Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kim's Film Reviews - 'Before Midnight (USA, 2013) - directed by Richard Linklater - T R A V E L L E R S  B A Z A A R

Long-time and recent readers of my blog, I am officially back!

After a 4+ year hiatus, I am back reviewing films at Traveller's Bazaar.

Below is the link to my first review with Traveller's Bazaar. Like us on Facebook at Traveller's Bazaar for updates on all my future reviews:

Kim's Film Reviews - 'Before Midnight (USA, 2013) - directed by Richard Linklater - T R A V E L L E R S  B A Z A A R

Monday, February 23, 2009

The 3rd Annual Kimbo Awards

With over 75 2008 released films under my belt, I present you with this year's version of the Kimbo Awards:

Nominees are ranked in order of preference.


Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father


Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Chop Shop


Kurt Kuenne – Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Andrew Stanton – WALL•E
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Ramin Bahrani – Chop Shop
John Patrick Shanley – Doubt


Alejandro Polanco – Chop Shop

Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Sam Rockwell – Snow Angels
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk


Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky

Meryl Streep – Doubt
Jess Weixler – Teeth
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Michelle Williams – Wendy and Lucy


Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Eddie Marsan – Happy-Go-Lucky
Javier Bardem – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
John Malkovich – Burn After Reading


Amy Adams – Doubt

Viola Davis – Doubt
Vera Farmiga – Nothing But the Truth
Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married
Kristen Bell – Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Sample of winning score linked to film title

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Slumdog Millionaire


“Inside of You” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

“Gran Torino” (Gran Torino)
“The Wrestler” (The Wrestler)
“Another Way to Die” (Quantum of Solace)
“We’ve Got to Do Something” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)


Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Trouble the Water
Encounters at the End of the World
Bigger Stronger Faster*
Young at Heart


Chop Shop

Burn After Reading
Rachel Getting Married

Winners in the remaining categories

Quantum of Solace





Quantum of Solace

Let the Right One In



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My 10 Favourite Films of 2008

What a roller coaster ride this year turned out to be. While many of the critically lauded films fell short of impressing me, I found solace *wink* in areas I least expected. While '08 can never boast in being an all-time best in regards to overall film quality, I found a few films at the top that I would rank amongst the best this decade has to offer. Here are the 10 I appreciated most:

The Cream

10. Milk

Chronicling the latter years of political activist Harvey Milk, Gus Van Sant presents a stark reminder of the atrocities people can be led to when driven by hate and intolerance. It is a socially relevant, compelling near-masterpiece as far as biopics go. It's primary flaw - a criminally underdeveloped antagonist, which lessens the film's overall impact, but not nearly enough to not warrant a spot on this list.

9. Blindness

An appealing twist on a genre flick, Blindness captures the claustrophobia, uncertainty and survival instincts of the best "quarantine"-centered films. What sets it apart is that there are no monsters, just people reduced to uncivilized creatures by fear and the unknown. It is technically sound, and well-acted, and probably the most unfairly criticized film of the year. Many found it self-important and improbable. I found it mesmerizing.

8. Slumdog Millionaire

Critics' darling and awards season sweeper, Slumdog Millionaire does not disappoint. It is a classic love story portrayed in a most original way. Few films this year have been more memorably directed, edited and shot. This will probably walk away with the biggest prize at tomorrow night's Oscars and, of the nominees, I have no objections.

7. The Wrestler

Score another one for Darren Aronofsky, who manages to silence critics by proving he can "play it straight." The Wrestler can be compared to a requiem, and is a slow, tragically beautiful depiction of a broken man's attempt to recapture faded glory. Mickey Rourke delivers a performance that will be remembered for years to come.

6. Quantum of Solace

Even with it's lackluster reviews, I found QoS to be almost surreal in it's serenity, beauty and melancholy. Daniel Craig once again proves that he is the quintessential Bond, and Olga Kurylenko is one of the most beautiful Bond girls ever. In my opinion, the pinnacle of the year's achievements in both editing and cinematography.

5. Doubt

As far as stage play adaptations go, this is one of the best I've seen in a long time. It's presentation is virtually flawless, and led by the ever reliable Meryl Streep, it is complete with four standout performances. Despite many people claiming that it's convictions are far too easy to determine, I'm one of the few that believes it is all open to interpretation.

4. Chop Shop

One of the most "real" and authentically portrayed films of the year. When you watch Chop Shop, you aren't watching actors, but a true-to-life depiction of the ins and outs of a chop shop through the eyes of a boy on the cusp of adolescence. All year there hasn't been a performance that is able to match the raw naturalness of Alejandro Polanco. He never seems to be aware that a camera is even present, and this masterclass of "exhibitionist acting" as I call it is what makes the film work.

3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Hands down, this year's funniest film, that features not one, but two of the best original songs I've seen in film all year. This film's "rewatchability" factor is sky high, as I've seen and enjoyed it at least 8 times already. Complemented by a standout, reappearing cameo by Paul Rudd, this memorable ensemble nails every delivery, and will likely leave even the most reserved in stitches.


Quite possibly the cutest film I've ever seen. I enjoyed it so much, I battled long and hard mentally when deciding my #1 film of the year. With the use of minimal dialogue and some impressive as ever sound mixing, WALL·E's hard work and dedication, which showcases so much endearing personality that you forget he's a robot, will melt even the coldest of hearts.

1. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

As harrowing, engaging and affecting as any documentary (or film) I've ever seen. What starts out as a project to acquaint a baby boy to his fatally murdered father, ends up a story that reaches to the depths of the soul. Directed, narrated and scored by Kurt Kuenne, I can't remember ever being this moved by a piece of non-fiction since Hoop Dreams. The crowning jewel of the year's achievements.

The stock
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Definitely, Maybe, Keith, Let the Right One In, Rachel Getting Married

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Distant Voices, Still Lives - 1989, Terence Davies

Terence Davies is a master at capturing moments in time. Distant Voices, Still Lives proves this as well as any of his films could. In a mere 80 minutes, he manages to fashion an engaging, entertaining, somber, almost voyeuristic look into the lives of a mid-20th century English family. Not only is the story evocative, it is downright affecting.

The use of song in this film is really unlike anything I've seen before. The music is seamlessly intertwined with the story and is never jarring, which can not be said about many musically generated motion pictures.

The film is divided into two segments; the first, Distant Voices, is a look into the lives of the five member family as the three children grow up in a household with a verbally and physically abusive father and a caring and hard-working mother. The story is seen through the memories of individual members of the household, as they reminisce about their lives in the wake of their father's passing. The different perspectives give us a thorough and unbiased picture of some of the events that shaped their lives.

Still Lives focuses on the lives the children lead after getting married. What makes this story effective is not that it is important; but that we are watching the lives of ordinary, "normal" people unfold set in an era far gone. It is a striking portrayal of just how fleeting and insignificant our lives really are. We are important to our significant others, yet so irrelevant in history.

The non-linear approach taken by a number of directors in portraying their story can sometimes be confusing, but here it is seamless. It is beyond me how so much story and character development could be woven into two 40 minute stories. Watching this film is like peering through a time capsule into the lives of forgotten people.

The performances here are all naturally crafted; there is no weak link to be found. My favourite of the bunch is Debi Jones, whose turn as family friend Micky was all sorts cheeky and delightful. The camerawork and editing are a work of art. The real standout, unsurprisingly, is Terence Davies, whose signature direction is at its bleeding best. Here he crafts a film that is melancholy without being overbearing, engaging without being important.

Few directors are able to move an audience without resorting to heavy manipulation the way he does, and few directors command my respect more deservedly.

♥♦♠♣ 10/10

© 2009 Kim Bartlett

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sidney Poitier

Words can not express the greatness of this moment...

watch it here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The most beautiful actress. Ever

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Screenwriter's Journey, 2.0

Progress, progress, progress! Seriously, God bless David Trottier. If any of you ever seriously think about writing, go out and buy The Screenwriter's Bible post-haste. I'm trying to follow everything to a T, and shake off my shortcut tendencies to ensure I give this my best effort.

I've become really attached to the story, it's characters and situations. I even have in mind who I would like for the two leads. The scary part is the actual writing of the thing. I have pages upon pages of prep work, and a 30-page first draft, now I'm gearing down to stepping out the scenes and onto writing a complete first draft. I still need to do a bit more research of the location and era, but as early as Monday, I will begin to write. I can hardly wait.

So, to give you a bit more info on what the story is actually about... it's a drama, mainly set in early 90s Pittsburgh, and is bookended in Philadelphia 1964 and Pittsburgh 200_. I will refrain from posting any plot description until I register my script with the WGA. You know, for safety reasons.

The idea has truly grown and been re-shaped since I first thought of it last year. Some of you who heard about the story when I first talked about it, may not even recognise some of it if I was to show you what it's become. The gist of it is still the same, but some of the details have developed into something more.

I've narrowed down my list of screenplay competition prospects from five to three. So my focus is now on: Nicholl, PAGE and Scriptapalooza. The deadline for two of them is April 15th and for the other is May 1st. With the material and prep work I have, I plan to do some revision on my completed first draft, right up to submission. Of course, the work won't stop there, as I plan to revise until perfect, and then start working on a marketing plan.

The story I have is nothing short of affecting. I just have to gather all my scruples together and write a fantastic script!
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