Posts Tagged ‘Woody Harrelson’

Oscar Predictions and Preferences – 2010 Edition

Samstag, März 6th, 2010

Award Season is Crazy Season. If you follow these things at all, you have been bombarded by information about the superiority of one film above another for months now. If you blissfully ignore all that stuff, you might even not have heard that a producer on The Hurt Locker is in trouble for trying to convince Academy voters to vote for his film instead of Avatar. His crime: sending an e-mail to his friends. Yes, things are crazy. So it is a good thing that with the Oscar telecast on Sunday, Award Season will be over. Until May or so, when the first discussions for next year’s favourites and winners will begin once more.

But before the Oscars, the most important of all the meaningless awards, are handed out on Sunday, it is time for my annual Oscar predictions. Last year, I picked 19 of the 24 winners. This year, let’s try to improve on that. But unlike last year, this year I actually feel like I am entitled to my own opinion, having seen 20 of the 58 animated films, 18 of the 38 feature films, and actually having seen all nominated films in three categories. So not only will I now predict the Oscar winners as promised, I will also tell you who should win. (Yes, my opinion constitutes objective truth in these matters.) The following list is ordered rather randomly and incomplete, an alphabetical and complete breakdown of all categories and predictions follows at the end.

(weiterlesen …)

Zombieland – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, Dezember 15th, 2009

In view of the fact that this film is currently in theatres in at least one major foreign market, we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this Minute Movie Review.

Review:

In the future, after a viral outbreak of mutated mad cow disease, the world is overrun by zombies. Only a few humans survive and this is their story. Nerdy, socially inept Jesse Eisenberg goes along with Woody Harrelson, who lives for killing zombies. Soon after, they meet sisters Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. Together, more or less, they travel the US, or as Eisenberg dubbed it, Zombieland, in the search for home, fun and a Twinkie. The film is a very funny take on the zombie genre, with many hilarious scenes, carried mostly by the great lead Eisenberg. Complete nonsense, the film is very entertaining nonetheless.

Random Observations:

Zombieland at the IMDb

I think I would have enjoyed the cameo by a famous “top of the A-List” actor more if I had not known about it beforehand. He is, however, delightful as usual.

For the relatively small budget the film undoubtedly had, the special effects are very good.

The opening titles are very creative, which is very nice to see in this day and age, when opening titles seem to be all but forgotten.

L.A. Story – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, September 3rd, 2009

Review:

A wacky L.A. weatherman has an encounter with an electronic traffic sign that tells him his life is about to change – and it sure does. All this happens in L.A. and although it is a conventional love story as well, it’s mostly a declaration of love for the city despite all its crazyness, delivered in a funny yet heartfelt way. It’s an unusual film starring Steve Martin in one of his quiet, i.e. good, performances, that is fun to watch.

Random Observations:

L.A. Story at the IMDb

Again with the voice-over narration. I used to really like it, but ever since I heard that it was lazy storytelling and actually thought about it, I can’t help but be distracted by it.

Steve Martin not only starred, he also wrote this film. I wish he would do more stuff like that – he also wrote the novella on which Shopgirl is based – instead of stupid low-brow comedies in the vein of Cheaper by the Dozen.

Sarah Jessica Parker has a role in this film and while she was annoying and silly as always, it actually made sense here.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

Review:

Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at imdb.com

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.

The Ten Best Movies of 2008

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009

Everybody loves Top Ten Lists, right? You can never get enough of them, correct? If you read one to the end, you want nothing more than start looking at the next one, or am I wrong? In any case, I like Top Ten (or basically any other number) Lists. I know they are silly and arbitrary and highly subjective, but they are still fun – even if one just reads them to poke fun at the author(s). So to start my own habitual list-making off, I hereby offer you the TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2008!

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – No Country for Old Men

Donnerstag, Februar 21st, 2008

Review:

Like “There Will Be Blood“, “No Country for Old Men” has been a critical and award favourite – maybe even more so. Unlike “There Will Be Blood”, it actually lives up to the hype. The story of a man who finds two million dollar on a murder scene and subsequently is hunted by several people who don’t think it belongs to him is uncompromisingly realistic. Brilliantly shot, with great acting (especially by “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar nominee Javier Bardem) and a hauntingly sparse score (what a relief!), the movie deviates so far from the typical Hollywood conventions that more than once I felt myself wondering what would be next. In the end, this movie is a true masterpiece, with few discernible flaws and much to teach today’s filmmakers – especially Paul Thomas Anderson.

Random Observations:

No Country for Old Men at imdb.com

Lucky me got to see this movie in a sneak preview today. Which means that I got to see it before it’s actual German release. Which means that I got to see it before the Oscar ceremony on Sunday. Which means that I am no longer ruling for Atonement to win.

Did I mention that the movie is a true masterpiece?

I had last seen Josh Brolin in “Into the Blue”. Amazing that somebody who was in such a crappy movie actually managed to star in this one. Of course, he needed to convince Robert Rodriguez to shoot an audition tape for him which Quentin Tarantino directed to convince the Coen brothers that he could indeed do it.

The movie actually got a fair number of laughs when I saw it. While not conventionally funny, there are some scenes that are so bitterly realistic yet absurd, that one can do little but laugh.

Minute Movie Review – A Scanner Darkly

Dienstag, Januar 8th, 2008

Review:

The movie is based on a Philip K. Dick novel, which was his tribute to the friends he lost to drug abuse. It tells the story of a not to distant future where large parts of the population are addicted to Substance D and how one undercover cop deals with it. While the story is extremely powerful, some of the clarity of the book is missing. And while the movie was shot with actors, it was later changed into a comic look that is entirely unnecessary for the story to work. Nevertheless, it is a great story about drug use as well as the economics behind it.

Random Observations:

A Scanner Darkly at imdb.com

I was pleasantly surprised to see the friends Dick dedicated the book to mentioned at the beginning of the closing credits.

While many filmmakers can be said to work exclusively in one genre or with one type of movie, director Richard Linklater is nicely different. He is probably best none for his refreshingly different “romantic” movies “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset“.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jr. , only the last of which was easily recognizable under the drawing.