I’m introducing a new music feature on this blog where I sort of create my own soundtrack for different movies I have watched recently. I came up with the idea a couple of days ago when I was listening to some of my favorite songs on my iPod and it reminded me are certain dramatic situations I have seen play out on the big screen or perfectly described a character’s motivations, feelings, or desires. So in my first edition of ‘Music Complements’, I present some songs that came to mind when I took a look back on my experience watching Terrance Malick’s To The Wonder.
Showing 12 posts tagged ben affleck
The Academy Awards 2013
Last night, I got together with some of my favorite people and watched the biggest night of film - the 2013 Oscars. I celebrated (hard) some of what I also considered some of the biggest achievements in filmmaking last year. I have the slight hangover to prove it. For me the telecast had some beautiful and exciting moments (JGL singing and dancing! Adele shining on stage! musicals tribute! Argo winning Best Picture!), buzzed about moments for weeks to come (surely… Rene Zellwegger was drunk! sock puppets!), and moments that I would rather forget (J Law had the best performance out of the bunch.. really?!?). If you watched or if you didn’t watch, there is tons to talk about and view post-ceremony. Here are some links and Oscar-related material to keep up the talk…
Here is the Oscars opening monologue.
Here are musical numbers from the Oscars.
Better yet, watch the entire Oscars ceremony online for the first time ever.
Inside the rehearsals.
Red carpet fashion.
Celebs + Twitter = Oscar fun.
The snubs & surprises.
The highs & lows.
Before there was the Oscar-nominated roles, there was bad ones.
The Searching for Sugarman documentarian speaks.
Inocente: the first Kickstarter project to win an Oscar.
Outfitting Anna Karenina.
The best off screen quotes.
More Silver Linings Playbook scandal?
The Onion shamefully disses Quvenzhane Wallis.
Cinematographers, mixers, and editors are creatives, too.
How Argo beat Lincoln.
Argo wins, Iran scoffs, Canada celebrates.
Full list of winners.
MacFarlane won’t so maybe these will host Oscars 2014.
What did everyone think of Seth MacFarlane as host?
1. The Brits are (really) taking over. We are in the middle of another British invasion; did you know? If you’re like me, you noted just how much the Brits are dominating American television, movies, and music, sometimes without us even being really aware (the buggers can do great American accents). From 2013 Golden Globe winners Damien Lewis of Homeland (a show that has a number of British actors playing American) to Daniel Day-Lewis (who is known to take on American historical figures a time or two), they are proving to be a force in Hollywood (and I’m loving it). Let’s not forget GG winner Adele (for the Bond song “Skyfall”) and nominees Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Judi Dench, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith, and others.
2. The duo of Wiig and Ferrell would make awesome 2014 award show hosts. Oh, yeah, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did a great job hosting the Golden Globes but they weren’t the best duo on stage. That prize went to Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell who showed up to present the award to the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (asking as though they had never been anywhere fancy before). They were determined to prove they had seen all of the nominated performances (they had not) by recapping what the movies were about. You can only imagine what can next. Hopefully the organizers noted this award show standout moment: Wiig and Ferrell ‘14.
In mere hours, it’ll be the end of 2012 as we know it. This is a year that started off slowly in terms of film, not offering some of the best, in my opinion, until the last half of the year. But it was still a year that will be remembered for much renewed discussion on slavery and what it means to be human in our eyes and in the eyes of others, our historical past and not too distant memories of high school, the quest for power and the consequences of it, and the bonds between groups of people that are created. Here is what I considered to be the best in film for 2012, and therefore great film suggestions, depending what movie genre(s) you most gravitate to:
Best Film of the Year: Argo
Ben Affleck has done it again, giving us another one of the best directed films in contemporary cinema (see: Gone Baby Gone and The Town). Affleck has never been an exciting actor to me, but he has impressed me greatly with his talents as a filmmaker of movies with an effective mix of drama, suspense, and action. This one, a fictional tale of a true life yet unbelievable CIA mission during the Iranian hostage crisis, gives us a glimpse into the social and political attitudes of the 70s and reminds us just how much we don’t know about government operations being conducted in secret.
Best Drama (which presented the moral ambiguity of politics and made you want to open a history book): Lincoln
The last movie I watched in 2012 was one of my favorites (you still got it Spielberg!). The movie represents a portrait of a historical figure who we all know of but few really know, intertwining his political and moral motivations for his involvement in the abolition of slavery with his personal relationships with wife, sons and colleagues. Where historical dramas are usually dry and boring, this one warms the heart. Through moving monologues and a physical transformation that was so very much like the man himself, Daniel Day Lewis transfixes us and inspires in a way that makes you want to clap aloud in the theater. Outside the “radical” nature of the Republican party, we also see just how little American politics have change in all these years - back room deals, political maneuvering and politicians saying what others want to hear all in the name of moving the country forward. The movie boasts great cameos from some of the best established actors (Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Harly, Jared Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson) and cameos from great up-and-coming ones (Dane DaHaan, David Oyelowo, Adam Driver) in the industry.
Best Comedy (which reminded you to say ‘no’ to drugs and ‘yes’ to buddy comedies): 21 Jump Street
I’m not really one for most of the comedies that are released, which I usually find mindless, banal, and unoriginal. However, there is usually one I latch onto that pushes the boundaries of what is funny. Last year, it was with the ladies of Bridesmaids, this year it was the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum duo that I did not realize would be oh so hilarious. Sure, it’s based on the late 80’s TV show, but the movie showed just how much times have changed in its portrayal of what is now high school cool.
Best Dramedy (which redefined the complexity of love triangles): Your Sister’s Sister
Hooray for indie film and its uncanny way to bring to life seemingly conventional rom-com storylines with character-driven observations and dialogue. This one, about the relationship dynamics of sisters, best friends, and lovers, is sweet and endearing at times, awkward at other times but represents a great mix of carefully crafted moments that oscillate between comedy and drama. Standout performances for the trio of Rosemarie DeWitt, Emily Blunt, and the 2012 prince of indies Mark Duplass.
“To The Wonder”
[After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Marina meets a priest and fellow exile, who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane.]
In my world, Terrance Malick is infamous. I hadn’t seen any of his films before seeing Tree of Life (which I didn’t particularly like and thought to be pretentious cutting-room floor material posing as a grandiose work of existentialism). Now that he is one of the most talked about filmmakers in the last year or so (maybe for all the wrong reasons), I’m so intrigued to see what he comes out with next. After Tree of Life, it was said that he was coming out of his self-inflicting exile and working on three films all at once. Can’t believe I’m saying this but my curiosity is peaked. Now that the first trailer for To The Wonder is here, I may become a Malick fan yet. Yes, it looks quite similar (the first shot in the trailer is of a tree! Admittedly, I was scared) but for some reason, the slant on romance is getting to me. It also benefits from great trailer narration (there goes that brilliant Javier Bardem, again). Judge of yourself though. Am I the only one that thinks this movie probably only had two pages of dialogue? I’m just hoping there isn’t a 20 minute montage of how human kind developed feelings for one another spliced into the middle of the movie.
I’m going to Toronto, and I couldn’t be more excited! A friend and I are sightseeing in Montreal and then heading to Toronto of the first four days of TIFF. I have never been there so this should be a great experience. I already got our ticket package and booked my flight. Do we have a place to stay yet? Nope, but we will. It’ll be my third film festival of 2012 (check out some coverage of these festivals here). Except some reviews, pictures, and other info to come your way during and directly following my time there.
This week, the first crop of movies were announced. I have to say that I’m so impressed with the line-up. There are so many great ones I’ve been looking forward to that I may have to get more tickets. I think I picked a great year to go. Here are my top picks from the ones already announced:
Directed by Ben Affleck
Synopsis: Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck directs and stars in this based-on-fact thriller about a CIA “exfiltration” expert who concocts an outlandish plan to get six stranded Americans out of Tehran after the 1979 invasion of the American embassy — by having them masquerade as a Hollywood film crew. Why I want to see it: I am more impressed with Ben Affleck, the director (The Town was especially great) so I’m really excited about Affleck’s third time behind the camera. The movie boosts a great supporting cast (Chris Messina! John Goodman! Kerry Bishe! Tate Donovan!), an very interesting true story, and the potential to be a black comedy, drama, and political film all in one. Check out the trailer and another movie still from the film here.
The Company You Keep
Directed by Robert Redford
Synopsis: Robert Redford directs and stars in this gripping political thriller about a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) who stumbles upon the story of his career when he uncovers the identity of a wanted ex-radical activist (Redford) who has been underground for five decades. Why I want to see this: Honestly, I’m just hoping to see a great performance from Shia as I think he’s really great when he really takes hold of great indie roles. Also, here’s hoping that Anna Kendrick does not annoy me as she has been lately. Recently, I just posted another picture from the film; check it out here.
Directed byRobert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman
Synopsis: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon headline this hilarious comedy about a washed-up playwright who, after faking her own suicide as a ploy to get her ex-boyfriend’s attention, winds up remanded to the custody of her wackily dysfunctional family. Why I want to see this: Well, just like with alot of people, Kristen Wiig has become my current favorite female comedian-actress. Apparently 2012 has become the year to explore older woman-younger man relationships (see Hello, I Must Be Going) so I’m going with the trend. Okay, yeah, and I also and I want to see Darren Criss as I think he is adorable. I have high hopes for this one so I hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Looper (Opening Night Selection)
Directed and written by Rian Johnson
Synopsis: A mob hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is assigned to kill his own future self (Bruce Willis) in this mind-bending futuristic thriller. Why I want to see this: I am so itching to see this isn’t not funny. To know me is to know that I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It bodes well for the quality of the film that it was choosen for opening night. I have been continuously covering covering this film (trailer, photos) in anticipation of the release so read more on my thoughts there.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Directed byDerek Cianfrance
Synopsis: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes star in this multi-generational crime drama from director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), about a motorcycle stunt rider whose moonlighting a bank robber brings him into conflict with an ambitious young cop. Why I want to see it: Ryan Gosling can’t go wrong in my eyes. When in doubt, always go with one of his films.
To The Wonder
Directed byTerrance Malick
Synopsis: Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem star in the new film from Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), about a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart. Why I want to see it: Uhh, why do I want to see it? Especially when I hated The Tree of Life, the only Malick film I’ve ever seen? Well, it all boils down to the fact that he peaks my curiousity. You never know what weird, off the wall thing he’s going to do next. It may also be because all his films are so shrouded in mystery, that you just have to see what he comes up with. Read more about his upcoming film projects he’re doing simultaneously here.
Directed bySergio Castellitto
Synopsis: Actor-director Sergio Castellitto (Don’t Move) directs Penélope Cruz and Emile Hirsch in this vivid, full-throttle melodrama about an ill-starred romance set against the backdrop of the siege of Sarajevo. Why I want to see it: The romantic pairing of Hirsch and Cruz seems like it would be so great, I’m not sure why it wasn’t thought of before. I’m also interested in learning the history of Sarajevo through the eyes of the director. Read more about the film and see another movie still here.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Directed and written byStephen Chbosky
Synopsis: In this witty and affecting coming-of-age story (adapted by writer-director Stephen Chbosky from his own novel), a shy teenager (Logan Lerman) with a dark family secret is coaxed out of his shell by a sympathetic teacher (Paul Rudd) and two wild, carefree new friends (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller). Why I want to see it: How great is it that one of my favorite books is being turned into a film written and directed by the author of that book? The book was so sweet and so touch and so wonderful and so sad that this movie is going to be great. See a photo of the cast which includes the great Mae Whitman here.
So many I want to see and it’s just the beginning of the being announced! If you’re interested, head over to the festival’s film programming for a complete listing.
I’m still building on my previous list…
31. Only those in a relationship matter in determining the course of that relationship [A Fond Kiss]
32. Drug addiction is no joke. [Requiem for a Dream]
33. It’s possible to just see someone standing in a corner and be scared out of your mind [The Blair Witch Project]
34. Yes, God could definitely be a woman. [Dogma]
35. A powerful love may not be a forever kind of love [Like Crazy]
36. It’s time to bring back track suits, sweatbands, and fur coats as everyday wear. [The Royal Tenenbaums]
37. You should always look for the balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself [Please Give]
38. If you’re write a novel about your family, at least make sure they don’t know it’s about them [Peep World]
39. You never know the kind of trouble someone is secretly in [Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead]
40. There is always an occasion for some wine [Sideways]
To me, Jeremy Renner is just plain exceptional. I first took notice of him in a couple of independent movies only a few years ago, but already he has joined the ranks of Leo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ryan Gosling as one of my favorite actors of my time. I think that’s saying alot for a man who has struggled in the acting game for so long and has only just began to have his big break in Hollywood around the age of 40. He’s comes across so intense, so focused, and so consumed with his characters that you get lost in them too. He has consistently churned out some many really powerful performances in such a short time, it’s incredible. He is definitely one my list of actors I hope to meet one day. I only hope that he doesn’t get too “Hollywood” and stick close to the independent roots that have served him so well. So here’s to Jeremy Renner and his many great futures performances I’m anticipating (Bourne Legacy!). I give you my top five favorite Jeremy Renner performances to date. I highly suggest anyone of these movies for your viewing pleasure.
#5: The Avengers (2012)
I just saw this movie this weekend, and while it can be said that Renner didn’t have a big role as Hawkeye in this box office giant, he was credible as a loner and trained assassin, intensely determined, and created for his enigmatic character enough intrigue that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Hawkeye (and Black Widow) sequel (or maybe more aptly, a prequel).
#4: Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2010)
Enter semi-suave Jeremy Renner as an IMF agent initially posing as an mild-mannered analyst. He was a great on-screen match for Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, holding his own against this iconic character. For me, he brought the cool and the ease that balanced out the group dynamic and was probably the best thing the film had going for it.