Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moving on...

Hello Everyone.

When I started THE 250 over a year ago, there was hope that it would lead me somewhere. As some of you already know, on February 1st www.flick250.com had it's BETA launch. I am truly excited for what's to come from this site. The site is currently focused on reviewing movies in 250 words or less along side a live twitter feed of said movie. We are having a lot of fun at the site and are rolling out more features weekly. I'll post some links at the bottom of this post, but I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to everyone. Being a film critic has always been a dream for me, and THE 250 was the first baby-step in that journey. With www.flick250.com I look forward to completing that dream. Thanks again everyone, you have been and still are the best!


Joey Wright

Monday, January 17, 2011

1st Annual Joenose Awards

Instead of giving you a list of five nominees and then picking a winner, I decided to do something a little different. I am sure someone else does it this way too, but it's different than anyone I personally know. The first name listed would be my winner. The second name would be my runner up in it's respective category. Lastly, the honorable mention recognizes a film or performance that probably wouldn't win awards, but still deserves some recognition. Enjoy.


BLACK SWAN : I haven't seen a film I've loved this much since probably Almost Famous, which happens to be my favorite film of all-time. Rarely does one film give me such a smorgasbord of everything that I love about the movies. Natalie Portman is amazing (more to come below). Darren Aronofsky is masterful at the helm (more to come below). And that final scene still amazes me each time. The year two thousand and ten will forever be known to me, as the year of the swan.

Runner Up: The Social Network

Honorable Mention: Exit Through the Gift Shop - Is it real or is it fake? Who gives a flip. What starts out as a documentary about the underground street art movement, turns into an amazing character study of overnight celebrity.


DARREN ARONOFSKY (Black Swan) : This man knows how to portray an athlete as something more than a figure on a poster. The way he takes time to break down the everyday rituals of his protagonists adds depth to the character, while giving us a sense of empathy. He took a beautiful and graceful base story, and broke it down into something sinister and raw.

Runner Up: David Fincher (The Social Network)

Honorable Mention: John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole): Anyone who has seen Cameron Mitchell's other works, Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Shortbus , knows the director likes to think out of the box and be as eccentric as possible. With Rabbit Hole he shows a new found sense of maturity while sacrificing none of his talent.


JESSE EISENBERG (The Social Network) : Few actors dedication arrived on the screen this year with such effortless power. Not once did his performance seemed forced or over the top. He really made you care for the character and person that is Mark Zuckerberg, who deep down is almost like an alien trapped in a foreign society. If nothing else, Eisenberg cemented his place in Hollywood for years to come.

Runner Up: Tahar Rahim (A Prophet)

Honorable Mention: Ryan Reynolds (Buried) : With all the love going to James Franco in 127 Hours, the true shining "oh shit I'm trapped" performance goes to Mr. Reynolds.


NATALIE PORTMAN (Black Swan): Five years ago when I saw Natalie Portman in Closer, I knew she had in herself a truly great performance. Although not even I knew it would be this great. She made rather novice ballet dance skills look completely professional. Her transformation still stuns me on repeat viewings (currently holding at five times). To roughly quote the film, "she was perfect... she was perfect."

Runner Up: Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)

Honorable Mention: Tilda Swinton (I Am Love) : I have never been a fan of Tilda Swinton. Up until this film I downright loathed her as an actress. Her keen Italian verse paired with a very natural performance, opened my eyes to a mistake I've probably been making for years.


CHRISTIAN BALE (The Fighter) : Bale's performance took a very typical sports film and gave it actual substance. I did not care for The Fighter as a film, but you cannot deny the magnitude of Bale's talent and performance. Worth the price of admission just to see him in the role of his career.

Runner Up: Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Honorable Mention: Stanley Tucci (Easy A): I am not saying that his performance was Academy Award worthy, what I am saying though is this guy made me laugh. Tucci gives us all a model father figure full of hilarious one-liners, that made you feel like he not only cared about his kids, but completely understood them as well.


LESLEY MANVILLE (Another Year) : Manville's portrayal of a woman who is not exactly ready to accept the changes that come with getting older is played uncomfortably perfect. It is one of the most under appreciated and well paced performances of the year. If you are a fan of Ricky Gervais or Steve Carrel's cringe-worthy moments of either version of The Office, Manville is not to be missed.

Runner Up: Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Honorable Mention: Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In) : Sure Jennifer Lawrence was great in Winter's Bone and Hailee Steinfeld shined well beyond her years in True Grit. However, no young actress beat men three times her age to a bloody pulp this year like Chloe Moretz. She was the one you left Kick-Ass talking about for days and her subtle performance as vampire stuck at the age of twelve put all the Twilight gang to shame in Let Me In.


HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 : No film looked better on screen this year that the latest installment in the Potter series. Many scenes looked as if they could be framed as pieces of art. At times, it became a distraction from the story. Although, it never becomes overbearing and is pure bliss for the viewer.

Runner Up: Black Swan

Honorable Mention: Enter the Void : Almost the entire film is shot through the eyes of our main character, which includes blinking every thirty seconds or so. Pair that with the background of Tokyo, and you have yourself a film the likes you've never seen.


THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Aaron Sorkin's brilliant screenplay is really what prevented this film from being just a visually stunning Pirates of Silicone Valley. Not only is it the best screenplay of the year, but it could be one of the sharpest adapted for the big screen.

Runner Up: Black Swan

Honorable Mention: Four Lions : Imagine how difficult it would be to make terrorism funny. Somehow this little spoken of British comedy is the best laugh that country has leaked since Shaun of the Dead. Relying more of banter than sight gags, the lines move so fast that repeat viewings are necessary.


INCEPTION : I still cannot get that hallway fight scene out of my mind.

Runner Up : Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Honorable Mention: The Social Network - If you are saying to yourself, "What visual effects were there in The Social Network?" Well there is really only one, and that is how good it was. Hint: The twins aren't actually twins!


I AM LOVE : This tale of love and finding true happiness really caught me by surprise. Tilda Swinton's Italian film debut, as I mentioned earlier, is my favorite of her performances. The cinematography is gorgeous, although it has a beautiful canvas to work with.

Runner Up: Mother

Honorable Mention: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Sure it was popular and a little too reminicent of Silence of the Lambs at times. Although it opened up a new audience to foreign cinema and I have to give some credit to a film that does that.


TOY STORY 3 - I have not talked to one person who didn't just love this film, and how could you not? A familiar cast of characters that we've all grown to love in their final curtain call. The moments go from "they wouldn't would they" to "that was the perfect ending." A great goodbye to old good friends.

Runner Up: How to Train Your Dragon

Honorable Mention: Tangled - A great improvement on the Disney Princess film with a fun cast of characters. Once again Disney proves their greatest characters can be achieved with absolutely no spoken word (Maximus the Horse).


THE SOCIAL NETWORK - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' brilliant music has not left my stereo since I purchased it back in September. Great music to write to or clean the house. I am sure that's not what they intended, but it also serves as the perfect back drop for the film.

Runner Up: Black Swan

Honorable Mention: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - A dark and myseterious score, which lined up perfectly for the first part of the last installment in the Potter series.


THE NUTCRACKER 3-D - Imagine if Springtime For Hitler, the fake musical within Mel Brook's The Producers, didn't realize it was bad... and had a scene of electrocuting a great white shark... yeah that actually happens. Worse twelve dollars I have ever spent... oh yeah, it's in 3-D.

Runner Up: The Human Centipede

Honorable Mention: Despicable Me - In a year of fantasic animation, this was the turd of the bunch. I am glad that I got to use the word turd in my year end awards post. For that reason alone, Despicable Me wasn't that bad I guess. Wait, yes it was.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Globes

* who I would pick in bold.
** who I think will win in italics.
*** italics and bold indicates the correct winner was chosen.

Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Social Network

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The Kings Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine)
Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter)

Halle Berry (Frankie and Alice)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Alice In Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
The Tourist

Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland)
Johnny Depp (The Tourist)
Paul Giamatti (Barney's Version)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs)
Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack)

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs)
Angelina Jolie (The Tourist)
Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right)
Emma Stone (Easy A)

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Michael Douglas (Wall Street 2)
Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Despicable Me
How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love
In A Better World

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)
Christopher Nolan (Inception)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)

127 Hours
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network

127 Hours
Alice In Wonderland
The King's Speech
The Social Network

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Twenty of 2010

Before I divulge you into my top twenty films of the year, allow me to say that not since 1999, has a year at the movies completely blown me away. Usually I find it difficult to fill out twenty films that I enjoyed in a year. This year I debated and argued with myself to narrow it down to a very solid twenty films. Without furthur ado...



2. The Social Network

3. Rabbit Hole

4. A Prophet

5. Inception

6. Four Lions

7. Toy Story 3

8. True Grit

9. Exit Through the Gift Shop

10. Blue Valentine

11. Another Year
12. The Secret in Their Eyes
13. Enter the Void
14. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
15. The Kids Are All Right
16. I Am Love
17. Buried
18. The Tillman Story
19. Animal Kingdom
20. Winter's Bone


2. The Human Centipede
3. Burlesque
4. Paper Man
5. Rare Exports : A Christmas Tale

*in case you were curious, here are the sixty-nine films that i saw this year: Black Swan, The Social Network, Rabbit Hole, Inception, A Prophet, Four Lions, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Blue Valentine, Another Year, The Secret In Their Eyes, Enter the Void, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I Am Love, Buried, The Kids Are All Right, The Tillman Story, Animal Kingdom, Winter's Bone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, How To Train Your Dragon, The American, Shutter Island, Please Give, The King's Speech, Catfish, The Illusionist, The Last Exocism, 127 Hours, The Killer Inside Me, Let Me In, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I'm Still Here, Never Let Me Go, The Town, Easy A, Joan Rivers : Piece of Work, Frozen, Howl, The Fighter, Micmacs, Mother, Kick-Ass, Cyrus, Monsters, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Country Strong, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Somewhere, The Other Guys, Paranormal Activity 2, Machete, Red, Conviction, Nowhere Boy, Knight and Day, I Love You Phillip Morris, Iron Man 2, The Girl Who Played With Fire, Get Him to the Greek, All Good Things, A Serbian Film, Rare Exports, Jackass 3-D, Paper Man, Burlesque, The Human Centipede, and The Nutcracker in 3-D.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010



Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Natalie Portman
Vincent Cassel
Mila Kunis

Rating: * * * * * (Five out of five stars)

Every few years, a film comes along that literally touches on every aspect of what's appealing in cinema. These films all seem to have great direction, a solid screenplay, career defining performances, beautiful cinematography, and a fitting soundtrack or score to help all these things blend perfectly together. It is not often that we are given all of these treats at once. So when they arrive, we must cherish them for all that they embody.

Black Swan is the story of a New York City ballet company's production of Swan Lake. Young dancer Nina (Natalie Portman) is casted as the swan queen, where she will play both the white and black swans. While Nina excels at the structured dance of the white swan, she lacks the improvisational passion of the black swan. Soon fellow dancer Lily (Mila Kunis), who embodies the spirit of the black swan, is casted as her understudy. It seems that the competition from Lily, combined with the stress from an overbearing mother (Barbara Hershey) and romantic and artistic tensions from the ballet company's director (Vincent Cassel), begin to challenge Nina's perceptions of reality.

Black Swan is one of those rare mentioned films that does excel on every level. Director Darren Aronofsky's attention to detail ensures that the film never hits a false note. The way in which he chose to interweave Nina's story, which roughly follows the tale of Swan Lake, with her performance in that very ballet is one of the best story within a story parallels that I have ever seen. Many films that attempt to do this can come off confusing to most, but this never reaches that point. There will be a few things you'll be discussing at the end, as far as what was real and what was imagined. Although, no definite answer to these questions gives it that degree of interpretation that so much of us love. Aronofsky is one of the better filmmakers working today, and in the case of Black Swan he gives his audience not just another great film, but his greatest film to date.

Keeping with the theme of "greatest to date", Natalie Portman gives the performance that will go on to define her career. Her dedication to the role of Nina shows a maturity and discipline that seemed to always be there. The transformation that Nina takes through the film is handled perfectly in Portman's hands. Throughout the film we see glimpses of what her character might mature into, but still when it happens you are left in awe. Portman has always had the talent to execute such a performance, it appears that she just needed a vehicle like Black Swan to do so. The Oscar buzz surrounding her performance is worthy of the hype, but I do feel like Academy voters might find it to be too edgy to award. Although it does have my vote, if they do indeed call this year for my thoughts, for best performance by an actress.

It's not just a two person show though, as there are many things to take from this film. It is quite a task to score a film that is a psychological thriller about ballet, but the score composed Clint Mansell fits perfectly. It's way of touching you at moments, and jarring you out of your seat at others was a refreshing surprise. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique's look of the film is constant throughout. It is in great part to him that the final ballet scenes of the film appear to be so stunning.

It's safe to say that I enjoyed Black Swan. It's a film that demands to be seen on the big screen, as it needs a large canvas to execute correctly. When looking at my "Best of 2010" list, Black Swan fills quite a few categories. With just a few films left on my list to see this year, I don't see many of those things changing. Black Swan is in theaters now in select cities and opens wide on Friday December 17th.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

127 Hours (2010)

DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle. STARRING: James Franco. RATING: * * * 1/2 ( Three and 1/2 Stars) Director Danny Boyle's follow-up to his Academy Award winning Slumdog Millionaire has been awaiting us on the horizon with an almost freak show like buzz. If you have yet to hear about the climax of the film, you are in the minority. For those who have heard, I will say that there is more to this film than just that one moment. The film focuses on the true story of Aron Ralston, who's arm becomes trapped under a boulder while climbing in the canyons of Utah. It's an unbelievable portrait of survival and a man possibly in the last moments of his life. Ralston is portrayed by James Franco who delivers his personal best performance. With limited options for movement and scenery, Franco really does about everything he can to keep us caring about his situation. Some might not care for the style of Boyle's films (Trainspotting and the grossly underrated Sunshine), but here it seems to work. He has always found interest in what's going on in a persons mind. Whether it be a drug trip, paranoia, or in the case of 127 Hours: the realization of impending death. While Franco's performance is great and Boyle's style and direction just seem to fit, Ralston's story can only go so far on film. The reality of his situation and his unbelievable story completely overshadow the film really. Some viewers might grow restless when fifteen minutes into the film, the set is about to never change. Overall though, 127 Hours excites, thrills, and ultimately inspires. Considering it's location limitations, it proves to be one of the best bets currently in theaters.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


DIRECTOR: Tony Goldwyn. STARRING: Hilary Swank. Sam Rockwell. Minnie Driver. After having moderate success directing television the last four years, director Tony Goldwyn marks his return to film with Conviction. The film, based on a true story, focuses on Betty Ann Waters' (Hilary Swank) fight for her brother's innocence in a wrongful murder conviction. The film really falls short of "good" on many levels. The performances are all pretty lackluster, with the exception of Sam Rockwell. The story, which spans almost forty years, jumps so often it's difficult to determine how much time has passed between cuts. I couldn't help thinking that the story in the hands of a more accomplished director, would have connected better. Although not everything was terrible. As I mentioned before, Sam Rockwell gives us another solid performance. His innocent prisoner in waiting is provided the type of edge and humor that we all have all grown to love about him. There is no need to rush to theaters for this one, as a home rental should suffice quite well. RATING: * * (Two stars)