Posted by: ckckred | March 27, 2015

The Best Movies of 2014

Whiplash

2012 and 2013 were both great years for cinema, but 2014, at least for me, had a lack of great cinema.  Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of films I loved (and I haven’t even seen such acclaimed pictures like A Most Violent Year or Nightcrawler), yet there weren’t too many movies this year that genuinely moved me.

Though I feel I’m selling 2014 short; it was overall a stellar year for cinema and all ten movies I name below are highly recommended.  Honorable mentions go to the Lamb of God documentary As The Palaces BurnThe Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Zero Theorem

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Posted by: ckckred | March 25, 2015

The 10 Best TV Shows of 2014

Top 10

Yes, I’m aware this post is coming out a few months late, but I never really got the chance to write up about my 10 favorite TV shows of last year.  In a post-Breaking Bad landscape, 2014 was a solid year for television, with plenty of great new series as well as veterans showing their strength.  Stay tuned for a post about 2014’s best movies as well as a write-up of the return of The X-Files.

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Posted by: ckckred | March 7, 2015

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu must think he’s the Howard Beale of cinema, shouting out the fallacy of Hollywood today. His previous films like Babel and 21 Grams were loudmouthed and shallow pictures over-swept with critical praise about how modern they were, addressing issues of the contemporary world. But much like Paul Haggis, Iñárritu possesses little understanding of reality outside his constraints and can’t help but shout out messages to his audience at the top of his lungs.

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Posted by: ckckred | February 21, 2015

R. I. P. Bruce Sinofsky

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Tragic news: documentary filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky has passed away at the age of 58 after a fight with diabetes.  Sinofsky was one of the finest documentarians working today.  Alongside fellow director and partner Joe Berlinger, Sinofsky made Paradise Lost, a documentary about the infamous West Memphis Three trial in Arkansas.  Paradise Lost produced two sequels, but it’s also noted for being the first time Metallica allowed their music to be in a movie.  That relationship between the documentarians and the band continued in Some Kind of Monster, dealing with the making of St. Anger as well as the therapy sessions conducted by Phil Towle with James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett.  Other than providing an honest portrayal of its subject matter by examining Jason Newsted’s departure, Napster, and Hetfield’s exit to rehab, Metallica attributed Some Kind of Monster for keeping the bandmates sincere during the time as well as saving the band from splitting up.

By pressing his subjects to be truthful, Sinofsky created some of the most compelling documentaries of the past two decades.  He will be missed.

Posted by: ckckred | February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart to Leave The Daily Show

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For sixteen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has dominated the late-night landscape, bringing a new standard to satirical news.  Stewart’s cutting edge provided dynamite comedy as he viciously attacked cable news outlets like Fox News and CNN as well as political insight during the Bush and Obama presidencies.  Not to mention without The Daily Show, we would have never seen talents such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, and John Oliver take air.

During yesterday’s taping, Stewart announced that he will be departing The Daily Show and Comedy Central stated that Stewart will leave at the end of the year.  The news is a huge blow to the channel and comedy fans alike, as it’s almost been two months since The Colbert Report concluded.  While Last Week Tonight is certainly as sharp as The Daily Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore has been going at it strong for the past month, Stewart’s exit will leave a huge void in the satirical news genre.  Hopefully Stewart will continue to commentate on politics if he plans to direct another film after 2014’s strong Rosewater.  Whatever the case, I wish Stewart and everyone on the staff of The Daily Show the best of luck.

Posted by: ckckred | January 13, 2015

Editor’s Note: Hiatus and Obligatory Twin Peaks News

Hey everybody,

As you have most likely noticed, over the past couple of months posting has become more and more irregular.  The reason isn’t just my same old excuse that I’m finding less and less time to blog (though that is partially true), but I’ve also been having a bit of a writer’s block (I have unfinished drafts of Inherent Vice and my ten favorite TV series of 2014 sitting on my desktop), plus I’ve been spending more and more of my free-time watching classic X-Files and Simpsons episodes.  Now I hope know you are all disappointed, but I promise to keep blogging if at a slower pace, so this is not the end of Cinematic.

But hey, I’ve also got some good news to tell.  It’s just been announced that Kyle MacLachlan will return for Twin Peaks‘ newest season.  It’s been about twenty-three years since David Lynch’s and MacLachlan’s last collaboration (Fire Walk With Me), so it’s great to see the two work again, plus Twin Peaks wouldn’t be the same without Dale Cooper.  Get ready for some damn good coffee in 2016.

The end of 2014 is approaching and rather than inquiring on what was your favorite movie of the year, I want to ask what was the best film you saw over the past twelve months that didn’t come from 2014?

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The best new-to-me movie that I saw was Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, though I also loved Orson Welles’ The Trial as well.  But what about yourself?

Posted by: ckckred | December 19, 2014

The Colbert Report: “We’ll Meet Again”

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Truthiness (noun)

  1. the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true

Back on October 17th in 2005, Stephen Colbert first anointed the word “truthiness” on the first episode of The Colbert Report to satirize the irony of Bush politics. By 2006, both Merriam-Webster and the American Dialect Society recognized truthiness as the word of the year and now just about everyone from newscasters to social media bloggers use truthiness in their day-to-day lives. On Thursday night on the final episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen recalled the impact that truthiness had on the world and by an extent the show’s. Stephen has had a NASA treadmill, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, and a hockey team named after him, he had filmed the show in Iraq back in 2009, he began a presidential campaign sponsored by Doritos, he helped support the U. S. Olympic speed skating team in 2010, he skewered George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he created his own Super PAC, and led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart. More importantly, Colbert managed to complete all of these accomplishments and the show in his character, a right-wing Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity-like commentator, and always kept a straight face.  Even during interviews, Stephen maintained his faux blowhard and egomaniacal persona, an almost impossible task.

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Posted by: ckckred | December 16, 2014

Trailer Analysis: Knight of Cups

Remember a few weeks ago when I criticized trailers for giving away too much and spoiling the film’s essence?  Well, forget I said all of that for a second because Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups now has its own teaser.

In recent years, Malick has grown more prolific in filmmaking, but Knight of Cups has been circling around for a while, searching for a distributor.  The movie will debut in February at the Berlin International Film Festival, so I think we can expect a summer release for the picture.

If the trailer is any indication, Knight of Cups is more dialogue oriented than To The Wonder or The Tree of Life (though it certainly appears very dreamy and surreal, two staples of Malick’s filmography, as well as having an all-star cast that features Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman).  I got a very Lynchian vibe from the teaser, and it reminded me much of INLAND EMPIRE.

Anyway, alongside Michael Haneke’s FlashmobKnight of Cups is my most anticipated film of next year.  Expect some beautiful cinematography of natural landscapes and somber narrations in 2015.

Posted by: ckckred | December 14, 2014

Can You Separate the Art from the Artist?

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The last few months have not been a kind time for Bill Cosby.  The legendary comedian has faced serious charges of rape (some dating back over 20 years ago) that have created an enormous publicity disaster.  During this backlash, Hollywood has devoted itself to pulling Cosby out of the mainstream.  Several of his comedy specials and appearances have been cancelled and TV Land has pulled The Cosby Show.

This scenario has happened many times before.  Celebrities who have faced serious criticism for rape (Roman Polanski), incest (Woody Allen), or anti-Semitism (Mel Gibson) have had their past work removed or discredited.  It’s a perfectly natural response to have and one not completely unjustifiable, but is it fair to splatter some films because of the actions or stance a director or actor committed?

I talked about Polanski about a month ago where I stated despite my continuous admiration towards the director, I think he has unfairly escaped proper conviction.  I feel the same way about Allen or Cosby.  Even if the allegations placed upon them aren’t true (which are very unlikely), it’s difficult to look at the two the same way again, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to have to protest Manhattan and Annie Hall or ban The Cosby Show.  While I believe the two should face the justice coming upon them, it’s completely fine to still treasure their past achievements.

Mel Gibson is a different case; as someone who hated Braveheart and The Patriot for their historical inaccuracies, and found The Passion of the Christ to be one of the most deplorable  movies of the 21st century, Gibson, in my opinion, has been unfairly treated by almost everyone and has faced far more exile than Allen or Polanski (ironic since the latter can’t even leave Europe).  What Gibson did certainly was terrible, but are his actions comparable to Allen’s, Polanski’s, or Cosby’s?  Certainly not and while Gibson’s alienation is not completely undeserved, he does deserve more credibility from the general public.

But what do you think?

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