Contributors

Showing posts with label Film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Film. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013: Film

The Best Film of 2013 was Gravity. A stunning film on a number of levels but the one that sticks with me is how scientifically real it was. No sound in space so they compensated with music. Bullock was magnificent in what will hopefully be the beginning of more strong roles like this for women.

This was the first trailer I saw. I nearly shat myself...

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Missing Kubrick

I miss Stanley Kubrick. He was, hands down, my favorite filmmaker and I wish he had lived longer or, at the very least, made more films during his time with us. But he made what he made and his body of work is still several levels above everyone else's filmography, in my humble opinion.

Of course, this recent piece over at the Atlantic is more than a little salt in the wound of missing Kubrick.

However, it's Kubrick's interest in jazz-loving Nazis that represents his most fascinating unrealized war film. The book that Kubrick was handed, and one he considered adapting soon after wrapping Full Metal Jacket, was Swing Under the Nazis, published in 1985 and written by Mike Zwerin, a trombonist from Queens who had performed with Miles Davis and Eric Dolphy before turning to journalism. The officer in that Strangelovian snapshot was Dietrich Schulz-Koehn, a fanatic for "hot swing" and other variations of jazz outlawed as "jungle music" by his superiors. Schulz-Koehn published an illegal underground newsletter, euphemistically referred to as "travel letters," which flaunted his unique ability to jaunt across Western Europe and report back on the jazz scenes in cities conquered by the Fatherland. Kubrick's title for the project was derived from the pen name Schulz-Koehn published under: Dr. Jazz.

Kubrick and World War II? That would have been mega! Considering what he did with Vietnam and World War I (in Full Metal Jacket and Paths of Glory, respectively), the mind can only wonder in awe. Throw jazz into the mix and I'm really lamenting today at a Kubrick-less world..

Friday, February 08, 2013

Best Picture: Beasts of The Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild is an extraordinary film. It tells the story of a father and his daughter who are part of a community that lives off the grid down in the Bayou near New Oreleans. When a storm floods their little island, their already impoverished life becomes even worse.

I found myself sitting in judgement of these people throughout the film and, quite frankly, didn't like the things I was feeling. Hush Puppy, the main character of the story, is treated horribly by her father and the mandated reporter in me wanted to haul his ass to jail. Yet the entire community seemed to function perfectly well on their own, albeit in squalor. When a relief organization comes in to bring them medical aid and shelter, they react strongly against the assistance. It is a fascinating thing to watch as they reflect on how it's the outside world, not them, that are trapped.

In many ways, this film is a testament to libertarianism and, if you can stand the miserable living conditions, freedom is indeed a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty

It's Oscar season so I thought I'd sprinkle in some posts over the next few weeks until the ceremony with my thoughts on the Best Picture nominees. First up, is the most recent film I saw Zero Dark Thirty.

The film tells the story of how Osama bin Laden was ultimately found and killed. Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Point Break) brings a gritty realism to the lens and the film often feels like a police procedural. As with The Hurt Locker, long periods of quiet analysis are abruptly interrupted with shocking and very graphic violence. In many ways, it's two films. The first two hours are the intelligence work that went into finding him (laced with various terrorist attacks over the years) and the 40 minutes are the raid on the compound. The last section was my favorite part. The actors playing the SEAL guys were fantastic and the raid itself was positively gripping.

Here's Official Trailer #2



Of the in the films nominated, it's definitely in the top three and I highly recommend seeing it. Like Lincoln, it is an historical piece and one for the first decade of the 21st century that ends with death of one of the planet's deadliest human beings.

The controversy around the film was predictable. First, it was too political and the Right didn't want it released before the election so as to help the president. So, the studio caved and released it in December. Then the Right loved it when they saw all the torture scenes and blew loads in their shorts. That's when the left got pissed and said that it advocated torture. My take on it was it stayed pretty neutral. There were people in the film that supported torture and thought it worked and people that didn't. Ultimately, it was a relaxing meal and being nice that got the initial guy to talk. This jibes with what my grandfather did during World War II when he interrogated Japanese in the Pacific. They got their best information when they gave them food and shelter. There have also been some moaning about intelligence leaks from the Right but the information in the film is all public knowledge.

If you are heading out to see this year's noms, put this one at the top of your list!