Pete Postlethwaite, 7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011

January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite has reportedly passed away. 😦

Condolences to his loved ones.

He made countless films better with his presence.  In fact, he’s so rich and integral to my particular knowledge and conception of what cinema is, I’m rather surprised his filmography isn’t even longer.

Either way, I’ll miss in the future looking to the screen and that seemingly ever-reliable pleasant surprise of, “Oh, Pete’s in this!”

To better lands you drift away.


AK—Film #2—High Low (1963)

March 1, 2010

So so sorry for the ultra-delayed posting. I watched this a couple weeks ago, but haven’t had it in me to do a proper write up.

I really wish I had the drive to do a full write up, but honestly I don’t. I’ll just say a few words:

  1. My favorite Kurosawa thus far.

I’ll try to revisit this one after completing my series, which from the looks of it won’t be done for a very very long time.

Toshiro Mifune=The man

Here’s the remaining list. I think i’ll mix it up a bit from here, jumping around to Hidden Fortress most likely.

  1. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)
  2. Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two (1945)
  3. Seven Samurai (1954)
  4. Throne of Blood (1957)
  5. Ikiru (1952)
  6. The Most Beautiful (1944)
  7. Kagemusha (1980)
  8. The Men Who Tread on The Tiger’s Tail (1945)
  9. No Regrets for our Youth (1946)
  10. The Hidden Fortress (1958)
  11. One Wonderful Sunday (1947)
  12. Red Beard (1965)
  13. Drunken Angel (1948)
  14. Scandal (1950)
  15. The Idiot (1951)
  16. Stray Dog (1949)
  17. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
  18. I Live In Fear (1955)
  19. Dodes’ka-Den (1970)
  20. The Lower Depths (1957)
  21. Yojimbo (1961)
  22. Madadayo (1993)
  23. Sanjuro (1962)

“Cop Out” Red Band Trailer Hits

February 8, 2010

I seriously laughed out loud at more than a few parts. I’m really digging it.

Introducing: Short Film of the Week series

January 22, 2010

This marks the beginning of a new series here at Something Offensive.  Pretty self-explanatory if not exceptionally original (that’s fast becoming my M.O., I know).

I think this will provide a nice outlet for myself and others to expose ourselves to and discuss more experimental works and help us better appreciate the cinematic form.

I plan to watch a fair amount of shorts every week, by filmmakers known and unknown, with content and ideas ranging all over the map.  And come each weekend, I’ll post my favorite find.

If there are any short films you would like to see featured in the weeks ahead, let us know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to check them out.

This week’s selection: “There’s Only One Sun”  (2007)

director: Wong Kar-wai

I wanted to kick things off by getting an obvious choice of filmmaker out of the way.  I’ve often touted WKW’s more well-known feature work, and in case you haven’t seen Fallen Angels or In the Mood for Love, this might serve as a good primer.

Philips commissioned the director to showcase their new HD TV’s capabilities, and couldn’t have possibly made a better selection.  Here we’re treated to Wong’s brand of narration, his striking use of light and color,  tragic romantic characters, very particular soundtrack, bold titles, notes of interpersonal isolation, etc.   I find both the French language and the futuristic neo-noir set-up are natural fits for the director; the central concept really allows him to demonstrate his craft.  My only major critique is that I  wish the narrative had maintained a greater sense of mystery.  The first minute or two had me fully intrigued, so I couldn’t help but feel somewhat letdown once it sort of revealed its hand.

All in all, between this and Wong’s somewhat aesthetically-similar 2046, I’d be greatly interested to see him tackle a feature-length of this or something close in line provided he had a more refined story.  It’s just a painfully beautiful vision to behold.

What are your thoughts?

Meet your *NEW* friendly neighborhood Spider-Man director

January 20, 2010

Kill the speculation and commence the puns.

Marc Webb, director and co-writer of last year’s (500) Days of Summer, has signed a three picture deal to direct a new ‘Spider-Man’ film series, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today.

In the short while since it was reported Sam Raimi and company walked away from an intended 4th movie starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, Webb’s name quickly shot to the top of the pile of filmmakers Sony was allegedly targeting to take the reins of a franchise reboot, utilizing a two-part script from James Vanderbilt (long in place as a contingency plan for the studio).

Vanderbilt’s story is said to reintroduce audiences to the world of Peter Parker, emphasizing the character’s roots as a high school student and maintaining an authentic, real-world “grittiness” akin to other recent comic book properties.

My Picks for the 10’s

January 11, 2010
  1. A move away from “dark” films.
    • Last decade was by all accounts one of the worst the human race (America in particular) has experienced. From 9/11 to the wars, tsunamis and hurricanes, and finally economic woes; the 2000s sucked. This was frequently reflected in grim pessimistic films such as The Dark Knight, There Will Be Blood, and even the Star Wars prequels. The real nail in the coffin was the suggestion that the next Superman film would be darker. WTF!? Aside from the fact that Superman is not a dark character, we need to move away from the pessimism toward more optimistic storytelling. Give us good over evil. Make us feel good about the world again. Let us marvel at the images on the screen. Avatar seems like a step in the right direction, albeit a bit preachy on the fact. Let dark stories be dark stores, don’t purposefully make the tone of everything as such.
  2. No more remakes!
    • Ok. Already looking at 2010’s schedule I can see a bevy of remakes. A few are welcome and I think deserve to be remade, especially with contemporary CGI. Clash of the Titans comes to mind as deserving of such treatment. Others are just retellings that people expect to see every generation. The Wolfman is a prime example of this, much like King Kong was for last decade. However, there are some that should never be considered. The most egregious of such is “Let Me In,” a remake of “Let the Right One In.” First off, it is was too soon to be remaking a film released less than 2 years ago. Secondly, the original is a great on it’s own. If you can’t improve on the original, then don’t do it. Which brings me to my third point…
  3. World Market for Films
    • The human race is gradually becoming less of a collection of different peoples and more one homogenous race. Most foreign films that find critical success eventually get imported to Hollywood and effectively dumbed down. I’m not trying to argue for a worldwide studio system. I’m arguing for a world where foreign films don’t get imported to Hollywood: more of a worldwide market for films not centralized on individual countries. I want everyone to be aware of the Oldboys when they’re released, or the Let the Right One Ins or even Infernal Affairs before Hollywood imports them and markets the remake separate. I doubt many even realize what they’re watching is a remake of a foreign film most of the time, and that is just a shame.
  4. Star Wars Sequels
    • This is more of a wish, but a worthy one I think. Ever since I saw the original trilogy when I was young, I hoped to see a continuation of the story established there. Not something in the lame novels, but canon by Lucas himself. Most people think anything he touches will turn to crap, and some even doubt he ever was a great filmmaker. I still believe. This is the guy who gave us Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Sure the prequels sucked, but I think they were always doomed. With the success of Avatar and 3D technology, I’m sure Lucas wants to try his hand at something similar. Even if they were bad, they would make tons of money, and Lucas really needs a chance of redemption. George, make the sequels and cement your legacy of a filmmaker for the better.
  5. Sparing use of 3D/Improvement of the technology
    • I hate wearing those glasses the entire film. They are dark, uncomfortable, and sometimes distracting. Some films use them to much applause (Avatar), but others just throw them in unnecessarily (Up). I don’t feel 3D really adds anything to the experience. It all seems gimmicky to me. Aside from diminished use, I hope to see some improvement. Avatar paved the way for improved use of it, but I think much could be done. I doubt sans glasses viewing is possible, but if not, then why not? Less is more when it comes to 3D.
  6. Batman 3 and continued franchise
    • Holy crap! It has been a year and a half and no news yet??? If Nolan is coming back, then he should make an announcement and stop pussyfooting around it. If not, then WB needs to have a capable director lined up to continue the franchise (or finish the series). Afterwards the series can continue in the established realistic Nolanverse, or, after a hiatus, a new Batman film can be made. Whichever way the studio goes, we need a steady output of quality Batman films, not a repeat of the Batman & Robin fiasco.
  7. Digital looks as good as film
    • Film is still king, but digital is quickly catching up. Digital cameras will enable more small (I don’t want to say indie) films to be made for relatively cheaper budgets. Digital projectors could give a wider audience for these small films because of the smaller distribution costs associated with digital. Hopefully the art of using film will never leave, but for small stories to get their play, we need digital too.
  8. A step away from CGI/Blue Screen
    • The 00’s were the decade that saw filmmakers become infatuated with CGI. At times it was used to create worlds and creatures never before possible on film (Lord of the Rings). Other times it was chosen in lieu of practical stunts and special effects, most often to horribly fake looking results (Fast and Furious). The Dark Knight should set the trend for CGI use. Would the truck flip have been as awesome if it were computer generated? I think not. CGI is a nice tool, but should only be a resort when practical effects are not possible.
  9. Kubrick’s Napoleon biopic gets made by none other than Paul Thomas Anderson.
  10. Something completely unexpected happens
    • If I could think of something, it wouldn’t be unexpected. I’m thinking: Matrix 4, The Prestige 2: Tesla’s Last Laugh, Sean Connery comes back for one more film, Alan Moore approves of one of his adaptations, Star Wars remake, etc. etc. I just want to be surprised (and pleased) by something in film this decade.
  11. Honorary 11th Pick—Death of the Indie
    • I don’t mean the independent movie, I mean the ubiquitous stereotypic indie romantic comedy/dramedy that tries to be Garden State or Little Miss Sunshine or God help us Juno. Also, while I’m at it, no more pretentious films that are made simply for the minority of filmgoers to like in an attempt to make themselves feel more intelligent than the populace. Films like “Magnolia” come to mind, but I know there are plenty others. Bonus points shouldn’t be awarded just because the film is foreign, indie, or made/written by a Jarmusch, Gondry, or Lynch. God Bless America!

My Decade Wishlist (in Film)

January 9, 2010

Now that everyone’s exceedingly sick of recounting the odd events, great successes, glorious failures, and myriad other memorable moments of the last ten years, I think it’s time we make concrete our visions for the duration of this presently virginal decade of ours.

Below are ten things I’m hopeful will occur (or not occur…) these next ten years; none too terribly original, but things I still have my fingers crossed for nonetheless.

1) Christopher Doyle and Wong Kar-wai reunite, matching their 1st decade’s output.

2) Bill Murray writes his own feature, maybe directs a small indie.  He formerly wanted to be a playwright. I’d like to see what his imagination would conjure.

3) A comic book movie hiatus.  Realistically, this wouldn’t take effect until 2013 or 2014 with the current slate.  But point is most of them have been trash.  Maybe put an end date of 2020.  Let it sit dormant for 10 or so years.

4) Studios more supportive of concepts, wise spending, new talent, new ideas, promoting ‘smaller’ fare.   Tired of the 1-2-3 franchise glut.  Rural theaters should be aided in playing and nurturing foreign/indie works.

5) Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah’s Ark” movie.  Would be amazing.

6) Rangier animation, style-wise and content-wise.  Love Pixar, but it’s going to wear thin if Dreamworks remains its only “competition.”

7) A push for more experimental features.  40-minute shorts of acclaimed directors finding programming (television perhaps?).  More international casts, playing up international venues and international stars, and non-English languages.  Wes Anderson has the right idea, venturing into stop-motion.  Tired of trends.  Just because of Avatar, I don’t want to watch 3-D video games every summer for the next 15 years.

8) Let foreign directors shoot their scripts within our studio system.  Our resources.  Our budgets.  Send more of our writers, directors, actors overseas for collaborations.

9) The Academy Awards will never regain relevancy.  Awards coverage should move toward focusing on the world stage.  Domestic networks should air coverage from the Cannes film festival, allowing critics to do the reporting/interviewing instead of entertainment correspondents going on ad nauseam about fashion flubs and other shallow crap.

10) With the demise of print, many questions surround the future of film critics.  Unquestionably, they’re our connection to a world of lesser seen films that would otherwise never see the light of day.  We need to find a way to preserve and continue to support the work they do.

How about you, faithful readers?  What are some items on your own personal decade wishlists?