Thursday, December 30

The Best of 2010 On Screen.

We here at hey, that's my bike don't believe in here's our top ten favorite flicks of the year in numerical order from 10 to 1. Weird.

10. Rabbit Hole
Nicole Kidman's face is starting to move again! Blah blah blah. Everyone was doing it dammit. Leave a brow alone...And so what if Nic and Aaron Eckhart apparently didn't become besties during shooting. Not everyone gets along at the office either.
Their relationship, as grieving parents, as broken lovers, couldn't feel more real in this third feature from John Cameron Mitchell (the amazing Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Rabbit Hole embraces the honesty, the voyeurism, one often finds only in the theatre: the simplicity of just watching. John Cameron Mitchell makes us witness to a parents struggle and puts his own ego second. Rare for a director. Not so rare for someone as talented as Mitchell.

9. Inception.
Call Christopher Nolan Senor Batman no more! Well, not until the next Batman anyway...
This year Nolan reminded us who he was before he started dressing Christian Bale up in a cape and stuff: a mind bender. Inception may not be Memento, but it feels closer to the roots of the twisted storyteller that once amazed with so little (if not murred every now and then with some crazy expensive effects). The under rated cast is one thing (talking about you Marian Cotillard). It's the trippy hallway fight that still has me man swooning.

8. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Innovative? Definitely.
Entertaining? Absolutely.
Michael Cera's shtick kind of rules? Yup.
I love it when brings people together...

7. 127 Hours
Feel free to check out the earlier review in the bike archives (Red Rock. Red Rock). Sitting through this movie was almost completely unbearable (something about a nerve or tendon. I still shudder), but it's more than worth enduring. After all, it's not like you're the one cutting off your own arm.
Get more insight in this Christmas message from Franco...and his Grandma:

6. The Kids Are All Right/The Ghost Writer

What if your biological dad was a sperm doner and your parents were lesbian moms, one a successful if not slightly overbearing doctor and the other a free spirit of love...?
Forget that.
What if your biological dad was Mark Ruffalo? Now that would be all right.

The Ghost Writer:
It may not be Chinatown but it's the closest I've seen in years. There's something so compelling, and so unnerving, about watching a Polanski film. You can't help but be enamoured by the detail and beauty of his storytelling: the angle of a shot that puts you just slightly off centre, the layers of mystery stripping away in the story, the compulsion not to trust anyone. When a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to complete the biography of a questionable Prime Minister, he begins to investigate what became of the original author. The cast does a remarkable job (kudos to Kim Cattrall for not being all SATC), but it's the man behind the curtain I can't help but pay attention to. This one has my bet for Oscar underdog.

5. Black Swan
I want Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan to wrestle. I just wanna see what happens.
Again, there's one for this in the bike archives (Creepy Bird) but to reiterate: Natalie Portman is just wow. Just wow. And birds are seriously f'd up.

4. Animal Kingdom
A debut film is more than a calling card for a first time director. It's a dream come to fruition with a passion that often can't be replicated. Aussie first timer David Michod is just beginning, and I'm seriously hoping for replication.
Animal Kingdom takes us to the underbelly of a crime family in Melbourne and reintroduces us to characters we think we already know in a world we think we've already seen. Twists, turns, and more than a flip or two,  it's not just the flick that will leave you's mommy dearest.

3. Let Me In
Remake? Yes. Horror flick? Well, kind of. Awesome? Totally. Number 3? Sure.
It's rare to see such a complex relationship between two children on screen, one without the learned baggage an adult would carry, one with a warmth and heart of pure innocence, and sure, one with a vampire.When an alienated boy befriends the new girl in town he gets a little more than he bargained for (hint: fangs). But so do we in this remake of the Swedish stunner Let the Right One In from Felicity/Cloverfield alum Matt Reeves. In Swedish or English, it still kills.
PS. I dig Matt Reeves.

2. The Fighter
I don't box. Nor do I particularly like movies with people who box (Rocky?...meh...bunch of steps, cool hoodie). But I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once in The Fighter, a film that lets you root for the underdog without ever telling you who the underdog truly is. A family so consumed in their faded history it takes an outsider to show their meal ticket the present...and his potential future. Wicked smaht cast!

1. Blue Valentine

Ahh, love. Fickle friend, bountiful beast. There's such a beauty in finding each other, in falling in love. And there's a beauty, however aching, to the destruction of falling out of it. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are stunning. This one's also in the bike archives (When Sean Met Jen), but here's another look...

Happy end of 2010 bikers. Thanks for pedaling....

Wednesday, December 15

When Sean Met Jen.

I'm a sucker for indie movies, stories that take the glitz and glam and falsity of over thought big budget films and throw it away for something as simple as raw truth. These are the movies I find the most compelling. These are the films that move me.

I'm also a sucker for Ryan Gosling. Anyone who can make a horrible movie like Murder By Numbers watchable is all good in my books. Plus I spent much of my late adolescence watching Breaker High.


Dude's come a long way.

I also admittedly really hated Dawson's Creek, so the fact that Michelle Williams has been working so diligently over the last few years to wipe my memory of Pacey is quite redeemable (and her 5 minute stint in Shutter Island was like, wow).

I love that these two compelling actors shy away from the magazine attention getting whore scape of Hollywood and just do their job (and do it really well by the way). Sure, they do press, but it's always non self involved. Neither of them, to my knowledge, have made a sex tape. But what I love most of about Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams though is that they've found each other as actors, and in that, are beautifully and grossly falling in and out of love in Blue Valentine:

I've been tracking Blue Valentine the past few months on the festival circuit as its battled the dreaded NC-17 rating it was initially bestowed with by the MPAA (something to do with oral outrage). But after some Weinstein weight was thrown around the courts the rating was dropped to a much more awards eligible audience friendly R. Yay for us! And yay for Gosling and Williams, who both just snagged Golden Globe nods for the movie (which is making everyone's top ten list, including mine) and are likely, hopefully, bound for a date with that Oscar dude.

So, uhh.... what's it about?

Yes, the trailer (romantic, touching, smile inducing) doesn't reveal much of the story of Dean and Cindy, a couple who spend a night away from their daughter in an attempt to save their failing marriage. Juxtaposed with memories of their time together, Blue Valentine  is a love story that's already been broken...and a sometimes painful revelation in honesty. There. Now you know.

Depressing? Sure. Maybe.
But I'd rather see something I can feel than something that makes me get up to get more my popcorn. Besides, it's better than having to endure this:

Tuesday, November 30

Creepy Bird.

A psychological thriller set in the world of ballet? Sounds like a reason to eat paper to me!

I wanted to see Black Swan over a year ago when I first heard about it and now, after a successfully impressive jaunt on the festival cicuit and me taking my sweet ass time to blog about it ("old news"?...meh...old news is new news!), I'm finally sharing. For those of you who haven't heard about Darren Aronofsky's latest mind bender--a featured ballerina finds herself both competing with and oddly intrigued with a new rival dancer--let yourself be informed.

Sound kind of, I dunno, girly?

Only if you haven't seen or heard of Requiem For A Dream, Aronofsky's trippy addiciton flick with Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly. Only if you haven't seen Mickey Rourke endure equal phsyical and emotional suffering as a washed up ring star in The Wrestler. Only if you don't know Aronofsky. He's just not a straight up kind of storyteller; only one of the reasons why I like him so much.

Still not convinced? Here's sharing:

So yeah, yeah, Portman and Kunis make out, get it on, whatever. Ooooh, girl on girl kissing. NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. While there's obviously a physical entanglement between the two and a lot of...err...sexual tension, I'm more interested in how it relates to the story than it does to a curtained off area of the video store thank you very much.  Lady love aside, there's an Oscar nod in this for Portman for sure. Could even be one for Kelso's whiny girlfriend (That 70's Show? Seriously Mila Kunis, way to break a stereotype) if it weren't for one glaring obstacle in her way:
I smell crazy Barbara Hershey.

What did you think of the trailer? You see what I see? More importantly, are you going to get a little messed up culture? And SERIOUSLY, what's the deal with all the creepy birds lately?

Black Swan has a limited release December 3rd. Otherwise, watch for it post Christmas.

Tuesday, November 16


How you doin?

Everyone's favorite Friend is back...or third or fourth favorite, depending. Let's see: (1) Rachel (2) Phoebe (3) Joey (4) Chandler (5) Monica (dead last) Ross...that order? Third it is then! (And don't you dare say Phoebe is third).

Now that everyone's had enough time to fully recover from the fiasco that was Joey, Matt LeBlanc is returning to the little screen in what looks like a post Friends series that could actually be good (yeah, I'm talking about you Cougar Town. And don't even get me started on Matthew Perry's upcoming Mr. Sunshine. There's a reason we haven't seen a promo).

Episodes doesn't debut till January, but I'm already intrigued. A British husband and wife team get their tv show greenlit in Hollywood only to discover the city of silicone has their own plans for the remake, which basically involves ruining it like they have most every other British import (Steve Carrell, only you are safe...and by a margin). 

What's promising about Episodes is it's going the cable route, airing on Showtime,  not to mention it seems to have a likeable British sensibility (or, at least British people being British). What I dig the most though is that it's not trying to avoid the popularity/plague of Friends. Because Matt LeBlanc is playing ...Matt LeBlanc! Maybe not the most original idea but bound to be the most fun. Besides, everyone knows who this guy is. He's been Joey...twice...for years! If you can't let it die, might as well let it live on...and on.

Here's hoping the newly grayed friend can pull a Lisa Kudrow and give us something worth watching (oh, how I miss The Comeback). What do you think? Worthy of post Friends success or bound to be another notch on LeBlanc's bomb board? (I'm talking about you Ed. Never forget).

Monday, November 15

America's Psycho

Imperial Bedrooms

"They had made a movie about us."

They did. I saw it. Robert Downey Jr. and Andrew McCarthy. Jamie Gertz was in it too, although I keep thinking/hoping she was actually Jennifer Connelly. But that was before her time. That was in 1987.The movie was Less Than Zero and like in most cases, the book was better.

Imperial Bedrooms is the newest work from Brett Easton Ellis, a sequel to his equally drug ridden friendship twisted sexually charged Less Than Zero from 25 years ago. And it's really good. Julian's still getting himself in all sorts of trouble, Clay's still a pathological narcissist, and Blair's still spinning webs. There's still a ton of sex, a ton of drug use, and a lot of cringing at the viciousness of how these people treat one another, not to mention those they actually "care" about. Clay, Blair, and Julian are still the same.

What has progressed in 25 years though is the level of darkness Ellis has injected into the world, and psyches, and his former rich college kids. The book's not void of hedonism, sex, or violence, just emotion really. What do you expect though? It's L.A. And Ellis has been progressing into a darker tone over the years anyway, most noticeably in his last effort Lunar Park, which was as much an internal autobiographical headspin as it was a twisted external mind fuck.Again with the creepy birds. What is it with people and creepy birds?

While I for one argue Ellis's writing will possibly never be as uncomfortably brash as it was in American Psycho (a book I've bought, read, and thrown away four times now...something about possessing it just makes me feel...uncomfortable), I'm a sucker for his minimalistic writing, his web of mystery and  lies, and his sharp, sometimes hateful, greedy characters. And while some will write Ellis off as self-indulgent I'd argue it's that self-indulgence that makes his work come off the page with such a raw honestly.

Now available in paperback, check it out if you're into Ellis. If you're not, be prepared to be a little off put. Not for the light at heart.

And please don't read it online. Books are for turning pages!

Blushing Nashville.

I'm so weak.

Blame it on my seemingly small town redneck roots, my sensitivity for a sad story, or my peculiar adoration for a woman in cowboy boots, but I saw the trailer a few weeks back and haven't been able to get the movie out of my head ever since.

I really want to see Country Strong.

I know, right?! I don't get it either! I'm not even the biggest Paltrow fan (Shakespeare in Whaaat?), but I am intrigued that this is the movie she's chosen to do for her "comeback" after taking so much time off the big screen. Sure, she still gets to play drunk and rehabbed and everything else, but Oscar this does not reek of.

Still, the girl has pipes. She proved it in Duets (Huey Lewis shout out!) and she just reiterated it a little nervously on the CMAs a few nights back.

Lookin good Vince Gill! Maybe She'll drop a country album  and this movie is all just a clever rouse before her and hubby Coldplay Chris Martin become the new Judds! (I'm guessing Martin would be the Wynona).


Okay, who am I kidding? I know why I want to see this movie.
It's because I'm a good ol' country boy at heart. Don't judge me.

Maybe I'm just looking for a heartache. Maybe I need a chick flick fix so I can cry it out and think this movie may be my window. Maybe I think of Nashville, of country music, as the true stronghold of authenticity in this world. Or maybe I just really can't resist a movie with a built in singer/songwriter/performer soundtrack (Note: blogger will not leave examples of said films due to inner shame and loss of credibility.Weakness or no, there's still no way in hockey sticks I'm going to Burlesque).

Regardless of my confusion and inner turmoil, what I do know is that when I saw the trailer it took me back. Back to the 90's where attractive people in films struggled to hold onto, or even have, a dream. And I want to go to there.

Do I think Country Strong is going to be life changing? No. Do I think I'll be cringing at Paltrow's twangy take on Nashville speak? Sure. But will I secretly be relishing in the hot mess? Yup. Think So. Think. So.

And can I sleep now that I've just gone and given in and blogged about it? Hope so. Hope so.

Country Strong hits theatres Dec 22nd. You going? Or laughing?

And on a scale of one to ten how much credibility have I lost by embarassingly admitting my desire to see this? Ten being the most. Just curious.

 ...I'm such a sucker for a heartbreak...

Thursday, November 4

Red Rock. Red Rock.

When 27 year old Aron Ralston entered the red rock formations of Canyonlands National Park in Utah in 2003 you can bet the guy was looking for adventure. What else would a free spirit high on life pleasure hiker be looking for in a canyon? What Ralston got instead was the ultimate nightmare: a slip of foot, a descent into walls of granite, his right arm crushed and pinned by a loose bolder, his legs dangling above the ground forty feet below. For 127 Hours. Alone.

Me? I don't hike much.

I remember hearing about Ralston's story, and (SPOILER) his survival within it, years ago on the talk show circuit (go Oprah), so when I found out it was being adapted for the big screen I was more than a little concerned. I assumed the thrill bending tale would get the Tom Hanks treatment and we'd have Cast Away: The Second Spike on our hands. But when I heard Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) was helming the project  I became intrigued. I'm not a huge Slumdog fan but I love me some Trainspotting and Boyle openly said his take on the film wouldn't be just about showing us what transpired with Ralston's trapped body and the lengths he took to free himself, but exploring what transpired in Ralston's trapped mind. 

And then I found out James Franco would be starring and Ralston and I kind of lost it a bit. Okay, a lot.
Here's the deal. I idolize James Franco. He could eat paper and I'd watch. I've seen and gushed over everything the guy's ever done. I dare you to watch The James Dean Story and not feel like an icon's life's been intimately shared with you. I dare you to not be disarmed by his charm at an instant in Milk.  Heck, I dare you to watch his stint on General Hospital and not be impressed by his playful immersion into the world of daytime drama (Franco called the stint "performance art" by the way and aired his final episode of the show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles last June).

And then I saw this:

In a word, Franco is impressive. I'm betting the same thing will be said for 127 Hours when all is said and done. It hits theatres on Friday. You going? Let me know what you think!