I can easily say that Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano and etc is one the best films in 2013. With its daunting premise and knit-tight screenplay provided by Aaron Guzikowski, Prisoners tells a story about the way a person can become unhinged by losing a loved one and the lengths they will go to get "justice." The more I think about it, the more incredible the entire story becomes as Villeneuve sets each piece of the puzzle and like magic, it is only after hours of seeing the film that those pieces magically come together to showcase the mental, physical, emotional side effects of being the imprisoned. Villeneuve loves to put people through the gauntlet with his intensely suffocating film premises that not only drown you into the depth of your sorrows but force you to question your own morality. A
Nicole Holofcener's new film Enough Said, starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini is one of the most genuinely hilarious films I have seen as of lately. This is a good final role for Gandolfini as it portrays himself in a different light that showcases the range of talent he truly had as an actor. Sadly, there is not much substance to this film besides huge laughs but who cares! B-
I haven't seen any of Jonathan Glazer's previous films like Sexy Beast and Birth but his new film, Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson is definitely something I would want to watch. Adapted by Michel Faber's novelof the same name, Johansson stars as an alien seductress who lures men to capture and presumably send home their human bodies. The first teaser came out weeks ago but this is an extended version and visually, it looks so moody and sultry, I can't wait. And to be honest, I just can't wait to see Johansson be a bad-ass and devour these men (not literally)! It's been playing at film festival recently (Telluride, Toronto, Venice) and been getting a lot of good reviews! It might possibly hit theaters in 2014 so watch out for this!
Salinger the film is directed and produced by the book biographer Shane Salerno, a Hollywood screenwriter who wrote Armageddon, Shaft, and Savages to name just a few. Considering I am probably the very few who have never read Catcher in the Rye, it's astonishing to see a glimpse into the life of an iconic man in American Literary history even if it is scarcely limited. The film seems like a direct visual translation from the biography, but provides oral history participants and never-before-seen film clips which are also accompanied by the grossly animated recreations due to the lack of footage of Salinger. Any fan of his would enjoy this introduction piece to Salinger but as a film, it lacks imagination and direction due to its approach to its straight on timeline film structure and deficiency of materials. B-
Denis Villeneuve's new film Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal just came out this weekend but already the bromance between Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal has started. It is brilliantly adapted from the late Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago's 2002 novel, The Double. Gyllenhaal plays Adam Bell, a glum, disinterested history professor who stumbles into his doppleganger, an actor named Anthony Clair. How interesting that Villeneuve and Richard Ayoade both have new films featuring the notion of doubles (literally, Ayoade's film is called The Double) in their premise.
Villeneuve actually made Enemy before Prisoners and so when the hell is Enemy going to come out?! Enemy premiered at Toronto International Film Festival this past month and already, it got raving reviews. And hello, with a cast like this (Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini, Sarah Gadon and etc) why wouldnt it? This film is labeled at as an erotic thriller and by Villeneuve standards, we can all expect to have the intensity cranked to 1000+. I can't wait for this one. Denis Villeneuve is someone you should be constantly watching and obsessing over or basically you don't know anything about cinema. The end.
From the guy who brought us La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional is back once again with another crime/mob dramedy starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, and John D'Leo. The premise is quite simple (no joke) as it is about a mob family who is put under witness protection after Giovanni (De Niro) rats out his friends and on the run from them (& that's it). The film takes on an Addams family approach with its black comedy but of course mob style with violence being their main language. Tonally, the film doesn't know what it wants to be but the performances and characters are so delightfully naughty and barbaric, it will surely make you burp wild cackles. This is one dysfunctional family I would love to be a part of.B-
I've been meaning to see more of Jim Jarmusch's films considering the only one I've seen was The Limits of Control (2009) and seeing that Only Lovers Left Alive is coming out soon, I need to catch up on his filmography. Here are two clips from OLLA and it is already apparent that he is approaching this film with his usual beautifully drawn out and stillness filmic style that he has been exercising to almost an extreme in The Limits of Control and Broken Flowers. Regardless of how he likes to test our patience, he can always execute to tell thoughtful stories that are so beyond our years. Can't wait! Only Lovers Left Alive comes out Oct 10!
Lee Daniels' The Butler is loosely inspired by the real-life story of Eugene Allen who served as a butler to eight presidents (Truman through Regan, 34 years), the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines as an unassuming man who witnesses history close up and personal. The Butler is a classic Hollywood film in that it hits every mark to be considered as Oscar bait: a incredible ensemble cast, Forest Gump style structure, sweeping musical score, and of course, OPRAH. There is a sliver of artificial lining greased on the film that doesn’t ceases to dissipate and permeates more vigorously throughout the film as the characters seem like cardboard box cut outs of African American people and the bluntly obvious emotional marks of storytelling to win the crowd over. While the film is easily forgettable, Whitaker and Oprah deserve some recognition attempting to scratch the surface to their potentially complex characters that was displayed. Daniels’ wants a Hollywood hit, well damn, that is exactly what he is going to get.C+
The Girl: Your imagination! You think every girl's a dope. You think a girl goes to a party and there's some guy in a fancy striped vest strutting around giving you that I'm-so-handsome-you-can't-resist-me look. From this she's supposed to fall flat on her face. Well, she doesn't fall on her face. But there's another guy in the room, over in the corner. Maybe he's nervous and shy and perspiring a little. First, you look past him. But then you sense that he's gentle and kind and worried. That he'll be tender with you, nice, and sweet. That's what's really exciting.
I was not even a fan of the Riddick series before the third film, appropriately and simply called, Riddick. But after watching The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), I was slightly excited to see what the film had in store considering it got resurrected from the dead after nine years! But wow, this is beyond anything I have ever seen. And in a bad way. I never wanted to tear my eyes out as much as I did with this film with its slow pacing, lack of character development, and generally zero action. Truly the disappointment of the summer.
If you haven't watch Richard Ayoade's breakout film Submarine (see my review here!) already, get to it! You are seriously missing out! I fell in love with the film and now, I am so overly pleased and honored to present his next film which embody the same kind of quirkiness and tenderness that brought my cold soul to its knees. Ayoade wrote the script with Avi Korine (brother of Harmony Korine), based on the Dostoyevsky's The Double: A Petersburg Poem. The film follows Jesse Eisenberg as Simon who arrives at work to find an exact double of himself has replaced his position in the company. Now, he has to deal with his doppelganger that is everything he isnt: confident, charming, successful, what not and so forth. It is premiering at Toronto International Film Festival but doesn't have a release date yet! I cannot wait to see this film.
When you have a Youtube channel, they insist you to have a little trailer for your channel. So after being constantly reminded by the huge empty space in which they "subtlety" suggest you put that content, I finally decided to make a little video (still 5 minutes! Sorry, I blab!) introducing myself as well as the channel. Considering I have a plethora of social media, I decided to do a breakdown of each media platform that will cater to different people.
Twitter: What I'm currently watching, personal and crazy rants!
So feel free to follow me on whichever is most convenient to you. Like I said, I just want to inform, discuss, and share my film thoughts with you guys! Thank you so much for watching/subscribing/sharing. You have no idea how much it all means to me! xoxo
Ben Stiller directs, produces, and stars in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a new adaptation of James Thurber's short story. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, check it out below. And of course, there are two new posters for the film that obviously showcases Stiller in a more whimsical and quirky light than the usual cynical shadow he's usually cast under. The film stars Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and Sean Penn! The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will hit theaters on December 25th, 2013!
So Yun Um is a ryde or die chick living the ultimate #filmlyfe in The City of Angels. She runs So's Reel Thoughts (duh) which highlights international, independent, and genre films. She writes a bi-weekly column called Badass Femmes for Crome Yellow & is the creator of the #GirlTalkSeries. She programs for LA Festivals and is part of the Women Film Critics Circle.