'The Fighter' Movie Review: Marketable Real-Life Inspired Drama

'The Fighter' movie stars Mark Wahlberg as boxer Micky Ward: Only key cast member not shortlisted for the Academy Awards. 'The Fighter' movie review: 'Smart' – i.e., 'marketable' – filmmaking David O. Russell's The Fighter is a smart film; smart in the way it's constructed and executed as a means to appeal to a wide audience. People tend to like sports movies. They also tend […]

'Black Swan' Movie Review: Natalie Portman 'Visceral' Downward Spiral

'Black Swan' movie with Natalie Portman: Distraught ballerina goes mad. 'Black Swan' movie review: Natalie Portman rises to challenge in 'most mature' Darren Aronofsky effort Darren Aronofsky has one of the most amazing talents for not only crafting impeccable works of fiction but also for framing these works against the backdrop of worlds the average person will never be a part of. In Requiem for […]

'True Grit' 2010 Movie Review: Much Better Than 1969 John Wayne Western

'True Grit' 2010 movie: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in 'wonderful' Joel and Ethan Coen Western. 'True Grit' 2010 movie review: Joel and Ethan Coen version 'far Superior' to 1969 John Wayne Western I've gotten to the point with the Coen brothers where I just expect something wonderful every time they make a movie. For me, that was the case even with an effort like […]

'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Lewis Carroll Travesty One of Worst Tim Burton Movies

'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. 'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Plenty of visuals, no substance In the interest of full disclosure, I should start this commentary on Alice in Wonderland by saying that I have never been a fan of Tim Burton's works. I've enjoyed a couple of his movies, but the vast majority of them I've found uninspiring and, really, […]

'127 Hours' Movie Review: James Franco in Harrowing Real Life Story

'127 Hours' movie with James Franco: Between a rock and a hard place. '127 Hours' movie review: James Franco stars in harrowing real life-based story When I initially heard that Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning team behind Slumdog Millionaire, were adapting the real life story of Aron Ralston for the big screen – what became 127 Hours – I got excited. A movie […]

'Brokeback Mountain' Analysis: Technical Brilliance, Iconic Character

Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain As I sit here writing, I am finding it hard to gather my thoughts together. Most of this essay has already been outlined, and yet I'm still not sure if it fully expresses my feelings toward Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. I realize that although there is a certain amount of objectivity that goes into judging the merits of a […]

'Inception' Movie: Christopher Nolan Summer Blockbuster with Brains & Heart

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception.' 'Inception' movie review: Summer blockbuster with brains & soul Christopher Nolan's Inception is a summer blockbuster that doesn't act like one. Unlike so many of the tedious, one-note Big Movies that get released year after year, Inception has not only brains, but a heart and a soul as well. The fact that this sci-fier/thriller also offers fascinating special effects is like […]

Roger Deakins (Finally) Best Cinematography Win? Oscar Predictions

Roger Deakins: 'True Grit' cinematographer has no Oscar to call his own. 2011 Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography – Roger Deakins, 'True Grit' Although Inception's Wally Pfister won the 2011 American Society of Cinematographers Award, it's important to note that the ASC is hardly a good judge of an eventual winner at the Oscars. Since 1986, only nine ASC Award winners ended up taking home the […]

'Monster's Ball' Commentary: Racial and Sexual Relations

Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton, Monster's Ball This brief piece is an amalgam of two comments posted in response to Alt Film Guide's Monster's Ball review written by André Soares. The comments have been slightly reedited for easier reading as a single post. See below. I've seen Monster's Ball twice, and in all honesty it grew in power the second time I saw it. I […]

'How to Train Your Dragon' Review: DreamWorks Hits Stride That Works

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), How to Train Your Dragon (top); Jay Baruchel performing Hiccup (bottom) I have to commend DreamWorks. With movies like Kung Fu Panda and now How to Train Your Dragon, they really seem to have hit a stride that works. It goes without saying that they're still no Pixar, but it's hard to fault them when they're producing entertaining movies even if those […]

'The Social Network' Review: Best David Fincher Film

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network When a movie, in subsequent viewings, not only sustains the brilliance one saw in it through the first viewing but reveals itself as a more complex and deeper piece of filmmaking, one knows that it must be something special. The Social Network, David Fincher's latest, is one such film. It is not only Fincher's best, but also the best film […]

'The King's Speech' Review: Brilliant Colin Firth in Remarkable Drama

The King's Speech with Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter I can't imagine what it must be like to be born into royalty. That kind of life, for all the material wealth it provides, must be in so many ways devoid of any real human interaction. It's a world that is so distant from “commoners” that imagining the rigidity of its daily life is almost incomprehensible. […]