Dustin Hoffman’s Top Ten Performances

    I’m obsessed with HBO’s new series “Luck”. I was sold on the announcement of the show especially when it’s starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina, and I after watching the pilot five times, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the best television pilot that I’ve ever seen. Hoffman headlining, as well as producing, “Luck” marks the first time that an A list actor has starred in a television show. Maybe this will pave the way for others like Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro to headline a show? Here are my top ten Hoffman performances.

“Lenny” 1974 Dir. Bob Fosse


“Tootsie” 1982 Dir. Sydney Pollack


“Luck” – Pilot 2012 Dir. Michael Mann


“Rainman” 1988 Dir. Barry Levinson


“Little Big Man” 1970 Dir. Arthur Penn


“Straw Dogs” 1971 Dir. Sam Peckinpah


“Wag the Dog” 1997 Dir. Barry Levinson


“Hook” 1991 Dir. Steven Spieberg


“Marathon Man” 1976 Dir. John Schlesinger


“Dick Tracy” 1990 Dir. Warren Beatty

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Top Ten Love Stories

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and many movie blogs and websites will be posting their own lists of “love movies”, which will more than likely consist of mainstream love stories, my list will be somewhat alternative but still, at the core of each film that I picked, the film is rooted in love. Because more times than not, love can be a very strange and wicked game. I will not be reviewing “The Vow”.

  1. “True Romance” 1993. Dir. Tony Scott

    “True Romance” tends to be the against the grain film for most people who admire Tarantino, sighting this as their favorite Tarantino film. While he did write the screenplay, the author of this film is very much Tony Scott. The brazed love of Clarence and Alabama has been told prior in films like “Badlands” and “Bonnie and Clyde”, but the chemistry of Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette make this film the staple for tragic star crossed lovers.

  2. “Brokeback Mountain” 2005. Dir. Ang Lee

    “Brokeback Mountain” is such a beautifully painful film about two men who fall in love. I have never seen a film that has demonstrated a forbidden love as well as this film, that’s directed by Ang Lee. A lot of films strive to be perfect, but “Brokeback Mountain” most certainly is.

  3. “When Harry Met Sally” 1989. Dir. Rob Reiner

    “When Harry Met Sally” remains to be one of my favorite movies of all time. The impeccable comedic timing of Billy Crystal meshes perfectly with the bubbly Meg Ryan. This film is very sweet, charming, hilarious and poetic. I think most romantic comedies nowadays try and reproduce the formula that this film made great, but no film will ever achieve the heart that this film demonstrates.

  4. “Blue Valentine” 2010. Dir. Derek Cianfrance

    I was blown away by this film. I was struck by the realism of a decaying, and destructive love where there isn’t a good guy or a bad guy. Things happen, things change and sometimes we can’t do anything about it. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are truly awe-some in this movie.

  5. “Beginners” 2011. Dir. Mike Mills

    “Beginners” was one of my favorite films of last year. Not only did it give us the amazing turn by Christopher Plummer, but it was also a very sweet and funny movie that removed itself from the flock of romantic comedies by its brilliant screenplay and wonderful performances by the leads, including the Jack Russell Terrier, Arthur.

  6. “Blue Velvet” 1986. Dir. David Lynch

    “Blue Velvet” is many things: a masterpiece, a neo noir, a really fucked up trip of a movie, but above all that – this movie is a love story. A very sick and twisted love story of what Frank Booth (Hopper) will do to hold onto the love he has for Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini).

  7. “Wings of Desire” 1987. Dir. Wim Wenders

    Remade as the dreadful “City of Angels”, this film is the story of an angel named Daniel who chooses to fall from grace because of his love over a dancer. Skip the Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan remake. It’s pretty awful.

  8. “A Woman Under the Influence” 1974. Dir. John Cassavetes

    Peter Falk plays a construction foreman who is married to Gena Rowlands whose sanity has slipped beyond repair. She’s insane, but the dedication of Peter Falk shows us what true love really is.

  9. “The Crying Game” 1992. Dir. Neil Jordan

    If this film isn’t about true love, I don’t know what is.

  10. “Mona Lisa” 1986. Dir. Neil Jordan

    She was a tart. He was an ex con. Sometimes love really is a strange and wicked game.

Netflix Original Programming: “Lilyhammer”

With Steven Van Zandt, Trond Fausa Aurvaag, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Fridtjov Saheim

    Today Netflix has unveiled its first “original” programming titled “Lilyhammer”. The entire first season, all eight episodes, are available all at once. I recently watched the pilot, and I have to say, the show is rather odd, but also really enjoyable. Don’t let the poor cover art turn you off.

Stevie van Zandt, best known as Silvio on “The Sopranos” and as Bruce Springsteen’s lead guitarist on The E-Street Band, plays Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano who turns states evidence against a newly appointed mafia boss who tried to kill him. Tagliano would only turn states evidence under one condition: that he’s sent to Lilyhammer, Norway under witness protection. Why? Because Tagliano loved watching the 1994 Winter Olympics that was in Lilyhammer.

Sound strange? Well yeah, so is the show. The first fifteen minutes or so of the pilot is set in America, with incredibly low production value and Van Zandt is surrounded with almost horrid wooden acting. I was a little worried. But once he arrives in Norway the show picks up. Both with acting and with its production value, shot all in Norway.

    The show’s characters are fun. They’re generic, but fun. There are two brothers, one is a bus driver and other is working the system. Ahhh, the joys of living in a welfare state! The show also plants the seeds for Van Zandt’s love interest and his “enemy”. The show doesn’t seem to want to take things too seriously, which is alright, because the misadventures of a mobster in Norway were fun to watch.

Van Zandt doesn’t really stray too far away from his trademarked Silvio character, and he doesn’t really have too. He’s exactly what you’d expect him to be, and that’s fine. He’s a tough motherfucker who is now living in Norway, trying to adapt to his new electric car and Norwegian television. I couldn’t tell if this show was going to be a drama or a comedy, but from the looks of the pilot it seems to me it’s going to be later.

I have to admit I’m impressed with both the show, and Netflix’s decision to distribute this show. Netflix had announced, about a year ago, that they are going to distribute “House of Cards”, a Kevin Spacey/David Fincher political thriller set in the English Parliament, where Spacey stars as the House Whip who’s wielding his power to become the next Prime Minister. Now that sounds good. The production hasn’t gone underway yet, but the show should start shooting soon.

I enjoyed the pilot, and I like the idea of Netflix releasing the entire show at once, and not week by week, which would probably allow me to not really be interested in following it up. After I post this review, I’m going to go onward to the next episode and see where that takes me.

Rating 8/10

“The Grey” 2012 Dir. Joe Carnahan

With Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Frank Grillo, Joe Anderson, James Badge Dale and Dermot Mulroney

“If we don’t move and work now, we’re fucked.”

 

    I’ve had a love affair with Joe Carnahan’s films. Like most love affairs, it’s been off and on. His film “Narc” is one of the best that the “cop on the edge” genre has to offer. “Smokin’ Aces” let me down, though the visual style wet my beak enough to keep me engaged, to keep me wanting more Carnahan. “The A-Team” was his Hollywood film that garnered enough success for him to make his boldest and most commanding film to date, “The Grey”.

    Liam Neeson, who has become the world’s most bona fide badass due to his juggernaut of a performance in “Taken”, headlines the cast of eclectic character actors who portray a group of rough necks whose plane crashes in the frozen Alaska wilderness and are being hunted by a pack of wolves. Fuck yes.


    Neeson has made a remarkable transition from young European thespian to the mentor figure, to a 59 year old action hero. What sets Neeson apart from the flock of action stars that have migrated into making the “Expendables” films is he’s a truly remarkable actor who now fuses his talent with action. This allows him to breathe the proper amount of life and depth into each action oriented character he plays.

    Joe Carnahan delivered Neeson a wickedly great, suspense AND drama filled screenplay that goes beyond the man versus wolf dimension the TV spots and advertisements lead you to believe. The film is more in tune with man versus nature, but really boils down to man versus self.

    The entire first act of this film deals with Neeson, named Ottway which sounds like a name that was written for Lee Marvin, writing and reflecting on a letter to his (former?) wife. The longing, the pining, to see his wife again, to touch her is heartbreakingly conveyed in Neeson’s voice, the expression he carries in his face that does more acting than most actors can do in an entire film.


    I can’t help but think that Neeson drew from his own personal experience of his wife, Natasha Richardson’s, untimely death. Ottway searches for a reason to live, until he finds himself amidst a plane wreck where he assumes the role of leader.

    The men are hunted by a pack of wolves, and leave the crash site to try and escape the hunting radius that the wolves patrol. Ottway finds himself in a position of survival, and he must defeat his own demons while fighting back against nature and himself to try and conquer it all.

    Yes the film does become predictable, and you can foresee the men getting picked off by the wolves, one by one. But the ace that Carnahan holds up his sleeve is his brilliant ending that garnished boos, and “what the fuck!?” when the credits began to roll. I won’t spoil how the film ends, but it has resonated with me since I saw the film a week ago, and has given me such an inner passion for this film, that I can’t wait to see it again.


    Oh, and just one last thing; stay through the credits because there is one last scene. I, myself, missed it. After reading about it, I really wish I had seen it.

 

Rating: 9/10

    

Year in Review: The Best of 2011

I know that I haven’t been writing lately. But I’ve been busy watching movies and reading and smoking cigarettes. I also have been working harder than Mitt Romney, which is pathetic in its own right. Anyway, if there’s anyone out there, here’s what I considered the Best of 2011, in order.

Best Films

“The Tree of Life”

“Drive”

“Shame”

“Melancholia”

“Hugo”

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

“A Dangerous Method”

“Beginners”

“The Descendants”

“The Iron Lady”

“Bloodworth”

“Captain America”

“Contagion”

“Midnight in Paris”

“Carnage”

“The Artist”

“My Week with Marylin”

“The Last Rites of Joe May”

“The Ides of March”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

“Passion Play”

“Sucker Punch”

“Moneyball”

“X-Men First Class”

“Warrior”

“Thor”

Best Director

Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Nicolas Winding Refn, “Drive”

Lars von Trier, “Melancholia”

David Cronenberg, “A Dangerous Method”

Best Actor

Michael Fassbender, “Shame”

Gary Oldman, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Hunter McCracken, “The Tree of Life”

Ryan Gosling, “Drive”

Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Best Actress

Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Kiera Knightley, “A Dangerous Method”

Kristen Dunst, “Melancholia”

Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Melancholia”

Jodie Foster, “Carnage”

Best Supporting Actor

Albert Brooks, “Drive”

Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Brad Pitt, “The Tree of Life”

Robert Forster, “The Descendants”

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marylin”

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain, “The Tree of Life”

Carey Mulligan, “Shame”

Melanie Laurent, “Beginners”

Carey Mulligan, “Drive”

Kate Winslet, “Carnage”

Best Ensemble

“Drive”

“Tree of Life”

“A Dangerous Method”

“Melancholia”

“Hugo”

Original Screenplay

“The Tree of Life”

“Midnight in Paris”

“Shame”

“Beginners”

“Melancholia”

Adapted Screenplay

“Drive”

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

“A Dangerous Method”

“Carnage”

“Hugo”

Best Television Programming

“Californication”

“George Harrison: Living in a Material World”

“Breaking Bad”

“Homeland”

“Too Big to Fail”

So Here’s the Deal

So, the reason I abannonded this site, so long ago, was because my laziness allowed the domain name of PompousFilmSnob.com to lapse, some asshole bought it and it’s now some bullshit advertisement page.  It’s also selling on GoDaddy.com for $8,000.  I’d like to buy it back, but who am I? Mitt Romney?  So in any event, my “new” blog, http://www.exerminateallrationalthought.com didn’t take off so well, I got lazy with it.  But since, however many months later of not writing on this blog, I still get almost 200 hits a day.  So you people most really, really like me.  Or it’s just dumb luck.  Either way, in the immortal words of Paul Newman from “The Color of Money”, I’m back (fuckers).