January 28, 2012

Sundance 2012: Final Thoughts

Sundance 2012: The Words Q&A

Sundance Review: The Words

Plagiarism is something that all writers struggle with, whether it be the urge to pass off somebody else's work as your own, or when someone does it to you. It's never a good feeling either way. If you get stolen from, you feel wronged that something you created is being taken credit for. If you do the stealing, you feel the guilt that comes with being a reasonable human being. This is the central dilemma in The Words, the star studded, closing night premiere at Sundance 2012. Unfortunately, The Words never rises above being more than a mildly compelling examination of the artistic ambition.

Sundance 2012: Sleepwalk With Me Q&A

Sundance Review: Sleepwalk With Me

Sometimes, all you need is a good comedy. I picked up tickets to Sleepwalk With Me sort of my accident. A woman had a bunch of different tickets to a bunch of different movies, and hawked this one off to me. And I'm very glad she did. Sleepwalk With Me is a very funny and occasionally touching film about stand-up, marriage, and sleep disorders. Like a good night's rest, it leaves you feeling satiated and happy.

January 27, 2012

Sundance 2012; Day 9

Sundance 2012: hitRECord

Courtesy of @areyouthatguy

Sundance Review: Shorts Program II

Shorts are interesting little buggers aren't they. In a way they are the more challenging movie to make, but they are also, in a way, easier to talk about. It's not easy to condense a full story into a 10 minute film, but when it comes time to discuss it, everything you saw is easier to pick out. Shorts Program II had seven films attached to it, and all followed the theme of searching for connection. Some were great, some good.

January 26, 2012

Sundance 2012: Day 8 Line 1

T-minus one hour and fifty minutes!

Sundance 2012: Thoughts On Moving the Masses

I woke up way later than intended to this morning and had to rush out the door, so some of my clothes might be on the wrong way today.

But I made it to my panel with plenty of time to spare. The panel dealt with the movements, activists, and protests that have become common place in the last year. On the panel was Lois Gibbs (a subject in A Fierce Green Fire), Peter Staley (a subject of Hoe To Survive a Plague), Omar Shargawi ( director of 1/2 Revolution), and author Naomi Wolf. All of them have been active in movements before, from the uprising in Cairo a year ago, to the Love Canal controversy in 1980.

Everyone had very interesting points, but there was a big gap with how Gibbs, Staley, and Shargawi viewed the matter from Wolf, especially when it came to journalism and documentaries. Shargawi, whose film deals with he and his friend's personal story in the Egyptian revolt, said change won't come unless you seduce people into doing it, and cinema is a way of doing that.

Wolf, on the other hand said that documentaries needs to become part of the news industry and distance itself from the film industry. She also took quite a lot of jabs at the Occupy movement, saying that since they weren't talking to the media, their message wasn't getting heard, and that's why they haven't really accomplished anything.

In addition to drawing some heated heckling from an audience member, it caused Gibbs to bring up a good point. Even though the Occupy movement isn't talking to anyone, they are still getting tons of press, which can only help. Wolf retaliated that their protest would accomplish more of they would appoint a spokesperson, and that government wouldn't be resorting to certain measures, like the British government threatening to use baton rounds on Occupy London.

Personally, I think the Occupy movement has its heart in the right place, but is completely aimless. And, to that end, I happen to agree with Wolf on the matter.

But that's a discussion for another day. Right now, I'm sitting pretty at lunch, and then it's off to the Holiday for a shorts program, and then… tonight …hitRECord!!! I'm shaking from anticipation… though that could just be from hunger. No way to know.

Sundance 2012: Day 8

Sundance 2012: California Solo Q&A

Sundance 2012: The Other Dream Team Q&A

Sundance 2012: Shadow Dancer Q&A

Sundance Review: California Solo

It seems that every actor has that chance to break back into the limelight with a small, character driven film, that sees him or her in the central role. Jeff Bridges had it with Crazy Heart, and it won him an Oscar. Gary Oldman had it with Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, and it better win him an Oscar. And now Robert Carlyle has is with California Solo, and his performance deserves and Oscar. Movie ain't all that bad either.

Sundance Review: The Other Dream Team

So, my dad has this shirt. It's kinda far out, and I'm pretty sure if I saw it whilst under the influence of some psychotropic drug (maybe "Soy Sauce"), that my head would explode. The shirt is tie-dye, for one, but that's not the crazy part. The crazy part is the skeleton dunking a basketball with LITHUANIA projected behind it in big block letters.

Ok, you probably know exactly what shirt I'm talking about. What I'm getting at is this. My dad attended the screening of The Other Dream Team with me and my mother. He told me that Sarunas Marciulionis was his favorite player of that era. And he's a HUGE fan of the Grateful Dead. So, of course he leaves the shirt at home. It was disappointing.

January 25, 2012

Sundance Review: Shadow Dancer

Remember a while back when I said that you should all check out the Red Riding Trilogy, and how it was a steely, cool slice of seedy, British crime. One of the directors that gave us that awesome series is James Marsh, who is more well known the Oscar winning documentary Man On Wire. He returns to the realm of middle class, British Isle based criminals and terrorists, and it's a return that could not have been more welcome.

Sundance 2012: Day 7

Sundance 2012: Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Q&A

Sundance Review: Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie


Sundance Review: Mosquita Y Mari

While I can't call it a full on failure, Mosquita Y Mari represents, for me, the first real dud of Sundance 2012. While I applaud the director's efforts to tell a story which is clearly meaningful to her, the story is nothing that hasn't been seen before, and isn't performed all that well by the actors involved. It is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks the imagination and ambition that sets the films from Sundance apart.

January 24, 2012

Sundance 2012: Day 6: Line 2

- Thoughts on Mosquita y Mari tomorrow. In a nutshell: eh.

Now I'm standing in line for Tim and Eric's BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE!!! I'm fourth in line, so that's pretty same good.


Sundance 2012: Day 6: Line 1

Christ, I am tired!

But getting to the Redstone was fairly pain free, and now I'm sitting pretty in line for Mosquita y Mari.

After this, it's right back to the Egyptian to get in line for Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. Hopeful, I am, but… my luck has to run out sometime.

'knock on wood'

Sundance 2012: Day 6

Sundance 2012: John Dies at the End Q&A

Sundance 2012: Red Lights Q&A

Sundance Review: John Dies at the End

Where to begin...

My friend told me about the book, John Dies at the End awhile back. From what he told me, it sounded absolutely ridiculous, with other dimensions, psychotropic drugs, and two swell dudes who destroy demons by playing Guns n' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine" really loud. And when I heard that Don Coscarelli, the director behind the positively loony Bubba Ho-Tep, was helming it, and he'd have the help of Paul Giamatti, I was in for the long run. And it was so worth the wait.

January 23, 2012

Sundance 2012: Day 5: Line 2

Midnight Movie! Midnight Movie! Midnight Movie!

Pleasant dinner with the folks, and now I have my number for the midnight premiere of John Dies At the End.

Number 17, which is good. I check in on the box office earlier, and it was sold out, but my luck has been pretty much impeccable so far, so… we'll see.

I have about two hours before I get back in line so, shacking up in Cows for the time being and seeing what Lisbeth Salander is getting up to.

Chapin, I'd you're reading this, it's ok to be jealous.

Sundance Review: Red Lights

One of my biggest... I wouldn't say fears, but concerns with our world is the fact that there, in fact, might be other forces at work other than what we know to be true. Like it or not, there are some things that just cannot be explained... and that sort of terrifies me. I got into Rodrigo Cotrés' Red Lights sort of by accident. The ticket was purchased when the screening was still listed as TBA, but I must say, I am very glad things worked out the way they did. Red Lights is rock solid, with superb performances, a gripping sense of suspense, and sublime direction. Though it does go off the rails in the final five minutes, it's still a tense and thrilling ride.

Sundance 2012: Day 5: Line 1

Having tickets before hand is such a luxury. I'm already seated for Red Lights. Super excited.

Review will probably go up later today, so keep a sharp eye.

And later, it's waiting again for John Dies At The End. Ridiculousness is sure to in abundance.


Sundance 2012: Day 5

Sign the Petition: http://invisiblewarmovie.com/
Join the Conversation: @Invisible_War

January 22, 2012

Sundance Review: The Invisible War

Rape is the most despicable crime that can be committed! You can argue against that, but you will never convince me otherwise. I don't care who you are, or what your relationship to me is. If you've done it, I have nothing to say to you. I can't fathom how anyone can say "Oh, it's the woman's fault", or whatever. It's awful. So, I was particularly interested in seeing The Invisible War, which deals with the epidemic of uninvestigated and unresolved sexual assault cases in the military. Director Kirby Dirk has excelled at exposing the bullshit permeating american society, whether it's with the MPAA or closeted politicians lobbying for anit-gay legislation. He busts open this particular problem with unflinching accounts from survivors struggling with the trauma and the men and women who have seen how careless the military commanders are. If you care, even remotely, about this issue, see this movie!

Sundance 2012: Day 4: Line 1

Changed my mind again. I decided not to wait in line for Arbitrage. It would require getting up earlier, and I'm tired.

So now, I'm in line at The MARC again. I am third in the wait list for The Invisible War, which jumped onto must see list after hearing Barbara Boxer talk about it during the Power of Story panel.

I'm really confident about my chances. If 74 can make it into to an evening premiere, 3 can make it into a morning screening of a film that's been shown twice already.

Merci beaucoup!

Sundance 2012: Day 4

Sundance 2012: Something From Nothing Q&A

Sundance Review: Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

I don't usually dig on rap music or hip-hop all that often. Look at my iTunes library, and you'll see an abundance of elaborate guitar solos, lyrical melodies, and pounding drums. Rock music is what I was bred on, and it's what I prefer, but every so often, I do get the urge to indulge in some heavy beats and creative lyrics. And because of that, I found Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap kind of fascinating. Directed by hip-hop legend Ice-T, this stylish and entertaining documentary offers great insight into the world and industry of hip-hop.

Sundance 2012: Celeste and Jesse Forever Q&A

Sundance Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Like the indie (and personal) darling from 2009, 500 Days of Summer, Celeste and Jesse Forever is quirky and comedic, but at the end of the day, honest and relatable look at an offbeat relationship. And while it's going to take a lot to trump Tom and Summer in my mind, Celeste and Jesse are quite the charming couple, despite their supremely unusual situation. The new film, which had its world premiere at this year's Sundance, is a touching, sweet, and absolutely hilarious dramedy that fulfills all the requirements of the genre. Relatable characters, smart dialogue, and genuine emotion. This one scores with flying colors. 

January 21, 2012

Sundance 2012: Day 3: Line 2

-Thoughts on Celeste and Jesse Forever will come tomorrow.

And now I'm back at The Marc, waiting to see if I'll get a ticket to Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. Ice-T directed it.

Sounds cool, but I have apprehensions. I'm number 74, and it is the premiere of the film, so that means a lot of heavy hitters will probably show up.

The Volunteer in charge of waitlist said, "the filmmaker might show up with a large party". I'm really hoping that my, likely dumb, delusions of how big rapper's entourages are prove to be false.

Peace up! A Town Down!!!

Sundance 2012: Day 3: Line 1

Well, thank you Park City transportation! The theatre loop shuttle was 30+ minutes late. So I get Eccles at around 8, and what do you know? Wait list line is closed because they were already at capacity.


Luckily, there was an elderly woman who was selling two tickets. Comped!! Now I'm near the front of the ticket holder line.

Boo-yah!! Another check in will come later.

Sundance 2012: Day 3

Sundance Review: West of Memphis

I am sad to inform you that I, a young, impressionable, American youth with some interest in what goes on in this country had next to no knowledge of The West Memphis 3 or the efforts to get them out of prison. I know. It's bad. If you see me on the street, feel free to throw rocks.

But, that in no way hindered my experience when watching West of Memphis, the new documentary directed by Amy Berg and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Put simply, this is one of the most engrossing and well made documentaries I've seen in a long time.

Sundance 2012: Wish You Were Here Q&A

Sundance Review: Wish You Were Here

Often times, what isn't being said makes all the difference. We go through something traumatic, but don't speak about it, because to speak about it would be to invite said trauma back into your life. Such is the conceit of Wish You Were Here, the new film by director Kieran Darcy-Smith, which saw it's premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie tells two stories; one about a relationship slowly unraveling in the wake of a moment of infidelity, and a mystery revolving around the disappearance of a man. One is significantly better than the other.

January 20, 2012

Sundance 2012: Day 2: Line 2/Thoughts On The Power of Story Panel

-Thoughts on Wish You Were Here will come tomorrow.

I'm now in line for West of Memphis, the Peter Jackson produced documentary about The West Memphis Three. I know. You're faith in me is shattered; me changing my plan like this.

I'm the worst.

But, no. Memphis sounded much more interesting than Simon Killer, and by switching my priorities, it meant I could attend a panel that interested me.

Sundance 2012: Day 2: Line 1

Well, here I am. It's currently 7:30, Park City time, and I am standing outside in the snow, in the waitlist line for Wish You Were Here. About 25th in line, and Eccles is huge, so... chances are good. Wish me luck!

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

Sundance 2012: Day 2

January 12, 2012

Oh, It's A Lovely War

Funny story. World War I has pretty much dominated my life these past two months. The show I was directing was all about the Great War, so all that stuff, Somme, General Haig, mustard gas, etc. and so forth.

And while it was more an act of providence than any sort of forward thinking on my part, I saw the stage production of War Horse in New York city while I was there for Thanksgiving. And I loved it! I thought it was an absolutely incredible piece of theatre, full of gorgeous imagery and beautiful emotion.  It's one of, if not the, best things I've even seen in a theatre. So, I was a little apprehensive about the movie. I mean, how could it possibly live up to the theatre experience?

Short answer: It doesn't.

Long Answer:

January 11, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 15 Best Movies of 2011

And now, the payoff!

Let us, before we go any further, have a quick toast to 2011 and all the cinematic things is gave us. To action. To romance. To drama. To comedy. To horror. To silence and loudness. To homages to the greats. To the creation of the world. To the end of the world. To romanticized pastimes. To gods and mortals. To aliens and humans. To superheroes and their villains. To the God of the Thunder. To the first avenger. To Optimus Prime and women with inked skin. To drivers. To You-Know-Who and The Boy Who Lived. To dysfunctional families. To loving families. To epidemics. To cures. To beating cancer. To apes who rise and dark lords who fall. To the first class. To time traveling parisians. To brides and their bridesmaids. To spys who run and gun. To spys who walk and talk. To addicts, and the people who help them. To wild nights and wilder mornings. To swords and chivalry. To seriousness and parody. To politicians, corrupt and on the level. To the laughter. To the tears. To the screams. To the thrills. To the sadness. To the happiness. To everything and more that the films and filmmakers gave us in 2011. All is welcome. None is forgotten.

January 10, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 5 Worst Movies of 2011

And now... for the losers.

Yes, yes. We all know and appreciate the cathartic feel of riffing off the best movies of the year. Nothing can beat it, but there is still some catharsis to be had when focusing on the other end of the spectrum.

There is always room in series like this for the bad, the worse, the awful, the shitty, the diabolical, the unforgivable, the crap, the abominations, the scrawny, little, pathetic pieces of antichrist!!!
So, with that in mind, here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's picks for the worst films of 2011!!

That's a winning bunch right there. 

January 9, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: 10 Most Anticipated of 2012

Before we finish off here, we're going to take a moment to look ahead.

World's gonna end on December 21st, which just happens to be 5 days before my 21st birthday. I! AM! FURIOUS!!!

But, can't dwell on that forever. There are a ton of good movies coming out in this, the final year of the human race (Ooo, that's grim.).

So, with that in mind, here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012!

Oh boy!

January 8, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: MVPs of the Year (Directors)

And now, it's time to recognize the facilitators of all this bullshit!

Though they are never seen on the screen, unless they're named Clint or Woody, but directors are the real artistic forces behind whatever film it is that you are watching. Actors can be bad, sure, but at the end of the day, most, if not all, of the blame will be placed on the director. Director's are closely scrutinized, aren't they? They'll make one great film, be heralded as a new master, and then tank on the next one. 2011 saw crap directors maintain their usual standings, crap directors do better, great directors do poorer, and great directors do great!

From superheroes to serial killers, there was plenty for directors to sink their teeth into. Here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's MVP Directors of the Year.


January 7, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: MVPs of the Year (Acting)

And now it gets interesting and legit!!

Actors are on the forefront of everyone's mind even before they sit down in the theatre. More often than not, who is or who is not acting in a film will be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing where you'll be spending your money. 

"Oh, that cute guy from The Notebook is in a film about cars? Yeah, sure. It's probably a comedy."

2011 offered lots in the way of compelling performances. We got actors reaching all time heights (Radcliffe and Co). We saw some hit all time lows (Sandler). We saw break out of the torrid waters of obscurity and scream onto the A-list (about half the people in this article.). 2011 was good to us at the movies, and the actors had a lot to do with that. 

Before we go any further, allow me to list off some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut. They include, but are not limited to, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Midnight In Paris), Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris), Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life, Moneyball), Jonah Hill (The Tree of Life), Joel Courtney (Super 8), Elle Fanning (Super 8), Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), Matt Damon (Contagion), Colin Firth (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Christopher Plummer (Beginners, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Daniel Craig (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Albert Brooks (Drive), and Carey Mulligan (Drive, Shame). 

And now... here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's Acting MVPs of 2011. 

10. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Shame)

This one comes with a huge caveat. I've been hearing such wonderful things about Mr. Fassbender's performance in Shame, how he really goes for broke and turns in a spectacular piece of work. But, I haven't seen it yet. I am going to, real soon! But I have to keep this list fair, and that is why he's all the way down here at number ten. But, his performance in X-Men is good enough by itself to land him here. We all know where the character of Magneto is going to end up, but Fassbender makes us empathize and even root for him as the seeds of the super villain are planted. I hope he plays the role again. I really do!

9. Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life)

Employing grace, beauty, and good, ol' fashioned, motherly love, Ms. Chastain effortlessly makes herself standout in Terrence Malick's complex and compelling film. Though her voice rarely rises above a whisper (indeed, some of my contemporaries have taken to calling The Tree of Life "Whisper, The Movie"), Chastain presents a character that is layered and interesting, perfectly counter-balancing Brad Pitt's intensity with a quiet elegance. I think I might have sort of kinda fallen in love with her over the course of the movie. Oops. She was apparently also good in The Debt, but who the hell saw that movie?

8. Hunter McCracken (The Tree of Life)

Yeah, yeah, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn got top billing for this, but let's be real. Pitt's role is really supporting, and Penn is in the movie for a grand total of five minutes. The real star is Hunter McCracken, proving to the world what Noah Ringer cannot; that child actors are a force to be reckoned with. Handling all the conflict of an adolescent boy with daddy issues like a champ, McCracken's Jack is instantly relatable and unforgettable 

7. Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

There was a time when Mara was probably one of the most hated actresses in Hollywood. "She's taking on a role that someone else already played well in a foreign film that came out less than two years ago! She's just gonna ruin it! HOW DARE SHE!!!" Well, the haters can shove it, because Mara kills it as Lisbeth Salander! Bringing all the gruffness, the sociopathy, and the piercings that Noomi Rapace did, while also unearthing a certain warmth in the character, Mara puts all the naysayers in their place, and sets herself up for a spectacular franchise. 

6. Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)

Rickman was always a standout in the Harry Potter franchise for his devilishly fun take on everyone's favorite Potions teacher. The material he is tasked with handling in the finale is significantly heavier and more intense, and Rickman brings his A-game! The Prince's Tale is really wonderful, and he does some of his best acting in it. Truly heartbreaking!

5. Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Adventures of Tintin)

This man deserves an Academy Award. As technology becomes better and better, specifically the technology used to capture a humans body and facial movements, performance capture technology is becoming more and more legitimate. And Andy Serkis is the undisputed king of performance capture, and he was on fire this year. He single handedly elevated Rise of the Planet of the Apes from a tired cash in on a long dead franchise to one of the freshest and most interesting reboots in a long time. And he was an absolute live wire has the perpetually drunk Captain Haddock in Tintin. Wake up Oscar. This guy is for real!

4. Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

This guy swooped in at the very last moment to claim the number four spot, as I only saw The Artist a couple of days ago, but it's well deserved. Funny, moving, charming, and oh so sexy, Dujardin creates a character we can sympathize with and cheer for, all without uttering a single word. I don't know about you, but that's impressive. 

3. Gary Oldman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

His performance in Harry Potter is barely a cameo, but it comes at one of the most memorable and emotional moments. His performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is something altogether different. Giving off an air of steely control, whilst conveying all the weight that a world weary spy with years of experience must be feeling. A lead role was long overdue for this master actor, and he knocks it out of the park!

2. Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Ides of March)

Ryan Gosling was seemingly everywhere this year. In addition to starring in lots of movies, he took up a brief career as a crime fighter in the streets of New York and is now the subject of his own meme. But that's not why your here. In The Ides of March, he does a fine job as a smarmy, confident, hotwire campaign worker whose faith in his leader is severely tested. His performance in Drive is something even more memorable. Emulating the likes of McQueen and Eastwood, Gosling's Driver is one of the coolest wheelmen to grace the silver screen in a long time. At one minute tender, the next unfeeling, the next downright scary, Gosling soars to new heights as this ultimate badass. Heights usually reserved for...

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)

You're probably rolling your eyes and closing the window right now cuz, of course I would choose this guy. But, believe me! I always have good reasons. This year, JoGo was only seen in one thing, but he did so well in that one thing!! Like I said in my review, Gordon-Levitt has that admirable quality to take any role and give a certain jazz to make it stand out, and he is on fire here. As Adam he deftly and effortlessly hops between all the stages of grief, running the gamut from hopeful optimism, to blind fury, to mind numbing depression. And he excels at every! Single! One! He is just so perfect in this movie that I can't even believe that he wasn't the casting director's first choice. Oscar consideration is more than deserved.

Well, that was... sexual. 

We're getting into the home stretch. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 2011: The Retrospect, and be sure to check for all the lists thus far. Bye bye everyone. If aliens attack, make like David and Steve, and hide. 

January 6, 2012

2011: The Restrospect: Top 5 Best Soundtracks

I'm feeling... musical!

We're about halfway done with the retrospect. After today, we'll be getting into more heavy stuff. But today, we're going to be talking about that one piece of film you can take with you wherever you go, long before the movie is available on home video.

2011 brought a lot in compelling scores. Though there was nothing quite as good as the best score from last year, there was plenty to like. I had a bit of a hard time narrowing this list down, even changing one of the entries as I wrote the damn thing. But, I brave the hardships and trials, and am ready to face your judgement. Here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's Top 5 Best Scores of 2011!

5. Super 8 (Michael Giacchino)

It sounds like the best John Williams score, but it's not John Williams. It sounds like the best John Williams score, but it's not John Williams. It sounds like the best John... oh, the hell with it! It sounds great, bringing to mind the Spielberg films of old. Sweeping and memorable, this is a wonderful example of an old-fashioned, classic tinged score.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Alexandre Desplat)

The Harry Potter scores have always been good, but as the franchise moved into darker and darker territory, the music got better and better, changing to fit the more mature tone, and gradually distancing itself from the kiddy tones of the initial Williams score. "Lily's Theme" is a haunting ode to the loss and sacrifice that the heroes are facing. "Courtyard Apocalypse" is a foreboding piece that wonderfully illustrates the chaos of the final battle. And "Voldemort's End" is about as epic as epic can get!

3. Drive (Cliff Martinez)

Infusing techno, rock, and other genres, the score to Drive is sort of this year's Tron: Legacy score, in that it's a score that takes a styles of popular music and melds it perfectly into a hyper-stylized film. The syth-poppy score fits the film like a well worn glove, beautifully accenting the 70s vibe the film is inhibiting. A score like this would be in a film where the main character wears a jacket with a giant, gold scorpion on the back. I mean, that's just fate, man.

2. Contagion (Cliff Martinez)

Same guy, same style. Like Drive, Contagion's score relies on synthetic beats and rhythms above all things, but where Contagion surpasses Drive is in its embrace of the atmosphere. Contagion was a pretty scary movie, and the music that went with it is pretty intense as well. "Get Us to the Front of the Line" is not something you want to be listening to alone at night.

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Wipe that shocked expression off your face. Did you expect anything else? Reznor and Ross deservedly won that Oscar for The Social Network, and even though they have no chance of winning this year, I'd say they deserve it even more. Let's be honest. Trent Reznor; he's a little fucked up. A little disturbed. A little twisted. So is the music he makes. And all three of those qualities are paramount in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. So... you know. Match made in heaven.

Also, "Immigrant Song"! There's a reason I can't stop listening to it!

And we are done with the silliness. Now we get into actors, directors, and the ultimate best and worst lists. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 2011: The Retrospect, and be sure to check out everything you might have missed up to this point. Now, if you'll excuse me. I need to go geek out about Sundance again!!

January 5, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 5 Best Scenes

Beware! There's a seriously red band clip concealed within!

You all have it on the mind as you stroll on out into the light of the real world. That one thing. That one scene. 2011 had tons, literally, TONS of great scenes. But THERE CAN ONLY BE FIVE HIGHLANDER!!! Wait, what? That's the wrong line. Anyway, from elaborate sequences depicting the creation of the universe, to crazy feats of absurdity, to lot's and lot's of blood! These are the five best of those. Here they are, Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's Top 5 Best Scenes of 2011!

5. Scaling the Burj Khalifa (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

Christ, this scene is intense. Traditionally, the action in the Mission Impossible movies was fun, but nothing special. But then Brad Bird, and animation director, stepped in. He directs this installment in the franchise as if it were animated. Nothing is out of the questions, and the laws of physics have no say! The scene sees Ethan Hunt climbing along the side of the world's tallest building, while the rest of his team scramble to intercept a series of targets. Awesome by itself. Throw in the inclusion of a slowly approaching sandstorm, and you have action movie gold!

4. The Gods vs. The Titans (Immortals)

Tarsem Singh's eyegasm of a Greek epic really goes for broke in this finale. Theseus has done all he can to stop Hyperion from releasing the Titans. He fails, but all is not lost. Now that Titans have entered the picture, the Gods can finally join the fight. What follows is the most gleefully violent and gory scenes of the year!

3. Caesar Speaks (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

Caesar was already a compelling character, easily the most interesting of this reboot?, remake?, of the classic franchise. As the film progressed, we were fully on his side as he gradually came to turn against humans. When he finally reveals the ability to speak, it's absolutely chilling. What follows is really great!

2. The Prince's Tale (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)

My God, this scene is heartbreaking. The Battle of Hogwarts has come to standstill, but it is clear that Voldemort is winning. Having taken a memory from the dying Snape, Harry is finally told the extent of what he must sacrifice in order to defeat the dark lord. In addition, he finally learns Snape's true motivations. Alan Rickman is achingly good here! This scene is just beautiful!

Quality on this sucks! It's the best I could find. Sorry!

1. The Opening Getaway (Drive)

I'm gonna call out that woman from Michigan again cuz I really don't see how she could have misinterpreted the film like that. This opening scene sets the tone and the style of the film with quiet grace and steely confidence. Driver is one well put together individual, never even breaking a sweat as he effortlessly dodges cop cars, choppers, and other obstacles. SO! FRIGGIN'! SWEET!

One more day of silliness before the important stuff. Thanks for the feedback so far, folks. You are quite swell! And, as always, check back at 2011: The Retrospect for all your 2011 memories! See y'all tomorrow! Brush your teeth!

January 4, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 5 Best Trailers

Day 3, and we're starting to get into the good stuff.

Where 2011 offered little in good posters, it offered lots in good trailers. At almost every movie, you would see something interesting in the previews that would add another to your "Watch List". I know that last year I included trailers for movies that would be coming out in the year, but I'm avoiding that this year. If I did, the top three trailers would be for 2012 films. I think you can guess which ones.

But, here they. 2011's Top 5 Best Trailers! Enjoy!!!

5. The Muppets (Dragon Tattoo Parody)

A lot of the best trailers this year came courtesy of Jim Hansen's creations. Those were some damn fine parodies. This one wins out above all of them because it had me laughing so hysterically the whole time! It tells you nothing of plot or gives any sense of what's to come. Just that there's going to be a lot of Muppets in the film. Point! Taken!

4. Contagion

Easily one of the scariest trailers I've seen in a long time, this one perfectly set up the terror and chaos of Steven Soderbergh's brilliant disease thriller. It's actually fairly minimalist, showing quick shots of the big carnage while focusing more on the individual characters. I knew a movie about one of my biggest fears would scare the crap out of me. Who knew the trailer could do so as well?

3. Drive

I don't really see how the crazy broad from Michigan or wherever thought that this film was like The Fast and the Furious after seeing this trailer? The Fast and the Furious never had no trailer set to a slow, melancholy symphony. This trailer beautifully alludes to the art house qualities that the film was pushing, as well as its more awesome aspects. That shot where Ryan Gosling is about to hammer a bullet into that guy's forehead? So tight!!!

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

When it came to big, epic trailers, this was the cream of the crop. We all knew that the finale of the Harry Potter franchise would have some sweet action, but holy crap, we didn't know it would be that sweet. It's loud! It's rousing! It's altogether wonderful!

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Well, yeah. Easily the coolest minute, thirty seconds of advertising you could catch in theaters all year. No dialogue at all. Hell, there's not even a single sound that was used in the film at all. Just Trent Reznor's totally bitchin' cover "Immigrant Song" over an elaborate montage of super quick cuts. I was all in for Dragon Tattoo before most, based on Fincher alone. But if there were any doubts on my mind, this trailer dispelled them all! It's the one I kept going back to watch again and again. Then again, that could just be because of the song.

Well, that's all for today. We're almost done with the silly stuff. Just a few more days before we get into heavy hitters like actors and directors. Stay tuned, and be sure to check into 2011: The Retrospect for anything you might have missed thus far. See you tomorrow kids. Always drink your Ovaltine!

January 3, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 5 Best Posters

I'll be honest.

This hasn't been the hottest year when it came to posters. Whereas last year I had to fight off dozens of potential candidates to craft my list of five, I was stumped for a few minutes there when it came time to write this year's. I don't know what it was, but the advertising branches of the studios just seemed to be playing it safe when it came to one sheets. Ooo, an image of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, looking out, wide eyed, mouth's agape, set against an epic backdrop. In other words, every other Harry Potter poster from the last 5 years.

But, there were some good ones, and that's what we're here to talk about today. Day 2 of 2011: The Retrospect. Here are Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's Top 5 Best Posters of 2011!!!

5. Immortals

Immortals is a big, crazy, lavish, bloody, ridiculously violent, lovingly choreographed, painstakingly framed, shiny, gorgeous, sight to behold. Well, the actual content in the movie isn't all that, but fuck, was that a pretty movie. The same could be said about this poster, which nicely puts all the film's main players in the picture, evoking the epic conflict on a godly scale that the project was pushing. Job well done.

4. The Devil's Double

Speaking of lavish...

Haven't seen it. Don't need to. I'm looking at posters, damn it! This looks pretty friggin' tight. As far as I know, the film deals with the double of a the son of Saddam Hussein, and I'll be damned if it doesn't capture the violence and power that that family enjoyed over the course of their reign. More posters should be carved out of gold. It's one of life's simple facts.

3. The Tree of Life

This poster, much like the film, is beautiful, yet challenging, to look at, showing off countless priceless images from the film. So elaborate is this collage of images, that, even now, I'm still picking out shots that I missed the last time. And when a poster keeps you on your toes and offers a new experience each time... well, something is being done right.

2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Simple. Powerful. Perfectly setting up the bleak tone of the film, this poster is jarring and impactful. The swedish proverb goes well with the themes brought up in the movie, and Craig and Mara look to fit the iconic roles like champs. Oh, and Mara's naked in it. Hell yeah, it makes this list!

1. Shame

Haven't seen it yet, but I fully intend to very soon. No characters. No sense of setting or plot. Just a bed with messy sheets. In reality, all the posters used in the promotion of this film are great, but this one's my favorite. No poster of 2011 intrigued more than this one. Put simply, this poster did a poster's job the best of any poster this year, and that's why it's number one.

Well, that's all for today lovies! Be sure to check back at 2011: The Retrospect to refresh your memory on all the year had to offer, and be sure to stop by tomorrow for the next installment. Until then.

January 2, 2012

2011: The Retrospect: Top 5 Best Lines

Let's start off with a fun one.

Line delivery is one of the oft overlooked pieces of performance. A script can be a big pile of nothing, but a talented actor can hide that with a well done line. So, with that in mind, here are the top 5 lines of 2011, as decided by me and my committee of one here at the black hole! These are the best of line delivery and script writing

5. "No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure." (Corey Stoll from Midnight In Paris)

Well, yeah. Not every line on this list needs to be a witty punch line or some verbally clever use of the english (or otherwise) language. This line makes the cut because it, quite simply, true. And the best ones are the ones that speak truth about an aspect of human life. Props to Woody Allen and Stoll's blunt, honest delivery. 

*This clip doesn't have that line, but that blunt, honest delivery? Yeah, that's still there. 

4. "I have a demon in me." (Ed Helms from The Hangover: Part II)

The Hangover: Part II will be making another appearance in this retrospective, though not in any praise worthy position. I can't however deny the dry wit and absurdity of these six words, dry wit and absurdity that the rest of the movie desperately needed. 

3. "No one likes putting a dick in their mouth." (Seth Rogen from 50/50)

Rogen is a master of line delivery, and even though 50/50 was a little lighter on the laughs than I think most people expected, the humor was still prevalent thanks to winners like this. 

2. "I drive." (Ryan Gosling in Drive)

So cool. So calculated. Everything about this line just oozes steely sociopathy. Wonderful. Just wonderful. 

1. "I need a horse." (Chris Hemsworth in Thor)

Well said!

Tune in tomorrow for the best posters of the year, and be sure to hit up 2011: The Retrospect for all your 2011 memory jogging. See y'all tomorrow!

January 1, 2012

2011: The Retrospect

2011 is a memory. A beautiful memory, but a memory all the same. Though the box office numbers were not reflective of it, the year was very good to us cinematically. There was a little something for everyone, from big, bold action titles, to quieter, nuanced dramas. Go to the theatre on any given day, and there was a good chance you would be pleased with the options.

But, all that is in the past, and it is time to reflect. So, with that, we're kicking Films From the Supermassive Black Hole's retrospective of 2011. Lists galore, with a wide variety of categories. Like last year, you can come back to this post and hit the  link to any installment as they are published. So, without further ado...

2011: The Retrospect

1/2: Top 5 Lines of 2011
1/3:Top 5 Best Posters
1/4: Top 5 Best Trailers
1/5: Top 5 Best Scenes
1/6: Top 5 Best Soundtracks
1/7: MVPs of the Year (Acting)
1/8: MVPs of the Year (Directing)
1/9: Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2011
1/10: Top 5 Worst Films of 2011
1/11: Top 15 Best Films of 2011 

I hope you all join in with me on the journey. See you around the black hole.

Here's a furry to ring in the new year. This is a mink!