Archive | josh’s reviews RSS feed for this section

Look Out, World! It’s Scott Pilgrim!

10 Aug

Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall
Starring: Michael Cera, May Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Jason Schwartzmann

This weekend, a wild fantasy film born of underground rock and Super Mario Brothers hits the scene. It’s quirky, it’s funny, and it knocks your socks off at ninety miles per hour. It is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and it is here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff.


The Best of Pictures: Titanic (1997), by Josh Long

1 Jul

TITANIC (1997)
Written and directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart

James Cameron’s Titanic is a film almost as storied as the ill-fated ocean liner itself. It tied the record for most Academy Awards 1, it launched the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and until Avatar, it was the highest-grossing movie of all time 2. In my own personal studies of film, I made it a point to see every film to win Best Picture, and by 2005 I had – every one but Titanic. Even into my twenties I was still holding the grudge of a fifteen-year old, furious that any movie would have the audacity to beat Star Wars at the box office. Recently, I finally caved so that I could bring my clearly invaluable opinions to you, the reader. So these are my thoughts on Titanic after seeing it for the first time, thirteen years after its theatrical release.


A Neurotic Misstep, by Josh Long

16 Apr

Written and Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Chris Messina

I should start out by saying that I am a great admirer of the films of Noah Baumbach. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed much of his work, and I consider him to be an important figure on the artistic cinema front – I even enjoyed Mr. Jealousy, the film which caused blow-hard New York critic Armond White to wish abortion on the filmmaker 1. It’s no masterpiece, but it certainly doesn’t deserve such harsh criticism. But White isn’t alone in his disdain for Baumbach. His recent Margot at the Wedding received harsh reviews almost across the board, despite his 2005 success with The Squid and the Whale. In going to see his newest film, Greenberg, I expected to be defending him from the critics once again. But that isn’t what happened.


The Best of Pictures: Shakespeare in Love (1998), by Josh Long

2 Apr

Directed by: John Madden
Written by: Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush

For many people, the name “Shakespeare” conjures up memories of dry high school classrooms, research papers, and dull three-hour theatre experiences. Many Americans are introduced to Shakespeare too early in life to appreciate his genius, and perpetually associate him with boring homework. 1998’s Shakespeare in Love was a film that attempted to take that stodgy English sonneteer and show him as a vibrant, lovelorn poet, embroiled in an exciting world of sixteenth century entertainment.


The Best of Pictures: The Hurt Locker (2009), by Josh Long

27 Mar

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Written by: Mark Boal
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Briah Geraghty

So for those who don’t know, I’ve been writing a series on the films that have gained American film’s highest honor: the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since the Oscars themselves have caught up with me, I think it’s time to step away from the retrospectives and take a look at 2009’s winner, The Hurt Locker.


The Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts, by Josh Long

5 Mar

Oscar’s live action shorts give us a chance to see something outside of the Hollywood system. Most of these films are made with no studio connection, many outside of the US, with only occasionally recognizable actors. Films not held by the restraints of studio marketing and stars’ contracts can often find a certain artistic freedom. This Tuesday’s screening at the Academy was a chance to see some of 2009’s best shorts from around the world. Here’s an overview of this year’s offerings.


The Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts, by Josh Long

4 Mar

This week I had the privilege of being able to attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ screening of Oscar-nominated shorts. If you’re ever able to make it there, you should. Held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills with a posh reception beforehand, it’s an opportunity to see some of the Oscar-nominated work that gets overlooked by the general public. These are great films, coming from all over the world, and most people don’t ever get to see them. At the AMPAS Shorts presentation, you get the chance to see each one of the animated and live action shorts, followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers. Here’s a rundown on this years animated shorts, in case you don’t get the chance to see them yourself. […]

The Best of Pictures: American Beauty (1999), by Josh Long

19 Feb

Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Alan Ball
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, Thora Birch

1999 was a pretty heavy-hitting year for American movies. Several instant classics came out that year: The Sixth Sense, The Insider, The Matrix, Magnolia – and then there was American Beauty. A clear front-runner leading up to the ceremony, American Beauty was quite an off-beat choice for the Academy. Sure, there were a lot of great performers in it, and it was a character heavy drama, which usually got Oscar’s attention. But the storyline was anything but normal Best Picture fare. […]

Hell on Earth, by Josh Long

17 Feb

LEGION (2010)
Directed by: Scott Stewart
Written by: Scott Stewart and Peter Schink
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Adrianne Palicki, Lucas Black

Boy, oh boy.

Just when you thought you knew everything about Christianity, here comes Legion! You thought angels were bulletproof? WRONG! You thought only demons possessed people? WRONG! You thought Dennis Quaid still had a respectable career? WRONG and WRONG! […]

Clash of the Blockbusters, by Josh Long

8 Jan

Avatar – we’ve been hearing about it for ages, and now it’s finally here. We were skeptical, but the response is amazing. Critics are praising writer/director James Cameron’s new epic to a fault. Now it’s being compared to what many consider the greatest science fiction film ever, Star Wars. Ebert equates the two in the first sentence of his celebratory review. The comparison may be a little contrived, since Cameron was pushing it before any of us had a chance to decide for ourselves. But it’s an interesting comparison, and the commonalities between the two hulking sci-fi wonders give it credence. Is Cameron raising the bar in bringing us a new galaxy far, far, away? […]