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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Damon’

The end of the year encourages reflection and celebration. One way I practice both is by commemorating this year’s movies that I regard with personal fervor. My tradition of making lists requires both overly geeky scrutiny and exuberant love for the art of filmmaking; what results is not only a list of movie titles, but an illustration of who I was as a person in the year 2010.

I am thankful I have this blog as an outlet, as it is a time capsule of opinions that come from someone who is currently obsessed with film. Before turning 2010 into a memory, I would like to preserve my thoughts on how five particular movie trailers astounded and affected me this year.

Honorable mentions: The Social Network, Cowboys and Aliens, Inception

5.Black Swan

Accented by a harrowing score, Black Swan’s premiere trailer chauffeurs us through a nightmare of paranoia and disillusionment. Ominous, upsetting colors clash with violent editing to celebrate the terror that only a scathed mind can conjure. With elegance, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis enhance the beauty that ballet already provides, but with an estranged twist from director Darren Aronofsky, this preview mixes charm and delirium to create something artfully unnerving.

4. Buried

Horror/thriller films often exploit the power of sound to cheaply elicit fear. Sudden bursts of noise, typically used in a jump scare, do not motivate freight as effectively as a sound that billows with slow, insurmountable tension. Buried’s teaser trailer recognizes this, as it crescendos from quiet nervousness to riotous apprehension, all with the use of sound. In the preview’s last moments, we finally scrape an image from the darkness to reveal the context of the corresponding audio.

3. The Tree of Life

By widening its focus on humanity, the preview for Terrence Malick’s highly anticipated The Tree of Life transcends mere advertisement and propaganda. This pensive montage gallops towards a threshold that combines the plight of one’s past and the mystery of the unknowing future to illustrate the spectrum of life. Gorgeous imagery and celestial melodies course through its veins, vicariously breathing life into ourselves.

2. Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine’s highly visceral teaser manages to express love under numerous circumstances. Whether it’s through an intimate stare shared between two lovers or through a quarrel that almost dismantles them, the insight into this unabashedly real relationship strikes a chord of imperfection and solace. By juxtaposing such complex imagery with the simplistic tune of a ukulele, this preview somehow eloquently tackles both the joy and frustration of being in love.

1. True Grit

Haunted by a foreboding hymn, the terse preview for True Grit seems to solemnly strip the innocence away from our thirteen year old protagonist. Her stoic voiceover illustrates the audacity of the conquest she’s about to embark on, and I have nothing but fear for her. Roger Deakins’ beautiful cinematography creates an epic landscape riddled with wrath and retribution, and the characters that fill that desolate space seem just as relentless.

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Director Paul Greengrass’s latest endeavor appears to be quite akin to his most renowned works, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. His decision to even cast Matt Damon in the lead puts the film in a supiciously familiar haven, and I’m not sure what to get out of it.

On one hand, I love The Bourne Trilogy. However, I want to see artistic development in Greengrass’ next projects . The trailer shows how entertaining this film will most likely be, and Greengrass’ repertoire proves how talented he is. Yet, seeing him become formulaic is a setback.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the movie. The studios could’ve demanded that the trailer be cut to encapsulate the Bourne mentality, which would easily garner moviegoers.

Whether Greengrass is becoming passe or the studios are being far too cheap and manipulative, I am left disappointed with this preview.

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ponyo-on-a-jellyfish

The act of simply just watching a Hayao Miyazaki film is an impossibility. It’s always more than that. Complete absorption into his art and total disregard for our real world agendas are what actually occur. His organic animation and rich storytelling take us away to other worlds, empowering our minds with higher truths and memorable imagery; his most recent fairy tale, Ponyo, is unsurprisingly successful in achieving most of these ideals.

Ponyo is about a fish girl who gets rescued by a human boy, Sosuke, after getting trapped in a glass bottle. They both fall in love, causing Ponyo to a fully human body. Yet, her overbearing father from the sea, Fujimoto, thinks this will bring the land and water into imbalance.

Miyazaki’s world in Ponyo is shaped with surreal imagery and adorable colors. The playfulness at hand shows Miyazaki’s penchant for childlike fantasy, but the deeper messages that he conveys are no short of adult oriented. He speaks to us with stunning art and well established relationships.

This film is pure joy and escapism for both children and adults. Its themes aren’t as powerful as Miyazaki’s other films (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, etc.), but they still hold true. Love has no boundaries. Not even a parent’s grasp can hold down what a child truly loves. Environmental stances are also present in Ponyo like they are in Miyazaki’s other films. His presentation of these ideas is done in a joyful and lighthearted manner that make for a beautiful experience.

Ponyo’s plot structure is unfortunately a bit disjointed in the latter part of the movie. Events and the reasons behind them are sometimes ambiguous, and the division between fantasy and reality are partly cloudy at times. However, this adorable film is still a spectacle of wonder and creatvity.

8.5 out of 10

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An ambivalence of emotions comes to heart with every viewing of this trailer. I think Matt Damon is a versatile actor whose Oscar is close to fruition, and despite my critical review of The Girlfriend Experience, I am a fan of Steven Soderbergh’s daring, unique style. The trailer just rubs me the wrong way however, and I can’t clearly diagnose it. Perhaps, it’s the cheesy text, or the offputing use of “CORN!”

So I’m just stuck. An underwhelming trailer for what appears to be a good equation for a film.

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