Following my previous post in which I summarized my thoughts about film in 2011, I think it would be interesting to continue the so-called “Vanguard Award” idea and expand it to include categories that are handed out in the Academy Awards.
The Vanguard Awards will be handed out by The Blog of Big Ideas to films, actors, and film makers that advanced cinema with their artistic vision and dexterity, helping to construct some of the most interesting pieces of art of the last year. It will be an annual award handed out on the same day as the Oscars. In subsequent posts of this coming year, I will be nominating films that I think should be given consideration until it all comes to a close with the awards themselves.
The Vanguard Award will be given to films of artistic relevance, where there are aspects that are unique, original and that may even be considered ahead of its time. This is not to say that the recognition I give to these films necessarily means that these are the films I thought were the best, just the most thought-provoking.
♦ Vanguard Film ♦
Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn)
Melancholia (Lars Von Trier)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)
Bellflower (Evan Glodell)
Seeing that the Academy Awards are just around the corner, I would like to cave to the award craze and present a list that is representative of my take on the last year in film, which is intended to be a substitute of the top 10 of 2011, which I still can’t publish because I’m missing some promising films. I hope you all enjoy it.
The Year of Brad: arguably the best year in Brad Pitt’s career as he was involved in the awe-inspiring Tree of Life and the touching Moneyball.
Director: Anton Corbijn
Cast: George Clooney (Jack / Edward), Violante Placido (Clara)
In “The American” George Clooney plays his least likable character yet: a hitman named Edward (or Jack) who is trying to “get out” of the business. The film, directed by Anton Corbijn, begins with an unshaven and shirtless Edward sitting next to a comfortably naked woman he has grown fond of. Not long after, the idyllic retreat they both share becomes a nightmarish frozen forest where Clooney is being followed by men who are trying to kill him.
As he aptly disposes of the threat, Clooney’s eyes fill with fear and sadness, showing that he plays a man who kills because he feels he has to and not because he can. While he remains calm and his hand is steady, there’s an uneasiness in his spirit that is at the center of what the film is about.
Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson (Ottway), Dermot Mulroney (Talget), Frank Grillo (Diaz) & Dallas Roberts (Hendrick).
After delivering powerful, critically-acclaimed performances during the 1990s, Liam Neeson has been truly prolific in recent years as a bad-ass action leading man that has brought him box-office hits such as last year’s “Unknown” or the intense “Taken” a year prior. This time around, Mr. Neeson continues his unlikely rise as one of the preeminent action stars in Hollywood with “The Grey”, a beautifully shot survival film by director Joe Carnahan.
Inspired by Ruth from Flixchatter, I decided to share my thoughts on some of my favorites romantic films on this pre-Valentine’s Day weekend.
I will be looking beyond rom-coms fearing I might not find many “favorites” and include anything that is mildly romantic, whether it’s on the dramatic side or even a musical, all of them are fair game.
Love in a foreign land: Lost in Translation
The enormously talented Bill Murray alongside a beautifully mysterious Scarlett Johansson in a story about two lost souls in the midst of life crises. A nuanced, well-crafted script that moves forward in unexpected ways crowned by a delightful ending.
In sickness or in health, at peace or at war: The Tiger and the Snow
Another beautiful and touching film by the genius of Roberto Benigni about the power of love and all of the incredible obstacles that it can overcome. Once again an over-the-top comedic performance by Benigni that is, however, balanced by a deeply moving drama.
Director: Evan Glodell
Cast: Evan Glodell (Woodrow), Jessie Wiseman (Milly), Tyler Dawson (Aiden), Rebekah Brandes (Courtney)
Bellflower is a modest, art-house wild ride of a film that is written and directed by Evan Glodell, who also brings his talent to the fore leading a group of compelling actors that inhabit a world awash in sunlight, where only certain colors, like blood red, pop out of the screen.
Glodell plays Woodrow, a seemingly unemployed handyman who plans to build a flamethrower and other weapons of mass destruction in the best Mad Max fashion, alongside his equally resourceful best friend Aiden. (Tyler Dawson). Together they pal around, drinking, bar hopping, always looking for the next girl as they await the moment in which their projects come to fruition. While Aiden is a free-spirit, Woodrow just goes with the flow, open to finding the sort of companionship his loneliness craves for.