Going Global: The Awards that Nominate Everyone!

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Film

If you’re any kind of glitzy award show junky, you’ve probably heard the Golden Globes referred to as the “pre-Oscars,” an “Academy Award bellweather,” or something to that effect. Basically, the Golden Globes get cast as the slummy, early predictor of their bigger, better cousins. And looking at this years nominations its obvious why: they nominate every freaking movie that comes out.

Like the Oscars tend to do, this year’s Golden Globe nominations include their fair share of stately movies most people never see — The King’s Speech and Black Swan — and wider release prestige films — Inception, The Social Network. (The Fighter probably falls somewhere in between.) These films are nominated in the “drama” category, and are pretty typical. 2009’s best dramas, according to the Globes, were Slumdog Millionaire, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Revolutionary Road. While some of these movies blow, for the most part they could all have been considered Oscar bait.


Review: Inside Job

Written by Meg Walter on . Posted in Film

With a name like Inside Job, the tone of the film really shouldn’t shock me. Yet I’m still caught off guard when, in the middle of an interview, the voice behind the camera interrupts the Columbia economics professor with “You’ve got to be joking me!”

I, the viewer, already know this professor is covering his tracks. I know he’s a Wall Street villain. I know he is, in part, responsible for the collapse of the American economy. The filmmakers spent the previous 90 minutes of the film showing me all this. They don’t need act so unprofessional in interviews.

It happens many times throughout the film. The subjects — Wall Streeters, members of the Bush administration and other presumed wrong-doers — grow increasingly angry with the interruptions until they explode and demand the camera be turned off. I eventually side with the “villains,” because at least make an initial attempt to follow conversational etiquette.


Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Written by Karma Chesnut on . Posted in Film

In the third installment of the Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we once again meet up with Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, who have been trapped in the real world since the second installment. Surrounded by logical (a.k.a. boring) people doing logical (a.k.a. boring) things, these two find themselves frustrated and highly suffocated by the mundane nature of their lives and the contempt with which their peers esteem them.

But not to worry, this liminal phase only lasts about ten minutes before Edmund, Lucy and their obnoxious, know-it-all cousin Eustace Scrubb are transported to the magical land of Narnia and find themselves in the company of Prince Caspian aboard the Dawn Treader.


Review: The Company Men

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Film

The Company Men works sort of like a guy’s take on a Lifetime Original Movie. It’s sappy, it’s sentimental, and it’s superficial. But instead of serving as a resume line for some unknown actors, this glossy fiasco unfortunately drags some big-name talent through the muck of its pandering, self-important script.

The movie tells the story of Bobby Walker, played by Ben Affleck, a confident upper-mid level manager. As the story begins, Walker’s company is downsizing and one of the first victims is Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), an older, former blue-collar guy who has worked his way up to management.

Though Walker assumes his job is safe — and the movie briefly seems like it might be about post-layoff survivors’ guilt — things don’t turn out so well and he’s sent packing. Pretty soon Walker is at a hiring agency, selling his Porsche, and moving out of his McMansion. Eventually, he is even forced to do manual labor.


Review: 127 Hours

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

Deep breath… Okay.

This is such good filmmaking. I could go on and on about how great and amazing and whatever Danny Boyle is, but that would be foolish. Instead, I’ll do my best to try to capture with words and sentences some part of how I felt about his latest film.

127 Hours is about a guy who gets his hand stuck between a rock and a hard place for 127 hours before he ends up cutting his own arm off to get free. This is not a complex story — it is, by very definition, easy to follow. For the majority of the film, you don’t really go anywhere and the main character is limited in terms of what he can do to keep us entertained. Before it started inspiring critics to shout praises from the rooftops, there were a lot of people who were understandably skeptical about this kind of story’s ability to engage an audience for 90 minutes. I’ll go ahead and join the chorus of critics right now and tell you it’s not an issue.


Best Christmas Movies

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

It’s about this time of year that people start shouting out what they believe to be the “essential” Christmas movies. What makes my list any more significant than anyone else’s? Nothing. And so I’ll begin. These are roughly in order from least Christmas-spirited to most Christmas-spirited. Enjoy.


Review: I Love You Phillip Morris

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Film

Jim Carrey is a phenomenal actor who also occasionally chooses to star in great films. And though he’s recently had a string of duds, I Love You Phillip Morris — opening this Friday in some theaters — shows him back at the top of his manic-but-poignant game.

Based on a true story, I Love You Phillip Morris uses flashbacks to recount the wild, love-wrought life of con man Steven Jay Russel, played by Carrey. As the movie opens, the audience learns that Russel is apparently dying, and that long ago he was happily married, religious, and a cop.

After a car accident, however, Russel cuts the charade. He comes out of the closet as a gay man, moves to Florida, and eventually starts pulling insurance scams as a way of financing the opulent lifestyle he associates with homosexuality. At this point the film is still getting started, so of course Russel gets caught and sent to prison, where he meets the charming, even demure Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor.


Review: Tangled

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Film

Beautiful Rapunzel sings, paints, and dances. She bakes and she cleans. But more than anything else, she dreams of leaving the tower where Gothel, her alleged mother, keeps her, supposedly for her own protection.Though the premise is familiar, Disney’s Tangled manages to braid a surprisingly entertaining — if very straightforward — film out of the German fairly tale Rapunzel. The film begins centuries in the past, when Gothel, an old woman, discovers a flower that keeps her young. All she has to do is sing to it. Unfortunately for Gothel, however, one day a benevolent and pregnant queen gets sick and her soldiers cart the plant off to use for medicinal purposes.

The queen gets better and the child she was carrying is born with striking blond hair — which, it turns out, possesses all the same healing properties as the erstwhile flower. Gothel doesn’t like that much, though, and kidnaps the baby princess to raise as her own.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Spoiler-Heavy)

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Film

Déjà vu. It seems like we’ve done this before.

The years of anticipation, the long queues for tickets, drooling over the latest trailer, gossiping about Emma Watson’s new haircut, the promise that this one is, indeed, the most “epic” of them all — and finally the eventual disappointment that it just wasn’t as good as the book.

Oh yeah, that’s not déjà vu. We really have already done this six times over the past decade.

Friday marked the release of the latest of the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. (By the way, I feel like there had to have been a better way to differentiate between the two instead of part one and part two. Like chapter 1 and chapter 2 perhaps? This was a book after all.) After seeing it I find myself with a familiar set of mixed emotions.

Being a longtime fan of the Harry Potter series, I of course relish seeing characters I love so deeply being brought to life on the screen. This is, however, a double-edged sword. When the movie departs from the stories and characters that I love, I only find myself asking in disappointment, “Was there really no other way?”


Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Spoiler-Free)

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

Is this my first Harry Potter review on Rhombus? I think it is.

Well then. You probably haven’t heard my theory. I’ll save it for the end so that you don’t decide to prematurely stop reading this review of the most recent film.

Firstly, let me emphasize the difficulty inherent in evaluating “part one” of a film that was created as two. So much of how I judge a film depends upon how satisfied I feel at its end. Was it emotionally effective? Did the characters’ actions and relationships fit together in a meaningful and reasonable way? Did it help me, as the audience, achieve any kind of catharsis?

This is a film without a climax. Despite starting in medias res, the first act was actually quite powerful, and the second act was great — for how far it got. Then it went and ended right in the middle of the second act.