Party Down (John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd, 2009)

My favorite television series of late courtesy of Starz, aka Starz Entertainment, LLC, a wholly owned television programming subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp. This is scintillating funny stuff – the dude that stole the show in Stepbrothers (one of the more underrated films of 2008), Adam Scott, forges ahead as glum, pill and vodka shot popping Henry Pollard, a down on his luck actor who’s claim to fame is a particular commercial that has him exclaiming “Are we having fun yet?!”  Next to him are other struggling actors including those played by the brilliant Jane Lynch, Kyle Bradway, Roman DeBeers, … Continue reading Party Down (John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd, 2009)

Top 20 Film Soundtracks

1   The Shining 2   Ghost World 3   Until the End of the World 4   Amadeus 5   The Wizard of Oz 6   Saturday Night Fever 7   A Clockwork Orange 8   The Sound of Music 9   Nashville 10   Grease 11   Jackie Brown 12   The Graduate 13   This is Spinal Tap 14   2001: A Space Odyssey 15   A Mighty Wind 16   Breaking the Waves 17   Full Metal Jacket 18   Out of Sight 19   Donnie Darko 20   Garden State Continue reading Top 20 Film Soundtracks

Top 20 Film Scores

1   Psycho (Bernard Herrmann) 2   The Last Temptation of Christ (Peter Gabriel) 3   Twin Peaks (Angelo Badalamenti) 4   The Truman Show (Burkhard Dallwitz) 5   Requiem for a Dream (Clint Mansell) 6   Memento (David Julyan) 7   Mystic River (Clint Eastwood) 8   There Will be Blood (Jonny Greenwood) 9   North by Northwest (Bernard Herrmann) 10   Crash (1996, Cronenberg) (Howard Shore) 11   Stealing Home (David Foster) 12   The Illustrated Family Doctor (Severed Heads) 13   Dead Ringers (Howard Shore) 14   Sideways (Rolfe Kent) 15   Exotica (Mychael Danna) 16   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Jon Brion) 17   Blue Velvet (Angelo Badalamenti) 18   The Remains of the Day (Richard Robbins) 19   A History of Violence (Howard Shore) 20  Too Old to Die Young (Cliff … Continue reading Top 20 Film Scores

The Visitor (Thomas McCarthy, 2008)

A very sweet story that Richard Jenkins (economics Prof. Walter Vale) was just meant to play.  The feeling I am left with is altruism in it’s purest form, beyond even the backdrop of 9/11 deportation which is somewhat of a political misstep in the film anyway.  Vale, despondent from his mundane existence is reinvigorated by discovering an illegal couple living in a NY property of his but not one he frequents.  There should be more excitement in economics than this.  Vale bonds immediately with the male lead in a mutual love for music.  The film is not without its faults:  … Continue reading The Visitor (Thomas McCarthy, 2008)

The Strangers (Bryan Bertino, 2008)

Crack, craSHH, scream, click.  Good sound design.  Is that it?  About it.  Not sure if this was some Funny Games copy gone awry or an honest attempt at box office penetration, or both.  The first act is really cool, the relationship stuff and how the plot points are delivered in a kind of choppy flash forward / flash back / etc way that works.  Yet after that the pic deteriorates into the genre norm minute by minute, cut by cut. Lord, I gotta say one thing – Liv Tyler has never looked more beautiful on film and plays a great … Continue reading The Strangers (Bryan Bertino, 2008)

Burn After Reading (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2008)

I think its fits in nicely within the Coen ouevre (i.e. people, sometimes dumb, sometimes not, getting involved in situations way over the heads) and they must have needed a break after they’re masterpiece of No Country for Old Men and the grand attention it got….the problem with the film is that the thriller aspects of the film occur too late into the third act. So, in the meantime, the audience has to get by on enjoying the wild, over the top acting…..which is pretty good for the most part. However, if you are going to cast Pitt AND Clooney … Continue reading Burn After Reading (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2008)

Lakeview Terrace (Neil LaBute, 2008)

Your run of the mill thriller with few surprises.  The material is so dated that it comes off as a training manual in how to make a thriller about race relations.  Its not poorly done at all and a few sequences are surprisingly funny (the chainsaw scene).  The oncoming fires are a silly but somewhat effective device as the tension builds.  But overall, I was pretty bored.  Nice score. ** / ***** Continue reading Lakeview Terrace (Neil LaBute, 2008)

Hotel For Dogs (Thor Freudenthal, 2009)

Let me not mince words here – this is a bad film.  Offensive on many fronts not the least of which the following thematic elements:  1.  Typical (ala Annie, hey!  I already had to explain this to my kids one other time and I don’t want to again) movie cruel animal control people, 2.  Awful foster parents, 3.  Awful foster kids that by nature pick locks, steal from their parents and engage in other criminal enterprise, and 4.  The new trend in these films – casting a barely developed, but quite attractive, young nymphet (Emma Roberts) to play the female … Continue reading Hotel For Dogs (Thor Freudenthal, 2009)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen, 2008)

So sensual, so Woody…What?!!  Do I have a Woody Allen?  Jesus, this was the sexiest thing I’ve seen recently other than my friend (deleted)’s porno collection.  Rebecca Hall, ScarJo (and she was just fine Filmspotters other than the annoying dark eyebrows – was that by design?) and Cruz, ahh, wow.  Then you add a little Bardem and randomize the sexual dalliances and you are left breathless when added with the sublime cinematography of Barcelona from Javier Aguirresarobe and the flawless story arc from our greatest living American director.  Has all the vibrance of Match Point and the best of Woody’s … Continue reading Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen, 2008)

Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris, 2008)

I believe the main principles involved lacked a little something upstairs if you know what I mean.  I say this with sympathy because its clear, and Morris proves it so, that these MPs were out of their element and seemingly just obeying orders with their wheels (and psychotic in the case of Graner) off behavior.  This is a film about the power of photography and Morris crafts it in such a way that even makes his more excessive sequences (e.g. the rather drawn out bit that lines up the three Sony camera images and timeline) acceptable.  Morris’ “interrogation” technique is … Continue reading Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris, 2008)