“The Tree of Life” – 2011. Dir. Terrence Malick

With Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw and Sean Penn

“Guide us. To the end of time.”

    I was fortunate enough to see Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” today. Anything I could try and articulate about the film, would fail it in every way possible. I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever muster up the courage to write a review, or even my thoughts/interpretation of the film, but this is for sure: “The Tree of Life” is not only “the greatest movie ever made”, but – it is the most profound thing that I have ever seen.

“Seven” – 1995. Dir. David Fincher

With Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, R. Lee Ermey, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, Richard Roundtree and Kevin Spacey

“Where to?”

“Far away from here.”

This is a gritty noir film that centers around two detectives: William Somerset (Freeman) who is retiring in seven days, and his replacement David Mills (Pitt) who happen to investigate a string of murders where a killer is killing according to the seven deadly sins.

This is one fucking intense film.

There are many things that strike me about this film, and many things that bring me back to it. I’ve always felt that Freeman is the central character of the film – he’s the veteran detective that’s become so apathetic – so disgusted of the world around him that he’s become a better detective, he’s become extremely jaded. This final case completely solidifies he thoughts about the world.

Pitt plays the polar opposite of Freeman, he’s the young, eager and immature detective who is all balls and no brains – yet they work together with this steady truce and this odd symbiotic relationship.


Andrew Kevin Walker’s screenplay may be one of the finest screenplays ever transformed to screen. There are many elements to me that define the realism of the film. The fact that Brad Pitt doesn’t shower before work, that we know he doesn’t shower before work has always stuck with me. This is a direct reflection of his immaturity. When we see Freeman get ready for work, he’s cleanly shaven, his cloths are pressed, and his hat rests perfectly on his head. As much as Freeman resents his job, as much as it’s made him completely jaded – he has a respect for it, he has a respect for himself.

As Freeman and Pitt become closer, Pitt’s wife played by Gwyneth Paltrow confides to Freeman in a show stopping emotional scene. She’s pregnant and unsure to have the child; Pitt doesn’t know. The subject of abortion has become so taboo in our society its ridiculous – yet in the film “Seven”, nothing is off limits. This scene in the film is the one scene that I always remember, that I always think back too. The dialogue exchange between Paltrow and Freeman is some of the best written dialogue I’ve ever heard.

The dialogue exchange does two things: it completely sums up Freeman’s view of the world and it shows us Paltrow’s doubt. The second thing it does is set up the earth shattering ending that will always be remembered to anyone who ever seen the film.

I love Morgan Freeman in this film, and I think it’s his career performance. He’s the elder, the wise man. He’s a man who probably came from the projects of the city, yet he pulled himself up and becomes an extremely cultured man by spending so much time reading, he absorbs everything.


Kevin Spacey is fucking great as the killer John Doe, and each time I see the film, I just get more and more upset due to the fact that Kevin Spacey hasn’t done anything worth a fuck since “Beyond the Sea”. The fact that Spacey was in both this film and “The Usual Suspects” in the same year is remarkable – giving two polar opposite (to a point) performances and making them both believable. Kevin Spacey can act.

Brad Pitt is very good in the film yet I don’t really care for him, but I don’t think we’re supposed too – unless I just identify with Freeman’s character more. The only emotion that I get from Pitt is at the end of the film, then I’m at his will and I am so sympathetic and filled with so much sadness.

The direction that Fincher gives is wonderful – he guides us through New York City that reminds me very much of the New York City we saw in “Taxi Driver” – a world of filth and horrible things, but at least this time we have Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt to fight out battles for us. “Seven” remains to be David Fincher’s masterpiece.

Review: 10/10

The 10 Best Films of the 1990’s.

10. “In the Name of the Father” – 1993. Dir. Jim Sheridan. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson.

“I’m a free man, I’m going out the front door!”

This is one of the most dramatically powerful films I’ve ever seen. Seeing the true story of Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis) and his father (Postlethwaite) being wrongfully accused and imprisoned in London over an IRA bombing is just so heartbreaking. Emma Thompson gives an amazingly great performance as the two men’s lawyer and the only one who believes their innocence.

9. “Natural Born Killers” – 1994. Dir. Oliver Stone. With Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Russell Means, Robert Downey, Jr. and Tommy Lee Jones.

Mickey and Mallory Knox are loose, Scagnetti’s dead, and they’re live on national TV!”

LIVE ON NATIONAL TV? JESUS HAROLD CHRIST ON A FUCKING RUBBER CRUTCH, IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Olive Stone is the filmmaker of the times, making films that deal with our current status in America. With NBK Stone brings forth a film with a killer soundtrack and excellent cast that explores our need for Reality TV and the media and our cultures obsession with killers. It shows us how we as American are obsessed with the killers themselves and how we turn them into pop culture icons. This is one wild ride of a fucking movie! The finest performance in the film has to be Tommy Lee Jones as Warden Dwight McClusky. He’s out of his fucking mind!


8. “Boogie Nights” – 1997. Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson. With Mark Wahlbeg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Heather Grahm and Don Cheadle.

Wait a minute. You come into my house, my party, to tell me about the future? That the future is tape, videotape, and not film? That it’s amateurs and not professionals? I’m a filmmaker, which is why I will *never* make a movie on tape.”

The opening one shot is a magnificent display of talent. It shows much homage to Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” and much more to Russia’s 1950’s propaganda film, “I am Cuba”. It sends us into a furry and introduces us to all the major characters that we need to know about. I want to call this film his masterpiece, but I can’t – “There Will Be Blood” is. This was back in the days when John C. Reilly used to be a good actor – and when Burt Reynolds blew all of his chances of having anything resembling a comeback. I love this film.


7. “Goodfellas” – 1990. Dir. Martin Scorsese. With Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent and Paul Sorvino.

“You may know who we are, but we know who you are.”

Gosh, Martin Scorsese. What a master. I truly believe that this is the film that de-glorified the “romantic” life of mobsters. Sure “The Godfather’s” were brutal and violent, but we always sympathized with Michael – we were always pulling for him. We do that to a certain extent in “Goodfellas” but once we hit the second act of the film, and we watch Ray Liotta spin out of control – we know that he’s paying for the life he’s led. It’s amazing and beautiful and no one could ever do it better. Martin Scorsese is a God among artists.

6. “American Beauty” – 1999. Dir. Sam Mendes. With Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Mena Suvari, Thora Birch, Wes Bently and Chris Cooper.

“This is my first time.”

Man…all I can really saw about this is Chris Cooper winning for “Adaptation” was his make-up for not even being nominated for his role in this film. That’s it.

5. “Seven” – 1995. Dir. David Fincher. With Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gweyth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey.

“Where to?”

“Far away from here.”

People like to say that “Fight Club” is Fincher’s masterpiece. I think “Fight Club” is overrated and trendy – but “Seven”…oh my God “Seven” – this film is just downright amazing! Kevin Spacey steals the show as John Doe, Brad Pitt is great as the young and cocky cop and Morgan Freeman gives the performance of his career as a cop that the world has left behind. Remarkable filmmaking!

4. “Pulp Fiction” – 1994. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. With John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel.

“You see – this is a moral test of one’s self. You’re going to go back, drink your drink, go home, jerk off and that’s all you’re gonna do.”

Fuck “Forrest Gump”.

3. “Bad Lieutenant” – 1991. Dir. Abel Ferrara. With Harvey Keitel.

“Where the fuck were you when I needed you? Why the fuck weren’t you there for me, when I needed you?!”

Harvey Keitel does nothing but bare his soul in this haunting and repulsive film about a cop who’s fallen so far from grace, Jesus himself can’t even help him. This is pretty powerful stuff, and if you think you’re tough enough to watch this, make sure it’s the NC-17 version.

2. “Schindler’s List” – 1993. Dir. Steven Spielberg. With Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley.

“This is very cruel, Oskar. You’re giving them hope. You shouldn’t do that. *That’s* cruel!”

The reason I resent Steven Spielberg is because he has the talent to make this, “Jaws”, “Close Encounters” and “E.T.” – why waste it.

1. “L.A. Confidential” – 1997. Dir. Curtis Hanson. With Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn.

“Go back to Jersey, sonny. This is the City of the Angels, and you haven’t got any wings.”

Flawless.
Honorable mentions:  “The Insider”, “Unforgiven”, “Rushmore”, “The Thin Red Line”, “The Big Lebowski”

2010 films that have me JAZZERSIZED!

Let us look forward!

In no particular order:

“The Expendibles”

How could an action film with Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Stratham (ehh), Eric Roberts and cameos by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis suck that bad?

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”

This is the film I’m most skeptical of. I love Oliver Stone, but “The World Trade Center” I thought was a disaster of a film, and “W” could have been epically great (it’s still enjoyable). Even though I’m leery of Shia LeBeauf in the film, the fact it takes place in our current economic climate and has Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen returning has me very excited. The addition of Frank Langella and Josh Brolin is equally as great along with Carey Mulligan. I was hoping Stone would also bring back Terrence Stamp, John C. McGinley and Hal Holbrook too.

“The Tree of Life”

Terrence Malick directing a 1950’s period piece about a boy witnessing “the loss of innocence” with Sean Penn (again!) and Brad Pitt. ‘Nough said!

Jeff Bridges' artwork for "True Grit".

“True Grit”

The Coen Brother’s making a western! A real western reuniting them with Jeff Bridges! I feel a sixth Oscar nomination for Bridges on this one. In addition to Bridges the Coen’s also bring Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and Barry Pepper to the table.

“Tron: Legacy”

Jeff Bridges in a new Tron movie… As if the special effects in the original film weren’t groundbreaking enough!

“Iron Man 2”

Robert Downey, Jr. is back as Tony Stark! This time he’s battling Mickey Rourke as a tattooed Russian who builds his own Iron Man suit. Hott! I want to make a prediction here that I told my friends Kevin and Peyton about after viewing the trailer for “Iron Man 2”, Mickey Rourke will get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

“Fair Game”

The story of Valerie Wilson’s (Naomi Watts) outing as a covert CIA Agent by the Bush administration because her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson (played by Sean Penn) a registered Republican, spoke the truth in his report about Saddam Hussein not trying to purchase weapons of mass destruction.

“Love Ranch”

Taylor Hackford directing his wife Helen Mirren as the wife of Joe Pesci who play the couple that open the first legal brothel in Nevada, and it’s based on a true story.

“Machete”

Robert Rodriguez making a feature length film from his “Grindhouse” trailer with the best cast I’ve ever seen: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Lindsey Lohan, Steven Segal, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey and Robert DeNiro.

“Company Men”

A film about corporate America with Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. Awesome.

“The Special Relationship”

The film examines the relationship between President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) and Hillary (Julianne Moore) with Tony Blair (Michael Sheen for his third portrayal as Blair).

Male Performances of the Year…Thus Far.

I still have yet to see some films that I need to make full judgment on what the best lead and supporting performances of the year are.  But with what I’ve seen, here is my list.  Expect this post, and my Top Ten of Year for films to be updated.

Lead Actor

Colin Firth as George in “A Single Man”.

Willem Dafoe as He in “Antichrist”.


Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart”.

George Clooney as Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air”.

Nicholas Cage as Lt. Terrance McDonagh in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”.


Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in “Inglorious Basterds”.


Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet in “Crazy Heart”.

Mathew Goode as Jim in “A Single Man”.


Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine in “Inglorious Basterds”.

Val Kilmer as Stevie Pruit in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”.

Stanley Tucci as Paul Child in “Julie and Julia”


Top Ten of the Year (Thus Far)

Top Ten Films of the Year

Here’s my top ten of the year thus far.  The notable films that I haven’t seen yet include “Nine”, “Avatar”, “An Education” and “Invictus”.  I would only assume that Avatar will make the cut, and maybe some more films.  So please dear reader, stay tuned.

1. “Antichrist” Dir. Lars von Trier.  With Williem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

2. “A Single Man” Dir. Tom Ford.  With Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Mathew Goode.

3.  “Up in the Air” Dir. Jason ReitmanWith George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman and Anna Kendrick.

4.  “Inglorious Basterds”.  Dir. Quentin Tarantino.  With Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, and Til Schweiger.

5.  “Bad Lieutenant:  Port of Call New Orleans” Dir. Werner Herzog.  With Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Xibit, and Val Kilmer.

6.  “The Watchmen” Dir. Zach Snyder.  With Billy Crudup, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Mathew Goode and Jackie Earl Haley.

7.  “The Girlfriend Experience”  Dir. Steven Soderbergh.  With Sasha Grey and Chris Santos.

8.  “Taken” Dir.  Pierre Moral.  With Liam Neeson, Famke Jassen, and Xander Berkeley.

9. ????

10. ????