007 ///

James Bond 007 | GregoryWest

Let’s raise a toast (Martini or otherwise) to the James Bond franchise, spanning more than six decades since Ian Fleming’s first novel. Similar to cover songs, it’s often said that your favourite Bond is usually the one you experience first; but while Roger Moore was my introduction to the world of 007, I’m squarely in the Daniel Craig camp, and Casino Royale has become one of my favourite movies. To successfully reboot a series that encompasses twenty films and five leading men, evolving it to be more stylish and gritty than ever before, well, that definitely warrants a drink. Cheers.

Trailers ///

Garden State | GregoryWest

I’m probably in the minority on this, but I love trailers – especially the extended-cut, cinematic ones. I always make sure I’m at the movies well before the previews start, and one of my favourite ways to waste an hour is catching up on the latest iTunes Trailers entries. I’m not an undiscerning fan, though – there are plenty of lazy, linear, abridged versions of their respective films. What I’m after is the pinnacle of this medium, where trailers are compelling enough to stand on their own as works of art. Here are three of my favourite examples in which the perfect combinations of visuals and music result in trailers that are often as good (or maybe even better) than the movies or games they were meant to promote.


Fable ///

Pixar's The Incredibles | GregoryWest

Maybe fable is not the ideal term, but call it allegory, magical realism, or simply fairy tales, I love a well-told story that helps you see the world through someone else’s experience without being too on-the-nose. For example, the first time I saw the Animal Farm animated film as a kid, I had no idea what a dictatorship was, but it beautifully illustrated the social forces at the heart of one.


Whack-bat ///

Fantastic Mr. Fox / Whack-bat | GregoryWest

Coach Skip: Well, it’s real simple. Basically, there’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at whack-bat. The center tagger lights a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack-batter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls hotbox. Finally, at the end, you count up however many score-downs it adds up to and divide that by nine.

Kristofferson: Got it.

film : Fantastic Mr. Fox
director : Wes Anderson

Boomerang ///

Boomerang | GregoryWest

Even thought it didn’t get great reviews at the time, Boomerang had a big impact on me when I first saw it at sixteen. Eddie Murphy played Marcus, a marketing exec (probably a reason why one of my first jobs was at an ad agency) with a cool place, cool clothes, and good friends; whose life gets flipped upside down when he meets Jacqueline, played by Robin Givens. This stacked cast included Martin Lawrence, Halle Berry (Love should’ve brought your ass home last night!), David Alan Grier, and a very young Chris Rock. And the soundtrack featured Toni Braxton, PM Dawn, Boyz II Men, and A Tribe Called Quest – essentially my teenage years in a nutshell. Now, I’ve always felt that Marcus should’ve been docked a few points for being bent out of shape when Jacqueline chose beers and the Knicks / Bulls game on the couch over a candlelit dinner, but then again, he more than made up for it with, “Gerard, did you know your Pops had a mushroom belt on?”.

Stealing Beauty ///

Stealing Beauty | GregoryWest

I first saw Stealing Beauty – a lovely, slow-paced Bernardo Bertolucci film about a life-changing summer in Tuscany – when I was a teenager, and instantly fell in love with Liv Tyler. It was also the first time I ever heard Portishead (a life-changing moment in itself), on an amazing soundtrack that included Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Liz Phair, and Sam Phillips (I need love, not some sentimental prison). The film wasn’t overwhelmingly received, so perhaps it’s a bit of nostalgia, but whenever I feel like spending a few hours in the Italian countryside, it’s the perfect hit.

The Royal Tenenbaums ///

The Royal Tenenbaums | GregoryWest

The amazing clothes, the meticulous Wes Andersonian attention to detail, the perfectly-curated soundtrack, the Futura, and that ending which always manages to get me, without fail. Much love to The Royal Tenenbaums, one of my all-time favourite films.


the adventures of tintin ///

I’d heard mixed reviews of The Adventures of Tintin, especially from some long-time fans of the books, and wasn’t sure what to expect when I took little CharlieWest to see it the other day. Long story short, I really liked it — a great adventure movie that nicely captured Hergé’s beautiful art direction and style, while taking advantage of today’s 3D capabilities. (By the by, am I getting old, or could those glasses be a wee bit more comfortable? Also, those teenagers on my lawn look like nothing but hoodlums.)

ocean’s eleven ///

Ocean’s Eleven (the 2001 version) is one of my all-time favourite movies. You’ve got the Clooney, the Pitt, the Cheadle (with an accent :-), the clothes, the plot twists, and dialogue like this:

I’m with Terry now.
Does he make you laugh?
He doesn’t make me cry.

And speaking of beautiful things that I would like framed on my wall, the artwork above has definitely been added to that list.

the mechanic ///

I keep seeing trailers for The Mechanic, and if the movie is half as good as its poster, I’m in. Plus, Statham‘s in it and he’s kicking ass … with a harpoon. That line is the only thing that would have made the poster even better.