Billed as a “sort-of sequel” to 2007′s Knocked Up, Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 sees Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow’s real-life wife) reprising their roles as Pete and Debbie. Now five years later, their marriage is in something of a rut. Complacency can be a dangerous thing and the occasional contempt they have towards one another (and voice to trusted friends) rings painfully true…one of Apatow’s specialties. Despite Debbie’s staunch refusal to acknowledge it, both are coming up on their 40th birthdays. She views it as an opportunity to improve themselves both physically and emotionally. He sees it as just another number.
In honor of the release of Argo, Spencer and Greg discuss Bryan Cranston.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
Pixar’s fourth feature length film was also one of its biggest successes. Finding Nemo (2003) dominated the public eye, earning both critical praise and huge monetary returns. It set the bar in terms of quality storytelling, a standard that would become commonplace from the studio. The appeal to both children and parents was key, and would result in an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. As of today, the film ranks with Toy Story 3 (2010) as Pixar’s highest grossing movie. With Disney/Pixar’s latest trend of 3D conversions of their past work, it would only make logical sense (business-wise) that Nemo should get the latest treatment. But does creating a third dimension add anything new to this wonderful story? Is the already-beautiful animation helped or hindered by this new element? Let’s find out.
Another Top 5 segment from The MacGuffin. This time Allen and Ed share their top 5 Criterion releases.
The MacGuffin crew discuss Defending Your Life, from director/writer/actor Albert Brooks and co-starring Meryl Streep.
With 2011 officially in the books, it’s time once again to look back and reflect on some of the best films that have come out in the past year. As with all movie writers, coming up with a list like this is usually expected, but also damn near impossible. To me, reading and writing these types of articles are only beneficial in spreading word about titles that really had an effect on me, while stirring up debate between those who strongly agree with my choices, or vehemently disagree. No one list is ever truly definitive; what is considered great to one may not register the same way to another. The only real truth is that 2011 had a wide range of very interesting and fascinating films, and just like every year, there’s always a good handful worth noting.
In creating the mood for the film Drive, Ryan Gosling shows his character’s driving skills early, as well as the calm of his character in intense situations, his fast thinking and movements of the vehicle, and how he handles problems that arrive—knowing that the audience will be waiting for scenes of intense driving (so much like Milk did in getting the gay sex scene out of the way.) After showcasing Gosling’s skills, the story starts in earnest. Gosling, known simply as Driver, is a stoic, silent type, works as a mechanic and stunt man, and also moonlights as a driver for criminals. No history or motivation is given into why he does this work. He is who he is, that is how he presents himself and it stays constant.
I love the Oscar race! Just looking at the potential films and seeing which will become major contenders sends excitement coursing through me, especially for Best Picture. I try to figure out the films that the Academy will love and, more importantly, which films will I love as well. I always hope that I will agree with the Academy, because despite what my feelings might be about the Academy, them giving a movie Best Picture helps a movie become more well known and helps people embrace it. So, when they give it to something less than deserving (or worse), it is like they are hurting film. This is an intense love/hate relationship for me, but I keep coming back and right now we have reached the end of summer and are entering the fall. This is usually the starting point for the Oscar season.
It is a rare ability for a film to both rely on a sense of nostalgia and simultaneously introduce something new that is its own. Drive, a neo-noir thriller from director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising), is a perfect example of one of those rare films. The story follows an enigmatic man who drives stunt cars for films by day, and moonlights as a getaway driver at night. The driver, who has no name, meets his neighbor and her son one day and establishes a relationship that leads him into a web of betrayal and violence.