Four of the worst ways to die, all in one clip…golden. -LDG
As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I tackle lebronald’s #2 pick, The Ring (2002, Verbinski)
This past summer, while JDG was home from school for a few weeks, I took advantage of a rare opportunity to have dinner with both of my kids. The conversation turned to the Ultimate Playbill project. LDG, through her five picks for the list, has demonstrated a clear love of the horror genre. She went on to explain that if her uncle had not drafted The Ring, she likely would have. “I love that movie. One of my first scary movie experiences.” At this point, JDG, who is already a man of few words, even more so when there’s pizza in front of him, put down his slice and glanced up at the rest of us.
“That movie ruined me.” Continue reading Movie Mondays #13: The Ring
As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I tackle IP’s #3 pick, HANNA (2011, Wright)
On the misty, snow covered tundra, a lump of white reveals itself as a swan. From the air, we see an inlet of deep blue water lazily circulating frozen shoals. An arctic fox pup peaks out over its belly before cutting to a young woman aiming her bow at a grazing deer. She quickly and quietly lets an arrow fly into the deer’s breast, which then hobbles off into an open plain. The young woman pursues the creature as it collapses from its mortal wound. “I just missed your heart,” she states before firing a pistol, mercifully killing her prey. As the loud blast rings out from the silence, it simultaneously cuts to a title card which imposes itself over the entire screen. The young woman and the film are called “Hanna”.
In the first two minutes of this movie, we’re introduced to a grand idea that helps carry the entire film, one that is so deftly illustrated by its execution that it’s hard not to accept as being truthful: the world is a wondrous place, the world is a violent place. Continue reading Movie Mondays #12: HANNA
As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I tackle GWC’s #4 pick, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love (2002).
Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite living and active filmmaker so I was overjoyed to see two of his films make the Ultimate Playbill. His themes of broken people trying to find a place through a makeshift, damaged family always speak to me. It also made my day that Punch Drunk Love, one of his lesser talked about films made the cut.
By 2002, PTA was one of the hottest new voices in film. With Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999) under his belt, the film world was at his feet. And as the strongest new director to come out of Hollywood in a very long time, Anderson really could have done whatever he wanted. Instead he chose to make a film that many people at the time considered a misstep: an Adam Sandler movie.
The 2016 Olympics kick off today in Brazil, and in true Idle Time form, we’re commemorating this epic contest of nations with a list of some of our favorite sports movies.
Our collective is delighted to have long-time friend and impeccable lifestyle blogger, Christine Amorose, collaborate on this particular list, as she has the most genuine love of sports movies of anyone I know. Before settling down to watch the opening ceremonies tonight, get a dose of locker room inspiration reminiscing over these classic sport tales!
C’est Christine: Confession: I love sports movies. Just love them. Give me a story with an underdog who overcomes adversity and comes out on top (wins state, brings home the gold, total knockout in the 11th round!) and I am hooked. The thing about sports movies is that they’re always feel-good stories. They give you something to root for: a person,a team, a town, a country.
I grew up playing sports and watching sports. To me, sports are mostly about community: playing on a team binds you to your teammates and cheering for a team instantly turns strangers into friends. Sports movies manage to bottle up this feeling and turn you into a fan, to make you part of the community who’s behind the protagonist.
The Summer Blockbuster is a difficult thing to categorize. Does it refer to a genre? One usually thinks of Action or Adventure films as being the usual Summer Blockbusters, but Science Fiction films often premiere during the summer as well. Horror is also a huge part of summer filmgoing. What makes a film a Summer Blockbuster is certainly its release date, but successful films of the type also become a part of the filmloving culture around them. These films inspire cosplayers, t-shirt makers, and nerds with money to come together and enjoy classic American commerce and hopefully some entertainment along with it. Steven Spielberg is the undisputed king of this type of filmmaking, and rest assured one of his films will appear on the list, but it should be noted that he would deservedly hold many of the top spots on a purely objective list of Summer Blockbusters. This list is not objective.
Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller’s fourth entry in the Mad Max saga is the pinnacle of contemporary blockbuster filmmaking. The entire blockbuster concept stems from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, a movie which brought fright and intensity out into the sun, and a tradition of summertime fear. Fury Road is simultaneously a bright film, a terrifying film, a funny film, even a sad film, though it never decelerates its impressive pace. Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Summer Blockbusters
If having another Star Wars come out this winter has got you feeling Jewish on Christmas, you should know that there will be other movies coming out. I’m sure no one’s told you this, since you’ve probably been getting earfuls of “Luke’s back!” and “there’s a crucifix lightsaber!”, but fear not because there will be plenty of other great choices out there. Here are a couple of things I’m really looking forward to seeing.
Alejandro Iñárritu’s directorial follow up to Birdman looks radical, and I mean that un-ironically. The Revenant is Iñárritu’s first period piece, taking place during the 1820’s in the wilderness of present-day South Dakota. It’s loosely based on the life of historical celebrity fur trader, Hugh Glass, who was left for dead by his comrades after surprising a grizzly bear. Glass survived the encounter, but woke up half-buried with all his belongings stolen, and hungry for vengeance. Glass proceeded to crawl his way back to a nearby encampment where he nursed himself back to health, then relentlessly pursued the cowards that left him and stole all of his stuff, achieving, what I’m sure most would consider, success.
The film is a more dramatic storytelling than the history, which is saying something because the facts already have a grizzly bear and revenge plot.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy can both deliver strong performances, and watching them build off each other should be great. Iñárritu is one of the most interesting storytellers out there. He’s a master of playing with timelines, concocting beautiful stories that he layers in such a way that the method in which they unfold is part of their impact. Emmanuel Lubezki, the cinematographer who helped design the “one take” look of Birdman, is again behind the camera for this story, and from the trailer it looks absolutely amazing. Earlier this year, reports came out stating the ridiculously grueling labor that went into making this film, which shot on location and used mostly natural light. When asked about the shoot being a “living hell,” Inarritu responded, “If we ended up in green screen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit.” I’m betting this movie won’t be a piece of shit. Continue reading Top 5 Other Movies To Watch This Month
While I have no doubt that the rumored Bryan Singer involvement with Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot would do wonders for the franchise, and help save what was an atrocious first attempt, I think the problem is severe enough that the crisis council needs to start researching some other options.
RF and I have simmered on this for two weeks and we wanted desperately to say, of the recent Fantastic Four film, “It wasn’t that bad. It has potential.”
It’s not the worst movie to be stamped with the Marvel logo, but it’s in the conversation. Maybe Top 5. Having said that, however, we both agreed that the “potential” remains. And we hashed out one sure-fire way to make the most of said potential and rescue Marvel’s First Family from cinematic purgatory. Our patience is wearing thin; this is the fourth attempt at doing these characters justice. We need Marvel Studios to step in. Continue reading How Marvel Studios Can Save The Fantastic Four
I made a list of of my favorite 50 films of all time – with #1 being my most favorite. Here are the films that make up numbers 20 through 11.
#20. Unforgiven (1992)
Why? Clint Eastwood’s last western could just be his best. I love Fist Full of Dollars and High Plains Drifter, but those movies just focused on kicking ass – Unforgiven on the other hand has a lot more going on with it (although it does have a few kick-ass parts too). This is a film about redemption and if it’s still possible to attain it after a lifetime of sin. Can William Munny lead a normal life on the farm and put the past behind him? Or will temptation lead him back to his evil ways? Beautiful scenery dominates this film and Eastwood lets it alone tell the story for many scenes. A perfect end to his westerns – Unforgiven is a classic.
Best Scene? When Will comes back to Big Whiskey during a thunder storm to avenge Ned’s death and we finally see the person he’s tried to make amends for. But Will knows it’s too late and so does Little Bill – “I’ll see you in Hell William Munny.” Will’s response? “Yeah.” He knows he is damned.
“We all got it coming, kid.” – William Munny
The countdown to my number 1 favorite movie of all time continues with the next 10 films on my top 50 list. Here are numbers 30 through 21.
#30. The Shining
Why? It may not be anything like Stephen King’s novel, but I think that’s a good thing. Stanley Kubrick made it his “own” and The Shining will forever belong to him and Jack Nicholson. Both of those dudes brought to the table a perfection for their respective arts and turned a great early King novel into a pulse pounding exploration of the descent of the human mind into madness. From the opening shot of this movie there is a noticeable build up in tension that finally explodes when Jack comes smashing through the bathroom door with that ax, looking for Wendy. Like bricks, each scene builds on the last, and each one holds more and more DREAD until it all comes crashing down.
Best Scene? When Wendy interrupts Jack at work and we see just how much the Overlook Hotel is affecting him. (see quote below)
“Now, we’re going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing [types] or whether you DON’T hear me typing, or whatever the FUCK you hear me doing; when I’m in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don’t come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?” – Jack Torrance
“Yeah.” – Wendy Torrance
“Good. Now why don’t you start right now and get the fuck out of here? Hm?” – Jack Torrance