Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Month of Movies...May 2012

      This post begins a new recurring category on FILMclatter.  I doubt any large explanation is needed here.  Its pretty self-explanatory and few other bloggers (Surrender to the Void, movies and songs 365) do something like this already and with more detail might I add.  At the end of each month, I will tally up and compile a list of all the movies I have watched from the first day of the month to the last and post it as is below.  I don't plan on making it much more than that a compulsive list for myself to look at, so I guess this is more of a personal thing.  But I always enjoy hearing about what movies other people watch and I figured I am probably not the only one with that interest so I'll post it.  
      That being said, if you go through the list, you might find a movie or two you haven't heard of or haven't seen and want to check it out.  I rarely come across I movie I hated and would not recommend to someone, so in a sense, these are all recommendations.  This month (May), I got lucky and loved every movie I saw, but my perfect streak will someday come to an end and when it does with "a movie I was not entirely stoked about," I will make note of that here.
      But I hope a movie like that will be a rarity and that the movies you see in these lists at the end of each month will all be terrific choices worth your time.  Also, as always, comments, opinions and suggestions are always welcomed and encouraged.  

+ A link to a trailer will be provided and can be reached by clicking on the movie's title
+ Netflix Users: Movies watched on Netflix Instant will be designated with an "N"

Total: 17 movies

'50s- 3                    + 27 combined Oscar nominations
'60s- 0                    + 7 literary adaptations
'70s- 0                    + 5 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die:5th Anniversary Edition
'80s- 2                    + 3 documentaries
'90s- 2                    + 2 '80s horror movies
'00s- 6                    + 2 David Cronenberg films
'10s- 2                    + 2 Tennessee Williams adaptations

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why See This...The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [2012]

      The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a coming of age story in a rather unlikely way.  Its main characters are not novice youngsters or young adults feverishly searching for their life’s purpose in the many daunting years ahead of them.  Hardly.  Instead, the characters that make up this story are all well over the hill and have had plenty of that kind of life experience.  But despite its displacement in the traditional sense of that genre, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel basks in the seemingly youthful splendor and energy of a coming of age story.
      Immediately, the audience receives a crash course of introductions by way of the film’s seven main characters, all living in various parts of England, all unknown to each other’s own existence.  There’s the newly widowed housewife, Evelyn (Judi Dench), looking to sell her home and pay off her family’s debts; another woman, Muriel (Maggie Smith), in need of an affordable hip replacement (who is also racist); a judge by the name of Graham (Tom Wilkinson), who has been telling himself for years he will soon retire; Norman (Ronald Pickup), a single man of the Don Juan type always looking for some fun under the sheets despite his old age, Madge (Celia Imrie), a woman of similar stature that, despite a few unsuccessful marriages, still hopes to be swopped off her feet by a beloved Prince Charming.  And then there’s the groups’ only married couple, Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton), who still appear much too young for their retirement community home, fit with too many handrails and an emergency button- but it’s all they can afford.  What groups these people together is the tight budget they must plan their retirement on, making this comfort that much harder to attain.  The introductions become hectic at first and almost too much too soon, but through each of their three minutes of screen time, we see that none of these folks are cinematic caricatures.  Each one is cleverly thought out and totally real.  No doubt there is a lonely Evelyn and a feisty old Norman out there in our world.  Their individual stories make the film much more real and relatable.  In their own ways, each character is trying to re-attain the peace of mind they had from years prior and this subsequently takes them to the same destination- India, where they all meet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reel News...New Trailers/Teasers for "The Master," "The Great Gatsby" & "Anchorman Two"

      Big news today from three huge and highly anticipated upcoming movies.  Trailers and teasers have been released for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby and of course, Anchorman Two.  Commentary  and videos for each project follow below.

The Master
To be honest, no one saw There Will Be Blood coming and no one was quite ready for what it held.  Sure, Paul Thomas Anderson has been steadily establishing himself as one of the few Hollywood auteurs with pictures like Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love, but There Will Be Blood seemed something beyond all these.  Many people call it a masterpiece.  Others, actually insisted the movie's ending tainted its own opportunity at such a title.  But if nothing else, everyone can agree Daniel Day-Lewis gave the performance of a lifetime, one that is surely up there with greatest ever.  For those who were left spellbound by Daniel Plainview & Co. (myself included), the five year hiatus of Paul Thomas Anderson has not been a favorable one.  Nonetheless, vague details about his follow up project, "something about a returning soldier and a new cult-like religion" had been out there for years and while nothing was ever confirmed, the untitled, upcoming project always carried the name The Master.

Well all that can be confirmed as The Master now has an official teaser trailer over at YouTube.  After producing an excellent score for There Will Be Blood, it makes sense that PTA has again grabbed Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood for the music.  It looks very much aligned with the same sort of unnerving dramatic tension that always hides within a PTA film.  So the bar should naturally be very high for this movie.  With no Daniel Day-Lewis, The Master now rests in the hands of Joaquin Phoenix.  Ever since he went AWOL from Hollywood, grew a huge beard and tried his luck at rapping in the I'm Still Here documentary (mockumentary?), Phoenix has yet to appear back on screen and re-establish himself as an actor of serious quality.  If he can do something along the lines of his impeccable Johnny Cash interpretation from Walk The Line (2005), then we have nothing to worry about.  We should expect great things.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reel News...First Look At ScoJo As Janet Leigh In The Upcoming "Hitchcock" Biopic

First things first, a lot of buzz has already surrounded the upcoming Alfred Hitchcock biopic, (simply titled Hitchcock, based on the book) for a good number of reasons.  It has a number of Hollywood A-listers singed on that includes Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlet Johannson, Toni Collette and Jessica Biel among others.   The movie, being one of two Hitchcock-related films that are currently in production, is based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and I assume it will portray exactly that.  About a month ago,  a photo of Anthony Hopkins portraying Sir Alfred Hitchcock was released to the public and the results were near perfect.  Oscar talks are already there from the one shot.  

In similar fashion, a new photo of Scarlet Johansson has now hit the internet and gone viral for all cinephiles and Hitchcock lovers to enjoy.  Seen most recently in the summer Blockbuster The Avengers, Johansson's role in Hitchcock will be portraying Psycho actress Janet Leigh, best known in the word of film for her fatal shower scene in the 1960 Hitchcock classic.  Just like Hopkins, ScoJo looks spot on in her character, perfectly capturing the seductive charm of Leigh's fatal Marion Crane.  The project keeps getting better with each new picture, making the wait all more suspenseful, as the real Mr. Hitchcock would no doubt approve of.  At this point, all I want is to see James D'Arcy pop up as Norman Bates.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why See This...Rope [1948]

      I was searching for the exact quote of something along the lines of “you don’t know until you try.”  I typed those words into Google and much to my dismay, it gave me all sorts of inspirational/proactive “you’re actually really intelligent so you should rediscover yourself” types of websites.  Good stuff and all, but that was not exactly the direction I wanted to begin my review of Rope with.  I thought all hope was lost until Bruno Mars saved my day. (I will never say that again.)  Towards the bottom of the search was a page of lyrics to his song “The Other Side” as it aptly contains the phrase “It's better if you don't understand 'cause you won't know what it's like until you try.”  Perfect!  Now I was back, all thanks to Bruno Mars.
      As he tells us, sometimes it is better if you don’t understand some things, like the feeling of killing another man as this is what occurs within the first few seconds of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 suspense-thriller Rope.  Brandon and Phillip, the two men who strangle their friend, David in their apartment with a piece of rope (hence the title) hardly fit the profile of two murderers.  They come from wealthy New York families, the type that sends their children through years of expensive boarding school before entering college as the boys did.  And unlike most murderers, their willingness to take a man’s life comes not from any amounts torment or revenge.  No, Brandon and Phillip kill this man simply out of sheer curiosity of knowing what it feels like to kill.  Fascinated by the superhuman philosophy of Nietzsche as taught to them in school by their former boarding school professor and friend Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), the boys decide to take his nihilistic words into action.  But personally, murder as an experiment just makes it even more disturbing.