Monday, September 24, 2012

Analog This: My 2012 Emmy Winners

I think everything that can be said about the many problems with last night's Emmys has already been said. Instead of ranting about Jon Cryer and "Modern Family" ruining everything, I will just say that I am happy that Louis C.K. got rewarded both for changing standup comedy and pulling off perhaps the greatest fart joke ever and making it last for an entire episode.

Here are my winners for the best the year had to offer in television. Keep in mind that many of these people and shows weren't even nominated for Emmys this year (after the jump):

Movie Review: The Master

"The Master" has already been hailed as a masterpiece by many. I don't know if that word is exactly right. It is too confounding and too hard to solve in one viewing to already be hailed as a work so perfect that it dwarfs all other films that come near it. The whole thing is like a dream you're trying to recall: it's messy and sometimes hard to fully piece together, but it is ultimately engrained in memory.

"The Master" opens up at the end of World War II, as Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) cruises listlessly on a battleship returning home from the Pacific. Like the beginning of Paul Thomas Anderson's previous feature "There Will Be Blood" (which deserves to be hailed as a masterpiece), "The Master" starts off quietly. We are asked to observe humans as if we are observing animals at a zoo. This is important, as the cult this film revolves around believes that humans and animals aren't too different.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Movie Review: Sleepwalk with Me

Even though "Sleepwalk with Me" focuses on bad relationships and near-death experiences, you may feel eerily comfortable. Mike Birbiglia reminds everyone in the first few seconds that we are watching a movie. He also tells us to turn our cell phones off. "Sleepwalk with Me" is like watching a very well directed standup special: the comedian will take you on this journey and no matter what is said, you will have to be on his side or get out.

Birbiglia's life story is funny, interesting, and inspiring enough to have been turned into a one man show, podcast episode, book, and now a movie. The story has worked in every form. Birbiglia uses film to its fullest advantage to capture some of the best and worst parts of this time in his life, and he proves himself to be as skilled of a director as he is a writer and comedian.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Top 6 Most Anticipated Fall Films

6. Argo

Surprisingly, Hollywood is very accepting of stars who reinvent themselves. After the bomb that shall not be named (but I'll do it anyway: "Gigli"), Ben Affleck established himself as a fine director with "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town." In "The Town," he showed that he also isn't bad in front of the camera. And now comes "Argo," which has earned rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival. "Argo" takes Affleck out of Boston, as he makes his first foray into historical drama. It's about the recently uncovered CIA mission to use a fake movie as a way to get into Iran and free the Americans taken hostage in 1979. It's a story that sounds almost too fascinating to be true. "Argo" looks like a smart political thriller that I'll enjoy because it speaks in a language that I can understand: movies. Also, Bryan Cranston is in it. Unless he decides to star in "Rock of Ages 2,"* he can do no wrong in my book.

Coming To Theaters: October 12

5. Looper

Director Rian Johnson is skilled at toying with genre conventions ("Brick"). I can't wait to see what he has in store for science fiction. The concept of "Looper" is already boggling my brain, yet the idea of Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a younger Bruce Willis is kind of brilliant.** I am always prepared for disappointment  but I am envisioning this being a film along the same line as "Blade Runner" and "Minority Report." Both of those films were misunderstood upon their original releases, but gained future followings. I am hoping that "Looper" breaks through in a big way, because Hollywood still needs to see that original ideas can succeed. No matter what happens, I believe "Looper" is the kind of film that will get better and make more sense upon repeated viewings.

Coming To Theaters: September 28

4. Seven Psychopaths

It's been four long years since Martin McDonough's brilliant debut feature "In Bruges." His sophomore effort, "Seven Psychopaths," looks just as twisted and funny but with less existential dread. "Seven Psychopaths" takes us into the underworld of dognapping, which I didn't even know existed. While its poster is very similar to the poster for "Snatch," I believe this one will be nowhere near the same, as McDonough isn't just constantly trying to rip off Tarantino. Plus, it boasts a nearly perfect cast that includes Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell. No word on whether or not, like "In Bruges," this one will also include a midget being karate chopped. I will say that I have no idea what will happen in this movie, and that unpredictability is what will make it so fun.

Coming To Theaters: October 8

See the top 3 after the jump:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Analog This: Breaking Bad and the Crystal Blue Side of the American Dream

"Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." 
-The Prestige


Could there have been a more perfect song to put into a "Breaking Bad" episode than "Crystal Blue Persuasion"? I wonder how long Vince Gilligan was waiting to use that song, because tonight's episode, "Gliding Over All" seemed like the perfect place for it. Tonight, it was more apparent than ever why Walter White's crystal blue meth is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to him.

"Gliding Over All" was one of the most important and exciting episodes of the series, which I tend to say about almost every episode. However, this one was different than most "Breaking Bad" episodes. Most episodes tend to pick their pace wisely. One week we will get an action packed thriller and the next week will be slow-burning exposition and character work. However, the mid-season finale gave us a little bit of both.