Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shadows - 1959 - Dir. Cassavetes

I suppose this is sort of my first traditional Cassavetes picture, handily enough it was also HIS first picture. Although there was a previous version, apparently this is what people think of when they think Shadows. I did really enjoy this, not as much as Chinese Bookie but I still found this incredibly engrossing. Especially since this isn't a movie that I feel like I would normally be all about, you know, what with all the drama and feelings and all ;). When Lelia lies in bed with Tony I just found that pretty fucking heart breaking. I feel the way Cassavetes depictes emotion on screen is sort of a bullet train into my heart. Like I really believe his characters, I suppose because we spend so much time seeing them bumble and mumble and do things that in some ways are fairly pointless. I feel like we get a very complete picture of who these people are through that. Also, I have to admit that being that the movie was about the beat culture, I was a sucker for it from the start. Oh man! And Ben Carruthers is awfully good at sulking

You can't tell but that guy back there is like the Ethan Embry of the 1950's

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wall Street - 1987 - Dir. Stone

All right, I guess I was expecting this movie to be a little more heady than it really was. Or serious. I dunno. I guess I wasn't expecting all the... stupidity. Or to be nearly so formulaic. It was very Shakespearean (I think I'm thinking of Henry IV) in a really 80's way. I guess, I thought Oliver Stone would really get all into Wall Street culture of the time and it did a little bit and kind of bust out of the mold. But it was... it was exactly what it should have been and moved along exactly how it should have. It didn't feel terribly daring. I suppose its most daring move was giving Michael Douglas the chance to explain himself so many times. It's like The Dark Knight a little bit. The Joker has SO much time to make his argument. And it's a more interesting argument. And Heath Ledger/Michael Douglas are WAY more convincing than their sourpuss counter parts Bale/Sheen. Although, in Charlie Sheen's defense. He does a pretty good job playing uhh... his character. Especially when he's a doofy young kid. He's really wooden and it feels right. Like a guy who jut doesn't really know what he's doing. Which makes it all the more frickin' ridiculous when he's running around with his doofy sunglasses being a douchebag you know is gonna get fucked over and then do some fucking over by the end. There: That's Wall Street.

Hey, that's what I wear when I want to intimidate too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Was Born, But... - 1932 - Dir. Ozu

I only know a handful of Ozu, and honestly, while I enjoy his movies, they rarely differentiate themselves in my mind with the exception of Good Morning, which is a Sorta remake of this. I can see the obvious parallel what with Young kids rebelling against their parents. For a while the movie feels a lot like some kind of Japanese Little Rascals what with all the children running around in their tiny shorts making trouble and fighting bullies and making friends and whatnot. It sets everything up very subtly, and ties things up in a really nice way. It's sort of what I've come to expect from Ozu at this point. Very, very, quiet resolutions. As the movie winds down and we hear the father's point of view of his brown nosing, it feels good. He's a fairly maginalized figure in the movie, his kids, co-workers, and boss sort of make a joke out of him and he clearly gets no respect. As he sits and drinks quietly after spanking his kid, fairly disgusted with himself. There's a kind of unspoken bravery in what he's doing. Because you know what he's doing he's doing for the sake of his family and the movie doesn't make a big point of this, but I feel because of the way Ozu assembled it, you just know. EH, ITSAGOODPICTHAH!

I hope one day, when I'm sad, while smoking a cigarette and drinking, I'll look behind me, and I'll look just like this. That is what I hope.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Walk Hard - 2007 - Dir. Kasdan

I generally have fairly MILD feelings about the comedies produced by this sort of gang of gentlemen. I'm being unfair to them by lumping them in with a movie like SAY Semi Pro... because this is movie is no Semi Pro, it's much much better. There's a great deal more RESTRAINT (sort of) than in something like say... Step Brothers (which as out of hand it got, I did enjoy watching Reilly and Ferrel dick around). A friend told me that there is basically an hour of footage that they didn't use. Like there's a whole 'nother wife that we never even learn about. It seems to be the technique of dropping a whole bunch of bombs, finding the ones that hit, and edited them into a movie (HRMM). The end result DOES look like a movie that was tons of fun to make, and its a lot of fun to watch too. I can't think of anyone in the cast who rubbed me the wrong way, only those who shined. Reily, of course, Meadows has entertained me in a way I haven't been entertained in a while, Fischer seems terrible gleeful in her role. Although, my favorite part would have to be Paul Rudd's John Lennon and Jason Schwartzmann's Ringo. The Beatle impersonations are horrible. They're just SO BAD.

Tim Meadows is totally PSYCHED to be having his picture taken

Monday, July 27, 2009

Killing of a Chinese Bookie: Director's Cut - 1978 - Dir. Cassavetes

Originally released in uhhh... 1976, Killing of a Chinese Bookie did terribly. Eventually, after filming Opening Night, Cassavetes re-edited the film, cutting out about half an hour and changing up quite a few things. I'll sound like THIS guy and say, I liked the longer version more. And generally I'm one for brevity, I like my movies short. But still, a lot of things felt a little lost in this version. I'm not saying this is bad by any means, of course, it manages to keep most of the golden moments of the original intact. It does streamline the story, making some pretty reasonable cuts. In the 1976 version, we spend a good chunk of the film hanging out in his strip club, which is surprisingly enough, incredibly dull, but I think those dull bits really paid off in the end, shaping the movie and Ben Gazarra's character. Speaking of which, Ben Gazarra was incredible. This was the first Cassavete's film I've seen and it took a little while to get used to the way his films flowed and the way his people spoke but after a while, it really worked for me. As I watched Killing, it was the first time in a while that I felt I was watching someone very daring at work. The same way I felt when I began watching Godard, minus the slight shame of enjoying something a little pretentious. I felt like I was watching someone who knew exactly what they were doing and I couldn't presuppose where they were going. Which, for me, is very thilling. ALSO! Hadji from Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was in it! What a crazy looking lady!

I don't understand Ben Gazarra's face right now. I JUST DON'T GET IT.