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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Best Movies Of 2009

First off, let me state this was a terrible year for movies. Originality fell along the wayside as the effects of a desperate economy took hold of Hollywood. Producers and studios largely relied on sequels and remakes of existing properties. In addition, we had the whole Twilight phenomena, the effects of which will likely to blanket us with vampires and werewolves at the cinema for years to come.
But as always, no matter how bleak a studio's releases may be, there are still a few gems. Here's my top 11 picks for a few films released this year that are totally worth your time.

11. Where The Wild Things Are
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Starring: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O'Hara, Forest Whitaker
Why? What was supposed to be a children's movie took a strong left turn when Spike Jonez took the helm. Most people will get lost trying to follow the literal narrative of this story, but the smarter bunch will see the big picture. It's amazing how well they turned this 10 or so page picture book into a 90 minute movie.

10. I Love You, Man

Why? Sleeper hit for me. I didn't think Paul Rudd could be this funny without Steve Carell, Will Ferell, or Seth Rogan at his side. Very quotable and hilarious.

9. Avatar
Directed By: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
Why? Now...I have to admit something. I'm putting this movie on the list and I haven't seen it yet. How is this warranted? Well let's look at the facts; this is Jim Cameron's (the director of Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss,) first movie since Titanic grossed a bajillion dollars. It’s a story he's dreamed about making for 15 years. He made it specifically for IMAX 3D and even invented new cameras for it. Plus, the reviews have been pretty damn good for an action movie. My favorite part is how people are puzzled by the trailers. This is a big big BIG budget movie and it's not a remake, or based on a book, or a comic...and I think that has a lot of people confused. It's a totally original idea and evidently, it rocks. Take all this in account and it's pretty much a must-see for '09.

8. Paranormal Activity
Directed By: Oren Peli
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
Why? Everyone was asking “Is it scary?” The answer, yes. It’s scary yet also brilliant because it was made with two people, a video camera, and maybe one special effect. This movie had me very nervous and also angry, because I didn’t think of the idea to make it first.

7. The Hurt Locker
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Why? Probably not a lot of people caught this one, but it's an amazing Iraq War movie, probably the best. I won't ruin it for you, but I'll just say it's one of the most intense flicks of the year.

6. The Hangover

Directed By: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Why? The buzz on this movie was huge from the beginning. It stars The Nard Dog, the jerk from Wedding Crashers, and Zack Galifianakis (who you'll see all over the place in the next year) and proved that audiences will go see a well-written comedy no matter who stars in it.

5. Star Trek

Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Why? J.J. Abrams knows how to make movies and is probably the closest thing we have to the next Spielberg. I really hated putting a remake or sequel on this list, (Trek manages to be both,) but this was just what a summer blockbuster should be: Fun, exciting, and new.

4. (500) Days Of Summer
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
Why? This is a little indie film for the chicks. I loved the original style of it and the way they presented the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, you are now forgiven for GI Joe.

3. Inglorious Basterds

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Why? C'mon, it's Tarantino right? This guy's absolutely obsesses over his writing. Remember how after Pulp Fiction it took like 5 years for him to make another movie? It's because he was writing this. He was so into it that he couldn't end it, had to put it down, go make Kill Bill and Grindhouse, and then come back. While some parts feel like it's been cut down too much, it's totally not what I expected from the previews but I can still watch it over and over.

2. Zombieland

Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Why? Now this was fun. I heard good things about this funny zombie pic, but I never thought I'd like it as much as I did. The minute they started explaining the rules of survival for Zombieland, I was in. Originally it was written as a TV series, so expect sequels. And go rent it before someone ruins the cameo.

1. Up In The Air

Directed By: Jason Reitman
Why? Yep, I know. My number one is a movie not yet released. But again, the signs are just too strong. First off, yes, it has one of my favorite actors in the lead. But he's one of my favorite actors because he makes smart choices with his roles. Secondly, wait, in the trailer, was that Jason Bateman? Yes it was. Was that Zack Galifniakis? Yep. Third, it’s directed by Jason Reitman, whose last two movies (Thank You For Smoking, Juno) I absolutely loved. Fourth, the movie's not a musical, period piece, or bio pic, but it's now the frontrunner for best movie of the year and getting nominations like crazy. Go catch this one, because it's all you're going to hear about leading up to The Oscars.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Maurice Sendack talks "Where The Wild Things Are" Movie

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Back To The Future Side By Side Comparison

In the years between Back to the Future and Back to the Future II, Michael J. Fox visibly aged and the actress playing his girlfriend was replaced by Elizabeth Shue. So, to show the closing scene from the first film as the opening of the second, it was necessary to completely reshoot it.

Anyway, as you can see below, someone has made a side-by-side comparison of the sequence so you can now needlessly critique how well Robert Zemeckis and crew recreated the scene. The audio is layered together as well, and for some reason hearing a duet of Docs saying, in unison, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need... roads," is utterly hypnotizing:

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