Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

I love The Avengers. I’ve seen that movie more than a dozen times, four of which were in a theater. In the era of the superhero film, The Avengers stood above the rest as not only the most entertaining of the bunch, but also as a revelation of what could be possible with the genre. Is it the greatest? Maybe so. What Marvel did to get to The Avengers is a miracle. But after seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers seems like seeing Jesus’ face on a piece of toast compared to the X franchise’s resurrection. X-Men and the Reinvention of the Franchise Reboot Sure, The Avengers laid the groundwork for what is possible with a cinematic superhero franchise. The character introductions. The narrative build up. The final execution. It was as risky as it was visionary. More...

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Hot Guy/Funny Guy: A New Comedy Dynamic?

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

With this month’s hilarious comedy Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and next month’s 22 Jump Street (the sequel to 2012’s hit, 21 Jump Street), starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, my friends and I began to notice a kind of trend emerging. The duos at the forefront of these films exhibit a kind of hot guy/goofy guy dichotomy— a sort of binary between a traditionally funny actor and an actor who is, traditionally, considered eye candy. I wanted to explore this dynamic a little further, but I found it difficult to think of films besides these recent ones that truly fit. In the past, I think it was more common to see a straight man/silly man dichotomy, more generally: Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) might be a good example of this...

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The Foreign Mainstream: Why Cinema’s Biggest Oxymoron Deserves More

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment, The Pictures | 0 comments

When I was in Berlin, Germany for a few months last spring, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to movies, despite my understanding that Berlin has always been, to varying degrees over time, a major European film hub. I was there for the Berlinale International Film Festival, and there were art house cinemas all over the city as well, showing everything you’d expect an art house movie theater to show regardless of location, really. I saw a couple foreign films being shown at the festival, and they were good, don’t get me wrong, and I was expecting them to be good. But besides the art house, and the festival fair, and the American films dubbed into German (which played at every larger multiplex in the city), what did German audiences really watch, anyway? The question didn’t...

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Why Horror Films Need Their Own Oscars

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Awards, Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

With the main exceptions of The Silence of the Lambs and The Exorcist (which in my opinion should have won the Oscar it was up for), horror films are nearly always ignored come awards season. This is no longer a disappointment to me. In fact, it makes perfect sense given what these awards have become compared to horror’s B-genre classification. Horror used to be considered only a notch below comedy. But, the comedy genre (when done artfully, intelligently or heartwarmingly enough) can actually still get elevated by Academy recognition—think Little Miss Sunshine or even this year’s American Hustle. I have no valid argument to put forth in a debate about whether horror films deserve mainstream industry accolades. I do, however, think they deserve to be considered in a similar way—why can’t an awards show exist that understands the genre...

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The Top Ten Performances of 2013

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Lists, Movie Comment, The Pictures | 0 comments

Just because a movie isn’t great doesn’t mean that the performances in it aren’t. Six of the performances below weren’t in movie that I put on my best of the year list. Some might receive honorable mentions but they’ll mostly be carried there by the impact of these actors. And for the great performances in great films? Well, we can only hope for classic territory.  10. Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines in The Butler The Butler and Oprah are pretty much forgotten at this point, and even though I loved the film, it’s not making my Top 10 list this year. But credit where credit is due: Oprah Winfrey is phenomenal in this movie. Lee Daniels has a history of getting great performances out of his supporting female cast members, and Oprah’s here is no exception. The characters just...

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Misunderstanding Movies: Anti-Heroes, Gatsbys and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment | 4 comments

“Our best movies have always made entertainment out of the anti-heroism of American life; they bring to the surface what, in its newest forms and fashions, is always just below the surface.” – Pauline Kael. It could be said that the hardest thing about being an artist who creates in a popular form is not the friction between art and commerce. Rather, it’s that once a work is available to the public, the artist loses control over the interpretation. Movies, television shows and music belong to the audience once they become available to it. It’s how a song/album critical of the US’s involvement in Vietnam can become the anthem of a president. And it’s how Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street can be accused of glorifying male bad behavior instead of denouncing it. The main complaint about The...

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