Posts filed under ‘top six’

Top Six: Most anticipated movies of 2009

logo222I’m home from school, and, while I can’t do my Top Six movies of 2008 because I have yet to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and feel like I’ll really enjoy that flick, I need something to do. That’s pretty much why this blog has been started back up, even after such a long hiatus.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep Movie Chutzpah up through next semester, but you never know. But, let’s all just enjoy it while it lasts.

Let’s be honest; 2008 was an incredible year for movies. “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” you name it — there were some amazing movies that hit theaters this year, and I think it showed at the box office. Even with the industry worried about home theaters, netflix and pirating movies taking away from the in-theater sales, “The Dark Knight” made an insane amount of cash, and even smaller flicks like “Mama Mia” did quite well in their runs. So will the studios be able to keep it up with their 2009 lineups?

We’ll see. The lasting effects of the writers’ strike might put a damper on things — especially in the comic book movie genre, which could lose a lot of the steam it picked up with “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man.” But even so, there’s plenty to be excited about, I promise. Without further ado, here are the six movies I can’t wait to see next year.

6. “Terminator Salvation,” May 22, 2009

title-for-terminator-4-gets-terminated“1984” is my favorite book, “Brazil” is one of my favorite movies and so-on — I love dystopian literature. I always have and a I probably always is. There’s just something very intriguing to me about the different ways government and society could go to absolute shit. And, with the entire human race being beaten in a war versus man-like machines, it doesn’t get any more dystopian and depressing than the Terminator series. I know that, no matter how many of these films McG decides to pop out (he apparently already has plans for a fifth installment after “Salvation”), nothing will ever top “Terminator 2,” but I still enjoyed the third one. “Salvation,” even though Arnold isn’t going to be in it, is exactly what Terminator fans have wanted since the beginning; we’ve heard about the Great War between man and machine for three movies. Now we get to see it. I’m really excited that Christian Bale is playing John Connor, too — I think he’s going to be a really good addition to the franchise. Check out the trailer here:

5. “Monsters vs. Aliens,” March 27, 2009

monster_vs_alienI have yet to see a Disney 3-D movie, but I’ve heard very good things about it — like, the innovations that have been made in this new generation of 3-D movies are good enough to remove the kitsch label from the technology. This will most likely be the first one I see, because it looks amazing. Action, humor and crazy character designs — I really think this has the potential to be one of, if not the, best non-Pixar CGI-based film yet. It looks as if it has a tiny bite of satire, and it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, blatantly making fun of the classic genres its borrowing from. I love, love, love b-level 1950s sci-fi movie like “Attack of the 50 foot Woman,” “The Blob” and especially “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” so I’m assuming that a lil’ throwback-parody action in “Monsters vs. Aliens” (it looks as though the 5o-foot woman actually makes an appearance in the flick) will be fantastic. This is going to be a good one.

4. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Nov. 6, 2009

9220__wes_lSome people love him; some people think he’s a no-talent assclown who hides under the “indie” label to slip crappy movies into American pop-culture. Wes Anderson is a very polarizing director, and I happen to be in the former category. I adore all of his movies, and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which is reportedly using the stop-motion animation that Anderson tinkered with in “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” is definitely one of the most intriguing endeavors of 2009. Although the settings of his movies are drastically different, I think the core of every one has been the same — dealing with disappointment, family issues and general disfunction. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Anderson try to work out of his element with this project. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” is based on a classic childrens’ novel by Roald Dahl and will a great lineup of voice actors, including George Clooney, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jason Schwartzman and Anjelica Huston. Here’s a clip from “The Life Aquatic” that showcases the stop-motion animation that could be used in “Mr. Fox,” too:

3. “Inglourious Basterds,” June 2009

tarantino-sipaFirst of all, let me say something: I know both “Inglorious” and “Bastards” are spelled wrong in the title — but that’s the way director Quention Tarantino wants it. And at this point, I’m ready to let him do whatever he wants, just as long as this movie finally gets finished. He’s been talking about this project, I believe, since the early 1990s after the completion of “Reservoir Dogs.” No after all the speculation, hype and rumor, we finally know that it’s finally going to get made — with a killer cast that includes Brad Pitt, B.J. Novak (from “The Office”) and Samuel L. Jackson. From what I’ve heard about this flick, including script reviews and such, this could be Tarantino’s coupe de grace, his masterpiece. And that’s with”Pulp Fiction” — one of the best movies of all time — hanging over this project’s head. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away on the hype train, but, I think it’s safe to say that, if there’s this much buzz around a movie this earlier, it’s going to be pretty darn impressive. Here’s a fan-made video of the shooting set of the flick:

2. “Watchmen,” March 6, 2009

watchmenMy first experience with the graphic novel “Watchmen” came as soon as I could find the book after I saw the mysterious trailer linked to “The Dark Knight.” I don’t like comic books, but this was different, and it completely blew me away. Reviews — even ones from cynical comic book fans who have seen bits and pieces of the film — are crazy-good already, headed by a glowing review by indie-film guru and mega-nerd Kevin Smith. Zack Snyder’s movie is one of the only big-name comic book adaptations that will hit theaters next year, but it’s a good one. If done right, and from all accounts it has been, Snyder continue setting the bar higher for comic book movies, a trend that started with “Spider-Man” and has continued through “The Dark Knight.” I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I really can’t wait until I can see this — in the IMAX Experience, of course.

1. “Where the Wild Things Are,” Oct. 16, 2009

where_the_wild_things_areflvThis movie just has to freakin’ come out already! Shoots and edits and reshoots and re-edits and test audiences and so on — this movie has gone through a lot, even the release date being pushed back over a year. It seems as though everything is on the right track now, with — apparently and hopefully — the majority of Spike Jonze’s original, darker view in tact. The studio has backed him 100 percent, even after children were scared and adults calling the lead character, Max, “unlikeable” in test screenings. I, for one, desperately want to see Jonze’s version hit the screens; his work on movies like “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich” is simply amazing, and bringing that gritty, realistic style to one of the most surreal and famous childrens’ novels of all time … well, I’m just just excited to see it. The video posted below is very, very early test footage — the sound isn’t synced and the kid isn’t actually Max Powers, who will be playing Max — but the angles, lighting, cinematography and general feel of the movie is exactly what I expect. October 16th cannot come soon enough:

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December 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Top Six: Favorite all-time movies

You can stop shitting your pants with eager anticipation, loyal and true Movie Chutzpah readers. I’ve finally — after weeks of painstaking preparation, blogging and figuring out what this whole biz-nasty is all about — decided that now is the perfect time to unleash the untamed beast that is the Ultimate Top Six column:

The Movie Chutzpah’s own Andy Reid (that’s me, in case you were wondering) will unveil his six favorite movies ever. Trust me when I say this — tears will be shed, laughs will be heard, friends will be made and lost and everyone everywhere will probably disagree wholeheartedly about the list. But you know what? That’s the great thing about this new-fangled internet-doohickey: anyone anywhere can post this kind of stuff, and there’s not a damn thing anyone else can do to make them stop. So if you don’t like my list, create your own Movie Blog and post a new, probably much better, list. Or just shoot back in the comments section below (that’s a win-win for both of us. Comments pretty much make my day).

Can you feel it? That special electricity in the air? I’ll tell you what that is; That’s the makings of a kickass, epic Top Six column. I mean, my grandkids are probably going to be like, ‘Pappi, can you tell us the story about how you (insert crazy, unbelievable line here, ex. ‘ended the Iraq war’ or ‘became Emperor of Earth’) by writing about your six favorite movies on the internet?” And then I’ll sit back in my armchair and wow them with a stunning rendition of the greatness of this freaking piece. Now I’m just rambling. Sometimes I get like that — it’s not ADHD, I promise.

Side note: I struggled for a really long time about whether or not to throw “The Dark Knight” in there. I finally, after some serious self-deliberation, rested on “No.” Honestly, I love this movie. I’ve seen it three times, and I want to see it more, but I need to know if it has staying power; I need to know if it’ll be as good on DVD as it is in the theaters; and I need to know if the rewatchibility will extend past a handful of viewings into that the-DVD-is-getting-worn-out realm. I’m going to give it some time. Maybe in a year or two when and if I revisit this column idea. Without further ado, biggity bam (note the subtle Jay and Silent Bob reference. They’ll probably make an appearance on the list).

6. Rear Window, 1954

The voice and vision of Alfred Hitchcock are sorely missed in the film world these days. I mean, the dude took a movie about a wheelchair-ridden guy stuck in his apartment and made if one of the most suspenseful, nail-biting movies ever made. Imagine making that pitch now — “Yeah, it’s, uh, about this guy, and he’s, like, stuck in his apartment, so he just watches people” — and see how well the Hollywood bigwigs take it. But Hitchcock not only made it work, he hit it out of the park. My grandpa showed me this flick when I was but a wee lass, and it was totally a gateway movie, a catalyst for a Hitchcock addiction that didn’t end until I had seen all the classics. But in my mind, “Psycho,” “Birds,” “Vertigo,” they all pale in comparison to this Thriller masterpiece.

5. Bottle Rocket, 1996

This movie introduced the world to a lot of freaking talent. For starters, the Wilson brothers (including a writing credit for Owen) made this movie. Dignan is a completely hilarious character, and Luke’s Anthony is the balancing yin to his yang. And then, of course, it’s Wes Anderson’s directorial debut. He’s one of my favorite directors right now. And I know, being a college-aged male, that’s a very stereotypical thing for me to say, but I can’t help that I love his movies. And above all his flicks so far, “Bottle Rocket” has the most rewatchability. I still crack up like a seven-year-old laughing about a poop-joke when Kumar “loses it” during the big heist. Add the fact that no movie in the history of cinema has done so much for my fleeting hope that fuzzy collared shirts will, someday, explode in a huge fashion trend, and you have yourself a movie that totally belongs on this list.

4. A Clockwork Orange, 1971

“Singing in the Rain” is such a good, warm, wholesome song. I dare you to watch Gene Kelly strolling down the street, singing that song and not smile. Seriously, it can’t be done. Well, that is until you see “A Clockwork Orange,” because Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian masterpiece completely fouls your opinion of that song forever. If you haven’t seen the movie, I really don’t want to spoil the scene for you.

This movie has an interesting dynamic, because as much as I enjoy watching it, I also have a hard time sitting through it, because of its brutal, no-holds-barred grittiness. It’s real, it’s gruesome and it’s terrifying. In a time when the world is becoming more and more connected to the various forms of media that have become so prevalent in our everyday lives, “A Clockwork Orange’s” cautionary tale about the bitter social effects that are tied to media is more important that ever.

3. Dogma, 1999

It took a long time for me to decide which Kevin Smith movie I wanted to put on my list. My original draft had “Clerks” in this spot, but then I realized that, while that movie is freakin’ fantastic, “Dogma” is a much more complete film. It’s got that unrivaled Kevin Smith scriptwork (like “Clerks”); it’s got some powerfully emotional scenes (like “Chasing Amy”); it’s got much better visuals and camera work that his other work; and, unlike most of his movies, stuff actually happens. Plus, if you get hundreds of Catholics all over the country so upset about a movie featuring a giant, rubber Shit Monster that they resort to sending you death threats, you pretty much know you’re doing something right.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

I don’t like throwing the word “perfect” around lightly, but this is just about as close to it that a Romantic Comedy can get. Combining the brains of one of the best writers in Hollywood (Charlie Kaufman) with on the most visually creative directors around (Michel Gondry), the movie shirks the usual formulaic, tepid style that Rom-Coms have adapted recently, and the end result is the most jaw-droppingly original movie I’ve seen in a long time. The visuals are stunning, the storyline is impeccable, the character development is such that you get completely caught up in these peoples’ lives and the acting is 100-percent spot-on. I love, love, love this movie.

1. Brazil, 1985

My favorite book of all-time is “1984.” So doesn’t it make logical sense that “Brazil” would be No. 1 here? After all, Terry Gilliam tossed around the idea of calling the flick “1984 1/2” before settling with the final title. I’m a sucker for dystopian stories that tell how depressingly terrible the world is going to be in the future, which is kind of weird (even to me) seeing as how I usually like to stay as optimistic as possible — it doesn’t matter though; give me a million “Brave New Worlds” before a copy of “Island” any day. And “Brazil” is unique in that — yes, it is dystopian, and yes, the future looks incredibly bleak, BUT — Gilliam’s quirky, goofy style shines in the flick in a way that just isn’t present in any other dystopian literature. I could watch this movie every day for the rest of my life and not get bored of it. But if you try to hand me a “Love Conquers All” version, even if you’re just doing it to be funny, I will have not reservations to totally bitch-slap you.

Whew. That was an intense experience. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. Let me know what you think of the six above-mentioned pictures, and what movies you’d have them with, in the comments section below.

July 30, 2008 at 9:02 am 8 comments

Top Six: Movie Trailers

Another week, another Top Six column. Exciting, huh? If you’ve been a fan since Movie Chutzpah’s early days (An entire week ago, haha), you’re familiar with this piece, and since the first installment of Top Six (comic book movies, currently the second most viewed Movie Chutzpah blog post) was such a hit, I’ll definitely keep doing them.

A few days ago, I posted the much hyped trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and it got me thinking about my favorite movie trailers of all time. What started out as a fun and easy-enough idea turned into a grueling ordeal — I seriously poured over hours of trailers trying to find ones that would legitimately fit for this post. It was a lot more work than I originally anticipated, but it really paid off. This list I came up with is really freakin’ good.

I tried to keep in mind that, in order to be objective, I needed to pick these without any thought about the finished product, which was a very difficult task. I mean, I like every movie on the list, but I’m thinking that’s just a lucky coincidence, because with or without the movies, these trailers are pretty rocking. It’s interesting to me to see how many comedies wound up on the list, but it makes sense when you think about it. It’s easy to get people excited about a flick after three or four well-edited and well-timed gut busters.

As always, I’d love to hear about your favorite trailers in the comment section.

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978.)

I love the old-school feel to this one. Trailers of old routinely employed this news-reporty feel where a narrator gives a backdrop, and I think this ranks right up there with the best of that style. And the pieces Romero chooses to put in are stunning; from the moment the television reporter sternly says “It gets up and kills. The people it kills get up and kill,” I got all excited to see this movie again. The only downside is, if you haven’t seen the movie, I think the end of the trailer may have a pretty big spoiler in it.

5. Adaptation (2002)

It runs a measly two minutes and 28 seconds, but packed as tightly as possible into that time is incredible character development — you feel like you know what these people are all about, and you want to know where their journey is going to take them. Charlie Kaufman (the character, not the writer, even though that distinction becomes very blurry at times) is erratic and nervous and totally self-aware. His brother is pretty much the exact opposite. Susan is fighting a mid-life crisis. But the trailer does a great job of not giving away too much, even though it develops these characters so well. It ends, and you want to desperately find out how their stories will eventually be intertwined.

4. Pineapple Express (2008.)

I can’t tell you how many times I have watched this trailer. At least 20 — most likely more. But every time I laugh, especially when Saul kicks through the car window, and every time I get excited for Aug. 8. The movie is a stoner comedy/action movie, and each of those genres work together seamlessly in the trailer, leaving a hopeful viewer such as myself to believe the actual movie will share that quality.

3. Brazil (1985)

This trailer works on two distinct levels: one, the visuals, lack of speaking and great soundtrack provide this epic feeling, an I-gotta-see-this feeling, that view trailers really accomplish. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the trailer was cut in such a way that made me excited to see this movie, as if it was for the first time. It’s brilliantly put together. And two, it maintains a complete “what the hell?” factor, never giving away anything about the plot or storyline, even when producing an epic feeling through the entirety of the run time.

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008.)

This one speaks for itself — it’s visually stunning. It’s well-edited. It leaves me counting down the days until December. I really like this one, but, after seeing what kind of impact comedic trailers had on me, I had to pick one for this No. 1 spot. Sorry, Ben. Your trailer’s good. Just not the best.

1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

It took me an incredibly long time to decide which Wes Anderson trailer was the best — it came down to this and “Rushmore,” but in the end, this trailer had a certain unexplainable charm that entirely enthralled me each time I watched it. Just like the “Adaptation” trailer, it’s got great character development, which makes you want to get to know these characters so well. It gives subtle things away, but in a way that leaves you wanting to find out what happened, instead of ruining the movie for you — the part where Bill Murray punches Owen Wilson comes immediately to mind. I can’t get over how funny and bright this trailer is. Perfection.

July 14, 2008 at 3:30 am 4 comments

Top Six comic book movies

This is the first installment of a weekly column in which I will discuss my Top Six favorites in a given category. That’s right, six. I figured I’d stand out at least a little and not pick a very predictable number. I originally planned on writing about my Top Five favorite movies of all time in the first one, but plans change.

As July 18 draws nearer, my anticipation for “The Dark Knight” is growing to ridiculous levels. Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought a comic book movie would draw comparisons to “Godfather Pt. 2.” So, as I sit here, twiddling my thumbs and counting the days until this thing finally gets released (and I thank God there’s an IMAX in Ann Arbor), I figured I’d make a list of my favorite comic book movies of all time.

Let’s get one thing straight — I’ve never been into comic books, and while this summer has really upped the ante in terms of their quality, I largely dismiss most as flaky, popcorn blockbusters. With gems like “Fantastic Four” and Ang Lee’s “Hulk,” how could you not? Some are really good, and I’d be willing to bet they’re not the ones most comic book geeks get, well, geeked about.

“Spiderman” didn’t make my list. Maybe because I don’t understand all the backstory because I don’t read the books, maybe because I think Toby MacGuire is a giant douche; either way, my point is, this isn’t your conventional list of Top Five comic book movies, because I’ve never really been drawn in by comics. As always, I’d love to hear what you think, and if you wholly disagree that “Men In Black” should be on the list, fire back with ruthless disregard for my personal feelings in the comment section.

6. Men in Black, 1997

Alright, you’re lying to yourself if you don’t think that Edgar-Bug dude was a badass bad guy. He had it all, gross makeup, a weird voice, feelers, slime — what more could you want from a villain? Will Smith and Tommy Lee have a great chemistry throughout the flick, and damned if I haven’t wished for a cricket since I first saw this. It’s a fun watch, if for nothing else, simply because the alien design and gadgetry is so unique and creative.

5. 300, 2007

Do I have to explain myself with this one? I think this is secretly every guy’s Dream Movie — 90 straight minutes of absolute ass kicking. There’s no rhyme or reason, but that’s the great thing about this flick; there doesn’t have to be. As long as the blood, guts, gore and mayhem continue to brutally stroll across the screen, I’m a happy camper. And there’s definitely no shortage of that in “300.”

4. Batman, 1989

Jack Nicholson really set the bar high as far as depictions of The Joker go. I think he really makes a good villain in this flick, but his portrayal lacked a certain wild, psychopathic edge to it, and I think Heath Ledger’s performance will more than trump Nicholson’s in that category. Regardless, I really liked this movie. It’s one of those rare comic book adaptations that transcends the cult, comic following as is easily accessable to a wide audience — even my grandpa had a copy on VHS when I was a kid.

3. Iron Man, 2008

On the surface, this flick is a summer Hollywood blockbuster, and it definitely works on that level. It’s got major stars, good action scenes, some comedy spliced in and shameless product placement. But it’s also deeper than most summer blockbusters. It’s got a great script, great director and there’s just something about it that makes it feel like more than a comic book movie, even though there’s a dude flying around in a bright red, metal suit

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? check. Splinter? check. Shredder? check. The Foot Clan? check. A surprisingly interesting and intense script? check. Jim Henson? check — and he totally outdid himself on this one. Muppets can only take you so far in life; the puppets that he can up with for this movie are so incredible. I’ve never seen anything like them before. I hadn’t seen this movie in a long time, and even though I felt like a giant nerd, I was really engaged when I watched it again recently. I’d forgotten how good this actually was.

1. Batman Begins, 2005

This is the flick that set up the sequel I’m so unbelievably excited for. In my opinion, “Batman Begins” is the type of movie that can’t completely change the way people look at comic book movies. It demands to be taken seriously, and I think it succeeds. I got completely swept up in the great story line. I’m glad they replaced Katie Holmes and I’m glad to see some more serious villainry from “The Dark Knight,” but “Batman Begins” is still a great movie.

July 8, 2008 at 2:37 pm 5 comments