“The Social Network” LAMBcast

6 11 2010

For those of you that missed hearing my beautiful voice since the summer, you’ll be happy to know that I recorded an episode of the LAMBcast about a month ago that is just now hitting the web.

The subject?  “The Social Network,” of course.  When I stopped to think about it, I realized that David Fincher’s film is the only movie that I felt has merited serious thematic discussion all year.  We all had our “Inception” theories, but we all legitimately care about the social message being conveyed to us here by Aaron Sorkin.

So expect me to praise it enthusiastically, expect me to uphold my assertions that it really isn’t that much like “Citizen Kane,” and expect to hear me give me full take on what I think we are meant to take from “The Social Network.”  It’s a great listen and a fascinating conversation; I highly recommend you check it out.

So CLICK ON MARK ZUCKERBERG below to be taken to the link to listen!

My “My Best Friend’s Wedding” Cast WON!

29 10 2010

Who, me?  Again?  Oh, stop it.  Seriously, stop it.

Thanks again to every LAMB voter who crowned me king of casting AGAIN.  I really do appreciate it.  Maybe I should go into casting as a career … the other day I recast “The Social Network” using the actors from my school’s acting company.  It’s something I sure like to do.

I’ll offer up a brief bit of rationale behind my casting – and who knows, maybe you can steal my crown!

Rachel McAdams was my choice to take over helming the movie from Julia Roberts.  She’s a fantastic actress with great comedic talent, plus she looks GORGEOUS.  Even if she stunk in the role, I’d forgive her as long as she looked good.  She is in the mainstream consciousness, but a huge role like this could propel her to superstardom.  I have adored her in movies like “Wedding Crashers” and “The Family Stone,” and I just hope the rest of America could catch up with me – er, her.

I had the hardest time casting Michael, the man of her dreams who happens to be engaged to another girl.  I settled on Ryan Reynolds, who has been heating up the rom-com circuit recently and could easily do a pretty good job with this role.

The two biggest no-brainers were the scene-stealing supporting roles of Cammy, Michael’s ditzy fiance, and George, Jules’s gay friend who steps in to make everything more complicated.  It was obvious from the get-go that Amanda Seyfried would have to play the part since she has proven herself so great at playing the dumb blonde type (“Mean Girls”) as well as being someone beautiful that an audience can care about (“Mamma Mia”).

And do I even need to explain choosing Neil Patrick Harris as George?  He’s one of the funniest people at work in the business and this role was practically made for him.  If there’s ever a Broadway version of the movie, he will be instantly cast.

Watch for the next edition of LAMB Casting, when the blogosphere attempts to recast “Forrest Gump!”  (My choice.  We’ll see how it goes.)

Making it FBO*

21 09 2010

* FBO stands for “Facebook official,” a nice tidbit for those not entirely up-to-date on Internet slang.

I created my Facebook fan page back on my first anniversary about two months ago, but I haven’t really been using it for much.  It’s been a nice gesture to “like” my site on the social network, but I haven’t done much to make it worth the few milliseconds it took of your life to click “like.”

That changes TODAY.  I am introducing my first Facebook-exclusive feature, the Throwback Tuesday (a phrase borrowed from some blogger who should step up and claim credit for it).  On Tuesdays, I will repost my reviews of movies being released on DVD that day, provided that I have in fact seen something being released that day.

I’ll probably introduce more features to be Facebook only, but for now, I’m sticking with this.  So if you aren’t a fan of me on Facebook yet, you should do so now.  I’ll even provide a convenient link in the picture below.

And while I’m still on the topic of social networking, I have added integration to Facebook at the bottom of each post.  So if  you really feel compelled by something you read here, feel free to click the icon and share it with your friends!  Simple enough, right?

FINCHERFEST is coming / “The Social Network” Poll Results

17 09 2010

We are TWO WEEKS away from the release of “The Social Network,” and I am about to FREAK OUT!!!  After hearing ecstatic review after ecstatic review, my anticipation just continues to build!  It’s now the background of my phone and computer.

As you may recall, I announced at the beginning of the month to spend a week dedicated to examining Fincher’s seven previous films leading up to “The Social Network.”  That will start either Thursday the 23rd or Friday the 24th, depending on how the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” column plays out.

But I want to make this more than just about me.  I alone cannot provide a full and complete survey of Fincher’s work, so I must call upon other bloggers to share their thoughts on Fincher and his movies.  If anyone has reviewed any of David Fincher’s films or written anything about him, I am inviting you to submit it to be published as a link alongside my reviews. Please send any and all submissions to mls4615@yahoo.com or leave a link in the comments here.

Just as a review, those movies are:

  • Ali3n (1992)
  • Se7en (1995)
  • The Game (1997)
  • Fight Club (1999)
  • Panic Room (2002)
  • Zodiac (2007)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Hopefully by the time I start receiving submissions, I’ll have a banner ready to send to everyone who wants to submit so they can post it to their blog as well.  I’ll probably also submit this to be plugged on the LAMB as well.

And while we are on the topic of David Fincher, I might as well announce the results of the poll I attached to my Oscar Moment on “The Social Network.” I presumed it to be the frontrunner, which it may very well be, and asked if it will win Best Picture.

The results were interesting.  The first 5 people to vote all said “no.”  However, the last two said “yes.”  Winning is hard to call in September, but this is where I’d put my money if I were a betting man.

So submit, submit, submit!  Once the post runs, I won’t add any new links.

Films You Didn’t Know You Needed To See @ Kai’s The List

28 08 2010

Sound familiar?  Kai of “The List” rounds up a group of people every month or so to elaborate on “Films You Didn’t Know You Needed To See.”  I do that every Friday with my “F.I.L.M. of the Week” column.  So when I got the invitation to contribute three movies to Kai’s August edition, I couldn’t very well decline!  So I doctored a little bit of three posts from my series.  My choices were three movies that emphasize the L in F.I.L.M., little-known.

Here were my three picks and the write-ups as they will appear over at Kai’s site.

“Cats Don’t Dance”

I watched “Cats Don’t Dance,” a fun-loving musical that was a staple of my childhood, after a particularly hard day. I remember how much I loved it when I first saw it at the age of 5, and that passion has not faded a bit as I watched it for the first time in years.

The movie is a celebration of dreams as Danny, the singing cat from Kokomo, heads to Hollywood to light the world on fire. But things are not what he imagined, and he soon finds that life isn’t easy for an animal actor – especially when his co-star is a tyrannical child actor who refuses to be upstaged. He refuses to be crushed, keeping his optimism while bringing together a large group of animals to recapture their dreams. There are some hilarious characters, including a hippo voiced by Jennifer Tilly and a surly goat voiced by Hal Holbrook, as well as some rousing musical numbers (thankfully all are easily found on YouTube).

It may be a movie for kids, but I think it has one of the most profound quotes I have ever heard in a movie of this style: “They can smash your cookie, but they can never take your fortune.” It’s a great helping of nostalgia for me, but I think anyone can enjoy “Cats Don’t Dance.” It really is that disarming.

“Friends with Money”

If you look at the poster for “Friends with Money,” see Jennifer Aniston and instantly think, “This movie is going to be stupid,” be prepared to think twice. It’s an incredibly, perhaps surprisingly, deep look at the effects of money and social class on four friends in Los Angeles. It rounds all the bases, touching on all the big issues that an obsession with money can bring.

Each of the women (Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack, and Jennifer Aniston) undergoes a metamorphosis over the course of the movie’s 88 minutes. Holofcener creates four wonderfully elaborate women whose stories unfold before our very eyes. The character study is incredibly effective and entertaining, largely due in part to the wittiness of the script.

And bring on the puzzled looks – the star of “Friends With Money” is Jennifer Aniston. Her Olivia is by far and away the film’s most complicated character, and in the hands of Aniston, she is completely realized. We can buy every move she makes and feel the emotion behind each line. All you Jennifer Aniston haters out there, watch this movie. You may not be silenced, but it should shut you up for a little while.

“Waltz with Bashir”

When I explain the genre of “Waltz with Bashir,” it will probably sound like an oxymoron. An animated documentary?!? How does that even work? But at some point in history, peanut butter and jelly sounded like a strange combination. Someone had to be bold and try it, and Folman should be remembered as a pioneer of a new style of filmmaking that I really hope will catch on. Using animation in a documentary is a fascinating way to make people’s memories come to life, especially ones that might be too costly or difficult to shoot in live action. Nothing is wasted and no holds are barred.

Folman’s documentary revolves around a very intriguing concept. As a young man, he fought for Israel in the Lebanon War of the 1980s. Fast forward to the present day, and Folman has absolutely no recollection of anything that happened during the fighting save one memory of he and some comrades emerging from water completely naked. He begins to visit some people who might be able to jog his memory, asking them about their experiences. The stories slowly become more and more brutal, and Folman begins to remember.

If you decide to watch “Waltz with Bashir,” prepare yourself. It’s not an easy movie to sit through, but it’s a rich and rewarding hour and a half. Hopefully other documentary filmmakers have seen that Folman’s film is unbounded in its possibilities, and other stories that we could barely imagine will find life on celluloid.

Go check out Kai’s entire post by clicking HERE.

My “Interview with a LAMBpire”

13 08 2010

I got a cool feature over at the LAMB this week thanks to winning May’s “Cast the LAMB” for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Andrew from “Encore Entertainment” is bringing back an old feature from the LAMB archives called “Interview with a LAMBpire.”  All great puns and wordplay aside, it’s a great idea and nice reward for the win.

I’m going to make you go over to the LAMB and check out the interview, but here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Andrew: Annette Bening was one of the actors you chose for your winning LAMB Casting Entry. Is there any type of role you’d like to Annette tackle that she hasn’t so far?

Marshall: Really raunchy comedy – The Kids Are All Right doesn’t count because she in essence played Carolyn Burnham from American Beauty. It should be something tasteful (I’m not telling her to star in the latest spoof from two of the six writers of Scary Movie), but something that is going to shock us. We should still think that she’s giving a great performance; however, I’d also love us to think, “THAT is the woman from American Beauty? Wow.”

I talk about Marion Cotillard, Jason Reitman, school, and all sorts of other things.  So head on over by clicking the picture below!

LAMB Alert: Julianne Moore “Acting School”

3 08 2010

Thanks to “The Kids Are All Right,” I’m going through a HUGE Julianne Moore phase right now.  I’ve been making an effort to see all her major roles, especially the Oscar-nominated ones, since seeing the movie.

And I also had the added motivation of the LAMB Acting School’s spotlight on Moore.  As usual, I submitted my reviews on Julianne Moore – three from recent reviews and three from the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” series.  If you aren’t done celebrating Moore like I’m not done, then be sure to check out this great event.  Hopefully the celebration last until Oscar night … fingers crossed!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Here’s what I reviewed/submitted:
Boogie Nights
Far from Heaven
Children of Men
A Single Man
The Kids Are All Right

Blogathon Alert: And you think I’m celebrating Nolan…

15 07 2010

Well, I’ve done it.  I have reviewed each and every one of Christopher Nolan’s movies leading up to “Inception,” which hits theaters in about 10 hours.  Rewatching and revisiting all the movies have reminded me of how truly visionary he is.

But as far as celebrations go, I have done nowhere near as much as Bryce over at “Things That Don’t Suck.”  He has put together a massive blogathon, compiling all sorts of reviews and features on Nolan and his movies.  It’s truly incredible to see all the great stuff that has been written, and trust me, there’s no dearth of it.  So click on the banner below to see not only everyone else’s work, but Brice’s own reviews and opinions on Nolan.

It’s time to get our minds blown, folks.

LAMB Alert: “My Best Friend’s Wedding” Casting

29 06 2010

As you may recall in my post announcing my victory in the “LAMB Casting” contest for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” I had the option of choosing the next movie to be recast.  I have chosen. I decided to take “LAMB Casting” in an entirely different direction that I hope will be fun and enjoyable for all.  The movies that have been recast in the past have been very serious, Oscar-type movies like “Doubt” and “The Color Purple.”  My choice is in an entirely different genre: romantic comedy. “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” released in 1997, remains one of my favorite romantic comedies because it is charming, funny, and does not adhere to the formula.  It features Julia Roberts, who was achieving superstardom at the time, and Cameron Diaz, just beginning her own rise.  Dermot Mulroney, the romantic interest, used the movie as a catapault out of indies and into mainstream.  And then there’s Rupert Everett who is just an absolute laugh riot. I want to encourage every LAMB to participate in the event because it’s just too much fun to miss out on.  So as a kick-off of sorts to the challenge, Andrew from “Encore Entertainment,” did a little write-up of each of the roles to be recast.  Read it and submit your cast.

Julianne Potter, our heroine originally played by Roberts: assertive and outspoken, but still insecure it shall be tough to one up Julia
Michael O’Neal, our leading male but not the hero originally played by Dermot Mulroney: good looking and bland (as far as I could tell) really Mulroney was a bit of a bore, let’s see what you can do to improve
Kimberly Wallace, the ingenue originally played by Cameron Diaz: ostensibly naive but not an idiot, personable but just  a little annoying Diaz was golden here, but there are some good options out there
George Downes, the best friend originally played by Rupert Everett: smart, suave and a lot of fun this will be the tough one I think…

Let the games BEGIN!  I’ll say a little prayer for you.

LAMB Alert: Tom Cruise “Acting School”

27 06 2010

There’s another exciting event going on over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB).  About this time last month, I alerted you to a series called the “Acting School” to celebrate the career of Robert Downey, Jr.  This month, it focuses on Tom Cruise.

It’s a great event and there are most assuredly going to be many amazing posts, so I implore you to check it out.  I myself have two pieces in the event written especially for it – mainly because I had no reviews on my site of any of his movies.

The entire series of posts is called “Cruise Control” (because I love wordplay), and I decided to split it into two parts to provide two unique glimpses at the actor.  The first post focused on the Cruise that could have been, highlighting roles the actor almost took.  The second post, on the other hand, focused on the Cruise that I know based on his movies that I have seen.

So go over and celebrate the career of Tom Cruise by celebrating all the fantastic bloggers that submitted their own pieces.  Click on the picture below to be taken to the event.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

I’m on the LAMBcast!

20 06 2010

For those of you that have ever wondered what I sound like, wonder no more. I have ventured into the world of podcasting on the Large Association of Movie Blogs’ “LAMBcast.” Three short weeks ago, I was a neophyte who had no idea how the LAMBcast worked. Now, I have gone from a participant to a discussion leader.

On LAMBcast #24, the topic on hand was film adaptations of video games in the wake of the release of “Prince of Persia.” The conversation was lively with plenty of poking fun at Hollywood’s less than stellar output in the genre. I thought I had little to contribute because I have (wisely) steered clear of video game movies, but I was surprised at how much I had to say.

On LAMBcast #25, I had a great time talking about the movies I’d seen on DVD in recent weeks. Unfortunately, technology backfired and the discussion didn’t record in a way that would be pleasant to listen to. So if you want to hear me play “Last LAMB Standing,” feel free to spend your 12 minutes doing so.

On LAMBcast #26, I led a discussion on comedies tying into the release of “Get Him to the Greek,” a movie which I gave a solid A.  First, we talked about the movie and then went into discussion about what makes a successful comedy, both at the box office and with audiences.

I would strongly recommend listening to them, not only because I am on them but also because they are fun and informative to listen to.

There are four ways to listen to the LAMBcast; unfortunately, none of them are on “Marshall and the Movies.”

1. Listen on Podomatic, the site where the podcast is hosted
2. Find the LAMBcast on iTunes
3. Listen on the embedded player on the LAMB
4. Listen on the embedded player on Blog Cabins

I’m sorry I can’t figure out a way to get WordPress to embed that darned thing, but I’ll work on it for future podcasts.  Click on any of the links above for some good listening!

My “Virginia Woolf” Cast WON!

16 06 2010

Back in May, I alerted you to a contest I was participating in, “LAMB Casting,” over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB).  The premise was to recast a classic movie with modern actors.  The last contest asked bloggers to take their best crack at creating a new cast for Mike Nichols’ censorship-defying “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Andrew from “Encore Entertainment” was in charge of the event, and he created some great graphics as well as great write-ups on each of the casts submitted.  Go over to the LAMB and check out his hard work, or better yet, go look at his site itself.

Andrew’s comments on my cast were as follows:

Marshall’s cast is the most Hollywood, and that is a compliment. I can see this one being made and the casting of Ms. Bening is largely responsible for that. From Carolyn Burnham to Julia Lambert to Deidre Burroughs how could I not think she can handle this? I’ll admit George Clooney does nothing for me, and though I’m somewhat sceptic of his ability to succeed Richard Burton he would probably surpise me. It would be interesting see good-boy Jake playing Nick, but it is the sort of role he could make work and his pairing would Amy Adams would be believable (who gets chosen once again).

My Favourite: Annette Bening

Sure enough, in a close race, I (or really, my Hollywood cast) won by two votes.  So, for my victory lap, I’ll explain my casting choices.

As soon as I heard that “LAMB Casting” was covering “Woolf,” I knew two things.  The first was that the cast needed to be all highly respected and established actors, preferably Oscar nominees since the entire cast received nominations back in 1966.  The second, and probably most key to my victory, was that Annette Bening had to be Martha.  She’s the best actress at suppressing rage underneath a fairly calm exterior and still making it terrifying when it inevitably explodes out of her.  Carolyn Burnham, her character from “American Beauty,” was incredibly influential in my decision.  Her constant frustration with her husband and the mediocre life they live clearly takes its toll on her to the point that she completely alters her lifestyle to keep from boiling over.

The other quick decision was casting Amy Adams, an Oscar nominee for “Junebug” in 2005, as the more innocent yet feisty Honey.  Few others can play that level slightly above ditzy, and none to more acclaim than Adams.  As for being sweet and lovable, look no further than “Enchanted.”  She hasn’t really taken on a role that shows us her wild side (the closest she got would probably be “Talladega Nights”), but the movie would definitely prove a chance for her to wow us with something new.

As for her husband, Nick, I was looking for someone with a good amount of charm and someone fairly “good looking” by Hollywood standards.  Thinking of Oscar nominees, Jake Gyllenhaal kept coming to mind.  His first big role was the modest and humble Homer Hickam in “October Sky,” which is enough to convince me that he can handle the at first polite Nick.  But as the movie progresses, he’ll have to become more serious and stand head-to-head with Bening.  He could clearly match her in intensity, as roles in movies like “Brokeback Mountain” and “Brothers” have shown.

My last role to cast, George, was kind of a toss-up.  I couldn’t really think of anyone with the same qualities as Richard Burton, who was very grave and serious basically throughout – a counterpoint to his wife who’s drowning in alcohol.  Ultimately, it came down to finding someone who could have some compelling arguments with Bening and wouldn’t be totally overshadowed by her either.  I settled on Clooney because “Up in the Air” showed us that he can share the spotlight with women, and I think his generally friendly personality might lend a little bit of lightness to George that wasn’t there with Burton.  And after that final scene in “Michael Clayton,” I know he can make one heck of a great argument (start the “Michael Clayton” video at 3:30 to see Clooney in action).


So, in closing, let me give a big “Marshall and the Movies” THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my cast.  As a result, I now get to pick the next “LAMB Casting.”  Any suggestions?  My initial thought was to keep the Mike Nichols theme going and recast “The Graduate,” but that has such a small cast.  I’ll field any ideas, no matter how crazy, in the comments below.


16 06 2010

The perks of a commitment to constant commenting (alliteration fully intended) are manifold, and this is my hard work manifested.

After placing second in Anomalous Material’s May commenting contests (to none other than the winner of my own commenting contest in April, Ripley from “Four of Them”), I was given a choice of many prizes.  I chose a blog review on the site, similar to the LAMB’s Brutally Blunt Blog Blustering.

I really want your honest opinion on how to change it – from bloggers and normal moviegoers.  CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW to be taken to Anomalous Material where the blog review is taking place.  Leave your honest thoughts, no matter how cruel they may be.  If you absolutely hate my blog and want me to stop immediately, phrase it nicely and leave it as a comment.  I asked for this, so I’m prepared to hear whatever you think.

Head on over to Anomalous Material and review me!

And while you are at it, check out the “Greatest Comedy of All-Time Tournament.”  It’s a massive, 128-movie bracket to ultimately determine what blog readers think is the funniest movie ever.  Basically, it’s like March Madness for moviegoers on steroids.  It’s a pretty massive undertaking, so go give Red and Castor your votes and time.

What an ambitious project. Do yourself a favor and participate.

LAMB Alert: Robert Downey Jr. “Acting School”

31 05 2010

On the first morning of summer, I got up and watched “Sherlock Holmes” just because I could.

Speaking of “Sherlock Holmes,” there’s going to be another cool event going on at the LAMB involving the movie’s star, Robert Downey, Jr.  He’s the reason I decided to give it a second view after my less than glowing first opinion.  The movie works largely because of him, and it was commercially viable also because of him.  He has perfected the smug and slightly standoffish character, and Americans can’t seem to get enough of it.  $275 million and counting for “Iron Man 2” speaks as a testament to it.

But Robert Downey, Jr. has made plenty of other contributions to acting other than this character, and his two Oscar nominations have come from playing something entirely different.  In 1993, he received his first nomination for “Chaplin,” a biopic where RDJ played the famed silent movie star.  Just two years ago, he received his second nomination for a very risky comedic role in “Tropic Thunder,” playing (as the movie puts it) “a dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.”  It’s risks like these that have made Robert Downey, Jr. a unique and lauded actor.

The LAMB is celebrating the man, the actor, and the roles.  It’s really worth checking out because there are reviews of all of his movies as well as spotlight pieces on Robert Downey, Jr. and his work.  I contributed the two reviews I have written of RDJ’s latest movies, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Iron Man 2.”  I wasn’t particularly complimentary of the actor in those two movies, but I really do admire him.  In “Iron Man,” he had a dry wit and strange charm while constantly projecting an image of authority.  He showed a very tender side in “The Soloist,” a very good movie that few people saw.  And while I loathed “Tropic Thunder,” I found his turn to be strangely satisfying.

So come join in the celebration; click the image below and you’ll be directed to the event.

LAMB Alert: “Virginia Woolf” Casting

23 05 2010

Another day, another blogging event.  A few days ago, I told you I was committed to being more involved in the blogging community.  In the words of Horton, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.  An elephant’s faithful, 100% percent!”

This time, it’s over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB).  Every once in a while, Andrew at “Encore Entertainment” does a little event he calls “LAMB Casting.”  I find the idea fascinating: he takes a classic movie from decades ago and then asks us to recast a present-day remake.  People can submit their own casts, and then those casts are presented to the public for voting.

The latest edition of “LAMB Casting” dealt with Mike Nichols’ 1966 film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” At the time, the movie was incredibly controversial due to its sexual content and language, pushing the boundaries of censorship to their breaking point.  But there was more to the movie than just history being made, as I saw when I watched the movie several months ago.  There is an incredible screenplay based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by one of my favorite playwrights, Edward Albee.  Perhaps above all, there are fabulous performances by all four leads.  Everyone earned an Oscar nomination; Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress, and Sandy Dennis won Best Supporting Actress.

Knowing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” fairly well, I felt compelled to submit a cast to the event.  Now, it is one of the six that you can vote for in the poll.  In the spirit of voting for truly the best cast, I can’t reveal which of the six is mine.  But I encourage you to go and vote.  Perhaps you will agree with my casting.

Let the games begin.