Friday, December 30, 2011

I Really Want To Go Outside And Stop To See Your Day

Winnie the Pooh (Anderson and Hall, 2011)

Growing up I watched, as I am sure many people did, a ton of Disney movies. Personal favorites include Hercules, The Lion King, and Bambi. I never really had too soft of a spot for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, despite enjoying a lot of the stories that were told. However, when the reboot, or continuation as the case may be, was announced I found myself excited to get back to the 100 Acre Wood and rediscover all of these characters again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

There's A Cold Wind Coming Off The Ocean

The Adventures of Tintin (Spielberg, 2011)

Earlier this month I wrote a post about nostalgia in film, with The Muppets and Hugo being the focus of that piece. After stepping out of the theater I could not help but think of the term nostalgia when considering The Adventures of Tintin. Though Spielberg may be appealing to a certain nostalgia by adapting the reporter-detective Tintin (Jamie Bell) for the big screen, it seems odd because I am sure the vast majority of the US audience (myself included) has little familiarity with the character or the comic series. What this leaves then is Spielberg working in a realm where he is evoking nostalgia for his past adventure movies. The Indiana Jones, Jaws and Jurassic Parks of the world. Now aside from those dinosaurs I have a great displeasure for the majority of 'classic' Spielbergian movies, yet seeing Tintin I think I finally realized why many of his movies are so beloved.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Don't Stop Imagining. The Day That You Do Is The Day That You Die.

It's Awards season, and the time where year end wrap ups begin to hit hard. As a result, I need to begin writing at a much more rapid pace in an attempt to crystalize my thoughts on all the wonderful (I know, but bear with me) film that are sure to be released in this time. So what we have are an upcoming series of shorter reviews that will rarely delve in to the same type of analysis synthesis that I attempt to craft with my writing. Then there will be a huge onslaught of year end lists. I'll try and sprinkle a few editorials in there as well, and there's probably a major site overhaul coming up. So there's the state of Processed Grass, and now on to the review!

We Need To Talk About Kevin (Ramsay, 2011)

The new film from acclaimed Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin, recently had a one week limited pre-Oscar qualification run type deal in NYC and I had a chance to see it during that time. Basically what we have is a quasi-horror film that, much like other indie standout Martha Marcy May Marlene, takes many of its cues from psychological horror and Gothic tropes than delving in to new age cinematic scares.

Friday, December 9, 2011

All The Points Where Contact Fails Us, All Of The Dead Spots In The Zone

Shame (McQueen, 2011)

Addiction is tough. Each day, I would imagine, we confront it in many different ways. This seems, certainly at first, to be at the core of Steve McQueen's Shame, the visual artist turned director's sophomore follow up to the harrowing (it will be fun to see how many times I use this word in the forthcoming paragraphs!) Hunger. Moving from Ireland all the way over to the red blooded American soils of New York City, McQueen crafts a movie that confronts, in an admirably direct fashion, main character Brandon (Michael Fassbender) as he grapples with a crippling sex addiction. What results is a deliberately paced character study that has sent critics all aflutter, and produced some of the year's greatest pull quotes. Take, for example, this gem from Tony Macklin's review of the film:
"Shame is a noxious porridge of porn and pointlessness. It's a penis in search of a plot. Its protagonist is a masturbating cipher."
With a glowing endorsement like that, how can Shame be anything but excellent?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Knowing Nostalgia: Ruminations On HUGO And THE MUPPETS

Nostalgia is a funny concept. It clouds our judgment, making us elevate astoundingly mediocre art to positions of transcendence. As an avid video game player I find that I am at my most nostalgic when going back to staples of my childhood (the Metal Gears, Marios, Sonics, and Final Fantasies of the world), but even with my most beloved titles I can still recognize fundamental flaws in game design. But you know what? I'll still gladly play Princess Tomato: Adventures in Salad Kingdom, or watch Hercules for the umpteenth time, or maybe even give that old Marshall Mathers LP CD a spin in the car stereo. And I can be, at least momentarily, happy. Sure it's a hollow kind of happiness, but it's there and it's real. Sometimes I just like to get nostalgic. 

And over the Thanksgiving holiday I found myself at the movie theater watching two particular films that approach the idea of nostalgia in vastly different ways.