dunne. Holy cow. She was amazing. I definitely think she’ll get the Oscar nom for this. The first half of the film really focuses on Nick and his life, but once she comes more into play, she is so impressive. Especially after one particular monologue about halfway through the film where she discusses the concept society has of “Cool Girls” as she has always had to prove herself as a woman to her family as well as her husband. I’m legitimately terrified of her now. Carrie Coon as Margot Dunne did a wonderful job as Nick’s twin sister and voice of reason through this whole fiasco, too. She hasn’t had any prominent roles in films prior to Gone Girl, but I’m very excited to see where her career goes in the future. Now, Tyler Perry, I know. Why is Tyler Perry in a Fincher movie? Why is Madea playing a lawyer? Well, as worried as I was going into this film which seemed to be casted so awkwardly, I was actually impressed with how well he did as playing the lawyer Tanner Bolt. Kim Dickens (The Blind Side, Thank You For Smoking) as Detective Rhonda Boney did wonderful as well. Overall, the performances in this film really contributed well to the storyline itself and I loved every minute of it.

The soundtrack for Gone Girl, done by Trent Renzor and Atticus Ross, is absolutely beautiful. The audio quality of this film is so seamlessly done. At one point, the heartbeat of the character blended in the score at the emotional height of one of the scenes. If you ever need dramatic music to listen to on the treadmill of the gym, and you’re sick of Chariots of Fire, then definitely add this soundtrack to your Spotify playlist.

If you did read the book, I heard that the ending is different despite the screenplay being written by Gillian Flynn herself. Since I didn’t read the book, I wasn’t disappointed with this film at all, but if you did- be aware! The story itself is so thrilling, especially after the second part, that I don’t think it matters whether you read the book or not.

If you do choose to see this movie, which I very much hope you do, I must warn you that it is rated R for violence, nudity, and language. It’s not a blood bath, but the scenes where there are violence are so shocking and far between that I may or may not have literally dropped the F bomb in the movie theater. Also, this film is a longer one- 145 minutes. However, like I said before, I was never bored for a second and everything that was put in this film really worked well. I highly recommend you all see this!

Rate 10/10

October 3, 2014
hey friends

margotstenenbaum:

watch my friend’s movie LOSING GAME

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCuaVW66GXQ&feature=youtu.be

evelynlee brightmeadowpictures

September 19, 2014
An Interview with Evelyn Lee

I recently got the chance to interview up and comer Evelyn Lee, writer/director for the film “Losing Game.” The film revolves around the story of the rocky relationship of a young couple facing problematic situations prior to Valentine’s Day. In this interview, we talk about film, the modern age, and long walks with Kevin Spacey.

Me: Hello Ms. Lee, how are you doing today?

Evelyn Lee: I’m well, thank you! Hope you are, too. And please, just call me Evelyn.

Me: Well, EVELYN, what was your primary source of inspiration for “Losing Game?”

Evelyn: In this day and age, it’s becoming more and more common for many interactions to take place via social media. Many of my friends, myself included, have been in situations where relationships, or friendships, have ended through social media or text messages. Whether it was a breakup text or email, or they were blocked on Facebook, it was all done in a very non-personal way, making it so much more hurtful. I wanted to make “Losing Game” as a way to explore the impact that technology has on relationships and communication, or lack of, in our contemporary society.

Me: What was the filming process like? I know a scene was done outside in the snow, so that must have been rough!

Evelyn: The filming process was a rather smooth one. I was very fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great cast and crew to help make this all possible. We were even able to get an expensive restaurant location for free. There were, of course, technical obstacles, but we were able to come up with solutions. We even managed to wrap well ahead of schedule.

Filming in the snow was tough. We had a brutal winter season in NYC. The ground was frozen with ice and the wind was around 20mph that day. The wind made it colder than it already was and made it harder for us to get clean sound. But with the cooperation of my cast and crew, we shot the scene in less time than anticipated. We actually got lucky because shortly after we wrapped the scene, it started to snow again.

Me: What did you shoot on?

Evelyn: The film was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with 50mm prime lenses. This allowed us to shoot with natural lighting and a more shallow depth of field.

Me: Ok, Kevin Spacey calls you. He wants to go on a run with you. Tell us about that experience.

Evelyn: Kevin Spacey calls to go on a run with me. I agree. We meet up two hours later and discuss his illustrious career as we run. He shares some of his Spacey wisdom with me. On our last stretch of the run, I start to slow down; I eventually stop to catch my breath. Spacey keeps going (he’s in great shape for 55). At the end of the block, he thrusts his arms up in the air victoriously - Rocky style. When I finally catch up, Spacey agrees to a coffee to discuss my next film, which he’s agreed to star in.

Me: Ok, and finally, where and when can we watch “Losing Game?”

Evelyn: “Losing Game” will be available on YouTube on Friday, October 3, 2014!

Me: Thanks so much!

Evelyn: Thank you!!

September 14, 2014
There Will Be Blood (2007)

IMDB Summary: A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Paul Thomas Anderson directs this dark narrative of oil business entrepreneur Daniel Plainview during his career. Plainview, played by Daniel Day Lewis, delves into the business during the turn of the century, when the practice is still a gamble, while still attempting to the single father for his newborn son. When he finds oil but is left injured, his career starts rolling. Fast forward ahead a few years, and Plainview is already on the top of his game attempting to set up various oil towns. When approached by Paul Sunday, played by Paul Dano, that there is oil on his land, he sets forth on this new venture. Although the land is abundant with oil, problems arise.

Most likely my favorite performance from Daniel Day Lewis as well as Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood did not disappoint. Yes, it’s Paul Thomas Anderson so it’s like 2.5 hours long and there are several periods where nothing much is happening. However, the acting and the dialogue and the rising actions of this film contribute so much that it’s definitely worth sitting through and watching it. Lewis won the Oscar for best leading role for this in 2007, but Dano wasn’t nominated for best supporting. The Academy made a mistake to say the very least, but I won’t go into film politics with you guys on this blog. (I don’t really want to bore everyone all the time.) Keep watching until the very end, you don’t want to miss DDL’s infamous “milkeshake” speech.

This film is a marvel when it comes to visual aesthetic as well as sound. I’m not a huge fan of the repetitive scoring because that gets rather annoying, but sound editing-especially after a certain scene when sound becomes very key in a character’s life- is so amazing! Comparable to the quality of The Hurt Locker for me. The cinematography, like any PTA film, is also astounding.

Right now it’s on Netflix, so even though I’m not too crazy about the story itself, I definitely think you all should give it a chance!

Rate:9/10

September 7, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

IMDB Summary: Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser.

Never thought I would be so into a Marvel film, and I most certainly never thought I would cry because of a Vin Diesel character. On top of all of this, I definitely never thought I would identify with a trigger happy raccoon. Yet, with all of these expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with Guardians.

Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec) plays Peter Quill, space thief extraordinaire. When he becomes tangled with a devious plot involving some weapon to destroy the universe (cheesey, I know, let me get through this plot line) he befriends an unlikely group of alien misfits.

I’m not that into the films Marvel has been putting out as of late (sorry I’m not sorry) but I must say, this was a very good movie. I found it entertaining, and I thought it had much more of a short term plot as well as a continuing storyline for inevitable Guardians sequels. I knew Chris Pratt had it in him to carry a lead role ever since his minor yet serious spot in Zero Dark Thirty. Zoe Saldana didn’t necessarily surprise me, in fact she was incredibly reminiscent of her Star Trek roles in this film. This film involved lots of witty dialogue and hilarious 80s references. For some reason, maybe it was the outlandish costumes and characters, but Guardians had a Fifth Element flare to it that I thoroughly appreciated.

Guardians was a surprisingly good film, I do recommend this!! It’s hilarious, it’s pretty well thought out for a superhero movie, and despite plenty of corny moments it has great scenes. 

Rate:7.5/10

August 30, 2014
Frances Ha (2012)

IMDB Summary: A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Imagine a skinny white girl, parading around a park in New York. Doesn’t this sound like the premise of a stupid romantic comedy? I know, that’s what I thought. But I was pleasantly surprised by Greta Gerwig in this black and white film about a life that isn’t so black and white.

Gerwig plays Frances, a disheveled modern dancer trying to make it in New York. Initially, she’s living in an apartment with her best friend Sophie, but as their relationship takes some weird twists and turns, the film focuses on Frances just trying to do her thing. The film is so multi-faceted and it delves into the mysterious world of what “being a grown-up” really means. Do we take that seriously? Or do we just laugh it off? Either way, the movie takes you along on the crazy life of Frances Haliday and how she manages to just get by.

I can’t say that I’ve seen anything else Noah Baumbach has done, but I definitely will look into his other films based on how impressed I am with Frances Ha. I think it was a wonderfully executed film and it made me laugh, it made me on the verge of tears, and watching this movie was a really great experience. I recommend this to people who can relate to feeling a little lost at times. Keep in mind, this is a modern film done completely done in black and white! 

Rate:9/10

August 30, 2014
Zodiac (2007)

IMDB Summary: A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. star in David Fincher’s thriller about the San Francisco killings in the 1970’s. Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, the somewhat OCD cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who begins to casually help reporter Paul Avery (RDJ) with the Zodiac killer case. San Fran homicide detective David Toschi is played by Mark Ruffalo, who also investigates the brutal killings in the area by the mysterious Zodiac figure.

This film is the ultimate Fincher film. It not only has the air of ambiguity and that yellow-ish cinematography that we all know Fincher so well for, it elicits from the audience the hunger that the Graysmith, Avery, and Toschi feel. It struggles to make sense of insanity, it questions reality within the everyday reality we all think we know. Although the movie is a three-hour long epic, you really have to see all of it.

Now, I’m not going to lie, the first time I saw this film (about a year ago) I was extremely disappointed in it. I could barely pay attention, and to be honest, it just wasn’t Fight Club. However, now I realize that this is the beauty of Fincher, his progression as a filmmaker within a mere decade is not only amazing, but truly inspirational. Granted, you can tell he as a “type” of script he likes to work with. The kind of plot that blurs distinctions between what is known for sure and what is not, and you definitely do not know what is going on in Zodiac for sure. However, this film has so many awesome techniques and shots used to film it (ie. The brilliance of the insert shot) that it’s hard not to appreciate it from a technical standpoint. On top of that, the story itself is really interesting.

Even if you’re not a person who appreciates a good serial killer film (I know I’m not) I recommend this to anyone who appreciates a good thrill.

Rate:7/10

August 18, 2014
Wish I Was Here (2014)

IMDB Summary: Aidan Bloom is a 35-year-old man who finds himself at major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his career, and his family.

The Kickstarter project Zach Braff wrote, directed, and stared in was definitely not Garden State. Granted, it’s been a decade since the generation x coming of age film, so I shouldn’t have EXPECTED the audience to be aimed at the same age group. But, as a young person who related to Garden State so hard I cried 3 separate times, I was a little disappointed with Wish I Was Here.

It’s sad, it’s funny, Kate Hudson is way too pretty to be a mother. The premise is that Zach Braff (Aidan) is a struggling actor with very Jewish children and a dying father. Yeah, sad, I know. However, the humor is subtle but worth it. It includes performances by Josh Gad, Donald Faison (as a huge Scrubs nerd, yes I screamed.) and the daughter is a really talented up-and-comer Joey King. Definitely keep an eye out for her, because her performance in this was really spectacular. I won’t criticize the acting aspect of this too much since I think everyone was really into it. However, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the dialogue and I think it wasn’t written as well as it could have been. Some parts were endearing, but the tackiness of a few awkward lines just ruined a majority of the film for me.

I did really like the religious aspect of this film. The Blooms all deal with religion and God in different manners when the grandfather begins to pass away. It’s interesting how Braff’s existential dilemmas were examined from each perspective.

Cinematography-wise, it was a very LA film. There was tons of natural lighting. So much. You may even confuse it with a teenage romantic comedy.
Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of this film. I’m a huge fan of Zach Braff, but I think the idea was just ok and the writing was just ok.

Rate: 5.5/10

August 5, 2014

Anonymous said: Can you do a movie review for the movie Candy and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You - both with Heath Ledger?

I haven’t seen Candy but I will do that ASAP! In the meantime, here’s 10 Things I Hate About You