Archive for November, 2009

…And Justice for Photoshop, Lamenting Al Pacino’s Career

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I was in Barnes and Nobles the other week and I came across one of the worst examples of photoshopping you will ever see on a DVD cover. The cover is for …And Justice for All starring Al Pacino. In the film Pacino’s head never makes that almost Exorcist like move you see on the dvd cover. Judging the film solely on the strange DVD cover would be wrong because the film is actually very good and features a relatively subtle Pacino performance when you compare it to his work today. What the hell were they thinking when they put this horrible picture of Pacino on the cover of the DVD?

Perhaps the answer is they didn’t care. Not caring is something that could be used to describe Al Pacino’s acting choices of late.

What happened to the 70’s Pacino who amazed us with his range in The Godfather going from quite innocent younger child, to a cold blooded killer? What happened to that level of energy that amazed us in Serpico? Remember that great scene when he walks into the police station dressed as a rabbi? The 70’s Pacino always carried a level of energy and intensity to each of his roles. He was always interesting to watch. I could watch him order and eat breakfast and I’d be fascinated. As a matter of fact he did that with Gene Hackman when the two starred together in a film called Scarecrow that came out in 1973. Definitely check it out.

Today’s Pacino carries a energy level that is over the top. He’s been playing that same type of loud over the top character for years now. He’s not interesting to watch at all. He’s become known as the scenery chewing Hoo-Ah guy. 2008 was a banner year for bad Pacino roles. We now try to forget him in Righteous Kill, and 88 minutes, which features the weirdest fucking hair ever put on a human being.

Mr. Pacino, it’s not too late to pick better film roles and hair.

Categories: Diatribe Tags: , ,

“Put a black man in charge and some people just go nuts.”

November 21, 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: Diatribe

Precious – 4 Stars

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Going into this film I expected it to be filled with deep depression. But within this film I was pleasantly surprised to find it filled with genuine warmth and hopefulness. The film manages to never cross the line into over the top melodrama, which is something I feared might occur. The warmth comes from the lead performance by Gabourey Sidibe as Precious. When you watch her, you almost forget that this acting. You think this must be a real person.

The character of Precious is overweight, illiterate, she is raped by her father and is now pregnant with her second child by her father. She lives with her abusive mother, played by Mo’Nique, and Precious is forced into fantasies to help her escape the pains of her life. A lot of the time Precious is a quiet character. It is through these fantasies that the audience knows that she has hopes for herself.

Precious gets some hope in her life when she is invited to join an alternative school. It is these scenes in the classroom with her fellow students that the film enjoys some of it’s most warm moments. The girls in the classroom with Precious all share similar troubles with herself. The interaction between the girls is fascinating to watch because each one is a unique person with their own point of view.

Along the way Precious encounters a group of people that help her in her life. There are wonderful performances, such as Paula Patton who plays Precious’ inspiring teacher. Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz also give two pretty good performances in the film. Their presence does not distract from the film.

Mo’Nique does a great job of playing an absolute monster of a mother. When we first see her interact with her daughter, it is frightening. Her verbal words are as frightening as any punch she can throw. I give enormous credit to Mo’Nique for being able to make us feel some pity for her by the end.

This is certainly the best thing that Oprah has attached her name to. In the trailer Oprah is credited with presenting the film. Good job at presenting Oprah.

Must credit the cast, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and director Lee Daniels for crafting this great drama. The film engulfs you into a time, place and experience of one fascinating character.

Categories: Review

The Men Who Stare At Goats – 2 1/2 stars

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

The first half hour of this film was near death. The movie starts off with Ewan McGregor plays a small city journalist who is reporting into a secret military unit that uses psychic powers to fight war. First of all, McGregor is the least convincing small city journalist that you will ever see on screen. His personal life is in shambles. McGregor’s wife leaves him for a one armed man. Burned by this, McGregor decides to go to Iraq to report on the frontline so that he can prove to his wife that he is man. This reasoning makes perfect sense, right? Worst of all, McGregor with his really fake American accent, narrates the entire movie.

But things start to get better when in Iraq he meets with up with George Clooney, a former member of this secret U.S. military psychic devision. Clooney really saved the movie for me. You have to give it up to Clooney, he really commits to this role. You buy that his character really believes that he has psychic powers. This also applies to Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, who play fellow psychic military soldiers. There is no winking to the camera here.

When the film dwells into the history of this U.S. military psychic organization it becomes a much more interesting, funny movie. We don’t really need the McGregor character as the conduit into this bizarre, fascinating world. The film does feature some genuine funny moments, such as Clooney bursting clouds with his mind while he drives.

Toward the last third of the picture the film does lose its energy in terms of narrative. I’ve heard other critics say this, and the more I think about, the more I agree with this sentiment. This is director Grant Heslov’s first feature film and he still needs to work on how to execute this kind of material in a clear, concise way.

This film has a interesting premise, and a great cast, not including the bore McGregor. The problem is it never really reaches it’s full potential.

Categories: Review

Top Films of the Decade

November 18, 2009 1 comment

We are approaching the end of the year and when were not preparing for the end of the world in 2012, film critics and film websites are already releasing their top ten films of this past decade. You would think these people would at least wait for the year to be over.

Over in English land, two papers, The Telegraph, and The Times of London have released lists of the top 100 films of the this past decade. Take a look and see how crazy some of the choices are. Avatar, a film that hasn’t even come out is number 100 on the Telegraph list. Crazy Brits.

For a more respectable take at the top ten films of the decade take a look at the lists by A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips, the hosts of the show formally known as Siskel and Ebert, and then Ebert and Roeper, and now called At the Movies. Each week, starting at number 10, they are going to name their best films of the past decade. Both have named their 10 through 8 films. You have to wait till late December to find out what their number 1 will be. The damn teases.

There are still plenty of films of this past decade that I have to catch up on. These lists are a good starting point for all you people with hours of free time, not including myself of course, to catch up on the films they may have missed over the past ten years. Look forward to my top ten films of the decade next year, when the decade will finally be over. Everyone needs to calm down and wait for the end of year. It’s less than two months away! Hold on people!

For a take on the best films from the last decade, the good old Clinton BJ 90’s, take a look at Roger Ebert and the great Martin Scorsese naming their top 4 films from that decade. This is nerd movie heaven. I can watch Scorsese talk about film for hours.

Categories: Diatribe

Welcome to the Film Diatribe Blog

November 18, 2009 2 comments

Welcome to the new and improved Film Diatribe blog.

Accept the mystery.

Categories: Diatribe