Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Movie Review: Your Sister's Sister

"Your Sister's Sister" opens with an unusual eulogy. Jack's (Mark Duplass) brother Tom died one year earlier, and friends and family gather to honor him. But Jack isn't satisfied with all of the kind words, as Tom was a jerk who acted kind to get ahead. And for that, Jack respects him. This is mainly what "Your Sister's Sister" is: a lot of people talking about what they think is wrong about conventional wisdom. And if you can tell from this first scene that you won't like this, then you can get out.

In "Your Sister's Sister," the characters talk. And they talk. And then they talk some more. It is the very definition of Mumblecore. However, Mumblecore is a terrible name. The characters aren't mumbling and bumbling about nothing, they are actually having deeply thought out, entirely realistic conversations.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Welcome back, Batman.
"The Dark Knight Rises" will elicit hours worth of conversation. However, it won't be about the political subtext ripped from today's headlines as you might have expected. It will consist of a lot more pondering about where Christopher Nolan went wrong, and how the finale of a masterful saga could be such a dissapointment.

When Christopher Nolan first brought "Batman Begins" to the world, he was introducing a brand new Batman to a new generation of fans. Then, when "The Dark Knight" came out, he had made something unlike any action movie made before it. In "The Dark Knight Rises," he tends to rely on all of the uninspired tropes that he was once so good at ignoring. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Analog This: The Emmy Snubs of 2012

Emmy nominations came out this morning, and I'm celebrating them the same way I celebrate every awards ceremony: honoring those who didn't get nominated! Yes, I understand at this point that these awards ceremonies are all politics, but it's still fun to complain. 

I am going to do my best to be nice and not call out any specific, undeserving nominations right here. Instead, you can all get right to reading my list of the most egregious snubs after the jump:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Analog This: Live Free or Die, Breaking Bad Season 5 Premiere

You're not the boss of me now.
Warning: Spoilers ahead! So if you don't like spoilers (and based on the Internet buzz around "The Dark Knight Rises," I can tell that people really don't), read on with caution.

It is fitting that the first episode of the final season of "Breaking Bad" would begin the same way that the pilot did. In the pilot, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) looks at the number 50 spelled out in his bacon. In the season five premiere, entitled "Live Free Or Die," Walt was digging on swine and turning his bacon strips into the number 52. During this mysterious flash forward, Walt had aged two years and since that time, he has gone from caring, mild-mannered chemistry teacher to downright evil meth cooker Heisenberg.

I may not be qualified to say that "Breaking Bad" is the best drama ever on television. After all, I still haven't seen "The Wire," and I've only seen "Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" episodes here and there. However, I can say this: "Breaking Bad" is the best drama I have ever seen on television, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

For a film about struggle after a hurricane, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is surprisingly as life affirming as it is tragic. Then again, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is the only film of its kind you'll see that also has prehistoric creatures randomly roaming around.

Hushpuppy, the six-year-old protagonist of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is more curious than precocious. It's nice for a change to see a young lead who's willing to learn more about the world as opposed to simply thinking they know everything about it. As Hushpuppy, newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis is, as many before me have already said, a force of nature. Such a label is not an exaggeration. I will say this now so I don't have to repeat myself later: Wallis is on her way to becoming one of the youngest actresses ever to be nominated for an Oscar.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Movie Review: To Rome with Love

Besides a few new shooting locations, Woody Allen hasn't changed a lot during the span of his career. Not that he has to. Every one of his films open with the same white font against a black background as classical music plays. It never gets old.

"To Rome with Love" opens in this same way. However, this time around, classical music will become a pertinent part of the film. The film opens with a crossing guard on a busy street in Rome, who is the first narrator introduced. As is the typical narrator in a Woody Allen film, he directly addresses the camera while in front of it, instead of only existing as a voice offscreen. This makes sense, as Allen's films seem to be a way of letting his odd subconscious run wild. "To Rome with Love" doesn't come near the same territory that "Midnight in Paris" dwelled in, yet it is almost always exciting and funny. "To Rome with Love" is told in four vignettes which never interlock, and never should. Three of them thematically fit together. Another one is kind of just there and has just a few inventive moments. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

After the disaster of "Spider-Man 3," which all but destroyed the hero that made superheroes box office gold, the world wasn't exactly craving more Spider-Man. "The Amazing Spider-Man" isn't the superhero movie we needed, but we got it, and it's actually a stellar installment of the myth of a man in red spandex.

To compare "The Amazing Spider-Man" with Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" is to tiptoe on a tightrope, as saying that the new one is better than the old one would be potentially putting down something that I deeply cherish. "Spider-Man" was one of the first movies I watched multiple days in a row when it first arrived on DVD, and it spurred an interest in comic books that led me to a giant box full of them in the attic (benefits of having an older brother). But then again, what makes "The Amazing Spider-Man" work is its ability to build on and improve the flaws of its predecessors.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Top 5: Films to Watch on the Fourth of July

This list was almost going to be a list of the top 5 "America Movies." It made sense in my head, but not on paper. Then, it was going to be the most patriotic movies. However, every movie that came to mind seemed to involve Mel Gibson. Instead, I've decided to make a list that is a little bit of both. The following list contains films that may either evoke a deep sense of patriotsism, or just portray everything America is capable of in the best way possible (that can be in either a positive or negative light). Some involve criminals, bloodshed, and comically excessive vomiting. Here is a list of five great movies (presented in alphabetical order) to watch on the Fourth of July: