critic

The King’s Sp-p-p-peech

May 23, 2011
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The King’s Sp-p-p-peech

2010 was a good year for Hollywood. There was “Black Swan”, order “Social Network”, advice “Inception” and many more exceptional films. But one stood out head and shoulders above the rest. For only one can be crowned Best Picture at the Oscar’s and only one actor can be deemed Best Actor at the Golden Globe’s. The King’s Speech took both those honours and many more. In fact, surgeon the Academy gave this film 12 nominations and 4 awards (the most coveted ones, at that). So, as it has recently processioned it’s way into the DVD market, I felt it fit (for a king) to review this, the most celebrated of last year’s films.

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“Empire North”

“Empire North”

There is a stereotype about Scandinavian cinema. Many in the west poke fun at its distinctively artsy, ed existential approach to film. I don’t think that stereotype is completely warranted. I’ve seen some pretty conventional Scandinavian films in my time. But, gonorrhea the Danish documentary, anesthetist “Empire North”, if nothing else, will contribute to the stereotype.

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I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!

Apr 19, 2011
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I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!

"You have meddled with the primal forces of nature!!!"

“Network” was Sidney Lumet’s most critically celebrated film. In 1976, medical the Academy awards nominated this film 10 times. It went home with 4 statuettes. Most of the awards were in the “acting” categories. But Directing and Screenplay were also duly noted.

This film is a wonderfully biting, information pills prophetic pronouncement of the evils that come with the corporate control of media outlets.  Almost 40 years after it’s release, “Network” resonates intensely with astonishing prescient accuracy.

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“Chloe”

Mar 30, 2011
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"Yikes...that look can't be good for anyone."

So, medications day 14 of the DeFranco Nation Movie Club had me watching Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller, search “Chloe”.

Starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and the stunning Amanda Seyfried, we find ourselves in the midst of a bizarre love triangle that twists and turns slowly through a maze of distrust and betrayal.

Check out my video response to Philip DeFranco’s review. I didn’t like what he had to say http://bit.ly/eWgLra

So, check out my thoughts and compare. Let me know what you think.

“Say hello to my little documentary!”

Mar 29, 2011
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As many of you know by now, melanoma I’ve been tracking with YouTube sensation Philip DeFranco and his 30 Day Movie Club. Everyday is a different movie and today’s is “Cocaine Cowboys”. This 2006 documentary about the cocaine boom of the 80’s in Miami is a fascinating (and frightening) glimpse into the world of drug trafficking. I talk about it more in-depth in my vlog posting. Check it out!

Don’t forget to hit the “Like” button (I’m emotionally needy and require much affirmation) and forward the link to all your friends and enemies! Happy Tuesday!

“The Prestige”

Mar 28, 2011
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"Abracadabra"

Back in 2006 there there were two highly acclaimed films that centred around magicians in the 19th century. One was remarkable, discount the other remarkably disappointing. My friends and I retitled the latter as “The Boring-ist”. It featured Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti (both great actors), but was so poorly executed. So, I won’t bore you with a review on that one. Rather, allow me steer you in the direction of the far superior movie – The Prestige.

This Christopher Nolan, period-piece is exceptional across the board. We journey back and forth through the timeline of a long and sour history between two feuding magicians played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. I don’t want to give away too much because this is the kind of film you really need to experience firsthand. But let me just say, our tale begins with Borden (Bale) accidentally killing the wife of Angiers (Jackman). This, of course, creates a fairly immense wedge between the two men. Borden is a smart but cocky young magician who obsesses over creating the most deceiving illusions. This gains him some local celebrity and his career as an outstanding magician begins. This, however, is slowed down as Angiers, full of grief and revenge, sabotages one of Borden’s tricks in front of a live audience. The result is that Borden loses a couple of fingers. Not a good thing for a man who’s career is slight of hand.

Borden takes Angiers’ wife. Angiers takes Borden’s fingers. Tit for tat, right? Well, not really. And Angiers knows it. Borden finds a lovely bride, they have  child together and Angiers’ anger festers as he remains a widower and childless. At the same time Borden continues to build a successful magic show. The highlight of his show is a trick, The Transported Man, in which Borden steps into one box and reappears instantly in another box across the other end of the stage. It’s breath-taking. The crowds love it! And Angiers becomes obsessed with finding out his trick. Without giving away the rest of the plot, the film builds on this foundation of anger, jealousy, obsession and pride. The interplay between Jackman and Bale is wonderful. Bale plays the cocky character perfectly, while Jackman develops this heart-broken shell of a man with slow intensity and emotion. And both are driven by their respective obsessions.

Christopher Nolan is responsible for the brilliant pacing and use of flashbacks. The whole film has us jumping back and forth through a period of about 10 years, telling us this tale of mystery and passion in a way that keeps us eager to see what’s around the next corner. He won’t show you anything until he wants you to see it. Just like a great magician. It’s actually quite profound. Here is a film about magicians and Nolan, as the director, approaches the making of the film as a magician himself. Brilliant.

There is so much more to the story and other fantastic characters. Michael Caine plays the wise mentor, Scarlett Johansson plays the sultry assistant/mistress and David Bowie plays the one historically true character, Nikola Tesla (renowned pioneer of electricity). All of these actors are a delight, particularly Caine. I’d love to share more about the story but I really don’t want to give too much away. In the film, they explain how there are three acts of a trick; the Pledge, the Turn and finally, the Prestige. The last act is the “WHA?!” part of the trick. It’s the thing you can’t believe, you never thought possible. Like the Prestige in a magic trick, this film has a fantastic final act. And that is why I really can’t say anymore about the film’s story.

So, go get the DVD or download it from iTunes or Netflix or whatever. Just find a couple of hours this week and treat yourself to this finely crafted film. It’s like a great magic show; mysterious, captivating and mind-blowing.

Monsters

Mar 24, 2011
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Check out my vlog review of “Monsters”!

http://bit.ly/fpLVPy

Make sure you comment!