Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekly Round-Up (3/18/12 - 3/24/12)

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki) **** - This one is in serious competition with Spirited Away as my favorite Studio Ghibli film or even my favorite anime film. Hell, it's already zoomed in my top ten favorite animated films of all time. A princess from a post-apocalyptic world where a huge portion of the world is toxic and unlivable must stop an impending war between two huge cities. It's got pro-environment and anti-war messages all through out but doesn't hit you over the head with it. Instead you get a visually sumptuous, rousing and exciting science fiction adventure film. This is the kind of film I'd be watching again and again. It's wonderful piece of work.

Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance) *** -Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams both give outstanding performances as a young couple whose marriage is falling apart. The film cuts back and forth to the when they first meet and fall in love and to the current state of their marriage. Despite some flaws here and there and the fact that it didn't really break new ground, the film's success lies in the performances of the two lead actors who really elevate the material and made it feel real, raw and frankly uncomfortable (in a good way). P.S. why was this ever rated NC-17? I mean, come on! Seriously?

Cop Land (James Mangold) *** - I worked on this film. Don't let Sylvester Stallone's presence scare you off. This is actually a pretty solid ensemble drama about a sheriff in a small Jersey town populated by corrupt cops with mob connections. Stallone gives a very understated and very REAL performance, you really forget he's Rocky and Rambo and buy that he's just this ordinary guy who's genuinely conflicted. 

The Muppets (James Bobin) ***1/2 - I grew up watching the Muppets on TV as well as watching many of the Muppet movies so imagine my delight and surprise that this was gonna happen again. And for the most part, it largely works. Screenwriters Jason Segel and NIcholas Stoller and director James Bobin successfully transfers the formula of the Muppets to the 21st century without trying too hard to make it "hip". Certain moments from this film feel like pure child-like joy captured on film.

The Hunger Games (Gary Ross) *** - I haven't read the books so I'm rating this purely from a movie standpoint. I do know of the plot of the novel it's based on so I was a bit surprised that Gary Ross was picked to do this film since nothing he has directed or even wrote in the past is even similar to this but in his first outing in this type of film, he did pretty darn well (it's better than Seabiscuit). Jennifer Lawrence fulfills the promise of her Oscar nomination and carries the film expertly. Even though I haven't read the books and don't know all the details, I was able to follow the film and I found it to be solid entry in the sci-fi post-apocalyptic genre.


[AguiLeon] said...

have a nice day

Mark said...

It's nice to see Nausica in there, an amazing movie.

Adam said...

I saw Nausicaa a few months ago, I think it's easily the best film by Ghibli

YeamieWaffles said...

Awesome round-up mate. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed all of this week's viewing too.

G said...

I keep getting nagged to go and see Hunger Games... which after reading this I might just give in to

Cranky and Difficult said...

Wow hunger games is out, I hadn't read that or seen that anywhere. You'd think they'd hype that more :-)


I still haven't seen Nausicaa, better get to it

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

::whistles!:: Dude, this is a GREAT roundup! ALl I've ever heard is good stuff about Blue Valentine, Nausicaa is an amazing Gihbli film, dunno 'bout the Hunger Games though.

Just seems like a new Harry Potter, 'cuz y'know...the fans need a Harry Potter-esque film now that there's none left.

After the Hunger Games, it'll be something else for them to soccer mom out about. Pffft.

Cop Land I've liked in the past. WOuldn't even say Sly did a bad job either, y'know?

I still believe it would've been waaaay better with Joe Pesci in it.