I hated Pulp Fiction the first time I saw it. The first Tarantino movie I’d ever seen was Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which is a decidedly gorier and altogether more accessible movie for an eighth grader (technically I wasn’t legally “mature enough” for either by the MPAA’s standards), although I was the only one in my grade who seemed to enjoy it. When I watched Pulp Fiction for a second (and a third and a fourth ad infinitum) viewing, it gripped me like few other movies had before or since. To this day it is still one of my all-time favorites.
Movies, especially great ones, often change from viewing to viewing, not because they are different but because we are. Though we now live in an age of Rotten Tomato blurbs and aggregated consensus, a critic’s most valued possession is still their written voice. With every review now posted quickly and then archived online, conversation on most movies usually peaks quickly when they are first released, and then dissipates just as fast. The only time afforded to looking back is the annual “Best of the Year” cluster fuck.
Famous for:Comic book adaptations. Slow motion during fight scenes, multiple cuts, zoom-ins and close-ups during action sequences. Shooting films entirely in front of a green screen. Dark, grimy visuals with highly saturated colors. Rock and roll soundtracks. War allegories. Releasing movies in March.
Hypothetical title:The Break
Hypothetical premise: The stage is set in San Francisco only moments after the bombings of Pearl Harbor struck the nation. The city is in political chaos as city and government leaders prepare to handle the increasing population of Japanese Americans living amongst the diverse population. Allegories and criticism toward the reaction of 9/11 and modern terrorism can be made throughout the series. This is Snyder’s fictional re-envision of WWII on the west coast. Continue reading →
Verdict: The film is titanic in every way, from its dazzling images and special effects to its messages and attention to detail. But with big budget comes big demand, meaning Cameron must make a crowd-pleaser. Dumbing down the dialogue, character depth and dynamics, he creates a universal story the whole world can understand and enjoy. Avatar is whatever movie you want it to be, a love story, a message movie, or an visually imaginative heyday, but to sophisticated moviegoers it’s only meh. Grade: B- Full Review Here
The Blind Side
Verdict: John Lee Hancock’s bombastic, preachy and watered down The Blind Side is the one movie nominated for Best Picture this year that didn’t deserve its slot. This is the crowd-pleasing, melodramatic sports movie that moved both the Monday Night Football crowd and Sarah Palin wannabes to tears. Hancock directs this film with a style right out of the sports film playbook, taking no chances and milking every crowd-pleasing scenario for maximum fluff. Grade: D Full Review Here
Verdict: District 9 is the greatest display of gritty sci-fi, with its scathing political undertones and pulse pounding action. Blomkamp is able to mesh aliens seamlessly into a very real human world that echoes our own. While the obvious political undertones make this an allegory for apartheid, more conceptual parallels can be made with our current human rights, terrorism, and corporate moral dilemma. It’s expert movie making from top to bottom. Grade: AFull Review HereContinue reading →
CyniCritcs reviewer Matt Erspamer posted his Oscar predictions and hopefuls a while ago here. For a second opinion on the main categories and a look at some of the technical awards, Luke Miller posts his picks and favorites here.
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up In the Air
Will Win: The Hurt Locker. Avatar may have audiences at home swooned away with its big glitzy effects, but with the new preferential voting system in place, The Hurt Locker has a lot less haters than Avatar which makes me believe it will be found on more number two and three place ballots of those who get cut in the early rounds. Avatar winning at this point would be one big upset after losing at the PGA, WGA, DGA and BAFTA which are all huge precursors to the Oscars.
Should Win: Up In the Air. I can’t really summarize how great this film is without ranting into a whole essay. You can read about it here in my review however.
Left Out: The following films that are better than The Blind Side: Star Trek, Away We Go, Moon, (500) Days of Summer, Public Enemies, State of Play, The Road, or Where the Wild Things Are. Personally, I would have chosen a comedy to put in this bunch and Away We Go had the best blend of funny and heart to rank it up with Juno or Little Miss Sunshine. Continue reading →
Inglourious Basterds Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Written by: Quentin Tarantino (screenplay) Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Eli Roth, and Diane Kruger
I consider myself to be a rather big fan of Quentin Tarantino. Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Jackie Brown all have their place on my list of favorite movies. I am disheartened to announce, then, that Inglourious Basterds is without a doubt Mr. Tarantino’s worst film.
By no means does this mean it’s a bad film, it just lacks that all-important vibe of urgency and humanity that brings his other genre pieces to such vivid, unmistakable life. Is it cool? Sure. Is it entertaining? You bet your ass it is. But it just doesn’t resonate. I watched it in the theater and then kind of forgot about it until it was coming out on DVD. It’s like Avatar in that way. I liked it, but I won’t remember it.