10 Winter Film Releases That Didn’t Suck

10 Winter Film Releases That Didn’t Suck

The first quarter of the year tends to be dumping ground for Hollywood films that don’t otherwise fit into a studio’s release schedule (see our review for “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit“). They are movies that they either don’t have faith in, or, don’t believe they’ll bring in the summer tentpole dollars, or, any sort of awards. [Read more…]

Ben’s 2011 Oscar Picks

So it’s Oscar time again, and I guess the little experiment of having 10 Best Pictures worked from last year. Once again, they have taken a crappy year in general and milked 10 movies from it. I have mixed feelings on this 10 Best Picture thing. On one hand, I like it because it gives some great, great movies that probably wouldn’t have cracked the top 5 (i.e. True Grit) a chance at glory. On the other hand, however, 10 movies don’t seem to have the prestige that 5 movies had. You had to be really, really good to make the top 5 (with the exception of Juno). So I’m mixed, but all in all I don’t mind it too much.

Last year you could tell there was a lot of filler. The Blind Side, are you kidding me? That said, this year actually has 10 movies I really enjoyed! I would say all 10 of them had a legit shot at a Best Picture nomination even if there were only 5 this year. Some are stronger than others, of course, but all 10 really gave me something this year, and that is rare, trust me.

I’m betting on The Social Network to take the top prize. Even though when I first heard about it, I was like “wha-?” Who wants to see Facebook the Movie if you are over 22? But as soon as Fincher signed on, I knew this was going to be a little different, and, of course, it was. Excellent movie.

Now out of these 10, my favorite would have to be Black Swan. I was expecting a mind fuck, yes, but not THIS much of a mind fuck. It had all the classic elements that made old school David Cronenberg and David Lynch so terrifying. Meaning, you didn’t know what the fuck was going on. It captures the confused atmosphere so well, that I was on the edge of my seat. I love body horror, and this was body horror I have not seen since The Fly. Loved it! It won’t win, and to be honest, I’m glad. A movie like that shouldn’t be shared with any idiot who sees “BEST PICTURE WINNER” on the box. This is a special movie, and should only be viewed by people who will appreciate it.

However…it was not my favorite movie of the year. In fact, my favorite movie wasn’t even nominated. Now I am a self confessed Martin Scorsese whore, I know this. But we had our differences for a few years. In fact, I felt that The Departed, while good, was immensely over-rated and not even close to his best movie. One of his
bottom movies, I would have to say. It just felt like he wasn’t trying, and he pretty much admitted that in multiple interviews. But, I don’t want to get into a 10 page ramble of The Departed. I’m talking about the forgotten movie of 2010, Shutter Island. Even though this was his highest grossing movie to date, the February release destroyed it. What a stupid idea to release it in Feb. Yes, I understand that their strategy was to mimic Silence of the Lambs
success, but that was fucking 20 years ago!! (Holy shit, it was, wasn’t it??) I feel that Shutter Island would have been given a bit more Oscar love if it had stuck with its original release date of October 2009. People don’t like this movie. That’s fine. People say the “twist” was predictable. I say, the movie wasn’t about the “twist”. I say the movie was much much MUCH more than that. This isn’t going to be a Shutter Island review, but if anyone hates this movie because of the supposed “twist” ending, then please go back to enjoying The Mechanic, because this is simply not for you. The movie had style that I haven’t seen in a movie this century. It just had so much going on…the music being my favorite part. The musical buildup to them arriving at the island almost gave me a heart attack. I loved it!! Every bit of it!! And it has my vote as Best Picture of the Year!!!!! But watch…King’s Speech will take it all. Bummer.

My Predictions:

BEST PIC: The Social Network
BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth – King’s Speech
BEST ACTRESS: Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
BEST S. ACTOR: Christian Bale – The Fighter
BEST S. ACTRESS: Melissa Leo – The Fighter
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – The Social Network

DVD Review: Shutter Island

‘Shutter Island’ Scorsese’s latest masterpiece is a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane.

Set on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor, 1954, the film begins with two Federal Marshals on a boat, heading to Ashecliffe Hospital to assist in finding an escaped patient. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is paired up with a new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) whose been sent to the department from Seattle.

They arrive on Shutter Island just as a storm is approaching and meet with Dr. Cawley (Kinglsey) the chief administrator of Ashecliffe. Daniels immediately senses that he is being lied to, that the people their interviewing are hiding something, and that there is something terrible happening at this hospital.

Throughout the film, we flashback to Daniels in the service, a soldier in WWII, as well as to dream sequences with Daniels late wife. Daniel’s character is haunted by the horror he witnessed at Dachau, a concentration camp, as well surreal scenes of Daniel’s dead wife, who died in an apartment fire. Due to what he saw at Dachau, Daniels feels that this is what is happening on Shutter Island. He’s seen what horror man is capable of, and he’s there to stop it.

The mood of Shutter Island is haunting. I had an uncomfortable feeling from start to finish. It wasn’t a scary film per-say but the mood was tense, you felt an uneasy weight on your shoulders that you couldn’t shake because of what was being played out on the screen. The music (from longtime collaborator Robbie Robertson) only added to the films haunting atmosphere. Honestly, the music as Daniels and Aule arrive to the island will give me nightmares the rest of this week.

As far as the acting goes, DiCaprio has become quite comfortable with his Boston accent, and nothing really stood out as overly ridiculous as is normally the case (maybe I’m biased because I’m from Boston). His performance was the best I’ve seen in all his collaborations with Scorsese. Everyone shined, from the background patients up. Mark Ruffalo continues to be one of my favorite actors to this day. He has this presence that makes him stand out in everything he pops up in.

‘Shutter Island’ was tightly crafted and extremely fine tuned, nothing felt out of place, and despite its 138 minute runtime, I never felt it drag, not once. The story was tight, the script was tight. The editing was absolutely perfect.

The movie has been received with mixed feelings, critics and audiences seem to be either completely loving it, or completely hating it. I definitely feel like its going to be one of those films that will get its complete respect decades from now. Will it be remembered by Oscar season next year? I really hope so, because I really do believe it was that good.

Review: Shutter Island

Review: Shutter Island

‘Shutter Island’ Scorsese’s latest masterpiece is a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane.

Set on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor, 1954, the film begins with two Federal Marshals on a boat, heading to Ashecliffe Hospital to assist in finding an escaped patient. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is paired up with a new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) whose been sent to the department from Seattle.

They arrive on Shutter Island just as a storm is approaching and meet with Dr. Cawley (Kinglsey) the chief administrator of Ashecliffe. Daniels immediately senses that he is being lied to, that the people their interviewing are hiding something, and that there is something terrible happening at this hospital.

Throughout the film, we flashback to Daniels in the service, a soldier in WWII, as well as to dream sequences with Daniels late wife. Daniel’s character is haunted by the horror he witnessed at Dachau, a concentration camp, as well surreal scenes of Daniel’s dead wife, who died in an apartment fire. Due to what he saw at Dachau, Daniels feels that this is what is happening on Shutter Island. He’s seen what horror man is capable of, and he’s there to stop it.

The mood of Shutter Island is haunting. I had an uncomfortable feeling from start to finish. It wasn’t a scary film per-say but the mood was tense, you felt an uneasy weight on your shoulders that you couldn’t shake because of what was being played out on the screen. The music (from longtime collaborator Robbie Robertson) only added to the films haunting atmosphere. Honestly, the music as Daniels and Aule arrive to the island will give me nightmares the rest of this week.

As far as the acting goes, DiCaprio has become quite comfortable with his Boston accent, and nothing really stood out as overly ridiculous as is normally the case (maybe I’m biased because I’m from Boston). His performance was the best I’ve seen in all his collaborations with Scorsese. Everyone shined, from the background patients up. Mark Ruffalo continues to be one of my favorite actors to this day. He has this presence that makes him stand out in everything he pops up in.

‘Shutter Island’ was tightly crafted and extremely fine tuned, nothing felt out of place, and despite its 138 minute runtime, I never felt it drag, not once. The story was tight, the script was tight. The editing was absolutely perfect.

The movie has been received with mixed feelings, critics and audiences seem to be either completely loving it, or completely hating it. I definitely feel like its going to be one of those films that will get its complete respect decades from now. Will it be remembered by Oscar season next year? I really hope so, because I really do believe it was that good.

‘Shutter Island’ Release Date Moves to February 2010

In a move that’ll destroy ‘Shutter Islands’ chances this Oscar season, Paramount has delayed the release to Febuary 2010. Everyone and their mother just let out a collective ‘wtf.’

The online word is that Paramount can’t afford the money to market the film leading up to its release, and that DiCaprio wouldn’t be available to promote the film.

I’m sorry, you can’t come up with the money to sell a film directed by Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese, based on a book written by the guy behind Mystic River?? This is mind boggling. Especially since the film didn’t even have a tiny bit of competition the weekend it was being released.

Whatever Paramount, so now I have to wait even longer to see a movie I’ve been waiting over a year for, its not like my rant will change it.

Shutter Island Trailer

Shutter Island Trailer

The trailer for Martin Scorsese’s new Boston-based thriller ‘Shutter Island’ was posted over at Apple.com/trailers today! My first reaction, looks frightening, and awesome. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley, and is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane. Check out the trailer, and feel free to talk about what you think in the comments!

1st Pic from ‘Ashecliffe’

1st Pic from ‘Ashecliffe’

Okay…I know this isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it looks like the first pic of the newest Leo/Scorsese opus has been released.  This pic shows our good ole’ DeNiro substitute Leonardo DiCaprio holding a shotgun behind a fence, looking for God knows who.  The film is still being called Asheclliffe, which I really hope reverts back to shutter Island.  I mean, why would it stay Ashecliffe?  The book is freakin’
titled Shutter Island, and it is so much more of a spine tingling title than Ashecliffe.  I honestly don’t understand why Hollywood always insists on screwing around with stuff when it is perfectly fineunscrewed.  Let’s hope this is just the Blue Harvest of Scorsese films.  Anyway…kinda cool pic for a hopefully very cool movie.

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Source: The Boston Herald

‘The Low Dweller’ Picked up by Studio

Probably most if not all of the bloggers on LR.com would love to be in Brad Ingelsby’s shoes. The 27-year old’s script The Low Dweller was just picked up by Relativity Media, to star Leonardo DiCaprio, and be directed by Ridley Scott. The film is a dark drama that takes place in 1986. Slim, A man fresh out of prison discovers that his brother had been murdered by a gambling racket. Slim, the main character to be played by DiCaprio sets out to avenge the murder.

DiCaprio stars in Ridley Scott’s upcoming film, Body of Lies, and is currently shooting Shutter Island (known as Ashecliffe round these parts) in Boston.

Ingelsby attended the American Film Institute and returned to Indiana to write on the side. The Low Dweller is his first script, and his first sale. Congrats!