ARCHIVE REVIEW: The Fountain

The Fountain
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Darren Aronofsky (screenplay), Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel (story)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, and Sean Patrick Thomas

There are many movies that are so beautifully filmed that you could take almost any still-frame from it and hang it in your house.  Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain is one of these movies.  In fact, it may have been better off as individual frames in an art gallery instead of a movie.

This is a film where the filmmaking technique is serving a story that is almost as ambitious but not nearly as realized.  It follows Tommy (Hugh Jackman) a doctor who is trying to cure his terminally ill wife Izzi (Rachel Weisz).  That is the barebones of a story that dips back to ancient Spanish culture as well as travels hundreds of years into the future.  You’ll come to learn that Izzi wrote a book about Spanish conquistadors and the Tree of Life, and when Tommy starts reading it he envisions himself as one who is pursuing the Tree so that he can live forever with the queen (also played by Weisz).

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Magnolia

Magnolia
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Capturing the entirety of the human experience is an ambitious goal, one that many filmmakers never really feel up to tackling.  Paul Thomas Anderson thinks its third feature material.  Let’s face it though, the movies are better when the focus is narrowed.

That’s not to say Magnolia is not a beautiful, often breathtaking piece of work.  It is, in fact, a blueprint of sorts of the new decade of filmmaking that was to follow in the year 2000.  The seemingly unrelated yet interwoven storylines of films like Traffic, Babel or Crash meet the bizarreness of network television polluting Requiem for a Dream.  Bookending the film is the snarky know-it-all narrator you may know from Woody Allen films.

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TRAILER REVIEW: Black Swan

Never enough can be said about one of the most important, yet unrecognized directors of the past decade whose triumphant films include Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and most recently, The Wrestler. Two of the films are highly ranked in IMDB’s top 250 films of all time and find themselves frequently on best of the decade list, for innovative editing, large as life performances and storytelling that rips the pages of storytelling our with your heart and explores the deepest and darkest parts of humanity. Yet for some reason, Darren Aronofsky remains quite underrated and quite under appreciated for his contributions to modern cinema. Black Swan stretches to change that all. Continue reading

Five movies to watch with a group

As the summer months begin for college students across the country, one of the movies’ prime profit seasons is upon us.  People go out in droves to see the latest Hollywood blockbusters with their friends.  Those art-house films of the fall stay on the shelves, as people enjoy big-budget entertainments with their friends and family.  Here then are my five picks for 5 movies that are enhanced with entertainment when you watch them with other people. Whether they make you laugh, cry or drop your jaw in amazement, you will either enjoy these movies better with a group or be able to endure them better because you are with other people.

1.  Superbad- Perhaps the most defining comedy of this generation, the outrageously explicit comedy from director Greg Montolla stars a teen comedy ensemble on rank with that of The Breakfast Club.  The laughs are constant as three friends try to score booze for a party in order to get laid.  That may turn off many sophisticated, stuffy types, but more honesty is fleshed out over the course of these two hours about the modern teen condition than almost any other movie made for that audience.  Add in the iconic McLovin’, and you have a non-stop laugh riot that will endure for years to come.

2. Kill Bill Vol. 1- Though it’s hard to put this movie on a list without its equally excellent Vol. 2, you cannot deny the crowd-pleasing intensity of Quentin Tarantino’s genre-blended bloodbath.  From the beginning, you get one of the most well constructed action films of the past 20 years as well as a story simple enough to keep track of while still chatting with those around you.  If the gory showdown at the House of Blue Leaves doesn’t have everyone’s jaw dropped by the end of it, you’re probably hanging with the wrong crowd.

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If they were in television… Darren Aronofsky

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Notable Films: Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Pi, and The Fountain.

Famous for: Unbearable honesty, emotionally destroyed and hopeless people, gritty surrealism, and intentionally ambiguous endings.

Hypothetical Premise: A cocaine-addicted woman is divorced by her extremely wealthy tycoon husband.  Since there was a pre-nup and she came from a poor and abusive family, she has nothing.  Over the course of the season, she goes from having everything to being a lonely, drug-ridden bum on the streets of Seattle.  Her husband makes sure she never gets a job or has any way to lift herself out of the disparity she’s in.  Then she meets a bouncer at a club, falls in love with him, but he can’t allow himself to love a crack addict.  If there is a second season, she would descend into madness and half of the series would appear to take place in the middle ages.

Cross Between: Requiem for a Dream, Breaking Bad, and The Wrestler.

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