Archive | March 2010

casting crew: THE MUNSTERS – THE MOVIE

It’s been ages since I’ve featured a Casting Crew column on this blog! In fact, most of you current readers haven’t been around long enough to even remember it. A refresher then – it’s time to cast the hypothetical small-screen-to-big-screen adaptations of the future. The ‘crew’ has already stopped by many other old shows, but for this entry, it’s all about the other kooky family of the undead, The Munsters.

Carel Struycken as Herman Munster

Melinda Clark as Lily Munster

Robin Williams as Grandpa

Nolan Gould as Eddie Munster

Jayma Mays as Marilyn Munster

and now for reviews…

In an effort to give myself an outlet through which I can properly and critically analyze the great medium of film, I’ve just begun a sister site for Journalistic Skepticism, aptly named Critical Skepticism, in which I’ll shoot the breeze on films old and new.  Please take a gander, and we’ll see how long I manage to keep this new site running simultaneously with the current one.

link rundown: march 30, 2010

All right, it’s time for some rockin’ links in the blog world. Take a look at these posts from out in cyberspace and enjoy!

**Simon at Four of Them takes an in-depth look at the oft-plagued sub-genre of biopics…
**Castor at Anomalous Material has a uniquely positive take on Brothers – he’s pretty killer at reviews, so it may be good to take his advice…
**Robert at His Eyes Were Watching Movies names the 15 best animated movies of the decade – it’s a rather good and diverse list – and makes a plea (that I can concur with) to Emmy voters for next year…
**Sara at Eco-Vintage Weddings uses her resident wedding guru skills to scout out a unique new way to present a pretty cool guestbook
**Andrew at Encore Entertainment makes the case for the ever-lovely Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger
**And Fitz at The LAMB has yet another near-impossible quiz for you to tackle…

best films: #37: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

All right, so this one’s kind of a no-brainer – it’s one of the greatest adventure flicks of all time, and there’s just no way around the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark and the character of Indiana Jones are both essential viewing (just forget about that fourth movie). Boasting the best “Jones girl,” I guess you’d call it, of the series, Karen Allen is spunky (and a wee bit o’ action hero herself) as Marion Ravenwood. Let’s face it – Kate Capshaw was a shrieking mess in Temple of Doom and though Alison Doody was a formidable bombshell of an opponent in the quite good Last Crusade, she hardly counts (you know, because of that whole being a Nazi thing). But Marion is a feisty bar owner who would sooner deck Indy than kiss him. And then, of course, there are the iconic scenes that Raiders boasts. Who among us hasn’t attempted to reenact that opening montage of peril, with the giant ball and the dramatic removal of the sacred artifact from its pedestal? And then there’s Indy himself – Harrison Ford has never been better (yep, I think this character is seven better than Han Solo). He’s the ultimate action hero, and it’s a true shame that this sort of level of character can’t really surface these days. It seems that the Indiana Joneses and Hans Solos died with the 1980s. But every time we want to reminisce, we’ll just strike up that genius John Williams score.

Standout Performance: C’mon – it’s Harrison Ford. He’s great fun as the quintessential 20th Century hero.

best of the decade: rivalry showdown

All right everyone, place your bets! It’s time for some old rivals from the aughts to throw down. Who do you have your money on in these 15 epic battles?

Yu Shu Lien vs. Jen Yu
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Velma Kelly vs. Roxie Hart
Chicago (2002)

The Bride vs. O-Ren Ishii
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003)

Stephen Glass vs. Chuck Lane
Shattered Glass (2003)

Julia Lambert vs. Avice Crichton
Being Julia (2004)

Jason Bourne vs. Pamela Landy
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The Bride vs. Elle Driver
Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (2004)

Mary vs. Hilary Faye
Saved! (2004)

Billy Costigan vs. Colin Sullivan
The Departed (2006)

Andrea Sachs vs. Miranda Priestley
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Llewelyn Moss vs. Anton Chigurh
No Country for Old Men (2007)

Daniel Plainview vs. Eli Sunday
There Will Be Blood (2007)

Bruce Wayne vs. The Joker
The Dark Knight (2008)

Christine Brown vs. Sylvia Ganush
Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Kate Coleman vs. Esther
Orphan (2009)

Who’s got the stuff to win these face-to-face fistfights?

best films: #38: THE DEPARTED (2006)

Say what you will about its validity as the Best Picture winner in 2006, but it’s hard to deny that at its core The Departed is a captivating thriller. From its expertly filmed and directed twists and turns to its killer lead performance from Leonardo DiCaprio (could this be his best and most underrated performance?), Martin Scorsese‘s modern masterpiece is more than a throwaway cop drama – which we seem to be barraged with excessive amounts of lately. It has a mesmerizing cat-and-mouse mystery at its core. And who but Scorsese could draw such a great performance out of the typically flat Mark Wahlberg? Top that off with a demented (as usual) role from Jack Nicholson and an astutely subtle one from Martin Sheen, and you’ve got an expertly assembled cast. Oh, and did I mention Vera Farmiga is in it as the torn-between-lovers post-traumatic stress therapist? Yeah, and she’s typically wonderful. But what seems to be the real person to watch in this film is Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s go-to film editor, whose Oscar-winning work on this film had the intense and steady touch that only she seems to offer in this genre.

Standout Performance: DiCaprio is a force in this flick. It’s easily better than his more-lauded work in Blood Diamond that same year, and it’s probably better than his other roles through the past couple decades.