Posts Tagged ‘Film’


Review: Catfish

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

The Social Network should have won Best Picture. It was the right movie at the right time done the right way. But that’s a different conversation.

This conversation is about Catfish, the other Facebook movie that came out last year and didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved. Presented as a documentary, it chronicles the story of a relationship between a boy and a girl, or rather a boy and an entire family, which happens to include a girl he falls for. The catch? Their whole relationship — Nev (the boy), Angela (the mother), Abby (the 8-year-old), and Megan (his huge crush) — all takes place over Facebook and phone calls. There are pictures, mailed packages, long conversations, and endless messaging, because Nev lives in New York and Megan’s family lives in Michigan.

But then Nev (and his filmmaker roommates) decide to fit a surprise visit to Michigan into a business trip. Nev wants to meet these people in person.

MTO Opening

Oscar the Grouch

Written by Meg Walter on . Posted in Film

Because sometimes Oscar is just mean. And so if the world were a fair place, and if I were in charge, the following films would win at Sunday night’s Academy Awards show (as compared to those that will):


Females in Film: The Other Side of the Story

Written by Kristin Clift on . Posted in Film

Take a step back and examine your favorite movies. If you were me, you might be overly concerned with how obviously male-dominated the stories on the big screen are. But you’re not me. You probably haven’t even thought about it before. So, I want you to try out a fun test next time you view a movie that will help you become cognizant of the extraordinarily gender-imbalanced film world:

“The Bechdel Rule is a test for films, which follows three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two named women in it, (2) who talk to each other, (3) about something other than a man.”

Think about it. Soak it in.

Okay, now think about some of the popular movies that have come out over the last couple years and see if they pass. The Social Network? Fails. TRON: Legacy? Doesn’t cut it. 500 Days of Summer? Surprisingly, no. The A-Team? Not even close. Up? Fail again.


Review: Black Swan

Written by John Forbyn on . Posted in Film

Black Swan
— starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent  Cassell as professional ballet dancers whose lives revolve around staging the most guttingly pure and potent production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake — is the latest cinematic opus offered by Darren Aronfsky, a still-young director who is definitely keeping on his toes. And here’s the thing about Aronofsky (and I hope he would hear this as the high compliment I intend it to be): I am never in the mood to watch his films, yet they win me over every single time.

See, I’m a pretty stressed-out guy, frequently beleaguered by dragging around an interminable queue of ambitious projects and almost never disposed to sit down and contemplate a cinematic experience wherein the protagonists are coping with similar burdens times-one-thousand (and this is exactly what Aronofsky’s protagonists almost always are.) Yet, on every occasion where his films are put before me — because a friend is begging to pop the DVD in, or because it’s the only unwatched disc left in the house — I relinquish, looking forward to two or so hours of I’m-not-in-the-mood-for-this, but finding myself pleasantly ambushed instead by two or so hours of whoa-mood-or-no-mood-this-is-compelling-as-all-get-out.


Top 10 Movies of 2010 — and Many More

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

Beware, many lists to follow. I’ll start with what I’m sure you’re really here for:

Best 10 out of ’10

Honorable Mentions — The Other Guys; The Next Three DaysSaltKnight and DayThe Karate KidThe Good, The Bad, and The WeirdThe A-Team; Iron Man 2Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Let me note that all of these are very worth watching, even though they didn’t make it to my top ten.

10. Easy A — This one came as kind of a surprise to me as I was winnowing down the list. But the truth is, I enjoyed this film too much to leave it off. Out of all the comedies this year, this one had the cleverest writing, and I haven’t been so impressed by a “teenaged” female character since Juno. Emma Stone is comedically brilliant.


Review: TRON: Legacy

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

When I was a kid, TRON stood out as one of those landmark movies that shaped the way I thought about some things. I imagined that if you could get inside a computer, that was pretty well what it might look like. And the film transported my young mind to an entirely different world. The emotional impact was deep enough that I’m pretty sure it had a hand in convincing me, much later down the road, that I wanted to be a computer engineer.

I was wrong, of course. I realize now that I was much more mesmerized by the aesthetics of that world than I was by any kind of actual science or technology. I haven’t seen the original in… who knows how long, and I certainly have no recollection now of what it was about. What stuck was the world, so completely alien, so mesmerizing back in the 80′s.


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: 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.