Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Classic Trailers: THE UNINVITED


     Wednesday's Classic Film Trailers has a little more British horror on Halloween Eve, but this one is from the mid 40s. A haunted house film that is truly scary because of that deep fear of the unknown. No CGI. Just great music, great lighting and eerie sound. Lewis Allen's The Uninvited (1944) was first brought to my attention when I  read Martin Scorsese's Top 11 Horror Films list. The film stars Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey as a brother and sister who purchase a seaside house in the English county of Cornwall. They are in for more than they bargained for as the house has an eerie familial past that the two siblings get entangled in. It is a haunted house film taken seriously and is full of rich atmosphere. A film that I believe is truly a classic of the horror genre. And that score and the sound effects are absolutely chilling. A fantastic black and white horror film. Enjoy.

Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Counselor

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Cormac McCarthy

     It is a bleak world out there, especially if you decide to fatten your bank account through the seedy, venomous world of the Mexican drug trade. But, Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy's new film The Counselor is much more than shady deals, back stabbing and bloody deaths. It is about the moral dilemma one puts themselves in to achieve quick financial growth and the catastrophic consequences of those decisions. By no means is this film for your everyday "Joe Popcorn" crowd, in that it does not hand feed the audience answers and the film does not contain any truly likable characters, but that is alright. Give me a film that is challenging, well written and acted, and flows at the philosophical conundrum of the frailty of life and an ill advised investment in the cold-blooded world of the Mexican drug-trafficking business. No stops. No emotions.
     This is the great novelist Cormac McCarthy's ("Blood Meridian," "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road") first screenplay and it feels much like one of his novels. It contains many of the same themes: good versus evil, love and loss, moral decisions and consequences, and bloody, disturbing deaths involving decapitated heads and bursting arteries. I admire how his screenplay flows from scene to scene where you are left figuring out where the conversation is at and going, but not given much history or back story. A screenplay that kept me guessing the ins-and-outs of the story and showcased the depraved and violent side of humanistic urges and greed. Do not expect answers once the credits roll, but be impressed that you stepped into a world of impeccable style, mood and chaos. In all honesty, the film feels more McCarthy's than Scott's and that might be an appreciation and deep found respect Scott has the important writer.
     The counselor (Michael Fassbender, not given any other name) is a well-to-do lawyer in El Paso, Texas and we begin with him and his soon-to-be fiancé Laura (Penélope Cruz) in a lovely, sensual moment under the sheets. After this and his proposal, we have hardly any moments of kindness or love. It is all terrible decisions and violent actions that encompass the rest of the film. The counselor feels he needs to secure more money, he already has a lavish home/apartment, Bentley and Armani suits, for his life with Laura to be fulfilling. He meets up with a drug dealer and bar entrepreneur Reiner (Javier Bardem) and involves himself in a 20 million dollar cocaine deal. Reiner is somewhat insecure and afraid of his girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz), in that she is a cold-hearted businesswomen that looks out for herself first and foremost. He knows she is smarter than him, but how smart, he is not sure.
     We are also introduced to Westray (Brad Pitt), a city cowboy who has been in the business for many years. He is the philosophical one. He has is money secured away and is willing to walk away from the drug trade at a moments notice. In one of the best scenes in the film, the counselor and Westray discuss, over a few Heineken's, the decisions and reasons for the counselor's involvement. We do not get any more information from him other than that he wants some financial security, but Westray knows that this is a difficult, deadly endeavor and can see that the counselor is not really suited for this kind of work. As the counselor leaves, Westray states that no matter what, you will get killed if anything goes wrong. One big theme in this film is that the Mexican drug business and cartels do not care about life. You cannot get away and if they cannot get you, they will get anyone who is close and dear to you. This is an evil world, with evil individuals and you better be prepared for an unhappy outcome.
     Scott and McCarthy never let you completely know the details of the plot. I even found myself a little confused throughout, but I was not completely lost. I was impressed with the visual clarity from cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and an atmospheric, tense-filled score by Daniel Pemberton. Sometimes style and mood can exemplify the beauty of film just as much as a clear narrative does. This is truly a McCarthy work and the blood is not light. There is one scene towards the end where a main character comes to a disastrous fate and is so well constructed and acted. Nobody, with exception of Ms. Cruz' character, are likable. No one. But what devilish and confident performances they deliver.
    The film mainly revolves around Fassbender's counselor, but at no moment was McCarthy not the ultimate star. That is not to say he wanted it that way, but the story and the horrible world that revolves around them is always the focus. Deceit, cold-hearted thuggish lifestyles and the devilish greed are the central philosophy and way of this film. Saying that, Fassbender is quite good and has to go through the emotional ladder throughout the film. The only question seems to be that he appears to be financially successful, so why get involved in the drug trade? Oh yeah, some humans are animalistic, greedy bastards and enough is never enough.
    Pitt and Bardem are both great. Pitt, in his tailored western attire and cowboy hat, knows how this life of drugs and death is. He is smart and cautious. When it is time to go he will vanish or attempt to. Bardem and is bright colored clothes and spiky hair express a man with too much money, but he also shows someone who is at a crossroads in his life. I think he knows the end is around the corner and he wants to live it up with drinks and women. He is confused by women, but states that they cannot get bored. They know what they want and Malkina does. Diaz, who has not been anything worth watching since her amazing role in Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, is quite impressive in this role. She exemplifies those animalistic desires of human greed and impulse. Also, she has two cheetahs (also cheetah spots tattooed on the back of her whole body) that are her pets and, in the most infamous scene of the year, has sex with the windshield of a yellow Ferrari. Yes, it happens. She delivers throughout the film though. Sultry, cunning, emotionless and cold-hearted in her approach to life, business and desire. Her character is the reality of life and the vulgar affairs of business, where Cruz exemplifies the beauty, sweetness and life we hope for and would want to live in. Cruz is fantastic, but not in the film that much.
     Not to mention, an impressive supporting cast, including, Bruno Ganz, John Leguizamo, Édgar Ramírez, Rosie Perez, Dean Norris, Toby Kebbell, Rubén Blades, Natalie Dormer and Goran Visnjic. All are in just one scene, but deliver precise performances that I really enjoyed.
    I know I have wrote much about this film having McCarthy's signature all over it and it truly does, but Scott's vision in the film is of a bleak, dark, moody world full of violence, greed and lust. This dark piece in Scott's filmography can somewhat be contributed to the death of his brother and filmmaker Tony Scott, who committed suicide in 2012. It almost feels that the scenes, with the cheetahs running after a hare in the west Texas countryside and Malkina's fornication with the car, could come right out of a Tony Scott film.
     This is a unsettling and quite powerful film. An unconventional thriller that is truly satisfying and gets better as it sits in my mind. It does not hold back on the evil side of life and the hurt it causes to the ones who are the closest. The Counselor is a beautifully shot film and acted to perfection, especially a surprising and cold-hearted turn from Cameron Diaz. The film is as dark as it gets and does not force feed any concrete conclusions, but the mood and style are done to a devious, assured delight. It is what it is, as in life, and the filmmakers are not hiding from that or sugar coating the issues at hand. The film is polarizing and might be the most divisive film of the year. The film is a matter of moments and details, instead of a typical structured story. That is just fine with me.

Photo credits by IMDB.

Monday, October 28, 2013


     I do not post that often on television programs or series, but this new HBO series True Detective looks too good not to at least post the trailer. It stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as  Louisiana State detectives, Martin Hart and Rust Cohle, who are brought back to revisit and be interviewed in 2012 over a case they worked back in the mid 90s. I do not know if this will be a limited series, especially since both actors work frequently in film, but HBO's website states that this is season 1 so who knows. I do not care. This looks incredibly dark and moody. Also, it appears to have some top notch performances from two of the best actors out there. McConaughey just continues to make smart, challenging decisions and this looks to be another wise choice. The 8 episode series was created by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre). True Detective also stars Michelle Monaghan, Tory Kittles, Kevin Dunn and Michael Potts. Series begins on January 12, 2014. Love the use of The Black Angels "Young Men Dead" and the Lone Star tall boys.

Photo credits by HBO and trailer by


     This trailer dropped last week for the second film in the Captain America set and the next film in the ongoing, and growing, Marvel filmography, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The film will begin where Marvel's The Avengers left off and Chris Evans returns as the titular, all-American superhero. Captain America, fighting in modern times, is up against a new threat, a former Soviet agent, in The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). The Captain has to embrace his role in the modern world, a struggle, but has the assistance of Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in the fight. More explosions, CGI and nonsense, but I am not a comic book or superhero film fan so expectations are at a minimum. The film is directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo. The film also stars Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Dominic Cooper and Toby Jones. How did they get Robert Redford to be in this film? The film will be released on April 4, 2014  by Disney & Marvel Studios. Enjoy.

Photo credit by and trailer by YouTube.

Friday, October 25, 2013

2013 Gotham Award Nominations

     And so it begins. The first set of film nominations were announced yesterday. Another year, another awards season. The 2013 Independent Filmmaker Project Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations were unveiled and even though there are not many awards handed out, Steve McQueen's slavery drama 12 Years A Slave nabbed three nominations and appears to be setting its pace to possibly be the film to beat this year. Although the Gotham's are small potatoes in the big award season, it is nice to see them awarding and recognizing small, independent films. It has been a good year in small, low budget film. These awards focus solely on independent, non-mainstream films, even if most of the nominees are well known, especially the list of directors and their films. Last years two big winners included Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom as Best Feature and David France's How to Survive A Plague as Best Documentary. A complete list of last years recipients can be found here. This year's awards will handed out on December 2, 2013. Here are the nominees for 2013:


  • 12 Years A Slave   d. Steve McQueen
  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints   d. David Lowery
  • Before Midnight   d. Richard Linklater
  • Inside Llewyn Davis   d. Joel & Ethan Coen
  • Upstream Color   d. Shane Carruth
  • The Act of Killing   d. Joshua Oppenheimer
  • The Crash Reel   d. Lucy Walker
  • First Cousin Once Removed   d. Alan Berliner
  • Let the Fire Burn   d. Jason Osder
  • Our Nixon   d. Penny Lane
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
  • Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Robert Redford (All Is Lost)
  • Isaiah Washington (Blue Caprice)
  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon)
  • Brie Larson (Short Term 12)
  • Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color)
  • Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now)
  • Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station)
  • Adam Leon (Gimme the Loot)
  • Alexandre Moors (Blue Caprice)
  • Stacie Passon (Concussion)
  • Amy Seimetz (Sun Don't Shine)
  • Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings)
  • Kathryn Hahn (Afternoon Delight)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station)
  • Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave)
  • Robin Weigert (Concussion)
  • Afia Nathaniel (Dukhthar)
  • Gita Pullapilly (Beneath the Harvest Sky)
  • Deb Shoval (AWOL)
Photo credit by

Thursday, October 24, 2013

More Films Pushed to 2014

     In a month old post on 9.30.2013 titled Films Pushed to 2014, I wrote that Bennett Miller's highly anticipated new film Foxcatcher was moved to 2014 by Sony Pictures Classics. I also stated The Weinstein Company had moved the Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco into next year as well. Rumblings on the Internet suggest director Olivier Dahan and producer Harvey Weinstein are in disagreement over the cut of the film. Harvey does like to edit films down and likes final cut, unless it is Tarantino. Anyways, I mentioned that Martin Scorsese's new film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was in limbo of being released this year. In the end though, Scorsese will have his film edited, to his hopeful liking, and will be released on Christmas day. Phew... Good news. I am glad I do not have to wait until next year for Scorsese's film, but I want to see his exact vision and quality cut. Hopefully the legend is not being forced into a final cut. He is Scorsese for Christ sake.
    The disappointing news is that George Clooney's The Monuments Men will not be ready for a release in 2013 and has been moved to a new release date of February 7, 2014. The film was number 10 on my most anticipated films of the fall, but I will have to wait a little bit longer. Clooney is still working on a final cut and wants the special effects to be accurate and correct. If more time makes the film come out better than that is a good thing. It does free up some Oscar season space for Sony Pictures since they have two other heavy-hitters in Captain Phillips, my review here, and David O. Russell's American Hustle. I like that Clooney has stated that he is not interested in the Oscars and wants to release a quality picture and not force something out just for a chance at some awards. I like that, if it is true.
     Now, since Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street has been moved to Christmas day, Paramount Pictures has hence moved Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan reboot Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starring Chris Pine, from its original Christmas day release to January 17, 2014. Obviously Paramount is more concerned, and rightfully so, with Scorsese's movie than the Ryan film. Do we really need another Jack Ryan movie anyway? And Pine is not that interesting of an actor. At least not yet.
     A lot of movement, but if we get quality films after these filmmakers get more time to complete them, I am ok with that. It is a tremendous amount of movement this late in the year and with this Oscar season being highly competitive, these studios might be forcing or just clearing space. I, even though I find it fun to follow the awards season, would rather see an interesting film, then one that is just released to get some awards.

Photo credit by

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Classic Trailers: ALIEN

     Wednesday's Classic Film Trailers presents one of the greatest horror/sci-fi/action/thriller films ever made in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). A film that is absolutely an excellent piece of filmmaking and showed the world how talented Scott was as a director. A film that expressed the view that fear is an unbelievable and mandatory selling point in making a scary thriller. A space movie that is full of action, suspense and horror. Alien is a prime example of filmmaking with prosthetics, ghastly makeup and special effects that included building real scale figures, like that of the alien, and having someone also act in a costume. Thankfully, computer technology was still young and Scott could not create an alien with graphics cause the film would not have worked as well, see Prometheus. I absolutely love seeing real stuff, real actors, real costumes and makeup, and real electronics at work. Fantastic! Oh yeah, the film had one hell of a cast, making Sigourney Weaver a megastar and also including John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto and the inimitable Harry Dean Stanton.
    You know the story. The space vessel Nostromo checks on a distress call from another planet and they find a spaceship carrying an unknown, organic alien life. One of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is attacked by an unusual creature and brings it on board there ship. A threat that will carry terrifying results. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is a badass and goes head-to-head with the alien. The film made her a huge star and the cynical comedic performances from Kotto and Stanton are priceless. The film really shows how precise a director Scott is (was), especially when it comes to pacing and editing. Always tense, slow reveals, absolutely chilling music and scary as hell. Alien is, and will always be, a must see film.

Photo credits by and trailer by YouTube.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The Fifth Estate

Directed by Bill Condon
Written by Josh Singer

     Julian Assange's website WikiLeaks uncovered numerous files and data that revealed the dark secrets of governments, banks and politicians. A cultural phenomenon of sorts, controlled by a silver haired narcissist that revolutionized online journalism and turned into a watchdog of the wealthy and powerful. It sounds like the premise for a highly interesting dramatic feature, but Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate falls in creating a film that does little more being a highlight reel for the websites reveals and the uneven relationship between Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his German hacker colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl). A movie more focused on Julian Assange would have been far more interesting than one that set its premise on the relationship of him and is so-called co-founder Berg. A film that was more of a docu-drama then a forced thriller would have sufficed.
     The film begins with an opening credits sequence that goes through a flashy history of large events in journalism until the rise the Internet. That and an eerie performance from the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch, who looks very similar to Assange and has the Australian accent down precisely, are about the only interesting and compelling aspects of the film. We never really get to know who Assange is or much about his past, other than brief flashbacks to his involvement in an Australian cult "The Family" when he was young boy. The story starts in 2007 with his reveals of Afghanistan War crimes and divulging secret backroom deals of investment banks in Europe, to the huge unveiling of the war papers from the US government in 2010. Assange's mission is to expose secrets and hold the powerful accountable. The film basically just gives a pixelated rundown of these exposures, Assange globe-trotting from Kenya to Iceland to New York at varying conferences and the downfall of the relationship between Assange and Berg.
     The story is based mainly on the book from Berg "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website" and also takes from the other WikiLeaks book "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy" by David Leigh and Luke Harding. The perspective and the majority of the story, other than the actual events of secrets being revealed, otherwise who knows what is truly accurate, is seen through the eyes and mind of Daniel Domscheit-Berg. He is a naive German computer hacker and becomes easily persuaded by Assange to assist him with his website. The problems is that the we feel we know more about Berg than Assange. That was the obvious basis of the story, but it is huge misstep. I wanted to learn more about Assange, his background, his moral reasons and beliefs. The man is a mystery and still in exile in a London embassy, but the story revolves around his partner not himself.
     Another issue is the pacing and screenplay. It is set like a techno-thriller, I believe trying to emulate another technology based film, David Fincher's far superior The Social Network, but fails to tell an actual story. Carter Burwell's electronic score does little to add any depth to the story either. There are little to no thrills or suspense at all. A more straightforward drama with history and back story would have suited this film much better. This is not Jason Bourne-esque thriller here. There is superimposed text and instant messaging plastered on characters faces that feels highly outdated and unnecessary. Then, once the story gets to the release of the US war documents, subplots with American government agents played by Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci and Anthony Mackie, feel boring and lifeless. They added nothing to the story, even though these actors are highly talented. Josh Singer's script is just blah.
    Bill Condon, director of very well-made biopics Gods and Monsters and Kinsey, needed to focus more on Assange and his viewpoint than through the vision of Berg. A very talented director who just did not have enough material, shocking, to tell a story with interesting characters and a decent story. At least Cumberbatch (Sherlock) was terrific. Sharing an uncanny resemblance to the real Julian Assange, he has his mannerisms, lisped Aussie accent and eerie, narcissistic attitude down pat. He exemplifies the darkest corners of Assange and the man's deceitful, devilish ego at being the only one that matters. He wants all the credit and basks in the notoriety and attention. What about diving into whether Assange is a saint or a traitor? That would have been intriguing, but we do not get much of an analysis on that. To be honest, the only thing that kept me invested in the film was his Cumberbatch's performance. Bruhl, who is a talented actor as well, was pale in comparison to Cumberbatch, but delivers a naive, angry performance as man who thought he was close to Assange, but realizes the man is all about himself and his expansive ego. I also want to acknowledge a wonderful supporting performance from the always brilliant David Thewlis. He plays The Guardian writer/editor Nick Davies and brings great balance to the flat story.
    In the end, The Fifth Estate is a bore. A story that could have been much more interesting with a focus on the life and reasons of Assange instead of a collage of his revealed secrets. The performances are good, but Cumberbatch is the only real reason to see this film. If you want to see a film about WikiLeaks that is interesting and much more suspenseful, see Alex Gibney's documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks. Bill Condon's film does not really tell much of a story and is quite an uneventful piece of cinema.

Photo credits by IMDB.

Monday, October 21, 2013


The Purge

Written & Directed
James DeMonaco

     It is the year 2022 and a once every year, for a 12-hour period, Americans are allowed to "purge" themselves of any pent up anger, rage, resentment and violence on any other the person they want. You can kill anyone for any reason. You can perform any deplorable, violent, raucous act as long as it is during this 12-hour time frame. The country has a one percent unemployment rate and crime is at an all time low, except for this one night of the year. This is the main concept and selling point of James DeMonaco's The Purge, a lackluster, near horrible film that envisions a futuristic America that seems completely impossible, irresponsible and unrealistic.
     I am sorry, but this movie stinks. Right within the first couple of minutes and during the security camera recorded opening credits where people were violently murdering other people, I was ready to stop watching this pile of garbage. Actually, I am not sorry. The whole concept of this film seems so outlandish and the fact that anyone can kill anyone just because they do not like them is completely ridiculous and disgusting. You could kill a baby just because you do not like the way the baby looks or because, lets say, your family could not have one. You could kill an innocent homeless man or somebody that is an everyday working woman, just because you do not like the fact they are homeless or because you are lazy, unsuccessful and do not work, and are jealous of the hard working woman. Oh my gosh. There are so many irrational ideas and obvious questions that arise while I watched this film, but DeMonaco attempted to turn this film into a suspenseful thriller and failed miserably.
    The film centers on the Sandin family. The patriarch James (Ethan Hawke), is a successful security salesman. He sales systems that insulate and protect people from the "purge." He and his family have an enormous house and security sales have been good for them. He has a wife Mary (Lena Headey), a daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and a young, inquisitive son Charlie (Max Burkholder). The kids question the validity of this gruesome night that was created by the "New Founding Fathers" and Charlie sets the action in motion when, during the so-called festivities, he sees a man (Edwin Hodge) running for his life from a group of masked purgers and disarms the house and allows him in. The scene is absurd in the convenient effects of the steel door that protects the family on this night takes forever to come down and the man slides in at the last second. Stupid and overdone way to add a little suspense, but I suppose this film needed all the action and help it could find. 
     The group chases this man, who is nothing more than a homeless veteran. He is wearing dog tags, but if they are his or he stole them we are not told. The group, led by a psychopathic prep school looking blonde haired teenager (Rhys Wakefield), explains that either the Sandin's let the man out or they will break-in and kill not only the man, but the Sandin's family as well. Blah, blah, blah. Guess what, they get in. If the security system, which I am sure is highly expensive and should be unbreakable can be pulled down by a couple of high powered Dodge trucks, then how good is it really? James Sandin has sold it to everyone in the neighborhood as well. I believe the system should be so well-made that it is impenetrable, but undoubtedly not. 
     The film goes on and on. It is roughly about 90 minutes, thankfully, but it still felt too long. The concept is void of going in better, more thought provoking directions. Why not focus on everyday citizens that are not filthy rich. The film focuses on the wealthy Sandin's and the rich neighbors and neighborhood they live in. The neighbors are jealous of the Sandin's, as we see in the hours before the "purge" and these issues come back later in the film. Also, earlier, the boyfriend of Zoey sneaks in to the house after the house in armed with these big steel faces. The house as so many cameras that you would think they would notice if someone broke in. Come on. How many films do we have to see young lovers break in to spend the night. Another overdone concept in a film full of repetitiveness. Nothing new or original. 
     Nothing about this film was intriguing to me at all. Everything from the music to Jacques Jouffret's cinematography was dull and rote. Felt very staged. The direction of the film that DeMonaco took it in as a somewhat veiled commentary on an ultra conservative America was boring and then turning the film into another placid home invasion thriller was lacking in thought and creativity. The acting was as good as it could be, but Hawke is better than this crap. He was serviceable, but nothing interesting about him or his character at all. And the leader of the psychopathic group Wakefield was devilish at times and contained an eerie "Joker-ish" smile, but seemed like another creep in a mask. Why did the "New Founding Fathers" do this and what was the history behind this "purge?" Questions unanswered and a film that you need not waste your time on. Easily one of the worst of the year, but no surprise there.

Photo credit by

Friday, October 18, 2013

Criterion Collection Titles for January 2014

     The Criterion Collection has announced its new releases for January and it looks to be a great start to 2014. The first release that really caught my eye and a film that should look absolutely perfect on bluray is Michael Mann's directorial debut Thief (1981). The film stars James Caan as a safe cracker that is focused on one last diamond heist to end his life as a criminal. The film contains many of the stylistic touches we have come to know from Mann, including beautiful nighttime photography, rain slick streets, the consciousness of a master, no nonsense criminal and precise attention to detail. If you liked Heat and Collateral, and have not seen Thief yet, change that as soon as possible. The film also contains a very-80s score from Tangerine Dream that is full of atmosphere, intrigue and add that as another element that is always brilliant in a Mann film.
     Two other new films I am not very familiar with, even though I do know quite a bit about the directors, that will be added to the collection are Criterion favorite and Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki's La vie de boheme (1992) and an introduction to the collection of legendary British director Terence Davies with his film The Long Day Closes (1992). The former is about a trio of artists, impoverished and living on the streets of Paris. A tragicomedy of sorts. The later is a somewhat autobiographical film about a boy growing up in Liverpool in the 1950s. Bittersweet fantasy and a film that will harken back to the "kitchen-sink realism" films of a dreary, heavily industrialized England. I have not seen either one of these films, but I am interested in checking out both.
     Another new release to the mainline is Stanley Kramer's mad cap comedy It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). The film has a plethora of stars, including Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney to name a few. The film revolves around a group of strangers fighting over a buried treasure. Possibly an investigation of American greed or just a comedy containing a huge amount of stars and comedy legends. I have not seen it yet and although I am intrigued, this is probably my least interested release of January.
     There is also a new Eclipse set (no bluray), number 40, of the masterful Indian director Satyajit Ray's films titled "Late Ray." The sets contains three of the last films he directed, including The Home and the World (1984), An Enemy of the People (1989) and his very last film The Stranger (1991). I have not seen any of these films or any of Mr. Ray's films for that matter. I am patiently waiting for Criterion to release his most important films "The Apu Trilogy" and need to start watching some of this classic Indian directors movies. The most important director from India, dealing with issues of class, politics and humanity.
     Save the best for last. There are two new upgrades in the month of January: Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece Throne of Blood (1957) and Jules Dassin's classic, masterful heist film, and one of my personal favorites, Rififi (1955). Throne of Blood is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth and is an eerie, devilish and, yes, bloody film by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. No one can film, write, direct and edit like Kurosawa. Everything flows so brilliantly and nothing is left out. Working with his mainstay Toshiro Mifune, playing the the mad soon-to-be King, and revolves around his enigmatic rise and fall. It is a piece of cinematic wonder and, at least I think, along with High and Low, is my favorite Kurosawa film. Rififi is just a damn well-made heist film, containing one of the most memorable diamond heists in film history. No dialogue for about thirty minutes during the heist and one of the most suspenseful film noirs made in the 1950s. This French masterpiece, made by Dassin, who was exiled from America for having supposed Communist ties or beliefs, is just a master class in suspense filmmaking. And great cover art from Tang Yau Hoong.
     That seems like a pretty good month to me. I definitely want the two upgraded films and Michael Mann's Thief. I will have to check out the other films once they are released as well. Enjoy.

Release date 1.14.2014
Release date 1.21.2014
Release date 1.28.2014
Release date 1.21.2014
Release date 1.7.2014
Release date 1.7.2014
Release date 1.14.2014
Photo credits by The Criterion Collection.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


     The new trailer for Wes Anderson's latest The Grand Budapest Hotel dropped today and it appears to be another wonderful, dry, enjoyable adventure in "Andersonville." That is a good thing by the way. Precise setpieces and production design, dry and ironic humor, and a way of talking that can only take place in the exquisite mind of one of the best filmmakers out there. If you are a fan of Mr. Anderson, which I very much am, you cannot wait to see this film. The film revolves around a legendary concierge, Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), at one of Europe's grandest hotels between the two world wars and the lobby boy (Tony Revolori) who becomes is most trusted associate. The film contains an all-star cast of former Wes Anderson actors, including Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman and, of course, Bill Murray, as well as newbies Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Lea Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson and Mathieu Almaric. Wow! The trailer looks spot on. Precise and perfect as only Anderson can do. This film, along with Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice and Darren Aronofsky's Noah are three of my most anticipated films of 2014. The film will be released on March 7, 2014. Enjoy!

Photo credits by IMDB and trailer by

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Classic Trailers: PEEPING TOM

     Wednesday's Classic Film Trailers is presenting a film I recently saw in a beautiful new print. A film that, the first time I saw it, I did not really enjoy or get much out of it, but this recent screening brought much more importance to the films power and craft. A film that put one of England's great directors out of commission for the rest of his career and that honestly rivals Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho for voyeurism and eerie parental issues. Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), released the same year as Psycho, is a film that challenges the viewer immensely. A film that questions and puts an eye to the audience, in that, are we not just as voyeuristic as the main character. We watch films and by doing so  are looking into other people's lives, ideas and predicaments. Much can be said of this film and the creepy effects it has are pure genius from the great Michael Powell.
     Photographer and cameraman Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm), who works on movie sets and records films for his own pleasures, films women and then kills them with a knife stuck in his tripod. A psychopath with daddy issues. His father, played by Michael Powell, made home films when Mark was a boy and made his son do unsettling things, such as spying on teenagers making out. Trust me, these old films are some of the creepiest moments in the film and give us the mindset and sexual repression that Mark is going through. His only sexual outlet is to film woman as he kills them. This film examines the voyeuristic endeavours of an unsettled, demented mind and the violent actions that allow an outlet of sort, for his uncomfortable view of the world. Powell's film was trashed by critics for its frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, and ruined his career. Not until the mid 80s, when Martin Scorsese began showing the film at festivals, did the film begin to receive the critical acclaim it so rightfully deserves. Powell, along with his co-director Emeric Pressburger, directed masterpieces such as The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, The Tales of Hoffman and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, and Peeping Tom is yet another masterpiece from this legendary director.

Photo credits by The Criterion Collection and video by YouTube.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Captain Phillips

Directed by Paul Greengrass
Written by Billy Ray

     Captain Phillips is a taut, gripping thriller of realism. It is a film that brings forth action that is unforced and a moral immediacy to the world we live in. The kinetic action is balanced by an honest portrayal of a "real-life events" thriller, that does not judge either side and allows for a vision of the reasoning behind the actions of the proposed "good" and "bad" guys. The film rarely falters and with a few scenes that might be a little too stretched at times, it brings home an emotional level of authenticity in its final scene that will be sure to grab anyone by the heart. The film contains some of the finest acting in film today, especially by a crew of newcomers. Trust me, the film is intense and expertly made, but, I would not expect anything else from Mr. Paul Greengrass.
     Captain Phillips is based off true events that occurred in 2009 when the cargo ship the Maersk Alabama was hijacked by Somali pirates. It is based off Mr. Phillips book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea." We first see Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) at his picturesque home in Vermont. He is packing for his next venture and he and his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener) are driving to the airport. The scene speaks of the two parents concerned about the future for their children and the fact the world is an ever-changing place. Greengrass opens with this to incorporate the humanism in Phillips and the state of place where the family is at in their lives. The scene sets up the calm for the film, but we do not go back the family. I like that. It allows for us to focus on Phillips and the events that happened at sea. It also allows for an emotionally difficult and intense scene at the end, as we have travelled through this film with Captain Phillips.
     After this, we are on his container cargo vessel, the Maersk Alabama. He is checking the pirate cages and locks, and right away we know this is going to be a dangerous trip. Going around the horn of Africa, delivering United Nations supplies and foods to African nations in need. Travelling from Oman to Kenya, and going through the piracy laden waters off the coast of Somalia. Danger persists.
     The film really brings about an honesty with its look into the job-like demeanor of a professional everyman in Phillips and then inter-cutting it with a peak into the Somali's. A poor nation, run by devastating warlords. We see them picking out men on the beach to hijack a ship. Piracy is a huge business and these men are doing what they have to do to survive. Even if it means committing massive crimes. It is a world completely opposite from the United States. Men are picked and travel out to sea, with battered ships and guns as there only means to force extraction. They are looking for a payoff and to fulfill the warlords wants and needs. I enjoyed seeing this juxtaposition of Phillips with his wife and then with his crew on the ship, and then the Somali's preparing to hijack a ship. It showed reasons, needs and necessities. It did not hold judgment or persecution. 
     Four men hijack the Maersk and hold the Captain at gunpoint. They state they do not want to hurt anyone, but just want the cargo and money. The crew is hiding and eventually, actions lead to consequences. We get to a point where Captain Phillips is put in a lifeboat and is used as a blackmail tool. The pirates are bringing him to Somali in order to get the money they want and will use him as a bargaining tool. Ok. I will not delve any further into the plot or its outcomes, but Greengrass has built everything up with educated suspense and well-acted scenes. Some of the scenes are drawn out a little too far in my opinion, but it does not lessen the impact and craft of the filmmaker and screenwriter Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, The Hunger Games). In its 130 minute run time, I never once was bored or uninterested, and Mr. Greengrass' kinetic, cinema verite style of directing gives that documentary realism that fits this film so well. That style is pretty much what you expect from Greengrass, who also directed United 93 and the final two installments of the Matt Damon-led Bourne films. Both of those Bourne films were fantastic.
     Greengrass is in top-form here and knows how to expertly tell a realistic, tense filled story. His direction is spot on and the camera work by his DP Barry Ackroyd does not miss either. Yeah, it is jittery and constantly moving, but it really fits with being on a ship and adds a level of unbridled tension to every scene. Ackroyd, who also shot Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, is brilliant and does not over shot anything. The film is almost a companion piece to Bigelow's other great film, Zero Dark Thirty, with its account of realistic, harrowing events. They both contain brilliant Navy SEALS-led suspense and action as well. The score from Henry Jackman adds to the intensity of each scene, but never overpowers it. Believe me when I say that the final half hour of this film contains some of the finest filmmaking all year. It brings everything home and includes some of Tom Hanks best acting ever.
    The acting is phenomenal throughout this film. Hanks is perfect as the disciplined, American everyman Richard Phillips. He delivers throughout, as usual, but he is so to-the-core throughout, until we get to the final scene where his emotion and pain is so overwhelming. It got me and was as good of acting as Hanks has ever delivered. This should easily garner him awards attention, but the field of actors this year is highly competitive and growing. It is still Hanks that we can easily relate to. His ethics, determination and heart are on full display. Even in a scene where he is dealing with his crew and union based realities, he exemplifies command and efficiency. As much as Hanks is the star and shows how brilliant and talented he is, it is a newcomer that holds his own and almost steals the show from him.
    The main bad guy, Muse (newcomer Barkhad Abdi), is amazing as the captain of the four Somali pirates. His gaunt frame, misaligned teeth and skinny disposition is presented and acted with detailed fear and anger. The man is sent to perform a task and will not relent, even when the lifeboat is surrounded by the US Navy, carrying Navy SEALS. He states "I cannot give up." Abdi delivers a star turning performance and it is astonishing that this is the first film he has ever done. Going toe-to-toe with a veteran thespian like Hanks even adds to his wonderful, grounded performance. He gives Muse a balanced, honest portrayal. These are bad guys, but we see where they are coming from and how they live. A humanistic side to another part of the world and life that is full struggle and poverty. I must give attention to the other three Somali's, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali, who give more traditional bad guy performances, but are equally effective. Also, real-life Navy corpsman Danielle Albert, who in the final scene with Hanks, delivers a powerful supporting turn. Amazing stuff.
     Greengrass and Ray do distinguish the differences between the "good guy" Americans and the "bad guy" Somali pirates, but do it in a way that shows the moral dilemma facing these men and the world. You obviously realize that piracy and theft is bad and that they have no justification to hurt Captain Phillips and his crew, but we see where they are coming from. They live in a world of intense poverty and reside in a society that is void of any comfort features. I enjoyed the fact that the filmmakers do not place "God-like" judgment on the characters and present the actions and reasons of what is going on. The film, as I said before, has some languished scenes, mainly once the hijack has occurred until they go off into the lifeboat, but it is told and filmed with such intensity and suspense that exemplifies the definition of a well-made and expertly constructed thriller. That moral immediacy that is delivered throughout, spot on directing from Greengrass and the excellent acting, especially from Hanks and Abdi, are what makes Captain Phillips a must-see.

Photo credits by IMDB.

Monday, October 14, 2013


     These trailer(s) have been out for awhile now, but I thought I would put this out there in case some of you have not seen the trailer yet. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller,  follows Mitty and the highly, "out-of-this-world" adventurous life he daydreams about where he is the hero and gets to date his beautiful co-worker. Otherwise, he is a boring and bored office worker. These daydreams help him escape the monotony of his uneventful life. He attempts to save his and the co-workers jobs by going on a global exploration when those jobs are at risk. The film, I hope, gives us the dramatic, good-actor Stiller (The Royal Tenenbaums), instead of the over-used, annoying comedic one. This film is a remake of a 1947 Danny Kaye picture of the same name and is based off a short story by James Thurber. The film co-stars Kristin Wiig, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn. I am skeptical of how this film will turn out, being that Stiller is always hit-and-miss, but the trailer does have me intrigued. The film will be released on Christmas day. Enjoy.

Photo credits by and trailer by YouTube.

Thursday, October 10, 2013



Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Alfonso & Jonas Cuaron

     Alfonso Cuaron's space epic Gravity is all it appears to be and is one of the most technically amazing films ever made. It is a movie that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the ultimate sound. The film is daring and one of the most intense action films ever made, not to mention a true horror film as well. Cuaron and his director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki have created shots that cause your nails to almost break into the arms of the theatre seats. Blinking is almost absent from one suspenseful scene to the next and even though the film may lack a little bit of emotional relevance to the world we live in, not much though, it is still a movie for movie lovers. A film that has its metaphors, strengths, some weaknesses, but ultimately is easily one of the best films of the year and one of the greatest space/sci-fi films ever made. Cuaron has made a film unlike no other.
     The film begins with words across the screen stating that it is impossible to live and survive in space. Right away we know that this is going to be journey of survival, human strength and intelligence. A space shuttle is slowly moved in upon and we witness three astronauts on a space walk. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran on his last mission, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first mission and Shariff (Paul Sharma), who is working as the other two are on the shuttle. Kowalski tries to keep the highly nervous Stone calm and at ease while mission control, voiced by Ed Harris, notifies the three that a Russian satellite was intentionally destroyed and the unintended debris is heading their way. The three are in a rush for their lives.
     Shariff is killed. Stone and Kowalski are separated and all Stone has to calm her down is Kowalski's voice, but eventually they tether together in a fascinating, complicated rush. They make it to the International Space Station only to encounter another round of debris going at thousands and thousands of miles per hour. Kowalski realizes they must separate, especially since Stone is running low on oxygen and Kowalski is pulling Stone with him as they are tangled on the space station's hoses. She is terrified and Bullock expresses with a continuous series of "aahhs" and "no's", but ultimately Kowalski detaches her and Stone has to find a way to survive. The film is a harrowing thrill-ride that is all about the wonders of technology, cinema and the will to stay alive.
     The rush that you feel while seeing the peril that is about to happen to Stone is like nothing I have ever seen in my life on screen. Shrapnel from the satellite comes flying in and, if seeing in 3D, right into your face. The booming, growing score by Steven Price is almost a starting gun for the emotional turmoil and suspenseful thrill that is about to happen in each devastating scene. I can honestly say that within that first thirteen minute continuous shot, without one visible edit, is absolutely breathtaking and completely gripping. The scenes become more harrowing and suspenseful as the film continues its ninety minute roller coaster, but it sold me right away. The loops, spins and breathtaking use of CGI is so seamless and pinpoint. This is the way CGI should be used and how it should be used.
     Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is as good as ever. Never falling at any point and the only wonder I have is how much of the film is CGI and how much is actual shots. Nevertheless, his camera work and use of lighting is some of the best you will ever see and sure to finally get him his much overdue Oscar. The CGI, which took over two years and the film close to four years to complete, is well worth the wait. The beauty of seeing these astronauts float in space and seeing different parts of the globe is mesmerizing. It is like seeing a Discovery Channel documentary. The clarity is perfect and the visuals are completely astonishing.
    Alfonso Cuaron's direction and creativity is unparalleled throughout Gravity. He wrote the film with his son Jonas and what a treat it is to see it on the big screen. He has crafted one of the greatest space films of all-time and has come close to the masterpiece that is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film is a film for film lovers and enthusiats. It is a film that demands to be seen at the theater. I think, just because I find wearing the 3D glasses annoying since I have to wear them over my regular glasses, I would rather see it in 2D. The 3D is good and not stupid looking, but the graphics are sensational. The suspense is completely gripping and eye-popping. Cuaron has entertained some concepts of evolution and rebirth throughout his film, but those can be up to different interpretations, especially in the final scene. I will not spoil that for the audience. I do wonder what Kubrick would think of this film though. It was of the most technically amazing pieces of cinema I have ever seen.
    Clooney's role is somewhat small in the film, but he does bring it home throughout. Good humor, even if a little corny at times. The real wonder and beauty, outside of the technical wonder of creativity by all involved, is Sandra Bullock. Although Bullock does go through a phase at the beginning where all she seems to be saying is "ah" and "no" and "I can't breathe" that becomes a tiny bit annoying, she still is rock solid in her performance. This has to be one of the more physically demanding roles she, or any actor, has ever been challenged with and she delivers with confidence and warmth. Her spirit is tested, it seems like, every ten minutes as she runs into one challenge after another. Bullock is solid throughout the film and it is one of her finest moments as an actress. Definitely Oscar worthy.
     The score by Steven Price is a thing of beauty. Booming, slow build that brings home the emotional impact of what is occurring on screen. One minor problem and I might be knit picking too much, is that every time Stone was about to be in intense danger, his score is brought up and sets the tone. It is a beautiful crafted score, but I felt it would have been nice to have some of the scenes just be led into suspense by looks and gestures from Bullock. I am not saying I did not like it because it is amazing and a piece of genius, but it was over used a little.
     Gravity is about the struggles of humankind and the fact that space is something humans are not meant to survive in. I believe Cuaron tried to come through with notices that no matter how much technology we posses, it means little when you are in an environment not suited for human life and existence. In contrast, it focuses on the will and strength of human character to survive. To find anyway possible to get back home and not give up and die. I am not saying you do not need the technology to survive, because without it, it would be definitely impossible, but you have to have the power to not give it all up and keep fighting for survival. No matter how hard or drastic the situation, you have to fight on and find a way to survive the perils of life. Even if you are 600 plus kilometers above Earth and in the clutches of space.
     Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity was my most anticipated film of the year and what seems like the last four years, and he did not disappoint. A marvel of the possibilities of cinema and a film that is for all fans of the movies. A space/sci-fi/horror masterpiece of undeniable vision and talent. A thriller unlike anything made all year and one that will keep you clutching your seat for the duration of its ninety minute run time. Another marvel for the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and a top notch performance from Sandra Bullock. I cannot praise this film enough. I have never seen anything like it and cannot wait to see it again. Thank you Cuaron for crafting a film of such amazing creativity and one of the most visually astonishing films ever made.

Photo credits by IMDB.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Classic Trailers: Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN

     While I finish up my final thoughts on Gravity and wrap up the end of a much needed vacation, here is the trailer for the film that put director Alfonso Cuaron on the map, Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001). The film about two young friends in Mexico that embark on a road trip with an older woman. The film is about love, friendship, romance and most importantly life. The film brought attention to the two young Mexican actors, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, who the year before was in Alejandro Gonazalez Inarritu's first film Amores Perros. The film also stars the lovely Maribel Verdu and garnered Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Important film. Enjoy.

Photo credits by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Classic Trailers: HORROR OF DRACULA

     Wednesday's Classic Film Trailers continues with that other great British horror film from Hammer Studios Horror of Dracula (1958). Starring the same two actors that were in The Curse of Frankenstein, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this film is probably my favorite of these classic British films. Although, upon second and third viewings of both films, I find myself being very fond of the The Curse of Frankenstein, liking it just as much as Horror of Dracula. The film is based on Bram Stoker's legendary novel "Dracula," but follows it very loosely. Directed by Terence Fisher, who also directed The Curse of Frankenstein, the film has the same great proper manners and sophistication, same great bright red blood and offers the amazing, somewhat corny, but satisfying Dracula film I love. Christopher Lee is Count Dracula and is as good as he has ever been. Peter Cushing plays Dr. Van Helsing and it is a good change from his maniacal Dr. Frankenstein portrayal. This is a classic and worth checking out as soon as possible. It is that time of year, so go out and seek some classic horror films. You will not regret it. Enjoy.

Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ROOM 237

Room 237

Written & Directed 
Rodney Ascher

     Rodney Ascher's documentary Room 237 focuses on a plethora of conspiracy theories and hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick's classic, 1980 horror film The Shining. Everything from the film being about the Holocaust, to the massacres of the American Indians, to the faking of the landing on the moon, all are presented by The Shining obsessed conspiracy theorists. Some of the discussions and thoughts feel a little fruit loopy, but others began to work on me and led to a fairly enjoyable experience watching this film. For the most part, these people have taken film details and research for meaning to a whole new level. A fun, geeky paradise in search of what Kubrick was possible getting at and how he  possibly presented it in his film. Anyway you look at it, after seeing this documentary it will make watching The Shining a lot more entertaining, as if it was not already, and more obsessive.
     All of the individuals who have given there theories and time here are not physically shown. Their voices are used and pictures and scenes from all of Kubrick's films are used to exemplify what and who they are talking about. I do not want to call these people nuts, but feel as if they are looking so deep into the film that it could lead to a form of dementia. I do respect the passion they have for the film and it really does create great conversation. It makes talking about films exciting and definitely ensures that future viewings of The Shining will be taken to new heights of detail and specificity. 
     Ascher has crafted a documentary that is just pure fun, if not a little too much. Most of the time I was thinking that these people need to get out of whatever dark room they are in and stop obsessing over these subliminal and hidden meanings in this film, but by the end of it I was happy and intrigued by what they have presumed to uncover. Kubrick was a stickler for detail. That in itself is what I found most interesting about the film. The "faked" moon landing is the most interesting account presented here and it is hard not to at least feel the possibility through the details shown in the documentary. The holocaust and genocide of American Indians I can see with Kubrick's desire to make a film speaking of the horrors of Nazi Germany and human expansion and dominance, but they could be a little too far fetched. The details with number 42 are however quite intriguing.
     Back to more details in the film. The style of carpet in room 237 and how it looks to be a depiction of sex, to the points where Danny has the ball roll to him where he is playing and how the shape of the hexagonal carpet goes from being opened to closed was really fascinating. I really love stuff like that and it makes me want to see the film right away to find these minute details that hold so much meaning to the story and film. Even the part when Halloran is driving back to The Overlook Hotel and sees a semi-truck crashed on top of a red Volkswagen beetle shows how Kubrick states his ownership over the film and his dismissal of Stephen King's novel. In the book, the Torrance's are driving a red beetle and in this film they drive a yellow one. Also, the continuity issues of a chair being there in the shot, then missing the next time around and the changes in color of the typewriter are up for discussion. Kubrick was too detailed to allow this gaffs to occur so there had to be some meaning there.
     Room 237 is a fun documentary if you are a fan of Kubrick's The Shining and of the masters great filmography. It is fun if you are fan of mystery and debate over any film for that matter. The film shows how exciting diving into these theories and creating them can be and also how crazy obsessed fans and historians are at the same time. The documentary is an example of the greatness of film history and conversation. The engaging and obsessed film websites, blogs and discussing the various aspects of any film. When it comes to Stanley Kubrick, there is always more to research, discuss and be amazed about. I mean, it is Kubrick and there is only one Stanley Kubrick. Ascher has captured that love for film and conspiracies with this entertaining documentary.


     The new trailer for Peter Jackson's second "Hobbit" film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has dropped and continues the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), along with the thirteen dwarves who are on a quest to reclaim their home, and gold, from the dragon Smaug in their mountain lair. Not much to say here. I am somewhat muted after the disappoint that was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and do hope this film finds some of the passionate storytelling and drive that The Lord of the Rings films possessed. I am intrigued to see how Smaug fully looks and having Benedict Cumberbatch voice him is an assured plus. Let's see how much courage Bilbo can muster in this second film in the trilogy. Here is the trailer. Enjoy.

Photo credit by and trailer by YouTube.