Most Anticipated of 2011

25 01 2011

There’s a strong chance I haven’t even heard of most of the movies that will end up being my year-end favorites, but as of now, here’s what I can’t wait to see:

20) Source Code

Duncan Jones’ follow-up to Moon, one of my recent favorites.  Honestly, I didn’t care for the trailer much, but I’m excited for this based on Jones’ name alone and the fact that it’s another original sci-fi.

19) The Grandmasters

Wong Kar-Wai’s new film about Bruce Lee’s trainer.

18) J. Edgar

A Clint Eastwood directed biopic about J. Edgar Hoover starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Not usually a biopic fan, but I can’t wait for anything Leo does at this point.

17) Tintin

Peter Jackson produces, Spielberg directs.  I’m honestly not very familiar with the source material, but I like the idea of Spielberg making an animated film, plus he and Peter Jackson should make a great combo.

16) The Hunter

An Indie thriller starring Willem Dafoe.  I can’t say exactly why I’m anticipating this one so much, just have a good feeling about it.

15) The Skin That I Inhabit

Pedro Almodovar’s latest.  That’s all I know about this one.

14) Hobo With a Shotgun

Like Machete, this was originally a fake trailer.  Should be another good 90 minutes of Grindhouse fun.

13) The Rum Diary

The first film from Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson in 19 years.  Johnny Depp stars in his 2nd Hunter S. Thompson adaptation.

12) Meek’s Cutoff

Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams are collaborating again after 2008’s Wendy and Lucy, which was great.  This is about settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in the 19th century.  Could be amazing.

11) Hanna

The trailer makes this look like a blast.  Good director, good cast, should be fun.  Check out the trailer here.

10) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Social Network was so good that I can’t wait to see this.  David Fincher’s next has some of the same cast and crew as Network, with Trent Reznor writing the score and Rooney Mara taking the lead role.  Even though I don’t like the idea of Hollywood remaking every recent successful foreign film, I’m on board with this one.

9) The Borrowers

The new Studio Ghibli film, written by Hayao Miyazaki.  Can’t wait.

8.) Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to Fish Tank, one of my favorites from last year.  Classic source material, can’t wait to see what she’s able to do with it.

7) Shame

Director Steve McQueen and his leading man Michael Fassbender’s follow-up to their amazing 2009 film Hunger.  I can’t see this duo not going 2 for 2.

6) Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising) is one of the most interesting up-and-coming directors around, and this is first big “Hollywood” film, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Ron Perlman.  The film is about a stunt driver who discovers that he has a price on his head.  Can’t wait to see what Refn does with a more straightforward story like this.  My hopes are sky high.

5) A Dangerous Method

The third film from David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen, this time also starring Michael Fassbender (!) and Keira Knightley.  The film’s about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and it should be amazing.

4) Hugo Cabret

Martin Scorsese directing a kid’s film?  In 3D?  I’m happy to see Scorsese trying something so new, and the source material is great.  It’s also got a good looking ensemble with Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Michael Pitt, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

3) Melancholia

Lars Von Trier’s follow-up to Antichrist.  I love anything Von Trier, and I love sci-fi, so my expectations are pretty much through the roof on this one.  Von Trier jokingly said that he’d have “no more happy endings!” before filming this one, and sure enough the plot deals with Earth’s imminent destruction.

2) The Tree of Life

I said the same thing last year, but I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t on my most anticipated list.  It looks like all the delays are finally over, especially since a beautiful trailer was released recently.  Terrence Malick movies are always an event, and this sounds like it could be one of his best.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It’s been an incredible series, and the end is looking to be 2 hours of epic non-stop climax.  I thought part 1 was amazing, so this should basically be the best thing ever for big Potter fans.  I’ll be sad when it’s over.


14 01 2010


While the movie was playing in the theatre, there was a phone in the far back that apparently was making noise.  I couldn’t hear it personally, but I certainly heard the guy who would say in response “turn your fucking phone off” loud and clear.  And the Skittles in the orange box (the ones with the crazy cores!) are pretty tasty.  After the movie got out someone said very loudly that it was “balls hot” in the theatre.  I have to agree; it was quite warm in there.

Oh right, this post is supposed to be about the movie.

My rating: 3/10 (due to the 3-minute or so super gorey scene at the end which is incredibly entertaining)


I am patient enough to sit through almost anything, and I have never actually left a theatre in the middle of a film.  I’ll usually find SOMETHING to keep my interest.  Not the case with Daybreakers.  Now, I am a pretty big fan of vampires and apocalyptic worlds.  Even if the movie is pure schlock, I can remain entertained by special effects, awesome monsters and hysterical archetypes.  But this film was excruciating.  I didn’t leave, but that was only because I was with other people.  I am actually surprised I was able to sit there for 98 minutes.

…And the gore didn’t redeem it for me in any way.  I actually looked away.


My 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

2 01 2010

20.  THE GHOST WRITER  (Roman Polanski)

-Had one of the most intriguing teaser trailers.  Plus, with all the controversy surrounding Roman Polanski it’ll be interesting to see how the public reacts to this.  It stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.

19.  MACHETE  (Robert Rodriguez)

-The fake trailer from Grindhouse is being made into a feature.  Should be fun, and it’s nice to see Danny Trejo get a starring role.

18.  DUE DATE  (Todd Phillips)

-I think Zach Galifianakis is one of the funniest people alive, so I can’t wait to finally see him in the lead role for a comedy like this.  Robert Downey Jr. also stars. 

17.  DAYBREAKERS  (Spierig brothers)

-This one comes out next week.  It’s getting good reviews, I like Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, and I thought the trailer looked great.  I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

16.  BIUTIFUL  (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

-It’s by the director of Amorres Perros and Babel and stars Javier Bardem.  With those names there’s no way this turns out bad.

15.  JACK GOES BOATING  (Philip Seymour Hoffman)

-I know nothing about this except that it’s Hoffman’s directorial debut.  He’s one of my favorite actors so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares as a director. 

14.  THE AMERICAN  (Anton Corbijn)

-From the director of Control and starring George Clooney.  Sounds like a promising duo.

13.  THE RUM DIARY  (Bruce Robinson)

-The director of Withnail and I hasn’t made a film in almost 20 years, so it’s great to see him back and directing again.  This stars Johnny Depp playing a Hunter S. Thompson type journalist just like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, so I’m predicting this to be wild and fun.


-I’m always excited for a new Woody Allen film.  This one’s got another great cast including Frieda Pinto (her first role since Slumdog), Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, and Antonio Banderas.

11.  MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE?  (Werner Herzog)

-Starring one of my new favorite actors (Michael Shannon) directed by one of my all time favorites, and produced by David Lynch.  Should be thoroughly creepy.

10.  LIFE DURING WARTIME  (Todd Solondz)

-From the writer/director of Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse, both of which I consider masterpieces. 

9.  TRUE GRIT  (The Coen Brothers)

-Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Jeff Bridges star in the Coen brothers’ remake of the John Wayne classic.  At this point anything the Coens make I’ll see opening weekend.  They’re just so consistently brilliant.

8.  ENTER THE VOID  (Gasper Noe)

-The director of Irreversible is back with another mindfuck.  All I need to know.

7.  TOY STORY 3  (Lee Unkrich – PIXAR)

-It’s Pixar, I’d be shocked if this didn’t turn out to be great.


-Man I’ll be sad when this series comes to an end.

5.  MICMACS  (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

-A new comedy from the director of Amelie.  All his films have been wonderful (with the exception of Alien: Resurrection), so I can’t wait for this one.  One of the best working directors.

4.  BLACK SWAN  (Darren Aronofsky)

-Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star as rival ballerinas in what’s being described as a psychological thriller.  Aronofsky’s one of the most interesting directors right now, so I always look forward to what he’s doing next. 

3.  THE TREE OF LIFE  (Terrence Malick)

-This is only Terrence Malick’s 5th film in his almost 40 year career, so it’s kind of an event whenever a new film of his is released.  Plus, apparently this one’s got dinosaurs in it.  Yeah, dinosaurs.  Can’t wait.  He’s one of the most adventurous and beautiful filmmakers, and this has been his pet project which he’s been working on since the 70’s.  It stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt.  Not to go overboard on the hype and give the film unrealistic expectations, but this could be one of the greatest films ever.  It has unlimited potential. 

2.  SHUTTER ISLAND  (Martin Scorsese)

-It’s so exciting to see Scorsese tackle the horror/thriller genre (I don’t really count Cape Fear).  Plus, I love the Hitchcock-esque mystery feel I get from the trailer.  This one just looks amazing.

1.  INCEPTION  (Christopher Nolan)


Notably absent:  Alice in Wonderland, or “The Mad Hatter in Wonderland” judging by the trailer which puts Johnny Depp front and center and barely even features Alice.  Honestly, I wish Tim Burton would stop remaking everything, and I wish he’d stop casting Depp and then covering him in white make-up everytime.  It also looks like he went completely nuts with the CGI.  Needless to say I’m skeptical about this one.

Daybreakers trailer

26 11 2009

Antichrist review (a fitting first post)

29 09 2009


Antichrist is a movie by Lars Von Trier.   The movie begins with an all black and white prologue that is simultaneously beautiful, sad, and disturbing.  It is a harbinger of the uncensored and discomforting nature of the rest of the movie; I was hooked within 5 minutes.  For those of you who do not know this, I have been amped to see this movie since it caused such a ruckus at its first screening at the Cannes Film Festival.  I heard that it was violent and distressing; the trailer told me it would be frightening and surreal.  None of that was enough to ease me into what transpired in the hour and 40 or so minutes that Antichrist lasts for.  It is not only an examination of grief and mourning but also of relationships (professional, medical, and romantic), fear and coping with fear, the nature of evil, women, and nature (and more specifically the invisible binding between those last three things, and that brings us to contemplate a word Von Trier uses in the movie: “gynocide”).  The strong themes are stirred by Von Trier via the alluring and haunting imagery he presents to us on screen, each frame striking in its own right.  Although altogether the plot’s pieces do not seem to perfectly fit (to some, at least) and it may seem that not all ends are tied, it is up to the viewer to read into those striking frames and come to their own conclusions not only about the nature of the couple in the story but also one’s own beliefs surrounding womanhood, the natural world, and evil.  I am walking away from Antichrist with certain images seared into my mind, and that is the way it should be.  But I am also walking away with a profound sense of poetry and a riled inner dialogue concering the ever-present conflict of gender and society. 


**Spoiler warning!** 

 There has been a lot of flack given Von Trier about Antichrist.  Does the movie go too far?  Is it too disturbing?  Is it misogynistic?  These last questions are truths to many people who have viewed the film.  I, on the other hand, disagree.  I don’t at all believe that the movie goes too far in its gore or its theme.  Certainly there are parts of the movie that are hard to stomach.  The reason for its shocking and disturbing affects on the viewer is because it has no soundtrack, is filmed with a handheld camera, yes the content is severe and unpleasant, but most of all the context in which this gore is viewed hits close to home because it feels so real.  I want to call your attention to the fact that this is an art house film, not a Hollywood thriller that saturates the viewer with violence a la Hostel and the Saw flicks, nor is it an exploitation film.  That leads me to my next point regarding whether or not Antichrist is misogynistic. 

I have already said that the movie is up for interpretation, but I will clarify my point of view and say that I certainly do not believe it is a misogynistic film.  I believe that the plight of the couple in the film, played superbly by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, highlights an outstanding and long-lasting relationship between women and nature, and how together they are percieved as of or relating to evil according to Judeo-Christian mythology.  These things together are inherent in peoples’ perception of gender, and Von Trier is bringing that to light in this film.  Certainly the relationship between Gainsbourg and Dafoe can be considered the strereotypical female-male relationship in Western society to an extreme.  The women is hysterical, overcome with emotion, fear, guilt, and grief.  The man is logical, rational, and is stepping in to save the situation, be the hero.  The way in which Dafoe forces treatment upon Gainsbourg is  highly inappropriate, yes.  The way in which Gainsbourg acts is manic and  irrational, one might say so.  The metaphor is made that “nature is Satan’s church.”  Taken seprately these pieces might seem misogynistic, but one must look at the whole picture.  Von Trier, like any artist, is taking that which is a shocking and hard truth in our society and unveiling it, shining a light upon it, forcing us to examine that with which we live.  Finally, I would like to talk about the epilogue of the movie.  The last scene is Dafoe standing in a sort of clearing in the forest and from every direction faceless women in all manner of clothing are approaching him and passing by him.  All of them are faceless.  To me this is a reminder of all the victims of misogyny throughout history, anonymous women who have suffered gynocide. 

It is all about intention.  I do not believe Von Trier intended to make a movie that would uphold misogynistic values.  And even if he did, I intend to see past that and consider the issue at heart: gender and crimes against women in our society, and what can we do to internalize those wrongs and put an end to them.

Rating: 10/10