Our Weekly Recommendations (June 28th 2011)

Every week the people of Super Website (Super Blog) will give you a recommendation of a Film, DVD, Bluray, Book, Soundtrack or any other item for you the readers to check out.
Super Marcey Recommend’s:

Crazy Heart

Last recommendation I gave you Iron Man and this week I shall give you more Jeff Bridges with Crazy Heart. Here is an excert from my original review, which you can read in it’s entirety here.
A country musician whose star has since faded finds himself playing at the local bowling alley, hasn’t written any new material for years and is an alcoholic. Things change for him when he meets a reporter, who is also a single mother, the two form a relationship. In the meantime a musician who he has mentored comes back into the picture. That is the short little synopsis for this film without giving too much away. Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake who is the country music star, he is a shadow of his former self; Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Jean the reporter who he meets and Colin Farrell Tommy plays the man he mentored.
Crazy Heart is a good film, it does follow the formula of films of these types but it is the performances that elevates this up to being great. It is cliched, and I expected that it would be and the ending both worked and didn’t for me but the rest, the ride we take with Blake made for good watching. This film really is all about Jeff Bridges and his fantastic performance, he is Bad Blake, he becomes this character fully. He really just lifted up this role and made for a character that you just can’t help but watch and you hope this man can get back on track with his life. You feel for him, in all sorts of ways, there are times you want to slap him and there are times you just want to hug him. Jeff Bridges plays all the right notes with Bad, he is one of the acting greats and it is fantastic he has been nominated for an Oscar for his role.
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Logan J. Fowler Recommend’s:

The Incredibles

People ask me, “Logan, what is your favorite movie of all time?” My answer: “The Incredibles.” They ask “Why?” I say, “It’s gotta a little bit of everything-action, comedy, romance, family values, morals, it’s about superheroes and it’s from Pixar.”
The Incredibles starts off by introducing us to Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), everyday upholder of justice and loved by many. However, after a series of unfortunate events, he faces the problem of the law when he is taken to court by a man he rescued from a failed suicide attempt (yes, suicide in a PG rated Disney/ Pixar film). With so many lawsuits going against the superhero and fellow “supers” as they are called, the government issues the superhero relocation program, taking superheroes out of the equation and making them quiet citizens.
15 years later, Mr. Incredible lives under the alter ego name Bob Parr, working at an insurance company and feeling rather bored. He has a family now who he semi ignores due to his law abiding duty of being a reserved superhero. On Wednesday nights he and friend named Lucius (formerly known as the super Frozone, voiced by Samuel L Jackson) listen to a police scanner for nearby crimes or danger. This catches the eye of Mirage, who has ties to someone from Mr. Incredible’s past. Mirage invites Mr. Incredible to a tropical island to take out a machine, only to be put in great danger, relying on the help of his family he passed off in honor of his glory days.
The Incredibles is not a Pixar sob fest like Up or Toy Story 3 were, or for that matter, are (I still cry at those movies regardless of watching them several times), but even so, it has heart, a clever combination of brains and brawn, and is a super fun ride. The voices are perfect, the action is fast and epic, and the movie has one of the best soundtracks to accompany an animated film in a long time (that didn’t have the characters singing). Also, touching upon the suicide attempt featured in the beginning of the movie, The Incredibles hits some very dark notes for a film of its rating, and has some adult humor intact as well.
Adding all those quality elements together, The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s best, but to me, it IS their best, and still stands strong as my favorite flick. Period.
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Pat Torfe Recommend’s:

Day of the Dead

Continuing with the zombie theme, this week I’m sticking with Day Of The Dead. Now I know that there are a number of fans of Romero’s films (and zombie films in general) who are going to be asking what I’m smoking, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Day Of The Dead isn’t the greatness that was Dawn Of The Dead, but it’s still a rather solid movie. The story goes that after the events of Dawn Of The Dead, the world has been overrun my the walking dead. A small contingent of soldiers and scientists have taken refuge in an underground research facility. Tensions are high as the scientists led by Dr. Logan try to find a cure/domesticate the zombies, while the soldiers led by the batshit insane Captain Rhodes are intent on blowing the zombies (and anyone else) away. Factor in the lack of progress and sleep, and you have folks on the edge.
First off, this isn’t the action fest that Dawn Of The Dead was. This is more of a low-key film that relies on the intimate surroundings to explore characters and their interactions. That’s a good thing, since we get some great performances from the likes of Richard Liberty as Dr. Logan (who is also batshit insane, but at least not wanting to kill folks) and Joe Pilato as Capt. Rhodes. Really, Pilato is such an asshole in this film that you can’t help but love him for it. Then there’s Bub, an intelligent zombie that has been somewhat domesticated by Dr. Logan. Bub is played to perfection by Howard Sherman. There’s a child-like innocence with Bub, mixed in with the need for human flesh. You can’t help but fall in love with the character while Logan is teaching him to interact with various objects. It also helps that Bub isn’t as ugly/rotted as his zombie compatriots. Also, this film focuses on a more mean-spirited approach instead of employing the humour that Dawn used, which is again one of the reasons why folks are still split with this film today. That in effect just makes the gore (done once again by Tom Savini with help from Greg Nicotero of future KNB EFX fame) that much more graphic. Plus, I still get uneasy when that one guy gets his head ripped off while screaming (you’ll see and hear it). So yeah, the film wasn’t what fans expected. I’ve said it before, but Day Of The Dead was Alien 3 before Alien 3. But aside from that, there’s still a great film to be found here if you don’t go into it expecting Dawn Of The Dead Part 2. Fans of Romero’s films should still check this one out, as it still holds up today.
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Bede Jermyn Recommend’s:

Swimming Pool

A while ago my friend (and regular Super Podcast guest) Sam Inglis said one of his favourite working director’s today is Francois Ozon and he suggested that I should check out his films. So far I’ve seen three films of his (two of which were the solid TIME TO LEAVE and the terrific 5×2) but for this week’s recommendation I’ve decided to pick one that is the most recent film that I’ve seen from him, which is his 2003 film SWIMMING POOL. The film tells the story of British crime novelist Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) who is suffering from writer’s block when it comes to her next book. On the advice of her publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance), she decides to stay for a few weeks by herself at his country house in France. Hoping that some relaxation and a change of scenery will help get her overcome her writer’s block. After Sarah gets settled in and starts writing her novel, her holiday is disrupted one night by the arrival of a young French woman named Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), who just happens to be John’s daughter. I won’t say anymore about film’s story because for me it’s best not to know too much before going into this film.
But I will say that this is a great Hitchcockianesque psychological drama/thriller that is superbly well crafted by co-writer/director Francois Ozon. He does a really a great job with this film, in the wrong hands it could have been just another forgettable run-of-the-mill thriller but the way that Ozon handles the material he makes it into something that is much more compelling and interesting. Of course, he also had a lot of help from the film’s two leads Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier, who both deliver absolutely terrific performances. Also the supporting cast were all really solid, the script was extremely well written and it has an ending that will have you thinking long after the film has finished. Overall I highly recommend that everyone check out SWIMMING POOL, it truly is a very strong and well crafted thriller that I hope you will also enjoy as well. It has definitely got me interested in checking out more of Ozon’s films (although I should say to all of you that Ozon makes a wide variety of films, not just thrillers) and who knows maybe after you have seen this one, you may also want to see his other films as well.
| IMDB | Purchase on DVD |
Nick Bosworth Recommend’s:

300

You know I’ve always felt that “Troy”, “Gladiator” and “King Arthur” were wonderful and epic stories with powerful characters but after seeing “300” again tonight, those films are dim by comparison. Zack Snyder has brought Frank Miller’s vision to the screen in such a original and astounding manner that I was completely immersed in it from start to finish. At this moment now, Snyder has officially made my top 10 favourite directors and that is a bold statement. Even though the story of “300” is very simple story, there is a lot to learn from this film in terms of how we mature in life and learn to respect everything around us as a free people. It’s absolutely breathtaking and I can’t wait to see it again. For the acting part of the film, Gerard Butler gave an absolutely terrific performance as King Leonidas of Sparta. During his speeches in the film to his men, he was so sincere and powerful that I felt myself becoming inspired by his words. He brought a fierceness to the character that I thought was tremendous but also a sense of duty, honour and love for his home, wife, son and people. A brilliant performance that should be recognized.
Lena Headey was also fantastic in the film as Queen Gorgo of Sparta and she gave a powerful performance as well in a time when women’s opinions were quickly discarded, she fought to be heard (by the end of a sword). When she stabbed that backstabbing prick in the film, everyone in the audience applauded and cheered. 🙂 Not only was she terrific acting wise but she is a true beauty. I was mesmerized everytime she came on the screen, a very hot woman for sure. I am very turned on by tough women as many know. The rest of the cast was superb as well including David Wenham who gave a great performance as Dilios and as the narrator of the story. A very good job from him. One terrific casting choice however that stood out from all the rest was Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes – King of the Persians. From the moment we first meet him, he speaks, acts, looks and just portrays himself so well as a King or God. He is gargantuan in the the film and a terrific choice to put up against Gerard. Terrific cast overall.
The fight scenes of this film are what make the movie so amazing though. They’re so epic that I don’t think any other film even compares at all. The sheer carnage and scale of the battles was amazing. I’ve honestly never seen so much blood and severed limbs in one film and it was sweet. From several decapitated heads, arms, legs, piles of bodies, stabbings, spearings, etc, the battle scenes were tremendous and really get your heart pumping for sure. Mind-blowing! With that also comes the fucking brilliant CGI work of the film and slow-motion effects. This film is a leap forward in the world of visual effects and I honestly believe this movie will be a strong contendor for the “Best Visual Effects” Oscar next year. One of the best CGI scenes was watching the Persian ships being devoured by the sea. The trailer does not do this scene justice. Even though the film has a graphic look to it, the CGI was so well done that everything looked so real. I have a hard time believing that there was so much blue-screen shooting. Wow!
The music of the film was also breathtaking and so well put together. The epic choir song when Leonidas returns from his test to become King was absolutely tremendous and I felt adrenaline pumping through me like crazy. Truly awesome! Then comes the director of the film, Zack Snyder. Zack has knocked this out of the park and has given us a film that will stand the test of time and become a true classic in the years to come. He brought so much depth to the comic from Frank Miller and turned it into something so unique. A fabulous effort Zack, you have a very genuine vision when used correctly. And finally, I come to the end of my review. Overall, I still have adrenaline pumping through me after watching that film but I also feel inspired by the story and it’s characters. “300” is without a doubt, the best graphic novel-to-film adaption of all-time and it’s gonna be difficult to change that in my mind. Absolutely genius!
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