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Goyo: The Boy General Opens in NYC Today

Posted by Greg on Sep 21, 2018 in Movies

Today in New York City, a big budget historical biopic from the Philippines opens in theaters. Goyo: The Boy General focuses on the latter months in the life of Gregorio del Pilar, one of the youngest generals of the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Read more…

 
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Our 50 Favorite Films This Year

Posted by Greg on Dec 26, 2017 in Movies

1. Dunkirk
2. The Lost City of Z
3. Lady Bird
4. The Florida Project
5. The Shape of Water
6. Get Out
7. Columbus
8. Dawson City: Frozen in Time
9. Call Me By Your Name
10. Faces Places
Read more…

 
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Top 10 Movies So Far This Year

Posted by Greg on Jul 25, 2017 in Movies

1. Dunkirk
2. The Lost City of Z
3. Get Out
4. Colossal
5. The Hero
6. T2: Trainspotting
7. Okja
8. Logan
9. John Wick: Chapter 2
10. Split

 
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Top 20 Films of 2016

Posted by Greg on Jan 25, 2017 in Movies

Now that the Oscar nominations are out, it’s time for me to put together my list. Now admittedly, I did not gat around to seeing as many films as I wanted to this year and unfortunately have yet to see many of the major movies garnering awards attention but hey there are only so many hours in the day. Foremost of those omitted and not yet seen are: Arrival, Moonlight, Silence, Hell or High Water and Lion. So perhaps this is a flawed list but below are the top 20 films I saw this year.

1. La La Land
2. Manchester By The Sea
3. Toni Erdmann
4. Fences
5. Patriots Day
6. Sully
7. OJ Made in America
8. Hacksaw Ridge
9. Jackie
10. 20th Century Women

11. Hidden Figures
12. Nocturnal Animals
13. A Man Called Ove
14. Hail Caesar
15. Hunt for the WIlderpeople
16. The Witness
17. Hooligan Sparrow
18. Captan Fantastic
19. Florence Foster Jenkins
20. Loving

 
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Side Effects Starts Promising, Ends Ridiculously

Posted by Greg on Feb 9, 2013 in Movies

Leave it to provocateur Steven Soderbergh to muck up a potentially tremendous film. Side Effects, the latest from the director of Traffic, Haywire and countless others, takes a potentially convincing story and railroads it to pieces. How exactly the film has gotten such rave reviews befuddles me. Read more…

 
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2013 Golden Globe Thoughts

Posted by Greg on Jan 14, 2013 in Movies

Golden Globe Thoughts

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz was easily the best part of Django Unchained and if you ask me, he’s one of the best actors around. So any time he gets hardware, I’m a happy dude.

Actress in TV Show: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. An amazing TV show and an awesome actress. Definitely happy she won. To be fair, of all the nominees, its the only show I was intimately familiar with.

Best Miniseries/TV Movie: Game Change winning is fine, but Hatfields and McCoys most definitely deserved it. Jay Roach is a great director when he wants to be serious, and when he wants to really bring it.

Read more…

 
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Running With Scissors: Not a Trainwreck Film

Posted by Greg on Mar 4, 2011 in Movies

Last week I watched the Ryan Murphy-directed film Running With Scissors, loosely based on the Augusten Burroughs memoir of the same name. Though it was critically panned and a box office bomb, there’s a certain charm and quirkiness at work in the film that’s quite charismatic. Veritable newcomer Joseph Cross as Augusten has a wide-eyed optimism and a teenage whimsy that’s easily relatable and even easier to root for.

Brian Cox as the oddball therapist that adopts Burroughs is certainly at his best, even if he is a bit over-the-top. Gwyneth Paltrow and Evan Rachel Wood as Cox’s daughters are decent, with the younger Wood overshadowing her elder. Paltrow, who goes opposite her usual role, certainly feels a bit forced. But whether that is the screenwriter’s fault or just Paltrow trying too hard is anyone’’s guess. Either way her placement in the film is a bit askance.

The true standout though is Annette Benning, who gives a near flawless performance as a delusional mother whose mental instability suffocates her marriage and limits her abilities as a mother. While Murphy often chases down the absurd, there are certainly enough scenes of value and merit to help Running With Scissors from collapsing on top of itself. Equal parts Hotel New Hampshire and The Royal Tennenbaums, it’s a winning film, if not an under-appreciated charmer.

Post-script: Murphy is now a media darling given the rampant success of Glee. But one has to wonder if Running With Scissors was released this month, would it still get ripped apart? Methinks it wouldn’t, but what do I know?

 
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Oscar Thoughts From a Curmudgeon

Posted by Greg on Feb 28, 2011 in Movies, Op-Ed

Every year I look forward to the Oscars and every year I’m let down. Maybe I’m just hard to please. Don’t get me wrong I’m thrilled with all the awards The King’s Speech won ––––it deserved them –––– and I was happy Christian Bale finally won, that’s not really the problem. The problem is….well, allow me to explain.

Kirk Douglas is an icon and a true legend, but does he really need that much time in the spotlight? Call me cold-hearted, cruel and insubordinate, but his rambling monologue was a few minutes too long. Sure it was funny and yes it was nice to see the old guy still doing his thing, but for the life of me, it was painful to watch. If you think I’m being unfair to a stroke victim and a geriatric, then I’ll take the time to pick on someone else. Namely Aaron Sorkin. Seriously dude that acceptance speech needed to be a lot shorter. We all know you’re smart, we all know you think the world of yourself, but just shut the hell up and get off the stage.

As for the winners. Everything went as planned. Well, except for Best Supporting Actress.

Someone please explain to me how Hailee Steinfield is billed as a supporting actress. True Grit is her story, and she is the fulcrum on which the entire script moves. I understand she’s a newcomer and a no-name, but the Coen brothers trusted her enough to pit her in the lead role, and the awards committee should honor their decision. As for the winner, Melissa Leo was great in The Fighter, and performed her role flawlessly, but that being written, the performance was not really the stuff of Oscar legend.

Jacki Weaver on the other hand was unrivaled in the underrated and overlooked Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom. My take is Leo is getting the award for kicking ass in Frozen River a few years ago and getting snubbed there. But who am I to know? I’m just a crochety 20-something picking on Kirk Douglas.

Toy Story 3 is a great Pixar film and a true delight through and through, but did it really need to win two awards? Randy Newman is a terrific songwriter and a bonafide talent but come on, enough with the love fest. Did he really need a second Oscar? I realize he’s been nominated 20 times, but seriously, just no.

My only other complaint is how in the hell did Biutiful not win for Best Foreign Film? Every critic agreed Bardem was sensational and that the script was Gonzalez-Irriatu’s best. So why the disrespect? Yeah his films are dark, dismal and downright chilling, but No Country For Old Men wasn’t a laughfest either and it was decked out with Oscar gold.

A few other things. I’m glad Inception got a few wins, even if they were in the smaller categories. Christopher Nolan’s directing prowess is limitless and the film was a true high watermark, so it’s good to see the Oscars continue to respect his talents.

As for the show itself. Franco proved to be a capable and charming host, while Hathaway was anything but. The laughs were good and the show moved quickly. But when it’s all said and done, not even a F-bomb from Leo could cement this year’s Oscars as anything truly special. Then again, what do I know? I picked Kate WInslet over Natalie Portman and Exit Through the Gift Shop over Inside Job.

 
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The Social Network Is Great, Nothing More

Posted by Greg on Oct 15, 2010 in Movies

The Social Network is a fine film, a Grade A film even, but it is not nearly the vaulted work that people are heralding it as. It’s certainly no Citizen Kane and it’s not anything close to The Godfather, and while its arguably Fincher’s best, there’s still a lot to gnaw at.

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is a revelation and certainly worthy of the highest accolades. Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin is equally as impressive, if not more so. If The Social Network does anything, it vaults Garfield to the top of the class as actors to be reckoned with. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker is no slouch either and the remaining periphery characters, most notably Armie Hammer as the Winkelvos brothers are also indelible.

Aaron Sorkin’s snappy, mile-a-minute, screenplay has gotten ample amounts of hype and for good reason, but at what point does fatigue and rust set in? While its fair that geniuses and computer programmers often do talk at lightning speeds, that doesn’t mean it won’t leave you weary.

Whether that argument holds water or not might be irrelevant, if only because as a cinematic device, the heightened pace of the dialogue helps fuel the film’s exultant cadence. That being said, slogging through all of it can be dizzying. Taken at face value though, the screenplay is certainly one of the more memorable of the year and veritable proof that Sorkin is a class all by himself.

Aided by Trent Reznor’s haunting soundtrack and Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography, there’s few flaws. But cinema requires pathos and often feeds off of broken heroes, downtrodden losers and warmhearted protagonists. The Social Network has absolutely none of those and that absence is why, even when it is at its best, The Social Network can at times feel hollow. Save for Saverin, there isn’t a likable nerd in the bunch.

Over at Metacritic, the film has received 100 ratings from at least a dozen publications, some of which are the most revered in the nation. But those holier-than-thou critics can they think what they want. The Social Network is a gem of a film, arguably the yeaer’s best and may even become an instant classic, but placing it on a shelf along the likes of Citizen Kane and The Godfather, at this point, seems foolhardy at best.

 
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Hallmark Film Fairfield Road is Quite Charming

Posted by Greg on Aug 16, 2010 in Movies

Okay, I’ll admit it, as much as I adore art-house, foreign and indie films, I really do love a good rom-com or light, fluffy chick flick. Thanks to the privileges of the day job, I’ve become a fan of the Hallmark Channel and its saccharine, tissue-soaked romps. Its latest, Fairfield Road, was an absolute delight.

“Fairfield Road,” centers on Noah McManus (Jesse Metcalfe), a Boston political aide, who is about to start his dream job as a legislative director for a U.S. senator and to propose to his girlfriend. But his entire world changes in one day when his new boss resigns amid controversy and Noah realizes that his girlfriend had been cheating on him.  

Devastated and alone, he and his dog Arlo drive to Harpswell, the Cape Cod town where he had intended to propose. There he finds comfort among the town’s peaceful setting and appealing local residents, including local inkeepers  Sam and Lillian who house him. But only hours into his stay,  he in turn falls for Hayley, a bookstore owner whose charm and radiance is utterly infectious.
As Noah begins to spend more time in Harpswell and with Hayley, he becomes involved in the town’s heated local election and challenges local developer Randall Richardson. For the first time in awhile, everything is finally making sense. He’s found a meaningful purpose for his life and someone to share it with. But what will happen when he gets another high-level job offer and his remorseful ex-girlfriend returns, luring him back to his familiar lifestyle?  

The film is directed by David Weaver, who directed the sweetly affecting “Charlie and Me” and written by Tracy Rosen, who wrote “Daniel’s Daughter,” the latter being one of Hallmark’s best films of the last couple years. Shot in Toronto, the film is produced by Cypress Point Productions and QVF Productions, with help from Emmy Award-nominee Gerald W. Abrams (”Nuremberg,” “Family of Spies”) and Susan Murdoch (”The National Tree). Metcalfe rose to prominence as Gabby’s (Eva Longoria Parker) gardener lover on the first two seasons of “Desperate Housewives,” he reprised the role in an arc this fall.

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