Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: May 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Review: Hating Breitbart (2013)

by Tony Dayoub

Masquerading as a fair and balanced documentary, Hating Breitbart is actually a tribute to the late Andrew Breitbart, self-anointed provocateur of the right. Designed to expand the myth about the professional conservative troll rather than examine what's behind it, Andrew Marcus's ostensible exposé is aimed straight at the collective heart of the same partisan audience that refuses to buy into any reportage that isn't accompanied by the imprimatur of Fox News. And like that network's segments, Hating Breitbart is cut together in a deceptive way that only seems to inform while really just proselytizing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

by Tony Dayoub

From the manner in which it is constructed to the way it has been marketed, there is an undercurrent of insecurity running throughout Star Trek Into Darkness. That's surprising because 2009's Star Trek reboot did an incredible job of winning converts as well as satisfying fans of its original iteration despite screwing with some well established elements of the 60s science fiction classic. The fact that director J.J. Abrams and his team piled references to previous installments pretty high showed how well versed they had become in Trek lore. The way they exploded Trek's backstory, however, demonstrated how far they were willing to go just to tell a good story.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy "Mammas" Day!

by Tony Dayoub

Isabella Rossellini's third installment of Green Porno, titled "Mammas," debuts on the Sundance Channel this Sunday, appropriately enough. Disturbing facts about a plethora of mothers found in nature are doled out quite humorously (and suggestively) by the sexy actress who writes, directs and stars in each episode. A number of the shorts are up here, and they're well worth a glance.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bye Bye Birdie

by Tony Dayoub

Steve Mitchell (USA TODAY Sports)

I have to admit this photo makes me feel a little homesick.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

by Tony Dayoub

As wealthy Jay Gatsby, actor Leonardo DiCaprio walks out to the edge of the millionaire's private dock and reaches for a shiny green light cutting through the mist. Over the image, Tobey Maguire's Nick Carraway redundantly paraphrases what F. Scott Fitzgerald so eloquently wrote for his famous narrator in The Great Gatsby, "...he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock." This scene is so brief and indelible in Fitzgerald's novel, yet it speaks volumes about its enigmatic central figure. Coupled with Carraway's unnecessary exposition in Baz Lurhmann's new film, the wistful moment becomes leaden with portent. So much so, that I re-watched the same scene in the 1974 screen adaptation last night on Netflix and, after ending up drawn into viewing the rest of the film, was struck by how fluidly director Jack Clayton wordlessly elides through the pivotal moment. Granted, the austere 1974 version has its own set of problems. But as cold as it is, it seems practically definitive next to Lurhmann's tricked out translation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

RIP Ray Harryhausen

by Tony Dayoub

"I'm another snowball. Willis H. O'Brien started the snowball. Then I picked it up. Then ILM picked it up. And now the computer generation is picking it up. Where it will end, I don't know... maybe in holography. Although I'm not sure I'd like a grotesque monster appearing in 3D in my living room."
-Stop motion model animator Ray Harryhausen,
whose name became synonymous with motion picture visual effects

Recommended Films - Mighty Joe Young, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C., The Valley of Gwangi, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Clash of the Titans (1981)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

by Tony Dayoub

"You know who I am." It's a statement made several different times in Iron Man 3 by both Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and his nemesis the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) that turns out to be more of a question than a declaration: "Do you know who I am?" We find out who the Mandarin is fairly early. Whether you'll be satisfied with the answer largely depends on if you're a comic book fan who holds filmmakers accountable for screwing around with your precious text. The answer to who Stark is takes a good deal longer to arrive at a resolution, relentlessly driving Iron Man 3 to its conclusion rather skillfully thanks to director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) who consistently subverts the expectations one brings to the otherwise increasingly predictable and generic superhero movie.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Movie Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

by Tony Dayoub

It's been over a week since I saw Pain & Gain. I'm only now getting around to writing about it because it has taken me this long to sort out my feelings about it. I say this like if it's some sort of deep, philosophical exegesis on the commodification of the human body by the exercise industry when it's really just a fluffy Michael Bay crime flick. Perhaps that is what has made it more difficult to read this film.