I need to find inspiration where I can, so I've been inspired by both Alex with So It Begins, and Sati with Cinematic Cornerto come up with a the "top things I love about a film that no one talks about." I chose 'Jaws' because I've seen the film a million times and I still love it. It's one of those films that is so well known that most people can quote a few lines from it, Lines like--"you're going to need a bigger boat" or Quint's incredible monologue about the USS Indianapolis. Amazingly so many scenes in 'Jaws' iconic, because 'Jaws' is nearly a flawless film.This post will not cover any of those famous scenes. Instead this post will focus on some of the more subtle things about 'Jaws' that I love and I hope you will love too.
This post is a continuation of my best and worst of 2014. This month I'm focused on the best and worst of television. I qualify this as a best and worst list of the television shows that I've seen. I've heard really good things about 'True Detective,' 'Manhattan,' 'Silicon Valley,' 'Fargo,' 'Shameless,' and 'The Affair,' but haven't seen them yet. So I can't speak to any of these shows. Noticeably absent from my list is 'Orange is the New Black,' since I have only seen about one half of the first season. You can see my favorite films of 2014 here.
I usually do three separate list every year, but this year I'm consolidating it into one list. One list takes long enough. I've also included a few non-scifi films in my best and worst list this year. Please feel free to add some of your own or disagree with me! First lets start with the meat of the best and worst list...the best movies of the year (in my humble opinion). The films have a scifi or fantasy focus, but there are a few non-scifi/fantasy films on the list this too. If you scroll further down you'll get to the fluff.
Let's start with the best of the best.
Thanks to John over at Hitchcock's World for sponsoring this out of this world blogathon. I hope John doesn't mind, but the only way I can make a space mission work is to scrap the idea of interstellar travel in lieu of interplanetary travel. The only way interstellar travel would be feasible would be if it were a long term, slow moving space voyage--something similar to the new SyFy show, 'Ascension' (or how 'Ascension' was supposed to be), in which a spaceship with its own ecosystem carries generations of people for tens of thousands of years. Then perhaps after 160,000 years or so, we would arrive somewhere fun. Who knows? Thus, the mission I would embark on would be a mission to terraform and colonize Mars. The team I have recruited is listed below. You can see more about the rules and my reasoning behind this decision at the end of this post.
Merry Christmas! I'm super happy to be done with final exams. I'm taking graduate classes and I just can't believe how busy I've been. Between grad classes, my little one, my husband, my job, and my other extracurricular activities, I haven't had much time to devote to this blog, but I am still working on my big end of the year "best and worst list." Please be patient with me!
With a healthy serving of 'To Live and Die in L.A.,' a smidge of 'Network,' and a dash of 'Drive,' 'Nightcrawler,' draws you into the perverse underbelly of sensationalized news coverage. It's a brave effort and a brilliant critique of the American "news" culture, by first time director (and Rene Russo's husband), Dan Gilroy. If you've ever watched American news (both national and local), 'Nightcrawler' strikes a nerve. 'Nightcrawler' touches on the psychopathy of the 24-hour news cycle and...then some. It certainly doesn't hurt to have to great leads like Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. Gyllenhaal does a good job channeling Christian Bale'sPatrick Batemen from 'American Psycho,' while Russo channels Faye Dunaway's Diana Christenson from 'Network.'
There are so few directors in Hollywood who are as ambitious as Christopher Nolan. And make no mistake, 'Insterstellar' is an ambitious film. It's also a beautifully flawed film and a pale shade of the film it's attempting to emulate, '2001: A Space Odyssey." The film begins sometime in the mid or late 21st century, perhaps 50 or 100 years from now. The world of 'Interstellar' is set in what looks like the American dust bowl of the 1930's. (I read somewhere that Nolan used actual footage from the Ken Burns documentary, 'The Dust Bowl.') 'Interstellar's world is in climate collapse and the earth's soil can no longer support it's population. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a widowed farmer with two young children and an aging father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow). He's also an accomplished pilot and an engineer.
Edward Mordrake [to Ethel Darling] in American Horror Story
Happy Halloween scifi fans. 'American Horror Story: Freakshow' just wrapped up Halloween with a funky two-part episode, Edward Mordrake Part 1 and 2. Thankfully 'American Horror Story' always gets talented guest stars. This week's guest star was Wes Bentley ('American Beauty' and 'Interstellar'). And if the original 'Hunger Games' film didn't convince you that Bentley could rock wacky facial hair, then 'American Horror Story' will give you no doubt. Bentley plays a ghoulishly handsome, semi-corporeal ghost, Edward Mordrake, who has been summoned to haunt the 1952 freak show of Jupiter, Florida. But Edward isn't there to just haunt, he also serves as clever segue into character development. Edward compels several of the performers (who haven't received much screen time) to tell their individual tales of woe. It's a convenient plot twist, but it works.
Set in the waning months of World War II, 'Fury' starts with serene moment: A lone soldier is riding on a white horse through the fog. It's only after the fog dissipates that you notice that the soldier is riding through a battlefield strewn with damaged and abandoned American Sherman tanks. The soldier doesn't get far before another soldier ambushes and kills him. The killer is Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), who soon joins his compadres in their dilapidated (but still functioning) tank, nicknamed "Fury"--frantically being worked on by mechanic and missile loader, Grady (Jon Bernthal).
Pitt of course plays the anchor role of the steely eyed weathered veteran who has fought on two continents. Rounding out his crew are Bible Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Gordo (Michael Pena), and a recently deceased unnamed soldier. Wardaddy takes his crew back to base and tells a disappointed young Lieutenant (Xavier Samuel) that none of the other tank crews survived. As the Lieutenant gives orders, some of the other Sergeants gruffly joke that the Lieutenant isn't even old enough to shave. This is a common cliche in war movies. A young, inexperienced, lieutenant is sent into the field to command a weary battle hardened, strong-willed Sergeant. The Sergeant always knows best and the young lieutenant never lives long. This proves to be the case in 'Fury,' but Wardaddy is more complicated than he appears to be.