Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

DVD Review: Justice League: The New Frontier - Animated Spotlight On Real-World Issues

by Tony Dayoub

Taking advantage of the current superhero genre craze, Warner Premiere has just released its second DC Comics-inspired direct-to-DVD feature, Justice League: The New Frontier. Animated in a style reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke's original comics series, it is a sight to behold.

It also carries a PG-13 rating, so don't go running to the store to get it for your kids. Like the comic, it has decidedly mature themes. The story is seen through the eyes of test-pilot Hal Jordan, future Green Lantern. He embodies the type of new hero emerging at the dawn of the Kennedy era. While still cut from the cloth of "true American heroes" like Chuck Yeager, this generation has to deal with more gray areas than their predecessors. Even establishment heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman find themselves at odds with each other when it becomes evident that the new villains are not as clearly defined.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Movie Review: Juno - Cast For Long Life

by Tony Dayoub

So it wasn't as precious as I feared. And once you divorce the hype behind its Oscar nominations, Juno is a nice little gem of a movie.

See, I was afraid that Diablo Cody's screenplay for it would be so hip, ironic and of-the-moment that it would date the film years from now. And as Entertainment Weekly and Glenn Kenny at Premiere both pointed out, "honest to blog" it will. With too-clever slang like "pork-sword" for the male organ, and curses like "Phuket, Thailand" for "F*** It", the film does tap into today's kids and their crafty doublespeak meant to keep adults out of the loop. Like The Breakfast Club is forever an 80s movie, and American Pie is distinctly 90s, Juno is one for the 00s (double aughts?).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Musings on the Academy Awards or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Predictions and Love the Oscars

by Tony Dayoub

First Entry - 3:51pm: I've got my Filet Mignon ready to grill, Champagne chilling in the fridge, and will be checking in from time to time today. I will update the blog on random thoughts regarding the countdown to the Oscars. I'll also strive to keep a tally on how wrong I was on my Oscar predictions from my last entry. So keep checking in, and feel free to respond with your own thoughts.

Second Entry - 9:10pm: First upset of the night would have to be Golden Compass winning Best Special Effects over Transformers. Could it have been a case that Transformers' effects were too good to even be recognized as effects?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oscar Picks 2008

by Tony Dayoub

The writer's strike is over, probably due in no small part to Gil Cates. Cates, producer of The 80th Academy Awards, was the only man in Hollywood sure that the Oscars would go on this year. Makes you wonder if he had some kind of back-channel access to the parties involved.

Whatever the case was, I am glad he made it possible to enjoy my favorite day of the year. There is a case to be made that it diminishes the art by rewarding those who spend money on Oscar campaigns. However, for a movie-lover like myself, there is no more glamorous or celebratory day for American cinema.

And though I may disagree on who should win the awards, here are my picks on who will win the awards.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

14 films for February 14th

by Tony Dayoub

In recognition of Valentine's Day, here are some movies that present love in unexpected ways.

¡Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) (1990) - Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas; dir. Pedro Almodóvar - This Spanish language film was controversial at the time of its release for being part of a wave of films that ushered in a new era in cinematic sexual frankness. But at its heart, it is just a sweet story of a criminal who kidnaps a porn actress he adores and how she falls in love with him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

DVD Review: Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Brightness Uncovers Its Flaws

by Tony Dayoub

New on DVD this week, Elizabeth: The Golden Age lacks the rough, violent heart of the first Elizabeth. The first one had a darkness creeping in on the edges of both the story and the cinematography that evoked the intrigue of the Godfather films. Shekhar Kapur's sequel shuns the darkness in favor of the light, obviously illustrating the progress made since the dark ages of the first film's setting. However, save for Cate Blanchett's performance as Elizabeth I, it only serves to uncover the film's flaws.

Friday, February 1, 2008

TCM's 31 Days of Oscar: Best Month of the Year

by Tony Dayoub

If you love cinema, this is the best month of the year. The Oscars are broadcast on the third Sunday in February (used to be March). But the dark cloud of the writer's strike looms over the Academy Awards this year. So you owe it to yourself to celebrate your love of film by catching even a few of the wealth of good films that encompass the 31 Days of Oscar on TCM.

I admit that I don't watch it as much as I should, but Turner Classic Movies is my favorite channel. Maybe it's because some of the catchier, more addictive TV can be found on some of the other channels. TCM is more of the classy bottle of champagne to the "tastes great, less filling" beer that is the norm on TV. But if you ever want an education on film, and can't afford the tuition to film school, just watch TCM.

And there is no better time to watch than February. Every year, as the Oscars approach, they broadcast only Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning movies for 31 days, starting February 1st. Today!

Schedule of films

Book Review: Avengers: The Initiative - Best Superhero Comic for Old and New Fans

by Tony Dayoub

Marvel Comics, home of Spider Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, has just been through a civil war.

After the nuclear destruction of a town, due in large part to the intervention of an inexperienced super team, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, suggests superheroes register with the government. This will ensure that they are properly trained and registered as "dangerous" if their powers cannot be controlled. Captain America, libertarian idol to most of these superheroes, disagrees. He thinks that government control will easily be misused in the wrong hands, hands like government agent Henry Gyrich's. Heroes, led by the government-backed Iron Man, are then pitted against the revolutionary heroes, following Captain America, as everything is laid waste between them. Cap ultimately surrenders in order to avoid further destruction, leading to his assassination as he is being led to trial.