I have been meaning to write bite-sized reviews for each of these films I've watched recently, but, they're backing up, so here goes:
"Hollywoodland" is everything it's cracked up to be including the Oscar worthy supporting performance from Ben Affleck. What I could have done without (like a lot of critics) actually is the fictitious "private eye" story. George Reeves is plenty interesting enough to warrant an entire film.
I was far, far less impressed by "Amores Perros" which played like a half-baked Tarantino ripoff to me, or worse, a half-baked ripoff of a Guy Ritchie movie. Snore.
You know what was UNDER-rated? "Find Me Guilty". Don't let Vin Diesel scare you! This true-life tale about a mobster who defended himself at his RICO hearing is dazzling, funny and very engaging. Not to mention it's directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet.
"Capote" ain't all it's cracked up to be but it's worth watching for Philip Seymour Hoffman's award-gobbling performance. I just didn't think it delved deeply enough into the story he was covering, or for that matter, Capote's own story.
William H. Macy (and Alec Baldwin) is great in "The Cooler," a deftly-crafted Vegas yarn about a guy whose luck is so bad he's used to "cool" down gamblers on winning streaks with his very presence. When he falls in love, his luck turns... It's great.
"The Constant Gardner" is an English-language movie but the British accents are so thick we had to turn on the sub-titles.
"A History of Violence" is one of the greatest graphic-novel adpatations put to film. SEE IT NOW.
I liked "The Illusionist" well enough (mainly for it's great actors) but it really only got me jazzed to see Christopher Nolan's similarly themed movie starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, which I still need to do.
I had never seen "The Bourne Supremacy" until recently and let me tell you it's every bit as good as the original, maybe better.
Mike Judge's followup to "Office Space," "Idiocracy", was worth the wait. It's truly too bad he got screwed by the studio system yet again.
And finally, make sure you check out "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut," because you haven't truly seen this comic-book classic unless you've gotten the full story about all of the craziness involved with how it was made. Warner Bros. should be given a gigantic fanboy pat on the back for this recent contribution to the history of filmmaking.
On the TV front:
How have I missed "Battlestar Galactica" for so long? It's been called "the best show on television" and watching the mini-series certainly delivered on that claim for me. "Curb Your Enthusiasm and "Extras" have been rocking me lately and delving into something this serious (yes, you read that right, it's deadly series) was a blast. The stakes are high, the metaphors are thick, and the sci-fi action is FUN.
"Prison Break" seems to be losing steam as it trucks through it's second season. I was all for seeing them out of prison and on the run, that's not what's bothering me; it's the one-note performances from Wentworth Miller and the rest of the gang (save for the guy who plays T-Bag) that are grating. You sort of don't notice it so much earlier in the show... But man, are they flat. I haven't given up on "Prison Break" yet, but...
"The Office" on the other hand? It only gets better. I mean episodes directed by Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams? Crazy.
And a show that's gone the complete opposite direction of "Prison Break": "30 Rock". It sucked. Now, it rules.
The new album from The Hidden Hand? It's good.
Zao, "Where Blood & Fire Bring Rest"
Zao, "All Else Failed" (Redux)
Zao, "Liberate te ex Inferis"
- Ryan J. Downey
- I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool