TIFF 2013: Don Jon (2013)
It’s about as close to the perverse truth as any romantic-comedy has come close to depicting. It delivers the goods on its premise and is unique enough to distance itself from the genre. There is no denying the chemistry between its two wonderful, handsome leads and the laughs are consistent and real. Yet, one can’t help but feel that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon” is missing that certain climactic element. Essentially, there is nothing utterly wrong with the film itself. The fault lies in its inability to provoke any kind of meaningful reaction or reward the viewer for tagging along in the journey. Granted, the plots skeletal structure is anything but common and Levitt isn’t afraid to show a little skin, so to speak. However, the point in which the viewer joins the protagonist never diverts or scatters, resulting in a linear, anti-climactic, albeit impressive debut for Levitt.
Jon Martello (Levitt) is a present day Don Juan who objectifies everything in his life, specifically women. His friends call him Don Jon because he is consistently able to pull “10s” every week. Soon, Jon’s addiction to internet pornography renders his sex life less than fulfilling and eventually his relationships begin to falter because of it. On his journey to discover a more satisfying love life, Jon falls for Barbara (Johansson), a beautiful woman who is obsessed with control.
Much like Joss Whedon did to the horror genre with “The Cabin in the Woods,” Levitt has disassembled, dissected, and rebuilt the conventional stereotypes and outlook of the romantic comedy. However, when blatantly poking fun at countless years of tradition and canon, the revolt better be a game changer. And for the most part, Levitt has this transformation pointed in the right direction. His outing is a raunchy, veracious, satirical romp…of course not to the same height, success, or effectiveness as Whedon and Goddard’s comedic fright-fest. However, with “Don Jon,” Levitt has genuinely created something brash, original, and straightforward. It definitely bursts with the usual charisma and wit that typically defines films of this genre and manages to lure the viewer in with likeable, terrifically performed, over-the-top characters.
Although for the majority of its runtime, “Don Jon” is severely superficial. This reinvented concoction does offer more insight, intelligence, and endearing qualities than the majority of the genre’s entries. ”Don Jon” is merely a half-realized revelation for the rom-com genre and is heavily directed at the male populous. It’s sure to not sit as well with the female market, but for those who can handle the harsh fact of differing motivations in opposite-gender relationships. It’ll conjure up some big body-aching laughs and a veritable gaze into the logical and emotional differences that continuously baffle our co-existing genders. Compared to its counterparts, “Don Jon” is a breath of fresh, sexually charged air into a genre that would rather play pretend than focus on truth-telling and authentic, situational humour.
It’s rather comical, yet seriously obscure that I’m having this much difficulty writing up this review. As I previously stated, there isn’t anything actually wrong with the film. It’s funny, different, and Levitt, again for the most part, has done everything with his usual flair and charm. I just feel that with “Don Jon,” Levitt errs on the side of caution. As if he has intentionally pushed the envelope, but got cold feet halfway to his destination. You’ll find yourself watching the film and feel a bit naughty and excited by this new, uncharted cinematic territory. And then, when you’ve finally reached the end, flustered and gleeful, the slow realization that you weren’t overly wowed begins to take over. However, all this being said, “Don Jon” truly is an impassioned, touching, respectable debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So long as he keeps chugging along this road of ingenuity and continues to carve out his own way. Levitt will have a long, prosperous career behind the camera.
The one thing you can rely on when heading into the theatre to experience “Don Jon” is the consistent cleverness and turbulent coexistence of all the characters. Which are incredibly and ably performed by the entire cast, which features Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore, and Tony Danza.
Marred in heavy makeup and a thick New Jersey accent, Scarlett Johansson is as striking as ever, even though she maybe a tad incoherent. Nonetheless, in a role that significantly depends on superficiality and surface pleasures. It’s her ability to transform and power through the external distractions in order to reach internal importance that is truly remarkable. Tony Danza is down-right hilarious in his supporting role. Hopefully this will lead to his emergence from the shadows and launch him back into the mainstream. Moore is just phenomenal in her supporting role, she hasn’t been this effective and stunning in a long while. As for Levitt, he’s as effective and suave as ever, but we shouldn’t have expected anything less. Levitt does a phenomenal job while pulling double duty and really adapted both physically and mentally, not only to play and capture the role, but create it. Although I have to admit, Levitt’s portrayal here is quite the oddity when you associate him with the heartbroken romantic from “500 Days of Summer,” quite the contrast.
It might dwell a little to close to safety, but its excess of honesty and hilarity is enough for “Don Jon” to overcome its faults. It is a respectable inception for director/writer Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Don Jon: 7.5 out of 10.
The Gushing Cinephile: September 16, 2013
Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve done The Gushing Cinephile, let’s see if I remember how to do it. Usually I’d start off with a meaningless introduction, but I think I might just skip that this week and jump right in. I’ve got a lot of news to get you all caught up on so its probably best if we get to it! Oh, and I know I might be a little late divulging this information, but give me a break…I’ve been busy.
Matt Damon added to “Interstellar”
As if Christopher Nolan’s hotly anticipated next project “Interstellar” didn’t have enough high-profile talent. The sci-fi epic added Matt Damon in a limited role. The film already stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, and John Lithgow. Set for release on November 7, 2014, the film will follow a group of explores who make use of a recently found wormhole to travel vast distances across space.
James Spader is Ultron
When news broke at Comic-Con that the title of Joss Whedon’s sequel to the overwhelmingly successful blockbuster “The Avengers” would be The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Speculation was never in short supply as to who would voice the menacing robot. Well, we finally have our answer. James Spader will be dismantling the Avengers on May 1, 2015.
Tom Hiddleston Replaces Benedict Cumberbatch in “Crimson Peak”
Tom Hiddleston will be stepping in for fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch in Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming gothic horror “Crimson Peak.” The film already stars Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam. The film is set to begin shooting February 2014 in Toronto for a 2015 release date.
Cumberbatch Joins “The Lost City of Z”
Is there a hotter commodity than Benedict Cumberbatch as of the moment? According to Brad Pitt, there isn’t. Cumberbatch is set to star as Percy Fawcett, an explorer trekking through the Amazon Jungle during 1925 who claims to have discovered a lost, mythical city. The film is spearheaded by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B and is yet to set a release date.
Michael Shannon in “99 Homes”
Shannon has officially signed on to star opposite Andrew Garfield in the upcoming drama, “99 Homes.” The film centres around a young man who is in severe debt and has his home foreclosed. In order to get his life back, he takes a job with the real estate broker who took away his home in the first place. The film does not have a release date.
What was arguably the sleeper hit of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival for me personally. Ti West’s “The Sacrament” officially has a poster, check it out below. I’ll have my review for the film up as soon as I can.
Check out the first trailer for the cannibal horror “We Are What We Are.”
“The Last Days On Mars” might appear a bit generic through this first trailer, but still looks like so much fun.
Another sleeper hit of TIFF 2013 was “Under the Skin” starring Scarlett Johansson. Check out a brief teaser below. I will be posting my review as soon as possible.
Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” has released a couple of new, incredible clips. Check them out below.
In some positive news regarding “Snowpiercer,” Joon Ho-Bong edited the American release. It still sucks that the film will be edited at all for North American viewers, but it’s not as bad as it could have been.
Derek Cianfrance, director of “Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines” is set to direct the film adaptation of “The Light Between Oceans.” The film is based around a man who takes his young wife to live on a secluded island as a lighthouse keeper. After several miscarriages and a still-birth, the woman hears a baby’s cries on the wind. Soon, they find a shipwreck with a living baby inside.
Ben Wheatley will direct the adaptation of “High Rise.” A story about the denizens of a luxury high-tech tower who descend willingly into a murderous melee of chaos and destruction.
NEW J.K ROWLING SERIES
J.K Rowling and Warner Bros announced that they will adapt the author’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” into a full length feature about the book’s scribe Newt Scamander.
“Pacific Rim” will be hitting home video on October 15, 2013.
“The Conjuring” will be getting its home release on October 22, 2013.
JURASSIC PARK 4 GETS A RELEASE DATE AND TITLE
Jurassic Park 4 gets an official title and release date. Set for release now on June 12, 2013, the newly titled “Jurassic World” is no longer hopelessly delayed!
That’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Gushing Cinephile. Hope you all enjoyed it!
The Gushing Cinephile: August 26, 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve posted in The Gushing Cinephile so I won’t waste time with an introduction. I’ve got too much to tell you with too little time. So let’s get right to it.
DC Adds Two Big Pieces and a Release Date:
You know, it’s rather funny. This past Thursday I was at the theatre watching You’re Next and I put my phone away as every good cinephile does when the lights go down. Now, usually I get big movie news instantly, whether it be from Twitter, Facebook, fellow bloggers, etc…essentially what I’m getting at is that my phone is a big player in me receiving news, new posts, comments, likes, followers, again etc…but it was a mere two hours spent without looking at it, “what’s the worst that can happen?” I thought to myself. So, after the movie, which was terrific by the way, I begin scrolling through twitter until something caught my eye. Lo and behold, Ben Affleck had been officially cast as Batman and apparently I was the last to know. I may start thinking twice about putting the device away during screenings from now on…but I digress.
Officially, the next film DC is set to release with Affleck under the cowl is the untitled “Batman vs Superman” flick which is scheduled to begin shooting in Toronto sometime in February. However, it now appears that Affleck has signed on to play Batman in multiple upcoming releases, much to the dismay of fanboys and critics everywhere. When news broke regarding Batfleck, the negative backlash and harsh criticism was abundant and chaotic. Yet, if you recall, fans everywhere were adamant when Heath Ledger was cast to play the Joker in “The Dark Knight” and similar outage followed Anne Hathaway when she officially became Catwoman…look how those castings turned out. Everyone just needs to relax and give Ben a chance, he is an outstanding filmmaker and has the potential to create a formidable caped crusader. Listen to Val Kilmer and Joss Whedon who both tweeted their support of Ben.
Not long after the announcement that shook the world, rumours began to swirl regarding Bryan Cranston stepping in as Superman’s nemeses, Lex Luthor. And what began as hearsay seems to have been all but officially announced. Cranston has been very vocal in his desire to play the role and appears to be well on his way to getting his wish. News is floating around that his casting isn’t merely a one film deal but a package that could include up to ten appearances. “Batman vs Superman” is scheduled to hit theatres July 17, 2015, whether you like it or not.
“Man of Steel” Home Video Release:
Speaking of Superman, “Man of Steel” will be hitting home video November 12th across all platforms, including a special collectors edition that’ll feature a metal “S” casing. Check out all the images and all the special features here.
If this happens to be your sort of thing, it’ll run you $59.99. I…honestly…whatever, just shut up and take my money.
First Look at Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”
Below you’ll find just a brief video recorded on what appears to be a cell phone of Christopher Nolan shooting Matthew McConaughey in Alberta for his upcoming film “Interstellar.” The flick also stars Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, and Michael Caine.
Magnolia to Distribute “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa”
For us Partridge fans in North America, it’s been difficult to see the release of “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa” go over so well in the UK, but fear not. Magnolia has picked up the film and is going to distribute the film in North America with a release date set for early 2014. You can check out a few clips below to hold you over.
I’ve got a few new trailers for you all. Click on the title for all you need to know about the film.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane“
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
A Single Shot
Kirsten Dunst Joins Jeff Nichols “Midnight Special”
With Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton already confirmed, Nichols follow up to “Mud” adds Kirsten Dunst. Not much is known about the film other than the fact it has a sci-fi edge and is about a father and boy, who has special powers, on the run.
Cotillard is Fassbender’s Lady Macbeth:
Natalie Portman was originally slated for the role but bowed out for reasons unknown. Not to be mean but I’d prefer Marion Cotillard for this role any how. Cotillard will star alongside Michael Fassbender in this Justin Kurzel directed pic. If you recall, Kurzel directed the incredibly unsettling but overly outstanding flick, “Snowtown.”
Ridley Scott’s “Exodus” Adds Some Big Names:
Reports are trickling in that Christian Bale will portray Moses in Scott’s biblical epic “Exodus.” Starring opposite Bale is Joel Edgerton as Ramses.
“Her” Set for Winter Release:
Spike Jonze “Her” will open in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles on December 18, 2013 and then get a wider release on January 10, 2014.
That’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Gushing Cinephile, everyone have a great week!
The Gushing Cinephile: July 22, 2013
What a week it has been! For those of you lucky enough to have attended Comic-Con, know that I secretly despise you with all my heart. I’m sorry, that isn’t entirely fair…I’m just extremely envious, not being able to reap the benefits and experience it and all. Hopefully next year will be fortuitous for me and I can head to San Diego for the big event…but I digress.
Speaking of Comic-Con! Let us get into this week’s edition of The Gushing Cinephile so I can get you up to speed on what’s been going on in the world of cinema. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you’ll know that Comic-Con dropped some BIG news.
“Man of Steel” sequel:
First up, Zach Snyder (pictured above) made an appearance at Comic-Con and brought with him a sliver of news that…simply put…brought tears and screams of joy to all in attendance. Playing it out rather lackadaisical, Snyder stated officially that there will be a “Man of Steel” sequel. Then, Snyder brought up Harry Lennix to read the quote below, then proceeded to reveal the following image.
“I want you to remember, Clark. In all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand around your throat. And I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”
In case you were wondering, the quote is from Frank Miller’s graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns.” So, supposedly, Batman will be making an appearance in the sequel to “Man of Steel! The film is set for release sometime in 2015.
“The Avengers” sequel.
Next, Joss Whedon (pictured above) showed up and took the stage at the end of Marvel’s panel and revealed a brief teaser trailer for the newly titled “Avengers” sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” For those of you who don’t know, Ultron is a rogue, sentient robot determined to exterminate humanity. In addition, Ultron has much to do with the origin of Ant-Man, which is scheduled to have its own spin-off directed by Edgar Wright in the near future.
Okay everyone, take a breather…let’s get back to business.
“Warcraft” film officially announced.
Warner Brothers officially announced the “World of Warcraft” film and screened some test footage of a warrior facing down an Orc. The film will be directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and is scheduled to start production early next year.
The hit television series “Sherlock” also had a panel at this year’s Comic-Con. While no spoilers for the upcoming season were released, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman did record a playful video for everyone in attendance, check it out below. The new season is scheduled for release overseas in October and should hit North American televisions early in 2014!
“Insidious: Chapter 2″ clips.
With the successful release of “The Conjuring” this weekend, I thought I’d post a couple of clips from James Wan’s “Insidious: Chapter 2″ which will be released on Friday, September 13…oooo…spooky!
John Lithgow joins Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”
In other news, John Lithgow joined Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” which also stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastsin, Casey Affleck, and Anne Hathaway. The film is set for release on November 7, 2014.
Finally, a slew of new trailers hit this past week. It’s about time we got our first look at big Oscar contenders such as Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and “The Fifth Estate” which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as wiki leaks founder Julian Assange. There are also trailers for Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” and ”Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.” I smell a possible early Oscar nomination coming for Idris Elba who stars as Nelson Mandela. Check out all the trailers below.
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Fifth Estate”
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Okay all, that’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Gushing Cinephile, hope everyone enjoyed it! Have a great week!
Top 10 Superhero Flicks
Another week, another top 10!
With “Man of Steel” released recently, I figured now would be as good a time as any to deliver my 10, all-time favourite superhero films. I didn’t want to jump the gun just in case “Man of Steel” managed to crack the list and then have to go back and edit it, that’s why I waited. No doubt a lot of you will not agree with my choices, so let me explain a little before hand. I am a huge fanboy and while that does have its perks, it certainly comes with its own set of disadvantages. Such as being unable to admit a film is subpar due to my misplaced sense of invincibility and obsession. So please, while gazing at this top 10, be gentle .
I’m getting real close to completing this segment’s header image so please bare with me at least for this week. Inevitably, “Captain America” did not make the list but I felt a powerful need to include him in this post whichever way I could.
Also, guys please follow The Cinema Monster on facebook and twitter. There are links to both on the right side of the page. It would mean a lot to me. I know its a hassle, but I just created them and if no one follows, they bare no purpose. I followed everyone on the blogroll already, so just simply go to your followers and follow me back…please .
One last thing before we get started. Next Friday I will be unable to post a top 10. Would anyone like to contribute a top 10 of their own to the segment? I’ve been wanting to have a guest rank a top 10 for some time now, so I guess there is no time like the present. I’d like to start off with just one guest top 10 a month, at least until its popularity grows. So, if you would like to be the first to post a top 10, please e mail me with your idea for the top 10 and your website so I can quickly select one and we can prepare for next week. The email is [email protected]
Enough witty banter and self-publicity, let’s start the top 10.
Why?: Easily the best in the trilogy. “X-2″ sees the mutants band together to defeat a common foe, and while this may be a comic book cliche, I love when it happens. Also, Wolverine vs Lady Deathstrike is enough on its own.
Why?: I am a huge Thor fan and I feel that he is the best Avenger. I was a little weary of his own full-length feature series, but the original proved me wrong and its sequel “Thor: The Dark World” looks fantastic. And…c’mon…Chris Hemsworth.
8: “Iron Man”
Why?: Seeing Tony Stark fight his way out of capture, build a formidable, almost indestructible suit, and destroy Jeff Bridges is enough. Let alone the fact that this film without question has the most heart and believability.
7: “Spider Man 2″
Why?: I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of Raimi’s “Spider Man” trilogy. I did enjoy the first film, but the third and final entry was a complete bust. However, the second film is outstanding.
6: “Man of Steel”
Why?: Remember when I said I’m a fanboy and essentially go into the cinema with blinders on, well, yeah, that’s why. But seriously, this film was amazing, I don’t understand why it’s taking so much heat. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it was still epic and utterly captivating.
5: “Batman Begins”
Why?: Odds are, if you’re not a fan of Christopher Nolan’s introduction to his reboot of the Batman franchise, I don’t much care for you as a person. Just kidding…sort of. Between Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow and the fact that my last name is Falcone, I couldn’t resist.
4: “The Avengers”
Why?: Directed and written by the masterful Joss Whedon. “The Avengers” is everything you’d expect it to be, and so much more.
3: “X-Men: First Class”
Why?: Honestly, this flick blew my mind. The origin stories of essentially every single mutant, it’s clever, witty dialogue, and insatiable heart. “X-Men: First Class” is a no brainer for me. “I prefer…Magneto.”
2: “The Dark Knight”
Why:? Many argue that it is the greatest superhero movie of all-time. While it’s hard to argue, I must insist there is one better. Nonetheless, with Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal, the bat-pod, and everything in between, “The Dark Knight” is down-right perfect.
1: “The Dark Knight Rises”
Why?: Christopher Nolan’s immaculate ending to his epic “Dark Knight” trilogy. Many thought he could never top “The Dark Knight,” but I, like many others, feel he did the job.
Honourable Mentions: “Captain America,” “Spider Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “X-Men,” “Unbreakable,” “Watchmen,” “Kick Ass.”
If you feel that I’ve overlooked a flick or that a film made the list that shouldn’t have, feel free to comment below. Also, if you are interested in contributing a top 10, please let me know. Have a great weekend!
Top 10 Emerging Directors
C’mon guys, we all know the truth. As cinephiles, we are apart of a very select group that don’t joke around about movies, unless they’re directed by Michael Bay. The sad truth is that not everyone is as inclined to obsess over cinema as we are. At times they can’t differentiate what is a truly good film and which is bad. After recently speaking to people I know at random about the film industry, I realized that not a lot of people are familiar with the actors on screen, let alone the people behind the camera. This list is for all of you out there who have better things to do than compile a cinematic top 10, essentially those who have a life, unlike me.
This list isn’t about household names like Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg. This list is about the up and comers, those who’ve solidified a base for themselves and that we look forward to seeing add and build on top of it. Again, as always this is my personal list, not the opinion of the general public. So, let’s get started.
10: James Wan.
Why you should know him: Saw (2004) and Insidious (2010).
What to expect from him: The Conjuring (2013) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013).
9: Ben Wheatley.
Why you should know him: Sightseers (2012) and Kill List (2011).
What to expect from him: A Field in England (2013).
8: Rian Johnson.
Why you should know him: Looper (2012).
What to expect from him: Nothing in the works as of the moment.
7: Joss Whedon.
Why you should know him. The Avengers (2012) and Much Ado About Nothing (2012).
What to expect from him: The Avengers 2 (2015).
6: Edgar Wright.
Why you should know him: Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).
What to expect from him: The World’s End (2013) and Ant-Man (2015).
5: Derek Cianfrance.
Why you should know him: Blue Valentine (2010) and The Place Beyond the Pines (2012).
What to expect from him: Nothing scheduled as of the moment.
4: Duncan Jones.
Why you should know him: Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011).
What to expect from him: Warcraft (2015).
3: Nicolas Winding Refn.
Why you should know him: Bronson (2008) and Drive (2011).
What to expect from him: Only God Forgives (2013).
2: Steve McQueen.
Why you should know him: Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011).
What to expect from him: Twelve Years a Slave (2013).
1: Jeff Nichols.
Why you should know him: Shotgun Stories (2007) and Take Shelter (2011).
What to expect from him: Mud (2012-2013).
If you feel that I’ve overlooked someone or have an issue with the top 10 feel free to comment below. Actually if you have anything to say comment below. Have a good weekend .