Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oscar Watch, Pt. 1.5

Sorry for all the delays. This thing called "college" is a bit more time consuming than I wanted to priorly consider. 
However, the Oscar Watch posts are back!
This post is an extension of the First Installment
The Second in the series of films to watch for during the Oscar season should arrive in the not-so-distant future. Hopefully...
Let's go!
As always, viewer discretion is advised for watching the trailers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Movie Review: The American

Sadly, he only rocks the Connery beard
for the first scene or two.
Most thriller pieces fall into one of two categories: the more action packed version, focusing on using lots of showy gunfire, fights, car chases; and the more psychological one, focusing on examining one character. The first one is fast paced, high adrenaline stuff that if done well both excites and entertains, but often the action takes away too much from the story it is trying to tell. But under no conditions should you go to The American expecting this type of movie, because while it is certainly a thriller, it falls decisively into the second thriller category, perhaps you would call it a psychological thriller, and here character development and plot structure are key. This explains the sedate pace and brooding tone, instead of flash-bang action.

Guest Writer Review: The American

Pictured: Nothing actually happening.

The American, starring George Clooney, is . . . well . . . not much. I assumed this movie would involve a fair amount of action and violence, after viewing multiple previews involving Clooney being buff and “playing” with guns, but tragically this is not the case. Nor is this movie really in the category of “romance:” despite multiple scenes of Clooney having sex with a prostitute, the focus is clearly not on one specific relationship. After looking at numerous lists of film genres and sub-genres, it’s genuinely hard to figure out where this would fit under. Perhaps in a trash bin? That’s where I put it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Winter is Coming...Err, Next Spring, That Is

There is supposed to be a trailer here. Click Read More to watch; it's there but it isn't displaying on the main page.

George R.R. Martin's dark fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire is probably near the top of the list of post-Tolkien fantasy when it comes to popularity. Unlike the two series I would consider its closest competitors - the late Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time and Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun - as an utterly irrelevant side note, Gene Wolfe also invented Pringles, which is amusing because he looks rather like the Pringles man without hair. But unlike the dense, overwhelming, psychologically driven memoir of a possibly mentally ill ruler of the world and his creepy sword that Gene Wolfe wrote, and the increasingly enormous Tolkien-meets-Herbert-meets-Tolstoy epic that Robert Jordan wrote so long he died of it, Martin wrote A Song of Ice and Fire as a trilogy of byzantine intrigue, resurgent magic, vengeance, justice, fire, blood, and the most likable characters getting screwed over constantly by the same attributes that make them likable.

But you see, because Martin is a fantasy author, a trilogy was too little. Unable to cap it after the first 2400 pages, Martin announced upon the release of the third book, A Storm of Swords, that he was extending the series to a seven-part epic. This news was met with surprise on the part of those who ASoIaF had introduced to fantasy and a resounding we told you so from everyone else. But there were quite a number of people who got into fantasy from ASoIaF, because, considering its doorstopper size, it is a remarkably accessible story - far more so than, say, Stephen King's The Dark Tower, a work of similar length and scope. And now it gets an HBO series, to be released Spring 2011.

Some spoilers may follow. The big one won't, obviously, because it's big.