Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: July 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Winning IS Everything

by Tony Dayoub

Kimberly Lindbergs, film writer at the fantastic Cinebeats, invited me, friends of this blog (like Dennis Cozzalio and Jeremy Richey), and some other notable critics to participate in a sports movie symposium over at TCM's Movie Morlocks blog. There, Dennis says...
Sports movies tend to be too formulaic—not much else matters other than the build-up to the big, redemptive win—or too sloppily sentimental for my taste. And assaults on tear ducts are especially prevalent in baseball movies. Many who ought to know better seem convinced that because phony, manipulative movies like ███████████ or Field of Dreams get them all choked up, well, then they must be great movies.
Well, ███████████ is the movie I chose to write about. Because it does choke me up. And it is a great movie. And if you can't figure out what it is from the still above, go see what I have to say about it over at TCM.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

by Tony Dayoub

Given the tragedy in Aurora, CO, running a review of The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) on Friday morning just didn't seem right. It's the start of a new week, however, and many of you have had a chance to see the new film. I don't normally go in for spoiler warnings, but given the nature of this beloved franchise, here it goes: if you haven't seen the movie yet, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Criterion Summer

by Tony Dayoub

Harriet Andersson in Summer with Monika (1953)

In the land of Criterion, the conversation at the moment is a quite funny non-debate (because the person who started it is wrong) over the aspect ratio of a release that isn't due to come out until October. But it eclipses some more relevant news. Namely, that Barnes & Noble is again hosting one of their biannual 50% off Criterion sales. If you are a heavy user of the tony Blu-ray/DVD label then now is the best time to stock up since, as you well know, SRP is usually between $30 and $40. And if you are willing to lay out +/- thirty bucks to become a B&N member, the thing practically pays itself off with the extra 10% off it garners you. The sale runs until 7/30. After the jump, a look at some of Criterion's most recent releases for you to consider.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Savages (2012)

by Tony Dayoub

On the worst end of the Oliver-Stone-is-batshit spectrum you get a dated movie like Natural Born Killers (1994), and on the best you get the sublimely absurd U-Turn (1997). The mediocre Savages plays it safely down the middle. Based on the crime novel by Don Winslow, Savages follows burnt out war vet Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and stoner-botanist Ben (Aaron Johnson), pot-growing partners who must safely recover their mutual lover O (Blake Lively), kidnapped by desperate cartel queen Elena (Salma Hayek) and her henchman Lado (Benicio del Toro) after the buddies rebuff an offer to merge. John Travolta plays Dennis, a corrupt DEA agent working both sides to his favor.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

by Tony Dayoub

So let's get the major criticism out of the way right now. Why reboot the Spider-Man series so soon? The dismal Spider-Man 3, overstuffed with dangling plot threads left over from previous films, only came out 5 years ago. But it isn't like the series couldn't recover from one crappy film. Rising salaries for its three principals, Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco may be partly to blame. But why not just recast? Perhaps the aim is to rebuild on a better foundation. Whatever the reason is, the one thing that's certain is that Sony Pictures had to make a Spider-Man film pronto because, if they didn't, the rights would revert back to Marvel Entertainment and presumably its owner, Disney. Since Maguire and Dunst are getting a bit long in the tooth to realistically keep up the romantic histrionics in perpetuity, the reframing of the series with a younger audience in mind was assured. Hence, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 So Far: Midterm Top 5

by Tony Dayoub

We're halfway through 2012, and I thought you might be interested about the handful of films at the top of my best list so far. If I had to find one thing in common in all of these, I would say that each one has some impediment (not a flaw) which might make it difficult for audiences to embrace.