February 25, 2010

MRQE Featured Release: A Prophet

MRQE Featured Release: A Prophet

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and a nominee for Best Foreign Language film, A Prophet unveils itself as an Oscar contender this weekend. Already hailed by critics around the globe, the anticipation for the U.S. premiere has been high and many critics already placed the film on their top ten list for the year.

A story of a young Arab man in France who, after being sentenced to six years in prison, falls under the influence of a Corsican Mafia group who enforce their own brand of justice within the prison walls, A Prophet uncovers the power and corruption within the penal system in France and how Arabs in France search for identity. For all current reviews please check MRQE.com.

Seen it? Post your review on MRQE!

February 24, 2010

DVD/Netflix Instant Picks of the Week

Featured Movie:
The Informant!: Propelled by Matt Damon's Oscar snubbed performance, The Informant! is a critically acclaimed Steven Soderbergh's biting comedy about the true story of a price fixing conspiracy in the mis-1990s.
MRQE Metric: 74
Format: Blu-Ray, DVD

Also Out:

Crude: Joe Berlinger's documentary exploring the battle between 30,000 Ecuadorans vs. Chevron for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste in the Amazon, named the Amazon Chernobyl.
MRQE Metric: 75
Format: DVD
WatchIt: Netflix

The Damned United: Set in 1960s and 1970s England, The Damed United tells the confrontational and darkly humorous story of Brian Clough's doomed 44-day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football--Leeds United.
MRQE Metric: 73
Format: Blu-Ray, DVD

The September Issue: An in-depth documentary about Anna Wintour and the making of Vogue's plus-sized September issue.
MRQE Metric: 70
Format: DVD
WatchIt: Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix Instant coming soon.

Flame and Citron: Based on actual events, this Danish film tells the story of World War II Resistance fighters Flame and Citron as they systematically assassinate Danish collaborators and Nazi officers.
MRQE Metric: 68
Format: Blu-ray, DVD

The Box: Would you push a button that would mean you got one million dollars but someone, somewhere that you didn't know would die?
MRQE Metric: 57
Format: Blu-ray, DVD

Dead Snow: A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Oksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Probably the best nazi zombie movie of the season.
MRQE Metric: 56
Format: Blu-ray, DVD

The Vicious Kind: Adam Scott and Brittany Snow star in the Sundance hit that is sure to be a hidden gem on DVD.
MRQE Metric: --
Format: DVD
WatchIt: Netflix Instant coming soon

Examined Life: Filmmaker Astra Taylor explores how contemporary philosophy can fit in everyday life by speaking to leading philosopher that explain, in layman's terms, the application of their theories. Both smart and relevant.
MRQE Metric: --
Format: DVD

Three Blind Mice: Three naval officers use their last 24 hours before shipping off to Iraq to indulge in a night of booze, brawling and debauchery.
MRQE Metric: --
Format: DVD

February 22, 2010

Green Lantern

Today Mark Strong, who recently played the villain in Sherlock Holmes, has confirmed to play Sinestro, the arch-villain to The Green Lantern, scheduled for release in 2011. With the exit of Spiderman 4, The Green Lantern has shown itself some major buzz power (also the addition of Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Ryan Reynolds doesn't hurt). Our question is how excited are you about the new comic book franchise? The Green Lantern isn't as popular as say Batman or Superman (he is powerless against the color yellow) but he's still a powerhouse in the DC Superhero Universe. So, are you putting Green Lantern on your must see list or are you going to wait for a pretty compelling trailer to decide?

February 18, 2010

Is Kathryn Bigelow a Female Director?

Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman ever to win Best Director at the Directors Guild of America and the third woman ever to be nominated for the position in the entire 61 year history of the Academy Awards. Yet her film, which females barely any female characters, has created an outcry from certain critics that denote it as overwhelmingly masculine and subsequently demoting Bigelow's femininity. Unlike previous female nominees, whose movies featured strong female characters, Bigelow's differences in cinematic style, significance and persona have been called in to question in relation to her female predecessors. Matthew Hammer Knott has an interesting essay on the topic on IndieWire. Tell us what you think....

February 17, 2010

Avatar: The Novel

If Avatar doesn't win the Oscar for Best Picture this season, maybe it'll get the Pulitzer. EW.com has reported that James Cameron has promised today to start work on Avatar: The Novel. The novel will stay close to the plot of the movie while digging deeper into the characters' inner monologues. Are you ready to add Avatar to your bookshelf?

AMC Best Picture Showcase

Don't think that the Academy upping the nominee 10 will stop AMC's Best Picture Showcase! AMC has added another Saturday to their Showcase, allowing moviegoers to see every nominee for best picture on two consecutive Saturdays. Movies start at 10:15 and end at 11:15 at night. And for the die hard moviegoer, AMC has added a 24 hour movie marathon day which starts at 12:01 with Avatar 3D and ends at 11:30!

February 16, 2010

Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival opens today and there's a lot of buzz in the air. Previous winners Michael Winterbottom, Wang Quan'an and Roman Polanski have films in competition for the coveted Golden Bear. The last American winner was Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia in 2000 and we've listed a couple trailers and clips from some of the most highly anticipated films from the festival.
Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer

Noah Baumbach's Greenberg

4 Clips from Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl

Karan Johar's My Name is Khan

Wang Quan'an's Tuan Yuan (Apart Together)

February 3, 2010

In Memoriam of Miramax: The Studio's 15 Best Reviewed Movies, Our Favorites

This week we take a look at the best reviewed titles by the famed indie/art-house studio. Last week Disney announced that they're closing the studio's doors as they move money around in their budget, and shift their focus onto more family fare. It's a sad loss indeed, as Miramax has more memorable classics in its vault, then some the more recent duds that landed on the big screen in 2009. Founded by the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob -- and named after their parents Miriam and Max -- Miramax produced a number of great films, including four Best Picture winners: The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, and No Country for Old Men. Before you head on over to MRQE to check out the full list, we'll tease you here with our favorites, some of which that actually didn't make the cut...

Amélie (2001)

Amelie is for believers and romantics who delight in the little things in life and dream of more. It is a film for vagrants, miscreants of society that hold onto little pieces of art and sneak peripheral glances at the world around them and at times venturing out into the world to change it forever. Not the whole world, mind you, but that little part of Paris that every romantic wants to be their world with its pastries, parks and parasols. Its hard to find a movie more charming, whimsy and inviting, and it's one of my favorite movies.

Amélie helps a blind man see.

Clerks (1994)

For anyone who has worked in retail, this is a must-see movie for you. And speaking from our own experiences, boy does Kevin Smith hit the nail on the head, because retail jobs would be a lot more fun if it weren't for those annoying customers. Smith drew from his own life, going so far as to use the convenience store he worked at as the main set for the movie. The indie flick, not only made him a star, but also grossed over $3 million at the box office, and went on to spawn a short-lived animated TV show, and a 2006 sequel; not to mention giving the world the characters Jay & Silent Bob. While Clerks is sometimes fowl (it originally received an NC-17 rating, before Miramax got the MPAA to drop it to an R), the movie "never loses its own sleazy self-confidence," as Desson Howe of the Washington Post wrote.

The finer moments of retail life, summed up here.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
If Quentin Tarentino came out with a bang with Reservoir Dogs, he brought a cannon for Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction is a film that brought countless imitators: some good (BOONDOCK, 2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY, LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS), and some bad (too many to name) but it's influence will last forever. Not many film change filmmaking, alter screenplay writing and propel its actors into star status the way that Pulp Fiction did. As Roger Ebert stated "Howard Hawks once gave his definition of a good movie: 'Three good scenes. No bad scenes.' Few movies in recent years have had more good scenes that Pulp Fiction".

Quoting the Bible, Tarantino style.

Swingers (1996)

This movie is so money, how could it not be one of our favorites? The slick-talking boys club flick quickly became a hit amongst both men and women alike. Girls, do you want to know what guys talk about when we're just hanging out? Just pop in this movie and be enlightened with the great debates: which director is better Scorsese or Tarantino; which video game has more action NHL '94 or NHLPA Hockey '93? Yeah, this really is what we discuss; that, and how soon after getting digits do we call a girl. As Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "The beauty of Swingers lies in the irony of its title: Despite their lounge-lizard posing, these guys will never really live up to their Rat Pack dreams. They're looking for action in an era when talk is what counts." With its swinging soundtrack, the movie also showcased the swing revival happening in L.A. at the time -- only two years later did Gap beat it to death with their khaki commercials. If you're hitting Vegas, baby, this flick's for you.

Ouch! It hurts to watch this...

Bob Roberts (1992)

Prescient in its outlook in American politics, Bob Roberts showed the satirical pen of Tim Robbins in his first directorial effort. The film follows the campaign of folk singing Roberts, who has a definite way with words, as he prods and pokes his opponent with his clever and biting lyrics. Bob Roberts is a movie that accurately satirizes not only the American political system but the media frenzy that surrounds it.

Bob Roberts does Dylan on Wall Street.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

George Clooney's directorial debut. Based on the memoir by TV's Chuck Barris, the mind behind the classic game shows The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, and the 60's oldie tune "Palisades Park"; and on top of that a purported CIA operative. The film explores both sides of the man, but leaves the ultimate question up to the audience to decide: is he making it up, or is he really a spy? Barris worked with Clooney during filming, and they both decided upon Sam Rockwell for the lead part, primarily because of his uncanny resemblance to Barris. Clooney, however, never asked Barris if he was making it up. As he told the BBC, "I didn't want to officially ask him, because I didn't want him to say, 'I made it up.' I wanted to tell the story and I thought, how interesting if it was all made up, why someone as wealthy and as successful as Chuck Barris, would have to do that."

Was he, or wasn't he...?

Check out the full list on MRQE!

Oscar Nominees Announced, and We Post our Picks...

The Oscars were announced yesterday morning with more expectations and few surprises. Perhaps the most interesting news is James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar going up against The Hurt Locker, directed by his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow. The films are leading the pack with nine nominations each, including Best Director and Best Picture. More interesting is that this is the first time a woman has been nominated for Best Director. Head on over to MRQE to catch up with all the nominees, and view their respective MRQE Metric scores.

Our team of editors predict more Oscars going to Avatar, while The Hurt Locker takes the top awards. Below are all our editorial picks. The Oscars will be telecast on Sunday March 7th, and we'll be updating live as the winners are announced.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Maggie Gyllenhaal - Crazy Heart

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker

Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker

Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air

Cinematography: Avatar

Film Editing: The Hurt Locker

Art Direction: Avatar

Costume Design: Coco Before Chanel

Makeup: Star Trek

Music (Original Score): Up

Music (Song): "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" - Crazy Heart

Sound Mixing: Avatar

Sound Editing: Avatar

Visual Effects: Avatar

Animated Feature Film: Up

Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon

Documentary Feature: The Cove

Documentary Short: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

Short Film (Animated): A Matter of Loaf and Death

Short Film (Live Action): The Door

Check all the nominees on MRQE!
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