Village Voice – LA Weekly Top 10

If I were to make a top 10 list of my favorite movie top 10 lists, the alt-weekly snobs at the Village Voice and the LA Weekly would be on there somewhere. Like Film Comment and IndieWire (with whom this list bears striking resemblances), they try a little too hard to convince us they’re smarter (read…)

Holiday Forecast: Happy New Year

Daniel Craig in Defiance Because of the holiday, the new release calendar is kind of in limbo, but two movies are being released today in New York and Los Angeles with misguided hopes for some kind of Oscar action. Suffice it to say that one is called Good and the other is just bad. Defiance. (read…)

Film Comment 2008 Top 20

Glimmer, our man in Houston, dropped a dime on the Film Comment Top 20 in a thread way back on December 26, but we were still feeling woozy from too much Christmas nog and it eluded our notice. Well, the empty bottles have been set out by the curb; the tinsel, wrapping and decorations have (read…)

The Watercooler: 12/29/08

The bride wore…yellow The big news at LiC over the extended holiday weekend was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Christmas morning. I’m a little talked out about that one at the moment, but feel free to join in the conversation over on the review thread anyway or simply add your two cents here (read…)

Review: Gran Torino (2008) *** 1/2

Grrrrrr… In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood steps out from behind the camera and onto the big screen for the first time since 2004’s Million Dollar Baby. Taking a page from the character continuum he began with Dirty Harry, here he plays Walt Kowalski, a racist Korean War veteran, retired Detroit autoworker and recent widower. Alienated (read…)

Trailer: State of Play

This one made LiC’s Watch List for 2009 based on the cast and because I liked Kevin Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland. I have to admit though, the trailer doesn’t do anything for me. It looks like a routine Hollywood thriller in every way. Of course, as I’m fond of pointing out, trailers are (read…)

Movies You May Have Missed: 12/27/08

“I’m not sad. The corset just cut off the blood supply to my head and I can’t move the muscles of my face.” Last weekend I sat down to tap out the Movies You May Have Missed column and I swear there was absolutely nothing worth mentioning. I figured a day or two before Christmas (read…)

Pitt and Fincher talk ‘Button’ with Charlie Rose

I just finished watching the day-after rerun of this episode of Charlie Rose which originally aired Christmas night. Charlie has an unfortunate habit of dropping plot spoilers willy nilly and, though he’s not as bad here as he was on two episodes about The Reader (author Bernhard Schlink one night and Kate Winslet, David Kross, (read…)

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) **** 1/2

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button It is said that youth is wasted on the young, but in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the title character is blessed – and cursed – to live life the other way around. Born a frail, infant-sized old man with cataracts and (read…)

Merry Christmas

Holiday Forecast: 12/24/08

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Christmas day brings out a flock of new wide releases and expansions so the usual Weekend Forecast turns up a day early. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It feels like I’ve been waiting for this film forever and here it is finally (read…)

IndieWire 2009 Critics’ Poll

Here are the top 20 films on IndieWire’s 2009 Critics’ Poll. The Flight of the Red Balloon A Christmas Tale WALL-E Wendy and Lucy Happy-Go-Lucky Paranoid Park Still Life Silent Light Synecdoche, New York Waltz with Bashir Rachel Getting Married In the City of Sylvia My Winnipeg Let the Right One In Milk The Edge (read…)

December Passings

Opening credits of To Kill A Mockingbird directed by Robert Mulligan (1925 – 2008) A number of Hollywood notables have passed away in the last few weeks. LiC has been taking a break from regular news items but I didn’t want the year to with these losses going unmentioned. Forrest J. Ackerman, Sci-Fi Legend: 1916 (read…)

Trailer: Gomorrah

Here’s another trailer from a film that made a splash at Cannes this year. Presented by Martin Scorsese, Gomorrah (spelled Gomorra outside of the US) prods the underbelly of the rampant organized crime in Naples, Italy. Roberto Saviano, the man who researched and wrote the book on which the film is based currently lives in (read…)

Trailer: Two Lovers

James Gray’s Two Lovers got decent notices when it premiered at Cannes last May. Writing for Cinematical at the time, Kim Voynar called it darker, more intellectual and more thoughtful than a typical American romantic drama. Here’s the first trailer for it I’ve seen: The film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw and Isabella (read…)

The Watercooler: 12/22/08

I didn’t see diddly this weekend so I’m afraid it’s up to you fine people to bring the Monday Watercooler to life. There’s a lot of good stuff to see out there, but I expect large sections of the United States stayed home because of the weather. Other than a special Watercooler shout out to (read…)

LiC’s 20 to Watch for 2009

Matt Damon in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant One to watch for 2009 Forecasting the future is a tricky business, but as one calendar year draws to a close and a new one awaits just over the horizon, it’s hard not to look ahead to see what’s coming. Here then is a look at LiC’s 20 (read…)

2008: Looking Back at Looking Forward

Around this time in 2007, I took a look ahead and picked out some of the films I was most eagerly anticipating in the coming year. I’m starting to go over the schedule again for 2009, but first I thought it might be interesting to revisit the old list to see how it panned out. There are (read…)

Preview: Revolutionary Road

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road Directed by Sam Mendes from Richard Yates’ popular novel, Revolutionary Road looks into the dark constricted heart of the 1950s American Dream to find a marriage disintegrating under the weight of an invisible suburban malaise. Starring Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio as the embattled couple, the film (read…)

Your Morning Cup of Critics Awards

The further we get into awards season, the less each individual critics selection seems to mean so I think it’s high time for a tally to see if any kind of critical consensus is emerging in the big categories.  A win from each awards body is given one point. A tie is awarded a half point. (read…)

Review: Valkyrie (2008) *** 1/2

Tom Cruise in Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie Valkyrie opens in Tunisia during the heart of WWII. A dedicated militarist but recalcitrant Nazi, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) briskly paces through the arid, tan dessert to confront his superior officer. He demands that the entire Division shirk orders (they are sitting ducks, target practice for an (read…)

SAG raises ‘Doubt’, ‘WALL-E’ lights Chicago’s fire

I just blinked and here are more awards. Hey look, Doubt racks up 5 SAG nominations: Actor: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon Sean Penn, Milk Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married Angelina Jolie, Changeling Melissa Leo, Frozen River Meryl Streep, Doubt (read…)

Weekend Forecast: 12/18/08

Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler Most of the intersting films this week are limited releases or expansions of films that have already opened so once again I’m burying the wide releases at the end. Opening in limited release: The Wrestler (Wed. 12/17). All the buzz about Darren Aronofsky’s latest film deservedly (read…)

Another day, another pile of critical accolades

The awards train keeps on rolling; this time making stops in Toronto, Houston and Dallas Fort-Worth. I’m sure by the time I finished pasting and formatting these, there were like five more, but we’ll get to those tomorrow. Toronto: Picture: Wendy and Lucy Runners-up: Rachel Getting Married and WALL-E Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler Runners-up: (read…)

Review: Doubt (2008) **** 1/2

Meryl Streep in Doubt The first line of attack against Doubt by its detractors is that a certain staginess has carried over from director John Patrick Shanley’s original Pulitzer Prize-winning play. It’s true, the performances are a little too broad, the dialogue is a bit too precise and the plot and characters are a little (read…)

Critics Spread the Love

There are fewer critics these days, but seemingly more critics groups handing out awards than ever before. Here are the latest from the past couple of days: The Austin Film Critics Association goes to the Dark side: Top 10 Films: The Dark Knight Slumdog Millionaire Milk Synecdoche, New York The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (read…)

Review: Frost/Nixon (2008) ***

Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon is one great scene surrounded by a Ron Howard picture. Whether that’s good news or bad news depends on your patience for the director’s trademark incapacity for subtlety or nuance. I have little, but in this case he’s a bit less (read…)

Day Old Awards: Half Price!

Jeez, you spend a couple of hours over the weekend in a movie theater – actually, you know, watching movies – and there’s suddenly an awards avalanche to catch up on. Here we have the New York Film Critics Online, The Boston Society of Film Critics, the American Film Institute Top 10, the International Press (read…)

The Watercooler: 12/15/08

One occasional drawback to reserved seat movie theaters is when you walk into a mostly empty auditorium only to find that the people in the seats next to yours are already sitting down. Sitting right next to strangers when there are plenty of other seats available feels creepy in a culture that values its personal space. All (read…)

Review: Adam Resurrected (2008) **

Jeff Goldblum in Adam Resurrected I never realized how much I missed Jeff Goldblum (The Big Chill, Independence Day), the leading-man. Since the start of the 2000’s, he’s been playing second fiddle, supporting characters in 2006’s Man of the Year and 2004’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the latter in which he had a (read…)

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