Archive for February, 2011

The Other Guys (McKay, 2010)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on February 28, 2011 by chrisfilm

The Other Guys (Adam McKay, 2010)

There’s not much to this outside of just being a silly little comedy. But I laughed…a lot…during the first half of the film. Wahlberg and Ferrell’s over-the-top verbal exchanges and hilarious antics were just the right dose of obviously sarcastic hyperbole and strangely down-to-earth partnership comradery. I enjoyed the two. The second half of the film starts to wear thin rather quickly mostly as a result of the story following an overused plot pattern. (Cops are on to something, cops get taken off the case because ‘they’re chasing a dead end’, cops get back on case when it’s discovered they were right all along.) A slightly more creative turn of events might have held my interest a little better.  6.25/10

Finis terrae (Epstein, 1929)

Posted in 1920s, 8/10 on February 26, 2011 by chrisfilm

Finis terrae (Jean Epstein, 1929)

Isolation and trauma take center stage in another technical masterpiece from perhaps the most ahead-of-his-time director ever. The film’s story centers around two young men and two old men working on a remote island as algae collectors. After a fight and an accident, one of the young men cuts his finger and it becomes infected. Frankly, I had a hard time becoming emotionally attached to the film. I could understand the anguish of the situation, and the desperation to get to a doctor, but still found myself at a distance. Maybe it was the absence of the heartbreaking closeups of Coeur fidele where so much is said through the expressions on the characters’ faces – I don’t know.

But I can say, regardless, this is still a jaw-dropping technical achievement from Epstein. The editing is again top-notch (including an amazing hallucinatory dream scene from the infected young man’s perspective), and Epstein knows exactly how use his location and all the natural surroundings/light in combination with the placement of his camera and props. This is one of those films easily worth seeing, if for nothing else, the storm of beautiful images.  8.25/10

2nd Annual Chrisfilm Awards (2011)

Posted in Chrisfilm Awards on February 24, 2011 by chrisfilm

Every year, to celebrate the Academy Awards, I come up with my personal list of nominations and winners. Last year, I felt a lot of disgust with the nominations and winners, but I was pleasantly surprised this year. So I consider this year’s awards a companion piece to the actual nominations.

And so begins the 2nd Annual Chrisfilm Awards.


Best Supporting Actor:

Ned Beatty, Toy Story 3

Andrew Garfield, The Social Network

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

Justin Timberlake, The Social Network

And the winner is…

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone


Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, The Fighter

Eva Melander, Sebbe

Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Saoirse Ronan, The Way Back

And the winner is…

Elle Fanning, Somewhere


Best Cinematography:

Christopher Doyle, Ondine

Adam Kimmel, Never Let Me Go

Eric Lin, The Exploding Girl

Andrij Parekh, Blue Valentine

And the winner is…

Morten Søborg, Valhalla Rising


Best Actress:

Zoe Kazan, The Exploding Girl

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

And the winner is…

Carey Mulligan, Never Let Me Go


Best Actor:

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Mads Mikkelsen, Valhalla Rising

Cillian Murphy, Peacock

And the winner is…

Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine


Best Director:

Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine

Sofia Coppola, Somewhere

Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone

Babak Najafi, Sebbe

And the winner is…

Bradley Rust Gray, The Exploding Girl


Best Picture of 2010:

Blue Valentine

The Exploding Girl

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Never Let Me Go


The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

And the winner is…


Somewhere (S. Coppola, 2010)

Posted in 2010s, 9/10 on February 23, 2011 by chrisfilm

This review contains spoilers.

Somewhere (Sofia Coppola, 2010)

This three-part tale of an actor drifting through life starts by placing us right in the middle of a long stretch of his most mundane activities. Beginning at nowhere in particular, and ending 40 minutes later with his daughter showing up unexpectedly at his door, this section seems to far outstay its welcome. And while its slightly tedious at the time, truthfully, what it does is enhance the middle portion of the film. No, there’s no lifestyle-changing heavy contrast in the way he lives during his time with her, but there is a strong sense of refreshment that I’d liken to the natural contrast of spring following winter. And when the time comes that he realizes a renewing is possible all we need to see is that little smile that crosses his face as the credits begin to roll to know that while the details of what’s to come are unclear and ambiguous, his general state of mind is a complete opposite from where he started. This is as subtle and sweet a redemption tale as you’ll see.  9.25/10

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Chu, 2011)

Posted in 2010s, 4/10 and below on February 20, 2011 by chrisfilm

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Jon Chu, 2011)

Things I learned from Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.

  1. I had only heard one Justin Bieber song before tonight.
  2. Jon Chu is the next Terrence Malick.
  3. Bieber has a weak jump shot.
  4. The guy walking around NY with his briefcase who obviously had no idea he was in the middle of the Bieber Madison Square Garden crowd was hilarious.
  5. Sports fanatics ain’t got nothing on teen idol fanatics.
  6. Scooter considers Bieber an ‘underdog’.
  7. I need to figure out a way to be a backup dancer for this guy.
  8. Boyz II Men are still awesome.
  9. Miley Cirus is still not awesome.
  10. The worst thing going on in Bieber’s life is swollen vocal cords.
  11. Fluff documentaries are a snooze fest.


Out of the Blue (Hopper, 1980)

Posted in 1980s, 7/10 on February 16, 2011 by chrisfilm

Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper, 1980)

After watching and liking Tender Mercies, I figured I’d finally see this other film from around the same time period which I assumed to be similar in style. I’m not sure I have ever been so wrong. This is easily the most dysfunctional family ever put on film. As soon as the end credits started to roll, I was convinced it hated it. I’ve seen movies about loneliness, isolation, and troubled childhood, and almost all the others I’ve seen had a much greater emotional impact on me than this. But after thinking it through, I’m almost positive this is a result of Manz’s character (the troubled child in this story) being almost as belligerent and vulgar as her parents. She isn’t presented on the surface as an innocent victim, seeking love and normalcy. Stepping back, though, it’s easy to recognize her facade – the mask she has to wear to cope with her environment. It’s extremely sad, though more of an exaggerated horror story of a domestic hell than an accurate depiction of this type of situation. I can appreciate what Hopper has done here, but it’s not entirely my cup of tea.  7/10

The Little Mermaid (Clements, Musker, 1989)

Posted in 1980s, 8/10, Disney Animated Cinema on February 16, 2011 by chrisfilm

I was born and raised a Disney child and I never have grown out of it. Despite this, it has been a while since I’ve seen almost all of the classic animated Disney movies I grew up with. So I have decided I want to watch them all again – in order of release. When I finish, I will rank them all, and hand out my number scores from there.

The Little Mermaid (Ron Clements & John Musker, 1989)

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this series. I had a slight bit of trouble obtaining a dvd of this movie that didn’t look like it had been through a meat grinder. Again, better than I remembered. Similar to what I liked about Sleeping Beauty, this is an unashamed fairy tale that just happens to cross two worlds – our world at land, and a world under the sea. No, there is absolutely no development to the central relationship. Ariel ‘falls in love’ with the prince based on two encounters, neither of which involved them speaking to each other. But after she arrives on land to spend a few days with him, their romantic and playful activities feel genuine. (Still, the whole ‘you have three days to get true love’s kiss’ schtick deserves at least a slight eye-roll.) But couple this playfulness with an exciting, adventurous story, arguably the scariest villain in a Disney film yet, and a great collection of songs, and this is a step back in the right direction after several questionable efforts from the 80s.  8/10