Tag Archives: Rooney Mara

Months in Review: September & October films (part 2)

Continued from the previous post. Below the new-to-me films watched in October:

VENOM (2018) [ 2/5 ]

In the age of the Marvel Universe, Venom lives surprisingly isolated, coming at the heels of the momentous shift in the Marvel juggernaut brought about by the The Avengers: Infinity War.

In many ways, the film feels like a return to simpler times, where the superhero movies inhabited a space of their own, without the complexity of intersecting stories or the expectations of moving the needle forward, onto greater enemies and bigger spectacles.

In going back to the beginnings of the Marvel Universe, Venom also adopts some of the worst qualities of the early films. There is an overabundance of CGI that, as good as it may be designed, never quite substitutes the real thing. When it comes to CGI action sequences, few are as messy and unremarkable as the one at the film’s end. It reminded me of the Transformer franchise and its tendency to sacrifice clarity for pace and spectacularity.

One of Venom’s most egregious faults is that the script takes the rug from beneath the actors’ feet. The typically solid Tom Hardy is painful to watch here, especially when he shares the screen with the usually fantastic Michelle Williams. The two begin the film as lovebirds but I was never sold on their chemistry.

Same thing happens to Riz Ahmed, whose Macchiavelian Steve Jobs-type genius entrepreneur seems to haven been pulled from a particularly silly entry in the James Bond franchise.

BEFORE SUNRISE (1995) [ 5/5 ]

Candidate to the Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 Favorite Films

One of my biggest blind-spots.

Before Sunrise unwraps like a fleeting dream, trapped within a finite context: one day in Vienna. Its scale, like other great romances, both large and intimate. A love story that is young, awkward and perhaps immature, yet wonderful and inspiring nonetheless. Soon, we find ourselves navigating the streets of one of the great European cities with Jesse and Celine, enchanted by the way they look and smile and talk to each other. Vienna is the backdrop, the reminder that these are real people, inhabiting the real world, but completely at their leisure, as if real life is suspended.

Before Sunrise pulls off a trick that only great films can: it captures ephemeral sensations. The beauty in Before Sunrise lives in the shy smile and the coy look. The film exists in the silent understanding between two souls, intertwined by the imperceptible and the flesh.

Before Sunrise is also a series of moments that I can’t stop thinking about. Like the one Jesse and Celine share inside a listening booth, or the exchange they have with a palm reader at an outdoor café. No amount of effort is wasted, no detail unexamined.

This is cinema at its purest; telling us a story as old as time and doing it with purpose, confidence and style. This is, without a doubt, Richard Linklater’s masterpiece.

BEFORE SUNSET (2004) [ 4.5/5 ]

Candidate to the Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 Favorite Films

Making a sequel to a successful film is a very difficult task. If that original piece is Before Sunrise, then it’s basically impossible. Yet, somehow, Richard Linklater had the presence of mind to ask Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy to write the script to the next chapter in the story of Jesse and Celine, now 9 years later, meeting for a second time in Paris.

Before Sunset works because it trusts the legacy of the first film and its audience. The moment we see Jesse, we know so much about him already. As in the original, Linklater completely relies on his leads (or perhaps more), not just by asking them to pen the story of their own characters, but also by lending the camera entirely to them. Once again, the film manages to feel spontaneous, as if the conversation unfolds without a script, and we are but a fly on the wall listening in.

Perhaps the only thing that separates the two films is that Before Sunset carries with it the heaviness of adulthood. The world around Jesse and Celine no longer filled with possibilities and dreams. Their failures and misadventures play more like personal tragedies than momentary setbacks and, unlike Sunrise, their desire for love has been shaken. As such, Sunset plays more like a drama than a romance.

It is only in the last 15-20 minutes that Before Sunset recaptures the magic of its predecessor, but they are, by far, the most exceptional minutes of film I’ve seen in 2018. Within instants the film sheds all of its anger, frustration and sadness while Jesse and Celine share a car ride. At some point, the film flirts with disaster and Celine threatens to end it before it’s over, but the more they open their hearts, the more the two remember just how incredible their day in Vienna had been.

To close, Before Sunset leaves the streets. For the first time in two films, Jesse and Celine share a more intimate space. It is then, in that space, by themselves, away from the noise of the world around them that Celine gives in. She now knows what she wants and Jesse, just like every man with a pulse would, falls hopelessly in love with Celine all over again.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (2018) [ 3/5 ]

One of the unfair commonalities I found in the critical response to Solo centered on the performance of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. I say unfair because it’s a comparison that, regardless of the quality of the young actor’s interpretation of the role, was destined to be scrutinized and subjected to exaggerated criticism.

Is Alden Ehrenreich the perfect younger version of Harrison Ford’s famous character? Not a chance. The problem is not so much about casting, but about the near-impossible task of finding an actor capable of inhabitting the role convincingly without resorting to mimicry. Do I think Alden Ehrenreich could have done better? Probably so. I think that his inexperience with large franchises and famous roles may have had a lot to do with it.

The latest offshoot of the Star Wars colossus actually suffers more with some of the supporting roles due to a mixture of less than inspired writing and questionable casting. While Paul Bettany and Emilia Clarke struggle to fit in and seem to be painfully reciting their lines, I was glad the always reliable Woody Harrelson and the very surprising Daniel Glover (what can’t he do?!) give some dimension and charisma to an otherwise mediocre experience at the movies.

A decent and entertaining enough thriller that will go down as one of the least memorable pieces of the Star Wars cinematic universe.

LEAN ON PETE (2018) [ 3.5/5 ]

Lean On Pete tells the story of Charley (Charlie Plummer), a young man in his teens, who lives a somewhat peaceful existence (though not entirely happy) with his loving, yet unstable father. A few days after Charley begins to work at a nearby stable, tragedy strikes and his life is turned upside down. The following two-thirds of the film are about Charley’s lonely psychological journey towards a new beginning.

Framed within a very traditional structure, Lean on Pete manages to avoid the pitfalls of melodrama, taking a rather somber approach to tell its tale, following Charley at an arm’s length, as if silently traveling next to him. Writer and director Andrew Haigh adopted a similar approach in his previous two features: the poignant 45 Years (find my review here), and the powerful gay romance Weekend (my 11th favorite film of 2011). In 45 Years, Haigh’s camera took the position of a witness to the fracture of a long marriage. In Weekend, Haigh was there, close to the characters, but the dialogue was so naturalistic, that it felt as if he was filming two actual people falling in love in real time.

True to his style, Haigh gives Lean On Pete an earthy and mundane backbone that keeps it grounded. In the film it feels as if we meet real people with genuine problems and complex personalities. No one is entirely good, and no one is entirely bad. Every character seems to have existed prior to the beginning of the film. When we meet Charley, there is already a hint of past troubles, but it is only when Charley is a direct witness to tragedy that something breaks within him. While his unconventional reaction to such a tragedy speaks to his immaturity, Haigh focuses on Charley’s stubborn determination to find his own happiness. At the end, I was moved not by the accumulated sadness, but by Charley’s strength to overcome the odds.  

A GHOST STORY (2018) [ 4/5 ]

How does a film like this get made? How is the pitch to obtain financing? How does it get financed? How does it manage to enlist two excellent actors? I couldn’t help but wonder about these more practical matters as I marveled at the poetic simplicity of A Ghost Story.

David Lowery’s film could be about many things: death, ghosts, loss, and loneliness among them. Regardless of the meaning you assign to it, these things aren’t talked about, they are felt. The film is an exercise in minimalism, foregoing typical narrative paths for a more experiential type of cinema that does with images, light and music what other films do with words and performance. In A Ghost Story there are no more than 10 minutes worth of dialogue (probably more like five). The script couldn’t have been more than a few pages long and most of what is said has an almost anecdotal quality, as if the film exists outside of time.

While the poetic simplicity of A Ghost Story is mostly an asset, there are times when the insistence on minimalism extends to a formal rigor that works against the film’s pace, even when it’s only a short 92 minutes (a particular scene with Rooney Mara eating a pie comes to mind).

Never before has a “ghost story” been so preoccupied with the rather abstract quality of our fears about death, and our hopes and ideas for what comes after we die. If A Ghost Story is anything to go by, our post-living “existence” is a rather somber and lonely one.

HEREDITARY (2018) [ 2.5/5 ]

For most of its running time Hereditary feels like a revisionist horror flick that plays against type. Instead of your typical demons, ghosts or monsters, the suspense and the tension comes almost entirely from a troubling family dynamic that comes to its climax after a shocking tragedy. While it builds upon grief and years of deeply personal guilt to make us feel uneasy and uncomfortable, there is an undercurrent of paranormal activity that adds to the film’s mysteries in subtle and effective ways.

Sadly, most of what Hereditary does right in the first half, soon begins to dissipate, abandoning storylines and interesting secondary themes about womanhood in favor of typical horror fare. As soon as it begins to do so, the film starts to cheapen the scares, taking a more common paranormal trajectory that isn’t groundbreaking in the least. Soon, we bear witness to seances, scribbles begin to appear on a sketchbook and people start climbing up walls and ceilings in what is now a very familiar choice in contemporary horror films. Though there are faint connections to the film’s more studious and patient beginnings, the paranormal portions of Hereditary are surprisingly confusing. At the end, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth, as if Hereditary had tricked me into believing it was a good movie when, in reality, it was far more interested in toying with our expectations and delivering a rather sinister ending.

PS. I was tempted to give Hereditary a higher rating due to Toni Collette’s lead role as Annie Graham, the wife and mother who goes through a roller-coaster of emotions to keep her life and her family afloat.

HALLOWEEN (1978) [ 3.5/5 ]

I’d seen fragments of the original John Carpenter film on many different occasions but, in October, just two or three days before Halloween, I sat down to watch it in its entirety.

It is always difficult to fully grasp the historical weight of a piece of film that is 20, 30 or even 40 years old. The original Halloween was an entirely new type of film that borrowed from the grotesque Texas Chainsaw Massacre of 1974 to make the “slasher movie” a Hollywood phenomenon. After Halloween, every horror film either copied its formula or borrowed ideas from it. The original left a definite cultural imprint. Michael Myers soon became one of the most recognizable characters in the history of cinema via a seemingly endless stream of sequels and remakes.

Given its place in movie history, it would be wrong and unfair to judge Halloween in isolation, as if it wasn’t the genesis of an entire catalog of films. To do so would be to ignore Halloween’s finer points. Watching Halloween in its entirety gave me a glimpse of feminist and religious undercurrents that my younger self would have surely missed. In the original, Michael Myers was not the indiscriminate killing machine we’ve come to know. Michael was a silent psychopath still, but one with a brain and a purpose. He didn’t set out to kill just anyone. Michael sought out young women who had started to explore their sexuality. It was, I interpreted, a countercultural statement. The film wasn’t so much about Michael Myers, but about what he represented: a violent and terrifying manifestation of religious conservatism.

Of all the horror films that have tried to emulate Halloween’s deeper significance within the confines of the genre, I am reminded of 2015’s It Follows, where a young woman must escape a seemingly unstoppable anonymous killer just after losing her virginity.

In both films the killers are the enemy not just because they kill, but because they are the violent agents of greater social threats.

PS. Though I concede I may be looking at Halloween from a contemporary and far kinder perspective, Carpenter is the kind of filmmaker whose craft and intent was often overlooked by his tendency to make films that were entertaining and friendly to mainstream tastes.

FIRST MAN (2018) [ 3.5/5 ]

I arrived at First Man with great expectations. After all, this is the same young director who, in the space of two years, would release two cinematic jewels: 2014’s Whiplash, and 2016’s La La Land. Born in 1985, Damien is a constant reminder for me (also born in 1985) of how little I have achieved in comparison.

In his second consecutive film collaborating with Ryan Gosling, First Man is a character study that is not entirely dissimilar to the ones in Whiplash and La La Land. All three films explore the tension between professional greatness and personal growth. In all three Damien argues that reaching for greatness often comes at a cost. While Whiplash and La La Land were more interested in artistic achievement versus romance, First Man poses the same tension but it’s motivated not by ego or desire, but by personal loss. It argues, for purely narrative reasons, that Neil Amstrong, the first man on the Moon, followed a very difficult and dangerous path because it provided an escape from painful memories.

Unlike his previous work, Damien’s exploration of greatness is mostly emotionless. Gosling’s performance here reminds me of some of his past work, especially his turns in The Place Beyond the Pines and Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive. By design, his Neil Amstrong is a shell that harbors within it years of silent pain. As such, the film becomes a somewhat repetitive grind through scientific and engineering challenges and unfortunate tragedies that fail to register, numbed by Neil’s lack of outward emotion.

Despite First Man’s somewhat rigorous approach to Amstrong’s path to the Moon landing, it does offer moments that illustrate the immense talent of Damien Chazzelle. The sequences in space are something special. They are limited in scale but still deeply effective in showing the dangers of the mission and the claustrophobia of being inside the spaceships. For once, the business of being an astronaut is portrayed in a more meaningful way that bears little resemblance to the romanticized view that Hollywood has helped to perpetuate.

Start of awards season! Monthly recap: films of November & December (part 2)

Continued from the previous recap…below a series of short reviews on the second chunk of films watched between November and December of 2017.

ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) [ 3/5 ]

A spy thriller that attempts to be little else. Set at the end of the Cold War as Berliners felt emboldened to retake their city and unite their country, Atomic Blonde rises above mediocrity due to its compelling setting and a very committed performance by Charlize Theron. Otherwise, there is nothing new or particularly surprising about this tale of deceit and survival.

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017) [ 4/5 ]

It comes as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the career of Guillermo del Toro that he has made a romantic film where a woman meets a man-monster that is clearly reminiscent of the 1954 film The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The beautiful things about Del Toro’s rather simple linear story are all of the supporting elements that enrich it and make the world it’s set in believable. Outside of Sally Hawkins’ beautiful lead performance, there are at least 4 other characters that compete for attention, each with just enough depth and complexity that even the villain (a very good Michael Shannon) comes off as more of a angry and tragic figure than someone we can easily rally against.

Being a Del Toro film, this is also a piece that makes us acutely aware of its context, operating as a believable time capsule to 1950s America.

Ironically, the richness that I just praised is also the reason why The Shape of Water doesn’t find enough time to make the romance at its center come alive completely. There are hints of it blossoming, but it never felt effervescent enough to merit so many characters coming to its defense.

The film also has one of the best creature designs in recent memory, opting for a more tactile, CGI-light presentation.

BEATRIZ AT DINNER (2017) [ 4/5 ]

This film should not have worked. Its synopsis would have you believe that it is a rather modest story contained to an uncomfortable dinner party between two very different people whose views clash immediately upon meeting.

What the description doesn’t tell you is that while the film does spend most of its energy around a dinner party, Beatriz (a great Salma Hayek) carries with her a deeply rooted nostalgia that makes all of the recent unfortunate events and dinner party exchanges she has to live through especially poignant. Surprisingly, there are moments in which the movie disengages with reality, taking a sort of metaphysical aura that represents Beatriz’s impressionistic memories of a lost childhood.

Beatriz at Dinner is also a film that is gutsy in its argumentation, taking a clear and unambiguous moral stance that does not feel manufactured, but instead feels like the natural extension of Salma Hayek’s title character.

A surprisingly poetic film that made me reconsider my values.

THE BOSS BABY (2017) [ 3.5/5 ]

Within a silly premise and a rather traditional 3-act family-friendly film structure, the sweetness and originality of Baby Boss surprised me.

I’d recommend it to the parents of young siblings, who may feel abandoned or neglected by the arrival of a baby brother or sister.

HEATHERS (1988) [ 1.5/5 ]

I will never understand why horrible films like Heathers gain a cult following and survive the passage of time.

Unlike more recent teen comedies that are clearly influenced by this 1988 film, Heathers does not seem to be “in” on the joke.

Heathers is so bad that, even if the intention is to poke holes on the self-important walls teenagers tend to build around themselves, it does so without any hint of comedy or artistry.

Both Wynona Rider and Christian Slater deliver amateur performances here.

IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017) [ 3.5/5 ]

The film reasserts one long-held belief in the horror genre that many movies choose to ignore at their peril: fear resides in the unknown and the unseen.

It Comes at Night thrives in close quarters, making use of darkness and poorly-lit rooms to great effect. Joel Edgerton delivers a powerful and uncompromising performance as the head of a family willing to sacrifice every shred of their humanity to save each other from the inevitable.

An elegant and minimalistic horror film that keeps the suspense high and never lets go.

MAN ON THE MOON (1999) [ 3.5/5 ]

As an outsider with very little knowledge about the man behind Andy Kaufman’s unpredictable public persona, this 1999 Milos Forman biopic seems like an adequate, if not entirely enlightening approximation of his unique comedic mind.

While the film didn’t particularly surprise or move me in any way, the thing I could not shake was Jim Carrey’s overwhelmingly committed performance. Now that I have had time to think about the film and watch the documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (reviewed below), I find Carrey’s career always pointed him towards Kaufman.

We never lose sight of Carrey as an actor, but it’s as if we are introduced to an alter-ego that had always been lurking just out of our collective view.

Carrey has been in better films (The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind come to mind), but he has not given a better performance than interpreting Andy Kaufman.

JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND (2017) [ 2.5/5 ]

It’s hard to understand what happens to the mind of certain artists after they achieve as much success and fame as Jim Carrey.

In Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond we meet a man whose disheveled hair, unkept beard and monotonous tone scream of depression or, perhaps, total contentment and comfort. As much wisdom or introspection as Carrey wants to share about his experience in the business, especially while shooting Man on the Moon, most of his commentary comes out garbled and messy, without a central theme and without a clear purpose. It is as if we are all invited into the mind of a man whose tales about the process of acting all come attached with a bit of disinterest and detachment. My question is, if our narrator does not care much, then why should we?

The film also doesn’t help itself. The most interesting bits focus on the extreme method acting of Carrey during the filming of Man on the Moon, but it often gets sidetracked, giving us a mixture of nostalgia and false wisdom that never sticks.

At the end and away from the camera Carrey seems to have a moment of clarity that sums up my thoughts about the documentary: “things got a little crazy”. Yes, they did, my friend. Yes, they did. They got crazy in all the wrong ways.

COCO (2017) [ 4/5 ]

The beautiful thing about Coco is that, like Moana, it opens the door to a bright future in animation that finds inspiration and richness in other cultures. No longer do we see bits and pieces of cultural appropriation. Instead, Coco is a distinctly Mexican film that tells us a story about a Mexican family with Mexican traditions following uniquely Mexican dreams, all of which is done tactfully and movingly.

In good Pixar fashion, the film is also beautiful to look at. There is, as you would expect, great attention to world building, rooting the characters in a world filled with magic, and love of family and music.

Coco is a film that oozes with charm.

LOGAN LUCKY (2017) [ 3.5/5 ]

The exacting and mind-twisting nature of Steven Soderbergh has not receded in the least over the years and Logan Lucky is proof of that.

While the similarities with the Ocean’s Eleven films are clear and impossible to miss, Logan Lucky nails its brand of silly, and even downright stupid humor in ways that the Ocean movies only occasionally did.

Playing second fiddle to Channing Tatum’s limping construction worker are Adam Driver, as his bartender brother with a prosthetic arm, and a very blonde Daniel Craig, as a convicted felon and expert vault breaker. They’re both downright hilarious, playing silly fools that can keep a straight face through every situation.

Apart from the sometimes hilarious shenanigans of the heist, Logan Lucky’s attempt at giving the film some emotional backbone falls flat. At the end, however, the pure thrill of seeing them succeed was enough to keep me engaged.

BRIGHT (2017) [ 2/5 ]

Bright is the kind of mess that comes when you put together an immature script with a filmmaker that refuses to make the film that is written on paper.

Bright is an erratic mess that is seemingly interested in making larger social statements, whilst lacking the nuance to do it tastefully.

At the same time, Bright is awfully concerned with world-building, throwing new elements to the story at every stage but without much backstory or attention to detail to make sense of it all.

It is a film that gets lost in its many goals. It is an unfunny buddy-cop movie; a socially conscious movie that manages to be offensive at times; a fantasy film that is a mesh of many ideas thrown together almost at random; and a violent thriller that doesn’t thrill or even amuse. An unfortunate misfire by director David Ayer whose previous credits include the very good End of Watch.

CAROL (2015) [ 4/5 ]

It is rare to see a movie be courageous enough to build a relationship from the ground up, starting with a simple look, or a touch or a gesture, and spending a significant amount of time developing these characters with the kind of human complexity that can only be found in great scripts.

If that were not enough, the film is beautiful to look at, creating a tangible atmosphere where we see two great actresses at their best; on the one hand the youthful beauty of Rooney Mara and, in the other, the timeless elegance of Cate Blanchett.

One of the best films of 2015.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2017) [ 3.5/5 ]

There is plenty to love and plenty to dislike about the latest entry in Hollywood’s most successful big screen saga.

The good: Rian Johnson’s visual artistry, the strong performances by the younger new faces, and the spectacular action sequences that are beautifully choreographed and epically constructed.

The bad: Mark Hamill’s moody performance, some of the questionable script decisions and in the plot avenues that did not quite succeed (such as finding a code breaker in a rich casino-like world)

Still, it managed to keep me engaged and excited for what is yet to come in the franchise.

WIND RIVER (2017) [ 3/5 ]

Though I appreciate the film’s intentions and cinematic craftsmanship, Wind River fails mostly in the details, with a script that doesn’t trust audiences enough to make our own conclusions.

Anyone care to point out why we couldn’t just have a native American in the lead role? Hasn’t the box office proven studios wrong time and time again about white-washing acting ensembles?

Enjoy the Awards Season everyone…

Year in Recap: Best of 2017

The year that is about to end was a year of change. On January the 1st, I found myself in a strange town, emotionally hurt and surrounded by people I did not want to be surrounded by. It was the least auspicious beginning to a year that I can remember.

Fortunately, life has a way of sneaking up on you, for good and bad, and less than two months later I welcomed a new person in my life that has made me rediscover love, and regain the hope that happiness is not only attainable, but that it has always been within my reach should I dare to make some changes.

Continue reading Year in Recap: Best of 2017

Months in Review: February, March & April

The tail end of winter seems to have left us and, with it, the start of a new romance in my life. For that and other professional reasons, I have, once again, neglected this blog of mine. Even so, my appetite for movies remains unchanged even if life has a way of sneaking up on the time you thought you had.
In the last three months (February, March and April) I have watched a total of 24 films. The average rating for these has been a solid 3.34 out of 5. There have been a handful of highlights courtesy of a group of films from 2016 that sit among the best reviewed of the year. Such are Fences, Edge of Seventeen, Hidden Figures and Lion. However, I have also been disappointed with cinematic efforts that I was genuinely excited to see. Such are Florence Foster Jenkins, Ghost in the Shell and, to some extent, Hacksaw Ridge.

Continue reading Months in Review: February, March & April

Top 10 female performances of the last 5 years

Like I did with the men a couple of days ago, I give you my list of favorite female performances of the last five years in lieu of a best films of 2013 list as we are just hours away from celebrating the New Year.I highly encourage anyone reading to make recommendations as to whom should have made my list instead. Continue reading Top 10 female performances of the last 5 years

Film review: Side Effects (2013)


Genre: Drama/ Crime Thriller

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Z. Burns

Cast: Rooney Mara (Emily Taylor), Jude Law (Dr. Jonathan Banks), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Dr. Victoria Siebert), Channing Tatum (Martin Taylor)

It is frightening to realize how consistent is the work of director Steven Soderbergh. His movies are never bad. Some of his work has been close to greatness but the majority just remain a touch above mediocrity.

Continue reading Film review: Side Effects (2013)

Mini Film reviews: February & March (part 2)

Nearing the conclusion of March, I’m still struggling to keep pace with my film reviews. Here are some of the latest films I have seen:

The Skin I Live In

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Vera Elena Alaya

Year: 2011

Pedro Almodovar once again delivers a delicately crafted film that is driven by tragedy, lunacy and, often times, depravity. The Spanish director dares to go where the majority might not, visiting dark, largely forbidden subjects that are very much non-existent in mainstream Hollywood. Almodovar goes beneath the sleek, often times simplistic view of sex that the film industry perpetuates as he explores a world driven by carnal desires and strange fetishes that often supersede moralistic considerations, defying social norms and challenging the viewer to reevaluate his own set of values.

Continue reading Mini Film reviews: February & March (part 2)

The Blog of Big Ideas’ 1st Annual Vanguard Awards

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)

Continue reading The Blog of Big Ideas’ 1st Annual Vanguard Awards