Trailer: The Rover


A lot of people are probably going to be inclined to dismiss The Rover out-of-hand simply because it stars Robert Pattinson.  I suggest that, if those people need proof that Pattinson is capable of more than Twilight, they should go watch Cosmopolis.

And besides, even if you aren’t a fan of Pattinson’s, you should still be willing to take a chance on The Rover because it was directed by David Michod, who previously directed the absolutely brilliant Animal Kingdom, and it co-stars the great Guy Pearce.

The Rover will be released in the summer of 2014.

 

Lisa Marie Picks The 50 Best Films of The Past 3 Years


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As of this month, I have been reviewing films here at the Shattered Lens for 3 years.  In honor of that anniversary, I thought I’d post my picks for the 50 best films that have been released in the U.S. since 2010.

Without further ado, here’s the list!

  1. Black Swan (directed by Darren Aronofsky)
  2. Exit Through The Gift Shop (directed by Banksy)
  3. Hanna (directed by Joe Wright)
  4. Fish Tank (directed by Andrea Arnold)
  5. Higher Ground (directed by Vera Farmiga)
  6. Shame (directed by Steve McQueen)
  7. Anna Karenina (directed by Joe Wright)
  8. The Cabin In The Woods (directed by Drew Goddard)
  9. 127 Hours (directed by Danny Boyle)
  10. Somewhere (directed by Sofia Coppola)
  11. Life of Pi (directed by Ang Lee)
  12. Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese)
  13. Inception (directed by Christopher Nolan)
  14. Animal Kingdom (directed by David Michod)
  15. Winter’s Bone (directed by Debra Granik)
  16. The Artist (directed by Michel Hazanavicius)
  17. The Guard (directed by John Michael McDonagh)
  18. Bernie (directed by Richard Linklater)
  19. The King’s Speech (directed by Tom Hooper)
  20. Bridesmaids (directed by Paul Feig)
  21. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (directed by Thomas Alfredson)
  22. Django Unchained (directed by Quentin Tarantino)
  23. Never Let Me Go (directed by Mark Romanek)
  24. Toy Story 3 (directed by Lee Unkrich)
  25. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (directed by Niels Arden Oplev)
  26. Young Adult (directed by Jason Reitman)
  27. Sucker Punch (directed by Zack Snyder)
  28. The Master (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)
  29. Incendies (directed by Denis Villeneuve)
  30. Melancholia (directed by Lars Von Trier)
  31. Super (directed by James Gunn)
  32. Silver Linings Playbook (directed by David O. Russell)
  33. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (directed by Edgar Wright)
  34. The Last Exorcism (directed by Daniel Stamm)
  35. Skyfall (directed by Sam Mendes)
  36. Easy A (directed by Will Gluck)
  37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 (directed by David Yates)
  38. The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon)
  39. How To Train Your Dragon (directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBois)
  40. Win Win (directed by Thomas McCarthy)
  41. Les Miserables (directed by Tom Hooper)
  42. Take This Waltz (directed by Sarah Polley)
  43. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (directed by Werner Herzog)
  44. Rust and Bone (directed by Jacques Audiard)
  45. Cosmopolis (directed by David Cronenberg)
  46. Ruby Sparks (directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris)
  47. Brave (directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
  48. Martha Marcy May Marlene (directed by Sean Durkin)
  49. Jane Eyre (directed by Cary Fukunaga)
  50. Damsels in Distress (directed by Whit Stillman)

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Hesher (dir. by Spencer Susser)


I’ve been told that guys don’t seem to appreciate being called “adorable” by girls.  They consider it a back-handed compliment and seriously, how insecure can you be?  Okay, I understand that most guys want to us to think that they’re dangerous and I’ll admit right now that all that stuff you’ve heard about girls liking bad boys — well, it’s true.  But adorable is no longer just a back-handed compliment.  Why?  Because Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made adorable sexy.

I first really noticed Joseph Gordon-Levitt when I saw him as the lead in 2007’s overlooked crime thriller The Lookout but he truly won my heart when I first saw him dancing to You Make My Dreams in (500) Days of Summer.  And then came Inception.  Some people will tell you that film was about Leonardo DiCaprio entering other people’s dreams to find himself.  Nope, sorry, not true.  As far as I’m concerned, Inception was a movie about Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting all dressed up and floating through the halls of that dream hotel and beating up every single person who tried to get in his way.    What did all three of these roles have in common?  Nothing except for the utterly adorable hotness of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

It was this adorable hotness that led me to see Gordon-Levitt’s latest film, Hesher.  Despite the fact that the film is massively (perhaps fatally) flawed, this is also the film that proves that, as an actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt can be something more than just an adorable fantasy boyfriend.

Directed by Spencer Sussman and co-written by Animal Kingdom director David Michod, Hesher opens with 12 year-old T.J. (Devin Brochu) struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of his mother and his family’s subsequent collapse.  T.J. and his father (a bear-like Rainn Wilson) have moved in with their grandmother (a perfectly poignant performance from Piper Laurie) who is showing the beginning signs of senility.  T.J. spends his days obsessing on the remains of the family car (which was totaled in the accident that killed his mother), trying to avoid local bullies, and dealing with a hopeless crush that he’s developed on a cashier (Natalie Portman) at the local grocery store.

When T.J. first meets Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Hesher is squatting in an abandoned construction site.  T.J. accidentally leads a security guard to Hesher’s temporary home.  Hesher responds by lighting a molotov cocktail and blowing the place up while T.J. runs away.  Suddenly, T.J. starts to see Hesher wandering around the hallways of his school.  Walking home from school, T.J. sees Hesher following behind him in what can only be described as a “rape van.”  And then, just as suddenly, Hesher has moved in to T.J.;s house and made himself into a part of the family.  Hesher quickly becomes a mentor of sorts to T.J. though his lessons primarily consist of doing things like blowing up a bully’s car and then running off, leaving T.J. to deal with the consequences.

Hesher is hardly a role that you’d expect to find Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing.  With long, unwashed hair and an extended middle finger tattooed across his back, Hesher isn’t so much an outsider as he’s just a sociopath, the type of guy who you try not to make eye contact out of fear that he’ll respond by shooting you first.  How scary a guy is Hesher?  He’s so scary that just saying his name causes the film’s soundtrack to explode with a burst of heavy metal.  That’s how scary he is.  The Joseph Gordon-Levitt that we all know and love (or at least the one that I know and love) is pretty much impossible to find and yet, Gordon-Levitt still gives a great performance here.  Without ignoring any of Hesher’s rough edges or trying to reveal any sort of inner decency, both the film and Gordon-Levitt make Hesher into a frustratingly attractive character.  This is probably the best performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s career so far.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn’t really live up to Gordon-Levitt’s performance.  It starts out well and, for quite some time, we’re encouraged to believe that Hesher might just be a product of T.J.’s imagination, a projection of his own anger and depression.  That’s an interesting idea and would have made for a far more effective film.  Unfortunately, Hesher then suddenly moves in wit T.J. and suddenly, he’s interacting with Wilson and befriending Piper Laurie and, worst of all, he starts to reveal a little bit about his past.  In other words, he goes from being a symbol of unrestrained ID to just being another white trash rapist.  Once the film makes it clear that Hesher is an actual character then suddenly, you realize that the filmmakers haven’t given you any credible reason why both Wilson and Laurie (not to mention the cops who start to regularly drop by the house as Hesher blows stuff up around the neighborhood) would so easily accept the idea of living with him.  Finally, the movie concludes with a sequence at a funeral that just feels so simultaneously wrong, heavy-handed, and maudlin that, at first, I was convinced that it had to be some sort of satirical comment on the clichéd nature of the scene.  But no, the rest of the film makes clear that we’re supposed to take this sequence seriously.  It’s such a wrong-headed move that it cheapens everything that came before it.  The movie ends with a lot of loud music and the credits are decorated with obscene graffiti but it doesn’t make any difference.  The film has already revealed that, at heart, it’s hardly rebellious enough to be worthy of a character like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Hesher.

In the end, Hesher fails as a movie but its partially redeemed for revealing that there’s more to Joseph Gordon-Levitt than just adorable cuteness.

For Your Oscar Consideration


It’s November and that means that we have now officially entered Oscar season.  For the next two months, movies specifically designed to win awards will be released in theaters across America.  Movies like Fair Game, The King’s Speech, True Grit, For Colored Girls, Another Year, and 127 Hours will be presented for “your consideration,” as they always put it in the Oscar ads.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing quite a few of those films.  Fair Game looks like its going to be a bit of a pain (seriously, Sean Penn, it’s great you were right about Iraq and all but get over yourself)  and For Colored Girls seems like it’ll be one of those films that people are scared to admit disliking.  However, The King’s Speech looks like it might be a funny and sweet little movie and  127 Hours looks like it might be the film that proves that James Franco is a major hottie who could use and abuse me in any way he…uhmm, sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah — Oscar season!

The unfortunate thing about Oscar season is that often it seems that movies that were released before the end of the year are either totally forgotten or only given a few sympathy nods.  So, here’s my personal list of a few contenders that, though released pre-Oscar season, I think are just as deserving of consideration as Fair Game.

1) Best Picture — Exit Through The Gift Shop

People either love this film or they hate it.  I love it.  I think it’s a great mindfuck and, as of now, it’s my favorite film of 2010.  In a perfect world, it would not only be the first documentary to be nominated for best picture but the first one to win as well.  Unfortunately, the Mainstream hates having its mind fucked.  Which is why I say — Grindhouse Victory for Exit Through The Gift Shop!

2) Best Picture — Animal Kingdom

This grim yet compelling Australian crime thriller plays like an unromanticized version of The Town, which is probably why it will be no where to be seen once the nominations are announced.  Animal Kingdom also features award worthy work from actors Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, and director David Michod.

3) Best Picture — Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Yes, it crashed and burned at the box office and it’s been the victim of an anti-Michael Cera backlash but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was one of the best and most original films of the summer.  If the best movies succeed by creating their own unique worlds, then Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World deserves to be recognized as one of the best.

4) Best Picture — Never Let Me Go

Mark Romanek’s low-key but affecting adaption of Kazou Ishiguro’s award-winning novel takes a familiar Sci-Fi plot — clones are raised in seclusion so that their organs can eventually be harvested — and turns it into a haunting meditation on life, death, love, and fate.  Carey Mulligan, who deserved the Oscar last year for An Education, holds the film together with quiet strength while Kiera Knightley and Andrew Garfield make the most of the more showy supporting roles.

5) Best Actor — Patrick Fabian, The Last Exorcism

Yes, Fabian will never be nominated because The Last Exorcism was a box office flop, a horror film, and it had an ending that generated a lot of negative word of mouth.  However, I believe that Fabian gave the best performance of the year (so far) in this film.  One reason why that over-the-top ending upset so many viewers was because Fabian had kept the film so grounded in reality that the sudden appearance of the supernatural almost felt like a betrayal.  Incidentally, I think that Fabian’s performance was meant to be an homage to former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner.  (And yes, I realize that’s like the 100th time I’ve casually mentioned Marjoe Gortner on this site.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Or does it?)

6) Best Actress — Noomi Rapace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Mainstream has pretty much already declared Annette Bening to be the winner for her work in The Kids Are All Right but the Grindhouse knows that 2010 was the year of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

7) Best Actress — Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank

Fish Tank probably played too early in the year to be properly remembered by the Academy but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best films of the year.  Playing an angry but naive British teen, Katie Jarvis gives a fearlessly vulnerable performance.  Just consider the harrowing scene where, after kidnapping her older lover’s daughter, she realizes what a mistake she’s made.

8 ) Best Supporting Actor — John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

While I hope Winter’s Bone, at the very least, receives nominations for best picture, best actress for Jennifer Lawrence, and a best director nod for Debra Granik, I fear that John Hawkes will be forgotten.  That’s a shame because Hawkes, arguably, gives the strongest performance in the film.  As Lawrence’s drug addicted uncle, Hawkes is both scary and heroic.  If Lawrence represents hope for the future, Hawkes epitomizes the doom of the present.

9) Best Supporting Actress — Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass

If Moretz is nominated, it’ll probably be for her performance in Let Me In.  However, good as she was in that film, I think her performance in Kick-Ass is even better.  Playing the controversial character of Hit-Girl, Moretz was the film’s foul-mouthed, borderline-psychotic heart.

10) Best Cinematography — Twelve

Yes, Twelve is a dire film that manages to turn a good book into a silly melodrama but the movie is gorgeous to look at.

11) Best Original Score — Machete

As performed by the band Chingon (which features the film’s director, Robert Rodriguez, on guitar), Machete’s score was much like the film itself: over-the-top, shameless, and a lot of fun.   In much the same way that Hans Zimmer’s score made you believe in the world of Inception, Machete’s score literally forces the viewer into the proper Grindhouse mindset.

12) Best Original Song — “Pimps Don’t Cry” from The Other Guys

Oh, why not?

13) Best Feature-Length Documentary — Best Worst Movie

A charming documentary about the making of that infamous film, Troll 2, Best Worst Movie is also a look at how a movie can be so amazingly bad that it eventually becomes a beloved classic.

14) Best Animated Feature — A Town Called Panic 

This surreal, French, stop-motion film only played for a week down here in Dallas and I nearly didn’t get to see it.  I’m glad I did because, seriously, this movie — oh my God.  The best description I’ve heard of it comes from Empire Magazine where it was referred to as being “Toy Story on absinthe.”  Of course, since apparently California can’t even handle legalized weed, it’s probably hoping too much that they’ll be willing to drink the absinthe.

As just a sidenote, isn’t the poster for A Town Called Panic just adorable?  I swear, just looking at it makes me feel happy.