Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Know Your Anger. I Know Your Dreams.

The Master (Anderson, 2012)

Growing up I remember that every so often in English class we would do a unit on speeches. Generally it was tied in with Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have A Dream Speech," though there were others that tended to be used as well. Actually when I was student teaching and even when I was co-teaching I used speeches as a focal point of lessons. These master orators have, even before the technology existed to record what was being said, had their words preserved for generations to heed. Somewhere, buried beneath these moments in time, is a theoretical common spring of humanity that allows them to remain relevant. But is this timelessness locatable? Is it even true?

If you read my most recent Top 97, you would notice that sitting atop that list is Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 masterpiece There Will Be Blood. As such, it was with great anticipation that I approached The Master, a fictional re-imagining of the Scientology movement coupled with the journey of a returned WWII veteran who finds himself wrapped up in this movement's early days. But, as tends to be the case with Paul Thomas Anderson's films, it's rarely just about what's on the surface.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

He Went To Get The Hanging Judge, But The Hanging Judge Was Drunk

Lawless (Hillcoat, 2012)

Criminal behavior has always been a source of inspiration for the cinematic well for many years. Some of the most beloved contemporary films focus on gangsters and lawbreakers. So when you tell me that John Hillcoat, director of The Proposition and The Road, is making a movie taking place in early 1900's Virginia with a star studded cast of critical darlings (and Shia LaBeouf) one would expect the results to be great. But sometimes when approaching the wrong side of the law, as we do in the aptly titled Lawless, there's the chance that all the thrills can come at the expense of engaging characters or relationships. So does Hillcoat construct a beautiful tapestry of criminal redemption or does he deliver little more than wasted potential?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NFL Season Predictions - 2012

Though it's clearly not a regular feature, I am a pretty big fan of football and would like to write about it just a little bit. As such, this isn't going to be a massive breakdown but more of my casual observations about the season to come and how I think everything will shake out. I actually did this last year and was mostly okay with my predictions. This year they will be better. Or, you know, I hope they will be better. So before the first game kicks off I'd like to set a few things in stone. Or at least digital ink. And, without going any farther, if you're expecting Tebow's boys to make the playoffs, well, there's always next year.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Top 97 Films (Part Four)

It is that time of year again, the one where I take a look over all the films I love and update my Top 97. Much like last year's list this one doesn't have a ton of new additions, but there are some notable shifts in positioning throughout that add a bit more clarity to my love of cinema. Unlike the other years though I'm going to try something new and start from the top, working my way down. If I like how that goes I'll probably just do every year. And without further delay, let the countdown begin!