July 31, 2010

Sour Little Ditty

Day 9 gets ugly! The JGL train hit a coin yesterday with Uncertainty, and now it goes flying off the tracks, Fugitive style, with this latest film.

Let me get this out of the way right quick. I really did not like Sweet Jane! Like, I vehemently hated it! And, from the moment it ended, I knew I would derive no pleasure from writing the review in the style I usually do, so, if you'll indulge me, I'm going to mix things up a little bit. Instead of verbally abusing this small indie from 98 like a regular person, I'm going to do it in limerick form. This will probably suck!

July 30, 2010

Decisions! Decisions!

Day 8 of my Joseph Gordon-Levitt marathon finally hits a snag. Is it possible that he could be involved in a bad film that doesn't involve the phrase, "Yo Joe", where he is the lead? Believe it!

They say that a decision is everything. One small decision can shake the very fabric of the world, turn it on it's head, and change the lives of everyone involved. The film Uncertainty deals with the unpredictable nature of decisions, and the various outcomes that could come from the different ones presented to you. It's a lucrative topic that can provide a wonderful amount of content and substance that will make a great film. So, why does this suck? A clever gimmick can carry a film (see Brick). But, you also need a good script and story to help out, and Uncertainty has neither, instead relying specifically on the setup to keep the audience interested. It's a lazy attempt at the dual plot thing perfected by Memento. 

Motion Blur!

July 29, 2010

LAMBcast #32: Dream a Little Dream of Me

In which Dylan, Nick, Rachel, Tom, and I go in depth about that tricky little flick, Inception. We talk about the ending, for, I don't know, a good 20 minutes, among other things. This long as hell conversation is followed up by a few games of Last Lamb Standing, one which I handily won, and then some heated Trailer Talk. Enjoy!


No JGL post today, I was too worn out from thoroughly embarrassing myself hosting LAMBcast #33, which recorded last night. Not to worry, we'll be back up tomorrow with another review. I'm almost at the end of my list, and I'm loving what people are sending me. Keep it coming.

July 28, 2010

According to the Movies #6

If the movies say it, it must be true!

In keeping with the whole, Joseph Gordon-Levitt thing going on here, this weeks lesson comes courtesy of, not one, but two of his movies. In the films Manic, and (500) Days of Summer, JGL acts opposite one, Zooey Deschanel. In both movies, they are romantically linked. Both romances are two of the most honest and sweet in all of cinema. In Manic, the find peace in each other's arms. In (500) Days of Summer, they engage in 500 day long relationship, the likes of which I could only dream of.

The Lesson: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel BELONG together!

Addendum: Bear in mind that this may just be me trying to live out some sort of fantasy of mine. I am madly in love with both JGL and ZD, so, I might not be thinking like a rational human being right now. Just something to think about.

The Dark Side

Day 7 of my serenading of JGL will grab you like a doll, throw you into the air, beat you into the ground, and leave you sobbing like a baby!

There's something to be said about indie movies. I'm not talking about the indie movies that have huge stars and warrant all kinds of Oscar buzz. Little Miss Sunshine and The Kids Are All Right are not the kind of indie films I'm talking about. I'm talking about the indie movies with little to no budget, stars no one even knew existed, that barely get noticed at all once they finish the festival circuit. Now, why do these films deserve your veneration? They are the films where the best talent is seen, where the truly ballsy things emerge. Small, unnoticed indie films are the places where storytelling boundaries are pushed, incredibly risky choices are made, and, surprise, they usually turn out all the better. If you want a good example of what I'm spewing, look no further then Mysterious Skin. This 2004 festival darling is one the most difficult movies to sit through. It is so unrelenting in its portrayal of teens coping with sexual abuse, among other things, that it makes you want to curl up into a little ball and wish the movie away. But, it's not going away, because, even though it deals with incredibly dark subject matter, Mysterious Skin is amazing, featuring pitch-perfect performances, seriously strong writing, and stylish direction. It is a difficult thing to stomach, but it is incredibly satisfying when you do. 

The Lost Boys

July 27, 2010

Nowhere To Be Found

Day 6 of my never ending tongue bathing of Joseph Gordon-Levitt is total cop out!

Before I get into what the point of this article is, I just want to lay down some law, if you don't mind. Hold on a sec.

Microphone on!

Volume cranked!



Although, I must say. It is kinda cool that he and I share the same name. This means that when I break into the business (fingers crossed), he and I will have to compete for who will be called Sebastian Gutierrez, and who will be called the other Sebastian Gutierrez! Place your bets.

Ok, on to the point of this article.

So, the movie Women in Trouble. Written and directed by me Sebastian Gutierrez, starring Carla Gugino, Sarah Clarke, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Josh Brolin, Simon Baker, and a few others. It concerns a bunch of women, all of the porn star, hooker, philandering wife, demographic, who are all interconnected over 24 hours in someway or other. It's like Crash or Babel, except only women.

Ok, so, why doesn't this get a review from me? Because, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who received some of the top billing on this film, is nowhere to be seen. I'm only doing films that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in, and he is not in this movie. Well, that's technically no true. He is in a six minute segment where he interviews two of the characters, but that is post credits. Doesn't count. Most people don't sit through credits.

So, in order to give this post some meaning, I give to you the six minute scene that Gordon-Levitt was in. He is flat out hysterical in it, only showing, yet again, how much he puts into his work, even when that character in question is small as hell.

Ok, I will review this movie, but after I've satisfied myself on JGL.

July 26, 2010

Trailer Trash: TRON: Legacy

It's time to root through some trailers! What sort of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

I'm going to take a quick break from relentlessly groveling at Joseph Gordon-Levitt's feet to talk about the latest trailer for what is now, with Inception in the past, my most anticipated movie of the year!

TRON: Legacy is the sequel to the 1982 cult favorite. In this new one, Kevin Flynn is apparently trapped in the computer simulation, and it is up to his son, Sam, to insert himself into TRON and save him. It sounds like a good enough plot for a sequel, especially since the first didn't really have all that great of a plot to begin with.

Jeff Bridges returns to his iconic role as Flynn, though, if this trailer is anything to go on, he will be playing the villain as well as the hero. Thanks to some special effects wizardry, Bridges can now look twenty years younger, letting him play two characters, Flynn, and the villainous Clu 2.0. Garret Hedlund is Sam, and Olivia Wilde is his ally, Quorra. Michael Sheen and James Frain show up in the mix as well. Damn impressive looking cast, if I do say so myself.

This trailer is pretty much sex! It's visually stunning, has some great music, courtesy of Daft Punk, and delves far deeper into the plot than the previous ones. It's not quite as cool as the initial teaser that saw two nameless foes duke it out on Light Cycles, but it's more then enough to whet my appetite as I wait feverishly for December 17th. This is one sick trailer for one sick looking movie! I'm excited as hell!

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Day 5 of JGL fever is gonna mess you up!

You know a movie is indie when you look at the first few frames and all you want to do is throw up from motion sickness. If you haven't figured out my opinion on the matter, I'll just lay it out for you. I believe that style, when used effectively, can salvage lack of substance, somewhat. A movie may have nothing in the story or acting department, but it can cover for it with a certain sense of slickness. Look at Wanted. That's what I believe, but I also believe that it can work in the opposite direction. Too much style can squander substance, especially when the substance in question is very well crafted. Manic is such a film. This 2001 indie boasts strong writing and incredibly powerful performances, but, the cinema verité look that the director chose to go with distracts from those things so much that you sometimes don't even notice them. It single handedly brings this film down from a YAY, to an eh.

You couldn't get more screwed up than this if you tried!

July 25, 2010

Gangsta Kids With Latchkey Parents

Day 4 of the JGL craze is... interesting. This is a film that he barely features in, but, since I saw it, I figured I might as well review it.

There's always at least one of those people. You know who I'm talking about. A privileged white kid who is so oppressed by all the misfortune in their life (ha) that they adopt a gangsta lifestyle, and go around acting like total assholes all the time. You know, the kids who wear the mint condition Laker caps at ridiculous angles, rock the BluBlocker sunglasses like they're going out of style, sag their pants so low they might as well not be wearing them, and talk with such vulgar, misogynistic syntax that all you want to do is punch them in the face? Yeah, you know those guys. Well, if you have an aversion to people like that, stay far the fuck away from Havoc, because that's all you're gonna get! This, supposed, deconstruction of the teen, thug lifestyle has a few good things going for it, but all of them get lost in a juvenile script, ridiculous performances, and a mindset so immature that you feel dumber for having watched it.

Crank dat!

July 24, 2010

This Advice Is Free, I Give, and Honest

Day 3 of my JGL extravaganza focuses on a film of a different nature then what he has been churning out as of late.

So, I don't know if you've heard, but there was this guy named Shakespeare. Kind of a big deal back in his day. Wrote a few plays; they were very well received; you know how it is. Anyway, the guy's legacy is pretty far reaching. You'll be hard pressed to walk into a video store and not find a film version of one of his plays or a reimagining of them. In 1999 we got, not necessarily the most original adaptation of a Shakespeare, but, for my money, one of the best. Very well written, and smartly acted, 10 Things I Hate About You is a funny, sweet film that, while not a masterpiece, is still worth your time.


July 23, 2010

It Comes From the Sea

Yes, I did see Salt tonight, and I will post something about it, but, for now, I don't want anything to distract from JGL. So, you'll have to wait. :)

A Quick Detour

I'll get back to blasting through his filmography in a bit, but take a look at this. This is on the front of JGL's website hitRECord.org. It's a site where people are meant to come together and collaborate in making art. JGL doesn't want to just work with the Hollywood crowd; he wants to work with everyone. It's really cool. Here is a short film that he himself made with the help of a whole bunch of people. Just watch this for me, real fast.

Isn't that brilliant? There's more where that came from. Head over to his site to see what he and a whole bunch of other people have come up with.

Power Is Everything

Day 2 of the my JGL extravaganza focuses on another small, unnoticed film of his. This one came out in 2007, and ranked third on my list of best of the year. It's also one of his best performances, and that is definitely saying something.

Quick. You have ten seconds. Name as many movies as you possibly can that involve a bank robbery. Go ahead. Do it.
As you no doubt have just figured out, the list is pretty friggin' long! Bank robberies are one popular topic in film, so, you have to wonder, how does one make a heist film stand out among to pack? Well, for starters, one watches and observes everything that The Lookout does. This 2007 crime-thriller is a perfect example of how to make that tried and true concept fresh and exciting. Bolstered by incredibly strong performances and smart writing, The Lookout is one caper that deserves a spot on your shelf.

Ozymandias and Cobra Commander=A Match Made In Hell!

July 22, 2010

Lycee de la Peur

I'm kicking off my Joseph Gordon-Levitt Blog-a-thon today with a seminal piece of his. This is one of the films that really put him on the map and made all the indie critics wake up and take notice.

High school is a scary place. We've all been through it, and we all know how ridiculous it can be sometimes. Brick is a film set in high school that fully embraces how absurd it all is with a truly inspired idea. Brick takes the tone, plot, and dialogue of hardboiled detective stories from the film noir days, and mixes them into the world of lockers, teenage angst, after hours partying, and all that other stuff that made up your high school career. It's also damn good, wonderfully witty, devilishly twisted, with some superb performances to boot.

And you thought your teenage years were bad.

July 21, 2010

According to the Movies #5

If the movies say it, it must be true!

This weeks lesson is actually two lessons. Both come to you courtesy of Roland Emmerich and the end of the world. 2012 is a film that goes under the assumption that the Mayans were right all along about the apocalypse, and uses this setup as an excuse to cause untold amounts of destruction at easily recognizable landmarks. Anyway, the first lesson is actually given to us by a character in the film. See, right before the mayhem begins, the government assures everyone that everything is fine, that there is nothing to worry about, and, well, take a look. You can stop watching after the first minute. It's just relentless disaster porn!

Lesson #1: When they tell you not to panic, that's when you run!

The second lesson is given to us in the very end of the film. Throughout the whole movie, the characters travel all over the place, foolishly throwing themselves in front of every major disaster as they search for salvation. They do eventually find it, and, once the powers of nature have had their fun destroying pretty much everything, the survivors being to look for a place to begin anew. Where do they go? Africa. Why? Because it wasn't even touched! Yes, amid all the earthquakes, volcanoes, and ridiculously large tsunamis that were relentlessly pummeling the world, Africa got away scott free!

Lesson #2: In the event that the world comes to an end thanks to earthquakes, volcanoes, and ridiculously large tsunamis, don't go globe trotting, throwing yourself in the path of every disaster as you look for safety. Head to Africa! Africa won't even be touched!

A JGL Blog-a-thon!

Over the next few days, I'm going to be going on a quest! Now that the rest of the world is finally aware of how much of a mad crazy brilliant artist Joseph Gordon-Levitt is thanks to Inception, I'm going to be blasting through his filmography. Well, not the whole filmography, but all the ones that are available to me. So, over the next few days, I'm going to posting write-ups on the likes of Brick, 10 Things I Hate About You, Uncertainty, Mysterious Skin, Manic, The Lookout, Havoc, Shadowboxer, Women in Trouble, and, of course, (500) Days of Summer, which I actually didn't post a full review about, although I don't really know how much else I can say on that film. I'll end with a write-up on the man in general. Maybe, y'all don't really understand why I have such an unconditional love for this guy. As with all blog-a-thons, I'm opening the doors to you all, so, if you want to contribute, please do. Reviews of films JGL has been in (this includes Inception). A review of his whole body of work. A write up of why all child actors should follow his lead. A post of why you desperately want to sleep with him. Whatever you want. Send it my way. You'll be satisfactorily represented!

July 19, 2010

Trailer Trash: The Social Network

It's time to root through some trailers. What sort of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

This weeks trailer spotlight is David Fincher's The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. As is well known, it chronicles the story of the creation of Facebook, and the ensuing legal battle that took place as a result. Now, I'm not wise to any sort of legal battle that took place, so, I'll just take the movie at its word in that regard.

Anyway, Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, the man who created that wonderful time waster. Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg's business partner. Garfield has a lot on the line. This is the movie that will convince me on whether or not he has the chops to pull off that spandex clad web crawler in the ill advised reboot of Spider-Man. Justin Timberlake is Sean Parker, Facebook's first president. Pretty strong looking cast, if you ask me.

So, on to the trailer. Ummm... it's a lukewarm opinion that I find myself having. The movie looks cool, to be sure, but, the only thing that is different is that it's not a voice over. The dialogue is more or less the same as the other previews, but, this time, we actually see the actors saying the words instead of the ingenious IM chat conversation that made up the previous one. So, it doesn't seem to add anything new, but, what was already there looked good to being with. I'm just hoping I'll have time to see it when it comes out, as I will be embroiled in the whole college thing when it does.

On another note, I love the operatic version of Radiohead's "Creep" that is played in the background. That sounds awesome!

July 16, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Thank God for Christopher Nolan! Thank God that there is at least one man out there who still has the talent, the chops, hell, the damn decency to make an intelligent action movie. It's been said before, but I'll say it again. This summer has sucked! There hasn't been one, truly spectacular film so far. Usually, the season brings us at least a few. We had Star Trek, Up, District 9, and (500) Days of Summer last year, Iron Man, WALL-E, and Nolan's own The Dark Knight in 2008. Well, all your petty grievances can be laid to rest. Summer 2010 is back on track! Inception is here, and it is brilliant! You thought The Dark Knight was good? You ain't seen nothing yet!

Let's see Batman do this! 

LAMBcast #30: Animation Domination (Part 2)

The culmination of our Pixar roundtable. Enjoy!

July 15, 2010

Midnight Movie: 2010

Well, here I am. Sitting in a slowly filling up IMAX theatre. What am I here for, you ask? I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count. Go ahead. Guess. I'll wait.

INCEPTION, you tosser! It's my annual midnight movie premiere. Last year, I foolishly attended an after hours screening of TRANSFORMERS 2. Imagine my displeasure. I'm hoping to remedy that this year. I still got a good two hours before showtime, so, I'm gonna get real comfortable here. Tagging along, as always, is my mate from the spawning pit, Nic. This is gonna be fun. Review in a few hours. See you then.

Say hi, Nic!

The line.

The first few members of the crowd!
Oh boy!

- Posted from my phone. Ain't technology grand?

July 14, 2010

According to the Movies #4

If the movies say it, it must be true!

This weeks lesson is brought to you courtesy of Battlefield Earth. Remember that flick? No? Alright then. Based on the first half of the L. Ron Hubbard supa-epic, the film tells the story of how primitive humans rise up to defeat the surprisingly stupid Psychlos, an alien race that has occupied their planet. Put simply, Battlefield Earth is one of the most hysterically bad movies ever made. So hysterically bad, in fact, that my friend and I are planning, at some point, to record an MST3K style commentary over it, that is, if we can muster up the courage to watch it again. Anyway, the main draw of the movie is John Travolta's absurd performance as the big, bad, Psychlo, Terl. Let me give you a taste.

The Lesson: No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much weird stuff you take part in on a daily basis, nothing you ever do will be as weird or as ridiculous or as stupid as Terl. Take heart! You'll be ok!


July 11, 2010

LAMBcast #29: Animation Domination

On this episode of the LAMBcast, Dylan, Jess, Tom, and I discuss one thing, and one thing only. Pixar. It got kind of epic when we were recording, so this one was split into two episodes. Part 2 will be coming later.

July 10, 2010

Groovers and Mobsters Present: The Final Frontier

Here's my submission to this month's Groovers and Mobsters Present:. For this lovely month of July, the topic was films set in space. I wrote about a small film that went largely unnoticed in theaters and on video, but one that you should check out. It's something else.

July 9, 2010

Thrill of the Kill

As one casually, and by casually I mean hysterically, waits for Inception, the choices at the theatre begin to look mighty unappealing, not that they didn't already. After the sheer awfulness that was The Last Airbender, nothing really looked up to snuff, so to speak, so forgive me if I went into Predators with decidedly low expectations. Imagine my surprise when I came out pleasantly surprised. I'm sorry. I liked this movie. I liked this movie a lot. Sure, it has problems, but, when a film is so unabashedly unapologetic about what it is, in this case a bloody as hell, relentlessly violent, B-movie, I can't help but enjoy it. Hate me if you will, but Predators is one of the best movies of the summer, because it's one of the only movies of the summer to provide exactly what was promised, a seriously fun, damn well made action flick! It's not perfect, but, it didn't need to be.

Just think. If they had upgraded their guns just a little more, they might've actually hurt the Predator! 

July 7, 2010

According to the Movies #3

If the movies say it, it must be true!

This week's lesson comes courtesy of the comedy, Role Models. Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott are two losers who are forced into working at a daycare-ish place as community service for crashing their car into a statue. Anyway, Paul Rudd's character is desperately in love with his ex, played here by Elizabeth Banks. The final scene sees him climb on top of a car, in front of a huge crowd, and serenade her with a terribly bastardized version of "Beth", by Kiss.

The Lesson: Nothing says "I love you" to a girl like a pathetic attempt to sing a love song in front of a big group of people, the majority of which you have never even said one word to in your entire life.

Addendum: Keep in mind, this only works on the fairer sex. Try this on a guy, and he will leave you in the dust!

July 5, 2010

Defined As When the Moon Passes Over the Sun

Ok, let me confess something! I have no idea how to write this review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Everything I say will have zero effect on formulating your opinion of this franchise. But, you have to start somewhere, right? Let me say this. I walked out of Eclipse with a slightly more enthusiastic pop in my step then there had been with the other Twilight movies. That is to say, there was a pop in my step. Don't get me wrong, Eclipse is still a pretty painful, at times excruciating, film to sit through. But, the improvements here are noticeable enough that the anguish is lessened significantly!

World's Most Unconvincing Love Triangle

July 4, 2010

Once Upon A Time... In 1776

Happy Pyrotechnics Day everyone! Let's not be too jingoistic!

July 2, 2010

There's Wizardry Afoot!

Look. I know we all have our own vehement opinions on this one, so, I'll make this as concise as possible, which, for me, is saying something.

LAMBcast #28: Dog Days

In which Nick of Random Rambings of a Demented Doorknob, Dylan of Blog Cabins, Jason of Invasion of the B Movies, Branden of Foolish Blatherings, and myself, discuss this summer at the movies, and why it sucks. It's followed up by a few games of Last Lamb Standing and some heated Trailer Talk. Enjoy.

July 1, 2010

Broken! Not Bent!

Summer 2010 will go down in history as THE WORST SUMMER MOVIE SEASON EVER!!! Seriously, what game are the filmmakers trying to pull here? Studios! Are you intentionally giving us shit, because, if you are, just tell us, and then we'll stop going. There have been some truly terrible movies this past summer, ranging from dumb rom-coms to joyless action flicks, but none of them sink to the level of The Last Airbender. The latest film from has-been director M. Night Shyamalan is one of startling ineptitude and infuriating laziness. Summer 2010 has hit a record breaking benchmark in terms of drek.

Bald is the new mohawk!