one man's words

Living, working and playing in North Carolina, trying to make heads or tails of this whole being an adult thing.

Posts tagged movies

TSPDT - The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films 

I’ve seen 114 out of this website’s 250 best films of the 21st century. For those keeping score at home, that’s less than half. I should rectify this, huh?

How many have you seen?

So if we’re comparing trailers for American Hustle and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (and why wouldn’t you), I’m more exciting about the former.

American Hustle just looks like it could end up being a classic. That cast, that feel, all of it. It could be so grandiose that it loses its authenticity, but I trust David O. Russell’s hand with this film and these actors.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by contrast, actually feels kind of hollow to me. Sorry, it’s just how I feel. No amount of orchestral indie pop (I see you, “Dirty Paws”) can give it a substantive feel. Right now, it’s a pretty shell with no nut inside.

I’m totally open to being proven wrong about TSLOWM (and I’m banking on it), but as far as trailers we can all get giddy about, it’s American Hustle for me.

Trailer: The Wolf of Wall Street

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey
Featuring Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”

My initial reaction is that this film feels like early 90s Scorsese — in your face and completely self-aware of what it intends to be. It also has these flecks of Oliver Stone-level attitude, but that could just be the subject matter and his history with it.

These are the kinds of roles DiCaprio should be devoting himself to, these over-the-top, in-your-face characters. I think they play to his strengths because, let’s face it, as an actor, DiCaprio doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body.

The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t coming out until November 15, so we have plenty of time to wait, which will undoubtedly be filled with extended trailers and crazy amounts of buzz.

Is this the year DiCaprio gets his Best Actor Oscar?


Elysium extended trailer

This. Looks. So. Good. I love Neill Blomkamp’s dirty and realistic vision of the future. 

Matt Damon is the perfect modern movie star. Second only to Tom Hanks. And this film will be incredible. Currently, it’s nestled alongside Pacific Rim as the summer movie I’m most looking forward to.

My 2012 Film Honors

I did this last year and want to continue the trend. I look at the year’s cinematic efforts and list my favorites. Obviously, I can’t see every movie that gets released in a given year, but I do see a lot of them. This year’s notable exclusion is Life of Pi … I just haven’t gotten around to it.

And with the Oscars airing tonight, it’s time to do it again.

Note: I don’t attempt to proclaim “the best” of anything because I’m not (nor will I ever be) a cinematic “authority.” But I do know what I like, my favorites. Here they are…

Favorite Film:
1. Zero Dark Thirty

Honorable mentions:
2. Argo
3. Killing Them Softly
4. Lincoln
5. The Sessions
6. Django Unchained
7. This Is 40
8. Les Misérables
9. Silver Linings Playbook
10. Looper

Even though Killing Them Softly was criminally underrated, I felt like both Argo and especially Zero Dark Thirty acheived an emotional gravity that Killing Them Softly never could. I didn’t expect to like Lincoln or The Sessions more than Django Unchained, but that was definitely the case. I was surprised that I didn’t like Les Misérables more. It wasn’t just a disappointing film; it was one of the most disappointing films in a long time. Finally, as a movie, I wasn’t as over the moon about Silver Linings Playbook as everyone else seemingly was. It was more of a collection of great performances held together by a piece of great screenwriting. Parts were better than the whole. Looper and This Is 40 were just great, fun films for different reasons, but both achieved an inventiveness and sense of cinematic daring that I was expecting but that still managed to surprise me.

Favorite Directorial Effort:
1. Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty

Honorable mentions:
2. Ben Affleck for Argo
3. Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
4. Andrew Dominik for Killing Them Softly
5. Tom Hooper for Les Misérables

The last 25 minutes alone were Best Picture-worthy. Bigelow has an amazing facility with weaving story and exposition together while commanding fantastic performances from her ensembles. That’s the definition of a great director.

Favorite Performance by a Lead Actor:
1. Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Honorable mentions:
2. John Hawkes in The Sessions
3. Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
4. Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
5. Denzel Washington in Flight

No-brainer, really. From now on, I’m going to view Abraham Lincoln through Day-Lewis’ performance. Yes, it’s all soliloquy and impression and not much range, but Day-Lewis nailed it. I will say Hawkes was a very close second in a fantastically moving performance.

Favorite Performance by a Lead Actress:
1. Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

Honorable mentions:
2. Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
3. Naomi Watts in The Impossible
4. Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
5. Leslie Mann in This Is 40

Chastain is a star, plain and simple. There are handfuls of Oscar nominations in her future. She is harrowing in Zero Dark Thirty as the emotional core of a brilliant, important film.

Favorite Performance by a Supporting Actor:
1. Ezra Miller in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Honorable mentions:
2. Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
3. Tom Holland in The Impossible
4. Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
5. Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly

Miller’s performance was the very definition of subtlty going entirely unnoticed. Miller’s portrayal was nuanced, heartbreaking, and more realistic than almost nything on screen this year, bringing life to an exceptional literary character.

Favorite Performance by a Supporting Actress:
1. Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

Honorable mentions:
2. Noomi Rapace in Prometheus
3. Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook
4. Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect
5. Amy Adams in The Master

I don’t really care if she only had handfuls of screentime, Hathaway killed it in Les Misérables. If there was a better supporting actress performance this year, I didn’t see it.

Favorite Original Screenplay:
1. Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal

Honorable mentions:
2. This Is 40 by Judd Apatow
3. Django Unchained by Quentin Tarentino
4. Flight by John Gatins
5. Looper by Rian Johnson

Without his words and story development, Bigelow’s movie is so much less. He elevates her uncanny style to top-of-the-game heights.

Favorite Adapted Screenplay:
1. Lincoln by Tony Kushner

Honorable mentions:
2. Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominik
3. Argo by Chris Terrio
4. Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild by Lucy Aliber/Behn Zeitlin

Tony Kushner is the rich man’s Aaron Sorkin. His flair for words and grand monologues are unmatched. He was born to adapt a movie like Lincoln. Day-Lewis’ performance is so great because of the words he’s saying, not the way he’s saying them. It takes you a while into the film to realize that, but it’s true.

I didn’t get to Lawless or The Raid: Redemption last night because I passed out at 2:30 AM.

I’m getting too old for this shit.

Five-sentence reviews for Prometheus, Safety Not Guaranteed, Moonrise Kingdom, and Savages are forthcoming.


A few notes about seeing the teaser trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness:

  1. The Enterprise (or another Starfleet ship) rising out of the ocean.
  2. Benedict Cumberbatch’s voiceover, OH MY GOD.
  3. New character who looks like Reese Witherspoon wearing a classic TOS light-blue Starfleet uniform.  (Yeoman Rand?)


Can’t wait.

This movie, Tumblr. You all need to go rent We Bought A Zoo immediately. It is one of the most heartwarming and uplifting films I’ve seen in such a long time. Cameron Crowe is a sentimental genius. He hooked me with the first lines and he never let go. Matt Damon knocks this one out of the park. If I’d seen it in 2011, it would’ve easily cracked my Top 10 of 2011.

As an added plus, in addition to the Jónsi score, the movie’s soundtrack lives up to Crowe’s amazing ability to put some damn good music into his movies.

Go see it. Each and every one of you.

I’ve only seen 15 new movies this year.


View the list here. Last year, I saw 52. Something’s definitely wrong here. It’s all leading up to this.

Stay tuned…

Just so we’re being thorough:

Movies I Should Have Seen By Now

  1. Chimpanzee
  2. Friends With Kids
  3. First Position
  4. Moonrise Kingdom
  5. Prometheus
  6. Brave
  7. Ted
  8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  9. Savages
  10. The Bourne Legacy
  11. Lawless
  12. The Words
  13. Bachelorette
  14. Trouble with the Curve
  15. Perks of Being of a Wallflower
  16. The Paperboy
  17. Cloud Atlas
  18. Flight
  19. Lincoln
  20. Life of Pi
  21. The Silver Linings Playbook
  22. Hitchcock
And movies I’ll need to see before December 31…
  1. Killing Them Softly
  2. The Hobbit
  3. This Is 40
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. On the Road
  6. Django Unchained
  7. Les Misérables
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