Tag Archives: movie director

5 reasons

Has the movie Swiss Army Man opened in your town?

swissarmyman

 

When it does, go see it! Here are five reasons.

1. The title. It brilliantly encapsulates the film yet is never spoken in it. Bonus points.

2. The premise. A man shipwrecked on an island finds a corpse who ‘helps’ him find his way home (and becomes his best friend along the way).  Original?  Uh, yeah.

3. The cast. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe fully commit to their respective roles as suicidal loser and farting corpse. I was blown away [rimshot].

4. The soundtrack. Led by two music video directors, the movie soundtrack is almost a third cast member. It’s that good.

5. The farting. It’s pretty important to the plot. And you’ll laugh at all the farting. Heck, we’re all still 12 years old at heart — am I right?

One-track mind

The Coen brothers, while creative geniuses,  have overused the ransom plot line in their movies.

It appears in Fargo. And No Country for Old Men. And The Big Lebowski. Even Raising Arizona.

Enough already.

Then today I see a trailor for their next movie…about a kidnapping and ransom.

Okay. This looks pretty funny.

But let’s stop here with this theme, okay?

I spy a fun film

I finally saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E. today.

I’m so glad I didn’t let the critics dissuade me.

Since the stylized spy thriller opened counter to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, critics seemed hell-bent to compare the two.  I’ve seen both; there’s really no comparison.

MI:RN was a wonderful sequel in the Mission Impossible franchise, but the storytelling and action sequences are distinctly modern. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a homage to the 1960’s television series, and the look, feel, pacing, soundtrack — you name it — are true to that era.

I also loved the very dry, British humor that director Guy Ritchie brought to the production. I’m not sure everyone in the theater today got it, but that simply made me feel smarter…and laugh all the louder.

As the trailers promised, everyone in this film is beautiful to gaze upon. Russian spy Armie Hammer is deadly gorgeous, especially in the close-ups, and American agent Henry Cavill is so chiseled, he doesn’t seem realistic. Hugh Grant has also never looked better. He should hire the hair and makeup people and keep them on staff.

I loved Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and I loved The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

I am so complex.

Jump to it

With all the movie remakes that are out there, I am surprised that someone hasn’t decided to give Jumping Jack Flash a second go.

jumpingjackI’ve always liked it a lot, even though I think Whoopi Goldberg was miscast as the lead.

The film was made the year after Goldberg was nominated for an Oscar for The Color Purple, and directors were putting her in everything.

I’m not sure this was the appropriate vehicle.

But I think the movie’s spy plot centered on bank computer transactions could be updated for today, and cast with an eye for chemistry as well as comedy.

Emma Stone would be great as the lead. (Of course, I say that about most films.)

Second chance theater

the village

I had the opportunity to watch The Village again over my lunch hour today.

Okay, it went a tad over an hour.

After director M. Night Shyamalan’s huge hit The Sixth Sense, critics never really seemed to like any of his other films, including The Village.

But I loved it the first time I saw it in the theater, and it held up on the second viewing, too, even though I already knew the famous twist.

Plus, I was reminded of the wonderful performances by Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix and William Hurt.

So, if you initially dismissed it because it wasn’t The Sixth Sense — and let’s face it, there isn’t going to be another one of those — I urge you to give The Village another chance.

‘Cause it takes a vill…okay, I’ll stop.

Who ya gonna call?

ghostbustersPeople were horrified at first at the mere mention of a Ghostbusters reboot.

An all-female cast?  Blasphemy.

Then names like Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock were tossed around.  And director Paul Feig tweeted a confirmation that the remake was indeed happening.

Now the tide appears to have turned, and everyone is stoked.  Actresses that aren’t even known for comedy are publicly ‘begging’ to be cast.

gillian andersonGillian Anderson, for example.

True, she’s got plenty of experience hunting otherworldly creatures on The X-Files…but comedy?

Not so much.

But when I think about some of the biggest moves I’ve made in my career, they didn’t start with your typical cover letter-resume-interview. I picked up the phone and asked for the job.  Who knows?  Might work the same in Hollywood.

So, go get ’em, Gillian.

You could be exactly what this crazy redo needs.

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it. — Jules Renard

 

 

That’s life

Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood has received enormous attention and near perfect reviews.

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It should.

The fact that it was 12 years in the making is epic enough. That the same actors gathered together to recreate this family each year…so the passage of time Is made all the more authentic by every bad haircut, each pop culture reference.

But Boyhood’s true appeal lies in Linklater’s choice of subject matter: the simple, day-to-day ups and downs of a family doing their best to juggle school and jobs and divorce and remarriage and financial worries and love and loss.

Chances are, at certain points in this movie, you will recognize yourself or your family.

And it will make you smile.

Do what you love

Casting directors and agents in New York City often advise wannabe actors to create their own projects.

That way, they can do the kind of work that they want to be doing.

fading gigoloJust ask John Turturro.

He wrote, directed and stars in Fading Gigolo, the story of a guy with money problems who, with the encouragement and salesmanship of a good friend — portrayed by Woody Allen — finds himself the hired lover of a group of lonely middle-aged women.

It’s a great cast:  Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber, and in a star-making turn, Vanessa Paradis (better known as Johnny Depp’s long-time-but-not-so-much-anymore girlfriend).

The movie was very funny at times, and at other times, very serious and soulful.  The changes in pacing and tone were unexpected and unexplained.  I felt like I was watching two movies that didn’t quite gel, and there were jokes that flew over my goyish head that cracked up the rest of the art house crowd.

That being said, I enjoyed the individual performances and getting glimpses of my Upper West Side businesses and doorways in this very New York City film.

Do I look older?

Director Alexander Payne and I have never seen eye to eye.

Since his movie Election (which I did like), the rest of his filmsSideways, Cedar Rapids, The Descendants — just don’t speak to me.

I doubt he’s losing sleep over it.

NEBRASKAThat didn’t stop me from getting excited to see his latest awards magnet Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern and Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte.

It seemed to have it all.

The two leading men, of course.  The black-and-white look, which seemed perfect for this road trip film.  Great trailers, too.

Tragically, Alex has led me astray yet again.

In the film, the car trip takes three or four days.  I would swear the movie — advertised as 1 hour 54 minutes — is actually that long.  It is slow…so very slow.

The driving sequences are slow.  The conversations are slow.  There’s a couple of fights scenes, and their fists look like they are in slow motion even though they’re not.

I really enjoyed three scenes in the movie. And the performances are wonderful — especially June Squibb, who plays Bruce Dern’s kick of a wife.   But there are long stretches of your life…

..that you will never get back.

Let’s go exploring

Can you believe it has been eight years since Bill Watterson stopped drawing Calvin & Hobbes?

The comic strip itself was only published for 10 years — from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995 — and yet somehow it feels that it was always in newspapers.

It’s that iconic.

A new documentary is now in theaters and OnDemand that examines the Calvin and Hobbes legacy:

dear mr watterson

Director Joel Allen Schroeder examines the comic strip for the phenomena that it was — artwork that was miles ahead of its neighbors on the page, and story lines that tackled issues like environmentalism, education and philosophy.

To build his case, Schroeder interviews everyone but Watterson — fans, his syndication partners, comic experts, and fellow cartoonists.  It’s very much a love fest, as they all agree on the comic strip and its creator’s instrumental role in cartooning history.

They also discuss Watterson’s controversial decision NOT to merchandise Calvin & Hobbes.

I highly recommend the 89 minute film.  It brings back great memories, gives you access to lots of Calvin & Hobbes comics, and will leave you thinking:

“I need to make a bookstore run!”