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Archive for July, 2008

Arrested Development – The Movie

If you’re a fan of the show, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the rumors by now that Arrested Development is making its way to the big screen in 2009. That restores my faith in the goodness of humanity, which suffered a severe blow when the show, the funniest on TV, was canceled a few years back.

Will it translate well to the big screen? Arrested Development was perfectly suited to the half-hour sitcom format. So much plot and hilarity was packed into every episode, but can the writers keep it up (coherently) for the length of a film? It’s a problem which the makers of The Simpsons Movie & Aqua Teen Hunger Force both faced, and arguably failed.

But there are so many possibilities! For example, it would be a crying shame if the movie doesn’t take advantage of an R rating for the ultimate Never Nude scene. Including Never Nude, the writers at TV Squad have compiled a list of 27(ish) things which they think must be in the film.

Steve Holt!

Atom Entertainment (formerly AtomShockwave)

Neglected Gems: Sans soleil

Sans soleil @ Amazon

Chris Marker is a French filmmaker and journalist who’s spent his career blurring the boundaries between the two fields. Born in Mongolia, the reclusive Marker is probably best known for 1963’s post-apocalyptic vision La Jetée but, among the Criticker users who have seen it, Sans soleil (Sunless) is his greatest achievement.

Put your horn-rimmed glasses on and brew a strong cup of espresso before putting this one in your DVD player: watching Sans soleil is an exercise in appreciating cinematic art. The film consists of factual documentary sequences from Japan and Western Africa, while a fictional narrator recites love letters penned by a fictional cameraman. Sound exciting? Well … it can be.

Allowing yourself to get drawn into Marker’s world, contemplating the meaning of the juxtaposition of scenes from different ends of the world and history, deciphering the blend of documentary and fiction, and trying to figure out what the filmmaker is trying to say about memory and truth, can be exhilarating in its own right — just in a different way than, say, The Dark Knight.

Intro, Sans Soleil — Just to let you know what you’re getting yourself into

As mentioned, the Criticker users who have seen it love this film. JakeAesthete says it’s “One of the most heartbreaking and poignant films i have ever seen”, and kyle.loomis had the following review:

Just images and sound. Amazingly they seem to go together pretty well. It’s almost like Brakhage, where you have to just shut your brain off. It took me about 30 minutes but once I put myself in the right mindset, it was a very rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to the next time I feel like watching it.

Sans Soleil is available on DVD, along with La Jetée… a package which combines Marker’s two most important films. Not to be missed, unless plotless French art films really aren’t your thing.

DVD Report – July 29th

There are a couple good films in this week’s selection of DVD releases, including Israel’s award-winning The Band’s Visit. This movie — about an Egyptian band who find themselves lost in Israel — won massive critical praise on release, and mostly positive reviews at Criticker. Or if you’re in the mood for something a bit less cultural, Harold & Kumar are always eager to please…

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo140 Rankings – Average Tier 4.71
Follows the cross-country adventures of the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun authorities who suspect them of being terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board their flight to Amsterdam. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo @ Amazon

Doomsday69 Rankings – Average Tier 4.23
Authorities brutally quarantine a country as it succumbs to fear and chaos when a virus strikes. The literal walling-off works for three decades until the dreaded Reaper virus violently resurfaces in a major city. An elite group of specialists is urgently dispatched into the still-quarantined country to retrieve a cure by any means possible. Doomsday @ Amazon

Shine a Light43 Rankings – Average Tier 6.95
Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones unite in “Shine A Light,” a look at The Rolling Stones.” Scorcese filmed the Stones over a two-day period at the intimate Beacon Theater in New York City in fall 2006. Cinematographers capture the raw energy of the legendary band. Shine a Light @ Amazon

The Band’s Visit39 Rankings – Average Tier 6.44
A brass band comprised of members of the Egyptian police force head to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab arts center, only to find themselves lost in a foreign city. The Band’s Visit @ Amazon

Never Back Down22 Rankings – Average Tier 3.73
At his new high school, a rebellious teen (Faris) is lured into an underground fight club, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran (Hounsou). Never Back Down @ Amazon

Steven Spielberg’s Debut: Amblin’

Hey, where are the dinos and aliens?

Amblin’ is the first completed film shot by Steven Spielberg on 35mm. The film is a short story set during the hippy era of the late ’60s about a young couple who meet up in the desert, become friends, then lovers and make their way to a paradisiacal beach.

Don’t forget to rank Amblin’ at Criticker watching it.

[via: ehrensenf]

UncommonGoods Holiday

Who do you think you are? A Kennedy?

This weekend, audiences got their first look at W., Oliver Stone‘s most recent attempt at generating controversy.

Oy… it was self-evident that Stone wasn’t going to paint an attractive portrait of our Commander-in-Chief, but this film really isn’t going to pull any punches. Is it presumptuous to bring out a biopic while the guy is still in office? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. We’ve all had to live with Bush and his policies for 8 long years… and I think it’s valid for a filmmaker to take a critical look at the wounds while they’re still fresh.

I just wish that filmmaker wasn’t Oliver Stone! This film is going to be dismissed by half of America before it even hits screens.

Josh Brolin looks great, though, as Dubya. And, who knew Tony Blair was such a hottie?!

ThinkGeek - Cool Stuff for Geeks and Technophiles

Heroes of Contentiousness #6 – Brotherhood of the Wolf

Brotherhood of the Wolf @ Amazon

It’s just one of the universal truths about French 18th-century martial-arts werewolf films: you either love ’em or you hate ’em. This burgeoning genre is most famously represented by 2001’s Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des loups).

This movie was a surprise hit all over the world, including in the USA, where it became the 2nd highest-grossing French film in two decades. Sacrebleu! It’s supposedly based on factual events, and on the legend of the Beast of Gévaudan. It’s a long movie, and people either appreciated the insane genre mash-up, or found themselves bored to tears by it. The only thing everyone could agree on is that Monica Bellucci is hot. Among Criticker’s user base, its FCQ (Film Contentiousness Quotient, details here), is 50.06 — pretty high.

So, what’s your say? Great or Terrible? I kind of enjoyed this movie, but I felt stupider after watching it. So, I’m in the negative column.

Brotherhood of the Wolf

  • Great! (60%, 6 Votes)
  • Terrible! (40%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Here are a couple opinions from Criticker users.

WoozyB: “The movie is an explosion of genres, but I’m a sucker for the supernatural and historical fiction, so I loved it. Also, Monica Bellucci as a spy for Pope pretending to be a courtesan. Awesome.”

knyttelol: “A long, embarrassing half-rock video, half-videogame, epic pile of crap about mute Indians kicking ass for Frenchmen, and ripe women enjoying selling their bodies.”
Observation: knyttelol’s review actually makes it sound kind of cool!

Last week’s poll has been closed, and you have spoken: Eyes Wide Shut is GREAT!


And just to prove that we don’t always have to disagree, here are two more films that are the opposite of contentious:
Unanimously Crap (FCQ 0.97): Dungeons & Dragons. Geekdom cried.
Unanimously Sweet (FCQ 2.92): Seven Samurai. Classic Japanese action — a nearly perfect film.

The Watchmen: Trailer

Here’s the trailer for the Watchmen movie, due in theaters spring 2009.

To say we’re excited about this film would be an understatement, but we’re worried about it living up to the graphic novel. The trailer, though, has helped quell some of our doubts… Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach look fantastic, and director Zack Snyder seems to have achieved an acceptable combination of style & substance (it’s a bit more realistic-looking than 300).

The Watchmen Official Website