December 31, 2010

2010: The Retrospect

Well, folks, that's that. 2010 has finally been laid to rest. It was a good year, filled with many ups and downs, and like so many before it, it went too fast. And that one's on you God! You didn't have to take it. And with that, we scatter 2010's ashes in what we assume to be in accordance with it's final wishes.

"opens up coffee can, and scatters ashes, which blow into The Dude's face"

Sorry about that. I had Lebowski on the mind. Anyway, come midnight tonight, 2010 will be history. And like any good film blogging human of this earth, I will be spending the next few days reflecting on 2010 and all it's cinematic offerings. Join me, won't you, as I list off all the various do-dads and what not of what made 2010 a year to remember.

Here's the schedule! Hope to see all of you there with your thoughts!

Jan 1: Top 5 Best Lines
Jan 2: Top 5 Best Posters
Jan 3: Top 5 Best Trailers
Jan 4: Top 5 Best Scenes
Jan 5: Top 5 Best Soundtracks
Jan 6: MVPs of the Year (Acting)
Jan 7: MVPs of the Year (Directing)
Jan 8: Top 5 Most Anticipated for 2011
Jan 9: Top 5 Worst Films of 2010
Jan 10: Top 10 Best Films of 2010

Alright, time for another furry. This is a toucan!


December 29, 2010

Into the Sunset

2010's windin' on down to a close here, pardner. Lookin' like we done gots ourselves slim pickins from here on out the rest uh de year. What you suppose we do about it?

Sorry, I'll stop with that hopelessly contrived western accent. Yes, 2010 only has a good three days left, and then we are to 2011. Because of this, the influx in quality cinematic entertainment has been fast and furious, as it is every winter. We've had a lot, but I think we are officially at then end of the line. After all those tales of psychotic ballerinas, stammering kings and drugged out fighters, we have reached the conclusion. Rounding out the pack, and closing the book on 2010 is True Grit. It's a western of the highest class, beautifully shot, very well acted and directed, with a great sense of the era in which it is set. Though the movie is very nearly undone by one terrible mistake, it's still worth every penny you will spend on it.

Ok, ok! The Dude abides! I'm sorry!

December 27, 2010

RIP 2010

You've been good to us!

December 26, 2010

Eloquence of the Highest Order

Happy Birthday to me! The big 19! Here! How bout' a review of The King's Speech? It's my birthday gift to you!

Man, I love Christmas Break! Aside from the obvious - no school, no homework, going to sleep late, waking up late, skiing, real food, tons of gifts, my birthday, etcetera and so forth - the weeks between semesters is the only time I really have to see all the movies that a film blogger of my self-determined credibility needs to see. Which is why I'm getting to The King's Speech so late in the game. My plan is to see all the rest of the heavy hitters before the year is done. That way, I can participate in the year end lists actually knowing about most of the films being talked about. Still have to get to 127 Hours though. That one is hard to find...

Anyway. The King's Speech. There's a reason that this one is getting a lot of press. It's great, very well told, superbly acted, with a wonderful sense of humor. This one is gunning for the big O! It has the cajones to go all the way.


December 24, 2010

Bio Digital Jazz, Man!

I know we're adverse to facing the music, but let's just be honest! The fanboys are running everything! Don't believe me? Fine! Chew on this. Video games are a fast growing form of legitimate entertainment. The most profitable movies are the ones that involve mystical worlds, monsters, magic, and lots of digital spectacle. Oh, and Tron: Legacy got made! Convinced? The first Tron didn't make much of a splash, didn't do all that well at the box office, and, let's face it, does not hold up at all today. But, it amassed a cult following and is now considered a tentpole of the beginning of the CGI movement. Then, something happened. The fanboys that made up the cult following of Tron took over the world, and now, 28 years after the fact, we have a sequel.

Ok, I'll admit, I've seen this twice. I would say I saw it once to get the story, and then again to get the meaning, but such a lie has never been uttered... on this blog. No, the truth is that I fell asleep in the first viewing. I know. That's bad, but I had just arrived back home in SF and had not slept at all the night before. Don't hate on me! Now that the full thing is comfortably swimming around in my system, I finally have an opinion. It's good, not great, with the best use of special effects and 3D since Avatar, but carries all the story and script issues that plagued that eye-gasm. If anything, it's a testament to how far CGI has come! This is a visually stunning, but shallow and pointless, tour de force!

Game On!

December 22, 2010

Water and Electricity

Uh... so... yeah...

Sorry for the gap in content. I, foolishly, spilled some water on my computer and had to get it taken in to the Apple store in San Fran to get it fixed. They told me it would just take a day, but, here I am, three days later, and they still have not called me. I am actually out of town now, using a older computer that is decidedly lacking some of the things I need, like Photoshop and what not. Anyway, that's why you didn't get a Trailer Trash, or a Cinematic Captions, or an According to the Movies this week. Apologies. I'll be hitting the theaters in the coming days, seeing all that remains to be seen in this, the year of our... president, 2010. Keep in touch. I haven't given up on you yet!

Thumbs up!

December 19, 2010

Jab, Jab, Uppercut, KO!!

Gotta love the inspirational sports flick, don't ya? I mean, they're just so uplifting, right? An underdog rises to the top with the help of his loved ones, deals with issues along the way, almost loses everything in the final hour, and then returns a new man and defeats the defending champ, who is a total dick. It's nice to know that this tried and true formula hasn't been done to death and that all these elements haven't at all become cliches.
Ha ha ha ha ha! Had you going there for a second, didn't I? No, for real though, it's actually kinda scary how religiously sports films follow the same formula! ATTENTION FILM MAKERS!!! YOUR FILM IS NOT GOING TO EVER MATCH ROCKY!!! STOP TRYING!!! I will say this though. If a film can take the cliches but do them well and layer them on top of other things like good acting and some cool stylistic choices, then I'll turn a blind eye. The Fighter is such a film. Put simply, The Fighter is one of the best examples of this genre since Rocky introduced it to us. Not only does it handle the tried and true story of an underdogs meteoric rise to the top, but it adds to it with a harrowing depiction of drug addiction and a family on the verge of exploding. That, and some of the coolest boxing scenes to come around in a long while. Oh, and some stupendous acting. You'll like this one, methinks.


December 18, 2010

On Point

Friggin' ballerinas, man! I mean, I've danced on stage before, and yeah, it's hard, especially given that when I dance on stage, it usually involves some combination of acting and singing. But, damn! I can't even begin to fathom how friggin' brutal the life of a professional dancer must be. The physical toll must be tremendous! And if Black Swan, the brilliant new film from Darren Aronofsky, is anything to go on, the psychological toll must be out of this world. Black Swan is, plain a simple, a great film, masterfully crafted, wonderfully atmospheric, with a slew of pitch perfect performances. It's also, quite possibly, one of the most scary and disturbing movies I've ever seen. This is one film that's gonna be sticking with me for awhile and one that easily finds a spot among my favorite films of the year. Black Swan is tough, but it is fantastic!


December 16, 2010

Smooth Flight! Minimal Turbulence!

Well, color me dumbfounded, because I am a douche! When the trailers for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole came out, I scoffed. Why the hell should I care about some kiddy movie about birds. Even when I heard that Zack Snyder was directing it, I still scoffed. I viewed it as Snyder selling out, doing something lame and not worth his time to rake in a few extra dollars in between making his next exploration of awesome!!! And then I saw the thing. Wow! I certainly didn't expect that. Guardians is not the kiddy, overly dramatic film that was advertised. What it is is a surprisingly mature, dark and violent tale told with a truly marvelous aesthetic touch. Though the story and script leaves something to be desired, and some of the character interactions and motivations are hopelessly contrived, Guardians is a film that should not be overlooked. It's not as kiddy as was advertised. It's a technical marvel. It's just good, plain and simple!

Aesthetic Pleasures

December 14, 2010

Cinematic Captions #3

Alright folks! Put your cleverness hats on. Time to get creative!

Alright, the big reveal. Who won last week?

Honorable Mention: Why didn't I take the Blue Argentinian? (Courtesy of Univarn)

And the winner is... Simon!!!

The Leaderboard:

Simon (1)

Alright, next round. Here you go!

Have fun!

December 13, 2010

Trailer Trash: Thor

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


It's Thor! A Norse God goes around wrecking shit for two hours. And, it's directed by Kenneth Branagh! What the hell else do you need to know?

December 10, 2010

Shuffler's On the Prowl

So, there's a new show on the block, one that's a bit different from anything else out there. Though it seems like just yesterday it premiered, the first season has come to an end. The show in question? The Walking Dead, aka, my new favorite show.

Yeah, I know. You're amazed that I watch anything other Glee. To that, I say, nay! I don't watch much TV, and when I do, a lot of it is taken up by that musical showgasm, but, give a guy a break. At least I'm diverse. Being that zombies are the only form of horror that I can stand, and the only form that I view as something more than a cheap way to scare people, I was super excited for The Walking Dead. What did I think about the first season of this season's hottest new show? Well, if I told you now, you wouldn't have to read the rest of the post. I wouldn't be a good blogger if I did that. How could you think that of me? Jeez!

Must Go Faster!

December 9, 2010

Glee Review: A Very Glee Christmas

You know, that brings up a good point. What is the difference between a Santa elf and a slave?

Tis the season bitches, and not even McKinley High is above celebrating the most magical time of the year. The teachers all draw names for Secret Santa, and the glee club attempts to raise money for the homeless by caroling around the school. Both ventures fail epically, Secret Santa because the whole thing is rigged by Sue so she would be the only one whose name got drawn, and the caroling because people still hate the glee club., resorting to throwing shoes at them and shouting, "You're making me hate Christmas!" as they walk out.

Meanwhile, Artie rallies the club to play along with the fact that Brittany, not surprisingly, still believes in Santa. Brittany's wish this year is for Artie to walk, which, as anyone with a brain can tell you, is impossible. So, Artie, Bieste, Will, and Brittany's parents fashion an extremely complex plan to let Brittany know that Artie can't walk without destroying her belief in Santa. Ai-yi-yi!

Also, Finn and Rachel break it off for real, as if last week's break up didn't count.

Now that some serious plot lines are out of the way, this episode was a return to Glee's former glory. A Very Glee Christmas was chock full of ridiculous plots, great humor, and some solid songs. The Brittany/Santa thing is a little hard to believe, but it was honestly very sweet to see Artie go to such lengths to keep her happy. Who knew their relationship had gotten so serious so quickly. Sue rigging the Secret Santa was a wonderful return to her usual shenanigans, and when the cherry on top is her dressing up as the Grinch to steal all the presents from the choir room. Priceless.

Song wise, this episode was pretty good. The clubs soulful rendition of "The Most Magical day of the Year" was great; Kurt and Blaine's duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was decent enough, even though the song is creepy as hell; the finale "Welcome Christmas" from How the Grinch Stole Christmas was alright. Rachel's two songs were just ok. It's not that they're bad. It's just that it's the same stuff we've seen her do countless times. I wish she would give up on the ballads, and sing a raucous show stopper already.

Humor wise however, this episode was on point! The scene where the club goes to see Santa had me rollicking the whole time, especially when Mike states that he wants Channing Tatum to stop being in stuff. Brittany had some winner lines, and it was a delight to see Sue up to her old tricks again. To see Sue dress up as the Grinch and Becky dress up as Max, and then see her drag a wagon full of presents as Sue lunged on top of it, was pure comic gold!

All in all, it was a decent episode that proudly returned Glee to its old ways. There are some things that drag it down. Rachel trying to win back Finn was annoying as all holy hell! But, the ending, which sees Artie "walk" for the first time was really sweet. Speaking of which, how the hell does Bieste have that much money? Just something to think about.

So, that's it for now. Glee returns in February. This first half of the season, not gonna lie, was a little lackluster. For every Britney/Brittany or The Substitute we got an Audition or a Never Been Kissed to go with it. Hopefully, in the interim, Ryan Murphy will take a critical look at Glee and revamp it. He'll take out the pointless celebrity cameos. He'll do away with tribute episodes. Everything will be good. Although, it's been reported that Katie Couric will be on the first episode to air in February, and that episode will feature "Thriller". Uh-oh!

December 8, 2010

Actors Being Actors

This is really cool. Check it out if you haven't already!


Bright Blue Lights

I'm from San Francisco, so it's required that I hate that other city to the south of us. Sorry. Sure, I have friends Los Angeles and even applied to some colleges in the area. But, my San Francisco pride remains strong! Which means I'm thrilled about influx of films depicting LA as it gets the ever living crap kicked out of it. Aliens seem to be a popular way to go about showing the City of Angel's destruction, and Skyline is leading the charge. Unfortunately, for the messiah that will usher in the destruction So-Cal's pride and glory, it's kind of a lame duck. Sorry to say it, but Skyline sucks, and I mean really sucks! What started as some stock footage that wowed the crowd at Comic-Con has turned into a painfully bad, cliche ridden tale of extra-terrestrial mayhem. State of the art effects can't save it. Cool premise can't save it. This one is DOA!

Oh crap!

December 7, 2010

Cinematic Captions #2

Ok, so. I can't be bothered to come up with funny lines for every single screen grab that I get my hands on, so I'm going to take a leaf of advice form Castor and change up CC. It is now interactive, a game, if you will. Every week, I'll post a picture, and then you, the loyal reader, will sound off in the comments with your witty phrase. The winner will be announced the following week, with their phrase proudly etched into the picture. I'll make a leader board. You'll fight tooth and nail to get on it. It'll be spectacular! Ok then. Let's do it.

Impress me!

December 6, 2010

Trailer Trash: The Beaver

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

Soooooo... Mel Gibson. Crazy dude, right? Kind of a jerk, it would seem. It must suck to be Jodie Foster right now. Imagine this. You're trying to promote your new movie, in which you star and direct, and your male lead is making headlines for spewing phrases that would make the leaders of the Klan blush and squirm uncomfortably. I don't know about you, but I'd be a little distressed if that were the case. Wonder how Jodie's coping with it? Yeesh...

The Beaver is about a man, Walter Black, who finds himself in a mind numbing depression after being kicked out of his house by his wife and less than loving children. He can't pull himself out of it, until one day, when he finds a beaver in the form of a hand puppet in the garbage. He puts it on his hand, and, crazily enough, the beaver takes on a life of its own. Soon, Walter is living vicariously through this beaver, and all looks good, until the beaver starts to exert more control over his life. When his family tries to pull him back to them, Walter finds himself struggling to come back to reality.

Sooo... yeah. Mel Gibson. He's Walter, and, here's the crazy thing. People who have seen this movie say Gibson is fantastic in it. Like, it's a career best for him, and a serious Oscar contender, that is, if he weren't the intolerant douche bag he is in real life. Oscar doesn't want to give out it's main acting award to a jerk. It's shame, because if Gibson is, in fact, as good as this trailer makes him out to be, and as good as people are saying, then some award love would only be fitting. Jodie Foster and Anton Yelchin also show up as Walter's wife and son, respectively.

This trailer depresses the hell out of me. Those images of Walter lying on his bed, floating in his pool, or curled up on his couch are actually kinda heartbreaking. This looks like one of those movies. You know, a film that tugs at the heart strings and makes you empathize with the main character's plight in a very honest and realistic way. In other words, a damn good movie! The only problem? Mel! Fucking! Gibson! I doubt many people will be willing to give a film with him in it a shot. Well, bully for them. If the film is as good as the trailer makes it out to be, then they'll be missing out.

December 5, 2010

Muscle Milk

Men! We're a brutish subspecies, aren't we? For all our pandering, and romantic bullshit, and our useless groveling, we will always return to our most basic tendencies, those being, desiring to blow shit up, grunting, and doing excessively macho things like fighting wild boars or taking a bath in molten lava.
Ok, fine. Maybe that's a glorified description of how stupid men are compared to women, but, some of it strikes home. Traditionally, men will go for something fun, loud, and exciting, but ultimately hollow and forgettable. Which would explain why The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone's celebration of muscles and bullets and blood did so well at the box-office. It's a whiz-bang, hell of a good time action flick, but one that is devoid of all humanity and subtlety. Oh sure, it's a lot of fun, and you will walk away from the film chatting about how awesome that one part with the stuff and the thing was, but, wait a couple of days, and you'll be hard pressed to remember why you made such a big deal about it in the first place.

Lucky for us, no acting required!

December 2, 2010

Glee Review: Special Education

Am-badass-ador! Ha ha ha! Puck, you slay me!

With Kurt gone, Mr. Schu is struggling to find a new member of the club so they will be able to compete at sectionals. He finds one in the resident fatass Lauren. You know, that whale of a girl who wanted Mr. Schue's babies in Brittany/Britney, and the one who got him sick in The Substitute? Yeah, that girl. She's a bitch! Big deal. Not the point of the episode.

As the club gears up for Sectionals, tensions don't just flare. They explode! Will finally realizes that he has been ignoring the other talent in the club in favor of Rachel and Finn, his two heavyweights. So, he pulls a fast one on everybody, declaring that Sam and Quinn will sing the opening ballad of their set list, and that the big number will be more dance centric so as to give Mike and Britney a chance to shine. Well, Rachel's pissed, and begins acting even more ridiculous than usual, stooping so low as to come into rehearsal with duct tape over her mouth as protest of being silenced, which causes Will to finally lose it with her. Powerful stuff. Meanwhile, Kurt is taught a lesson in humility when his tendencies to take control are rebuffed at the first rehearsal of his new club. He takes it a lot better than Rachel though.

On another note, Special Education was pretty heavy in terms of relationships. Santana finally spilled the beans on her and Finn sleeping together way back in Season 1, leading Rachel to drag him to couples therapy, and then cozy up to Puck. Artie and Brittany run into snags along with Mike and Tina when Artie and Tina begin to suspect that Mike and Brittany, who are spending a lot of time together rehearsing, are going at it. Oh, and Emma impulsively marries Carl. Yeesh!

I must say, it was sort of refreshing to see everyone blow up in each others faces like that. Sure, they all bicker at each other and whatnot, but they have always kept their emotions in check. To see people actually start shouting was a welcome change of pace. Gotta say though, I wanted to punch Rachel and Mercedes in the face in this episode, especially Rachel. She's always been a selfish bitch, but she was a raging selfish bitch in this episode. She claims to learn about being part of team and things like that, but the second she doesn't get a solo, she's goes crazy! It's gotten to the point where it's stopped being funny, and is just aggravating. I don't like the character anymore, and I was actually on Finn's side when he broke it off with her. While I think it was nice for all the other relationships in the club to remain intact, I think it was a good move for the writers to break up Rachel and Finn. They got together way too quickly, and they couldn't stay together forever. People would get bored.

Sang it sista!

Music wise, this episode was strong. The Warbler's rendition of "Hey, Soul Sister", led by Darren Criss, sounded awesome. Sam and Quinn's duet of "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" was beautiful, and soundly destroyed Finn and Rachel's duet of "Faithfully" from regionals last year. New Directions' big number, "Valerie", was a lot of fun, as was the finale of the episode, Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days are Over". The only weak song, if you can call it that, was Rachel and Kurt's rendition of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from Evita. It's not that it's a bad song. It's just that, compared to the raw power of the other numbers, it felt a little tame.

All the humor in this episode fell to Puck and Brittany. Puck was righteous hoot as he tried to get the other football players to man up and join glee. His version of the Bruce Springsteen story was hysterical, and I loved how he shouted Karofsky down for how he forced Kurt out. Brittany also had some winner lines, as when she confuses adultery with being stupid, or, as she puts it, being adult. Funny stuff.

I honestly don't know how I feel about Glee this week, or anymore, for that matter. There have been some very heavy plots being thrown into the mix, which is all well and good. I love me some serious drama, but it comes at a cost. The stuff that makes this show so great is being pushed to the side, that being, absurd humor, a celebration of cliches, and fun songs. The songs are still there, but the cliches are not so much being celebrated as they are being condemned, and the humor isn't anywhere near as biting. That could be because Sue hasn't been showing up as much, and her material isn't as strong when she does. Even so, Special Education was a decent episode. A lot of the dramatic stories were finished in this episode. Kurt's at Dalton, Rachel and Finn have broken it off, Emma's married (though it's not gonna last long. I'm calling it), and the club is moving on to Regionals. So, hopefully, now all this serious stuff is wrapped up, the show can return to its fun loving ways. I sure hope so!

So, Brittany does motocross. Strangely, that makes complete sense.

December 1, 2010

According to the Movies #19

If the movies say it, it must be true!

Have you noticed this? There has been something that bothered me about medieval films or fantasy films set in medieval times. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, until now. I was watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King just last night, and on that slo-mo shot of Miranda Otto's Eowyn cheering right before the Rohirrim charge, it hit me. All these people have such impeccable teeth!

Ok, hold up a sec! How is this possible? These people are living in medieval times. Last I checked, toothbrushes weren't exactly a popular commodity back in those days and dental hygiene wasn't explicitly a problem people felt they needed to concern themselves with. But, in these films, there they are, those pearly whites. 

Granted, only the leads have good teeth. Nothing gives away a villain like a disgusting set of chompers, but still. What's the deal? Let's look at some examples, shall we?


Well, this one's a bit dark, but believe me. They're immaculate!

Do you see? Look at those things!

Powerful stuff.

The Lesson: If you are a good guy in a film set in a time of castles, swords, shields, and bloody bloody warfare, chin up. At least your teeth will be pretty.

Cinema Code of Conduct

Here's my contribution to a meme that Wynter over at Cinema Scream is heading up. Here's how this one works. We post the picture you see below. Then, we come up with our own, additional rule to add to the list. Two days form now, on December 3, Wynter will write up a post with everyone's additional rule. Easy enough, right? He wants all of you to get involved as well. So, here's what you do. Download the picture here, and then post it to your... whatever you use, and then link back to Cinema Scream with your 11th rule. Let's see how many the Black Hole can churn out. Come on minions! We can do it!

The Black Hole's 11th Rule: No sleeping! Seriously! Yes, the actors on screen can't see you, but, you came to the theatre to observe their art. Show some bloody respect. And if you just can't keep your eyes open, then, for the love of Lucifer, do not snore! No one wants to hear that! Karate chops to the neck are allowed if you snore. Also, I have a pack of rabid dogs, and they have an appetite for balls! Do you want that? Didn't think so. Don't do it!