Quick Takes – 01.10.11

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Grade: A | 3rd Viewing

For the third consecutive time Toy Story 3 has reduced me to a blubbering baby with its emotional and cathartic ending. Upon third viewing I’ve had to increase my original rating from A- to A because the minor criticisms that I initially had are so minuscule in comparison to the film’s overwhelming achievements. It is a beautiful film and a solid addition to Pixar’s already legendary canon.

Out of all the excellent moments of the film the part that continually sticks out to me is the moment near the ending when the toys are about to be destroyed by the incinerator and they all grasp each other’s hands and wait for the end to come in what seems like a great moment of sheer hopelessness. The rescue by the claw is a marvelously apropos Deus ex Machina, that offers fantastic emotional release (and an excellent in-joke with the aliens worship of the claw making Deus ex Machina literal) and wonderful preparation for the final scene and the conclusion of the series.

I’m Still Here (2010)

Grade: B+ | 1st Viewing

There was a lot of criticism for this film surrounding the way that Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix alienated a lot of celebrities and members of the press in order to pull off what many called an elaborate stunt. However, I don’t feel that Borat style film was at all what the pair had in mind when they set out on this ambitious project. The film obviously came out of a place of great frustration with the celebrity-worship and gossip culture in which we exist and the phony-ness that is forced upon people who live in the public eye.

The fact that this film is a hoax has no bearing on the content of the film and if you pay attention to the credits, it is pretty obvious the whole thing was set up. However, the point was well-received. Joaquin Phoenix has what appears to be a very public emotional breakdown and what does Hollywood do? Instead of reaching out to him and offering help, they turn their cameras on him and hope that they catch his next big act of insanity. The same thing has happened to Brittney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and any other star who becomes an object of public scrutiny.

It’s an important message and one that at times Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix go too far to prove, but it’s a worthy film nonetheless.

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  • julian

    I just watched toy story again as well…what a wonderful movie! In a way it´s a shame that it is not taken seriously as a potential bp winner, because quality-wise it´s right up there with the very best (only TSN is better this year, really…and arguably WB)

  • Brandon Cooley

    The Battle of Algiers (2nd time viewing): A The greatest political film ever made. The Criterion Collection makes even better.

    Inception (2nd time viewing): A- I Noticed some flaws here and there, but I still enjoyed it.

    Pulp Fiction (4th time viewing): A I’m writing an article for my webstie called Pulp Fiction and Philosophy. It doesn’t get anymore fun than analyzing this.

    The Thin Red Line (2nd time viewing): A Blew me away the first time and it blows me away again. Excellent addition to the Criterion Collection.

  • “Black Swan” (A-): Horror elements were so-so, but the rest of the movie was just stunning. Natalie Portman was just amazing. One brilliant piece of acting.

    “The Bourne Ultimatum” (A): The best of the “Bourne” movies. Tightly written, well-paced… just stunning. The lengthy chase through the streets of Tangier has to be one of the finest action sequences ever made.

    Also I’m continuing with “Lost” (I’m currently on its uneven but good third season), and I finished “Breaking Bad’s” second season (which was terrific). This week I plan to finally catch “Bonnie and Clyde” and maybe “Chinatown”.

  • Andrew R.

    I watched one episode of Survivor Australia and one episode of Amazing Race 2. I was too busy this weekend.

  • I also re-watched “Toy Story 3”. I still give it an A. Laos I watched

    Solitary Man – B. Michael Douglas’ performance was flawless, however the movie was not. Still quite good though.

    An Education – A/A-. I’m not sure what grade to give this film, but I loved it. Carey Mulligan was astounding, probably the best performance of 2009.

    I also watched some of “A Prophet” (up to when Reyeb is introduced)

  • “An Education” was solid, I thought. Nothing special, though. Mulligan was terrific.

  • Brandon Cooley

    @G1000 If you’re watching Chinatown for the first time then I envy you. I would like to hear your opinion on it after you see it.

  • Unfortunately, my mail arrived too late with the copy from Netflix. So I watched “Bonnie and Clyde” instantly instead (and loved it). Check back next quick takes, as I’ll probably have seen it by then.

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