Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: June 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

RIP Eli Wallach

by Tony Dayoub

"Everyone thinks acting is easy. It's far from easy, but it's the most gratifying thing I do."
- one of the leading proponents and practitioners of the Method, character actor Eli Wallach

Recommended Films - The Magnificent Seven, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Cinderella Liberty, The Deep, The Two Jakes, The Godfather: Part III, The Ghost Writer

And an even better list of movies I haven't seen but should: Baby Doll, The Lineup, Seven Thieves, The Misfits, How the West Was Won, Lord Jim, How to Steal a Million, Mackenna's Gold, Crazy Joe, The Hunter, Winter Kills, The Executioner's Song, Nuts, New York, I Love You

Friday, June 20, 2014

Movie Review: Jersey Boys (2014)

by Tony Dayoub

Clint Eastwood, a usually reliable filmmaker, is virtually invisible while directing Jersey Boys, an adaptation of the Broadway musical depicting the rise and ultimate dissolution of the rock/doo-wop icons, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Instead, Eastwood stands aside in deference to the material, a by-the-numbers biopic that would be merely serviceable were it not for the group's memorable music. Thanks to the Internet, though, you can queue up "Rag Doll", "Dawn", "December, 1963", or any other Four Seasons song on iTunes or YouTube any old time. So what's left is a mildly interesting story that isn't unique enough to stand above your typical Lifetime TV movie.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

by Tony Dayoub

Its poor box office returns are by no means an indication of the quality of How to Train Your Dragon 2, a worthy sequel to its high-flying predecessor. Like the first, this follow-up is the rare movie actually worth seeing in 3D because of its plenitude of dynamic point-of-view shots. You're continuously immersed in the action, often seeing things from the same vantage point as Dragon's underdog hero, one-legged Hiccup (Jay Baruchel). Hiccup is the resourceful dragon rider of Toothless, a rare Night Fury with his own handicap in the form of a mutilated tail.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Movie Reviews: Cold in July (2014) and The Rover (2014)

by Tony Dayoub

A couple of movies, just out in these past few weeks, are worth considering for the way they justify anachronistic masculine concerns with their simple, respective applications of period setting. The Rover is set in the near future, in a world where an unexplained (though I believe the reason is strongly implied) lack of women contributes to the macho aesthetic. Cold in July has it far easier, taking place nearly 30 years ago in Texas where gender equality was not unheard of but definitely slower in getting a foothold.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier at 25

Summer of '89: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

by Tony Dayoub

A camera pans across a desert, its cracked ground rife with holes. A miner runs obsessively from one hole to the next. His reverie is broken by the distant sound of a horse galloping. Cut to a cloaked figure shimmering like some dark wraith as he rides toward the miner, slowly growing clearer and more substantial as he gets closer and closer.

This sequence, a visual quote of David Lean's epic Lawrence of Arabia, is the eerie opening to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the ambitious failure directed by the science-fiction franchise's star, William Shatner. Though Shatner had already directed nearly a dozen episodes of his other notable TV series, T.J. Hooker, The Final Frontier was his feature directorial debut, a contractual obligation owed him because of a clause that gave him parity with co-star Leonard Nimoy, who had just directed a pair of Star Trek's most successful films, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

by Tony Dayoub

It's early still, but this summer, it looks like the action film to beat is Edge of Tomorrow. It's not entirely a surprise to those who've followed Tom Cruise's career closely. The actor may have limited range. But within that narrow space, he knows what plays and what doesn't (his misguided stab at expanding his action hero repertoire with the still competent Jack Reacher notwithstanding). Cruise is masterful at playing bewildered. And unlike Sylvester Stallone, another favorite action hero of mine, Cruise is self effacing enough to trust the writers and filmmakers he's surrounded himself with.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lynch’s Affinity for Laura Palmer

by Tony Dayoub

This is the fourth post in a four-part series. Catch up on parts one, two, and three.


David Lynch hasn’t released a full-length theatrical feature since 2006’s Inland Empire. This offers us some perspective on his filmography and Fire Walk with Me’s place in it. It’s but the first of a series of films depicting a woman whose dual nature is a signal of internal dissonance. What most intrigues me is how jarring it feels compared with his work up until then, a considerable achievement given the almost mischievous disdain Lynch has for traditional narratives. Even though he started his career with Eraserhead, a stubbornly surreal work, his next two films–The Elephant Man and Dune–both strike me as stabs at legitimacy, a director bringing his unique vision to projects which might allow him mainstream success. Blue Velvet, which looks at the frighteningly dark underbelly of shiny, wholesome small-town America, is the first work that truly feels Lynchian. Then comes TV’s Twin Peaks, which continues along those lines. And right before Fire Walk with Me, Lynch directs Wild at Heart, a noir romance that hints at Lynch’s penchant for the surreal intruding on reality, this time in the form of characters from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 So Far: Midterm Top 5

by Tony Dayoub

The very best thing about my selections for 2014's best so far is that most are still running/airing at this time. By all means, seek them out for yourself and see if you find them as superb as I do.

My list after the jump...