500 days of summer

December 5, 2009

“people don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.”

note: this was sitting in my drafts for sometime for some reason.  sorry.

i can tell that this is a film that will stick with me for a while.  i can tell because there are hundreds of things i love about it.  the actors, the music, the actor’s clothes, the style, the little cartoon bird, leslie nelson.  i had the film on my fall film preview from 08, way before anything was known about the film (so give me a little dap).  i could not wait until this film came out…and then i saw the trailer.  the trailer.  i mean this trailer for this film is probably the greatest trailer i have ever seen.  i’m not just saying that.  i truly believe it.  i felt so much depth behind every shot.  i felt such a sense of joy and elation and the sadness that comes hand and hand with that.  i just couldn’t contain myself when zooey opens the door.  there is just so much to that 5 second shot i couldn’t bear it.

editors note: just watching this trailer again has made me reconsider this as the best film of the year.  the best 90 seconds i’ve had at the theater.

joseph gordon levitt won my heart with 2006’s brick, and he cemented his place in my favorite actors pool with mysterious skin (which i saw after brick).  the man is a chameleon.  he can do it all.  and he is one of the few actors who i will check out just about anything because he is in it.  i was even remotely curious about g.i. joe because of his role.  seriously!  but what an inspired decision to place him in this film.  it just feels like it was written for him.  he has the angst, he has the believability, he has that romantic comedie yet indie feel to him.  he’s wonderful.  i felt for him because i felt like him.  he’s not ryan gossling, he’s not ryan reynolds, he’s not anyone named ryan.  he’s joe.

there was something that felt amiss for me.  maybe it was the fact that i built up so much hype in my head.  i mean there is no way the film could live up to my unreal expectations.  and this was way before all the mainstream hype.  i was just so excited on my on terms, that it might have tainted my experience a little.  some of the editing felt a little uneven, and i was left wondering if there was a master director’s cut of which i was missing (dvd maybe?).

the music was great, the moments of style felt perfectly in line with the rest of the film, and the rest of the cast was evened out really nice.  some moments felt a little to tounge in cheek, but it was such a refreshing look at relationships that i could sit through the entire film.  one moment that particularly stuck out for me was the whole bergmanesque foreign film section.  i was laughing really hard and then feeling weird because no one else was.

this is a film that i’m eagerly anticipating revisiting (hopefully with a longer cut).  i hate hearing people labeling it as a romantic comedy or a revisionist romcom because it’s so much more.  it’s honest, it’s stylized, it’s surreal, and it’s hilarious.  one of the better ones this year.

and jgl is just the man.  that is all.


my fall film preview

August 21, 2008

some films to look out for in the coming months, in order of how excited i am about them (from least to most excited).

(click on the name or the photo for the film to see the trailer (if available))

mild interest in:

quantum of solace

burn after reading

body of lies

the list:

seven pounds

it may be oscar bait, but i really enjoy will smith in these kinds of roles. i also really liked the pursuit of happyness and this film teams up smith with the director again. granted the rest of the cast doesn’t excite me too much, and there’s potential for the film to get a little too shmultzy, but i always have faith that smith can pull through and give a great performance (perhaps an oscar worthy one?).

500 days of summer

if i had to pick my favorite “young” actor and actress to star in a movie, it would probably be joseph gordon lveitt (jgl) and zooey deschenel. so of course i’d get excited about seeing them together in a movie. plus, jgl gets to play a hopeless romantic who is lead in a number of musical numbers. that’s enough to get anybody excited.

somers town

shane meadow’s follow up to 2007s this is england, which was one of my favorite films from last year. meadows teams up with young actor thomas turgoose, who was great the last time they worked together. and the film seems to follow the same sort of theme. growing up and finding friends in england, though this looks a little more light than this is england. meadows really gets at moments and emotions that feel one hundred percent authentic. moments that we can all relate to even if we’ve not been in a similar situation. somers town seems to have the same sort of exploration of why we choose who our fiends our, and i think that’s a really interesting idea (even if it is hard to top this is england). not sure when this when is getting a release, and it’s most likely it won’t come out until sometime next year, but we can hope for a fall release at least.

brothers bloom

rian johnson’s follow up to 2006s brick. brick was one of my favorite movies of that year, and a lot of it had to do with johnson’s style. he brought something fresh and exciting to a genre that had been overdue for a re-hauling. his visual style alone was enough to recommend the film, not to mention the great performances and script.

now onto the brothers bloom. i was really excited for this film. a great young up and coming director, adrian brody and mark ruffalo, what’s not to love? then i saw the trailer and thought “hollywood has gotten to him”. it looks so generic and unappetizing. but then i read this…

“beyond the atrocious video quality, i’m honestly not sure how i feel about the trailer. it’s not a full representation of the movie by any means, and is much broader and goofier than the film tonally, but i guess trailers are never about being accurate, but about selling”
rian johson

so it settles me a little bit. he has the exact same reservations about the trailer as i do, and says it doesn’t represent the full movie. which is good. but he could be covering. i can’t have faith in a man that’s only made one movie to trust him when he says he hasn’t made a broad goofy caper, but i can hope that it’s true.

nick and norah’s infinite playlist

there’s something really entertaining about films that take place over one night, and form what i can tell this is one of those films. they have this presence about them that most films don’t. like they are going down in real time, and i think that’s to the movies advantage. one recent comedy i can think of that employed this was last years superbad. michael cera was tries to do it again but this time his counterpart seems a little more attractive.


i haven’t seen pollack, (a friend of mine really loved that movie and recommended it) but i have faith in his capabilites for some reason i can’t quite articulate. viggo is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. he was great in eastern promises and good in much less interesting film a history of violence. and this western looks like one of his most interesting films. read the synopsis….

two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow

i love that this sort of carries on this idea of western revival. with last years 3:10 to yuma, which i really liked, and now appaloosa i feel like (or maybe hoping that) westerns are making a comeback. the only part that scares me off a little bit is the “arrival of a young widow” who is played by renée zellweger.

wendy and lucy

i don’t know much about this movie, but what i do know is enough for me to get excited about it. one of my favorite films of the past few years was kelly reichardt’s 2006 film old joy. she films it with such sublty and care for the characters that i loved every minute of it. reichardt had a nack for creating very small intimate scenes that seemed to speak volumes about each of the characters, and just filmed it in a very beautiful place. every part of that film hit for me, and it set me up to be excited about every film she will make from now on. and from the few things i’ve heard, michelle williams is really great.

synecdoche, new york

charlie kaufman wrote the screenplay to one of my top 5 films of all time, so of course i’m excited about his directorial debut. pair him up with philip seymour hoffman in a film about a new york playwright who tries to rebuild a life-size replica of new york city in a warehouse? yes. that sounds perfect.

i haven’t been blown away by anything gondry has done without kaufman helming the script, i’ve felt that his scripts have lacked focus and real emotional depth, so it will be interesting to see if kaufman can work a great script (i’m assuming it’s great i haven’t actually read it) into a great a movie without gondry directing. but pairing him with philip seymour hoffman just seems brilliant, and i’m surprised they haven’t worked together before. hoffman does have the sort of quirk that i would associate with a kaufman script. but since i’m really unsure of his directing capabilities the film falters a little in my enthusiasm scale.

the curious case of benjamin button

i wasn’t to sure about this one when i read the premise. i thought it sounded a lot like last years coppala film youth without youth and i’ve heard nothing but awful things about that one. but when i saw the trailer (linked above), i was blown away. the way pitt is able to transform age to age just looks amazing. i think that pitt constantly putts out great performances and chooses really interesting projects. cate blanchett looks like she put in a good turn fincher hasn’t disappointed me yet, and this looks like it could be his most interesting film.

the road

just looking at the few photographs that have been released of the road would have put this film high on my “most anticipated list”, but add in the fact that the director made the proposition (one of my favorite films of 06) and viggo mortensen (one of my favorite actors) and this film catapults near the top of the list (not to mention my boy omar, you wire people know what i’m talking about). mccarthy penned the novel for last years best picture winning no country for old men, and just from press photographs alone it looks like he could do it again. the proposition handled this idea of living in uncivilized lands and the brutality that goes along with it very well that i think it will transpose itself well to this very similar backdrop.

i mean, just looking at viggo gets me excited.


van sants name is what makes this film top the list. if this had been the same cast but helmed by bryan singer, or whoever else wanted to (or wants) to tell this story, i would not have been as excited. but gus van sant is one of my top 5 greatest working directors (possible later blog post?), and i cannot wait to see this film. i’m not a huge sean penn fan, but he definitly brings some validity to the project and sort of solidifies it as an oscar contender probably. i’m much more interested in the supporting cast: josh brolin, emile hirsch, and james franco are all actors that i can get excited about. but it’s really all about van sant for me. i haven’t seen paranoid park, but from what i hear it’s van sant melding his commercial and art house sides together (which sounds awesome to me). i hope he tried to do that for milk as well. the story of harvey milk is also a very interesting one, that probably deserves a wider audience than it formerly got. i also trust that van sant’s not just trying to phone in for an oscar, but will actually do some interesting things in this one.


so that’s it. eleven films to look forward to this fall (or probably sometime next year for a few of them) all with something interesting to get excited about.

edit – added trailers for milk, seven pounds, synecdoche new york