31 March 2008

I miss Winona Ryder!

I was surfing around YouTube, and I came across this great montage tribute to Noni set to 'Nothing Compares 2 U' by Sinead O'Connor. It made me miss our favorite '90s girl more than ever. I'm glad we're getting her back.

P.S. You can have your Katharine Hepburn. Winona Ryder is my Jo March.

30 March 2008

Stop Loss (2007) Directed by Kimberly Pierce

Caution: There Be Spoilers

First of all, I think it's awesome that a woman directed this. The first 5 to 10 minutes or so of the film (though it could have been longer), set primarily during an ambush on the squad led by Ryan Phillippe in Iraq, is a tense and well executed bit of action on Pierce's part. It's nice that Sofia Coppola can make an ambitious labor of love about a French queen who enjoys shoes and that Sarah Polley can make a heartfelt tribute to the ageless beauty of Julie Christie, but sometimes it's just nice to find a female director who really knows how to kick some ass. I read an interview with Pierce a while back in which she said she wasn't afraid of blowing things up. In fact, she said she enjoys it.

I suspect that this is partially why Stop Loss is, overall, more succesful than the other recent batch of Hollywood Iraq pictures. Maybe It's unfair for me to say so having not seen Lions for Lambs or Rendition, but the reviews alone indicate that, at least critically, Kimberly Pierce's film is regarded as a better statement about our times and about our present military conflicts. Rather than shaking her finger at the war at large, Pierce chooses to focus on a singe issue and celebrate the military as a group of dedicated citizens while criticizing some of its institutional policies. In its best moments, Stop Loss is less anti-war, more pro-soldier.

I say 'in its best moments', because there are moments in which Pierce can't help but indulge her Hollywood tendencies towards prostelytizing. I WISH WISH WISH WISH WISH that we could put a moratorium on ending films with little facts and statistics. If there's something you want to say in your film, you better make damn sure you say it within the context of your story. You can't just tack some information to the end and expect the audience to absorb it. Half of them are already half way to the exit.

If only the rest of the movie could have been as thrilling as the first section. Perhaps it was inevitable that the rest of the film would feel like a let down after the heights reached in the beginning, but I think the problem reaches deeper than that. The film is still working at a pretty good level as the soldiers return home and struggle to readapt to their life. But, after Ryan Phillippe's character is stop lossed and he hits the road, the film kind of loses focus. He heads to D.C. to appeal to a senator he knows, but I never really bought that as a viable option. The story kind of derails here as he goes from stop to stop on the road to nowhere, only to end back where he started.

Ryan Phillippe is definitely the star of this movie. He may have not bowled me over, but he can definitely open a film as the lead. Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt both deliver pretty solid turns as well, with Abbie Cornish backing them up as Tatum's fiance and Phillippe's traveling companion while on the run. Also, is Margo Martindale trying to be in every movie? She has the market cornered on Southern office staffers.

So, overall, is it worth seeing? I would say yes . . . but that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to rush out. The scenes set in Iraq might work a little better on the big screen, but the rest will play just as well at home. Don't be scared off by the war plot line, though. Rendition 2 this is not.

BY THE WAY, THANK YOU Kimberly Pierce! Thank you for not having Phillippe's character hook up with Abbie Cornish. Thank you for avoiding that obvious trap that SO MANY directors constantly fall into.

I'm in 10th Grade Again!

Am I the only one who remembers this song? This should have been bigger.

23 March 2008

Want to Know What REALLY Bothers Me?

When the people making movie posters put the wrong name next to the actors' faces.

Since when does Colin Firth look like Uma Thurman?

I mean, really . . . what's the point. They're not listed alphabetically. Why can't they just put the names in the right place?

By the way, this poster is pretty awful. It looks like they dug through the studio photo archive and put them all together on a computer. In fact, that's probably what they did do. That would explain why Jeffrey Dean Morgan's arm is coming from nowhere.

22 March 2008

18 March 2008

Hey Internet . . . Stop Being a Douche Bag!


Basically, the idea is to write about something that you absolutely fucking adore, no sarcasm or cynicism allowed.

Now, if you knew me, you'd know that I'm fluent in both sarcasm and cynicism, so I'm definitely going to have to embrace my sense of inner positivity for this one.

As it turns out, my inner sense of positivity has a name.


If you guys don't mind, she'd like to sing a song . . . just for you.

[Blows Harmonica]

Wilder's wars and his man in a dress.
Lumet's whodunit on the Orient Express
Almodóvar's colors and flavors and queens
These are a few of my favorite things.

Jane Fonda thrillers and David Lean's work
Woody Allen's neurosis and Hal Ashby's quirk
Hitchcock, Wong Kar Wai, Alfonso Cuarón
They're who I turn to when I feel alone.

Sutherland, Dunaway, Lemmon, and Christie
McAvoy, Mortimer, Tony Leung, Knightley
America's portrait by David G. Green
I can't rhyme anymore, it's almost 2:15 (Sorry, I had to throw some negativity in here.)

When the dog bites . . .
When the bee stings . . .
When I'm feeling sad.
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel

Wow. Did I really just rework a song from The Sound of Music? That's pretty damn gay.

Oh well . . .

16 March 2008

My Top 10 of 2007

Continuing on from my late (as usual) personal awards, I present my top 10 films of 2007.











The 2007 Rural Jurors

Yes . . . these are late again. So sue me.

Best Picture


Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood

Best Actor

Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Best Actress

Ellen Page in Juno

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress

Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton

Best Cameo/Limited Performance

Vanessa Redgrave in Atonement

Today in Great Movie Quotes

Yeah. We graduated high school. How... totally... amazing

06 March 2008

05 March 2008

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . ?

Director John Carney's girlfriend who played the ex-girlfriend in the 'Lies' section of Once was at the Oscars

Here's the video, which just happens to be my favorite scene from any film released in 2007.

But seriously . . . how great was it to see these 2 win?

Also, Rosamund Pike was there with Joe Wright!

He needs to cast her in something good very soon.

03 March 2008

Rural's Thoughts While Watching . . .

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

- Petronella Danforth, Z Man Barzell, Lance Rocke, Emerson Thorne, Ashley St. Ives, Baxter Wolfe . . . I'm not sure the characters actually HAD names (thanks IMDB), but these sound like characters out of a porno.

- This is a porno.


- If they're going to make me sit through full-length performances of this girl group, it would help if they didn't suck.

- I can't tell the difference between these two brunette girls.

- David Gurian is attractive . . . even while bopping around in a turtleneck.

- Are we POSITIVE Roger Ebert wrote this? Because I refuse to believe this isn't completely ad libbed.


- What is the editor's aversion to letting people end sentences?

- Why does everyone in this movie bleed neon orange?

- I can't follow this whole B plot. Why is what's-her-face trying to get money from that one guy? Does it really matter?

- Did she just say 'Up yours, square,"?

- For being 'revolutionary' and 'hip', they still can't resist hooking the black girl up with only black guys.

- I think someone accidentally spliced in a light saturated, slow motion running sequence from a Barbra Streisand concert special.

- Wait? He raped her? When?


- I'm pretty sure you wouldn't survive a jump from the rafters of an auditorium . . .

- . . . but, if you did, I'd imagine you wouldn't be wheeling around so soon afterwards.

- She got over that rape and that abortion awful quick . . .

- . . . and now she's a lesbian.


- I think that Z Man is supposed to be losing his mind at the end, but he isn't really acting any crazier than usual . . .

- . . . although this is the first time he has chopped someone's head off with a sword.