2008: A Cinematic Odyssey

Film Reviews and Other Pop Culture Happenings

Posts Tagged ‘update’

Long time no see! A 2009 Recap.

Posted by Jesse on December 28, 2009

So it’s been a while.. a long while!
After this year long hiatus, I am back and ready to maintain this blog.

I’ll start, like last year, by listing the major film-related events in pointform that happened to me this year:

  • Went to theatres to see the remake of Wes Craven’s cult classic The Last House on the Left… not impressed.
  • Saw, with friends, He’s Just Not that Into You… And I just wasn’t into it.
  • Was extremely excited for, but ultimately let down by Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.
  • Caught up with a friend and saw Up. The most fun I had at a movie all summer.
  • Saw the unfortunate sequel to the unfortunate film TransformersTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
  • Saw the embarrassing docu-style comedy Brüno.
  • Star Trek-ed it up and had an amazing time.
  • Was very impressed by the breakout comedy The Hangover.
  • Went to the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince after a long, long wait.
  • After a Jason Mraz concert in Toronto, finally saw (500) Days of Summer and it remained my favourite film of ’09 for most of the summer…
  • Until I saw Inglourious Basterds.
  • Saw the atrocious remake of Fame.
  • Attended TIFF ’09! ——- My second Toronto Film Festival experience.
  • Bought tickets for Valhalla  Rising, I Killed My Mother, Glorious 39 and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.
  • First film I saw was Valhalla Rising. I expected more, it was mediocre at best.
  • A friend and I then saw Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39. In attendance was Poliakoff, Romola Garai, Bill Nighy and acting legend Julie Christie (the stars of the film). Overall, the film was more like a Hallmark TV movie, but I enjoyed it.
  • Third was Xavier Dolan’s critically acclaimed French-Canadian film I Killed My Mother. It was the best movie I saw all festival and one of the best I’ve seen this year. It’s also Canada’s submission to the Foreign Language Film category at this year’s Oscars.
  • Another friend and I waited in the rush line for Precious tickets for 4 hours, but were unlucky. We were lucky at celeb spotting that day, however: Oprah Winfrey, Gabourey Sidibe, Mariah Carey, Paula Patton, Robin Thicke, Mary J. Blige, Sherri Shepherd, Tyler Perry, Atom Egoyan and Julianne Moore. It was very exciting.
  • Lastly, I saw The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. In attendance were director Rebecca Miller, Robin Wright and Keanu Reeves. The film was solid and I enjoyed it very much. A nice conclusion to my TIFF ’09 experience.
  • Saw Where the Wild Things Are and was extremely impressed. Very fun and very charming film.
  • Was terribly disappointed by the mega-hyped Amelia after seeing it at an advanced screening.
  • Went to see the critically acclaimed and Oscar-buzzed An Education.
  • Saw one of my most anticipated films of the year, A Serious Man. It’s easily 2009’s best.
  • After being jipped at TIFF, finally got to see Precious. Astounding piece of filmmaking.
  • Saw Tom Ford’s directorial debut A Single Man. One of the best films of the year. Absolutely mesmerizing.
  • Saw a double feature: The Princess and the Frog and Brothers. Loved the first, disliked the latter.
  • Saw The Blind Side in theatres with friends. The trailer made it look like utter crap… and it was. Bullock was okay. Oscar-worthy? Not a chance.
  • Finally caught up and watched Julie & Julia. Meryl could win a third Oscar for this.
  • Watched The Hurt Locker after having it on my computer for months. All the hype over this film is deserved. It’s a masterpiece.
  • During my trip to Ottawa, saw Up in the Air with a friend.
  • My holiday break started with a 3-D experience: Avatar. Very disappointed. Doesn’t live up to the hype at all.
  • Finished off the year with another double feature: It’s Complicated and Nine. Both were wonderful.

After that rather long update of my 2009 cinematic journey, I’m going to leave you with my top 10 films of 2009.
I still have a few to see (The Lovely Bones, Invictus, Sherlock Holmes, Fantastic Mr. Fox, District 9, The Last Station, Coraline, The Road, Bright Star, The Messenger and The White Ribbon, but I’m getting there).

Top 10 of 2009:

  4. UP
  8. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
  10. NINE

Until next post, Auf Wiedersehen. —–


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Film Update – 15 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 14, 2008

Here’s a re-cap of the films I’ve seen from 2008 so far and what I think of them:

  • Jumper / F
  • High School Musical 3: Senior Year / D-
  • You Don’t Mess With the Zohan / D-
  • Rambo / D-
  • 27 Dresses / D+
  • The Incredible Hulk / C-
  • I Could Never Be Your Woman / C-
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull / C-
  • 21 / C
  • Bonneville / C+
  • Cloverfield / C+
  • Then She Found Me / B-
  • Charlie Bartlett / B-
  • Get Smart / B-
  • Religulous / B-
  • The Life Before Her Eyes / B
  • Pineapple Express / B
  • Quantum of Solace / B
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall / B
  • Be Kind Rewind / B
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day / B+
  • Wanted / B+
  • Tropic Thunder / B+
  • Kung Fu Panda / B+
  • Iron Man / B+
  • Blindness / B+
  • Funny Games / B+
  • Changeling / B+
  • Gran Torino / B+
  • [Rec] / A-
  • Burn After Reading / A-
  • In Bruges / A-
  • Happy-Go-Lucky / A-
  • Frost/Nixon / A-
  • The Reader / A-
  • Rachel Getting Married / A
  • The Wrestler / A
  • Doubt / A
  • WALL-E / A+
  • The Dark Knight / A+
  • Milk / A+
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / A+
  • Slumdog Millionaire / A+

I still need to see Revolutionary Road, I’ve Loved You So Long, Frozen River, The Visitor, Bolt, Defiance and a few others before I can sum up the year.

But for now, this is what I rate the year as a whole:

2008 / A-

A great year for film… not nearly as good as 2007, but better than most other years this decade.

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Film Update – 8 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 8, 2008

Since I haven’t utilized this blog since July, I will take it upon me to update my top 10 of 2008, my Oscar predictions and everything else that has happened in the film world since July. At least I will try…

Here’s a point form list of what I have done relating to film since the end of July:

  • Attended the gala premiere of the film Blindness at the Toronto International Film Festival
  • Attended a screening of the film The Wrestler at the Toronto International Film Festival
  • Saw the Coen Brothers’ new film Burn After Reading in the theaters
  • Saw the disgusting sequel High School Musical 3: Senior Year in theaters
  • Attended a special presentation at my school, York University, from cinematographer Paul Sarossy. He screened one of Atom Egoyan’s films that he worked on: Where the Truth Lies.
  • Saw the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, in theaters
  • Saw Clint Eastwood’s film Changeling
  • Attended a special screening of David Fincher’s new film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at an AMC in downtown Toronto on December 3rd
  • Finally watched WALL-E on DVD

That’s pretty much all that has happened since the beginning of August. Sad, I know.

But I also have three exciting films that I will be seeing all in one day on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008. These films are: Milk, Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire.

I will post here with an even more up-to-date top 10 of 2008 list after I see those films.

But for now, this is my current top 10 of 2008:

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. WALL-E
  4. The Wrestler
  5. Changeling
  6. In Bruges
  7. Burn After Reading
  8. [Rec]
  9. Funny Games U.S.
  10. Blindness

I have to say I am pleased with this list so far… but I know [Rec], Funny Games and Blindness will not be on the list for much longer.

As for what has happened Awards-wise… the National Board of Review announced its winners on December 4th. They were as follows:

Best Picture of 2008 Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director – David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Actor – Clint Eastwood for Gran Torino

Best Actress – Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Actor – Josh Brolin for Milk

Best Supporting Actress – Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay – Nick Schenk for Gran Torino

Best Adapted Screenplay – Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign Film Mongol

Best Documentary Man on Wire

Best Animated Feature WALL-E

Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor – Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress – Viola Davis for Doubt

Best Directorial Debut – Courtney Hunt for Frozen River

Spotlight Award – Melissa Leo for Frozen River & Richard Jenkins for The Visitor

Best Ensemble Cast Doubt

Top Five Foreign Films The Edge of Heaven, Let the Right One In, Roman de Gare, A Secret, Waltz with Bashir

Top Five Documentaries American Teen, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Dear Zachary, Encounters at the End of the World, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Top Ten Independent Films Frozen River, In Bruges, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Mr. Foe, Rachel Getting Married, Snow Angels, Son of Rambow, Wendy and Lucy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Visitor

Top Ten Films Burn After Reading, Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Defiance, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Milk, WALL-E, The Wrestler

Overall, I was pleased with the winners. The ones that surprised me the most were Clint Eastwood for Best Actor and Gran Torino for Original Screenplay. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I just don’t understand the constant Eastwood love. I hope the film is great and Eastwood deserves it, otherwise I will be very angry. I also don’t quite understand why Mongol, a film nominated for the Foreign Film Oscar in 2007, won the award here for this year. Either way, the awards were all great and undoubtedly well deserved.

In my next post I will discuss my Oscar Predictions as of now.

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