Tag Archives: culture

Top 25 Documentaries of the Decade

29 Dec

 BillyMitchellKong

January 5th, 2009–

Happy New Year all! Cinematropolis is striving to catch up in the wake of the holidays. For my part, they were pretty great but jumping back on the blogging horse is proving to be a tricky task. I’ve got all those pesky ‘best of’ lists to whittle through, and then a big stack of new stuff to hurdle before launching into some site changes for the new year. Either way, I’ve tackled another list to the ground.

This past decade was an interesting one for the documentary film. More financially successful than ever before, documentaries (and the directors behind them) had at long last an audience hungry for their work and a culture ready to adapt and assimilate what it was they were selling. Whether it be the works of Michael Moore, lovable penguins, or a lone doofus consuming as much McDonald’s as he could shove in his pie hole, the genre was connecting with the general public in a way it never had previously. When Al Gore used it as a venue to preach the dangers of global warming, there was a new fire and purpose injected into the medium. Continue reading

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Top 25 Animated Movies of the Decade: Part 2

10 Dec

December 10th, 2009–

Ok, here we go. The top ten animated films of the last decade. There’s not much to say here that I didn’t mention in the first installment of this article. Honestly, this was such a great 10 years for animation in general, that even limiting the choices and ranking them has been a fool’s errand. But, I guess I’m that fool and the following represent what I think are the finest accomplishments of the form. Each and every one of these could be competing for number 1. Here goes… Continue reading

AMAD: Sleep Dealer

29 Sep

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September 29th,2009–

cinemagrade b+Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer is one of the most grounded science fiction films I’ve ever seen. The first time director has referred to his work as  “science fiction with many anchors in today’s reality.” He isn’t joking. In the future according to Sleep Dealer, Mexico is walled off, their water supply has become privatized, and day-laborers don’t even have to leave the country to take immigrant jobs. Continue reading

Now Playing: Henson and Blige shine in Perry’s ‘I Can Do Bad’

25 Sep

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I Can Do Bad All By Myself (2009) PG-13. 114 min. Directed by: Tyler Perry Written by: Tyler Perry Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Adam Rodriguez, Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight 

cinemagrade b-If you can say nothing else about Tyler Perry, you must concede that he truly understands his audience. With the broken/spurned women, the good guys and bad,and the loud, broad (in every sense of the word) Madea, Perry is aiming his films at a specific niche and community. He mixes a raucous, almost vaudeville-worthy sense of humor with sincere messages of hope and faith. In the past, those elements have strained against each other. Now, in ‘I Can Do Bad All By Myself’ Perry pulls a neat hat-trick; he makes a film tailored perfectly to his fanbase while finally delivering something that can cross over to the mainstream. Continue reading

Cinematropolis Review:16 minutes of ‘Avatar’ in 3-D! Pretty Darn Impressive!

22 Aug

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August 21st, 2009—

UPDATED: Read my full AVATAR review HERE.

 Well, now I’ve actually seen some of James Cameron’s Avatar the way it was intended to be seen—on the Imax and in 3-D. Let me just say that the venue really does make a difference. Like most of the rest of us, I watched the teaser trailer online yesterday and I was underwhelmed by what I was seeing. As a sci-fi geek and a genre hound, I was expecting something more breathtaking, more original, and, I dunno—more daring. On the computer screen, even in HD, the film looked like little more than a cartoon.  The story appeared a basic amalgam of every “outsider meets a new culture” film I’ve seen and the environments and wildlife were interesting but I wasn’t any more convinced by the animated landscapes than the cluttered cgi worlds of the Star Wars prequels. In fact, one of the only reasons my wife and I ended up going to the preview tonight was so I could write about it here. I was curiously ambivalent otherwise. Continue reading

DVD Showcase: The exceptional James Gray tells a tale of ‘Two Lovers’

30 Jun

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Two Lovers (R) 98 min.  Directed by: James Gray. Starring: Joaquin Pheonix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, Elias Koteas Cinematography:  Joaquin Baca-Asay

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James Gray’s Two Lovers is potentially the best movie you didn’t see this year. Released last February for a brief stint in theaters and simultaneously on On-Demand, the film was mostly overshadowed by the stunts of its star, Joaquin Pheonix, who showed up on the Letterman Show looking like a stoned Amish rocker. It turns out though, that Gray’s film is far more worthy of the attention and discussion that inevitably was aimed at Phoenix and his ill-advised rap career (it’s all an elaborate film stunt, wait and see). Continue reading

Movie Review: Mann Alive! ‘Public Enemies’ Is An Old-School Epic With New Tricks

29 Jun

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Public Enemies (2009) R. 140  min. Directed by: Michael Mann. Written by: Ronan Bennett, Michael Mann, & Ann Biderman. Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup.Cinematography:Dante Spinotti. Original music by: Elliot Goldenthal.

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Now this is how you do summer movie escapism. One of our best and brightest movie stars paired with one of the most consistently interesting directors available in the larger than life story of  America’s canniest career criminal, John Dillinger. For all of those shaking under the tromping robotic boots of Bay’s blustering summer monstrosity, take heart, that other Mike has come to town and he’s brought Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard and  Christian Bale along for a thrilling ride that recreates Depression era cop and robber games with all the precision of a master storyteller. Continue reading