GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Enter the Void (2009) — Written and directed by Gaspar Noe.
THOUGHTS: This movie is absolutely mind blowing. Filmed from a first-person perspective, director Gaspar Noe puts viewers in the mind and eventually the spirit of a lost, young drug dealer as he deals with life and death in the glowing neon streets of Tokyo. Be forewarned, this movie is HEAVY. This movie puts you in the shoes of a man who has died and makes you experience the after life with him in a very visually effective way. Pure headtrip. A visual masterpiece. And an absolute joy.
PREMISE: A drug deal is shot by the police after falsely claiming to have a gun. As he falls and sees his crippled, lifeless body, his entire life flashes before his eyes. When he reaches the point of his death, his spirit roams Tokyo following the people he knows and loves. Shot from a first-person point of view, you experience this all with him.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:Princess Mononoke (1997) — Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Clair Danes, Billy Crudup, and Billy Bob Thornton.
THOUGHTS: Ranked in Roger Ebert’s top ten, this visually stunning epic masterpiece has long been one of my favorite films.The film’s director, Hayao Miyazaki, is widely regarded as the best animator in the world, and he fulfills that reputation in this film using a gorgeous blend of hand-drawn characters, hand painted backgrounds, and computer graphics.The film is unique from most epics in that there are no true “bad guys” – every antagonist has redeemable qualities and clear, understandable motives for their actions.A one-of-a-kind movie.
*Be forewarned: this film is rated PG-13, as it’s more violent than most American animated films.
SYNOPSIS: After being fatally cursed by a demon boar god, young prince Ashitaka must travel west to see if the great forest spirit will remove the curse and finds himself in the center of a massive battle between mankind and nature.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:Sideways (2004) — Directed by Alexander Payne and starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church.
THOUGHTS: Perfectly cast and superbly written, this slow, subtle comedy about two friends touring through California’s wine country is absolutely hilarious, thoughtful, and touching.Be sure to buy a bottle of Pinot Noir to accompany your viewing of this film – you’ll want it!
SYNOPSIS: Miles, a divorced unpublished writer and middle school teacher, takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend, Jack, on a road trip through California’s wine country, planning to send Jack off in style with a week of fine wine, food, golf, and relaxation; however, Jack just wants to meet girls and party, getting them into loads of unexpected trouble.
My earliest HUMAN memory? That’s tough. I’m mostly coming up with non-human memories. I was hoping that people would only ask questions that pertained to my blog — i.e. questions about movies, tv, actors, etc — however, I’ll compromise and tell you that the first film I remember watching in theaters is Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I thought Ursula the witch was terrifying.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:Wet Hot American Summer (2001) — Directed by David Wain, Starring Michael Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni and many more.
THOUGHTS: This film is a perfect example that film critics are often clueless when it comes to comedies.On Rottentomatos.com, Wet Hot American Summer received an 85% approval rating from audiences, but only a 30% approval rating with critics.Trust me, the critics are wrong on this film, and thankfully, this film is slowly becoming a cult classic.With one of the best ensemble comedy casts ever collected, Wet Hot American Summer is one of those rare comedies that gets a little funnier every time you watch it.
SYNOPSIS:It’s August 18, 1981, the last day of camp at Camp Firewood, meaning that it’s everyone’s last chance to kiss his or her summer crush, win capture the flag, or kick butt at the big talent show.It’s also the last chance to go on a frenzied drug binge, cover up a camper’s drowning, have a gay wedding, take sage wisdom from a talking can of vegetable soup, or save the entire camp from a falling piece of Sky Lab.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:A History of Violence (2005) — Directed by David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen
THOUGHTS: Ranked the 4th best film of the decade by Rolling Stone Magazine, A History of Violence slipped past a lot of viewers’ radars as, despite its title, it’s more of a drama than an action movie.Still, the action in this film is incredibly efficient and effective; brief moments of violence are shot so well that they provide a chilly resonance throughout the film.
SYNOPSIS:After killing two armed robbers in self-defense, Tom Stall, a mild-mannered small-town diner owner, becomes a local celebrity; however, the spotlight draws attention to his hidden past, bringing questions about who he really is and why he’s so good at killing people.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:Stardust (2007) — Directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro
THOUGHTS:A whimsical tongue-in-cheek romantic fantasy, reminiscent of The Princess Bride, this film is a joy to watch.Stardust parodies the fantasy genre while remaining true to it.If for no other reason, see this movie to see Robert De Niro as a dandy sky pirate.
SYNOPSIS: A young man named Tristan Thorne adventures into the magical kingdom of Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star; however, the star is, in fact, a beautiful woman, with whom he falls in love and decides to protect from the evil witches and twisted princes of the realm who want to take her heart and steal its immortality.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:I Heart Huckabees (2004) — Directed by David O’Russell, starring Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, and Dustin Hoffman
THOUGHTS:The only thing better than this existential comedy’s wildly imaginative script is the incredible performances the actors give to the lines.Mark Wahlberg’s role as Tommy Corn is one of his best ever.
SYNOPSIS: A young environmentalist, a corporate executive, a model, and a petroleum-hating fireman each suffer hilarious psychological breakdowns as rival counselors fight to convince them of their opposing ideological views on existence: that either everything or nothing is connected.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:The Secret of Kells (2009 – Ireland/Belgium/France) — Directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey
THOUGHTS: A visual delight with the most unique animation I’ve ever seen. Though not quite as deep, in terms of story, as a Pixar or Miyazaki film, The Secret of Kells is filled with fun, fascinating characters and an fantastical retelling of the creation of the Book of Kells, Ireland’s greatest treasure. You may want to refresh yourself on the Book of Kells and the process of illumination before watching this film – it’ll be a lot easier to understand.
SYNOPSIS: In a monastery in 9th century Ireland, a young boy named Brendon, a student of illumination, must race against time to finish the legendary Book of Kells, a work so powerful it can turn darkness into light, before the invading Vikings attack.
GREAT MOVIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:Adaptation (2002) — Directed by Spike Jonze, written by Charlie Kaufman, starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper
THOUGHTS: It’s hard for me to pick my favorite movie, but this definitely falls in the top five.With an insanely clever screenplay by Charlie Kaufman about his attempts to adapt a book with no plot into a movie, Adaptation is hilarious, multi-layered, and a blast to watch over and over again. If you’ve lost all faith in Nicolas Cage’s acting ability, this movie will remind you that he is at least capable of greatness.
SYNOPSIS: After being hired to write a film adaptation to Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman struggles with horrendous writer’s block, eventually seeking the assistance of his hack writer brother, Donald, and investigating into the hidden romance, drug use, and criminal activities of Susan Orleans and the subject of her book, John Laroche.