Posts Tagged ‘Mark Ruffalo’


With the start of another semester approaching, I feel I should take a second to contemplate the year thus far. In short, I believe it’s been a cinematic drought. The past eight months have provided us with only a handful of noteworthy films. Otherwise, the lot has been filled with either cash-grabbing remakes, uninspired sequels, or straightforward disappointments. To assuage the disappointment of this year’s fruitless filmic delivery, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorites. I should be a little optimistic, right?

3. Terribly Happy

Although Terrbily Happy hails from Denmark, it’s a film that is surprisingly inspired by some of America’s greatest directors. Impressions of David Lynch and the Coen Brothers are prevalent throughout the movie’s tensest scenes, and simple American iconography is seen percolating in the quieter, much somber moments. It’s an interesting tone for an even more interesting story. Consolidating film noir and western together, Terribly Happy saunters its way into telling a compelling and very tragic tale.

2. Inception

Unlike anything we’ve seen this year, Inception bends physics, alters time, and damns the viewers’ mind. Director Christopher Nolan imbues us with a cinematic pleasure that’s as precious as the the movie’s subject. Ornately dressed with special effects and great performances, Inception is one of 2010’s best moviegoing experiences.

1. How to Train Your Dragon

Yes, it remains! How to Train Your Dragon is still my favorite film of 2010. Sure, it’s a simple story of a boy and his pet, but to me, it’s a conglomeration of emotions so subjective and personal that it’s impossible to describe on this blog. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of things I can say…The film explores infinite terrain with whimsical scope, but the sense of danger that is projected is unmistakably real. This is done with great technical craftsmanship, but an equally satisfying core of characters also aids in making this film outstanding.


Despite my aversion towards this year’s catalog of films, there are some great titles out right now. For instance…


Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, the innovators behind the mumblecore movement, dually take on their first “Hollywood” film. To the movie’s benefit, Cyrus elegantly uses minimalism to naturally elicit deep characterization and pure emotional resonance.

The Kids are All Right

I’ll be seeing this in the next few days, so I will give my full thoughts then. However, reviews for this dramedy continue to be glowing with positivity.

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone has been accumulating buzz since its premiere at the Sundance Festival. Winning the Grand Jury Prize, this literary adaptation is carrying a lot of momentum on its shoulders. Hopefully, I can check it out when it comes to the local art theater at school.

Some other films available now include:

  • Mother
  • Get Low
  • Animal Kingdom


So what is there to look forward to? Well, there’s…

  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (August 13)
    • Comedy action
    • Directed by Edgar Wright
  • The American (September 1)
    • Noir thriller
    • Starring George Clooney
  • The Town (September 10)
    • Gangster thriller
    • Directed by Ben Afleck.
    • Starring Ben Afleck, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Jon Ham.
  • The Social Network (October 1)
    • Drama about the birth of Facebook
    • Directed by David Fincher.
    • Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake.
  • 127 Hours (November 5)
    • Directed by Danny Boyle.
    • Starring James Franco
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (November 19)
    • Part 1 of 2 for the final chapter of Harry Potter
  • Black Swan (December 1)
    • Psychological thriller
    • Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
    • Starring Natalie Portman
  • Tron Legacy (December 17)
    • Sci-fi action sequel
    • Starring Jeff Bridges
  • True Grit (December 25)
    • Western remake by the Coen Brothers.
    • Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

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***WARNING: Review contains spoilers***

Weeks ago, I made the optimistic insinuation that Shutter Island’s marketing campaign was a scheme of misdirection. I had beliefs that the film’s trailers were deceptive inkblots to a larger illusion rather than slight indications that the great Martin Scorsese had succumbed to telling a predictable story. Well, I was wrong; Shutter Island is as predictable as the previews suggested. Does that make it a terrible film? No. In fact, not even at all.

This film follows Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), two US marshals who are sent to Shutter Island, a mental institution for the criminally insane, to investigate the disappearance of one of its most dangerous patients. As soon as Teddy digs into the mysteries and conspiracies of the asylum, he begins questioning his own beliefs in American justice and, more importantly, his own sanity.

Shutter Island is a simple parable of guilt and remorse. The trip is one we’ve all taken before in other films, and its ending is easily foreseeable. What makes the movie so enjoyable, though, is how technically rich it is.  Scorsese, a director for about 40 years now, knows exactly what he is doing. He borrows elements from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to illustrate his ominous playhouse of terror, and he takes techniques from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo to keep us trapped inside. He moves the camera with jarring gusto, and he has no problems fluctuating the levels of color or sound just to further the madness.

It’s unfortunate the screenplay isn’t as intricate as Scorsese’s detailed direction. Shutter Island doesn’t have that openendedness that I was anticipating; I thought I’d be coming out of the theater with deranged thoughts to ponder, but not too many came to mind. About twenty minutes of exposition towards the end of the film are designed to answer all loose ends, and the audience is only left with a few (but interesting) ideas to tinker with.

7.5 out of 10

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Robin Hood

Not since Matchstick Men (2003) have I really taken an interest in Ridley Scott’s work. His newest endeavor, Robin Hood, isn’t changing that. Yes, he’s responsible for some of the greatest movies of all time, but his most recent additions have only struck an apathetic chord with me. Furthermore, I feel like I’ve seen Russell Crowe in this type of role on more than one occassion; that’s not necessarily bad, but I can only adore him when he’s doing something outside his comfort zone.

Shutter Island

The trailers for Shutter Island could very well be part of a social experiment. Cynics of the internet have cited how painfully easy it is to see the plot’s twists and turns from the trailers alone. I, too, have expressed disappointment with the overall marketing for this film, but we could all be completely wrong. The trailers’ revealing “twists” might not be spoilers at all, but perhaps subtle misdirects. Our expectations could purposefully be misguided, ultimately creating an even more surprising moviegoing experience. It’s hard to believe that Scorcese would stoop to a simplistic formula. But then again, maybe he has done just that.

The Last Airbender

Thus far, the action and special effects for The Last Airbender look superb. What will determine how good the movie actually is will be the screenplay, and this has been M. Night Shyamalan’s Achilles’ heel for the latter half of his career. He stumbles over plotholes, poor character development, and stilted dialogue, but working with adapted material might just make it easer for him.

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This is the embodiment of love and vigor.

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Martin Scorcese’s symbiotic relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio has produced some high quality films. The duo’s 3 movies (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed) all received great acclaim, garnering a total of about 26 Oscar nominations and 9 wins.

Shutter Island is their fourth film together, and it doesn’t look like a 21st century Scorcese picture. The trailer’s cut very well to advertise a thriller, which is a genre Scorcese hasn’t touched since 1991’s Cape Fear. However, it’s not hard to see where the movie’s twist will go.

I’ve been waiting for this trailer for quite some time now, and I’m not at all disappointed despite its spoilerish reveal. Its bleak color and haunting imagery make me want to get right into the theater and enjoy the hell out of this movie. Can’t wait for it.

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Holy shit…

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In 2006, Rian Johnson gave us the gift of Brick, his directorial film noir. It was a stunningly suspenseful indie piece that sadly went a bit under the radar upon initial release.

Now he returns with a heist film, The Brothers Bloom, starring Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, and Rachel Weisz.

From the trailer alone, I think it will deliver a contagiously ill knockout, sending a fever among viewers, eventually creating a huge following, much like his predecessor, Brick, did.

If you haven’t seen Brick, please do. It’s an homage to much older noir/detective/crime movies; the language is that of the old 1940’s, but it’s set in modern day. The combination is odd but highly interesting.

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