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Friday, February 25, 2011
My top and bottom movies of 2010

It's Oscar time once again, so that means it's time for my yearly best and worst of list for the previous year.

The Best of 2010:
1. Black Swan
2. Inception
3. The Social Network
4. The King's Speech
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
6. Inside Job
7. True Grit
8. Tron: Legacy
9. Toy Story 3
10. Easy A
11. Shutter Island
The Worst of 2010:
1. Repo Men
2. The Illusionist
3. Piranha 3D
4. GasLand
5. Clash of the Titans
6. The Expendables
7. Cop Out
8. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
9. Knight and Day
10. The Wolf Man
Posted by robbernard at 3:34 PM in Movies
The 2010 Movies I've Seen

Oscar time again so time to wrap up my 2010 movie viewing now that most of the movies I need to see have made their way to Ohio. (I'm looking at you "The Tempest" and 3/5 of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees...) Still hoping to squeeze in "Waste Land" before Oscar night.

By release date:

January, 8Leap Year
January, 15The Book of Eli
January, 22 Legion
January, 29 When in Rome
February, 5 From Paris With Love
February, 12 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
February, 12 The Wolf Man
February, 19 The Ghost Writer
February, 19Shutter Island
February, 26Cop Out
March, 5The Secret of Kells
March, 5Alice in Wonderland
March, 19Repo Men
March, 19The Runaways
March, 26How to Train Your Dragon
March, 26 Hot Tub Time Machine
April, 2 Clash of the Titans
April, 9 Date Night
April, 16 Exit Through the Gift Shop
April, 16 Kick-Ass
May, 7 Babies
May, 7Iron Man 2
May, 21Shrek Forever After
May, 28Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
May, 28 Micmacs
June, 4Get Him to the Greek
June, 11The A-Team
June, 11Winter's Bone
June, 18Toy Story 3
June, 18I am Love
June, 23Knight and Day
June, 25Dogtooth
June, 25Restrepo
July, 9 The Kids Are All Right
July, 9 Winnebago Man
July, 9 Despicable Me
July, 14The Sorcerer's Apprentice
July, 16 Inception
July, 23Salt
July, 30 Dinner for Schmucks
August, 6The Other Guys
August, 13 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
August, 13 The Expendables
August, 13 Animal Kingdom
August, 20Piranha 3D
September, 1The American
September, 15GasLand
September, 17The Town
September, 17Easy A
September, 24Waiting for Superman
September, 24Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
October, 1The Social Network
October, 8Inside Job
October, 15Hereafter
October, 15Red
November, 5 Megamind
November, 5127 Hours
November, 5 Due Date
November, 12Unstoppable
November, 19Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
November, 24 Love and Other Drugs
November, 24 Tangled
November, 26The King's Speech
December, 3Black Swan
December, 10The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
December, 10The Fighter
December, 10 The Tourist
December, 17Tron: Legacy
December, 17Rabbit Hole
December, 22True Grit
December, 22Country Strong
December, 25 The Illusionist
December, 29 Biutiful
December, 29Blue Valentine
December, 29Another Year
December, 31Barney's Version

That's 76, a new high.

2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

Posted by robbernard at 3:03 PM in Movies



Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My 2011 Oscar Checklist

"X" marks the movies I've seen.

Best picture
X - "Black Swan"
X - "The Fighter"
X - "Inception"
X - "The Kids Are All Right"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "127 Hours"
X - "The Social Network"
X - "Toy Story 3"
X - "True Grit"
X - "Winter's Bone"

Actor
X - Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
X - Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
X - Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
X - Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
X - James Franco, "127 Hours"

Actress
X - Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
X - Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
X - Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
X - Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
X - Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Supporting actor
X - Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
X - John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"
X - Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
X - Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"
X - Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

Supporting actress
X - Amy Adams, "The Fighter"
X - Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"
X - Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
X - Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"
X - Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"

Director
X - Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
X - David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
X - Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
X - David Fincher, "The Social Network"
X - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit"

Animated feature
X - "How to Train Your Dragon"
X - "The Illusionist"
X - "Toy Story 3"

Adapted screenplay
X - "127 Hours"
X - "The Social Network"
X - "Toy Story 3"
X - "True Grit"
X - "Winter's Bone"

Original screenplay
X - "Another Year"
X - "The Fighter"
X - "Inception"
X - "The Kids Are All Right"
X - "The King's Speech"

Foreign-language film
X - "Biutiful"
X - "Dogtooth"
   - "In a Better world"
   - "Incendies"
   - "Outside the Law"

Art direction
X - "Alice in Wonderland"
X - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I"
X - "Inception"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "True Grit"

Cinematography
X - "Black Swan"
X - "Inception"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "The Social Network"
X - "True Grit"

Costume design
X - "Alice in Wonderland"
X - "I Am Love"
X - "The King's Speech"
   - "The Tempest"
X - "True Grit"

Documentary feature
X - "Exit Through the Gift Shop"
X - "Gasland"
X - "Inside Job"
X - "Restrepo"
   - "Waste Land"

Documentary short
X - "Killing in the Name"
X - "Poster Girl"
X - "Strangers No More"
X - "Sun Come Up"
X - "The Warriors of Qiugang"

Film editing
X - "Black Swan"
X - "The Fighter"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "127 Hours"
X - "The Social Network"

Makeup
X - "Barney's Version"
X - "The Way Back"
X - "The Wolfman"

Sound mixing
X - "Inception"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "Salt"
X - "The Social Network"
X - "True Grit"

Original score
X - "How to Train Your Dragon"
X - "Inception"
X - "The King's Speech"
X - "127 Hours"
X - "The Social Network"

Visual effects
X - "Alice in Wonderland"
X - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"
X - "Hereafter"
X - "Inception"
X - "Iron Man 2"

Original song
X - "Coming Home" from "Country Strong"
X - "I See the Light" from "Tangled"
X - "If I Rise" from "127 Hours"
X - "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"

Sound editing
X - "Inception"
X - "Toy Story 3"
X - "Tron: Legacy"
X - "True Grit"
X - "Unstoppable"

Animated short film
X - "Day & Night"
X - "The Gruffalo"
X - "Let's Pollute"
X - "The Lost Thing"
X - "Madagascar, carnet de voyage" ("Madagascar, a Journey Diary")

Live action short film
X - "The Confession"
X - "The Crush"
X - "God of Love"
X - "Na Wewe"
X - "Wish 143"

--1/26: Whoops, realized I had seen "Day & Night".
--1/26: Added "Dogtooth" and "The Way Back"
--1/27: Added "Unstoppable" and "Gasland"
--1/29: Added "Blue Valentine" and "Hereafter"
--1/31: Added "Country Strong"
--2/3: Added "Animal Kingdom" and "The Wolfman"
--2/4: Added "Inside Job" and "I am Love"
--2/6: Added "Biutiful", "Rabbit Hole", and "Another Year"
--2/13: Added "The Illusionist", "Killing in the Name", "Poster Girl", "Strangers No More", "Sun Come Up", "The Warriors of Qiugang", "The Gruffalo", "Let's Pollute", "The Lost Thing", "Madagascar, carnet de voyage", "The Confession", "The Crush", "God of Love", "Na Wewe", "Wish 143"
--2/21: Added "Barney's Version"

Posted by robbernard at 10:09 AM in Movies



Thursday, March 4, 2010
Best and Worst of the '00s

And now that I have 2009 out of the way I can finally get around to my best and worst of the decade list...

The Best of the '00s:
1. Amelie
2. Once
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. Vanilla Sky
5. Mulholland Drive
6. Brother, Where Art Thou
7. Spirited Away
8. The Departed
9. WALL-E
10. The Dark Knight
11. Moulin Rouge
12. Love Actually
13. Garden State
14. Up in the Air
15. Lost in Translation
16. Thank You For Smoking
17. In America
18. Spider-Man 2
19. V for Vendetta
20. Punch-Drunk Love
21. Juno
22. Artificial Intelligence: AI
23. Memento
24. There Will Be Blood
25. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
26. Saved!
27. The Incredibles
28. 300
29. Across the Universe
30. Watchmen
31. Super Troopers
32. Keeping the Faith
33. (500) Days of Summer
34. American Pie 2
35. Minority Report
36. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
37. Brothers
38. Up
39. Ratatouille
40. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
41. Meet the Robinsons
42. The Dreamers
43. Donnie Darko
44. The Mummy Returns
45. Children of Men
46. Hot Fuzz
47. Stranger Than Fiction
48. The Whole Nine Yards
49. The Boondock Saints
The Worst of the '00s:
1. Envy
2. Little Nicky
3. Bedazzled
4. Shallow Hal
5. The Happening
6. 28 Weeks Later
7. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
8. The Final Destination
9. Million Dollar Baby
10. John Q
11. Pulse
12. Little Black Book
13. Southland Tales
14. Smiley Face
15. The Ex
16. Bewitched
17. Nacho Libre
18. Date Movie
19. The Fast and the Furious
20. Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny
21. Grandma's Boy
22. Harold & Kumar, Escape from Guantanamo Bay
23. The Phantom of the Opera
24. Scotland, PA
25. Hot Rod
Posted by robbernard at 5:00 PM in Movies
My top and bottom movies of 2009

It's Oscar time once again, so that means it's time for my yearly best and worst of list for the previous year.

The Best of 2009:
1. Up in the Air
2. Brothers
3. Watchmen
4. Crazy Heart
5. The Young Victoria
6. A Single Man
7. Moon
8. The Hurt Locker
9. A Serious Man
10. Up
11. An Education
12. The White Ribbon
13. Paranormal Activity
14. (500) Days of Summer
15. Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)
16. Inglourious Basterds
17. The Hangover
18. Paris 36
19. Sherlock Holmes
20. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Worst of 2009:
1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
2. The Final Destination
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
4. Drag Me To Hell
5. Fanboys
6. Race to Witch Mountain
7. Coraline
8. Bride Wars
9. 9
10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Posted by robbernard at 4:53 PM in Movies



Monday, March 1, 2010
The 2009 Movies I've Seen

Once again it's time for the annual list of movies from the previous year which I've seen, timed with the Oscars to give me a chance to see the films that take some time to make their way to Ohio.

January, 9 Bride Wars
January, 16 Paul Blart: Mall Cop
January, 23 Inkheart
January, 30 Taken
February, 6 He's Just Not That Into You
February, 6 Fanboys
February, 6 Coraline
February, 13 The International
March, 6 Watchmen
March, 13 Sunshine Cleaning
March, 13 Race to Witch Mountain
March, 20 Duplicity
March, 20 Knowing
March, 20 I Love You, Man
April, 3 Paris 36
April, 3 Adventureland
April, 10 Observe and Report
April, 17 State of Play
May, 1 X-Men Origins: Wolverine
May, 8 Star Trek
May, 15 Angels & Demons
May, 21 Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins
May, 29 Up
May, 29 Drag Me To Hell
June, 5 The Hangover
June, 5 Away We Go
June, 12 The Taking of Pelham 123
June, 12 Food, Inc.
June, 12 Moon
June, 19 The Proposal
June, 24 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
June, 26 The Hurt Locker
July, 1 Public Enemies
July, 15 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
July, 17 (500) Days of Summer
July, 24 In the Loop
July, 31 Funny People
July, 31 The Cove
August, 7 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
August, 7 Julie & Julia
August, 14 District 9
August, 21 Inglourious Basterds
August, 28 The Final Destination
September, 9 9
September, 18 The Informant
September, 18 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
September, 22 Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf or Death
September, 25 Paranormal Activity
September, 25 Surrogates
September, 25 Coco Before Chanel
October, 2 A Serious Man
October, 2 The Invention of Lying
October, 9 Couples Retreat
October, 9 An Education
October, 16 Where the Wild Things Are
November, 6 The Men Who Stare at Goats
November, 6 Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)
November, 13 The Fantastic Mr. Fox
November, 13 The Messenger
November, 20 The Blind Side
November, 25 Me and Orson Welles
November, 25 The Princess and the Frog
December, 4 Up in the Air
December, 4 Brothers
December, 11 Invictus
December, 11 The Lovely Bones
December, 11 A Single Man
December, 16 Crazy Heart
December, 18 Nine
December, 18 The Young Victoria
December, 18 Avatar
December, 25 It's Complicated
December, 25 Sherlock Holmes
December, 25 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
December, 30The White Ribbon
That's 75, the most since I've started keeping track.
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
Posted by robbernard at 4:42 PM in Movies



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
My 2010 Oscar Checklist

"X" marks the movies I've seen.

Best picture
X - "Avatar"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
X - "Up in the Air"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "Up"
X - "The Blind Side"
X - "District 9"
X - "An Education"
X - "A Serious Man"

Actor
X - George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
X - Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
X - Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
X - Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
X - Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

Actress
X - Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"
X - Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
X - Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
X - Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
X - Carey Mulligan, "An Education"

Supporting actor
X - Matt Damon, "Invictus"
X - Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
X - Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
X - Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
X - Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

Supporting actress
X - Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
X - Mo'Nique, "Precious"
X - Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
X - Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
X - Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"

Director
X - Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
X - Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
X - James Cameron, "Avatar"
X - Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
X - Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"

Animated feature
X - "Up"
X - "Coraline"
X - "Fantastic Mr. Fox"
X - "The Princess and the Frog"
X - "The Secret of Kells"

Animated Short
X - "French Roast"
X - "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty"
X - "The Lady and the Reaper"
X - "Logorama"
X - "A Matter of Loaf and Death"

Live Action Short
   - "The Door"
   - "Instead of Abracadabra"
   - "Kavi"
   - "Miracle Fish"
   - "The New Tenants"

Original screenplay
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "The Messenger"
X - "A Serious Man"
X - "Up"

Adapted screenplay
X - "District 9"
X - "An Education"
X - "In the Loop"
X - "Precious"
X - "Up in the Air"

Best foreign-language film
   - "Ajami"
   - "El Secreto de Sus Ojos"
   - "The Milk of Sorrow"
   - "Un Prophete"
X - "The White Ribbon"

Best film editing
X - "Avatar"
X - "District 9"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "Precious"

Best documentary feature
   - "Burma VJ"
X - "The Cove"
X - "Food, Inc."
   - "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers"
   - "Which Way Home"

Best documentary short
X - "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province"
   - "The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner"
   - "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant"
   - "Music by Prudence"
   - "Rabbit à la Berlin"

Art direction
X - "Avatar"
X - "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus"
X - "Nine"
X - "Sherlock Holmes"
X - "The Young Victoria

Cinematography
X - "Avatar"
X - "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "The White Ribbon"

Costume
X - "Bright Star"
X - "Coco before Chanel"
X - "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"
X - "Nine"
X - "The Young Victoria"

Original Score
X - "Avatar"
X - "Fantastic Mr. Fox"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Sherlock Holmes"
X - "Up"

Original Song
X - "Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog"
X - "Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog"
X - "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36"
X - "Take It All" from "Nine"
X - "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart"

Sound Editing
X - "Avatar"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "Star Trek"
X - "Up"

Sound Mixing
X - "Avatar"
X - "The Hurt Locker"
X - "Inglourious Basterds"
X - "Star Trek"
X - "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

Visual Effects
X - "Avatar"
X - "District 9"
X - "Star Trek"

Makeup
X - "Il Divo"
X - "Star Trek"
X - "The Young Victoria

--2/5/2010: Added "Paris 36"
--2/5/2010: Added "I'll Divo"
--2/11/2010: Added "Logorama"
--2/11/2010: Added "French Roast"
--2/11/2010: Added "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty"
--2/11/2010: Added "The Lady and the Reaper"
--2/11/2010: Added "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province"
--2/19/2010: Added "A Matter of Loaf and Death"
--2/19/2010: Added "Bright Star"
--2/19/2010: Added "Food, Inc."
--2/21/2010: Added "A Single Man"
--2/24/2010: Added "Crazy Heart"
--2/24/2010: Added "Coco before Chanel"
--2/25/2010: Added "The Secret of Kells"
--2/27/2010: Added "The Lovely Bones"
--2/27/2010: Added "The Cove"
--2/28/2010: Added "The Last Station"
--3/4/2010: Added "The White Ribbon"

Posted by robbernard at 9:18 AM in Movies



Friday, February 20, 2009
My top and bottom movies of 2008

Limited of course to the movies I've seen.

The Best of 2008:
1. WALL-E
2. Synecdoche, New York
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. The Wrestler
5. The Dark Knight
6. Frost/Nixon
7. Gran Torino
8. Revolutionary Road
9. Milk
10. Iron Man
11. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
12. Rachel Getting Married
13. The Reader
14. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
15. Doubt
16. In Bruges

The Worst of 2008:
1. The Happening
2. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
3. Run, Fat Boy, Run
4. Yes Man
5. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
6. The X-Files: I Want to Believe
7. Be Kind Rewind
8. Eagle Eye
9. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Posted by robbernard at 1:46 PM in Movies
The 2008 Movies I've Seen

Once again it's time for the annual list of movies from the previous year which I've seen, timed with the Oscars to give me a chance to see the films that take some time to make their way to Ohio.

January, 18Cloverfield
January, 18Cassandra's Dream
January, 25Rambo
February, 8In Bruges
February, 14Definitely, Maybe
February, 14Jumper
February, 22Be Kind Rewind
February, 22Vantage Point
February, 29The Other Boleyn Girl
March, 7Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
March, 7The Bank Job
March, 14Horton Hears a Who
March, 21The Hammer
March, 2821
March, 28Run, Fat Boy, Run
April, 4Leatherheads
April, 11The Visitor
April, 18Forgetting Sarah Marshall
April, 25Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
May, 2Iron Man
May, 9Speed Racer
May, 16The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
May, 22Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
June, 6Kung Fu Panda
June, 13The Incredible Hulk
June, 13The Happening
June, 20Get Smart
June, 27Wanted
June, 27WALL-E
July, 2Hancock
July, 11Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
July, 11Journey to the Center of the Earth
July, 18The Dark Knight
July, 25The X-Files: I Want to Believe
July, 25Man on Wire
August, 1Frozen River
August, 6The Pineapple Express
August, 13Tropic Thunder
August, 15Vicky Cristina Barcelona
August, 22Hamlet 2
September, 12Burn After Reading
September, 19The Duchess
September, 26Eagle Eye
October, 3Rachel Getting Married
October, 3Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
October, 3How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
October, 10City of Ember
October, 10Happy-Go-Lucky
October, 24Synecdoche, New York
October, 24The Changeling
October, 31Zack and Miri Make a Porno
November, 7Role Models
November, 12Slumdog Millionaire
November, 14Quantum of Solace
November, 21Bolt
November, 26Milk
November, 26Australia
December, 5Frost/Nixon
December, 10The Reader
December, 12The Day the Earth Stood Still
December, 12Gran Torino
December, 12Doubt
December, 17The Wrestler
December, 19Yes Man
December, 25The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
December, 25Valkyrie
December, 26Revolutionary Road
That's 67, the most since I've started keeping track.
2007 2006 2005 2004
Posted by robbernard at 11:07 AM in Movies



Thursday, January 22, 2009
My 2009 Oscar Checklist

"X" marks the movies I've seen.

Best Picture
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "Frost/Nixon"
X - "Milk"
X - "The Reader"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Actor
X - Richard Jenkins - "The Visitor"
X - Frank Langella - "Frost/Nixon"
X - Sean Penn - "Milk"
X - Brad Pitt - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - Mickey Rourke - "The Wrestler"

Best Supporting Actor
X - Josh Brolin - "Milk"
X - Robert Downey Jr. - "Tropic Thunder"
X - Philip Seymour Hoffman - "Doubt"
X - Heath Ledger - "The Dark Knight"
X - Michael Shannon - "Revolutionary Road"

Best Actress
X - Anne Hathaway - "Rachel Getting Married"
X - Angelina Jolie - "Changeling"
X - Melissa Leo - "Frozen River"
X - Meryl Streep - "Doubt"
X - Kate Winslet - "The Reader"

Best Supporting Actress
X - Amy Adams - "Doubt" (Miramax)
X - Penelope Cruz - "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
X - Viola Davis - "Doubt"
X - Taraji P. Henson - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - Marisa Tomei - "The Wrestler"

Best Director
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - David Fincher
X - "Frost/Nixon" - Ron Howard
X - "Milk" - Gus Van Sant
X - "The Reader" - Stephen Daldry
X - "Slumdog Millionaire" - Danny Boyle

Best Animated Feature Film
X - "Bolt"
X - "Kung Fu Panda"
X - "WALL-E"

Best Adapted Screenplay
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "Doubt"
X - "Frost/Nixon"
X - "The Reader"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Original Screenplay
X - "Frozen River
X - "Happy-Go-Lucky"
X - "In Bruges"
X - "Milk"
X - "WALL-E"

Best Cinematography
X - "Changeling"
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "The Reader"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Art Direction
X - "Changeling"
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "The Duchess"
X - "Revolutionary Road"

Best Costume Design
X - "Australia"
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Duchess"
X - "Milk"
X - "Revolutionary Road"

Best Documentary Feature
   - "The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
   - "Encounters at the End of the World"
   - "The Garden"
X - "Man on Wire"
   - "Trouble the Water"

Best Documentary Short Subject
   - "The Conscience of Nhem En"
   - "The Final Inch"
   - "Smile Pinki"
   - "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"

Best Editing
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "Frost/Nixon"
X - "Milk"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Foreign Language Film
   - "The Baader Meinhof Complex" - Germany
   - "The Class" - France
   - "Departures" - Japan
   - "Revanche" - Austria
   - "Waltz with Bashir" - Israel

Best Makeup
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

Best Original Score
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "Defiance"
X - "Milk"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"
X - "WALL-E"

Best Original Song
X - "Down to Earth" - "WALL-E"
X - "Jai Ho" - "Slumdog Millionaire"
X - "O Saya" - "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Animated Short
   - "La Maison en Petits Cubes"
   - "Lavatory - Lovestory"
   - "Oktapodi"
X - "Presto"
   - "This Way Up"

Best Live Action Short
   - "Auf der Strecke (On the Line)"
   - "Manon on the Asphalt"
   - "New Boy"
   - "The Pig"
   - "Spielzeugland (Toyland)"

Best Sound Editing
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "Iron Man"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"
X - "WALL-E"
X - "Wanted"

Best Sound Mixing
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "Slumdog Millionaire"
X - "WALL-E"
X - "Wanted"

Best Visual Effects
X - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
X - "The Dark Knight"
X - "Iron Man"

--1/26: Added "The Wrestler" and "Rachel Getting Married"
--2/7: Added "Revolutionary Road", "The Duchess", "Man On Wire", and "The Visitor"
--2/9: Added "Happy-Go-Lucky"
--2/14: Added "Frozen River"
--2/22: Added "Defiance"

Posted by robbernard at 9:07 AM in Movies



Thursday, April 17, 2008
On "Juno"

The people who are of the opinion that this film is trying to be "too hip" are totally missing the point. Yes, Juno is too hip for her own good, but the whole point of this is to set up a parallel between her and Jason Bateman's character. Juno and Bateman are really on the same path and I think the whole point of the film is that Juno realizes just how frivolous her current path is. Yes, she could continue as she is on her "honest to blog" path but she realizes in the end that isn't how she want's to end up. She could follow the more childish path but unlike Bateman she has realized that that path will bring her nothing but heartbreak. No matter how "square" she may have found Garner's character to be in the beginning, she realizes that that kind of love is what is needed to raise a child in this world.

Posted by robbernard at 1:04 AM in Movies



Friday, February 22, 2008
My top and bottom movies of 2007

Limited of course to the movies I've seen.

The Best of 2007:
1. Once
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Juno
4. No Country for Old Men
5. Charlie Wilson's War
6. Atonement
7. 3:10 to Yuma
8. Across the Universe
9. Michael Clayton
10. Paris, je t'aime

The Worst of 2007:
1. 28 Weeks Later
.
.
.
2. The Ex
3. License to Wed
4. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
5. Shrek the Third
6. Hot Rod
Posted by robbernard at 3:37 PM in Movies
The 2007 Movies I've Seen

Once again it's time for the annual list of movies from the previous year which I've seen, timed with the Oscars to give me a chance to see the films that take some time to make their way to Ohio.

January 26Catch and Release
February 9The Lives of Others
February 16Bridge to Terabithia
February 16Breach
March 9300
March 30The Lookout
March 30Meet the Robinsons
April 6Grindhouse
April 20Hot Fuzz
May 4Paris, je t'aime
May 4Away From Her
May 4Spider-Man 3
May 1128 Weeks Later
May 11The Ex
May 16Once
May 18Shrek the Third
May 25Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
May 25Angel-A
June 1Knocked Up
June 8Surf's Up
June 8La Vie En Rose
June 8Ocean's Thirteen
June 15Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
June 221408
June 27Live Free or Die Hard
June 29Ratatouille
July 3The Transformers
July 3License to Wed
July 11Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
July 27The Simpsons Movie
August 3The Bourne Ultimatum
August 3Hot Rod
August 10Stardust
August 17Superbad
September 7Shoot 'Em Up
September 73:10 to Yuma
September 14Across the Universe
September 14In the Valley of Elah
September 14Eastern Promises
September 28The Kingdom
September 29The Darjeeling Limited
October 5Michael Clayton
October 12Elizabeth: The Golden Age
October 19Gone, Baby, Gone
October 26Dan in Real Life
November 2American Gangster
November 9No Country for Old Men
November 16Beowulf
November 21Enchanted
November 21The Mist
November 28The Savages
November 30He Was a Quiet Man
December 5Juno
December 7Atonement
December 7His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass
December 14I am Legend
December 21Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
December 21Charlie Wilson's War
December 21Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
December 26There Will Be Blood
That's 60.
2006 2005 2004
Posted by robbernard at 3:07 PM in Movies



Tuesday, January 22, 2008
My 2008 Oscar Checklist

"X" marks the movies I've seen.

BEST PICTURE
X - "Atonement"
X - "Juno"
X - "Michael Clayton"
X - "No Country for Old Men"
X - "There Will Be Blood."

ACTOR
X - George Clooney - "Michael Clayton"
X - Daniel Day-Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
X - Johnny Depp - "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
X - Tommy Lee Jones - "In the Valley of Elah"
X - Viggo Mortensen - "Eastern Promises"

BEST ACTRESS
X - Cate Blanchett - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
X - Julie Christie - "Away From Her"
X - Marion Cotillard - "La Vie en Rose"
X - Laura Linney - "The Savages"
X - Ellen Page - "Juno"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
   - Casey Affleck - "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
X - Javier Bardem - "No Country for Old Men"
   - Hal Holbrook - "Into the Wild"
X - Philip Seymour Hoffman - "Charlie Wilson's War"
X - Tom Wilkinson - "Michael Clayton"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
   - Cate Blanchett - "I'm Not There"
X - Ruby Dee - "American Gangster"
X - Saoirse Ronan - "Atonement"
X - Amy Ryan - "Gone Baby Gone"
X - Tilda Swinton - "Michael Clayton"

BEST DIRECTOR
X - Julian Schnabel - "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
X - Jason Reitman - "Juno"
X - Tony Gilroy - "Michael Clayton"
X - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - "No Country for Old Men"
X - Paul Thomas Anderson - "There Will Be Blood"

BEST FOREIGN FILM
   - "Beaufort" - Israel
   - "The Counterfeiters" - Austria
   - "Katyn" - Poland
   - "Mongol" - Kazakhstan
   - "12" - Russia

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
X - Christopher Hampton - "Atonement"
X - Sarah Polley - "Away from Her"
X - Ronald Harwood - "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
X - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - "No Country for Old Men"
X - Paul Thomas Anderson - "There Will Be Blood"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
X - Diablo Cody - "Juno"
   - Nancy Oliver - "Lars and the Real Girl"
X - Tony Gilroy - "Michael Clayton"
X - Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, and Jim Capobianco - "Ratatouille"
X - Tamara Jenkins - "The Savages"

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
   - "Persepolis"
X - "Ratatouille"
X - "Surf's Up"

BEST ART DIRECTION
X - "American Gangster"
X - "Atonement"
X - "The Golden Compass"
X - "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
X - "There Will Be Blood"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
   - "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
X - "Atonement"
X - "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
X - "No Country for Old Men"
X - "There Will Be Blood"

BEST SOUND MIXING
X - "The Bourne Ultimatum"
X - "No Country for Old Men"
X - "Ratatouille"
X - "3:10 to Yuma"
X - "Transformers"

BEST SOUND EDITING
X - "The Bourne Ultimatum"
X - "No Country for Old Men"
X - "Ratatouille"
X - "There Will Be Blood"
X - "Transformers"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
X - "Atonement" - Dario Marianelli
   - "The Kite Runner" - Alberto Iglesias
X - "Michael Clayton" - James Newton Howard
X - "Ratatouille" - Michael Giacchino
X - "3:10 to Yuma" - Marco Beltrami

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
X - "Falling Slowly" from "Once" - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
X - "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
   - "Raise It Up" from "August Rush" - Nominees to be determined
X - "So Close" from "Enchanted" - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
X - "That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

BEST COSTUME
X - "Across the Universe"
X - "Atonement"
X - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
X - "La Vie en Rose"
X - "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
   - "No End in Sight"
   - "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"
   - "Sicko"
   - "Taxi to the Dark Side"
   - "War/Dance"

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
   - "Freeheld"
   - "La Corona (The Crown)"
   - "Salim Baba"
   - "Sari's Mother"

BEST FILM EDITING
X - "The Bourne Ultimatum"
X - "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
   - "Into the Wild"
X - "No Country for Old Men"
X - "There Will Be Blood"

BEST MAKEUP
X - "La Vie en Rose"
   - "Norbit"
X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
   - "I Met the Walrus"
   - "Madame Tutli-Putli"
   - "Meme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)"
   - "My Love (Moya Lyubov)"
   - "Peter & the Wolf"

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
   - "At Night"
   - "Il Supplente (The Substitute)"
   - "Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)"
   - "Tanghi Argentini"
   - "The Tonto Woman"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
X - "The Golden Compass"
X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
X - "Transformers"

Updates
--Added In the Valley of Elah
--Added Surf's Up
--Added Elizabeth: The Golden Age
--Added The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
--Added La Vie en Rose
--Added Away From Her
--Added The Savages
--Added Eastern Promises

Posted by robbernard at 9:31 AM in Movies



Thursday, August 9, 2007
Just saw "Superbad". It's hilarious.

Best way I can describe it is that it's half American Pie, half 40 Year Old Virgin, and half Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

Posted by robbernard at 10:07 PM in Movies



Saturday, May 12, 2007
28 Weeks Later

So I just saw 28 Weeks Later and... I... honestly... hated it.

And it's weird how the hatred has grown. Halfway through the movie it was "this is a great movie that, because of incompetent direction is just a good move". Then 3/4 of the way through it it was "this is a good movie that, because of incompetent direction is just an ok movie". Then leaving the theater it was "I... kinda... hated that...." Then by the time I got home it was "I haven't hated a movie this much since Million Dollar Baby".

Every bit of good directing in this movie was a direct ripoff from Danny Boyle's directing of the first movie. None of that good directing was used in the scenes featuring The Infected, those were 100% Fresnadillo crap.


------------SPOILERS BELOW------------


Then you've got the fact that the movie ends a good half hour too soon. The escaping group accomplish absolutely nothing. They fight the Infected a grand total of 4 times and aside from being monumentally, earth-shakingly, APOCALYPTICALLY stupid the people in the group itself do absolutely nothing! Sniper guy shoots one soldier and pushes a car. Medical Lady gets her head bashed in. At no point in the chase did you actually have a moment of jeopardy because the bleeping fight scenes were cut so that you had no bleeping clue what was going on. You couldn't even tell whether the bleeping Infected father had managed to break into the room with the thousand civilians and even if you assumed he did you still couldn't tell whether he was attacking his son or some other person. People in the escape party just randomly disappear. Suddenly the shots are being cut every 12 frames and when you come to you're missing 3 more people but because there was no way for you to see how they bit it you don't give a flying bleep. They needed another half hour or so just to make it seem like they had done something.

And then the kids... the kids are the bad guys in this movie and yet they never get their bleeping comeuppance! They are SOLELY responsible for every death that happened in this movie. The moment they bleeping left the bleeping safe zone they bleeping deserved to die, but no.... And they're not bleeping satisfied with being responsible for the deaths of fifteen-bleeping-thousand people, no, they go ahead and kill 5 BILLION! If anybody on that bloody island deserves to die it's these two but they bleeping live through it. I can deal with a downer ending where the good guys die, but nobody involved in this movie seemed to realize that these bleeping kids aren't the good guys and that they deserve every bleeping thing they got and tons more.


0/4

Posted by robbernard at 12:10 AM in Movies



Friday, February 23, 2007
My top and bottom movies of 2006

Limited of course to the movies I've seen.

The Best of 2006:
1. Stranger Than Fiction
2. The Departed
3. V for Vendetta
4. The Queen
5. Dreamgirls
6. Children of Men
7. Pan's Labyrinth
8. Thank You For Smoking
9. Letters from Iwo Jima
10. Brick
11. The Last Kiss

The Worst of 2006:
1. Pulse
2. Date Movie
3. Failure to Launch
4. Employee of the Month
5. Click
6. Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny
7. The Break Up
Posted by robbernard at 10:58 AM in Movies
The 2006 movies I've seen

I give myself until Oscar time to close out the books on the previous year's movies. So, without further ado, this is the list of the 2006 movies I've seen sorted by release date.

February 17Date Movie
March 10Failure to Launch
March 17V for Vendetta
March 17Thank You For Smoking
March 24Lonesome Jim
March 24Inside Man
March 31Brick
April 7Lucky Number Slevin
April 28United 93
May 5Mission: Impossible III
May 19Over the Hedge
May 19The Da Vinci Code
May 26X-Men: The Last Stand
June 2The Break Up
June 9Cars
June 16The Lake House
June 23Click
June 28Superman Returns
July 7A Scanner Darkly
July 7Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
July 21Monster House
July 21Clerks II
July 26Little Miss Sunshine
July 28Scoop
August 4Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
August 11Pulse
August 11Half Nelson
August 18The Illusionist
September 15Jesus Camp
September 15The Last Kiss
September 30The Queen
October 6The Departed
October 6Employee of the Month
October 20Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D
October 20The Prestige
October 27Babel
November 3Borat
November 3Volver
November 10Stranger Than Fiction
November 17Casino Royale
November 22Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny
December 1The Nativity Story
December 8Blood Diamond
December 8Apocalypto
December 15Dreamgirls
December 15The Pursuit of Happyness
December 20Letters from Iwo Jima
December 20Rocky Balboa
December 25Children of Men
December 29Pan's Labyrinth
That's 50 (If we're counting The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D.) I'm actually a little surprised that that's a bit less than last year and the year before.
Posted by robbernard at 10:49 AM in Movies



Sunday, February 18, 2007
Saw Bridge to Teribithia today.

Really liked it.

Terrible, terrible job of marketing.

Worse marketing than even Serenity. With Serenity you just had no clue what it was about, with this movie they actually convince you it's something that it's not. From the commercials you would think it was The Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. I'd read the book in 4th or 5th grade so I knew what it should be about but after seeing the commercials I was certain they had screwed it up. Were it not for the critics' ravings I wouldn't have even bothered with it.

Saddest movie I've seen in theaters since The Green Mile.

Posted by robbernard at 1:51 AM in Movies



Monday, January 29, 2007
My 2007 Oscar Checklist

"X" marks the movies I've seen.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

   - Forest Whitaker - "The Last King of Scotland"
   - Peter O'Toole - "Venus"
X - Will Smith - "The Pursuit of Happyness"
X - Leonardo DiCaprio - "Blood Diamond"
X - Ryan Gosling - "Half Nelson"

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

X - Eddie Murphy - "Dreamgirls"
   - Jackie Earle Haley - "Little Children"
X - Alan Arkin - "Little Miss Sunshine"
X - Mark Wahlberg - "The Departed"
X - Djimon Hounsou - "Blood Diamond"

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

X - Helen Mirren - "The Queen"
   - Judi Dench - "Notes on a Scandal"
   - Meryl Streep - "The Devil Wears Prada"
X - Penelope Cruz - "Volver"
   - Kate Winslet - "Little Children"

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

X - Jennifer Hudson - "Dreamgirls"
   - Cate Blanchett - "Notes on a Scandal"
X - Abigail Breslin - "Little Miss Sunshine"
X - Adriana Barraza - "Babel"
X - Rinko Kikuchi - "Babel"

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

X - "Cars"
   - "Happy Feet"
X - "Monster House"

ART DIRECTION

X - "Dreamgirls"
   - "The Good Shepherd"
X - "Pan's Labyrinth"
X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
X - "The Prestige"

CINEMATOGRAPHY

   - "The Black Dahlia"
X - "Children of Men"
X - "The Illusionist"
X - "Pan's Labyrinth"
X - "The Prestige"

COSTUME DESIGN

   - "Curse of the Golden Flower"
   - "The Devil Wears Prada"
X - "Dreamgirls"
   - "Marie Antoinette"
X - "The Queen"

DIRECTING

X - Martin Scorsese - "The Departed"
X - Stephen Frears - "The Queen"
X - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - "Babel"
X - Paul Greengrass - "United 93"
X - Clint Eastwood - "Letters From Iwo Jima"

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

   - "Deliver Us From Evil"
   - "An Inconvenient Truth"
   - "Iraq in Fragments"
X - "Jesus Camp"
   - "My Country, My Country"

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

   - "The Blood of Yingzhou District"
   - "Recycled Life"
   - "Rehearsing a Dream"
   - "Two Hands"

FILM EDITING

X - "Babel"
X - "Blood Diamond"
X - "Children of Men"
X - "The Departed"
X - "United 93"

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

   - 'Water' - Canada
   - 'The Lives of Others' - Germany
   - 'After the Wedding' - Denmark
   - 'Days of Glory (Indigenes)' - Algeria
X - 'Pan's Labyrinth' - Mexico

MAKEUP

X - "Apocalypto"
X - "Click"
X - "Pan's Labyrinth"

MUSIC (SCORE)

X - "Babel"
   - "The Good German"
   - "Notes on a Scandal"
X - "Pan's Labyrinth"
X - "The Queen"

MUSIC (SONG)

   - 'I Need to Wake Up' - "An Inconvenient Truth"
X - 'Love You I Do' - "Dreamgirls"
X - 'Our Town' - "Cars"
X - 'Patience' - "Dreamgirls"
X - 'Listen' - "Dreamgirls"

BEST PICTURE

X - "The Departed"
X - "The Queen"
X - "Little Miss Sunshine"
X - "Babel"
X - "Letters From Iwo Jima"

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

   - "The Danish Poet"
   - "Lifted"
   - "The Little Matchgirl"
   - "Maestro"
   - "No Time for Nuts"

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

   - "Binta and the Great Idea (Binta Y La Gran Idea)"
   - "Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)"
   - "Helmer & Son"
   - "The Saviour"
   - "West Bank Story"

SOUND MIXING

X - "Apocalypto"
X - "Blood Diamond"
   - "Flags of Our Fathers"
X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
X - "Dreamgirls"

SOUND EDITING

X - "Apocalypto"
X - "Blood Diamond"
   - "Flags of Our Fathers"
X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
X - "Letters From Iwo Jima"

VISUAL EFFECTS

X - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
   - "Poseidon"
X - "Superman Returns"

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

X - "Borat"
X - "Children of Men"
X - "The Departed"
   - "Little Children"
   - "Notes on a Scandal"

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

X - "Babel"
X - "Letters From Iwo Jima"
X - "Little Miss Sunshine"
X - "Pan's Labyrinth"
X - "The Queen"

--1/30/07 - Added Little Miss Sunshine
--2/03/07 - Added Babel
--2/11/07 - Added Jesus Camp
--2/11/07 - Added Dreamgirls
--2/17/07 - Added Blood Diamond

Posted by robbernard at 11:30 AM in Movies



Monday, October 9, 2006
The Departed

I really can't recommend The Departed enough. Probably the best film I’ve seen in two and a half years.

The AMC Dublin Village 18 on the other hand... boy... Even though I saw the movie there I'm still not sure how you're supposed to get there.

Posted by robbernard at 12:50 AM in Movies



Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Pulse

A little background... Pulse was one of the movies I was most looking forward to this year based on its trailer. That was back when it was scheduled for a March release. Then it got pushed back to August, and then I didn't end up seeing it in a first run theater. Today I finally got around to it on half-price day at the dollar theater.
...
And I don't know what to think.
...
It's a horror film so it's supposed to scare me/creep me out. It did that quite well. The scary parts got the adrenaline going and I left the theater... in a mood...

The problem is, the parts in between the scary parts aren't... good. The visual look is fine but the editing seems choppy, the dialogue stilted... (For the record, I don't blame the actors. I think the problems with this one were much farther up the chain of command.)

Sooooo...

As a horror movie it gets the job done. It's scary/creepy. But the ride to get there is very, very bumpy.


1 1/2 out of 4 stars.

Postscripts
1) I'd be quite interested to hear the story of how this got made, I get the feeling there's a winding story there.

2) The difference in quality between the trailer and the final film is quite striking. They could have stood to let whoever slapped together the trailer have a crack at the final film.

3) A half tank of gas will not get a pickup truck from Columbus, OH to the desert.

Posted by robbernard at 8:49 PM in Movies



Monday, March 6, 2006
And now for the Oscars...

For the most part I can't complain about who won. I suppose I would have preferred that Terrence Howard had won best actor, but Hoffman was good too. None of the pictures nominated really seemed "Best Picture" worthy to me but I suppose Crash came the closest. I would have ranked them Crash > Good Night, and Good Luck > Capote > Munich > Brokeback.

Posted by robbernard at 10:31 AM in Movies
The movies I've seen

With the Oscars being last night here's my annual "last year's movies I've seen" list, by release date.

January 19 Assault On Precinct 13
February 11 Hitch
February 18 Schultze Gets the Blues
February 18 Constantine
March 4 Gunner Palace
March 4 Jacket, The
March 4 Be Cool
March 11 Hostage
March 11 Millions
March 18 Melinda and Melinda
March 18 Ring 2, The
April 1 Sin City
April 8 Sahara
April 8 Kung Fu Hustle
April 8 Fever Pitch (2005)
April 22 Lot Like Love, A
April 22 Dallas 362
April 22 Interpreter, The
April 29 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , The
May 6 Crash (2005)
May 6 Kingdom of Heaven
May 13 Layer Cake
May 19 Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
May 27 Longest Yard, The (2005)
June 10 Mr. And Mrs. Smith
June 15 Batman Begins
June 24 March of the Penguins
June 24 Bewitched
June 29 War of the Worlds, The
July 8 Fantastic Four
July 15 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
July 15 Wedding Crashers, The
July 22 Hustle & Flow
July 22 Island, The (2005)
August 12 Grizzly Man
August 19 Red-Eye
August 19 40 Year-old Virgin, The
September 16 Lord of War
September 30 Capote
September 30 Serenity
October 7 Good Night and Good Luck
October 21 Stay
October 28 Weather Man, The
November 4 Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
November 4 Jarhead
November 18 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
November 23 Syriana
November 29 Havoc
December 9 Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The
December 9 Brokeback Mountain
December 14 King Kong (2005)
December 21 Fun With Dick And Jane
December 23 Munich
December 28 Match Point
That's 54, a few less than last year.
Posted by robbernard at 10:26 AM in Movies



Friday, September 30, 2005
Wow

I could not have asked for anything more from Serenity. Simply awesome.

Go see it or the *insert beloved item* gets it!

Posted by robbernard at 10:46 PM in Movies



Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The Diet Coke of classic movie channels. Just one calorie, not classic enough.

The New York Supreme Court has ruled that AMC (which supposedly stands for "American Movie Classics") isn't classic enough.

It's sad to see how far AMC has fallen. It used to be a good channel but now it's filled with movies of dubious classicicity chopped all to hell with commercials.

Luckily Turner Classic Movies stepped up to take its place. (And isn't that ironic given Ted Turner's efforts to ruin classic movies?)

Posted by robbernard at 10:24 AM in Movies , TV



Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Phantom of the Opera (the movie)

I saw Phantom of the Opera yesterday and I'll just say this... There wasn't anything wrong with it that couldn't have been fixed by eliminating Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher from the equation.

Posted by robbernard at 6:05 PM in Movies



Saturday, April 2, 2005
Movie Review: Dallas 362

Just got out of Dallas 362, the film starring, written and directed by Scott Caan. It had its world theatrical premiere here at The Neon last night. I enjoyed it. The tone brought to mind Clerks and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I'll flesh this out later but for now I have to get back into the theater, Gunner Palace is about to start.

The film stars Caan as Dallas. He and Shawn Hatosy's Rusty are two twenty-somethings living in California and basically waiting for their lives to make a turn either for the better or the worse. As things stand they're two hard-drinking guys who collect for a bookie and get into a LOT of bar fights. Dallas seems happy with this and is looking to make the move to full-blown criminal. Rusty on the other hand isn't so sure. Trying to work things out he starts seeing Bob, a therapist and the boyfriend of his mother (Kelly Lynch).

Dallas 362 is a snappily written coming-of-age story. It takes the growing rift between Dallas and Rusty seriously but doesn't get overly dramatic or bogged down in the woe-is-me-where-do-I-go-from-here aspects of it. Caan manages to get very solid performances out of his actors and the still-photo montages, which could easily be overused, work and add a great deal to the film stylistically.

Overall Dallas 362 is a very solid first feature from Scott Caan.


3 out of 4 stars.

Posted by robbernard at 5:19 PM in Movies



Monday, February 28, 2005
And now that the Oscars are over, my personal Top 20 of '04

Selecting only from movies I've seen and ranked according to an arbitrary amalgamation of "Best", "Favorite" and "Most meaningful to me".

1.Garden State
2.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3.Spider-Man 2
4.Closer
5.The Aviator
6.The Passion of the Christ
7.The Incredibles
8.Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
9.Hotel Rwanda
10.The Dreamers
11.Man on Fire
12.Saved!
13.Finding Neverland
14.Sideways
15.Ray
16.Shaun of the Dead
17.Kill Bill: Volume 2
18.Collateral
19.The Terminal
20.The Butterfly Effect

Posted by robbernard at 2:14 PM in Movies
For the record...

The 2004 movies that I have seen, sorted by release date:

January 16Along Came Polly
January 23Butterfly Effect, The
February 6Dreamers, The
February 1350 First Dates
February 20Eurotrip
February 25Passion of the Christ, The
February 27Broken Lizard's Club Dread
March 5Hidalgo
March 12Spartan
March 12Secret Window
March 19Dawn of the Dead
March 19Taking Lives
March 19Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
March 26Jersey Girl
March 26Ladykillers, The
April 2Hellboy
April 9Whole Ten Yards, The
April 9Shade
April 9Alamo, The (2004)
April 9Ella Enchanted
April 9Girl Next Door, The (2004)
April 16Kill Bill: Volume 2
April 16Punisher, The
April 2313 Going On 30
April 23Man on Fire (2004)
April 30Mean Girls
April 30Godsend
May 19Shrek 2
May 28Saved!
June 4Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
June 18Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
June 18Terminal, The
June 23Fahrenheit 9/11
June 30Spider-Man 2
July 9Anchorman
July 16I, Robot
July 23Bourne Supremacy
July 28Garden State
July 30Village, The
July 30Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
July 30Manchurian Candidate, The (2004)
August 6Collateral
August 6Little Black Book
August 20Without a Paddle
August 27Jet Li's Hero
September 10Cellular
September 10Resident Evil: Apocalypse
September 17Wimbledon
September 17Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
September 24Shaun of the Dead
October 1Celsius 41.11
October 22Sideways
October 29Ray
November 5Incredibles, The
November 12Finding Neverland
November 26Very Long Engagement, A
December 3House of Flying Daggers
December 3Closer
December 15Million Dollar Baby
December 17Spanglish
December 17Aviator, The
December 22Hotel Rwanda
Total Movies 62

I think that's a complete list if my memory doesn't fail me and the list at The Numbers is right.

Posted by robbernard at 12:53 PM in Movies
Post-Oscar thoughts

Well that pretty much sucked.

Why was there a cartoon character saying "Holy Sh*t Dude!" in the first 3 minutes?

Rock should have avoided the politics. His minute mocking President Bush immediately followed him saying he wouldn't mock President Bush. His John Kerry-Oprah thing brought back memories of Oprah... Uma... Uma... Oprah. Note to future hosts... Oprah is Oscar comedy death!

Giving out the awards at the back of the theater? Bad idea.

Bad directing of the show. Glitch after glitch after glitch.

Too much Beyonce. One song, fine. Two songs, maybe. Three songs? There's just no excuse for that.

Should Yo Yo Ma really be pulling attention away from the people who passed away? These people died but they have to make sure he gets recognition for performing something that could just as well have been done by the huge orchestra they already had on hand.

A glut of boring acceptance speeches. One laundry list of thank-yous after another. The closest they got to a good/memorable acceptance speech was Foxx and that simply pales in comparison to former winners.

Million Dollar Baby winning Best Picture was just a major disappointment. I didn't think any of the other 4 nominees were a clear winner, but I thought MDB had MAJOR screenplay problems in the last third of the movie.

Posted by robbernard at 12:37 AM in Movies



Sunday, February 27, 2005
Oscars

It's hard for me to really root for anybody when the only noms my personal top two films of the year (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State) picked up are Winslet's Best Actress nom and Eternal Sunshine's Screenplay nom.

Oh well...

Posted by robbernard at 9:28 PM in Movies



Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Ok, this is just sad

Looked at the 2004 box office totals and it occurred to me that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State combined made $9 million less than White Chicks.

That's just depressing.

Posted by robbernard at 12:25 PM in Movies



Wednesday, February 16, 2005
My thoughts exactly

Orson Scott Card on Million Dollar Baby. If you've seen it or don't care about the spoilers read his whole section on it.

The summary:

So by all means, see it. Since it's probably going to win the Oscar for everybody who touched it, you should know what all the hooplah is about. And I guarantee you that you'll admire it and even, at times, be moved.

But please don't lose track of how shallow and stupid and pretentiously bad the script and story are.

--Uncle Orson Reviews Everything


Posted by robbernard at 1:38 AM in Movies



Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is an absolutely heart wrenching movie. You simply can't imagine that kind of hatred. About the only thing more heart wrenching is that in 10 years they'll be able to make almost the exact same movie about what's currently going on in the Sudan as the world fiddles.

Posted by robbernard at 7:32 PM in Movies



Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Oscar thoughts...
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Don Cheadle - HOTEL RWANDA
Johnny Depp - FINDING NEVERLAND
Leonardo DiCaprio - THE AVIATOR
Clint Eastwood - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Jamie Foxx - RAY

I suppose Foxx is the favorite here, but I wouldn't count anybody out. DiCaprio and Eastwood are probably the next most likely followed by Cheadle and Depp. Giamatti really deserves to be there too though.

And though I'd put him as the least likely of the 5 nominated to win, I have to wonder how Depp has managed to not win an Oscar yet. He's never Johnny Depp playing a character, he's just the character.

Jim Carrey was robbed for Eternal Sunshine.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Alan Alda - THE AVIATOR
Thomas Haden Church - SIDEWAYS
Jamie Foxx - COLLATERAL
Morgan Freeman - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Clive Owen - CLOSER

Ok, I just don't think Foxx should win here. A) I think he really had the lead role in Collateral so putting him up in the supporting category is just an effort to get him two noms. B) I don't really think he gave a better performance in this role than just about anyone else could have.

Personally I'd give it to either Church or Owen, and I think I lean a little more towards Owen.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Annette Bening - BEING JULIA
Catalina Sandino Moreno - MARIA FULL OF GRACE
Imelda Staunton - VERA DRAKE
Hilary Swank - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Kate Winslet - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

In my opinion it's a choice between Swank and Winslet and I'd give it to Winslet.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Cate Blanchett - THE AVIATOR
Laura Linney - KINSEY
Virginia Madsen - SIDEWAYS
Sophie Okonedo - HOTEL RWANDA
Natalie Portman - CLOSER

Portman. Blanchett and Madsen seem to be the favorites though.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

THE INCREDIBLES
SHARK TALE
SHREK 2

Shark Tale isn't actually in the race and I think The Incredibles beats Shrek 2 hands down.
ART DIRECTION

THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT

Of the 5 I'd give it to Neverland, but Eternal Sunshine not getting at least a nom is just a joke.
CINEMATOGRAPHY

THE AVIATOR
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT

Eternal Sunshine by a mile, but of these five I suppose I'd go with Aviator.
COSTUME DESIGN

THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
RAY
TROY

I'll go with Neverland here.
DIRECTING

THE AVIATOR
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
SIDEWAYS
VERA DRAKE

It's probably a tossup between Marty and Clint. I suppose I'll go with The Aviator, but I'll fess up to not having had a chance to see Million Dollar Baby yet.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

BORN INTO BROTHELS
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL
SUPER SIZE ME
TUPAC: RESURRECTION
TWIST OF FAITH

The race is probably between Super Size Me and Tupac, and I imagine it goes to Tupac.
FILM EDITING

THE AVIATOR
COLLATERAL
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY

I'd give it to Aviator
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
THE CHORUS
DOWNFALL
THE SEA INSIDE
YESTERDAY

A little surprised at the lack of House of Flying Daggers and A Very Long Engagement, but I have no idea whether there are release date issues or anything like that... I have no opinion of the 5 nominated. The Passion should have been allowed in this category though.
MAKEUP

LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE SEA INSIDE

I imagine The Passion gets it here.
MUSIC (SCORE)

FINDING NEVERLAND
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE VILLAGE

Eh, I'd give it to Neverland.
MUSIC (SONG)

"Accidentally In Love" - SHREK 2
"Al Otro Lado Del Río" - THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
"Believe" - THE POLAR EXPRESS
"Learn To Be Lonely" - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" - THE CHORUS

Pick one, I couldn't sing a note of any but Accidentally In Love and don't really think it should win.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

BIRTHDAY BOY
GOPHER BROKE
GUARD DOG
LORENZO
RYAN

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY MUST
LITTLE TERRORIST
7:35 IN THE MORNING
TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT
WASP

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

AUTISM IS A WORLD
THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY
HARDWOOD
MIGHTY TIMES: THE CHILDREN'S MARCH
SISTER ROSE'S PASSION

Yeah right, like anybody has a clue on these...
SOUND EDITING

THE INCREDIBLES
THE POLAR EXPRESS
SPIDER-MAN 2

I'd call it a toss-up between Incredibles and Spidey.
SOUND MIXING

THE AVIATOR
THE INCREDIBLES
THE POLAR EXPRESS
RAY
SPIDER-MAN 2

Ray's probably got a good shot at this one being so acoustically oriented.
VISUAL EFFECTS

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
I, ROBOT
SPIDER-MAN 2

Spidey.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

BEFORE SUNSET
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
SIDEWAYS

Sideways probably has the edge here with Baby and Neverland following behind.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

THE AVIATOR
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
HOTEL RWANDA
THE INCREDIBLES
VERA DRAKE

I'd probably narrow it down to either Eternal Sunshine or Hotel Rwanda.
BEST PICTURE

THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
SIDEWAYS

The big category... Ray doesn't belong there. Million Dollar Baby probably wins with Sideways and Aviator having shots.

Posted by robbernard at 11:51 AM in Movies



Thursday, January 6, 2005
Oliver Stone's in denial

He's claiming Alexander flopped because of "raging fundamentalism in morality".

Hey, when Roger Ebert, a pretty liberal guy himself, can only muster two stars you've got problems other than the public oh-so-parochially sticking to their moral guns. (Boy, that last sentence can't decide whether it wants to be sarcastic or not...)

Posted by robbernard at 11:55 AM in Movies



Tuesday, December 14, 2004
This is what you call a non-story

A man who was a student at Columbine High School when the shooting occurred died in Iraq Saturday.

It's sad that he died and all, but it should just barely be news in Littleton, CO, it certainly isn't big enough that it should be on the front page of CNN.

"Greg made us so proud, but he never wanted to be recognized for his actions," said the statement from his family. "Neither Columbine nor Iraq was to define him."

So what does the family do? They issue a statement to the press using Columbine and Iraq to define him. He never wanted to be defined that way and yet there he is on the front page of CNN only because he's a Columbine survivor that died in Iraq.

Posted by robbernard at 4:11 PM in Movies



Friday, December 10, 2004
Movie Review: Closer

Mike Nichols' Closer is a heartbreaking film. It's a film filled with people doing stupid, hurtful things, but that's ok. Like House of Sand and Fog (and unlike John Q) the stupid decisions are completely believable. When people do stupid, irrational things simply because the writer thinks the plot needs more conflict it doesn't work. In Closer this isn't the case. Being an outside observer you want to just grab the characters by their shoulders, shake them and tell them to wise up before they screw things up even worse but the characters are making their messed up decisions because they're messed up people. Natalie Portman's Alice wants Jude Law's Dan to let her love him, but at the same time she can't open herself up to him. Julia Roberts' Anna wouldn't know what to do if she were happy and so she ends up sabotaging her relationships, including with her husband, Clive Owen's Larry. Everybody is hurting everybody else, nobody really has a real right to get too upset about what is being done to them, they're giving as good as they get.

The movie was adapted by Patrick Marber from his own play, and you can really tell that it evolved from the stage. In the entire film I believe there are seven speaking roles, the four main characters plus a taxi driver, a customs officer and a receptionist. (And none of the latter 3 have more than 1 line of dialogue.)

All in all the movie just works.


3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

Posted by robbernard at 8:25 PM in Movies
Remakes

Seeing trailers and/or commercials for Flight of the Phoenix and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory got me thinking. So many movie remakes disappoint. (Please no comments on how Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a new adaptation of the book and not a remake.) Like cover songs, they rarely seem as good as the original.

I figure this is because only the good movies get remade. People just don't look at a crappy old movie and think "Hey, let's do that again." I think this instinct causes a lot of opportunities to be missed. We already have a good version of the good movies. Let's see if we can craft a good version of a crappy movie. I'd love to see a really good director try to rebuild on the foundation of Gigli and make a good movie. I think it could be achieved, it would be a total tear down, but I think it's doable. Now THAT would be an interesting remake.

Posted by robbernard at 3:57 PM in Movies



Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Oh sweet Jesus... what the hell are they thinking?

Welcome to "How to screw up a film adaptation 101". Please take your seats. Today we have some special guests, the makers of the Doom movie.

Screenwriter Dave Callahan claims "everyone was keen to keep the game's atmosphere", though there are some "minor" changes done to the film's concept: The monsters have nothing to do with hell, the plot is not taking place on Mars and "space marines" are not well "space marines" as their outfits are more like SWAT team members.

The story follows eight marines, teleported into a command centre of a secret base on a remote planet. There, they learn that something strange is happening and soon monsters start to appear. The monsters aren't from hell, but rather people mutated by some nasty super-virus although the monsters look very similar to those in the game.

One character is a technician called "Pinky" who has a cybernetic wheelchair thanks to a bad teleporting accident. Pinky later mutates into something remotely resembling a creature from Doom 3. Producers claim that the film will be more of a horror than an action shooter.

--Dark Horizons

Posted by robbernard at 2:43 PM in Movies



Sunday, December 5, 2004
The Fog of War

Watched Errol Morris' The Fog of War yesterday. A very good documentary, it's a travesty that this and Fahrenheit 9/11 are even considered to be in the same genre.

Posted by robbernard at 2:09 AM in Movies



Thursday, November 11, 2004
The good and the bad

The good: Watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tonight. Excellent, excellent movie, better the second time around.

The bad: That sinking feeling when "This film has been formatted to fit your screen" pops up and you realize you made a mistake at the video store. D'oh! Stupid Pan & Scan!!!

Posted by robbernard at 1:41 AM in Movies



Saturday, October 30, 2004
Fahrenhype 9/11

Finally saw Fahrenhype 9/11 tonight. It's an excellent rebuttal to Fahrenheit 9/11. A better documentary than Fahrenheit, but that isn't hard, it has the advantage of actually, you know, documenting facts. You subtract from Fahrenheit what FahrenHYPE rebuts and you're pretty much just left with the credits. It exposes the lies and deceptions. It shows the people Moore hurt with his film. It's the movie that everyone who was hoodwinked bye Fahrenheit must see and the movie that those who weren't should see.

See if your video store has it, I know the local Family Video does.

Posted by robbernard at 1:30 AM in Movies , Politics/Government



Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away

Wow. Yes, it's Japanese. Yes it's animation. But this is just a great, wonderfully imaginative, unimaginably creative, totally engrossing, uplifting, beautiful, sweet film which I completely recommend.

And there are a few elements of its style which probably would have freaked me out as a kid. None of the actions, or dialog, or situations are really scary, but the look is just odd enough to have thrown me. But that's probably just me, I had a very similar, though very much more intense, reaction to James and the Giant Peach (boy was that movie ever creepy).


4 out of 4 stars

Posted by robbernard at 5:10 AM in Movies



Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

A very funny movie if you don't mind its brand of comedy. It's kind of in the same vein as Dude, Where's My Car? but a lot less weird and not nearly as stupid. I could have done without the boil guy and the bathroom stall bits, but all in all it's a very funny movie, especially towards the end.

It's a shame nobody's seeing it. At the 3:20 matinee today there were 10 people in the theater at the peak, and two of them were theater employees, three of them looked so young that I'm almost certain they snuck in and I was using a free ticket from accumulating so many points on my Regal Crown Club card.

On a quick trailer related note, Shaun of the Dead looked very funny and the Exorcist: The Beginning trailer seemed very out of place in front of Harold and Kumar.

Posted by robbernard at 6:53 PM in Movies



Sunday, July 25, 2004
The Poles see F 9/11 as the propaganda it is
Michael Moore's contentious film Fahrenheit 9/11 has opened in Poland, with some film critics likening it to totalitarian propaganda.

Gazeta Wyborcza reviewer Jacek Szczerba called the film a "foul pamphlet".

He said it was too biased to be called a documentary and was similar to work by Nazi propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl.

But politicians opposed to Poland's involvement in the US-led occupation of Iraq have urged people to see the film.

"In criticising Moore, I have to admit that he has certain abilities - Leni Riefenstahl had them too," Mr Szczerba said in his review.

"Michael Moore will not convince Poles with his film," the Rzeczpospolita newspaper said in its review.
...
"People are very sensitive to aggressive propaganda, especially when it pretends to be an objective documentary or a work of art."

--BBC NEWS

Posted by robbernard at 5:28 PM in Movies



Thursday, July 8, 2004
Lileks on FH911
Believing in Bush’s perfidy gives some people the same comfort and emotional nourishment others get from believing in Jesus. It validates them, cements their view of the world – venal, conspiratorial, run by capering chimps who are somehow ten times less intelligent than Usenet posters but somehow able to yank strings on a global scale. A commenter on a Fark thread called Bush “The Unelected Murder Monkey,” for heaven’s sake. Not all the opponents are unhinged, of course. Of course. There are many levels of opposition, from the serene and reasonable to the char-broiled nutburgers who haunt the comments sections of my favorite blogs. Or my favorite talk shows. Today I heard a caller describe how “Fahrenheit 9/11” affected him; now he believed that the Bush administration attacked the Taliban and Iraq because the Saudis wanted it. The host pointed out that the Saudis didn’t want it. The caller said “well, that’s your opinion.” Movies are facts, you see. Facts are just opinions.

Ooooh! You’re really spooked by F911, musta struck a nerve, eh? Scared that Chimpy McDeath is gonna go down? I love that: Moore’s on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and Time and who knows what else; he's the big magilla of the month. But respond to his assertions and you’re acting out of frantic panic. Right. I admit, I don’t like Mr. Moore; I don’t share his contempt for the American people, and I think he’s a dishonest polemicist.

--James Lileks - The Bleat


Oh, there's tons more there, go check it out.

Posted by robbernard at 12:22 PM in Movies



Wednesday, July 7, 2004
A Bush-hater on Fahrenheit 9/11
The problem with Moore's approach isn't what he presents, or even what he believes. Although, I think his approach of just piling on whatever he thinks smokes like a gun is lazy and disservices any focused attack. My real problem with the approach is what he leaves out. It's obvious even to me--a guy who gets his political news from "Peanuts" reprints (and only the color ones on Sunday)--that he ignores all facts and evidence that might counter the argument he's determined to make. The result is propaganda for people who already agree with him, but won't change the minds of anyone whose mind you'd want to change. The people who disagree will continue to disagree, because Moore does nothing to counter their arguments. The movie would be a shitload more effective if it were focused on disproving conservative myths instead of creating a whole slew of liberal ones via implication.

That's what I'd like to see. A movie that doesn't pander to the NPR totebag crowds shuttling edamame home to their mud-compact homes in V-4 Saabs. One that has an answer every time the SUV-driving, fried-children-eating, baby-seal-beating Republicans say "But what about..." In stead we get a movie meant to make liberals feel good about themselves.

Now if I hear one more jackass say "Everyone should see this movie," I'm gonna kick him (or her) in the nuts. What they mean is, "Everyone should see this because I'm right and you should be forced to agree with me. Oh yeah, and I'm an asshole." Sure, everyone should see this, and everyone should read Bill O'Reilly's books too. You're a pompous ass if you think everyone should see it just because its what you believe. Only people who want to should see it. And they should see it as part of a much larger curriculum. You should know enough to make up your own mind, not let Michael Moore do it for you.

--The Filthy Critic

Posted by robbernard at 3:04 PM in Movies



Friday, July 2, 2004
Spinsanity takes on Fahrenheit

Once again Spinsanity blows holes in one of Michael Moore's films.


[I]t appears to be free of the silly and obvious errors that have plagued Moore's past work, such as the claim in Stupid White Men that the Pentagon planned to spend $250 billion on the Joint Strike Fighter in 2001, a sum that represented over 80 percent of the total defense budget request for the year.

However, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is filled with a series of deceptive half-truths and carefully phrased insinuations that Moore does not adequately back up.
...
During a recent interview on "Late Show with David Letterman," the host identified the problems with the circumstantial argument of the film in a series of probing questions to Moore:

When you look at the film in total, are there things there - if I were smarter, could I refute some of these points? Shall I believe you that everything means exactly what it looks like? I mean, the presentation is overwhelming, but could a smarter man than me come in and say, "Yes, this happened, but it means nothing," "Yes, that happened but it means nothing"? But put together in a puzzle it creates one inarguable, compelling circumstance.

Moore's response to Letterman (after a joking aside) sums up the problem with his work. Despite proclamations that the film is satirical and represents his opinion, Moore still makes strong claims about its veracity:

You can't refute what's said in the film. It's all there, the facts are all there, the footage is all there.

Sadly, as with most of Moore's work, this is simply not true.

--Spinsanity

Posted by robbernard at 6:37 PM in Movies
Just one more deception surrounding "Fahrenheit 9/11"

The commercials are currently touting it as the #1 movie in America. That's not true. According to the most recent numbers Moore's movie fell $37,092,604 short of being the #1 movie in America.

Posted by robbernard at 1:02 PM in Movies
Penn & Teller

Just finished the first 5 episodes of Penn & Teller's Showtime series Bullsh!t. They're quite entertaining and straightforward at detecting BS; and just knowing that Penn is interviewed in Michael Moore Hates America has actually got me looking forward to that film more.

Posted by robbernard at 7:04 AM in Movies , TV
Ya know...

...spending the two or so hours sitting through Fahrenheit 9/11 is sooooooooooo worth it when that liberal you're arguing with oh so arrogantly lays out the old "You obviously have not seen it. You're reading reports on it from blogs and your right-wing sources. See it and state your real opinions, like an ADULT" and you can smack him upside the head with the fact that you have seen it and are stating your own opinions. It's the trump card. They only lay out that line when you've beaten them into submission and the only way they can get out of it is to make you out as some right-wing automaton.

Note that I'm just saying the time spent seeing it is worth it, I never actually said anything about actually sending money Moore's way.

Posted by robbernard at 2:37 AM in Movies
Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11

Dave Kopel has an excellent piece exposing 56 problems with Moore's film.

The first two:


2000 Election Night
Deceits 1-2

Fahrenheit 911 begins on election night 2000. We are first shown the Al Gore rocking on stage with famous musicians and a high-spirited crowd. The conspicuous sign on stage reads “Florida Victory.” Moore creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida.

Actually, the rally took place in the early hours of election day, before polls had even opened. Gore did campaign in Florida on election day, but went home to Tennessee to await the results. The “Florida Victory” sign reflected Gore’s hopes, not any actual election results. (“Gore Campaigns Into Election Day,” Associated Press, Nov. 7, 2000.)

The film shows CBS and CNN calling Florida for Al Gore. According to the narrator, “Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy….All of a sudden the other networks said, ‘Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.’”

We then see NBC anchor Tom Brokaw stating, “All of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was our mistake.”

Moore thus creates the false impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida.

In fact, the networks which called Florida for Gore did so early in the evening—before polls had even closed in the Florida panhandle, which is part of the Central Time Zone. NBC called Florida for Gore at 7:49:40 p.m., Eastern Time. This was 10 minutes before polls closed in the Florida panhandle. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for Gore. And at 7:52 p.m., Fox called Florida for Gore. Moore never lets the audience know that Fox was among the networks which made the error of calling Florida for Gore prematurely. Then at 8:02 p.m., ABC called Florida for Gore. Only ABC had waited until the Florida polls were closed.

The premature calls probably cost Bush thousands of votes from the conservative panhandle, as discouraged last-minute voters heard that their state had already been decided, and many voters who were waiting in line left the polling place. In Florida, as elsewhere, voters who have arrived at the polling place before closing time often end up voting after closing time, because of long lines.

At 10:00 p.m., which network took the lead in retracting the premature Florida result? The first retracting network was CBS, not Fox.

Over four hours later, at 2:16 a.m., Fox projected Bush as the Florida winner, as did all the other networks by 2:20 a.m.

CBS had taken the lead in making the erroneous call for Gore, and had taken the lead in retracting that call. At 3:59 a.m., CBS also took the lead in retracting the Florida call for Bush. All the other networks, including Fox, followed the CBS lead within eight minutes. That the networks arrived at similar conclusions within a short period of time is not surprising, since they were all using the same data from the Voter News Service. (Linda Mason, Kathleen Francovic & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, “CBS News Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations” (CBS News, Jan. 2001), pp. 12-25.)

Moore’s editing technique of the election night segment is typical of his style: all the video clips are real clips, and nothing he says is, formally speaking, false. But notice how he says, “Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy…” The impression created is that the Fox call of Florida for Bush came soon after the CBS/CNN calls of Florida for Gore, and that Fox caused the other networks to change (“All of a sudden the other networks said, ‘Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.’”)

This is the essence of the Moore technique: cleverly blending half-truths to deceive the viewer.

--Dave Kopel


Thanks to Not Todd for the heads up.




Thursday, July 1, 2004
"Michael Moore Hates America"

Mike Wilson's new anti-Michael Moore and kinda anti-documentary documentary is nearing completion and is close to getting a distributor.

Meanwhile David Brooks in the NY Times lays out some of Moore's more damning anti-American quotes.


"[Americans] are possibly the dumbest people on the planet . . . in thrall to conniving, thieving smug [pieces of the human anatomy]," Moore intoned. "We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don't know about anything that's happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing."
...
"You're stuck with being connected to this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe."
...
"We, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants."
...
"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not `insurgents' or `terrorists' or `The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win."

--David Brooks - NY Times


All those quotes are from his trips overseas.

Posted by robbernard at 8:31 PM in Movies
"More Distortions From Michael Moore"

Newsweek has an article on the distortions of Fahrenheit 9/11


[F]or all the reasonable points he makes, on more than a few occasions in the movie Moore twists and bends the available facts and makes glaring omissions in ways that end up clouding the serious political debate he wants to provoke.
...
The use of innuendo is rife through... critical passages of “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
...
The innuendo is greatest, of course, in Moore’s dealings with the matter of the departing Saudis flown out of the United States in the days after the September 11 terror attacks. Much has already been written about these flights, especially the film’s implication that figures with possible knowledge of the terrorist attacks were allowed to leave the country without adequate FBI screening—a notion that has been essentially rejected by the 9/11 commission. The 9/11 commission found that the FBI screened the Saudi passengers, ran their names through federal databases, interviewed 30 of them and asked many of them “detailed questions." “Nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country,” the commission stated. New information about a flight from Tampa, Florida late on Sept. 13 seems mostly a red herring: The flight didn’t take any Saudis out of the United States. It was a domestic flight to Lexington, Kentucky that took place after the Tampa airport had already reopened....

It is true that there are still some in the FBI who had questions about the flights-and wish more care had been taken to examine the passengers. But the film’s basic point—that the flights represented perhaps the supreme example of the Saudi government’s influence in the Bush White House-is almost impossible to defend. Why? Because while the film claims—correctly—that the “White House” approved the flights, it fails to note who exactly in the White House did so. It wasn’t the president, or the vice president or anybody else supposedly corrupted by Saudi oil money. It was Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism czar who was a holdover from the Clinton administration and who has since turned into a fierce Bush critic. Clarke has publicly testified that he gave the greenlight—conditioned on FBI clearance.

--Newsweek




Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Movie review: Spider-Man 2

Thought it was great! I cannot name a better superhero movie. Only Batman comes close and I'm disqualifying that for lack of actual superpowers.

It's not afraid to put the action on hold for a bit and have some actual storytelling and that's good, it's probably a big part of what made it so good. This isn't just an action flick; Peter Parker really has his own problems and isn't certain that he really can or even wants to play the hero. The problem with the X-Men movies has been that they just have too many people to really explore each character in depth. With 2 hours devoted to a single superhero Spider-Man can really be fleshed out.

As for the villain, Doc Ock is a much better villain than the Green Goblin was. Alfred Molina does a superb job of making Octavius a real person, and not just your standard supervillain who goes crazy and wants to kill people and smash stuff up. As with Spider-Man they really devote the proper amount of time to his development. There's real depth to him.

Kirsten Dunst plays Mary Jane to a T and I have to say I'm happy to see how MJ plays a part in Peter doubting himself. Is he willing to give up MJ in order to be a hero? Is he willing to give up being a hero in order to be with MJ?

James Franco’s Harry Osborne is perhaps a little one-note, but that’s what you get when a character is obsessed with avenging his father. From the very start there’s a rift between Peter and Harry because Peter continues to be close to Spider-Man. (Like he really has a choice…) That rift widens throughout the film and concludes in a very tantalizing way.

The movie’s full of CGI, but it looks real enough and the closest it game to distracting me was when it occurred to me "Hey, this is some really good CGI." It really does feel like there’s a guy in a red and blue suit swinging from building to building.

The closest thing I can come to a criticism is that Tobey needing to act in battle sequences sometimes leads to the mask coming off at the most inopportune times. You’re a superhero, keep your frickin’ mask on!

The movie flows very well, it doesn’t feel like they’re rushing to cram too much into 2 hours and it doesn’t lag or feel stretched at all. There is exactly the proper amount of story and the proper amount of action, and the proper amount of romance and the proper amount of humor.

It’s simply a great movie and probably the best superhero movie ever made.


4 out of 4 stars.

Posted by robbernard at 2:56 AM in Movies



Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Comparing the critics to themselves

Beautiful Atrocities has an interesting look at how critics reacted to Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ.


A.O. Scott, New York Times:

F9/11: Mr. Moore's populist instincts have never been sharper...he is a credit to the republic.

Passion: Gibson has exploited the popular appetite for terror and gore for what he and his allies see as a higher end.

William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

F9/11: A masterful job of ridiculing the personality, intellect and employment resumé of George W. Bush ... could well become the docu-equivalent of "The Passion of the Christ" and even affect the presidential election.

Passion: Despite Gibson's claim that he's finally telling "the true story," his movie strikes me as less faithful to the Gospels than the earlier Christ movies. Crammed full of scenes and dialogue and minor characters that he's completely made up.

Jami Bernard, NY Daily News:

F9/11: I was in tears after first seeing "Fahrenheit" at Cannes.

Passion: The most virulently anti-Semitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II.

J.Hoberman, Village Voice:

F9/11: Let us not forget that Dana Carvey did more than anyone in America, save Ross Perot, to drive Bush père from the White House. There are sequences in Fahrenheit 9/11 so devastatingly on target as to inspire the thought that Moore might similarly help evict the son.

Passion: Sitting through the film's garishly staged suffering, one might well ponder the millions of people—victims of crusades, inquisitions, colonial conquests, the slave trade, political terror, and genocide—who have been tortured and killed in Christ's name.

Geoff Pevre, Toronto Star:

F9/11: A plea for America's deliverance ... it may not be an argument one agrees with, and it may be unbalanced and propagandistic, but it is both convincingly argued and sincerely motivated.

Passion: A work of fundamentalist pornography.

David Sterrit, Christian Science Monitor:

F9/11: Is the label "documentary" appropriate for this openly activist movie? Of course it is, unless you cling to some idealized notion of "objective" film.

Passion: The highly selective screenplay includes only a few of Jesus' words, spoken in occasional flashback scenes.

--Beautiful Atrocities (via BOTW)

Posted by robbernard at 4:54 PM in Movies



Monday, June 28, 2004
Newsday on Fahrenheit

Newsday has a take on the limited view presented in the film. Most noteworthy IMO is this section:


Moore suggests Bush's conflict of interest was manifest shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks when the White House "approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis" who, fearing reprisals, were flown out of the United States. Embellishing the well-known scenario, Moore interviews a retired FBI agent who says authorities should have first questioned the bin Ladens.

But the bin Ladens were questioned. The commission investigating the attacks reported in April that the FBI interviewed 30 passengers: "Nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks."

--Newsday


Yes, that would be something in Moore's film that's *surprise!!* not true.




Sunday, June 27, 2004
Fahrenheit 9/11

Just like Columbine, it's a long series of self-contradictory arguments many of which are or border on conspiracy theories. President Bush wanted to invade Iraq after 9/11! He only invaded Afghanistan because it was obvious al Qaeda was being harbored there! No, we invaded Afghanistan simply so we could set up a natural gas pipeline! As with Columbine he's just throwing reasons up against the wall hoping that something will stick.

He jokes about people thinking that the Wal-Mart in their town might be the target of a terrorist attack. Of course that's silly, it's not like a couple weeks ago people were arrested for planning to blow up a shopping mall in the Midwest. That's just crazy talk!!!

The assumption going into every point made seems to be that the vilest of motives and reasoning possible can of course be assigned to President Bush. A name is blacked out in personal documents released? It couldn't possibly be to protect the privacy of the person who's name was blocked out! It's obviously a nefarious scheme to hide from people that the person whose name is blacked out is connected with the bin Laden family. And never mind that there's nothing wrong with having associations with that family. GEORGE BUSH IS EEEEEEEEEEEVIL!!!!!!

It distorts the Dickens out of the real world. You walk out under the impression that every person in America thinks President Bush is an evil, money-grubbing, power-hunger monster and that not one person in the military thinks liberating Iraq was the right thing to do. If you went solely on this film you would think that Saddam was the most beloved of all rulers, that he treated his people fairly and humanely and no harm ever came to them until that evil George Bush showed up.

It does have its heart wrenching moments, but even with those you can sense Moore trying to shoehorn them into the case he's trying to make. They're good reminders of the sacrifices people make, but then Moore feels the need to start throwing around opinions presented as fact like "the war in Iraq is immoral".

All that being said, it really is a very well-made little propaganda film. There probably hasn't been a better propaganda movie made in 70 years or so. Those who come in wanting to believe that President Bush is the source of all that's wrong in America will have no problem coming out believing every word of it, believing that "Truth" is the limited and flawed worldview presented in this film.

To close this out I'm going to point you back to Christopher Hitchens who rebutted the film so well. It really is a film that cries out for a good fisking.




Monday, June 21, 2004
Hitchens on Fahrenheit 9/11

Some great stuff from Christopher Hitchens.


To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
...
A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations.... But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair.... A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.
...
[In] spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all.
...
Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet.... By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

--Slate - Unfairenheit 9/11 - The lies of Michael Moore. By Christopher Hitchens


The entire things good, go read it.

Ray Bradbury wants title of Fahrenheit 9/11 changed

Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 without permission and wants the new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 to be renamed.
...
Bradbury, who hadn't seen the movie, said he called Moore's company six months ago to protest and was promised Moore would call back.

He finally got that call last Saturday, Bradbury said, adding Moore told him he was 'embarrassed.'

Joanne Doroshow, a spokesman for Fahrenheit 9/11, said the film's makers have the 'utmost respect for Ray Bradbury.'
...
Bradbury, who is a registered political independent, said he would rather avoid litigation and is 'hoping to settle this as two gentlemen, if he'll shake hands with me and give me back my book and title.'

--Straits Times

Posted by robbernard at 12:23 AM in Movies



Monday, June 14, 2004
Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Heavy duty spoilers for both the book and the movie so click the "Continue reading" link.

I'm kind of wishing I hadn't just finished rereading the book last week. Every deviation from the book threw me off a bit.

Sirius wasn't introduced at the Dursley's... Harry didn't spend any real time at the Leaky Cauldron/Diagon Alley... the Firebolt didn't come in the middle of the year... Hermione and Ron never really fought... they only went to Hogsmeade twice... how Fudge & McGonnagel (sp?) explained the Sirius situation to Rosemerta... Harry seeing Pettigrew on the map and going looking for him after dark... how the Dementors flew... how the Patronus didn't run the dementors down but rather just expanded.....

My biggest problem with the movies though has always been how Hogwarts in general has been portrayed. In my head I've never seen the Hogwarts grounds being so hilly. Everything outside like Hagrid's cabin, the Whomping Willow, etc... just seems to not be right because of it. The entrance to the common room shouldn't have been out in the open like that. And Trelawney's room wasn't anything like it should have been. I think they just go a bit overboard with the magical clutter. Just because they're witches and wizards doesn't mean everybody's a slob, leaving 150 different kinds of magical trinkets around the room.

And even though this was the last of the regular sized books the plot still felt rather rushed. It seemed they were trying to cram a lot of plot into a very tiny number of words and I think it often lead to some awkward phrasing/performances.

All that being said, I really did like the movie. (The Knight Bus part really was well done.) Many of my problems are me judging it based on the movie I thought should have been made rather than just judging the movie that really was made. I had my biases going in and I know it. I'd just like to see it again when I'm a bit more removed from the book.

Orson Scott Card feels as I imagine I would have felt had I not been so distracted.

Posted by robbernard at 3:40 PM in Movies



Tuesday, June 8, 2004
R-cards

GKC Theaters are now handing out R-cards, cards that will allow kids under 17 to see R-rated movies. Parents go with the kids to sign up and pay the $2 fee for the card and from then on out the kid can see any R-rated movie they want without the parent/guardian having to come with them.

I'm in favor of making it easier to let parents let their kids see R-rated movies if they think their kids are ready for them, but I also can understand the critics who complain about how this system is all or nothing; if you get the card the kid can see EVERY R-rated movie.

I would favor more a system that gives kids the card, but then gives parents a pin number/password too. The parents could then log into a website (either at home or in the theater lobby) where they could authorize certain movies for their kids. If you think Billy should be able to see Troy then you log onto the website, select Billy's account and add Troy to the list of movies he's allowed to see. Then when Billy shows up at the theater to buy a ticket he hands the person at the box office his card, they scan it and they see if the movie he's trying to buy a ticket for has been authorized for his card. If it is then he gets a ticket. If not, then tough luck. This would also allow parents to differentiate between the kids. If Susie's a couple years younger than Billy and you don't think she's ready for Troy then you just don't add Troy to her card when you add it to Billy's and then when both Billy and Susie show up at the theater Billy can buy a ticket and Susie can't.

Many theaters already have the hardware to read cards and check the database. They've got Moviewatcher cards and Regal Crown Club cards. To implement this would really only require some new software to check the new card against the new database and some web apps on the parental side. A decent amount of the extra cost I imagine could be defrayed with ads on the cards, ads on the sites, and initial account setup fees.

The parents would have to check the accounts regularly to ensure that the kids hadn't cracked their password, but I really think that something like this could work.

Posted by robbernard at 2:53 AM in Movies



Friday, June 4, 2004
Because I liked how I said it elsewhere...

The difference between Baseball and Hockey/Soccer is like the difference between a good drama and The Fast and the Furious.

The drama has tension and expectation and excitement when it's appropriate. The Fast and the Furious has plenty of action but it's the same damn thing repeated over and over for 106 minutes until you just want to want the misery to end.

I'm sure they're all great fun to play/act in but for my personal viewing I'll stick to the Baseball/drama side of the equation.

Posted by robbernard at 3:49 AM in Baseball , Movies



Saturday, May 29, 2004
Did the books, might as well do the movies

This time drawing from AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list. Once again, the ones I've seen are in bold.

I do much better with movies than with books, having seen 61 100 out of the top 100.

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)

2. CASABLANCA (1942)

3. THE GODFATHER (1972)

4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)

5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) -- Every time I see it on the TV grid I think about recording it, but it's soooo freakin long! A decent movie, but I stand by the "soooo freakin long" comment. [added 6/9/04]

6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

7. THE GRADUATE (1967)

8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)

9. SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)

10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) -- Bits & pieces, won't count it. [added 5/31/04]

11. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) [added 11/08/04]

13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)

14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

15. STAR WARS (1977)

16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) [added 10/25/04]

17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) -- Recorded it several times, but I never quite get around to watching it. [added 6/9/04]

18. PSYCHO (1960)

19. CHINATOWN (1974)

20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975)

21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) [added 6/1/04]

22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) [added 9/7/04]

23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)

24. RAGING BULL (1980)

25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)

26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)

27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) [added 6/27/04]

28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) -- Egads, it starts out fine but towards the end it just comes to a screeching halt.

29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)

30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)

31. ANNIE HALL (1977)

32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)

33. HIGH NOON (1952)

34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)

35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) [added 9/7/04]

36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969)

37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) [added 7/8/04]

38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)

39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) [added 7/5/04]

40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)

41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961) [added 7/1/04]

42. REAR WINDOW (1954)

43. KING KONG (1933)

44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) -- The first half isn't all that racist, a bit pro-Confederacy but the racism isn't too bad but then you get to that second part and that racism just comes on full bore. [added 5/30/04]

45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)

46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)

47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)

48. JAWS (1975)

49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)

50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)

51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) [added 6/20/04]

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) [added 11/01/04]

53. AMADEUS (1984) -- I suppose my feelings can best be described as mixed. I seemed to really like it, but the entire time I just had this feeling that there's some reason I shouldn't be liking it as much as I did... I don't know... [added 8/30/04]

54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930) [added 9/20/04]

55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)

56. M*A*S*H (1970) -- The series is better.

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949) [added 9/9/04]

58. FANTASIA (1940)

59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)

60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

61. VERTIGO (1958)

62. TOOTSIE (1982)[added 6/15/04]

63. STAGECOACH (1939)[added 6/15/04]

64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)

65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

66. NETWORK (1976) [added 7/8/04]

67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) [added 6/5/04]

68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) [added 10/27/04]

69. SHANE (1953)-- Had to see it after I saw Bruce Campbell playing Shane in a production at the local outdoor theater.

70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) [added 6/20/04]

71. FORREST GUMP (1994)

72. BEN-HUR (1959)

73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939) [added 6/27/04]

74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925) [added 8/30/04]

75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990)

76. CITY LIGHTS (1931) [added 9/2/04]

77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)

78. ROCKY (1976)

79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)-- Thought it spent far too much time getting started with the wedding stuff.

80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969) [added 10/27/04]

81. MODERN TIMES (1936) [added 9/03/04]

82. GIANT (1956) [added 7/16/04]

83. PLATOON (1986)

84. FARGO (1996)

85. DUCK SOUP (1933)

86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935) [added 10/28/04]

87. FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

88. EASY RIDER (1969)

89. PATTON (1970)

90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) [added 9/04/04]

91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)

92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) [added 11/10/04]

93. THE APARTMENT (1960) [added 6/29/04]

94. GOODFELLAS (1990)

95. PULP FICTION (1994)

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956) [added 9/01/04]

97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) [added 6/10/04]

98. UNFORGIVEN (1992)

99. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967)--We've still got some problems left today, but I think it's amazing how much things have changed in 37 years. [added 10/31/04]

100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) [added 6/21/04]

Posted by robbernard at 2:55 AM in Movies



Monday, May 24, 2004
The Telegraph on Michael Moore
It must have been a gruesome sight: the elite of the Cannes film festival applauding someone even more self-regarding than themselves. Michael Moore, portly archpriest of the anti-Bush cult, premiered his film Fahrenheit 9/11 at the festival this week.
...
Many of the claims made in Bowling for Columbine, his Oscar-winning film about America's gun culture, have unravelled spectacularly under scrutiny. His target audience of 20-year-old slackers will not hear a word against him, but many American commentators - including Left-wing ones - are embarrassed by the crudity of his rhetoric, the unreliability of his "facts" and the gulf between his claim to represent blue-collar America and his personal lifestyle.
...
The simple truth about Michael Moore is that this self-righteous critic of corporate America is one of its most bloated beneficiaries. It is time someone made a film about him - and, we are pleased to report, someone is. Forget Fahrenheit 9/11: later this year, a young film-maker called Mike Wilson will unveil a documentary entitled Michael Moore Hates America, in which the self-proclaimed "slob in a baseball cap" will find his techniques turned on himself. Don't miss it.

--Daily Telegraph

Posted by robbernard at 1:58 AM in Movies



Monday, May 17, 2004
Michael Moore: Victim of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
Controversial film-maker Michael Moore has accused President George W. Bush's government of trying to thwart the creation and release of his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.... According to Moore, "someone connected to the White House, a top Republican" has put pressure on film companies not to release the movie. Moore explains, "The potential for this film to have an impact on the election was much larger than they thought. It is certainly something the Bush administration does not want people to see."

--IMDb.com


I expect he's being about as truthful here as when he complained about Disney springing their refusal to distribute it on him. Can you say manufactured controversy?

Posted by robbernard at 3:12 PM in Movies , Politics/Government



Friday, May 14, 2004
Fair use

Currently the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) makes it illegal for you to make a backup copy of any copy protected digital media you have legally purchased, including software, music, and movies. You know that copy of The Lion King you just bought your kid? You're not allowed to make a copy of it for when your kid bends it, breaks it, steps on it or does any of the number of things kids do to small shiny discs that can be scratched.

Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia has introduced the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (H. R. 107). This bill would change the law so that you can get past the copy protection legally and companies can make software that allows you to do this.

It's just common sense that you should be able to make backup copies of digital media for your own personal use if you've paid for the right to use it.

Please consider writing to your Representative and encouraging him or her to support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act.

Posted by robbernard at 2:43 AM in Movies , Politics/Government , Technology/Internet



Friday, May 7, 2004
Moore admits Disney told him a year ago they wouldn't distribute film
Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax.

But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it."

--Independent

Posted by robbernard at 2:56 AM in Movies



Monday, March 29, 2004
Jersey Girl

Saw Jersey Girl on Friday and I have to say, it seems a bunch of reviewers are on crack. To be sure, it has a few problems; it's rather formulaic at times, but it's nowhere near the level where many critics put it. In a feeding frenzy of bashing they're trying to put it up with Gigli for one of the two worst films ever. That's just not the case.

It's certainly not like anything Smith has made before. There's a little bit of sexual dialog, but nowhere near the language and sexuality of his previous films. All in all it's just a sweet little movie about man and his daughter. It won’t be winning any Oscars, but it’s also not the second coming of Gigli as some would make it out to be.

Posted by robbernard at 4:06 PM in Movies



Wednesday, March 3, 2004
7 misunderstandings

Beliefnet has an article laying out 7 ways Jews and Chritians misunderstand each other when it comes to "The Passion of the Christ".


1) Christ's suffering is important
...
The movie's violence brings many Christians into Jesus' world and helps show just how much he had to give up in order to give us the gift. In that sense, the violence is extremely spiritual.

2) Most of this really is in the Bible
...
It is quite possible that much of what’s in the Bible is not historically accurate but Jews need to understand that when they say that this basic plotline is anti-Semitic they are saying the New Testament itself is anti-Semitic and hateful.

3) Most Christians don’t even entertain the question of blame

Most Christians believe that Jesus went to his death willingly, so the identity of the killers is utterly irrelevant. Jews are sensitive to being blamed because they have been, but they also need to realize that most modern American Christians view that as a peculiar sideshow.
...
4) Christians feel persecuted
...
When Jews criticize the movie, they need to realize that, unless carefully worded, their complaints will feel like not merely theological disputes but personal insults and attacks.
...
1) Mel Gibson is terrifying

Christians need to understand just how scary a person Mel Gibson is to Jews. The comments from his father Hutton Gibson don’t represent ordinary country-club anti-Semitism but David Duke, neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.
...
2) This is not ancient history
...
Beliefnet member Shira writes, "My father could not go near a Catholic school around Easter because he knew he was going to get beaten up." It wasn’t until 1965 that the Catholic Church officially declared that the entire Jewish people were not guilty of deicide. Moreover, anti-Semitism is right now on the rise in Europe and the mideast.
...
3) Christian support of Israel is irrelevant
...
Obviously, supporting Israel does not give anyone a free pass to tolerate anti-Semitism in other realms. Besides, while most Jews delight in and appreciate Christian support for Israel they are also quite aware of their mixed motives.

--Beliefnet

Posted by robbernard at 5:22 AM in Movies , Religion



Monday, March 1, 2004
My Oscar thoughts

Thought it was a solid show all in all. Crystal did a decent job.

Some are complaining that it was boring, that there weren't any upsets. Personally I'd rather give the awards to the people who actually deserve them than have a lot of upsets and excitement.

Some complain that no matter how good Lord of the Rings was it didn't deserve to win in every category it was nominated in. To that I say "I can't think of one category they should have obviously not won." I don't think you can say it shouldn't have the technical categories it did. That just leaves you Best Song, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. All the songs sucked royally, so I can't see why LOTR shouldn't have won that one and everybody knew going in that LOTR would win Director and Picture. That just leaves you Screenplay and even there I don't think you can say any of the contenders were head and shoulders above LOTR.

It wasn't the most exciting awards show ever, but it was entertaining. So while I don't think Renée Zellweger should have won and I would have liked to see Bill Murray win, I don’t think there were any great travesties in who won.

Posted by robbernard at 6:17 PM in Movies



Saturday, February 28, 2004
Orson Scott Card on "The Passion of the Christ"
no matter what religious context you bring to the film, you will find that the critics who wrote or spoke of a festival of gore have misled you. This is not like the blood-thirsty movies that kill people left and right and seek for new and excruciating ways to titillate an audience. There is nothing here designed to promote a corpse-filled computer game.

In this movie, violence is shown as appalling, evil, vengeful, malicious. The moral context is never lost. The people in the film recoil from precisely the same actions that we recoil from. If some critics can't see the difference between this film and movies that delight in casual violence, they're in the wrong line of work.
...
The violence is not what makes us weep.

All my tears in this movie were shed in empathy for those who loved Jesus, and in gratitude for those who are shown attempting to be kind to him. I was moved by Pilate's wife, who knows what is right and tries to do the one small thing that is possible for her. I was moved by Mary's love for her son. I was moved by the epiphany that came to the reluctant cross-bearer, Simon of Cyrene; by the shame and empathy discovered by one of the soldiers -- the one required to pierce Jesus' body with a spear, but who can hardly bear to do it in front of his mother.

The woman who brings him water to drink at one of the stations of the cross; Pilate himself, caught in a terrible political situation where he has no good choice, but chooses his career over his integrity and makes the futile, empty gesture of washing his hands; the "good thief" (Francesco Cabras) who is promised paradise on the cross -- it was goodness, or the yearning for goodness, that brought tears to my eyes.
...
There is no competing record to refute the depiction in the gospels. So to say Gibson should not have shown Jewish leaders being the driving force behind the killing of Jesus is to say that Christians are not allowed to actually believe in or dramatize their own scripture.

--Civilization Watch


There's a lot more good stuff there as always. He also ends with a letter to Mel Gibson that's worth a read concerning Card's suggestions for what to do with the profits and what to do when Oscar time rolls around next year.

Posted by robbernard at 12:43 AM in Movies , Religion



Friday, February 27, 2004
My thoughts after seeing "The Passion of the Christ"

It pulled in another $14 million yesterday for a two day total of over $41 million.

It’s an exceptional movie, but certainly not a pleasant one. There’s a lot of violence, but I was left with the feeling that what was on screen must have been what it was really like. Crucifixion was a horrible, painful practice and it just left me in awe that Jesus went through it for us and throughout it didn’t blame those who were killing him but rather asked God to forgive them.

I don't know what to say about the critics of the movie. I guess those seeing the movie from a non-Christian perspective must be seeing something different. When people come out of the theater "wanting to kick somebody's teeth in" or thinking the movie was supposed to but failed to make them feel pity for Christ I marvel that their ideas and preconceptions caused them to see such a different movie.

I left not understanding how people could see the movie as anti-Semitic. Sure, it shows some Jews calling for Christ’s death, but every protagonist in the story is also Jewish. It was the Jewish high priests that arrested him and called for his death and you’re not going to be able to make a movie about the last day of Christ’s life without that. The message that Jesus loved his persecutors and forgave them was so strong that I fail to see how people can walk out of the theater thinking that Jesus would want someone to blame His persecutors rather than forgive them.

It doesn’t tell the whole story of Jesus’ ministry, but it isn’t meant to. It’s not a movie meant to lay out His teachings, it’s a movie whose purpose is to reinforce for those who already know the story the sense of what Jesus suffered for our sakes. It’s not the complete story of Jesus and it’s not an introductory primer on Jesus’ life. For the target audience though, it is a breathtaking and heartrending reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Posted by robbernard at 5:47 PM in Movies , Religion



Thursday, February 26, 2004
Back from "The Passion of the Christ"...

Wow.

It's going to take me some time to decompress before I'll be able to string together a second word about it.

Posted by robbernard at 6:31 PM in Movies , Religion
Some thoughts on "The Passion of the Christ"

"The Passion of the Christ" drew in $20 million $26.6 million on it's first day. I find it somehow reassuring that in today's modern world a biblical story with the biblical violence can still draw.

I won't be seeing it until this afternoon so I can't comment specifically about what's in the film but these lines in a Yahoo! News story caught my attention.


In Salt Lake City, curiosity about the film among many Mormons was outweighed by church teachings that discourage viewing R-rated movies.

"I don't think our Lord would want me to see an R-rated film about his son," said 20-year-old Shawn Watts, a Mormon missionary.


I'm sorry, but Jesus and the Disciples LIVED an NC-17 version of the actual events. Sure, the movie is violent, that's because the Crucifixion itself was violent. God saw fit to actually put Jesus and his Disciples through these events; I find it hard to imagine that God would find it sinful for people to watch it. Sure he preached a message of peace and love, but to pretend that his life and death was this Sunday School, well coifed, sanitized version of his life I think takes something away from the story. It's taught that he died for our sins, but he didn't just pass away peacefully in his sleep. Like thousands of people in Roman times he was beaten, whipped and tortured. He was attached to the cross with nails driven through his flesh and left to die. Of course this was violent. Of course this was bloody. But it's what happened. It’s what Jesus went through. It’s what Christians believe Jesus suffered to redeem our sins and a real depiction of what happened isn't going to be straight out of the storybooks from Sunday School.

RealPolitik has a pretty good take on the whole deal.


Not that anyone cares but I have started and scrapped nearly a half dozen ideas so far.
...
All of those ideas developed wonderfully except there was no real point to any of them. You either get it or you don't. Gibson wasn't attempting to convert the unconverted or tell those who believed anything they didn't already know...he was merely telling the story, he wasn't explaining it to you. That seems to be one of the hot button issues with most of the negative reviews. They seem to echo the High Priest's request for a sign of divinity, yet Gibson's Jesus never really delivers for them. Which leads us to the second most popular complaint, the blood.

It seems that most of the negative reviews seem utterly appalled at the violence in Passion. This while one such reviewer rated the hideous gore-fest at the end of Kill Bill Vol. I the best fight scene he'd ever seen. Others wondered why Christ wasn't shiny and holy looking and seemingly detached on the cross like in all the previous depictions they'd seen. Reading through the naysayers complaints about the gore severely juxtaposed with their fawnings over the "realism" in other films they'd reviewed. The accuracy of the sets, the perfection of the dialog and the realism of the scenes. One has to wonder what they think a human being who has been beaten, caned, flayed open, thrown in a dirty dungeon over night, beaten some more, marched through dusty streets straining and sweating, beaten some more, fallen in the dirt and stone, beaten some more and then literally nailed to some planks of wood looks like?

--American RealPolitik: You Either Get It, Or You Don't


--Addendum--
This morning I watched Deborah Norville's show that I Tivo'd last night. On the show a Rabbi was asked what he would have done differently if he were the one making the movie.

His answer?

"It shouldn't have focused on one person." Violence is fine in films like Saving Private Ryan because there are so many people. The Passion shouldn't have just focused on the suffering of one person.

Go back and read that again, I'll wait...

He thinks Gibson shouldn't have focused on one person. He thinks the story of the death of God's only son shouldn't have focused so much on the man who was dying for everyone’s sins.

That just amazed me.

Posted by robbernard at 11:23 AM in Movies , Religion
Virtual stocks

Fox News today has a front page article on the Hollywood Stock Exchange and another site called NewsFutures.com. They're sites that let you trade virtual stocks based on movies and movie stars. I've been a member of the community at HSX since 1998 and highly recommend it.

Posted by robbernard at 10:41 AM in Movies



Thursday, December 18, 2003
Grrrr...

Stupid Return of the King sellouts...

Posted by robbernard at 6:31 PM in Movies



Wednesday, December 17, 2003
John Rhys-Davies on Tolkein's point in Lord of the Rings

Andrew Sullivan comes through with this gem of a quote from the man who plays Gimli.


"I'm burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it's painful. But I think that there are some questions that demand honest answers. I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me... What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a jewel it is.
How did we get the sort of real democracy, how did we get the level of tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table, and yet you will take it and you will think about it and you’ll say no you're wrong because of this and this and this. And I'll listen and I'll say, "Well, actually, maybe I am wrong because of this and this."
[He points at a female reporter and adopts an authoritarian voice, to play a militant-Islam character:] ‘You should not be in this room. Because your husband or your father is not here to guide you. You could only be here in this room with these strange men for immoral purposes.'
I mean ... the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.

--Andrew Sullivan


Posted by robbernard at 8:01 PM in Movies
At the movies with the Pope.

The Pope approves of Mel Gibson's new movie The Passion of the Christ saying "It is as it was."

Why is this news? Not only because John Paul has, it seems, broken free of the Vatican apparatus to see the film, and not only, obviously, because of who he is, but also because of his history, the facts of his life. He is a scholar, a poet and former playwright who loves the drama and himself considered acting on and writing for the stage professionally. And no pope has done more for Jewish-Christian relations than he. He has had a profound engagement with Jews and Judaism both since his elevation and before it. He would know cheap when he sees it, and he would know anti-Semitic, too. His approbation would not be given lightly.

--OpinionJournal

Posted by robbernard at 7:14 PM in Movies



Friday, December 5, 2003
Brief movie comment: Final Destination 2

Just saw it for the first time and Final Destination 2 is a very fast paced, fun, engrossing movie. It felt so fast that it probably could have used another half hour to feel long enough, but the Rube Goldbergesque deaths are just a lot of fun.


3 out of 4 stars.

Posted by robbernard at 6:26 AM in Movies



Sunday, November 23, 2003
Allow me to direct your attention to...

...this article. I've been playing since '98 and it really has been fun.

Posted by robbernard at 3:49 PM in Movies



Friday, November 7, 2003
Lileks on The Matrix and Harry Knowles

James Lileks talks about the new Matrix Revolutions, and the trilogy in general. He also fisks Harry Knowles' mentally deficient review of the movie.

Posted by robbernard at 3:54 PM in Movies



Thursday, November 6, 2003
MOVIE PIRACY

They've got this new anti-piracy ad playing before movies with a stuntman instead of the set painter we'd been seeing. I think the stuntman makes a much more reasonable case against piracy. The set painter's argument seemed to be that piracy would make the studios make fewer movies and thus get him less work. I just didn't buy that theory. The stuntman's argument is that people poured their hearts and souls and even risked their lives for their work and that pirating their work disrespects them. That I think is a much stronger argument. The money argument, whether the money is for the little guy or not, just comes off as self-serving.

Posted by robbernard at 8:44 PM in Movies



Thursday, October 16, 2003
IMPORTANT DAY FOR DVD

Best Buy is doing away with VHS videocassettes in their stores.

Posted by robbernard at 8:33 PM in Movies
I GET THE FEELING LILEKS DOESN'T LIKE QUENTIN TARANTINO

He's got some very strong stuff to say about Kill Bill and Tarantino in general.


One of these days he’ll make a movie where the hero kills a kid. And if it gets cut from the final release, he’ll hang on to a copy so he can run it in his home theater, and sit in the middle of the room with a bucket of popcorn in one hand and his personal pink crayola-stub in the other.

--James Lileks

Posted by robbernard at 6:36 PM in Movies



Saturday, October 11, 2003
MOVIE REVIEW: KILL BILL: VOLUME 1

There's really not much to explain about the plot of Kill Bill. Assassins played by Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivaca A. Fox, and Lucy Liu, and led by David Carradine as Bill do quite a number on "The Bride" (Uma Thurman) on her wedding day. They beat the *&#$ out of her and leave her with a bullet in her head. Four years later The Bride wakes up from a coma and sets out to kill all of them. That's really all you need to know.

This is "The 4th Film By" Quentin Tarantino. (Which raises the question of whether Volume 2 will be his 5th or still his 4th.) It's been called "indulgent" and it certainly is, but that's why you go to see a Tarantino film. You don't go to hear the story, you go to experience what Tarantino has put together. One entire "Chapter" of the film is done in Anime. One overhead shot follows The Bride to the restroom using the most astonishing, breathtaking angles. One astounding fight scene (There are many.) takes place essentially between the silhouettes of the fighters in front of a backlit blue Japanese screen. These scenes don't need to be presented the way they are to tell the story, they're presented that way to tell the story the way Tarantino wants to tell it. There are precious few directors who can outshine the stars and put their own stamp on a film and Tarantino is certainly one of them.

That being said, Kill Bill: Volume 1 isn't a pleasant film. Blood spews everywhere. It gushes from severed limbs (and there are a lot of severed limbs). It is grossly exaggerated blood, almost comedic at times, but let's just have this act as fair warning, the more of your snacks you finish before the movie starts the better. I have a fairly strong stomach, but after a while I was putting some serious thought into whether I should be finishing off my Twizzlers at that moment.

I enjoyed the movie. It is a Tarantino movie though and if you don't like Tarantino movies in general or wouldn't care for a VERY bloody samurai movie I imagine you'll have some problems with Kill Bill: Volume 1.


3 1/2 out of 4

Posted by robbernard at 5:26 PM in Movies



Saturday, September 27, 2003
MOVIE REVIEW: THE RUNDOWN

The Rundown was an enjoyable movie. It won't be winning any Oscars, but it was a very good action movie. The fights are well choreographed and don't come off as just another kick, kick, punch, punch fight from any of a hundred movies. Though I have no doubt that had it been real life every single character would have broken both legs several times over by the time the movie's over.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shows that he has the chops to take the action star reigns from Ahnold. I just wonder if he'll ever be able to get out from under the thumb of Vince McMahon. (Though admittedly the WWE hasn't gotten in the way of his movie career so far.)

Seann William Scott fills the role of Travis well, though the character doesn't offer him a chance to depart from his Stifler role.

Rosario Dawson is fine as Mariana, though I couldn't help thinking to myself that there is no way that her character could possibly have teeth as white as hers.

Christopher Walken meanwhile is... Christopher Walken, though his style of talking is toned down from his normal way of speaking. He does an admirable job of fitting the character of Christopher Walken within the character of Hatcher.

All in all a good action movie.


3 out of 4 Stars.

Posted by robbernard at 6:46 PM in Movies



Friday, September 19, 2003
MOVIE REVIEW: WOODY ALLEN'S ANYTHING ELSE

I REALLY enjoyed Anything Else. I haven't seen any of Allen's old stuff, but I've seen the newer stuff (Small Time Crooks, Jade Scorpion, and Hollywood Ending) and this was much better than any of them. Allen has a much smaller role in this one than the others and I think he really stood up much better as a supporting character than a lead. His quirkiness I think works better sprinkled throughout the film than as the main course. Also in a supporting role I thought DeVito did very well. He was entirely believable as the agent that's pitiful enough that you really would feel bad for dumping him.

Ricci plays the role of Amanda perfectly. She comes off funny, neurotic, and while not realistic, somehow totally believable.

Biggs’ character, Falk, worked pretty well, but he can’t really stand out the way the other actors do. Falk is just much more low-key than the other characters. Really my only problem with the film was Falk’s first couple asides to the camera, they came off more as narration than asides, but the later asides I felt fit in very well.

All in all though I really thought it was a very good film that managed to avoid the problems that Allen’s more recent films have suffered from.

One last note, for better or worse they did an amazing job of making it hard to know that Allen had anything at all to do with this film. I assume it was an attempt to set this apart from a “traditional Woody Allen” film, and I guess that’s true, this movie’s worth seeing even if you’re not a Woody Allen fan.


4 out of 4 stars

Posted by robbernard at 4:38 PM in Movies



Monday, September 15, 2003
MUSIC VS. MOVIES
The best-selling "Chicago" movie soundtrack is available on CD starting at $13.86.

The actual movie, with the soundtrack songs included, of course, plus additional goodies ranging from deleted musical numbers to the director's interview and a "making-of" feature, can be had for precisely $2.12 more.

Therein lies the problem for a critically wounded music recording industry: The "Chicago" CD looks like a rip-off, and the DVD looks like a steal.

Nearly everything the record companies have done wrong in the age of downloading has been done right by the movie studios.

America's love for movies is stronger than ever, while the nation listens to music with smoldering resentment.

-- DenverPost.com

There's a lot more good stuff there, so go read all of it.

Posted by robbernard at 12:26 AM in Movies



Wednesday, September 3, 2003
MICHAEL MOORE

The release of Bowling for Columbine on DVD has just stirred the pot more. Moore apparently has made factual changes to the DVD version of the film. Even though he still claims that every bit of the film was true and that anyone who says differently is committing libel.

Posted by robbernard at 1:47 AM in Movies



Thursday, July 3, 2003
28 DAYS LATER... AS A CAUTIONARY TALE AGAINST GUN CONTROL

First off, I liked 28 Days Later, but I spent the first half of the film thinking "Why doesn't anyone just get a shotgun?" They're fighting off zombie-like creatures with baseball bats and molotov cocktails when a simple shotgun could have easily saved their butts.

Then it occurred to me that they're in England. They have massive gun control in England, even the police don't have guns. I can't help but think that if more people had guns in England more people would have survived in 28 Days Later.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we need to be very careful about implementing more gun control in America... just in case the zombies ever attack. Though I suppose the idea carries over to aliens, evil wildlife, and those damn commie-Nazis.

Posted by robbernard at 6:49 PM in Movies



Saturday, May 17, 2003
AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER WHEN WATCHING THE NEW MATRIX MOVIE

It's a Science Fiction movie, not an action movie. Of course it's gonna cover the more philosophical stuff.

Posted by robbernard at 10:28 PM in Movies



Wednesday, April 2, 2003
NOTE TO SELF:

I've done some movie watching the past couple days and it occurs to me that the best way to avoid being stuck in a horror movie situation is probably good car maintenance.

Posted by robbernard at 6:45 PM in Movies



Monday, March 24, 2003



Monday, February 17, 2003
A PRE-WAR MOVIE VIEWING LIST

I've been doing a lot of movie watching while I've been snowed in and I've come up with a very brief list of movies (or parts of movies) that should be watched before we inevitably find ourselves engaged in a war with Iraq.

The Sum of All Fears -- Especially relevant to today's situation, and in my opinion the best Clancy movie since Red October. (Never was much of a fan of Ford as Ryan.)

Saving Private Ryan (The first 30 minutes) -- The last two hours or so sucked, but every once in a while you need a reminder that war is hell. Feel free to turn it off when Hanks gets his new orders.

We Were Soldiers -- Takes the best part of Saving Private Ryan and expands it out over 2 hours. It's a good reminder of not only the bravery of those on the front lines in war, but also highlights the pain of those at home and reminds us that regardless of what you think of the reasoning behind the war our troops deserve our support. (Regardless of what idiots like Clay Evans say.)

Donnie Darko -- Ok, this one has absolutely nothing to do with war, but it’s probably THE most overlooked movie of the past 2 years. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you could stand Vanilla Sky or Mulholland Drive you should be ok with this one. Think of those two movies with dashes of Magnolia and American Beauty.

Posted by robbernard at 1:01 AM in Movies , War/Terrorism/Middle East



Tuesday, February 11, 2003
OH YEAH...

Andy Serkis was robbed.

Posted by robbernard at 7:05 PM in Movies



Thursday, January 2, 2003
HAVING JUST SEEN THE TWO TOWERS AGAIN...

...I think I should renew my support for Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol for Best Supporting Actor. If he were just in a costume or makeup he'd be eligible, so I don't see why it shouldn't count if he supplies the voice and motions, and mannerisms, etc...

Posted by robbernard at 7:49 PM in Movies



Wednesday, December 18, 2002
STILL ON THAT SUBJECT

Rod Dreher has a good piece on the relevance of The Two Towers in today's world, though I think he's a bit light on the presence of evil in the world angle.

Posted by robbernard at 8:52 PM in Movies
LORD OF THE RINGS

The Two Towers just plain rocked. Don't know if he's eligible for it, but Andy Serkis/Smeagol/Gollum deserves the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Posted by robbernard at 8:50 PM in Movies
OSAMA IS THE NEW SAURON

Kind of anyway.

Posted by robbernard at 3:57 PM in Movies , War/Terrorism/Middle East



Tuesday, December 17, 2002
*SIGH*

You start to realize you might be hanging out in the wrong circles online when you're confronted with a reasoned proof that Yoda could kick Gandalf's ass.

Posted by robbernard at 1:27 PM in Movies



Monday, November 25, 2002
BOWLING FOR LIES

Forbes points out several well, let's call them not-so-factual idiosyncrasies in Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine:


TITLE: Moore titled the movie Bowling for Columbine because, he suggests, the two kids who shot up Columbine High in Littleton, Colo., went to a 6 a.m. bowling class on the day of the attack.
ACTUALLY: Cool story, but police say it's not true. They say the shooters skipped their bowling class that day.

MISSILES: Moore wonders whether kids at Columbine might be driven to violence because of the "weapons of mass destruction" made in Lockheed Martin's assembly plant in Littleton. Moore shows giant rockets being assembled.
ACTUALLY: Lockheed Martin's plant in Littleton doesn't make weapons. It makes space launch vehicles for TV satellites.

WELFARE: Moore places blame for a shooting by a child in Michigan on the work-to-welfare program that prevented the boy's mother from spending time with him.
ACTUALLY: Moore doesn't mention that mom had sent the boy to live in a house where her brother and a friend kept drugs and guns.

BANK: Moore says North Country Bank & Trust in Traverse City, Mich., offered a deal where, "if you opened an account, the bank would give you a gun." He walks into a branch and walks out with a gun.
ACTUALLY: Moore didn't just walk in off the street and get a gun. The transaction was staged for cameras. You have to buy a long-term CD, then go to a gun shop to pick up the weapon after a background check.


Sounds like great documentary filmmaking to me.

Posted by robbernard at 12:00 PM in Movies



Thursday, November 14, 2002
Could Michael Moore be misrepresenting things?

This story, by way of the The Daily Rant raises questions about whether Michael Moore sneakily edited his new film, Bowling for Columbine, to make it appear easier than it is to buy ammunition in Canada.


If filmed after Jan. 1, 2001, under the Firearms Act, Mr. Moore should have been required to show a valid Canadian Firearms licence or a Customs Canada "confirmed declaration."

If filmed prior to that, Mr. Moore should have at least been required to show his driver's licence or other appropriate ID.

I think the real question though is: What the hell kind of policy was it that they had before 1/1/2001? You have to show your driver's licence? What, you just need to prove that you're somebody? "Yes sir, here you go. As you can see, not only do I exist and have a name, but I'm also allowed to drive a car. Can I have my ammo now?"

Posted by robbernard at 10:09 AM in Movies



Saturday, November 2, 2002
Quick Movie Review - Punch-Drunk Love

Saw Punch-Drunk Love tonight and absolutely loved it. P.T. Anderson just has an amazing ability to steep his films in his own quirky (for lack of a better word) style without it feeling at all forced. Heck, just having Sandler along for the ride and not having the project turn out to be your typical Sandler flick takes some talent. (Not that I've got anything against Sandler's movies, just bought Mr. Deeds as a matter of fact.) Not everyone will like it though, it's not really a mainstream film. If you enjoy art-house films, or you weren't totally turned off by Magnolia then I'd definately suggest giving it a shot.


4 out of 4 stars.

Posted by robbernard at 1:44 AM in Movies



 
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