Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Teaser For Claustrophobic "Buried" Debuts, Film Set to Screen at Sundance

A teaser and clip has surfaced for the rather experimental film Buried. Directed by Rodrigo Cort├ęs, Buried shows what happens when a U.S. contractor (Ryan Reynolds) working in Iraq is held hostage in a coffin with nothing to work with but a lighter and a cell phone.

From the looks of the teaser, the film, which is on the 2010 Sundance roster, has an obvious claustrophobic feel. Reynolds might seem like an unlikely matching for a film like this, but we'll see how it pans out. He's a good enough actor to be convincing. It will also remain to be seen if an experimental film like this will mix well with American audiences. I'm guessing that this will be Reynolds' one-man army film and a platform for him to showcase any talent that he might have hidden all these years.

The clip below is a teaser of rough quality as it's made out to be the hostage video the character records on his cellphone. Below that is the actual clip from the film that leads up to that moment. Check it out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

DVD Picks of the Week: January 19, 2010

I'm feeling motivated, so here comes back to back weeks of DVD and Blu-ray picks. Here we go.

Gamer [DVD][Blu-ray]

The entirely forgettable Gamer starring Gerard Butler is one of the bigger releases on this particular Tuesday. Certainly not the worst of its kind, but Gamer doesn't do anything that titles like The Running Man have already done better. The film is probably worth a rental for fans of the genre, because the battle scenes do amount for some good entertainment. And Michael C. Hall's song and dance scene is so random and delightful that it practically makes the second half of the film worth watching. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the duo repsonsible for the great Crank series, aren't on the same level of greatness as they were in the first two Crank films, but they give a somewhat decent effort. Give this a go if you're a fan of the style or genre.

Pandorum [DVD][Blu-ray]

I've heard enough good and bad about Pandorum, the Event Horizon-esque spaceship thriller that features the great young and talented Ben Foster (3:10 To Yuma, 30 Days of Night) alongside Dennis Quaid. I haven't seen this film yet, but like the above title, this might be worth watching for fans of the genre. I'll definitely take a look sometime soon.

Che (Criterion) - [DVD][Blu-ray]

Workhorse filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has been churning out films like nobody else lately. The Informant! and The Girlfriend Experience have both impressed critics and fans alike. Now the great Criterion Collection has unleashed his two part film Che on DVD and Blu-ray. The film stars Benicio del Toro as the titular character. I haven't seen this yet, even though I am a self-proclaimed big fan of Soderbergh.

Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening [DVD]

Aziz Ansari is one of the breakout comedy stars of 2009. By way of television show Human Giant, bit roles in films like Observe and Report and Funny People and the much improved second season of Parks and Recreation (which I must say, based on my own parks and rec experience, is very realistic), Aziz has busted onto the comedy scene with a rather explosive style. I was able to catch the uncensored version of this stand-up special on Comedy Central last night, and I must say, fans and newcomers alike will be pleased. Ansari tells some of his best jokes. He even busts into the obnoxiously funny character of Randy (with eight A's) at the end of the show.

What else comes out this week: Weeds: Season Five, Dallas: The Complete Twelfth Season, The Invention of Lying, Whiteout, Magnolia [Blu-ray], Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball, Smokin' Aces [Blu-ray], Boogie Nights [Blu-ray], Kingdom Of The Spiders [Special Edition].

What to stay away from: Whiteout. I know Kate Beckinsale is easy as sin to look at, but I've heard through the films literal whiteout you can't even see her! ;)

Take care.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DVD Picks of the Week: January 12, 2010

It took a really great week of DVDs and Blu-rays to get me to make my first picks of the week entry of 2010, but nonetheless, I'm here. Let's get started.

In the Loop [DVD][Blu-ray]

I'm pretty certain that In the Loop is going to remain my favorite film of 2009. Coupled with the return of the related television show The Thick of It (both feature a few of the same characters and actors), creator Armando Iannucci had his hands full of comedy in 2009. The film and show are both led by vulgar fire-breathing spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (played brilliantly by Peter Capaldi). Tucker is a man that cusses like no one else and is credited with some of the more unique ways of telling someone off. In the Loop, a political satire of both the American and British governments, is a fast-paced comedy that in my eyes lands at the top of the list for 2009.

The Hurt Locker [DVD][Blu-ray]

One of the very best films of 2009 and a masterpiece of the war genre, Kathryn Bigelow's tense war thriller should be on the ballot come Oscar season. Jeremy Renner's lead performance is the sign of a rising star and shouldn't go unnoticed. The Hurt Locker is one of the true "edge-of-your-seat" films of the year.

Moon [DVD][Blu-ray]

Sam Rockwell, directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, turns in a captivating performance as a man stranded on a mining facility on the moon. Today is just a great day for some of the best films of 2009 to be available for purchase and home viewing. Moon is one of the better science fiction pieces of the decade as its aided by keen directing, a sharp screenplay and an eerie and unsettling mood of paranoia.

Departures [DVD]

A film I have yet to see but have just requested off of Netflix, Departures won the award for best foreign film at the 2009 Oscars. The Japanese film apparently follows a newly unemployed cellist who accepts a job preparing the dead for their funerals.

8 1/2 [Criterion Blu-ray]

8 1/2 will always have a special place in my heart. It was one of the first Criterion's I ever saw and the very first Fellini film I ever saw. At the beginning of my adventure into foreign films, few struck me as hard as this one. Perhaps only a couple of Ingmar Bergman titles have exceeded it. Watching 8 1/2 for the first time is a magical experience, something not created by most other films. And now having it available is crisp Blu-ray? What more can you ask for? I urge all newcomers to go out and get this film.

Big Fan [DVD]

I popped in Big Fan the other night and came away impressed. The film was directed and written by Robert Siegel, the man responsible for the screenplay to last year's critically-acclaimed film The Wrestler. Siegel certainly has something of a claim on the brooding loser genre. Big Fan is a darkly funny film starring Patton Oswalt in a challenging performance he might have been born for. Must see film for fans of films and sports. Those that live in the New York Metropolitan area, or even in Connecticut like myself, will appreciate the realism around the obsessed fans and late night radio show callers.

The Brothers Bloom [DVD][Blu-ray]

It seems like it took The Brothers Bloom long enough to be released. I still haven't seen it, but I'm making sure that I do eventually. Stars Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffalo.

The House On Sorority Row [DVD]

I feel like this should have been released at the same time the remake made its ways into theaters. A remake that is different enough from its original that its possible to enjoy as fresh content. The remake, Sorority Row, also took itself as least serious as possible, which was great for the film in the long run. The original is a good film as well, one of the unheralded slasher classics of the 1980s.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wrap up of Films Watched in December 2009

Yes, I'm still alive. December seems to be the month where my blog annual slows down, even though I'm at the highest point of free time right now. Whatever. The year went by and I watched 285 films. Here's the list for December.

269. 12/1 – Precious*
270. 12/1 – Samson & Delilah*
271. 12/2 – Harry Brown*
272. 12/8 – Extract*
273. 12/13 – Tromeo and Juliet*
274. 12/16 – The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans*
275. 12/18 – Avatar*
276. 12/19 – The Road*
277. 12/20 – The Big Lebowski
278. 12/20 – Where the Buffalo Roam*
279. 12/23 – Trailer Park Boys: The Countdown to Liquor Day*
280. 12/24 – Blast of Silence
281. 12/24 – A Christmas Story
282. 12/24 – Home Alone
283. 12/27 – The Sniper (1952)*
284. 12/27 – Erin Brockovich*
285. 12/28 – My Left Foot*

It was a rather enjoyable ending to 2009. Now on to the awards.

Best Film (New Viewing): The Road
Yeah, The Road wowed me more than Avatar's mesmerizing visuals did. And it beat out a few other films from the past year as it skyrockets into my top 10 of 2009 (a list that is technically still in progress). The Road was a bleak and dismal portrayal of a post-apocalyptic future and yet was a simple story of a man and his boy as they fight to survive. A must-see film.
Runners-up: Precious, Avatar, Samson & Delilah, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, The Sniper, My Left Foot. (It was a good month).

Best Film (Repeated Viewing): The Big Lebowski
I know, I didn't pick the film I named my blog after. It's The Big Lebowski, dude. Blast of Silence would beat most films.
Runners-up: Blast of Silence.

Most Surprising Film: Harry Brown
The Michael Caine-led Harry Brown was like Taken with brains. Caine gives a fierce and unforgettable performance.
Runners-up: Samson & Delilah.

Most Underrated Film: Where the Buffalo Roam
Bill Murray's interpretation of the great Hunter S. Thompson hardly gets the respect Johnny Dep's good performance in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas gets. This is a terrifically funny film. Runners-up: The Road (Where's its and Viggo's Oscar buzz!?)

The list will continue once again in 2010. And not that anyone cares, but I will likely pick up on DVD picks, just not where I left off. Hey, give me credit, I had that going every week or so for quite some time. Look for more posts and reviews in the future. Peace.