Monday, February 28, 2011

The Academy Awards

I tweeted my way through last night's Academy Awards. As much as I wanted James Franco and Anne Hathaway to do well, I don't think the show came together. Their opening montage was great. Invading Alec Baldwin's dreams to steel hosting secrets, and discovering that Baldwin has Morgan Freeman narrate his dreams (but who doesn't?). But my question was: Why steel secrets from last year's co-host who wasn't invited back? Billy Crystal would have been a better choice, and if you're trying to "young and hip," go with John Stewart.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

20 movies I want to see

There's probably a few glaring omissions, and some of these are almost certain to disappoint. One thing I noticed typing this up. There are definitely too many colons and numbers here (though Super 8 is off the hook), and Harry Potter picks up both of them. See the list after the jump.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Quick Links

Shane Black to Direct Iron Man 3

Deadline reports that Kiss Kiss Bang Band director and Lethal Weapon writer Shane Black will be taking over from Jon Faverau for the third Iron Man film. Seeing that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was not only awesome, but also help start the revitalization of Robert Downey Jr.'s career, this sounds like a good thing, though I'm sorry to see Favreau leave. I wonder if he'll still appear as an actor. Release date: May 3, 2013.

Rebuild Society From a Couple of DVDs

Or just one Blu-Ray disc, if you really want to save space. CD3WD is a site meant to improve the infrastructure of third world nations by providing them access to technology and information. What means is that it's a compilation of most of the information our society has ever come up with. And what that means is that our country ever crashes, you might want to have a copy of this lying around. It's only 13 gigabytes.
Lifehacker: 3d3WD archives the information to rebuild society

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 Film List

I'll update this as I see more, and I've been known to change my mind, but here's how things stand so far.

2010 complete film list

Here's my complete 2010 film list. For detailed analysis, I broke down into the movies I didn't like, those I didn't care about, those that were decent, and my top 10.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Books of February

LeviathanEvidence to the contrary, I didn't and don't plan on only blogging about movies. It just happens that during school, I spend so much time reading books for class that I much prefer to relax with a a movie when I have the free time. After battling Gravity's Rainbow and House of Leaves, books become slightly terrifying. Nevertheless, I still have managed to pick up a couple of books for fun over the last month. And here they are.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Liam Neeson is a badass. In fact, I might go so far as to say he's the closest thing our generation has to a Sean Connery. He was probably the best part in The Phantom Menace, and he's given the appropriate gravitas to Zeus and the Jesus Lion. Also, he trained Batman. That's a pretty impressive résumé in my book. Last year, he made Taken, where he ran around beating people up. This year, someone in Hollywood decided it would be a good idea to make pretty much the same movie over again. It actually worked pretty well.

I've been reading a lot of Philip K. Dick recently, and the first (and best) part of this film feels based off one of his stories. Ultimately, though, Unknown takes the easy way out. The twists aren't always obvious, but they certainly aren't shocking. Overall, it's a solid "B" movie. Entertaining, but flawed.

The biggest problem with this film is everyone that's not Liam Neeson. January Jones is very attractive, but I'm not entirely sure she can act. Either way, her character is the weakest link in the story. Diane Kruger's character isn't much better, and the villains are all underwritten and underdeveloped. Then there's one or two plot twists, which I'm not going to give away, but found mildly (or extremely) ridiculous. But this was better than The Eagle, and it takes it spot at #2 for the year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My top films of 2010

And now I present my top 10 films of 2010. Honestly I don't think this was a great year for cinema. Even of these top 10, only a few qualify as films that I actually loved. So click ahead to see what I spent my year watching.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2010 Movies I Liked

Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeNow for the movies that I liked (sometimes more then they deserved), moving up from the ones that I wasn't thrilled with, and those I found forgettable. I'm still not going to run out and buy every single one of these on DVD, but I'll probably end up owning most of them eventually. Putting together the top parts of my 2010 list has been harder, because most of these films could be juggled and I probably wouldn't notice if Robin Hood and Alice in Wonderland switched places.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spider-Man, Felicia Day and more

It's time for a few links I've gathered up over the week.

It's the "Amazing Spider-Man"

Sony announced the official title for the Spider-Man reboot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It's "The Amazing Spider-Man," so don't confuse it with regular "Spider-Man," but hey, it's better than the disaster that is "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," right? Still, this is looking good. Andrew Garfield was great in The Social Network and I personally like that they've gone back to mechanical web-shooters.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2010 films - Part II

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning ThiefFollowing the films I didn't really like, this next part of my 2010 film rankings is comprised of those that (a) I enjoyed while I was watching, but failed to stick with me, (b) I thought had potential or some cool ideas or scenes, or (c) I'd hoped I would like but was eventually disappointed. Basically, I don't know that I'll be running out to see any of these again, though some might make my Play-in-the-background-while-I'm-doing-something-else-list.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The films of 2010 - Part I

The Last AirbenderThis list is probably going to reflect the fact that I sat through much of my film studies class thinking, “As great as the mise-en-scene is, I find this film boring.” I appreciate the difference between art and entertainment, but prefer a combination of the two. I’ll rank movies that were purely popcorn-flicks low, but when done well, those are my favorite type of film, and a lot of the movies that are supposed to be brilliant award contenders failed to get me to see them in the first place. I have yet to see Black Swan or 127 Hours. I mean to, but as good as I hear they are, they don't sound exciting enough get me to spend $10 at the cinema.

Overall, I saw forty-one of the 2010 releases and I'll start this list off with the ones that in retrospect, I would have been happy to skip. At the very least, none of these were worth the ticket price (especially with the 3D mark-up on most of them).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"The Eagle" is my #2 for the year...

...but it probably won't stay there for long. The Green Hornet is the only other 2011 release I've made it to, as I'm more interested in catching up on the 2010 awards season movies right now. The Eagle isn't especially bad, but it certainly isn't all that great. The action was disjointed and the film never figured out what it was. A historical epic? An art film? A buddy movie? I never really bought the relationship between Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, and that's what the movie should have depended on. It's probably no surprise it had problems, since it was bumped back from its original release date last September. Basically, The Eagle is a middle-of-the-road film that does nothing you haven't seen before, and isn't particularly horrible either.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Good" Movies and the Things People Watch

This post was prompted by the fact that I started to organize my favorite films of the year (an idea I got from Howard Tayler), and found I'd seen movies I knew were good that I just didn't like that much, and movies that had a ton of problems that I still enjoyed. It reminded me that "best" isn't a qualitative term when it comes to movies. It's a subjective matter of personal opinion and that's something that gets forgotten in too many critical and academic circles.

I saw a lot of movies in 2010. I think I averaged almost one every week. So when the Academy Award nominations were announced and I'd only seen three of the Best Picture Nominees it was another example of the disparity between the movies critics consider good and movies people actually go see. And I consider myself a film fan. Sound on Sight seems to have summed up the current Oscar situation pretty nicely.

But I don't think the fact that Hollywood movies are targeted at popular audiences necessarily makes them bad. Sure the storyline of Avatar was incredibly derivative and needed a good rewrite, and Transformers 2 devolved into a mindless blur of action and explosions, but other blockbusters, like this year's Inception and Toy Story 3, are extremely well-made, well-written films. I would point to the first Iron Man and J.J. Abrams Star Trek as examples of blockbusters that didn't receive any critical acclaim but were among the better films released during their years. The new 10 Best Picture nominee field lets the Academy acknowledge some films (because let's face it, they need to do anything they can to make sure people will actually watch) but if they keep not winning, it's probably just going to turn the whole ceremony into a joke.

So this was a long way of me justifying my own opinions, but I thought it needed to be stated before I put my list, which I'll have up in a couple of days. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some Awesome Links

You know what's awesome? These very-important-to-me links from today.

New Trailer for X-Men: First Class
Some of the leaked images for the newest X-Men film looked pretty iffy, but this new trailer has bumped this movie into "looks good" territory for me. You can watch it on Facebook if you "Like" the page, or just go to io9 and watch it there. They've also done a great screen-by-screen breakdown if you're like me and want to make sure you don't miss any details. I'm particularly liking the period feel (though it's no Captain America) and the Magneto Picking Up a Submarine image. Looks like they've done a pretty good job on the casting, and Matthew Vaughn has shown that he has a good handle on superheros with Kick Ass, so First Class just climbed a few spaces on my list of anticipated films for this year.

Dwarves Will Be Doing Their Own Singing

And here's some news from one of my Most Anticipated Movies of All Time. The principle cast of The Hobbit (Bilbo and Dwarves) was presented at a press conference today. The confirmed that they will indeed have 13 separate dwarf characters, which should make toy collectors everywhere very happy. I'm not sure that even I will be able to tell them apart until I've seen the movies three or times, but then, I will see them that many times so that's not really an issue. TV3 News in New Zealand has a video of the press conference (complete with New Zealand advertising) and you can also check out the ever reliable for their coverage, which is where I get my all my information from anyway. I just want to know if the orcs and wargs will also be singing this time around. And will trolls discuss stocking colors?

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Captain America Trailer

It's just the 30-second Super Bowl spot, but I'm really exited about this movie. The superhero film (Iron ManThe Dark Knight) and the World War II film (Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan) are two of my favorite genres, and Captain America looks like it perfectly combines the two. Especially since director Joe Johnston said they were able to focus on making it a period action movie. And then it throws in Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci for good measure. Also, I firmly attest that Chris Evans was the best thing in both the Fantastic Four movies (well apart from looking at Jessica Alba), and he was also pretty great in both The Losers and Scott Pilgrim this year. Basically, this movie will have to go very wrong for me not to like it. So fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Advertising Advertising

It's Super Bowl day today. Possibly the biggest American event of the year (because Christmas doesn't count because someone would sue if it did). I'm not really a sports guy--at all. I don't have a horse in this particular race, so to speak. But I am interested in the ads, especially the fact that they're such a big deal. Volkswagen has already released it's Super Bowl ad, which is 90% a cute kid dressed as Darth Vader (having been that kid, I approve), and apparently points out the car's state-of-the-art keyless entry.
Another, which I was looking forward to, is the spot for Cowboys and Aliens, which director Jon Favreau tweeted this morning (and I, of course, retweeted because it's about the best use of Twitter I can think of).
There's some others on YouTube already for Doritos and Pepsi, and I get that the companies are trying to justify their $100,000 per second, but this really seems to be bordering on the obscene, when the ad is a big deal because it's--what? Going to be a big deal? Basically, the entire system is, "We paid a lot for the ad, so watch it because it must be great, because we paid a lot for it." And tons of people are going to watch it, because tons of people are going to watch it. I really wish I was in a business like that...