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Top 15 Films of 2013

I know, we’re almost a quarter of the way into 2014, but hey, better late than never, right? Follow the jump to see the films I thought were the best ...

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The Best and Worst of 2013

Yep, yet another “best of” list. It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time for me to share with the movie nerds webwide what I thought was the ...

Bond

An Unorthodox Rating of All 23 James Bond Films

I’ve been a James Bond fan all my life, which can sometimes be a tough love situation. Loosely based on Ian Fleming’s callous and amoral British  spy, the amorphous film ...

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Frank Pavich’s “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

1five-starsWithout a doubt, this is one of the best, most strangest, and extraordinary behind-the-scenes films ever made. The film combines the recruiting-of-the-troops element from “Seven Samurai” with all the candid ambition shown in its fellow behind-the-scenes cousins “Burden of Dreams” and “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse“.

Truly, this is not at all your run-of-the-mill talking head documentary, at least not for someone like me who has never seen extensive footage of the director before. Both eye-opening and mind-opening, “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is thoroughly entertaining. The last thing I expecting from a film about a film that never got made was to be wowed by its slew of enlightened, revealing and profoundly inspirational moments. Then again, this is a documentary prominently featuring one of the greatest cinematic surrealists to ever pick up a movie camera, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. Read More…

Gareth Evans’ “The Raid 2: Berandal”

2four-stars4There were moments in The Raid 2 that made me feel as if I were standing in several lines for some of the most extreme roller coasters on Earth, with each wait having to be subjected to a bombardment of meaningless loudspeaker announcements explaining the minute politics of the insignificant price of eggs in Mozambique. I mean seriously, who gives a hen’s shiney hiney shit hole about the state of eggs in Africa?! And while no actual eggs were discussed in the movie (it’s called an analogy, people), what I am referring to is of course Gareth Evan‘s (writer/director) need to overcomplicate his sequel’s action extravaganza with a storyline choc full of who-gives-a-shit expositional moments, all of which that take place in between some of the most extraordinarily exhilarating fight sequences (that would be the roller coaster part of the analogy) I’ve seen in a film – ever!

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Remake Wars #2: The Blob (1958) vs. The Blob (1988)

 

Inspired by fellow Filmbalaya writer Nick Petrick’s battle between two versions of Lolita, I’ve decided to do a Remake War of my own, and it’s one that sci-fi and horror fans have been bickering over for 25 years.

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Elephant in the Room: Episode #7 – “Nebraska”

usmapIt’s time for yet another installment of Elephant in the Room; the video segment brought to you courtesy of my cousin, Ida, and her cohort, Sophie. Watch either with or without awe (as usual, the amount of awe you bring to this feature is totally up to you) as these two Chicago based comedians take up a minute and a half of your precious time in order to explain the Elephant in the room in Alexander Payne‘s latest comedy, Nebraska. Click the jump, and watch the video.

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Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac: Vol. I”

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Lars von Trier is a director that is seemingly constantly pushing audiences into feeling as uncomfortable as possible. So, when I got the chance to check out his newest film I jumped at it. I figured if nothing else it will be like nothing I’ve ever seen before. On that front I was disappointed, but as a whole the film is quite enjoyable.

When you go see a film called Nymphomaniac by a director who notoriously shows plenty of on screen sex and violence you expect it to be taken to a whole new level. I was pleasantly surprised  to find that the sex scenes were not horribly graphic and awkward but also mostly short and humorous.  I found myself laughing during most parts of the film. even with the film’s dark subject matter, I never felt it was being too serious.  Part of this is due to the fact that the main character is not very well-rounded, and our glimpses into her life tend to just be the highlights (or lowlights). We don’t really feel connected to her as a human. If we did, the story would be much more of a tragedy and I have a sneaking suspicion that Part II will quickly descend into this very dark place. Read More…

Elephant in the Room: Episode #6 – “Dallas Buyers Club”

AMF_7277 (341 of 376).NEFIt’s time for yet another installment of Elephant in the Room; the video segment brought to you courtesy of my cousin, Ida, and her cohort, Sophie (though sitting in for my cousin this time out is Robb). Watch either with or without awe (as usual, the amount of awe you bring to this feature is totally up to you) as these two Chicago based comedians take up a whole 2 minutes of your precious time in order to explain the enormously anorexic elephant placed right in the middle of Jean-Marc Vallée‘s film, Dallas Buyers Club. Click the jump, and watch the video. Read More…

Elephant in the Room: Episode #5 – “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Inside-Llewyn-Davis-catIt’s time for yet another installment of Elephant in the Room; the video segment brought to you courtesy of my cousin, Ida, and her cohort, Sophie (though sitting in for Sophie this time out is Catharine). Watch either with or without awe (as usual, the amount of awe you bring to this feature is totally up to you) as these two Chicago based comedians take yet another minute and a half of your time in order to explain their somewhat outlandish conspiracy theory surrounding the latest Cohen Brothers‘ film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Click the jump, and watch the video.

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It’s Pi Day! Time for a Pi list

american-pie-w1280In case you haven’t noticed yet, today is March 14th (3.14) which means it’s Pi day. I’m sure that mathematicians the world over are no doubt celebrating in the geekiest of ways possible, ways this failed math student can not begin to comprehend. However as a lover of cinema I too shall celebrate my indulgence in Pi by listing the top 3 cinematic Pis (pronounced pie, not piss. duh) and pies of all time. Top 3 Pis after the jump. Read More…

Steven Soderbergh’s gone “Psycho”

Rinse and repeat … the shower scene from Psycho, and now PsychosAfter the overwhelming commercial and critical failure of Gus Van Sant‘s 1998 Psycho remake one would think no other filmmaker would even dare attempt to take another stab at Hitchie’s classic. Flash forward 16 years later and enter the supposed “retired” filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh. Though not a remake in any traditional sense, Soderbergh’s re imagining is nothing less than brilliant.

After adjusting Van Sant’s version from color to black and white, Soderberg than entwined footage from both versions, thus creating Psychos. Unlike Van Sant’s version, which was a shot by shot remake made primarily as a filmmaking exercise, Soderbergh’s is a film class in of its self, one in which we get to study the film, the art of the remake, and the art of seamless editing. But the best part of Soderbergh’s Psychos is that it is absolutely free. Just follow this link to Soderbergh’s website, where you can check out the film in its entirety for yourself.