Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, August 31, 2009

Paris, Texas - 1984 - Dir. Wenders

OH MAN! This was pretty good! I don't watch too much Wim Wenders. I don't really know about his OEUVRE or anything. I mostly was interested in this because it's leading man is HARRY DEAN STANTON! I mean, that man is never the lead protagonist! He's usually the "Old Man" or something. The film features some beautiful shots of the American landscape though. And talks of abandoned lots. It made me miss the Highway. I would probably say the cinematography was the most impressive aspects of the film. The story, a father reuiniting with his son isn't corny by any means but I didn't feel exactly blown away by it. I mean, it's masterfully done, it still held up in today's standards. I feel like I'm being a little unfair to the story now because it really is quite good and doesn't feel cliche. But I think the real strong point is the cinematography. There really are some damn nice shots in this movie. And Stanton pulls his weight. As the kind of centerpiece of the film, he's capable of carrying through with some real meaning through silence, which is nice to see. Kinski is pretty fucking captivating of an actress. I do have to admit that it was her looks that pulled me in. But she definitely can channel some intensity. Her scenes are mostly in a small room with a double sided mirror, creating a little tableau with her as the centerpiece. The climax is really pretty neat, involving her listening to Stanton tell her the story of his/their past but we only see her and his voice fucking PROJECTS. And her face is doing ALL KINDS of emotions. Also the script is written by Sam Shepard, a personal favorite of mine. I didn't realize this at the time. The film has plenty of Shepard trademarks. Deserts, rants about destruction, brothers. I ate all that up. I guess, I wonder where Wenders mark on this film is. I'm trying to connect this and Wings of Desire in my head, which I'm sure isn't exactly what I should be doing, trying to find Wenders somewhere between the two. But it's just not happening!

Kinski relaxing between shots. AHHHHHAHAHA- Oh wait.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crank: High Voltage - 2009 - Dirs. Neveldine/Taylor

I knew Crank: High Voltage was going to be ridiculous. I knew it was going to be violent. I saw the first one. And I liked it. High Voltage is a bit of a different movie, though. A REAL DIFFERENT MOVIE. I don't really know how to describe it. They kind of prepare you for what the movie is going to be like, but I'm not sure nothing short of a thorough description will prepare you proper. The movie gleefully plays with the audience. Sometimes in some new and inventive ways or just some more tired but still pretty well executed (Like when Statham sees the cooler. Okay, sure mysterious stuff in a box has been done before, but Statham can sell that shit!) The movie maintains a level of silliness of violence/intensity throughout. I didn't get tired of the movie. I wasn't grossed out or disgusted by it. I had fun. I had a fuckload of fun. I mean, at one point, there's just a montage of text reading "FUCK YOU CHEV CHELIOS!" in all different colors and fonts. I mean, that's not just an action movie being over-the-top, that's an action movie behaving bizarrely and ridiculous. The film literally ends at the climax, with the resolution just occurring during the credits. There's a head being kept alive in a tank. Tons of big fat asses. A godzilla fight. The film basically throws reality our the door, and basically lets ANYTHING through the door in response. Literally every turn Chev makes in the film keeps him in a direct proximity of some kind of sex worker. The film is filed with cameos from Maynard James Keenan to a bunch of porn stars and Lauren Holly and fucking Chester Bennington. Mostly people videogame internet geeks would know (well, maybe not Lauren Holly). I do love watching Amy Smart though. That lady is cute and she certainly seems to have some pretty bitchin' timing. And a sense of humor too, but I don't really see how anyone could work on this movie without a sense of humor. It's too fucking ridiculous. Oh! And fucking Corey Haim is in the movie. What the fuck!? OH! And Mike Patton does the soundtrack and it SOUNDS like Mike Patton did the soundtrack, if that doesn't make the movie sound goofy enough.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blackmail is My Life - 1968 - Dir. Fukasaku

I know Fukasaku is supposed to be kind of a big deal in Japan. Or at least, he certainly seems to win a lot of Academy Awards over there. Maybe he's a kind of Ron Howard type figure who is just immediately nominated for every other thing he does. I mean, I didn't really like Battle Royal. Except for Beat Takeshi. Fall Guy is okay. I guess what I've seen of the Yakuza Papers seemed okay. I dunno. They were a little tough for me to follow but certainly were directed in a cool enough way. Either way Blackmail is My Life caught me for its title... not the director. And I really liked the concept. Or maybe the construction of the concept. Well, there was a lot I liked about the film, despite how it mostly just chugs along. It doesn't really do much to catch you by surprise. The film is pretty exposition heavy, and in this case, the exposition actually does clear things up. I get easily thrown by Yakuza movie exposition and for some reason it sets me up to get a little lost by the sheer amount of info that gets thrown at you. Despite the mediocre bits of the film, there's a lot I did like. There's a kind of fun that's pervasive through the whole movie. A kind of glee in Blackmailing. It seems to arrive in the movie as a kind of just common sense gesture. And the "gang" are consistantly labeled as "punks" which I suppose is true. They're like Punks in suits. I suppose that tone is what kept the film interesting for me. It didn't really matter that I had seen this movie a million times before because it was fun to watch these people throw figurative and literal maltov cocktails all around the place.

This guy is about to fall asleep mid-sentence.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Of Time and the City - 2008 - Dir. Davies

I didn't/don't really know much about Terrence Davies. Apart from he rarely works and despite that is generally thought to be fucking amazing. I believe this is his first documentary so I'm unsure as to whether this really was the best introduction to his work. From what I gather, there's a lot of similar themes... although I'm really curious to see what the Man's Camera work is like. I was recommended the film because of his voice-over narration though. I CAN SEE WHY! He carries a lot of weight in those tubes of his. The film is basically him speaking about his experiences growing up in liverpool over stock footage. The film leads up to the eventual crumbling of the city. I actually kind of found Davies a little absent from the film. Much of the film is wry observations, more than personal experience. That's not to say that the film isn't interesting. I know very little about Liverpool and it certainly served as some kind of primer, I guess. About life in the 50's onward in England. Davies tends to slip in personal moments here and there. Which always does feel right, after all, the movie is about the city, not exactly Davies. The combination of Davies powerful delivery, the writing, the music, and the footage really does make a compelling piece of work. Even if it can be difficult to follow, his writing can be a little dense and tough to follow, the tone to utterly and completely present. I did enjoy this, and I might be interested in seeing some of his other work.

It's always a long walk for cycles.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the Company of Men - 1997 - Dir. LaBute

All right, so I'm going to start this the way I've started many others... by saying I don't like someone. In this case, its director/writer Neil LaBute. I think the guy is a bit of a douche. I dunno. He seems to specialize in basically an emotional version of what the Saw Series does. It's like Emotional torture porn. And like the Saw Series, I UNDERSTAND why it's around... and hey, I even take an interest in it in some sense. But I don't like. Not one bit. Initially, it sounds interesting. People being cruel to each other, often time for petty reasons. I'm a bit of a misanthrope, I can get behind this. But I dunno. Sometimes it feels like it hinges so much on the cruelty... that it's like a showcase or a PORNO for it. I was mostly watching this for Aaron Eckhart. Whose a great guy! I mean, he does mastermind a series of betrayals and lies on perfectly innocent people often times for his own personal gain, but HEY! He's such a good and handsome actor. I did notice to me that he does seem to realize what he's doing in a much larger scope. Although, he's playing a character whose deviousness seems to know no bounds so perhaps paranoia kicks in after a while. But it seemed like he wanted the get Howard demoted and creating this game aided in that. The film certainly generates a lot of thought throughout the movie. There seems to be just enough lying that it really is difficult to pinpoint how someone might ACTUALLY be feeling. Although, I suppose, the characters might not even have the best ideas of that sometimes. I must admit, there are layers here. Mostly because the script is born in lying. Although, like I would with Torture Porn, I feel like I might be looking for meaning in what is just flesh and blood being spilt. So honestly, I am a bit torn. It is a good movie, but I find them completely unsatisfying and have a bit of difficult giving LaBute a lot of credit for its creation. Especially since people seem to willing to already be giving him credit. I do have to say, his last scene is quite striking, I'll get behind that.

Doesn't matter what he's saying. If Aaron Eckhart is wearing those glasses, you know he's being a dick.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Schizopolis - 1996 - Dir. Soderbergh

Oh man! All right, Steven Soderbergh! You win! Don't brag about it! Lemme alone now! That doesn't mean I'm watching Erin Brockovich or something. I'll probably check out Solaris, I guess. But Schizopolis was tons more fun than I really expected it to be. I expected a kind of tongue-in-cheek movie with some giggles. But there was some really wacky stuff in the movie. There is something in the film that feels distinctly cathartic. I mean, he plays three different roles in the film. Like Soderbergh is basically onscreen for most of the movie. I mean, there's a scene of him making faces in the mirror. And I think that's pretty fucking cool. And you know, it seems perfectly appropriate that he plays this role. So it's definitely his spawn. And I dunno, I guess I didn't really mind the self-serving aspects of the film. I know the opening and end comments weren't in the original cut. They probably do help achieve a kind of tone for the film. You sort of know that the film is going to whip you around and basically do what they please. It's prone to random bits of goofiness. Generally unrestrained. It does feel a little bit like Monty Python with its meandering type plot and a love of generally unrelated sequences. People being interviewed. Foreign language overdubs. The movie is basically a big fat blender of everything. Sure it might be fairly self-serving. But hell, I loved it!

The best part of the movie!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song - 1971 - Dir. Van Peebles

I was pretty throw by Sweet Sweetback, to be completely honest, I didn't know tons about the movie to start with. I expected something a little more straightforward, but MAN! There was some pretty manic editing here. I think there were a few times where I got pretty confused as to what had been going on. I can't really tell if that's a huge problem. The movie has got a pretty neat style within it, and I was able to follow it mostly. Pacing, like most low-budget movies it seems, was definitely lacking. This movie DRAGGED. There are a fuck-ton of montages. Some of Melvin's songs are awesome. A few I recognized through Quasimoto's the Unseen. But I wished the movie was a bit easier to watch because I enjoyed watching it for the most part. When figuring in the context of how Van Peebles made this crazy mess, it is actually pretty incredible. A minimal budget, casting amateurs. It was a bit like a crazy Cassavetes flick. At one point on the special features, Van Peebles claims its the first independent film. I DUNNO 'BOUT THAT! But watching Van Peebles talk about the film was great. It's pretty impressive how much of the film he made on his own and a testament to the man. As an actor, well, he seems to do the job of looking pretty stoic and cool. And having a bitchin' moustache. Apparently, he only has six or so lines in the whole movie. That is probably true, despite that, the number is still pretty shocking to me. That also means one sixth of his lines were "FUCKING." But Van Peebles definitely had a focused vision in the film and even if it comes out a little bit muddied, it's definitely one of a kind.

This guy was my favorite. I hope it's obvious why.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Woman Under the Influence - 1974 - Dir. Cassavetes

Oh shit! It's another Cassavetes flick! EASILY, the most difficult one to watch. This is mostly due to Gena Rowlands. Who does a really incredible job of being a big 'ole nutcase. I mean, she really puts on quite a performance. I don't think I see a lot of performances like the one she puts on. Rowlands peppers her role with "ba-ba"s and sputtering sounds. Crazy looks. OH MAN! And there is so much word mouthing. You know, Cassavetes has tons of mouthing words but this one really seems to take the cake. Rowlands really puts on her manic pants for the role, I was surprised it was the same woman who played the Whore from Faces. I mean, Peter Falk is pretty incredible too. But what I found really incredible about his character, Nick, was sort of how unlikable and sympathetic he can be at the same time. You know, he's a stressed out guy. I think the complexities of Rowlands and Falk are really what make this movie. It's a really uncomfortable film to watch. Sort of the Cassavetes I had been expecting to see from the start. A kind of unflinching portrayal. And it sure it. I got a little squirmy as the film went on. So much of the film is Rowlands being made socially awkward and trying to figure out if Nick knows what he's doing. So we're seeing a lot of socially awkward situations, but that's not new for a Cassavetes' film, but what feels new about this is the awkwardness is sort of hushed. Everyone is SUPER forgiving and patient of Rowlands (for the most part). There are occasional bursts of anger and screaming, of course. I remember hearing that Cassavetes was very interested in people's inability to communicate love for one another. And that seems the most clear in Woman. There is definitely a love between the characters but all of the standards they hold themselves to. So, I dunno, I don't think I like Woman as much as I liked saaaay Faces. In fact, honestly, I've been pretty caught up in that film since I've seen it. It really blew me out of the water. But Woman is definitely a memorable Cassavetes and I'm sure it will be sticking with me for a good while.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enchanted - 2007 - Dir. Lima

Now, I'm not saying I liked Enchanted. I'm just saying... well... I sat through it. It was sit through-able. No... No, I admit I wasn't sober. God knows, I probably wouldn't have watched it otherwise. I could've talked through it. Sure some jests here and there but No. I watched this movie. I could tell you all kinds of things about it. First off, its supports my theory of Patrick Dempsey as the perfect actor to portray a character who is going to steal a Prince's wife... otherwise known as a Princess. 100% of the movies I've seen Patrick Dempsey in, he is performing this action. No, I haven't seen Grey's Anatomy. And don't try and I make me. I won't do it. BUT WAIT, the big deal of this movie is Amy Adams. You know, she's a good kid. A good 35-year-old kid. Yeah, yeah, She was adorable. I know it. She was real funny too. And you know, strangely enough, I'll get behind plots that are all about people being less cynical douches. The movie does certainly wear itself thin though. Susan Sarandon was barely in the movie... and I would have liked for her to be in less of it. No offense to Sue or anything, I dunno. I just wasn't really all about the plot, I think. Whenever Adams and Dr. McDreamy were together, I was diggin' on the movie. But you throw me Vaguely Recognizable Chubby Man and INTENSELY OBNOXIOUS CHIPMUNK, I'll pass please. No doubt that I was begging for the movie to have ended about half-way through. But hey... that happens doesn't it. The movie made me laugh a few times, and I rarely felt the urge to spit up all my bile in anger of how mind numbingly stupid the movie was being. Normally, with movies like this, I just get so mad, I pass out. Enchanted was not one of those movies.

Hey look! My favorite part of the movie and my least favorite part of the movie in one shot. CAN YOU GUESS WHICH IS WHICH!?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

District 9 - 2009 - Dir. Blomkamp

I didn't really know what to expect with District 9. I suppose the trailer seemed interesting enough but it could have totally been a movie that blew big nuts unforgivingly. The trailer didn't really seem to have much of a plot, just a premise. Sure, Peter Jackson seems to be a guy with a reasonable head on his shoulders. I trusted his judgement in a sense. Then John kept mentioning alien weaponry. And I was sold, I'd see that fuckin' movie. I guess, the movie is a lot more fun than I really expected it to be. Not that I was expecting a somber two hours, but I guess I didn't really Aliens wearing bras or that kind of gleeful 1980's action/sci-fi movie destruction. The movie, upon hitting the climax, really does take off with the action and run. Blomkamp seemed to understand that there can be a lot of fun in inventing weapons. And it shows. There's a great amount of restraint in the film though, we really don't get a lot of action for most of the picture. Rather, the film really does take its time, letting us get integrated into the situation and watching the slow disintegration of Wilkus, played by Sharlto who was great in the film. District 9 is just completely well-made, setting out on certain goals and really knocking it out of the park. A nice balance of restraint and some nice ole time sci-fi action. Also, a great deal of the film focuses on a nice bodily deconstruction which is always a plus for me, especially with the sweet Stan Winston type special effects.

Oh man! Sharlto got a big hunk of SPOILER in his eye!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - 1969 - Dir. Hill

Butch Cassidy is basically the movie I was expecting it to be: Robert Redford and Paul Newman cracking jokes. And its as entertaining as you would it expect it to be: Very. It's a nice old school Hollywood flick. Doing everything you would expect, but having just enough style and charm to keep it from feeling... well, boring. I mean, what would you expect from the movie that spawned the "Bike Riding through a Field with a lady while Raindrops keep falling on my head plays" scene. I mean, the movie sorta just mugs about with wise-acre comments and the appropriate amounts of drama and violence. I suppose it didn't always go the direction I thought it would. I was thankful we didn't follow up on the "Love Triangle" like I feared. Quiet suffering was the way to go! So yeah... All right movie!

Eww... Robert Redford. Quit making that face!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bubble - 2006 - Dir. Soderbergh

I dunno. I never really had much interest in this movie. When it was released, I kind of just figured Soderbergh was a big asshole. Even though, the DVD release idea I thought was pretty neat. But I dunno, after seeing the Limey, I was all "Hey! I'll check out what this guy might have up his sleeve after all!" My opinion of these kind of muted films may have changed since 2006. It was more engrossing than I originally expected. And honestly, I'm a little respectful of Soderbergh... he does seem to switch off between low budget indies and big dumb hollywoodfests like the Ocean's trilogy (Man, to think its a trilogy). He seems like a busy guy, releasing a lot of films on both end. I mean, Bubbles didn't exactly blow me away. But it's a damn good movie. And considering the way he made it, pretty damn interesting. Running at a nice and sveldt 72 minutes certainly had a lot to do with my enjoyment. He tells all the right parts of the story. Leaving us satisfied and not bored. Which MUST be tough with an improvised script and "non-professional" actors. All of which definitely seem to know what Soderbergh was doing in the film. They establish a really strong sense of rhythm to carry us through the film. And you know, I like it when movies are made for cheap. I like it even better when they're made well. Bubble certainly has its mesmerizing moments. I'm torn by a few of the sequences with the acoustic underneath... but those're minor complaints at best.

Nah, this ain't creepy! Why you gotta say this is creepy?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control - 1997 - Dir. Morris

I remember watching a part of this film, long before I had any knowledge of who Errol Morris was, in a film class. I don't believe I even watched the entire film and I don't remember being particularly enthused out the whole deal. Six or seven years later, Errol Morris is probably one of my favorite directors. Vernon, FL is easily one of my favorite films. I suppose I remembered Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control being a very difficult film to pierce. Although, looking back, Vernon is way harder. Fast and Cheap is pretty straight-forward as I saw today. And it's addressing a lot of topics that I have personal boners for. Robots, difference between robots and animals, difference between animals and man, it investigates all the lines we draw between ourselves and the other and leads us to possibly re-think some of those lines. Interviews between four men with very different jobs are edited together in a manic sense, pulling literal or thematic parallels between them. While editing in clips of old movies and circus performers, Morris pulls together a rather stirring montage of what could be four dudes talking about their jobs. He elevates it to talk about something a little deeper, something a little more difficult to come to a conclusion with. I feel like the film makes it harder to judge its subjects. It seems to just want us to get excited and think about what these men are proposing... and as they intersect, the film seems to want us to think about what it could mean if their theories are correct. The film is also never mean-spirited to Ray Mendez's bowtie... which is the most important thing of all.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

3:10 to Yuma - 2007 - Dir. Mangold

This IS a movie. Trust me when I tell you this. There is nothing about this western that is NOT a movie. Every inch of it. If anyone tells you that this isn't a movie, THEY ARE LYING. Like many movies starring both Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, 3:10 features Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. But who cares about those fucks? Gimmie a bearded Ben Foster ANYDAY! (See below) AND NOT TO TAKE ANTHING AWAY FROM THE PLEASANTLY GIZZLED PETER FONDA! Throw in a by-the-books Kevin Durand and a completely unnecessary Alan Tudyk and you got yourself a stew going! So, I don't like Russell Crowe and to be completely honest, I haven't been kicking it with Christian Bale too much recently either. I suppose, they both do their jobs like Bale and Crowe would. They're both good actors... Don't get me wrong! I just feel like everytime I see Christian Bale, I feel like he's scowling at me. And Russell Crowe... I dunno. Well... he just don't sit right with me. Don't sit right at all. So yeah, Peter Fonda and Ben Foster were my favorite parts. And Luke Wilson is awesome in his few scenes. I would have watched him discuss Chink and Negro slaves for WAY longer. So you know, this isn't a bad movie or anything. It's all right. It's got some sweet parts. And some poop every now and then. A lot of Christian Bale and Russell Crowe poop.

"Hey... Is that Ben Foster over there? Oh wait, I'm Ben Foster."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walker - 1987 - Dir. Cox

All right, so I wasn't terrifically blown away by Repo Man BUT DAMN, Walker sure was bitchin'. I think probably a great deal of my love for the film stems from Joe Strummer's score. I know as soon as the movie began with a ton of Mexican soldiers running to his almost Carribbean-y score, I knew I was in for a treat. It so perfectly illustrated the lightness in tone but severity of the subject matter especially back in 87. I dunno, where Repo Man seemed terribly confused and aimless, Walker feels WAY tighter. Even as the film falls apart in violence and anachronism, it falls apart in a much tighter manner, with an organized message. The film isn't shy about going over-the-top especially with Peter Boyle as some kind a maniacal Vanderbilt, the camera rarely backing up from his giant mug. There's plenty of men walking around in posses firing randomly to awesome music. The end sequence all with the fire and slow-mo, I had to watch it twice. Ed Harris as the title role plays the madman fairly quietly. Even considering how quickly he goes nuts, he just seems fairly reasonable the whole time. I guess that's the thing about Ed Harris, he just doesn't ever really seem all the insane. It worked really well, because the world around him is exploding at the seems with madness, Ed Harris seems to be the calm center... except he's kind of the craziest fuck of them all (OH MAN! There's definitely a shot where he looks BATSHIT insane though). And Tim Allen's Little Brother from Home Improvement is Ed Harris's little Brother, and man, I love watching small TV actors be all large in movies. When he runs around, shooting people looking cool, I COULDN'T stop thinking about home improvement. Actually the film has a lot of neat actors in it, not really name actors but like... the guy who plays GEORGE MASON and Richard Edson! I mean, the movie is silly, violent, over-the-top, brimming with style, and you know, it still has a lot to say. It may not be the smartest film around (certainly not subtle) but I can't say I've seen a movie like this and enjoyed it in a long time. I wish I hadn't known so much about the film before I watched it though, there were some things I would have loved to be a surprise.

What's cooler than Ed Harris standing around wearing that? Ed Harris STRUTTING around wearing that!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Role Models - 2008 - Dir. Wain

Drunkenly, I maneuvered my way through the Internet at 2:00 in the morning, having decided Paul Rudd was pretty charming, I put forth ALL OF MY EFFORT into viewing Role Models. I suppose those are the kind of decisions one makes at 2 in the morning. I dunno, Paul Rudd seems kind of charming. He's real good at straddling the line between dick and funny guy. Which I suppose is key in this kind of movie. I've been a big fan of Stella recently, so I think I was more interested in seeing what David Wain had to offer. I've only seen large chunks of Wet Hot American Summer, but never really sat through the thing. He seems like a capable director. The LAIRE sequences were silly/action packed enough. He seemed to restrain himself from bouts of unbridled silliness that I was sort of expecting from him and just very capably directed the movie. I guess, I was more surprised by how little the movie annoyed me. I always feel like I trudge through movies like this, usually for a bright shining star LIKE PAUL RUDD to take me through it safely. But EVEN THE KIDS were entertaining enough to watch. Mintz-Plasse's socially awkward nerd was even someone I can get get behind, SOMETHING I WASN'T EXPECTING (I HATES NERDS!). I think I might have enjoyed Seann William Scott the most in this though. The whole movie he had his big stupid smile on his big dumb face. IT WARMS THE HEART! I dunno, I gotta kick out of the movie. I suppose that's all you can ask. OH and despite having grown tired of KISS jokes long ago, this movies pulled 'em off.

Sean and Paul doing some pretty dead-on impressions of themselves.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie - 1972 - Dir. Buñuel

A movie I actually owned and remained unwatched except for the initial VHS copy I rented, I ran out and bought it on DVD making sure to never watch it again for whatever reason. Back in the days when dropping Forty bucks on a movie (CRITERION!!!) was more of a gesture more than a desire to actually own the movie. I dunno. I seemed to buy a bunch of movies I never bothered to watch. This was followed by a prompt refusal to purchase ANY DVDs at all. My purchases function in extremes apparently. ANYWAY, a later Buñuel film, meaning the days of eyes being sliced open and scorpions killing themselves are over, The Discreet Charm is distant and paced slowly (perhaps even politely). Letting us sink somewhat in the world of our Bourgeoisie hosts. Despite the restrained exterior, the film bursts with strangeness. The film while often remaining a respectful distance general, will close-in to inspect the world. Pulling from a purse, Fernando finds some lettuce, other vegetables, an old key to dreams, and a handgun. You know, she's a TERRORIST. Upon receiving urgent orders, soldiers take the time for their sergeant to relate an amusing dream to them. The film only gets weirder as characters begin dreaming their get-togethers. Or dreaming get-togethers FOR each other. It becomes an amusing mishmash. I must admit, though, my attention wandered as the film went on. The film manages to maintain a fairly quiet tone and goes on some pretty out there tangents, it's bound to happen this would make the film drag a little. But I suppose, when I get right down to it, it doesn't stop me from enjoying or appreciating the film.

Privileged people having a good time!? SIGN ME UP!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mad Max - 1979 - Dir. Miller

I don't know much about the Mad Max series. Apart of the fairly recognizable look of Post-Apocalyptic attributed to the series, which is fairly mild I believe because of what must've been a shoestring budget. I do realize that the series kind of explodes with ridiculousness. THUNDERDOOOOMMMEEEE!!!! I must say that the first of the series was almost exactly what I would have expected from it. Maybe I was a little surprised by how brief the actual vengeance section of the film was. Apparently, it's really easy to kill Biker gangs if you just apply yourself. I was a little thrown by how Toecutter's demise was so... well, SUDDEN. I mean, he was the big bad guy, wasn't he? Although, I have to appreciate his completely ridiculous and uncalled for BUG EYES before he died. I mean... that baffled the hell out of me but gave me a nice smile. The movie chugs along fairly incoherently. There's all these strange asides in the film, like Fifi in the beginning. Is the movie suggesting that somehow he is responsible for all of this in an attempt to make Max a hero? And the film seems to have no problem having the bikers just pop up wherever convenient without any real explanation. I mean, the movie was fun. Don't get me wrong. I kept overthinking it, thinking the plot was going to get more complex. But really, it was just a Bikers VS. Guy in Post-Apocalptica Highway. If that sounds like something you're interested in. It's a movie to appreciate. I mean, Mel Gibson is in it too. And he's good. Not crazy or anything. But you know, he does acting in it.

Oh man! Remember that shot of the motorcycle in Mad Max?! AWESOME!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Terminator - 1984 - Dir. Cameron

All right, so I sorta have seen this movie. I had chunks of it. Mostly the end... I dunno, I guess I saw it when I was a kid on TNT or something (LIKE RANSOM!). It was a Netflix Play It Now option and I was just "HEY! Why not?" I never really felt like I had the Terminator experience. Also I was told Michael Biehn had glowing pants. HE DID NOT! At least, I didn't see any. It's a little strange to talk about the movie because its so engrained into my cultural sense. I mean, you just KNOW the Terminator will be back to drive his truck through the wall. It's just a thing to do, you know! I had forgotten about the sweet 80's era special effects: STAN WINSTON! Back when a fake looking rubber face was just as good as a real one. You know, the thing about 80's special effects was that it sort of allowed us to open up and explore the human body in a fantastic way. What with Arnold dicking around with his inner mechanics in the most casual of ways. I do enjoy a nice deconstruction of a person and NOTHING is more terrifying than Arnold without eyebrows! I also kind of like the "It Made Itself" reasoning in the film. John Conner is Reese's pop. I had remembered that detail but I watched the film, it dawned on me that I was watching the origin of the conflict as well as the climax. Reese's and the Terminator's trip to the past planted the seeds for the conflict that would send them back to the PAST! At first, I was so mad at that reasoning and then I started remembering that time wasn't linear and then tried to figure out TIME. And then I remembered I was watching Terminator and ALL WAS RIGHT. Also, I was very happy to see Lance Hendrickson.

Evenin' ladies and gentleman! How's everybody doin' tonight?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Boiling Point/3-4x October - 1990 - Dir. Kitano

You know, I find Takeshi Kitano AWFULLY baffling sometimes. I can get with his dark-humor/intense violence mix, after all, I DO VISIT 4chan. I dunno. It has something to do with the way he tells stories. I find his films very difficult to follow. Even as someone who prefers a movie to have a meandering plot, he meanders the HELL out of the plot. And for some reason, I always have difficulty telling his characters apart. I was looking back upon previous Kitano films, trying to figure out which MAJOR ones I'd seen. It's a pretty bad sign when I've seen them all but they've sort of blended into one large movie with sudden bursts of violence and lackidasical days on the beach. You know, this doesn't really sound like I like Kitano very much. I actually do. I get a real kick out of his movies. And considering Seijun Suzuki is one of my favorite directors, you'd think I'd be a little more forgiving. OH MAN! I have a mosquito bite in my beard! That's the WORST! Cause now I can't tell my mosquito itches from my normal beard itches. ANYWAY, I feel like I have to enjoy Kitano's films the same way I have to enjoy Suzuki's. In a kind of brainless manner... enjoying the flow, pacing, mise-en-scene, and quirks of each film. It definitely helps to have Kitano onscreen who really carries a ton of charisma even when he's playing the SHITTIEST GUY IN JAPAN: an ultra violent, abusive mobster who seems to have sexual identity issues (if you consider molesting and raping men to be an identity issue). The malaise filled main character is fun to watch, and I totally got behind him, but man, malaise isn't nearly as much fun to watch as psychopaths. I do like that even the crazies in Kitano's films will sit still more his lovely, long wide shots of a group of people staring (see below). I think Kitano's silences in his films hold my attention like no other. I have a consistant desire to understand Kitano's worlds, his message, and his goal. But I suppose I feel like I always come out short. Maybe it's the culture barrier or maybe he's just fucking around/fucking with me. I just can't tell. But it doesn't stop me from having a good time.

WHAT!? Beat Takeshi DIED in one of his movies!? UNHEARD OF!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Faces - 1968 - Dir. Cassavetes

First of all, google image searching "Faces (movie)" gets a picture of Patrick Swayze, one of Nicolas Cage from Next, and a bunch of cumshot/facial abuse pictures. THE INTERNET! You know, when I get ready to watch a Cassavetes movie, I'm immediately ready to dislike it. This was especially the case with Faces. I have no desire to watch a movie about the collapse of a marriage. WHY WOULD I WANT TO WATCH THAT?! But then the movie starts... and I realize that Netflix's summary doesn't really do it justice. The movie certainly has a PLOT... but it doesn't attack you like movies these days do. And I... I dunno... I keep forgetting that. I keep waiting for Cassavetes to hit me with some kind of super drama. But he's better than that, I guess. But he's better than that, 'SPOSE THAT'S WHY HE'S SUCH A BIG DEAL, HUH!? The film is so manic that it gave me whiplash. Violently changing tones, mid scene. A scene will begin with hysterical laughing, people falling all over each other, and then suddenly people are spitting venom at each other. And they really are HYSTERICAL. There's such a focus on jokes and half-sung songs. In each scene there's usually a great deal of drunken shouting (ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!). A kind of forced livelyness is maintained but eventually something else breaks through every now and then. Not like a scene that culminates into an explosion or a monologue but just a kind of useless thrashing. A kind of self-hate pervades through the film. No one is happy with themselves and they've all come to terms with that. Naturally, a film like this needs actors who can pull this off. This kind of breakneck exchange of emotions. I especially liked Lynn Carlin in the first sequence of the film. I thought she was just brilliant at that point. That's not to take anything away from the rest of the actors. Everyone is just GREAT! I've been slowly working my way through Cassavetes OUERVEFERE, I figured Faces and Opening Night would be the low points for me. But I think Faces might have been my favorite so far.

Lynn and John compete to see whose nose will give out first. Sure, its fun now...

Monday, August 10, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - 2009 - Dir. Sommers

Man, so I just saw G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a movie I am in no way ashamed to say I was terribly excited for. Sure, I grew up with the figures and the cartoon... but that had nothing to do with my excitement. I just needed my big, loud, dumb summer flick. I NEEDED IT. What with the horrible betrayal of Transformers 2, I needed something to reinvigorate my faith in the occasional two hour romp of empty brain calories. And they'll probably be a lot of comparisons to Transformers 2 being that they are in a sense spiritual competitors. Actually, how about this, everything I say about GI Joe, Transformers did the opposite. Now I don't have to bring up the bullshit movie anymore. First of all, GI Joe seems to be very competent of its limitations. It doesn't throw a difficult plot our way, so we don't have script jumping hoops to get its point across. There's bad guys with missiles. GI Joe has to stop them. There's some nuances there but... well, take the term NUANCES with a grain of salt. The script doesn't spend a lot of time with elaborate gags or anything. I was pretty pleased with the general lack of goofiness because god knows, there's enough unintentional goofiness abounds. The movie is clearly for kids. No doubt. We are reminded of that pretty early on when a helicopter pilot shouts "OH MY GOSH!" before he is shot down. And there's a variety of "WHOA!" and half hearted "Ahhhhh!"s peppered through the film that made me snicker. But I have no complaint with the actors, they all did their acting very well (BRENDAN FRAISER CAMEO!). The film is pretty direct about just wanted to have a lot of action, not terribly concerned with making us rally behind the characters or try and get us all into emotion. I guess, I dunno, I like Sommers (NOTE: I have not seen Van Helsing). He makes pretty basic action movies, and he makes them well. He seems to be able to assemble all the parts and film it in a very competant, watchable manner. Something I don't take for granted. He's like a nice, sturdy chair. Sure, there's some creaks and digs in it. But it serves the purposes of a chair like no other. It's EXACTLY what it should be. So that's GI Joe. It's an action movies. And sure, it's stupid... it's really stupid. I cringed. Especially at certain MASKS that appeared. But hey, it was fun. And I WILL SEE THE SEQUEL (cause there will be one). AND I WILL BE EXCITED FOR IT! GOOOOO JOE!

If I had a nickle for everytime that Dennis Quaid stood like that, I would give them all to Dennis Quaid for being so great.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Best Fiend - 1999 - Dir. Herzog

Herzog and Kinski made five films together. The first of which, Aquirre, I watched yesterday. I suppose my interest was peaked was peaked in the Director/Actor and their supposedly explosive relationship. All right, I said supposedly because just having watched Herzog's take on the actor, I'm feeling a little cynical, but I don't think I can really deny that the two motherfuckers sure must've butt heads a whole lot. In fact, I even buy that the two guys probably did try killing each other. Although, it certainly seems like Herzog did a lot more threatening. As a documentary, I found it really interesting to watch Herzog more than Kinski, who seems to spend a great deal of the film trying to convince us that he is NOT Kinski. That he's not insane. Then admitting that he actually thought about firebombing Kinski's home. I suppose, Kinski did seem to have a tendency towards sabotaging the projects he was working on and Herzog certainly did seem to be able to control that actor, but at one point, you just have to really question Herzog. He does admit to being an instigator but is convinced that Kinski is to blame. It seems like these two guys just loved butting heads. Enjoyed the drama that it created. I mean, it's fucking Werner Herzog, who insisted on a ship being dragged over a mountain. Guy's a nutball. There's an old clip in the film of Herzog describing everything in the jungle as Misery. "The trees are Misery. The birds are misery." He seems nuts in a whole different way. Kinski was explosive and Herzog was implosive (I GUESS). I can't take Herzog at his word in this film, but his word certainly does create an interesting enough hour and forty minutes.
Kinski relaxing between shots.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Aguirre, the Wrath of God - 1972 - Dir. Herzog

In a similar vein as Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, features Klaus Kinski near some water being completely batshit insane and fantastically unreasonable. The film follows a group of Spanish soilders who are heading down river to discover the city of EL DORADO. Unfortunately, the second-in-command happens to be Klaus Kinski who causes a mutiny and then convinces the rest of the group to form their own nation of El Dorado and eventually leads them towards their doom and destruction. Kinski only becomes more and more delusional and has convinced himself that they will eventually overthrow the crown itself. Now, I'm a fan of Klaus Kinski, he's an intense fella, no doubt about it. I mean, it's a role suited to the man's talents. Herzog moves us through the story quickly with quirky or hallucinatory asides and consistantly awful events that have convinced me to never travel down a river of ANY SIZE. I mean, awful terrible shit never stops happening to those people. In some sense, the movie is watching people around Klaus Kinski die. And it's beautiful. I forgot to mention that. The movie has some beautiful shots. The opening sequence of the incredibly ungainly bunch make their way down a mountain is stunning. And the score only helps, creating a thourough amount of religious dread when it plays. OH, the pan flute guy is the best. There's a pan flute guy... he's the best. In fact, as I think about this movie, it really has been bringing a lot of smiles to my face. There's a lot of goofy one-liners that herzog sneaks into the movie, but he fits them in so well. And the climax, there's a shot of the raft being stopped by a wall of foliage and the massiveness of what they're up against is felt. It's fantastic. Yeah, this was a fine film. As I started this I was all "Eh, it's good." but now I'm all "Yeah, that was great!"
Kinski relaxing between shots.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Twilight - 2008 - Dir. Hardwicke

I suspect that I am not the target audience for this series. Cause god knows, I'd never heard of Twilight until I saw the preview. And after seeing the preview, I was surprised to hear that TONS of people were excited for this. I guess there's a lot of teenage girls who have girl boners for vampires out there. I don't really know what else to say. This movie blew pretty hard. I mean, its tough to get into a romance where you don't like either one of the main characters. It didn't even really seem that romantic. All I can remember is pouting. Tons and tons of pouting. Everyone was very good at looking cold, uncomfortable, and sad. And that's really the gamut of the acting in this. I mean... they were the DULLEST actors. Ugh, I don't even want to RANT about this movie. I get bored thinking about having an opinion of it.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Renegade/Blueberry - 2004 - Dir. Kounen

I was interested in this movie mostly because it was a western with Hallucinogens in it. NOT THAT I ONLY WATCH MOVIES BECAUSE THEY GOT PEOPLE TRIPPIN' IN EM! I'm re-writing a western with hallucinogens in it so I thought maybe this would help me out a bit. I dunno if it did. The hallucination effects were real nice looking. And the end, even if it was pretty 2001-ish, looked pretty fucking awesome. I'm totally fine with a movie's climax just being a lot of crazy images (Speed Racer comes to mind as being one that actually fit in with the story). In general, the movie looked great. If not a little over the top epic. I mean, it INSISTED on its epic-ness. But hey, it looked good. I can't argue with it. It weres real pretty. But... I dunno. I watched it alone... and I was sorta MST-ing it as I watched it. And that's not a great sign. Sure, if I'm all messed up and hanging out with friends, I'll mock a movie... but not by myself. I think a bit of the issue was the tone. Or the acting. And maybe a bit of script too. I mean, Vincent Cassel... he's not a tough guy. He's a beautiful French man. He wasn't selling Cajun to me. And certainly not after he ended up living in America most of his life and still was pretty fucking French sounded. Oh, and I'm not really all about spoiler warnings because no one is actually reading this (OH GOD! I'M CRAZY!) but the whole realization of Blueberry having shot his love accidently, that was bullshit and a half, not only was it intensely obvious considering the way they edited it. But the movie makes attempts to convince you that Michael Madsen shot her. I know part of that is just film-making, but they crossed the line of suggestion a long time ago. AND MICHAEL MADSEN! I mean, he's supposed to be a kind of spiritual villain, in many ways, a man with strong ethical beliefs (gets mad when eddie izzard pisses on a bush in the desert) but its Michael Madsen... I dunno... he's a good actor and it was a character he's capable of blowing out of the water... but I'm not sure he knew what was going on. Although that could be pretty common since the movie is a little all over the place. It gets off on saying a lot of vague shit and having crazy visuals. But damn, it does look good. Also Colm Meany and Ernest Bourgnine AND Eddie Izzard are have some chunky roles in it. Especially Colm Meany! WHAT A DREAM BOAT!

Vincent Cassel, you know, just hanging out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Double Suicide - 1969 - Dir. Shinoda

I had seen this film before, but I couldn't remember a fucking thing about it, so I figured it was time to watch it a second time. I'm trying to only watch new movies, or like in this case, a movie I've seen but can't really remember any details. There's quite a few of these, especially black and white japanese films, I watched them all in a big chunk while in college and they've sort of blended into one film. I'm sorta surprised I didn't remember anything about this movie because it's really PRETTY STUNNING. The story of the play is based on a bunraku (PUPPETS!) play from back in the day. In line with the source material, the movie consistantly harks back to its theater roots, the sets moving about as you would see in theater, black masked "puppet" operaters moving throughout the scene (AND BEING CREEPY AS HELL!!), and the opening behind the scenes sequence consisting of people setting up the "play." Oh man! The sets are beautiful. They consist of huge scrims (walls?) with large characters on them and the paint drips in a way reminiscent of blood. The town, consisting of narrow passageways, is incredibly suffocating, enchacing the social system suffocating the two lovers. As do the shots of the town, made up of right angles and repeating patterns. The plot, consisting of a married man and a courtesan in love and their plans to kill themselves if he cannot redeem her before a more wealthy merchant does so. EVERY SCENE HAS CRYING! It's really kind of incredible, the amount of crying in this movie. I mean, its called Double Suicide so that really shouldn't be a surprise BUT STILL. When they finally escape from the town and its the first time we see the outdoors in a long time, they go to a field, finally free to kill themselves. It gives the sense of an incredible freedom. All in all, I thought this movie was beautiful.

GOD DAMN IT JAPAN! You just CAN'T build bridges like that!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Repo Man - 1984 - Dir. Cox

HARRY DEAN STANTON! I heard about this movie, well, I dunno. This was one of those movies that's sort of haunted me all my life. Probably because it was on TV a lot but I never really sat down a watched it, because it looked boring and because I was probably ten or something and if I was going to sit and watch Emilio Estevez act, hockey and children had better be involved. But word of Repo Man being a SUPER quirky 80's comedy kept getting back to me, and it stuck in my mind. So now, on August 4th... 2009, I've watched Repo Man. It was okay. Meh... I like Harry Dean Stanton, that man... he's an up and comer. He always has been. It's appropriately weird enough. There's aliens and conspiracies and punks and a kind of half-hearted attempt to have everything mesh coherently. The movie seems to run by its own rules, mostly. I feel like I can't critique it because of what it WANTS TO BE. It wants to be strange. And it is. That however, doesn't stop me from saying it's pretty boring about halfway through. I'm a fairly forgiving guy when it comes to random and goofy bullshit. Hell, I usually prefer it that way. But maybe it overstayed its welcome a bit, or maybe the execution just didn't work, whatever the reason I got a little tired of it all. I didn't really care because ANYTHING could happen. It was kind of like Lock,Stock without the SUPER EDITING. Guns, drugs, various groups of people all clashing for a thing (A Malibu). No one is really all that sane or intelligent. It felt like a lot of modern goofy movies like Smokin' Aces, things like that really took note from this movie. In the end, the first act had me going, all the different elements had me going, it was a strong start... just derailed by... well, what seems to be the movie's seemingly purposeful (but no less dull) derailment.


Monday, August 3, 2009

The Shooting - 1966 - Dir. Hellman

It's a nice little western. The sound was terrible but I was watching it on my computer so that's not terrifically valid. The story follows Warren Oates and his pal... uhhh... Dim-Witted guy as they assist Millie Perkins cross a desert. Perkins' character grates the nerves a little bit. Actually Dim-Witted Guy does do. MAN! Is that guy a doof. But that's not to take away from their acting. They're both very solid. Warren Oates is his Warren Oates-y best. Taking a break from being a violent Pechinpah-ish character for a more reasonable gent. NO COMPLAINTS THERE. I believe the appeal of this movie for me, though, was Jack Nicholson, whose a psychopath following them through the desert. And you know, he's Jack Nicholson... looking all western-y. You can't really go wrong there and he doesn't disapoint. The script is rather sparse and simple, really well-constructed, and moves along nicely. All in all, its just a really solid movie. It maintains a really nice tension throughout. So despite a lack of action, shooting, and very few guns, it stays interesting. The movie doesn't stand out by any means, except for an ending that is a little goofy but on the other hand has some really cool undertones.

I'll probably look into Ride in the Wirlwind, made by the same team, at the same place, at the same time.

Nicholson is the guy in the back, you can just tell...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai - 2007 - Dir. Meike

I don't remember how it got there. But this movie was on my Instant Viewing queue on Netflix. I content to leave it there and forget about it until its expiration date popped up and I was all "Damn, I might as well watch it." So I did, and MAN! That was a GOOD DECISION. This movie is GREAT! Well, this movie is RIDICULOUS! I had tons of fun watching it. It was one of those movies where I wish I had something to do with the production. I mean, at one point, Action Figures are used instead of actors. The movie is cheap. silly, and perverse. AND IT EVEN HAS A HALF BAKED MESSAGE (which did not bore me, so: okay!) The basic story is about a prostitute who gets shot in the head but manages to survive with increased intelligence, a kind of ESP, and really mixed up senses. She goes to a library, eats some books, has sex with some people, and gets tangled up in a plot to destroy the world involving a somewhat sentient clone of George W. Bush's finger (The finger is red, white, and blue). I mean, it's sexploitation, so a chunk of the movie is just softcore porn (the classiest kind of porn). But hey, during quite a few of the sex scenes they're spouting ridiculous literary, religious, metaphysical, and philosophical ideas. They ain't nothing wrong with that! I want to find more sexploitation. Hehehe...

I think that's a rubber ducky on the TV.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Limey - 1999 - Dir. Soderbergh

I was really surprised by The Limey. I generally don't think very much Soderbergh but the movie got off to a BIG START with a lot of really disjointed editing. Disjointed in perhaps the best way possible. Editing together reaction shots from past or future scenes. Screwing with the chronology of conversations. Ambient sounds moved into different scenes. All to a really great effect! I'm not exactly sure even how to describe it. It certainly won me over pretty quickly. The movie also has a lot of interesting references to the 60's and counter-culture. The whole third act takes place in Big Sur, which is very well perhaps one of my more favorite places that comes to mind. The two stars, Terrence Stamp and Peter, Fonda are representative figures of English and American 60's counter culture, butt heads but, of course, are all too alike. Leaving us with a nicely poignant climax. An appropriate mix of quirk and machismo round out what I found to be a surprisingly smart gangster/revenge film. ALSO: For Terrence Stamp's flash backs, Soderbergh used footage of an early film he was in. Which I thought was just incredible!


Blog Archive