Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Welcome to the Movie Frog

Hello....This...Is...The Movie Frog....

     And I am Froggy.  I will be your (sometimes snarky) host in an exploration of films worth watching, both past and present.  This doesn't mean we won't be looking at populist movies as well. Some ARE well worth watching and some are just more fun to mock.  I hope to fill this blog with a variety of articles and features, but we are going to begin with three series of articles.

     First off, it wouldn't be much of a film blog without the obligatory movie reviews.  I will try to see movies in current theatrical release as often as possible, but writing this blog is definitely not my full time job (if only) so be patient in that arena.  Hopefully many people will like this blog and that will take care of itself.  I will do my best to review at least one new release on DVD each week in the meantime, as well as any other films I watch.  My grading scale is one to five stars:  
         *              I loathed the film                              (2010 ex:  Jonah Hex)
         *1/2         I mostly loathed the film                   (2010 ex:  Cirque de Freak: The 
                                                                                  Vampire's Assistant)
         **            I disliked the film                             (2010 ex:   Why Did I Get Married Too?)
         **1/2       Meh...indifferent or conflicted          (2010 ex:   Salt)
         ***          I liked it. Guiltypleasureville            (2010 ex:   The Crazies)
         ***1/2     I liked it more Gp'ville suburbs        (2010 ex:   RED)
         ****        I liked it a lot. Good movie.             (2010 ex:  The Fighter)
         ****1/2   I kinda loved it.  Really good film.   (2010 ex:  The King's Speech)
     Five stars of course means that I absolutely loved it, thought it was great cinema, and would recommend it even to those who are not usually fans of its genre, subject matter or stars.  Out of the nearly 200 movies with 2010 release dates that I have seen, only eleven were worthy of this rating.  I've listed them below to give you some idea of how my tastes run.
         Animal Kingdom (maybe the best non-Italian American crime family movie ever)
         Biutiful (dark as hell, but just breathtaking)
         Black Swan (All About Eve meets Rosemary's Baby, brilliant)
         Exit Through the Gift Shop (any ambiguity over its authenticity only enhances its  
         Gasland (highly educational and emotionally terrifying)
         How To Train Your Dragon (the best family film of the year)
         Inception (my favorite of the year)
         Madeo (or "Mother" in English, fantastic suspense flick, dynamic leading turn)
         Mary and Max (nobody saw it, but it was the finest animated film of 2010)
         The Social Network (powerhouse production overall, and the script...)
         Winter's Bone (I had no idea how great this was until it haunted me for weeks on 

     The second series of articles is going to be based upon a list I have assembled of 1000 movies worth watching.  I scoured numerous top 100 lists from a variety of resources including critics, bloggers, and popular opinion polls, including one list I wrote myself to come up the top 725 or so titles on this list, and then used a few other resources along with some of my personal favorites to round the list out.  It includes titles from the dawn of cinema through 2010.  I just can't decide where on the list to start sharing it with you.  I definitely want to save 901 - 1000 for the end.  Those choices are the most personal, surprising, and in some cases (I'm sure) contentious.  Starting at 1 and working back seems wrong as well, though.  I'm contemplating counting down from 500 to 1, and then from 501 - 1000.  Please, dear reader, let me know what you think.
     I will also be writing articles on the directors and stars that permeate this list as I go along. We will look at the shape of this list chronologically, the rise and fall of certain genres over time, etc...

     The third series of articles is actually the one I'm going to post on first.  These of course will deal with awards season predictions and the following of Oscar buzz.  I build my predictions on the tabulation of buzz.
     Some critic predicts a movie to get nominated, I give it buzz points.   I give buzz points for excessive publicity of an awards friendly nature, rave reviews that at least hint at awards potential, major film festival or precursor  awards acclaim, and odd x-factors like being picked up by the right distributor.  I won't bore you with too many details (unless there is some outcry for it by fellow borderline obsessive compulsives), but my calculations allowed me to guess the Oscar Nominations last year with 85% accuracy in all feature categories and 93% accuracy in the top eight (we won't discuss my accuracy with the shorts, but, hey).  I will of course, give my own forecasts of where the buzz may be heading, but these will appear after the current predictions.
     I know this initial hello has been a little dry, but things will really pick up speed tomorrow with my analysis of the current buzz on this year's Best Picture race.

                                                               Until then,

Because the pad is mightier than the sword!!!

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