Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There is a point, early on

in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Potter, now 14, exclaims "I love magic" and for the first time in the series, I could understand why.

Since I'm a few weeks late in reviewing the movie, and it has grossed well over $250 million in North America, everyone knows the story. It's the fourth year at Hogwart's, and Potter and the gang now have to not only deal with their studies, they also have to deal with something else, their hormones. Potter also has to compete in the Tri-Wizards Tournament, a collection of 3 tasks which will determine the greatest wizard.

Director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco) has helmed this latest installment of the series with a steady hand, and has given us the darkest Potter yet. So dark in fact, that the film is rated PG-13 in the states.

When I was sitting in the theatre waiting for the movie to start, I was surrounded by a LOT of Potter fans and they were discussing the fact that maybe this movie should have been made in 2 parts, so everything in the book could have been shown. I can't really comment about that, as I haven't read the book so I can only judge the film on what appears on the screen, not the translation from page to screen. I've been told that J.K. Rowling has a a lot of input into the screenplay so I would assume that the movie doesn't disappoint her.

I went to the first Potter movie just to see what the commotion was all about, and sucked into the whole premise and world of Harry Potter. It's rare for that to happen to me, but what's even more rare is having it happen through 4 movies. I'm NOT going to the opening night of the Potter movies dressed up as a Wizard, and "casting spells" on the other "wizards" standing in line, but I do find myself enjoying the 2 hour+ visits (Goblet of Fire is 2.5 hours, with about 13 minutes devoted to credits) when they come around and almost always a few days AFTER the opening. B


So, I'm sitting in the theatre, waiting for this movie (any frequest readers of this blog know how long I've been waiting for this movie), and notice 2 things: 1) It isn't that full, and 2) There's NO ONE under the age of 30 in the theatre. Two very good signs for me.

I come home and look over my past blog posts and see how MUCH I've been waxing poetic over this movie before I saw it. All I can think is "How can I do a review that doesn't smack of bias after all the hype?"

Good night, and Good Luck looks at legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow's battle against the injustice known as the McCarthy hearings. Like the pioneering TV newsman it depicts, Good Night, and Good Luck, achieves something beyond entertainment. Like Edward R. Murrow, this drama is relentless in achieving its goals.

Last year Jamie Foxx became Ray Charles in the biopic Ray. This year David Strathairn becomes Murrow His performance, so focused and illustrative of Murrow's courage and idealism, is worthy of an Academy Award nomination, and he probably will get one.

This is the second outing for Clooney as a director, and he's picked some interesting subjects. I'm looking forward to the next film. B+

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'd like to take this time

to wish all my American Friends a happy thanksgiving!

Today as well, I'm wondering where everyone is from that reads my blog. Feel free to make your mark on my new map.

I'll be back tomorrow with a review of Harry Potter.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Here's a question for everyone,

and I'd like your input:

You are given a movie theatre for 24 hours. You want to show 12 movies. Which movies would you show? They can be any length, but you only have the theatre for 24 hours.

I'm interested in hearing your comments.

One movie that would be shown is Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

Which ones would you show?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I got an email today that simply said

"Walk The Line looks good, I think... hmmm"

and I replied with "It does look good.. it's on my 'Oscar Watch/fall movie viewing' list for the fall. It's true, it is on the list.. Most of the movies on my list are no doubt going to get TONS of Oscar buzz, so here are some of the other movies that are on my "Oscar Watch/fall movie viewing" list(in no particular order):

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - easily the darkest of the Potter films so far, proving why the series has a strong adult following.

Walk the Line - about country music icons Johnny Cash and June Carter starring Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Cash, and Reese Witherspoon, who co-stars as Carter, is already on quite a few lists of films to watch for when nominations are announced.

Syriana - Writer-director Stephen Gaghan, who wrote 2000's drug war movie "Traffic," brings a contemporary story of the Middle East to movie screens. starring George Clooney and Matt Damon.

Brokeback Mountain - filmed in my hometown, and tells of the overwhelming power of love in a romance between two cowboys, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.

There are a couple of other movies that are just starting to show up in screening rooms to get their oscar buzz going:

The Woody Allen romance Match Point

Steven Spielberg's Munich, about the aftermath of the Palestinian attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Those movies join a list of films I already think have a chance come Oscar time: Good Night, and Good Luck, Shopgirl, and Capote, which are now playing in theaters and have award ambitions for their actors -- David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night, and Good Luck," Claire Danes in "Shopgirl" and Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote."

Besides the usual films trying for Oscar considerations, there are a couple of others, both of which are no-brainers for being on the "must see list" this christmas season:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - based on the children's books by C.S. Lewis that are populated by talking animals and tell of epic battles between good and evil that have a strong Christian slant.

And last but CERTAINLY not least:

KING KONG - Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic telling of the Monkey that goes out on a wild night on the town with his date (Naomi Watts), and ends up taking a trip up (and down) the Empire State building. THIS movie more than any OTHER this Fall season I have high hopes for!

anyways, that's my lineup for the fall/Christmas Season. As you can see, I'm going to be quite busy, and I'll do my best to post reviews of all the films I see.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I never can understand how

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expects people to pick films for Oscar Consideration. I mean, in 2002, there were 279 Feature Films eligible for consideration for an Oscar.

The race for documentary films is even broader, this year, there were 82 documentaries eligible for consideration, and the Academy has narrowed the list down to 15. Normally, the documentary film categories just has people staring blankly at their Oscar Pool ballots, trying to make a pick from films that most people have never heard of.

This year, however, there are a few films that have made the first cut. Most notably is MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, which I reviewed a while back on this blog. Other notable films that made the cut are: Mad Hot Ballroom, which followed New York City school children learning and competing in a ballroom dancing competition, along with Murderball, which detailed the lives of quadriplegics who play a form of wheelchair rugby, and Rize, photographer and video director David LaChapelle's look into the dance world of krumping.

This list of 15 films will be narrowed down to 5, when the final nominations are announced January 31.

The story in my last post is still open. Anyone can contribute.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Everyone says they can

write a better story than most screenwriters, let's see how we can do:

"What a night" he thought laying in bed. I can't remember a thing. He looks at the alarm clock, 4am. The throbbing in his head matches the pounding at the door. "I'm coming!" he yells as he grabs a robe and wanders out of the bedroom.

The pounding gets louder at the door, until he opens it. "What do you.."

The Blast from the shotgun hits him square in the chest. He falls back into the room and hits the wall.

"There. I've done it. Time to..."

This is an open story. Now it's your turn. You can add to it in the comments section, and let's see where it goes.