Why I Love Noah (Even If You Won’t)

Noah would be notable to me for no other reason than it’s one of the only movies that my girlfriend and I have completely and utterly disagreed on. For my part, I found Noah to be an incredibly intriguing and committed piece of filmmaking that represents the sort of movie I would like to see more of in Hollywood, even if the end result isn’t perfect. However, being the kind of messy, ultra-ambitious movie that it is, it will certainly alienate as many viewers as it will attract, but I’m just fine with that. My spoiler-filled reaction/justification after the jump:

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Movie of the Week: The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley has been on the To-Watch list for the almost two months since Philip Seymour Hoffman died, and with the unfortunate passing the other day of all-time great character actor James Rebhorn it finally made it into our Movie of the Week queue. And it was a great reminder of why actors such as Rebhorn are so valuable, almost as much so as actors like Hoffman. Both make great, impactful use of their limited screentime, and Rebhorn’s recognizable screen persona plays right into one of the more fun moments in the film (Ripley’s impression of Dickie’s father wouldn’t work nearly as well if he was mimicking someone less recognizable than Rebhorn). In addition to being a fine showcase for two sadly departed filmmakers (actually three, including director Anthony Minghella), it’s a solid film all around, though not without it’s faults.

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Movie of the Week: The Host

I recently mentioned Bong Joon-ho in my Criterion wishlist, and I’ll reiterate here how excited I am for his Snowpiercer to finally hit theaters this June. And unlike Shiran I don’t have much knowledge of or experience with foreign film except for the Korean New Wave. With all of that in mind, it seemed appropriate to add some Korean flavor to our Movie of the Week selections, specifically from Bong Joon-ho’s filmography, which brings us to The Host. A terrific, politically pointed and character-driven monster film, it is rightly one of the most successful films in South Korean history, and is both a great place to start exploring Korean film and a great example of how to craft a (serious-minded) tentpole adventure film.

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Story, Style and The Grand Budapest Hotel

I kind of feel that writing a review of The Grand Budapest Hotel could probably just consist of writing “Wes Anderson” in big letters and that’d be enough for most people. Fortunately(?) for you all and unfortunately for me, I tend not to do just reviews here, so I’ll have to write more than that. In addition to addressing The Grand Budapest Hotel in particular, Wes Anderson in general is a great touchstone for an argument about “style” in film, and how filmmakers should best approach having one throughout their career. Some spoilers after the jump.

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My Criterion Suggestions

With Criterion having just announced their releases for June of this year (I’ve never heard of Judex before but now I WANT IT), I was thinking about the movies I would really love to see get the wacky C. So after emailing Criterion with my suggestions because yes, I am that kind of dork, I thought I might share them with you all, as it both a) gives me a chance to talk about several films that I really enjoy at once, and b) might possibly convince some of you it’s worth bugging Criterion about such things yourselves. Follow me!

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The Simple Pleasures of Dredd

Let’s get it out of the way: yes, there are plenty of new movies I could be talking about instead of this, but I’m playing catch-up right now so bear with me. But even if I was up-to-date on my new releases, I would probably still feel compelled to write up a movie that merges economic, smart storytelling, and bloody, stylish ultraviolence. The 2012 film Dredd merges the two quite well indeed, and after a second viewing I feel I can say its probably one of the best pure action films of recent years as a result. It’s an engaging little genre film that makes the most of its scifi trappings without overplaying its hand, which far too many similar movies do nowadays. Even if it didn’t have the surprisingly gorgeous visuals and strong performances, I would appreciate Dredd just for how matter-of-fact it is throughout the story.

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Movie of the Week: Role Models

After shifting to some classic dramatic material last week, we decided to go back to modern comedy for a more relaxed night this time around. While Shiran doesn’t have much experience with David Wain outside this film, I have none whatsoever, so we figured that Role Models would be a good place for me to start before we both finally take the plunge on Wet Hot American Summer. And based off of this, that is a plunge we should both take soon.

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