Atonement

Anna Karenina

The 2012 awards season is coagulating. Thanks to SAG and the HFPA, we now have a solid list of contenders for Best Picture and a narrowing group of potential nominees for everything else. Forgive the metaphor, but it does feel a bit like goop. Both major lists of nominees this week are full of easily predicted choices, and the few unexpected picks that take us by surprise only do so because we thought they were too bland even for the HFPA. (Except for you, Nicole Kidman! There’s nothing bland about The Paperboy.) Don’t get me wrong, I love Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith, but this is getting unseemly. And the days are running out for films to make their way in from the sidelines. However, I am going to take this last chance to fight through the often claustrophobic box of awards watching and shout to the heavens a bit about a movie I think should be getting substantially more attention. I was sort of hoping that the Golden Globe nominations would do that for me, given how hard they went for Atonement a few years ago. They like to shake things up in a good way, at least now and then. Alas, it seems it was easier to go out on a limb for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Anna Karenina is the best awards-ready movie of the year that isn’t getting an ounce of awards attention. Frankly, I find it somewhat surprising. Joe Wright’s three literary […]

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I think it is safe to say we have all struggled with the blurring of reality and fantasy in our romantic lives. Film, while marvelous, often leaves us starry-eyed and convinced love will find us regardless of who we are or what we do. That is its biggest gift to audiences, and one of the reasons people line theaters to watch even the most offensive of Katherine Heigl offerings. Decades of studying romantic gestures in film, however, has left me a little touchy about the real life application of such moves. While we might find Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) absolutely adorable when he’s proving his endurance by bravely holding a virginity theme song blasting boom box over his head outside his ex-lover Diane’s (Ione Skye) window in Say Anything, he’s actually more crazy than not. The truth of the matter is that if some man stood below our window blaring music at six in the morning, someone might get shot. (Full disclosure: I’m from Texas, y’all). It’s sweet and silently exaggerates his devotion to Diane, and leaves the girls in the audience swooning and the boys thinking they could be so suave. But in the real world, Llyod is very pathetic and arguably a little stalkery. Lucky for him, Diane likes that about him the most and races down to take him back, wearing nothing but her nightgown and personality.

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Culture Warrior

Themes of identity, difference, stigma, and othering are explicitly or implicitly present in much of the X-Men mythology, whether expressed through comics, television shows, or films. While I was never a devotee to the comics, as a fan of the 90s animated television series and (some of) the recent slate of Hollywood films (that have, as of this past weekend, effectively framed the continually dominant superhero blockbuster genre), I’ve always been fascinated by the series’ ability to take part in the language of social identity issues. Fantastic genres like horror and sci-fi have often provided an allegorical means of addressing social crises (vampire films as AIDS metaphor, zombie movie as conformist critique, or Dystopian sci-fi as technocratic critique, for example). The superhero genre has possessed a similar history in this capacity, even though it has thus far been mostly unrealized in the medium of film. As big entertainment, superhero films ranging from the first Spider-Man to the Iron Man films have bestowed narratives of exceptionalism and wish-fulfillment rather than shown any aspiration towards critique or insight. Perhaps The Dark Knight is most involved example of social critique thus far – a film that explores themes surrounding the personal toll on fighting terror and the overreaches of power that can result in the name of pursuing safety. What X-Men: First Class (almost) accomplishes is mining fully the allegorical territory made available by its fantastic premise in a way that few previous comic book films have.

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This week, I’m showing off my dedication to the cause. I’m taking time away from my very, very (very) busy Sundance schedule to drop another edition of This Week in Blu-ray.

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Concepts that will always stop me in my tracks: when a visually compelling director (in this case, Atonement’s Joe Wright) takes on a project that is being described as having shades of La Femme Nikita and the Bourne movies.

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Instead of doing a cheesy list for Veteran’s Day, we here at FSR decided just to give a run down of all the war-type movies that we’ve covered over the years (the good, the bad, and the boots on the ground).

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Set Photos from The Soloist

The Soloist will be released on November 21 and has already garnered some Oscar buzz. Keep your eyes on FSR as we will keep close coverage on the film.

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Atonement

Atonement is not a Jane Austin story, but it could be, if Jane Austin hardened up her subject matter a bit.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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Christopher Hampton adapted Ian McEwan’s Booker Prize nominated novel about the power of a lie. Hampton has three decades of experience and it shows in his screenplay.

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The award formally known as Interior Decorations is now Art Direction. Either way, its all about an eye for style.

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A director generally frames a shot, where a cinematographer essentially brings out the life in said shot. This is where the latter gets recognized.

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Let’s get this Oscar Week started… With posters!

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The Brits pick their favorite films of the year. Time to analyze their decisions.

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Need something to do on Saturday, February 23. Allow us to suggest some Oscar-worthy flicks.

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Take a look at the following video, which is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of the year that was in cinema.

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Didn’t get a chance to see the Golden Globes Telecast on the TV Guide network? We did. And trust us, you didn’t miss much…

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Nathan Deen

Atonement

Movie Reviews By Nate Deen on January 12, 2008 | Comments (5)

…stumbles a bit out of the gates but will leave audiences in awe of it’s beauty and more than satisfied and maybe a little teary-eyed by the indelible conclusion.

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Opening in the English countryside during the build-up to WWII, the film shows no sign of any expense having been spared in its pursuit of visual opulence.

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Though this film had me at “achingly romantic,” I cringe at the thought of someone rolling their eyes and overlooking this remarkable film at the fault of the advertisers who betrayed this film’s distinct uniqueness.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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