Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Double Team - 1997 - Dir. Hark

I can't say I really paid a lot of attention to Double Team, I know, I know. I should be a little more respectful of Jean-Claude's oeuvre. But what can I say, the movie was pretty stupid, and I don't think watching it in a respectful silence will change any of that. First of all, there was a decently long argument among friends as to whether or not this took place in the future. Sometimes, I'm still not sure. But it seems to take place in the future, although I'm willing to think that it is just filled with super spy technology. Either way, Denis Rodman looks like a jackass. It's always so baffling in JCVD movies how they always manage to find someone who upstages Jean-Claude in jackassery. And Mickey Rourke is in it too! I would expect a little more silliness from a mid-90's Rourke. But apart from his Facing Off with a tiger at the end, he seems to have some form of dignity intact. But then again, I wasn't watching very closely. He could have very easily been made foolish without anyone noticing. The movie is pretty wacky in general, at one point JCVD is taken to "The Colony" an island prison for secret agents and he is forced to escape. And for some reason, Rodman is running around in a Film Noir get-up for a nice chunk of the film. Tryin' to class it up, big guy?

I had to go through 4 pages of people being "Double Teamed"to get to this picture.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dillinger - 1973 - Dir. Milius

I liked Dillinger more than I thought I would. I guess I just thought it would be a pretty mediocre 70's gangster flick hoping to be like Bonnie and Clyde, which honestly: didn't leave much of an impression on me. But I really liked Dillinger, it had a lot of humor, a nice chunk of Milius-esqe (ie. violent) action, humor, and a great cast. LIKE FUCKING HARRY DEAN STANTON! But let's not forget about Warren Oates. Sometimes, I get so excited about Harry Dean Stanton being in a movie, I just forget about everything else. But HDS totally had the best death scene in the movie, and there was a lot of stiff competition. It's tough to beat out a Richard Dreyfuss with a tommy gun and a pistol shooting at cops in a bullet-proof vest and bathrobe in a field. It was like a really great B-movie. Not in the Larry Cohen sense. But an "A" movie made on a B movie budget with a B movie focus. Cause it most certainly has a B movie focus. Shootin' fightin' and criminal activities performed with much glee. Warren Oats was tons of fun to watch as Mr. Dillinger. At times, the story felt a little convoluted which is strange considering the amount of liberties that are taken with the actual events. But I didn't have too many complaints with the film. It delivered some straight-up action and god damn it, that's I asked for.

Hey! It's Johnny Depp as John Dillinge- Oh wait, that's Warren Oates. I always confuse the two. Like how Warren was in the original Edward Scissorhands, too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Killer of Sheep - 1977 - Dir. Burnett

OH MAN! I dug this movie like it was nobodies business! FIVE STARS! I only heard about it cause David Gordon Greene was all about it via George Washington. And it seems like a portion of George Washington wanted to be Killer of Sheep. I mean, in a superficial way, there's the two children wearing masks. Although, that sad dog mask is WAY better than the Dinosaur mask. I mean LOOK AT THAT FUCKING DOG MASK! Killer of Sheep has no real arc or plot, just a portrait of working class African-Americans living in 1970's Los Angeles. There's somewhat a central cast of characters but the film has a tendency to wander a la Italian Neo-Realism. There's some really stunning sequences and shots, like the children jumping between the roofs of two buildings. Especially with a movie like this, it can drag and feel much longer than it is. But I was rapt the whole time. Almost a little disappointed when it ended. Killer of Sheep wasn't released until just a few years ago due to rights issue with the films extensive soundtrack, which is made up of a lot of sweet blues music. So that's it, this movie was great. I'm not going to hunt down any problems with it. I don't want to. I JUST DON'T!

What a weird looking kid! His head is HUGE!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Amateurs - 2005 - Dir. Traeger

I sorta stumbled upon this one. It seemed like a middling low-budget comedy with a cast made up of enough names that it's a little baffling as to why they signed on. Which is exactly what it is. After watching the movie, I was incredibly interested in learning how exactly it got made. I still can't really find any answers. It's not a bad movie. It's a movie movie. You basically know how everything is going to pan out by the end of the first act. Like, you really know how the fucking thing is going to end. The cast, naturally, carries the movie. I mean, its basically anyone I would love to watch in a movie (See below). They seem to have a lot of fun. The writing isn't awful. It can pull a few nice punches every now and then but mostly is bolstered by the cast and hampered by the editing, which is pretty uneven. I mean, like most movies like this, there's some interesting ideas and a lot of boring ideas that we've seen before. I'm not sure I'd really recommend the film to anyone who wasn't REALLY into seeing Jeff Bridges, William Fichtner, Joe Pantalioanoao, Ted Danson, Tim Blake Nelson, and then a bunch of other people who you'll recognize but probably not exactly know the names of like PATRICK FUGIT! He snuck up again! And I wouldn't've mind seeing more of him. Like his fellow Wristcutters alum John Hawkes. Ted Danson is slowly becoming a favorite actor of mine to watch though. That guy makes me wish I finished Damages.

Look! A pack of roaming actors!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tron - 1982 - Dir. Lisberger

You know, any movie that stars David Warner as ALL THREE ANTAGONISTS can't be all bad. In fact, Tron ain't so bad at all. With a movie like this, where individual sequences stand out and the rest of the movie is promptly/mostly forgotten in the public eye, well, you don't realize there's a whole story going on. And you now, there's a lot about Tron I thought was neat. I don't think I was ever blown away. The movie feels like it had great potential to be know for more than the Lightcycle races. We never really do anything more than scratch the surface of this computer world, and from reading about the making of, it doesn't really seem like they were too interested in doing anything more than that. Perhaps its for the best, because the movie really is quite goofy looking. I'm sorry, it's tough to get behind these special effects. Sure, they really are pretty innovative for the time, but they look silly. Throughout the movie, you're constantly aware of them. They aren't visually stunning... or (for the most part) visually appealing. There are moments where you're like... Cool, but I always had a nagging voice in my head wishing it looked a little better. Tron had a lot of promise... it actually gets me really excited for the sequel. I like to hope that it will move in the direction I would like. Who knows what the fuck that will end up being though? An engaging enough movie, I also want to thank Jeff Bridges for being in it. His tongue in cheek manner kept the movie too dire and too self-important. He's also just fucking great, y'know?

Well, saaaay, pal. Where'd you get that Information/Identification Disc Frisbee Weapon thing? Seems pretty handy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Serpico - 1973 - Dir. Lumet

I'm not really one for... uh... I don't know. Cop dramas? Who knows. For a I while, I was really behind Serpico, which is big to say because I really didn't like it or have any interest in it at first. The counter-culture angle certainly helped win me over. He's such a silly man, at first. Showing off ballerina moves and attending NYU and whatnot. And Al Pacino is charming as hell. Naturally, the actually conflicts kick in and his general quirks are pushed aside. I rooted for Serpico at first, but I wonder if we were supposed to get a little impatient with him after a while. Or at least, I wasn't feeling Serpico's rage anymore. Al Pacino seemed to be kicking and screaming like a little baby. It made me care a little less, or at least sympathize as much. This must have been somewhat premeditated in some sense, and I certainly don't mean to say anything to detract from Pacino's performance, which is outstanding. It is a really interesting arc of a fairly honest and laid back man becoming and raging Pacino asshole, but at least he's still honest! Pacino seems incapable of playing a decent man, every time he has a chance to play a protagonist, the sonuvabitch explodes. Lumet is a fine director, and perhaps is what keeps the film from being a mediocre cop movie with a fine lead. He also keeps the two plus hours running smoothly.

Al Pacino keeps his acting underneath his hat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Airplane! - 1980 - Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker

I've watched Airplane! like a million fucking times. I sorta took a break after a while so it was my first time in a while. I do consider this cheating my new movie a day thing. But hell, this movie is just too funny. And it remains so. I was a little afraid that I might not think it was funny anymore but damn, the movie still had me laughing relentlessly. Smile pasted on my face through and through. Not only that but there's still jokes that I'm just getting after x-times having watched it. Also the fact that a great deal of the actors are serious dramatic actors gets funnier and funnier. The movie just gets damn funnier and funnier! FUCK THIS MOVIE!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Black Caesar - 1973 - Dir. Cohen

I was a big Larry Cohen fan in college. Then I ran out of movies of his to watch. I never really LOVED Larry Cohen. But I always liked the man and the movies he did. I could get behind his style. Cheap, silly, and usually with enough bite that I had to give it a pat on the back. Normally, he made horror movies or horror type movies. Black Caesar was his dip into blaxploitation which also resulted in Hell Up In Harlem the same year (which I will most certainly be watching). I had a ton of fun watching Black Caesar and Cohen certainly seemed on his game while he made it. I have to say, as soon the the first montage of Williamson taking charge happened, I was behind the movie. I feel like even for a Cohen flick, this one felt pretty polished and coherent. Fred "The Hammer" Williamson is also a ton of fun to watch, I will watch a Fred Williamson movie now. Perhaps a bit of the fun was because of JAMES BROWN'S score, which is totally awesome. Apparently Fred Wesley had a lot of do with it as well. The movie lags after the third act, about when THE HAMMER escapes an attempted assassination, which was basically the climax for me. The rest of the movie was waiting to see if/how he dies. I mean, after he gets up and starts kicking ass in that scene I was all "DAMN!" He brought the HAMMER DOWN! Although, in the third acts defense, the final fight/beating of the Crooked Cop was awesome to watch.

OH SHIT! BLACK CAESAR IS GETTING IT ON! In the only way he knows how... BLACKLY!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Zardoz - 1974 - Dir. Boorman

You know, when a movie opens up with a giant floating stone head that tells a bunch of ridiculously dressed men on horses that guns are good and penises are evil, then proceeds to spew guns out of its mouth, that's a good sign. No, that's a GREAT sign. It's curious that I didn't like Zardoz as much as I should have though. I mean, it had all the makings of a movie I would get behind. I suppose maybe because it was pretty boring after a while. Not only boring but... I dunno, DULL, might be a better word. It felt like a movie that had a bunch of neat ideas but didn't seem to be very excited about them. Sean Connery didn't particularly seem to feel like acting too much. It doesn't move very assuredly in any particular direction, seeming to jaunt suddenly into different plot points. Characters changing for the sake of moving the story along. When things are set-up, you know quickly how they are going to break down, you're left to watch the movie be coy about how it goes about doing so. The movie seems to come right out and tell you the stuff that would be more fun to figure out, and spends a lot of time answering questions that aren't terribly interesting. Even the trippy climax felt dull, and I LOVE trippy climaxes. The film isn't without it's clever touches, but they are few and far between. By the end of Zardoz, I just felt... what was the point? Which is a real shame... because look at fucking Sean Connery... I mean... Look at him... Just standing there... DRESSED LIKE THAT. I should have loved this movie.

If this picture "interests" you, then you'll be interested in Zardoz

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Network - 1976 - Dir. Lumet

MAN OH MAN! This movie is sweet as hell. Now, I had compared it to the Candidate which I'm not sure really stands, apart from being a counter-culture 70's flick. Network certainly isn't as subtle as The Candidate but man, it certainly hits harder. Maybe because it isn't ashamed to rant constantly. Trading Candidate's silence with noise. It's really a movie that gets me excited, even when I'm rolling my eyes at some of the blatant, shameless rants. Fucking Robert Duvall is awesome in this movie though. And so is Faye Dunaway. And the film really does focus on the antagonists in this picture. William Holden is consistantly pushed aside, after all, he's only human. And FRIGGIN Ned Beatty's monologue!? Really, I'll get behind anything that's about dehumanization. I think Faye does such a good job selling her completely unfeeling character. All of her enthusiasm for what she does and her energy totally takes away any scenes that she's in. In the scene where she's eating with William Holden, I found myself just looking at the way she was holding her fork. Maybe I was just being an overly excited butt, but WHATEVER! Anyway, I can easily forgive the movie's few melodramatic flaws. I feel like many of those rants and speeches give the movie gasoline to run on. Creating humans out of people who may not be.

I don't know, something about Howard Beale seems... stressed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Candidate - 1972 - Dir. Ritchie

The Candidate is a nicely subtle movie. I would have expected a lot more things banged over my head. I didn't expect such a smooth handling or skirting around major confrontations and epiphanies. You can kind of tell from the start, this movie is going to be about Robert Redford having a backbone and we're going to watch his backbone get all crushed up. Usually, with a movie like this, you sort of see the transformation very clearly. Spelt out for you as we go along. This movie seems to be a little more focused on hitting us with things as Robert Redford catches on. By the end, of course, we get the full treatment of Redford being completely spineless, and we all know it. Redford is good enough to never really show us too much. We see a ton of him with his mask on. We see the people he talks to. We see the goings on, the machinations of the campaign. What he's surrounded by. We can't really tell how McKay feels about the transformation. We get little breaks every now and then with Redford just staring helpless. The end is positively brilliant. Giving us absolutely nothing. Like Redford, we just don't know what to do. I was trying to decide to either watch this or refresh with Network. Those two are definitely in league with each other. I will most certainly compare the two.

Hey! It's Barack Obam- Oh, wait... It's just Robert Redford PLAYING Barack Obama.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wristcuttters: A Love Story - 2006 - Dir. Dukic

Wristcutters beings with Tom Waits played on a record. The movie is a lot like a Tom Waits record. Dark, brooding, but comedic at the same time. Some parts are awesome. Some parts are confusing or not exactly thought out. Some parts are boring. But on a whole, there is a kind of charming and interesting drive throughout that keeps us going. I suppose what really divides the two (apart from medium), is that Tom Waits has a distinct artistic voice, I don't really know how I feel about Dukic in this respect. Honestly, I would have written this off as one of those mewling pointless psuedo-dark/hip comedies. Except it has Tom Waits and Will Arnett and was based off of Etgar Keret's short story. Perhaps, I want to give Etgar Keret more credit than his deserves. Dukic was very capable, I enjoyed watching Wristcutters but I guess I wonder if I shouldn't've enjoyed it MORE. I don't see why I shouldn't have. I really liked Shea Whigham as Eugene, he was a ton of fun to watch and the film felt like it had tons more charisma when he was around. Tom Waits is always a ton of fun to watch. Will Arnett does his thing for a few scenes. Sure, I would have liked more of him. But I can't really say it would have changed too much. The end was a bit baffling. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it, like a few other aspects of the film. Like Sossamon's performance. Although Fugit is a perfectly acceptable Keret-esqe lead. So, I definitely liked Wristcutters more than I thought I would, however, I was ready to write it off.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Firemen's Ball - 1967 - Dir. Forman

I don't really follow Forman too closely. I mean, I generally really do like his movies, but I never remember that he's actually the one directing them. He makes films so infrequently. I suppose I do want to see Man on the Moon, and I mean, fucking Cuckoo's Nest... it's FUCKING CUCKOO'S NEST. But I went into The Fireman's Ball without a real sense of what I could expect from Forman or the film itself. What I didn't realize and should have was that all of the actors were actually Firemen, those who inspired the script. Forman's tale of being completely blown away by a ball thrown by these men gives the film a real charm. I feel like foreign comedies always FEEL the most foreign of all genres. So, it's a little weird watching it. Especially with nonprofessional actors. I look back on this movie fondly though. It has a lot of unintended subtext which I feel is the best kind, often times because it will never hit you over the head. An amusing depiction of failure, deception, and people just being stupid assholes. You know, like how people do? The movie runs on charm. Functioning a little bit the way, Bottle Rocket does. Nothing terribly interesting is going on but these people are too much fun to not want to hang out. Which is also what a portion of both movies consists of. Also I will definitely get behind a movie that has a sequence that focuses on weird/cute looking European girls.

OH GOD! They see us!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkinhead - 1988 - Dir. Winston

I rented this for two people. One: Stan Winston. Two: Lance Henrikson. I dunno. It's a pretty silly movie. Or boring. It's not that good. It's got some pretty neat sets and Winston certainly has a sweet eye for detail but the story doesn't really build tension very effectively. So I don't think I was ever excited too frequently for what was going down in the movie. I mean, the look of the movie is real nice, but you can only watch tame faceless people argue and Lance Henrikson glare. The Old Hag is a silly but welcome addition. The film actually does have a kind of strange aesthetic of the Gothic swamp-y look feeling like a classic fairy tale. Which is really does mimic quite well. It just doesn't go very much further than that. Now it's Backwater Hicks running around with candles in the woods. Lance Henrikson does his looking like Lance Henrikson. There's one cringe-inducing scene where he yells at the Hag and is filled with guilt. But I'm more willing to blame the editing and direction in that scene. But I can't really remember too many striking moments in the picture. Striking images, yes. So I suppose if you're after some sweet looking vintage 80's horror. I could go with this. I wouldn't put too much stock in it being an incredible experience though. Oh yeah, Pumpkinhead's face slowly changed to Lance's as the movie went on. NOT BAD!

Ladies and Gentlemen: PUMPKINHEAD!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

W. - 2008 - Dir. Stone

I don't know why. I suddenly had the strangest urge to watch W. so I downloaded it and then I watched it on the computer. It was a fine time. Well, it was an okay time. It's a really WEIRD movie to watch because these are public figures that for the majority are still operating in some fashion. In some sense, the movie feels like a big joke. Where nobody really wanted to bring their A-game. Like the joke was that nobody should be an extraordinary job but act like they wanted to. In a sense, I can't believe that the movie is anything but a giant mockery of our President at the time, George W. Bush. Like the movie is aiming to be basically a movie version of our president, well-meaning but fairly flawed, and unendingly mediocre. Maybe I'm just over-thinking the whole thing. This is mightly possible, and then I'm making excuses for the across-the-board average job. I have to say, the final moment is awesome. But I don't know. The film avoids any of the drama that could be possible, often times remaining cool and distant from the situation. There are few big speeches or rousing moments of emotion. The acting is all right. Everyone seems more concerned with getting the spirit of their character rather than doing an impression. Because they are STRANGE performances. Especially Newton as Rice. Which I found hypnotizing in a somewhat repulsive way. So I cant tell HOW this movie was. It's just baffling. Definitely recommended.

Man, Toby Jones makes a creepy Rove, but what about TOBY KEITH!? LAWL!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wanted - 2008 - Dir. Bekmambetov

Way better than I was expecting. Although, I was totally just selling it short as a Run of the Mill adaptation of a Run of the Mill comic. I was being unfair though, I knew nothing about either the film or the series. Simply the "curve the bullet" idea was hard enough for me to swallow. I don't mean to suggest that somehow in the context of the film "curving" bullets is any less ridiculous, although I would like to point out that its way more fun. It's plays pretty straight-forward for most of the film. I do like Morgan Freeman's surprise role as villain. He fits the mentor role so well and ALWAYS plays that role, it actually caught me by surprise to find out he was the villain. I think the movie surprised me on a few counts just because I was expecting the movie to sell out a bit more. I mean it killed BRANGELINA and COMMON! How will they be in the sequels!? It's as if they didn't PLAN to make a sequel right off the bat! UNHEARD OF. I really liked the whole Loom idea. I found that terribly interesting and I'm glad they played with it as much as they did. And it's a terribly satisfying film to watch McAvoy be a big puss only to turn on the people who trained him and totally F- some S- up. Because the action does look good and is fun to watch. So, yeah, it's a real satisfying but goofy movie. Some of the aggression feels a little much. It's a little IN YOUR FACE. I'm not sure I was always behind THOSE aspects of the tone. But a pretty minor note in an impressive action movie.

Bend the bullets, McAvoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cruel Gun Story - 1964 - Dir. Furukawa

JOE SHISHIDO! Which is really the only reason I watched this movie. Well, that and I like-a the Japanese gangster flicks. It was an entertaining enough movie. Kept me interested, which can sometimes be a feat for old school gangster pictures. Joe is a terribly fun actor to watch. I can't say there's really anything exactly inspiring about it. It ends with a pleasant amount of tragedy. Having only seen it about six hours ago, I'm not really recalling anything too striking about it. Apart from Mr. Joe there. It's not bad. It's straight-forward. Capably told. Cliched often times but I really didn't have any complaints. Or really any extraordinary feelings about it. It's got some goofy parts, I mean, it was made in 1964 at a time when they were cranking these out like its nobodies business. I think what might appeal to me a little bit more with these kinds of movies is it can often times be tough to predict how exactly they are going to end. I feel like there's a gap between our two nation's gangster flicks.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Revolver - 2005 - Dir. Ritchie

Revolver. It took me a while to decide to watch this movie. I knew it had been panned. I knew it was stupid and nonsensical. Pretentious, some have said. I dunno. It was okay. I liked it more than I thought. I mean, Guy Ritchie isn't a terrific director. He's good at making Guy Ritchie-type movies. His ACTUAL storytelling skills have always seemed a little limited to me. So, Revolver has a really neat premise. A premise that, really, Guy Ritchie has every right to execute. I mean, basically, I like to say, The Movie become the villain. Editing attacks Jason Statham. I mean, Guy Ritchie lives in Voice-Over, of course he's the one who should make it the villain. The thing is, Guy Ritchie knows he's being clever. He knows he has a little heady of an idea. And I believe he wanted to show off a little bit... either that or he was terrified his core audience of teenager boys weren't going to be able to keep up. Either way, NO ONE was buying what he was selling. I mean, interviews about the ego during the credits? This film has the same kind of narrow audience Ghost Dog has. But I thought Ghost Dog was awesome... This? Eh, I'll give the movie about fifteen minutes where I thought Ritchie was up to something really cool and interesting, but then he sort of fell back to his old bag of tricks. It doesn't respect the "literate" views or the ones just in for cheap thrill. A neat idea. I won't argue with him there. I'm glad he went for it.

I think Ray Liottas look best under abrasive lighting too, Guy Ritchie.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Common Law Cabin - 1967 - Dir. Meyer

The last of my Russ Meyer movies that I was currently able to extract. Although I found an 11 gig torrent I might dip my toes in... but 11gigs?! Jeez... Well, I think Common Law Cabin might have been certainly the most... uh... erotic? There's actually not a lot of nudity in this one, but a lot of seduction. I suppose that's why it's a wee-bit more titillating. There's also quite a bit of death, well, maybe not... No, wait... it did seem pretty violent. It had the least amount of silly Russ Meyer editing which upon realizing, was a SUPREME disappointment. It was pretty ridiculous plot-wise, basically with a villain who only seems to want to rape women or upset other men and can't seem to control himself in the slightest. The characters are more ridiculous than usual. Including the usual sexpot wife who by the end of the movie is just completely out of wack, providing cover fire for the villain for... why again? Watching them plod around, trying to find reasons to tie a scenes together. I mean, like I normally say, I can't really judge a Meyer movie too harshly. I enjoyed watching it. It does what it's supposed to. And it actually does it a lot better than some of his other movies... but I'm not sure if I'd want to watch it again though. You know? There wasn't a ton of those fun elements that really got me going as far as Meyer movies go.

Pictures of Men looking through Binoculars are the SILLIEST!

Monday, October 12, 2009

District B13 - 2004 - Dir. Morel

I had sort of wanted to watch this movie for a while. I don't know, I guess I was excited about Parkour or something. It's all right. The movie had a strangely notice-able amount of plot holes. Normally with a movie, like this, I just don't bother looking for them. But I dunno B13 sort of thinks its a real movie. There is a sly bit about the Lame Parkour Cop being bad at improvising but I don't know if I really think its that clever. I dunno, the movie isn't fun, I suppose is what it comes down to. So I feel like I have to pay attention, then I notice that the plot is fucking ridiculous. So yeah, the movie isn't fun. It's got some sweet action sequences and whatnot. There's certainly some clever banter. But I don't know if I really consider a sprinkling of banter all that clever. I mean, there's a mostly comatose junky slave girl in it. It's not a fun movie. Point made. Moving on. Oh, and the movie's leads reminded me of Skateboard kids through and though. So it's really hard to take the movie seriously at times. I mean, they're clearly ape-ing action movie cliches, but they never really mug. Like they don't realize they are cliches or something. I mean, not that they have to mug. I guess I just expect of movie of this quality to not take itself so damn seriously all the time.

This guy was a boner machine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Idiocracy - 2006 - Dir. Judge

I've been kicking it with movie's partially watched or forgotten. Maybe I'll get to a new one soon. I won't act like I don't like Office Space. That movie gets me with the laughing, EVERY TIME! Idiocracy, I don't like as much. I can't tell if it has anything to do with Luke Wilson. Well, it might have a lot to do with his character. I, however, got a real kick out of Luke Wilson's acting. In general, I get a kick out of Luke Wilson. Even though he seems like a grumpy asshole. BUT I DIGRESS! I mean, the movie is funny. I laughed at it. I'm not as sure if I get behind it as fully. I think Luke Wilson's little character arc has a little bit to do with it. Where as Ron Livingston was sorta someone I really wanted to success, I think I didn't really have anything specific I wanted to see out of Luke Wilson. Yeah, I mean, I want him to get back home, but you sorta know that isn't happening from the start. I guess, I think Mike Judge to work a little better with character than premise. And I know people are always saying he could be like Apatow if he worked more, but I think I'd rather have a infrequent Judge than a productive Apatow.

Maybe everyone expected Obama to act like Terry Crews.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gate of Flesh - 1964 - Dir. Suzuki

Another film bought on DVD and remained unopened. I'm a huge Seijun Suzuki fan, I support the massive amount of DVDs that he is having released these days. Even if they are the mighty expensive Criterion editions... Although they do have the finest cases around. Gate of Flesh, I saw only once. I couldn't remember much about it apart from the dresses and some exploitative whipping. Honestly, I liked it watching it this time way more than I remember. I suppose it was a film that didn't age terrifically in my mind but I clearly liked it enough to drop the dough fer it. It basically follows Four Prostitutes in Post-WWII Japan where a good portion of the population is in ruins, they take in a Hold-Up Man returnee (JOE SHISHIDO!) who is just so filled with Japanese Spirit that they can't help but be attracted to him. The film is brimming with spit and venom and has a general anti-everything feel. It's about how hitting rock bottom is important sometimes, ya know? It's a mostly traditional story but as with all Suzuki films, it's about how it's told. WITH COLORS! The film hangs in an abstract theater feels, especially the sets which are fairly unrealistic. Not German expressionism but there's always a lot that catches the eye and it fits in well with the more symbolic acting and Suzuki's little playful (sometimes) quirks. I had completely forgot that they slaughter a cow as well as the chubby yellow dress giggling "Let's snap some bones!" Naturally, the film carries all the thinks that can be tricky about Suzuki. The story can often be tough to follow or just frankly boring. The man worked within constant constraints at the time and we can see those contraints. But Gate of Flesh is definitely one of my more favorite of Suzuki's work.

Four Ho's on a Boat! Someone is living the life!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Darjeeling Limited - 2007 - Dir. Anderson

I've seen this before. Well, I saw it when it was first released in theaters. Although I really would have liked it if Hotel Chevalier had been shown as well... It functions so well in relation to the film. And the sunofabitch movie isn't that long! I mean, oh, man- Eh, It fleshes out Schwartzmann's character way more. I could always get a hand in that respects too cause that guy can be so tricky to peg down... or like. I dunno, it created a more interesting context for his character. I laughed a lot more in this viewing of the film. I mean, I always thought it was pretty funny and whatnot but I remember being struck by the drama the first time around. The character's miseries seem to mix with their own obnoxious self-importance creating a very strange feeling of sadness and dread. I dunno. The movie has so many moments where I'm just like YEAH! GO EMOTIONS! This is a weird movie for me. I don't dislike it. It kind of does almost everything I would want a movie to do. And it does them in a very pleasing way. I didn't get the distance I got with Life Aquatic. I can relate to these three brothers, even if they are sons of bitches. Adrien Brody might have a lot to do with that. The more understated of the brothers, more reasonable. The REAL one, maybe. Although, in a movie like this who can tell. Oh man, you know I started this little blurb feeling a little mad at the movie, but you know what? This movie is bitchin' as hell. I'm not gonna be a prick about it! I like this movie a lot!

Adrien Brody had to put up with Owen Wilson whispering secrets in his ear the entire trip.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Violent City - 1970 - Dir. Sollima

I did not like this movie. In fact, I don't particularly like Sollima. But I seem to be interested in his films. I don't remember really liking Django very much. I certainly don't remember anything about it. Except a sequence with a bridge and all that business with the coffin that I knew ahead of time. Despite that, I put Violent City on my cue. I don't know why. I guess I sorta like Charles Bronson. Every time he touched that woman's breasts I yelled "Get some!" I don't really do that with actors too much. I guess I don't think Bronson is getting enough. Certainly not these days. :o Anyway, I don't know. As I started watching it, I realized it's going to be a pretty straight-forward action flick. Despite it's Italian heritage, it wasn't going to throw really that many curve balls at me. And it certainly didn't. The movie doesn't have too many surprises. It's not terribly mainstream. Bronson's character IS deeper than a lot of the hero's we get in these pictures. It is kind of neat, thinking back on it, that he doesn't actually say much. He's pretty consistently betrayed in the film and he acts on it in a variety of ways, but he doesn't convey too much. It's almost as if it's being subtle! And I was totally digging the chase sequence at the beginning. Sollima can direct, which is probably why I have Revolver on my queue after seeing Violent City. Not a terrific movie. But it's not stupid. I little goofy at times. There really is a bit of betrayal. But it's not retarded about it. We really don't have a ton of exposition or dumb-ass scenes. Maybe Bronson's stony exterior has something to do with it. Oh, it had a sweet ending, supporting the less is more kind of theory. Sollima knows what he's doing. I'm just waiting for the movie of his that I actually like.

This is also the same photo used for Charles Bronson's unpopular "Tough Guy Easy-Listening" album. What a stupid fake genre!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Exterminating Angel - 1962 - Dir. Buñuel

All right, so when I first learned of the man Luis Buñuel, I looked him up on the Internet. The first picture of his that I was interested in? The Exterminating Angel. Easily, I wanted nothing more than to see this picture. Naturally, it was impossible to find. At least, impossible for a young college student who knew next to nothing about getting his hands on hard to find films. So now... almost six years later (Jesus Christ)... it sneaks up behind me and is released on DVD. I had exhausted my interest in Buñuel about a year after it began, watching EVERYTHING I could and reading what I could/his autobiography. Sometimes I forget how heavily he influenced my writing and my idea of film and art. So I'm a little pissed I've seen Exterminating Angel so many years later, I can't appreciate it the way six years of waiting has built it up to be. Anyway... Angel is classic Buñuel, around Viridiana where he really started to create a form, this is Luis sharpening his knife. You can see bits of his later work. The quiet surrealism. The upper class (although really that was his whole career). It feels reminiscent of his Discreet Charm era or I suppose that should be reversed. The story? Dinner guests find themselves trapped in their Host's Living Room. As hours become days, they fight for their survival and their humanity. Buñuel plays a lot with repetition. Perhaps most noticeably when the dinner guests arrive twice and have the same set of dialogue, but the script is peppered with repeating sets of dialogue. And I fucking LOVE repeating dialogue. Almost as much as I love a pack of sheep wandering around the mansion. SHEEEEP! While Exterminating Angel might be a disappointment for those of us who have waited six years. It's still Buñuel doing what he does best, taking a dinner party and making it weird as all hell. ;)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jigoku - 1960 - Dir. Nakagawa

I rented Jigoku because well... I'm not sure entirely how it ended up on my queue. I think part of it was just because it was supposed to be one of the earliest gory Japanese films. The film spends the first hour just setting up the life of a real puss, who is involved in a hit and run with a college friend, Tamura, who doesn't want to go to the cops. Tamura is a really strange character. In fact, this film is just full of Japanese wackiness that has endeared me to their cinema in the first place. Tamura is basically evil. He's a kind of doppleganger for our puss hero. But not. He's a demon but not. He's a type of figurehead. He's a theme. Damn it, I love the Japanese. Anyway, so the hit and run results in basically the death of TONS of people. Puss's world begins to spin with sinners. And they all end up killing each other resulting in an awesome orgy of death. Tons of people writhing on the ground. Then the last forty minutes is basically an examination of hell through the eyes of the Puss, who was a terribly moral person who just... well, made a series of terrible decisions. Certainly the last forty minutes is surreal as hell, a Japanese Inferno if you want to simplify it. But even the beginning of the film has its strange parts. I mentioned Tamura, but Puss's fiance is killed and he goes to his parents Inn finding a woman who looks just like her and is also all about her. There's small touches like this throughout that make it a terribly interesting viewing. Hell is pretty impressive. There's certainly some striking visuals (See picture below). A Needle hell. A crowd of people spiraling around and around in torment. Some flaying. A strange wheel with a baby on it. We get plenty of darkness and fog. Let me say the sound design is AWESOME in the film. From the baffling opening credits which is just a bunch of different kinds of noises every now and then to jaunting sound cues, my favorite part of the film might have been the sound. A ton of screams. Nakagawa can certainly edit together a vision of hell on a shoestring budget. Jigoku is not a terribly thought provoking piece but it is worth the view for fans of seeing a classic of Japanese horror or basically some trippy visuals and some sweet ass editing.

Hell is other people's hands.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Osaka Tough Guys - 1995 - Dir. Miike

Osaka Tough Guys is perhaps the earliest Miike that I've even seen. In fact, as far as Miike is concerned, you don't get too much earlier than that! It's a pretty outright silly movie. I mean, most of Miike is silly but this was almost completely silly. There's some fighting but none of the gore that would become synonymous with Takashi Miike, instead, we get the silliness that made so much of his violence palatable. In fact, there's a lot in this film that kind of pre-empts his later stuff. There's clearly a big sense of fun and cartoonish sensibility that he manages to water down in his later work. No one with much of a name in the flick, at least, no one that I could really pin down. The two lead actors are ridiculous though. They're a ton of fun to watch, gleefully running about being morons. I mean, it's like a Miike movie where you can enjoy his goofiness without the fear of seeing something pierced, ripped open, or hung by hooks. It's not a great movie by any means. Following two delinquents who accidentally and against their will become Yakuza and then they just dick around being Yakuza. There's definitely a throughline in the film but I wouldn't call it PLOT HEAVY by any means. The film ends in ridiculousness with an explosion of dynamite and a bug-eyed tongue sticking out CG face. Also, I must admit in enjoying the performance of the third shitty Yakuza recuit. A possibly retarded college student who is just really a big doof. A fun movie. If you like Miike for more than violence. Definitely check it out.

The only picture I could find from Osaka Tough Guys... Yeah, it's Miike, all right.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Away We Go - 2009 - Dir. Mendes

I don't really know what I was expecting out of Away We Go. I think I basically got what I thought I would. Although it was a lot funnier than I really expected. It had the gentle indie soundtrack by Alexi Murdoch. I mean, it is very much an indie rom com. Or maybe a indie dramady. That might be a better way to put it. It's definitely a bit more mature... and subtle than a lot of the other films in the genre. It felt way more watchable... a little bit more relatable. I think a lot of that might have to do with the acting. Although, the writing was all right, I totally think the movie got away with a lot more than it might've otherwise if the actors weren't so damn charming. Everyone does an excellent job and I even get to see my good friend: Paul Schneider do some dramatic acting. I also did enjoy Maggie Gylenhaaallllllaalalalal's performance as a dingbat cousin. The movie kind of functions with having a series of dingbats with reality slowly, slowly creeping into the picture. ALSO, I think Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara were fantastic. Perhaps my favorite scene was their appearance. It was even one of those movies where GASP! I understood where the main characters were coming from most of the time, even when it was bordering on ridiculousness. Although I have to admit, I like most movies to end with loud noises, a la, Akira or ANYTHING that I write. I've realized I like my dramas to end quietly, like life. Like I care too much to have the ending of a film to be left to loud rising music. I'm not seeing a man explode into an evolutionary goop! I don't need the music to cheat me into feeling something.

All of my most emotional times are in tubs too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - 2008 - Dir. Cohen

I sort of accidentally saw this. But I totally wanted to. So just pretend I just never said that. Rob Cohen is a perfectly acceptable Stephen Sommer's replacement. I didn't realize that until seeing this movie... and reading the other movie's the man has done. xXx? Fast and the Furious? Daylight? All classics of American Cinema. That being said, I still think this might be my least favorite of the series. I don't know for sure. Oded Feher adds something as does Arnold Vosloo. The movie is clearly about trying to top the previous movies. And it does. I mean, there's Yetis. There's a ton more Mummy based jokes. ALTHOUGH, according to Wikipedia, Jet Li is not OFFICIAL a mummy. He transforms into a bunch of different beasts. I didn't give a SHIT! I think that might have been one of the problems. I didn't really care too much. Wait... I might have never really cared about the action of the Mummy series. It's so hard to tell. I mean, honestly, if someone enjoyed the first two, it would be hard to find a reason to not like the third one. It's got the same tone, same action. It's a very honest sequel considering the new director. I don't think I've liked Brendan Fraser as much before though. He's totally awesome in the movie. Although I do appreciate Rachel Weisz WAY more than Maria Bello who was a basic, wife of adventurer character (although she does kick tons of butt). Oh man! The action in this movie is totally informed by ridiculousness and video games. If anything was particularly disappointing was the ending. Which sort of petered out and I remember not caring terribly. But hey, it's a Mummy movie. I can't really hold it that high on a pedestal.

Watch out! It's rare for a beast as big as a Brendan Fraser to leave the gound, WE'RE IN TROUBLE!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The New World - 2005 - Dir. Malick

Now, I can get a little excited about Terrence Malick these days. I believe earlier today, I convinced myself that Terrence Malick knows how to make perfect movies. I say a lot of things sometimes. He does not know how to make a perfect movie, I'm not going to say that he's the perfect director. But he certain seems able to handle all the different elements of film-making expertly. He kind of makes Oscar flicks... that I can respect though. Anyway, I wasn't really planning on liking The New World, it basically had to win me over several times throughout the pictures... I think it might have dropped the ball by the end, I remember feeling it was a little corny. The movie's gorgeous by the way. But I mean, that's what I would expect. What I didn't expect was that Colin Farrell would have so few lines. Which is a good thing in my mind. I don't think Colin Farrell is terrific at delivering lines, which is a big part of being an actor, I believe. The man sure can emote like hell from his eyes though. And Christian Bale wasn't in too much of it either! I've been a little grumpy at those two guys. Wait, I think it was unfair to be bad mouthing Colin Farrell, I think he was good... or he won me over. What it might have been is just that I was a BIG fan of Q'orianka Kilcher. Like she convinced me that Farrell was an all right guy, and then he totally just fucks us over and goes to work for the king! What a fucking ass! Anyway she was awesome, which is kind of the most important point because she is the one that the movie is really about. Colin Farrell is just kind of a decoy protagonist, he pops up, introduces us to the real protagonist and leaves us with her. Thank god! I did like hanging out with Q'orianka, the film kind of is the sculpting of Pocahontas into a European woman. The invasion of the New European World. As her clothing changes, the surroundings do as well. We begin in loincloth in the forest and end in an English garden in royal attire. It's a pretty fucking cool move that Malick pulls.

It's hunky hearthrob Colin Farrell!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finders, Keepers, Lovers, Weepers - 1968 - Dir. Meyer

POOOP! POOOOOOOOOP! Well, that's no way to start my little review thing. I dunno, I didn't really feel like watching a real movie yesterday so I watched another Russ Meyer flick that I had sitting on my desktop. I had never heard of Finders, Keepers, Lovers, Weepers before, I downloaded it because it can be a little tough to get Meyer flicks so I try and not turn down any opportunity. I don't mean to sound terribly superficial, but there were some pretty bland women in this. I mean, even for a Russ Meyer movie, I was a little shocked. They didn't even seem terribly Meyer-esqe. I'm starting to notice Meyer's style of editing more and more, and I think it's having a bigger impact on my enjoyment of his stuff. I mean, demolition derby footage with hot tub sex. BRING IT ON MEYER! Or you know, if you have Amish kids flying a kite, I'd get behind that too. WAIT! That's in a different sex scene?! Well, all right then. Despite the beloved editing, this is a pretty down-to-Earth Myer flick, which isn't a great thing. It's not a terribly fun romp by any means. The characters are more... well, real. Which makes them just dumb as all hell. It makes it a little tough to really give a shit. Especially when most of the characters are just plain jerks. Definitely not a great first Meyer flick, but it has a lot of neat little touches, the Thieves are pretty entertaining to watch (perhaps the only actors to be that way). But a worthwhile time for Meyer fans.

You know what would make this scene better? If it had demolition derby footage spliced into it.

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