November 12, 2012 3:39 pm
By Matt Ford
It’s an exciting time to be a moviegoer.
Here’s why: movies like Skyfall are rebooting the action genre, which of course includes the James Bond series. Bond movies will no longer be formulaic flicks with pithy pick-up lines, vapid women and happy endings; the new Bond is flawed, injured, cynical, self-loathing, and even — occasionally — out-matched.
Bond is one thing, but it will not be contending for Oscars next March. (Although co-star Javier Bardem might.) The movie it topped at the box office this weekend — Ben Affleck’s Argo — most certainly will.
It’s hard to explain what’s so great about Argo until you see it. In brief, Argo is brilliantly paced — the plot covers a lot of ground quickly — well-acted, unpredictable, occasionally hilarious, and confidently understated. After the movie was over, I quickly hoisted it into the “Best Movies I’ve Ever Watched” category. I know — bold.
So, on one hand, we have an action movie trying to be more complex; on the other, a spy movie trying to keep it simple.
Does it work for both films?
October 16, 2012 2:36 pm
By Matt Ford
How to describe Seven Psychopaths:
Take a dash of goofy/gritty crime classic Snatch, throw in a Coen Brothers twist of nihilism, and sprinkle the disjointed (but purposeful) vignetting of Pulp Fiction. Then add a hearty helping of Christopher Walken, and you have Seven Psychopaths.
Shorter: It’s like a better version of Smoking Aces.
Seven Psychopaths is about a Los Angeles screenwriter, played by a (surprisingly?) capable Colin Farrell, whose writer’s block is mended by his homicidal homeboy (Sam Rockwell). The two end up teaming with a dog kidnapper (Walken) who steals Woody Harrelson’s shih tzu and has to suffer the consequences.
From the get-go, this movie is wildly entertaining. The humor is biting, the storytelling is suspenseful, and the character development is well-executed.
Here are five reasons why you should see Seven Psychopaths:
September 22, 2012 5:58 pm
By Matt Ford
How can you say TV isn’t better than ever when you see the list of the nominees for best drama series? When shows like Girls invigorate cross-cultural discussions? And when actors like Bryan Cranston, Claire Danes and Glenn Close are getting nominated not for Oscars, but for Emmys?
Front-Runner: Mad Men has won four years in a row. I know, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not amazing.
Dark Horse: Homeland, which won the Golden Globe for Best Drama (though neither Breaking Bad nor Mad Men were nominated due to their shows’ timing). In my opinion, the second-best show of this list.
Perfect World: Breaking Bad. The opposite of Mad Men, it picks up the acting awards every year, but not the series awards. Season Four of Breaking Bad was the best season yet. Right, Hector?
Matt’s Pick: Breaking Bad. Simple: It’s unpredictable, brilliantly acted, and has already forever changed viewers’ expectations of the dramas they watch on television. Then again, perhaps the best TV show in history never won this Emmy either.
September 7, 2012 11:17 am
By Justin Elliott
To evaluate these adult playgrounds I used the following criteria:
3. Walking around
6. Wild Card/Shenanigans
I ranked each city 1-10 in each of the categories. In the spirit of gambling, I’m setting the line: Vegas -11.5.
July 23, 2012 1:18 pm
By Matt Ford
Rebounding from Maggie Gyllenhall, who wouldn’t sleep with you DESPITE KNOWING FULL WELL YOU ARE FUCKING BATMAN, to Anne Hathaway in full-body spandex. Let’s hope the girl who first played Rachel Dawes achieves a similar narrative.
Marion Cotillard. Quietly putting together one of the best resumes in Hollywood since 2009 — Inception, Midnight in Paris, Dark Knight Rises, Contagion, Public Enemies — Mademoiselle Cotillard is nailing down the “Not Bat-Shit Crazy Female Actress Who Is Not Just Hot But Can Also Act” niche previously occupied by Natalie Portman and never once occupied by Megan Fox.
Riding the wave of the Occupy movement. DKR manages to at least pay homage to the most significant cultural protest in half a century.
A truly ridiculous appearance by The Scarecrow, which caused the crowd in my theater to actually LOL the moment he appeared on screen. The only explanation I have for scenes with The Scarecrow are that Dark Knight Rises had to adhere to the International Law stating Cillian Murphy has to be in every Christopher Nolan movie.
Verdict: Tough to nitpick at a great movie — overall, DKR gets at least a 9 on the scale of 1-to-Dark Knight.
July 11, 2012 10:30 am
By Matt Ford
One of the criticisms of the HBO hit show Girls is that it does not accurately portray the population of New York.
I wish I could have done Girls creator Lena Dunham a favor and dropped her critics into the middle of the Dirty Projectors crowd at Prospect Park on Tuesday night.
Trying to define hipsters is fairly difficult. It’s kind of like the square/rectangle definition. Not every square is a rectangle, but every rectangle is a square; not every hipster is a pretentious, flamboyantly dressed, androgynous, unemployed asshole… but all those people are hipsters. Make sense?
Back to the Dirty Projectors. The band’s harmonies, when heard in person, are literally chilling. The Dirty Projectors have three female vocalists (although they all play other instruments too) who can pretty much nail any sound in the rock vocabulary: soothing doo-wop “ooo’s,” cackling Robert Plant “AHHH’s,” not to mention complex harmonies and polyrhythms.
Overall, I’d give the Dirty Projectors about an 8 out of 10 last night — and would certainly recommend seeing them, if you’re into them.
July 10, 2012 10:15 am
By Chris Badders
As a person who is bound to be tied to a newsroom for the better part of the next 50+ years, these characters, their interactions, and the portrayal of the somewhat calm/mostly chaotic family of a newsroom all play on my emotions and life experiences. In short — I get off on that kind of environment, and Sorkin writes it very well.
The price being paid by American citizens is the ability for the common person to be delivered straight, unfiltered, uncensored, unbiased facts. And we are being robbed of a conscious and healthy public national discourse.
That’s the reason The Newsroom works. It points out flaws in the system, and no one else can — or no one else is willing. I’m not saying it achieves its lofty goals without its own biases. But at least it can boldly say there are many things wrong with television news, and hopefully someone out there is watching.
July 7, 2012 11:49 am
By Matt Ford
Five days off, unprecedented heat, way too many American-flag Budweisers and several NBA blockbuster trades are the fodder of Matt’s latest Completely Arbitrary Power Rankings.
2) My company for giving us the entire week off after July Fourth.
3) Roger Federer. Now, he’s on his way to a record eighth Wimbledon final. But a few weeks ago, many thought Roger Federer would be forever doomed to pointlessly chase the dominant Novak Djokovic and ubiquitous Rafael Nadal, like he was Quagmire chasing Lois.
Whoever Katie Holmes rebounds with. I like Channing Tatum for this role (the first role for which anyone has ever liked Tatum).
15) The Newsroom. Did anyone watch the second week? Literally, have you heard anyone talking about it since Week One?
July 2, 2012 9:30 am
By Matt Ford
Artists find inspiration from many subjects. Monet chose landscapes, Kim Kardashian chose reality television (just kidding), and Woody Allen chooses women and cities.
Rome is a living, breathing city of stories in To Rome With Love — an almost magical venue for people to fall in love, make mistakes, and experiment with happiness. Woody Allen has made many cities into aphrodisiacs and he does it once more; he makes old, rusty, bustling Rome look damn sexy.
Is To Rome With Love an amazing movie? No. Is it as good as Midnight in Paris? No. Should you see it instead of Ted? Probably not, if you’re a reader of this website. But if you want to be inspired by great filmmaking, excellent acting and a timeless city, it’s worth it. Woody Allen almost always is.