Archive for January, 2010

Directoral Debate

With the announcement of the Director’s Guild Awards last night we have a definitive race for best director at the Oscars.  Kathryn Bigelow became the first female director to win the big prize last night for her film, The Hurt Locker.  Bigelow is the ex-wife of other potential front runner, James Cameron.  His monster of a film, Avatar, has been sweeping technical awards and setting records in the box office.  As far as an awards count,  Cameron won at the Golden globes, but Bigelow has won at the DGA and the Critics Choice.

Cameron was actually instrumental in convincing Bigelow to shoot The Hurt Locker.  Little did he know that she can be the other person to knock down Avatar.  Although the nominations are not even out yet for the Oscars,  the pressure is building and the race is heating up

Psychedelic Splendor

As children of the love generation we experience their culture second hand.  As a child I must have watched the Yellow Submarine a handful of times and listened to the soundtrack countless more.

Looking back on the outrageous moments of this movie I can’t help but stare at amazement.  Not because the animation is edgy or the scenes rock my inner core but because how utterly drug fueled this entire movie seems to be.  With a planned remake in the works, I imagine if it will compare, at all, to this film which seems to characterize a cultural movement so well.

A Single Man

Let me start by saying this is one of the most stylized movies I have ever seen.  Honestly, would you expect anything less from the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford.  The movie could be seen as an extended runway show for Tom Ford’s menswear but it was so much more.

I had been looking forward to this movie for sometime. I actually went to the theater alone because i was so determined to see it before i went back to school.  As far as a novel adaptation, I don’t know how accurate Ford sticks to the content but performance and style drives this movie.

A Single Man follows a day in the life of professor George Falconer (Colin Firth) who has recently lost his lover (Matthew Goode) and plans on killing himself.  As a transplant from the UK he finds himself lost and confused in 60’s Los Angeles.  Without spoiling the majority of the movie he has dinner with long time English friend(Julianne Moore) and get stalk by his student (Nicholas Hoult).

Ford portrays Falconers emotional status through the manipulation of light.  The majority of the movie Falconer is seen being depressed and the light coordinated as such.  These scenes have a gray and hazing quality.  This contrasted with the sunset hues shown on Falconer when he is interacting with others and is much more lively.

Colin Firth’s performance is stellar.  Firth truly shows the disdain of having lost his love and the subsequent loneliness he feels.  In one scene he speaks of fear and its role in life, it is the subtle hints within this soliloquy which makes his betrayal so great.  Again we see Julianne Moore have an amazing performance but in a role she plays so often.  You might have seen her distressed and unhappy housewife in The Hours and Far from Heaven.

The Ah-Ha Moment

This scene from Into the Wild is the most emotional I have ever gotten during a movie.  I have never cried at the movies but this is the closet.  The elder gentleman, Hal Holbrook, received an Oscar nomination for his role but mostly because of this scene.  Although he did not win, I return to this movie and this clip to show what real emotion in film can look like.

Sunset, Sunrise

With the demise of one film industry legend, Miramax, another begins. I am far too generous to a blog that will more than likely have a culture footprint of an ant.

As the first entry I want to pay homage to the Weinstein Brothers start-up. Miramax was the namesake of the brother’s parents and a force to be reckoned with. With a series of very successful, critically and financial, independent movies, Miramax made a name for itself. The company was influential in the success of Quentin Tarantino and countless others.

As an independent producer and distributor, Miramax worked outside the studio conglomerations but that would soon change in 1993 when the Walt Disney Company purchased the studio.

The departure of the Weinstein Brothers in 2005 and other executive problems made it difficult for Miramax to gain the foothold it once did. Although Miramax is now in the ‘Disney vault’ i hopefully look for a brighter economy when they will bring it back. Until that time i raise a glass to Miramax and some of its greatest hits!

Miramax Logo

Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, 54, Shakespeare in Love, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Gangs of New York, Chicago, Kill Bill, Finding Neverland, The Queen, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas