Trailer: Big Sur


PCASOn the Road may get all the attention but Big Sur, in my opinion, is the best book that Jack Kerouac ever wrote.  Telling the story of Kerouac’s attempt to deal with both sudden fame and his growing alcoholism, Big Sur is a meditation on existence that somehow manages to make even the contemplation of self-destruction seem life-affirming.

As for the upcoming film version of Big Sur, I can’t say that I’m hopeful.  As last year’s film adaptation of On The Road demonstrated, Kerouac’s books have rarely gotten the film treatments that they deserve.

However, judging from the trailer below, the film adaptation of Big Sur does get at least one thing right.

Jean-Marc Barr appears to be perfectly cast as Jack.

The National Board of Review Honors Zero Dark Thirty


Oscar season continues!  Just a few hours ago, the National Board of Review announced their picks for the best of 2012.  Like the New York Film Critics Circle, the NBR named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of 2012 and Kathryn Bigelow best director.

I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty so I can’t judge whether it’s truly a great film or not.  However, to be perfectly honest, I sincerely hope that it doesn’t win every single critics’ award out there because, seriously, that would be sooooooooooo boring!  I mean, I know that all of you establishment film critics love to jump on the bandwagon but seriously, variety is the spice of life!

As much as I wish that the NBR had kept things interesting by choosing some out-of-nowhere pick for best picture, I am happy to see that they honored Bradley Cooper for his excellent work in Silver Linings Playbook.

Along with naming Zero Dark Thirty as best picture, the NBR also listed the 9 runner-ups.  It’s interesting to note that The Dark Knight Rises does not appear anywhere on that list.

On a personal note, I’ll be posting my own picks for the best of 2012 during the first week of January and, trust me, my picks are going to be a lot more interesting than anything you’re going to get from the National Board of Review.

BEST PICTURE
“Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR
Kathryn Bigelow (“”Zero Dark Thirty””)

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Ann Dowd (“Compliance”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Rian Johnson (“Looper”)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

BEST ENSEMBLE
“Les Miserables”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Wreck-It-Ralph”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
“Amour”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Searching for Sugar Man”

SPOTLIGHT AWARD
John Goodman

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCES
Tom Holland (“The Impossible”)
Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT 
Ben Affleck (“Argo”)

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
“Central Park Five”
“Promised Land”

 

 

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Argo”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Lincoln”
“Looper”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“Promised Land”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Barbara”
“The Intouchables”
“The Kid with a Bike”
“No”
“War Witch”

BEST DOCUMENTARY NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Al Weiwei”
“Detropia”
“The Gatekeepers”
“The Invisible War”
“Only the Young”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (alphabetical)
“Arbitrage”
“Bernie”
“Compliance”
“End of Watch”
“Hello, I Must Be Going”
“Little Birds”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“On the Road”
“Quartet”
“Sleepwalk with Me”

It’s Time For The Annual Self-Important Post About The Year In Film So Far


For the entire past week, something has been nagging at me.  I knew that there was something that I needed to do but I couldn’t remember what it was.  Earlier today, however, I was reading the latest critical blathering about the state of cinema over at AwardsDaily.  As usual, that site’s editors were whining about the fact that the Social Network didn’t win best picture and also the fact that my generation is apparently the “WORST.  GENERATION.  EVER” and blah blah blah. 

Fortunately, however, reading that  post reminded me of what I had forgotten: We are now at the halfway mark as far as 2012 is concerned.  This is the time of year that self-important film critics (both online and elsewhere) tell their readers what type of year it’s been so far. 

So, without further ado — what type of year has 2012 been so far?

(By the way, you can also check out my thoughts from July of 2011 and July 2010 as well.)

(Also, please understand that the act of me posting this in no way guarantees that I won’t change my mind several times within the next hour.)

Best Film Of The Year (So Far): Cabin In The Woods. Compared to both 2010 and 2011, this has been a pretty slow year so far.  There really hasn’t been a Hanna or an Exit Through The Gift Shop type of film so far.  Instead, there’s been a handful of nice surprises, quite a few pleasant but somewhat forgettable films, and then quite a few films that i wish were forgettable.  Cabin In The Woods, however, was a nice little valentine to horror fans like me and it’s a film that actually gets even better with repeat viewings.  Runners up include Bernie, Damsels in Distress, Brave, The Hunger Games, Safety Not Guaranteed, Moonrise Kingdom, For Greater Glory, Jeff, Who Lives At Home, and the Avengers.

Best Male Performance Of The Year (So Far): Jack Black in Bernie.  Runners up include Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man and Jason Segal in Jeff, Who Lives At Home.

Best Female Performance of the Year (So Far): Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.  Seriously, just try to imagine that film with someone else in the lead role.  Runners up include Susan Sarandon in Jeff, Who Lives At Home, Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed, and Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress.

Best Voice-Over Performance Of The Year (So Far): Kelly MacDonald in Brave.

Best Ending Of The Year (So Far): A 3-way tie between The Cabin In The Woods, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Jeff, Who Lives At Home.

Best Horror Film Of The Year (So Far): The Cabin In The Woods

Most Underrated Film Of The Year (So Far): The Five-Year Engagement, a sweet and funny movie that was just a tad bit too long.

Best Bad Film of the Year: Battleship.  Yes, the movie represented some of the worst impulses of big-budget filmmaking but I had a lot of fun watching it and Alexander Skarsgard was to die for in that white Navy uniform.

Worst Film Of The Year (So Far): The Wicker Tree.  I could make an argument for both Rock of Ages and The Devil Inside here but no…just no.  As the Trash Film Guru put it, “BURN THE WICKER TREE!”

Biggest Example Of A Missed Opportunity For This Year (So Far): Seeking a Friend For The End of the World.  A great performance from Steve Carrel can’t save a film that has no idea what it wants to be.

The Get Over It Already Award For The First Half of 2012: The Devil Inside, for being the most tedious example of a “found footage” horror film yet.  Coming in second: Rock of Ages, for reminding me that my parents had terrible taste in music.

The Trailer That Has Most Outgrown Its Welcome: The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.  “Be aggressive…passive aggressive…” Okay, shut up, already.

The Cameron/Fincher Bandwagon Trophy (Awarded To The Upcoming Film That, Regardless Of Quality, Will Probably Be So Violently Embraced By People Online That You’ll Be Putting Your Life In Danger If You Dare Offer Up The Slightest Amount Of Criticism): The Dark Knight Rises

The Ebert Award (Awarded to the upcoming film that will probably get  positive reviews based on the film’s political context as opposed to the film itself): Zero Dark Thirty

The Sasha Award (Awarded To The Film That I Am Predicting Will Be The Most Overrated Of The Year): Lincoln.

The Roland Emmerich/Rod Lurie Award For The Film That I’m Predicting Will Be The Worst Of 2012: Honestly, it’s really hard to imagine a worse film than The Wicker Tree (though, to be honest, Rock of Ages comes pretty close). 

Films I’m Looking Forward To Seeing In The Future (An incomplete list): On The Road, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, Cosmopolis, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, and especially The Master and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina.

And there you have it.  2012 hasn’t been a great year so far but there’s still a lot of time left.

Unless, of course, the Mayans were correct.

Trailer: On The Road


Here’s the trailer for the film that will probably end up dominated my twitter timeline when it’s eventually released.  I follow a lot of big Kerouac fans (and I think Big Sur is one of the great American novels) and I’ll be interested to see what they think of the long-delayed film version of On The Road.  For now, I’ll just say that it’s rarely a good sign when the film version of an iconic novel is full of star cameos and I have a hard time imagining the dependably dull Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty.

(Already, I can hear people complaining about the prominence of Kristen Stewart in the film’s trailer….)