27 December 2011

2011 At the Movies.

So here it is. The Year in Film, 2011 Edition. One thing to make a note of- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Meek's Cutoff were both on my 2010 list, because they thematically fit there. I don't want anyone to think I was slighting them in any way. 


01) MARGARET (US-Kenneth LONERGAN)


02) A SEPARATION (Iran-Asghar FARHADI)

03) THE MUPPETS (US-James BOBIN)

04) 
CERTIFIED COPY (Belgium/France/Italy-Abbas KIAROSTAMI)
A DANGEROUS METHOD (Canada/Germany/Switzerland/UK-David CRONENBERG)

05) MELANCHOLIA (Denmark/France/Germany/Sweden-Lars VON TRIER)

06) WEEKEND (UK-Andrew HAIGH)

07) BRIDESMAIDS (US-Paul FEIG)

08)
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (US-Sean DURKIN)
ROAD TO NOWHERE (US-Monte HELLMAN)

09) 
THE GUARD (Ireland-John Michael McDONAGH)
CODE BLUE (Germany/The Netherlands-Urszula ANTONIAK)

10) SUPER (US-James GUNN)


Honorable Mention:
Carnage, Drive, The Future, Hanna, Kaboom, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tree of Life, Tucker and Dale versus Evil, Tuesday After Christmas, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Young Adult


BEST ACTOR: Tom CULLEN, WEEKEND
Honorable Mention: 
Michael Fassbender (A DANGEROUS METHOD), Brendan Gleeson (THE GUARD), Peyman Moaadi (A SEPARATION), Chris New (WEEKEND), Gary Oldman (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY), Rainn Wilson (SUPER), Jacob Wysocki (TERRI)


BEST ACTRESS: Anna PAQUIN, MARGARET
Honorable Mention:
Viola Davis (THE HELP), Kirsten Dunst (MELANCHOLIA), Keira Knightley (A DANGEROUS METHOD), Rooney Mara (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), Bien de Moor (CODE BLUE), Elizabeth Olsen (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE), Stephanie Sigman (MISS BALA), Shannyn Sossamon (ROAD TO NOWHERE), Tilda Swinton (WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN), Charlize Theron (YOUNG ADULT)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Patton OSWALT, YOUNG ADULT
Honorable Mention: 
Albert Brooks (DRIVE), Jan Cornet (THE SKIN I LIVE IN), Benedict Cumberbatch (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY), Tom Hardy (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY), Jonah Hill (MONEYBALL), Christopher Plummer (BEGINNERS), John C. Reilley (TERRI), Andy Serkis (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES), David Tennant (FRIGHT NIGHT)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: J. SMITH-CAMERON, MARGARET
Honorable Mention:
Jeannie Berlin (MARGARET), Kathy Burke (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY), Jessica Chastain (everything), Elle Fanning (SUPER 8), Sarina Farhadi (A SEPARATION), Carey Mulligan (SHAME), Ellen Page (SUPER), Maya Rudolph (BRIDESMAIDS), Octavia Spencer (THE HELP), Kate Winslet (CARNAGE, CONTAGION) 


 BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
(HD) Javier Aguirresarobe (FRIGHT NIGHT)
(Film) Seamus McGarvey (WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN)
Honorable Mention:
Mike Cahill (ANOTHER EARTH), Manuel Alberto Claro (MELANCHOLIA), Brendan Galvin (IMMORTALS), Alwin Kuchler (HANNA), Jody Lee Lipes (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE), Emmanuel Lubezki (THE TREE OF LIFE), Jose David Montero (APOLLO 18), Urszula Pontikos (WEEKEND) 


 BEST DIRECTOR: Roman POLANSKI, CARNAGE
Honorable Mention:
David CRONENBERG (A DANGEROUS METHOD), Terrence MALICK (TREE OF LIFE), Lynne RAMSAY (WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN), Lars VON TRIER (MELANCHOLIA), Joe WRIGHT (HANNA) 


 BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: James GUNN, SUPER 
Honorable Mention: 
Asghar FARHADI (A SEPARATION), Andrew HAIGH (WEEKEND), Kenneth LONERGAN (MARGARET), Annie MUMOLO and Kristen WIIG (BRIDESMAIDS)


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Jason SEGEL and Nicholas STOLLER, THE MUPPETS 


BEST COSTUME DESIGN: ISHIOKA Eiko (IMMORTALS)


BEST DOCUMENTARY: PROJECT NIM 
Honorable Mention: 
BEING ELMO, EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS, THE INTERRUPTERS, NENETTE, WE WERE HERE 


 BEST 3D: HUGO
Honorable Mention:
FINAL DESTINATION 5, A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS 


SPECIAL AWARDS FOR NON-HUMAN PERFORMANCES:
Uggie (THE ARTIST), Wafflebot (A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS)


 BEST SCENE (in no particular order):
Opening Credits – The Adventures of Tintin, Making rounds - Code Blue, The Dinosaurs – Tree of Life, opening tracking shot - Hugo, Shadow Puppets/Opening Story – Kung Fu Panda 2, "Pictures in My Head" - The Muppets, crosstown jog - Shame, Press conference – Another Earth, Escape from Jerry's house – Fright Night, Picnic with Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn – The Catechism Cataclysm, Entering Karl's lair - The Sitter, Escaping the complex - Hanna, Monica & the Bus - Margaret, The Ecstasy of Tomatoes - We Need To Talk About Kevin, 'Look! Gypsies!' - The Turin Horse, Jim Henson's Funeral - Being Elmo, Chase through Bhaggar – The Adventures of Tintin, Dubai - Mission: Impossible  Ghost Protocol, Opening Sequence – Scream 4, At the Met - Margaret, Melies retrospectacle - Hugo, "Man or Muppet?" - The Muppets, The Robbery – Fast Five, Last Shot – Another Earth, Her Audition – Super 8, Battle in Heaven - Immortals, Last Shot - Martha Marcy May Marlene, Creation – Tree of Life

15 December 2011

At the movies: Young Adult.

So here's the film that is going to cause many awkward conversations with a couple of dear, dear friends over the next few years...

14 December 2011

Film 2011: The Fifteen Best Uses of Pre-Existing Songs

Here, in ascending order, are the best instances of a film taking a song we may or may not have known and granting it some new context...

15) AIRIEL featuring ULRICH SNAUSS - Sugar Crystals
(from KABOOM)


14) ENYA - Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)
(from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO)


13) CHIC - I Want Your Love
(from SHAME)


12) TECHNOTRONIC - Pump Up The Jam
(from TUCKER & DALE VERSUS EVIL)


11) DIANA ROSS - When We Grow Up
(from YOUNG ADULT)


10) TRENTEMOLLER - Shades of Marble
(from THE SKIN I LIVE IN)


09) RIZ ORTOLANI featuring KATYNA RANIERI - Oh My Love
(from DRIVE)


08) JOHN R. BUTLER - Hand of the Almighty
(from THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM)


07) WHAM! - Last Christmas
(from WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN)


06) JULIO IGLESIAS - La Mer (a l'Olympia)
(from TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY)


05) THE STONE ROSES - I Wanna Be Adored
(from I MELT WITH YOU)


04) WILSON PHILLIPS - Hold On
(from BRIDESMAIDS)


03) LISA LOUGHEED - Run with Us
(from HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN)


02) JOHN DENVER - Leaving on a Jet Plane
(from THE GUARD)

(Please note- the film doesn't use this duet version, but I mean, if you're not intrigued by John Denver and Cass Elliot singing it, then I fear for your soul)

01) ERIC CARMEN - It Hurts Too Much
(from SUPER)

01 December 2011

At the movies: Melancholia.


New Von Trier. In Nashville. On 35mm. Bigger than life and more insistent than death. Don't miss it.

23 November 2011

At the movies: The Muppets.


It really did mess me up reading about Frank Oz's displeasure with the new Muppet film. It's bound to be difficult when someone is able to take things you helped create and take them off to unknown tangents and places- like Frank Oz did with Ira Levin's Stepford Wives.

I kid.

Much respect to Frank Oz for all his work (and Little Shop of Horrors, because that movie rules your face off), but the new Muppets film is a delight. Feel free to investigate.

My favorite context-free line: "All hail the Hobo King!"

18 November 2011

At the movies: Breaking Dawn - Part I.

So, this movie you might have heard of opened this weekend.

As you can see above, it's nonstop hot Brazilian honeymoon action. But there are certainly some enjoyably campy facets. Read all about it within...

17 November 2011

10 November 2011

At the movies: Martha Marcy May Marlene.

My take on the exquisite new film opening this week. I'll be moderating a Skypechat with Writer/Director Sean Durkin after the 7:30 show tomorrow night (11/11/11) and I hope to see you there.

I'm very proud of this photo. If Elizabeth Olsen ever starts a rock band, this could so be an album cover.

Putting something freaky in your earhole.


A bit of music writing this week, coming to bring some freakitude to Nashville.

01 November 2011

At the movies: Take Shelter.

Watching this film sort of triggered a minor nervous collapse in me this past weekend.

I'm not making any claims that the same could happen to you (this isn't un film de Bienvido), but I just want people to understand that parts of this movie leave deep scars. So keep that in mind. And certainly, check this film out.

21 October 2011

At the movies: Metropolis: The Giorgio Moroder Reconstruction.


You don't often get a chance to write, at length, about the Giorgio Moroder Reconstruction of Metropolis. So when given that chance, I said "Yes, more please..."

Playing two shows only at The Belcourt on Tuesday, the 25th.

20 October 2011

Validate My Existence. New York Film Festival '11.


So the Nashville Scene ran my wrap-up of the time I spent at the New York Film Festival in September and October. Here it is. Read it, please...

11 October 2011

At the movies: El Bulli - Cooking in Progress.


Initially, the whole idea of molecular gastronomy seemed a bit much for me. But thanks to some patient friends (much respect to Christopher and Beasley for showing me the way) and some amazing photography, I've since developed a sincere appreciation for the art and joyful madness of Ferran Adria and his staff of geniuses. Experience the love/madness for three days only as part of The Belcourt's Doctober.

07 October 2011

The Trailer Park Boys are coming to Nashville...


Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles. Coming to Nashville on October the 11th. I wrote a thing about it, wherein I got to interview Ricky. So that's something you should read.

29 September 2011

At the movies: Tucker and Dale versus Evil.


Have a beer and give this a read. Then see the film. I would be there if I could...

At the movies: Hadewijch (Take 2)

So back in the long, long ago, when I still wrote for The Tennessean but was stuck in online Siberia, I decided to try and through some love to afilm that wasn't going to show in town. As Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch wasa entering its last week as part of IFC Films' On Demand/In Theatres program, I had to act fast. SO I did a full-on piece on the film in order to convince people to experience. I got some shit about it, but I still feel it was the right thing to have done. And now, months and months later, Hadewijch is going to be showing in Nashville thanks to Sarratt.

I am ecstatic. Ecstatic enough to have written a different review of the film. You can read it here...

22 September 2011

At the movies: Stalker.

I got to write about Tarkovsky's masterpiece Stalker for the Scene this week, which is an honor. And I didn't even get to the tracking shot of human folly, spanning the riverbed where money, weapons, and religious iconography lie, useless, forever.

18 September 2011

At the movies: Drive.

So, this film opened on Friday and it's got a few people talking about it. I think it's particularly awesome. You should check it out. Here's some more of my thoughts on the subject.

10 September 2011

Miranda July Live in Video

So tonight, at Nashville's venerable Belcourt Theatre, following the 6:30 screening of The Future (regualr admission prices, $8.75 for adults, $7.25 for students and military with active ID, $6.25 for seniors, and as always, $5.75 for Belcourt members), there's going to be a Skype discussion with writer/director/star Miranda July. This is not a chance that comes by too terribly often, and you'd be in for a special treat. In addition, after the discussion, you'd be right on time for our free outdoor screening of Psycho. So that's an evening right there. Don't miss it.

At the movies: Attack the Block.

So I was recently approached by a local arts magazine to do a bit of film writing for them, so I did. Let me know your thoughts.

18 August 2011

At the movies: Fright Night.


I remember seeing the original film on a VHS that also had Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce and Armand Mastroianni's The Clairvoyant on it. What can I say, my family's video library had exquisite taste.

But now, it's Fright Night all over again. And I kind of dug it.

At the movies: Final Destination 5.


They just keep dying...

11 August 2011

At the movies: The Help.


Writing about race is difficult.

There's some outtakes of a sort from this piece coming. My editor and I are trying to figure out the best way to present them, but it's good stuff. Call it a nice dessert after the main meal of this, my thoughts on The Help.

At the movies: Rise of The Planet of The Apes.



It's rather vindicating when a good movie becomes a big hit. Especially during the summer. So here, then, are my abbreviated thoughts on the newest entry in the Planet of the Apes saga.

Also, as a special bonus, here's the abandoned beginning for the piece, which isn't even really about Rise..., but rather the thing about the Burton PotA that I don't think anyone has really addressed. But check it out, because without your unspoken validation, I am nothing.


The thing nobody remembers about Tim Burton's maligned 2001 remake of Planet of The Apes is that it was the last time he stayed true to his original mission statement as a filmmaker- embracing the strange and unusual. The beauty of its shocker ending wasn't its supposedly clever tweak of the original's shocking reveal, but rather that it punished the Artist formerly known as Marky Mark's character because of his unwillingess to expand his horizons. He could have lived a weird and extraordinary new life on the planet of the apes, and instead he went heroing it back across space to earth because it was safe and it was where all his stuff and ideology was. Well, joke's on you, you can't have that earth back...

Unfortunately, when society as a whole rejected the film (in spite of shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars in tickets), it must have flipped a switch in Burton's brain, because next came Big Fish and that was it. A career built on embracing the strange and unusual now decided it was time to forgive Daddy and coast on the goodwill people had for Johnny Depp. With the exception of Sweeney Todd, it's been a dire spiral.

All of that comes into play in the way that Rupert Wyatt's Rise of The Planet of The Apes defiantly embraces the strange and unusual at every step of the way. Our perspectives are linked with the apes from the beginning of the film, and when humans become part of the story, it is as adjuncts to where the real deal is happening.

04 August 2011

At the movies: The Hitcher.


Two shows only. This weekend. As part of The Belcourt's Road Movies of The 70s & 80s series. A new print, fresh from the UK. The original, and still champion- The Hitcher.

At the movies: Cowboys & Aliens.


There's a deadpan goofiness to this film that resonated with me (and apparently very few others- people have been lining up to dump Hatorade on this film like it was the Elm Street remake). It's as High Concept a title as you can get, and you can practically feel the dozens of executives, focus groups, Mountain Dew-addled nine year-olds, and teams of Harrison Ford's writers working things over into movie Play-Doh.

But there's something here that's distinctly enjoyable, even when it's completely ridiculous. Jon Favreau is a director I will follow anywhere (seriously, Made is one of the outstanding directorial debuts of the ages), and you can tell he's ecstatic to be making a Western. That there's a giant spacecraft/complex and alien fighters thrown in the mix is just gravy.

The plot is there just to get in the way of the story, and awesome character actors will periodically show up to liven the proceedings- seriously, Walton Goggins is on his way to becoming the Harry Dean Stanton of the new millennium (once HDS dies, though, and he's still going strong for a bit).

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are exactly what you'd expect, and Sam Rockwell is just awesome, as always (except for The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy).

At the movies: Captain America.


At last, America has its own Starship Troopers.

Now, don't misunderstand, I know that Starship Troopers is an American film, but it is a pure distillation of Paul Verhoeven's global genius. Captain America is just as multileveled and intriguing, but it comes from a very distinct domestic sensibility and as such has a different objective.

Verhoeven's film was about a fascist society and was made as an entertainment that such a fascist society would respond to, so we're not just watching the film, but we're asking ourselves what this film says about who it was made for. Now with Captain America, we've got a film that not only feels like a 40s' film made with contemporary technology, but one that says oodles about the America we wish we were.

My one serious complaint is that they made Chris Evans shave his chest. Other than that, it's a bonkers journey into superheroism that made me giddily happy.