Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Special Effects - 1984 - Dir. Cohen

FEH. A mostly forgettable film which felt like kind of a shame because Cohen and Bogosian in New York seems like it'd be a way more promising idea. Like... best Larry Cohen movie ever kind of thing. It's not that. In fact, if I had a better idea of which Larry Cohen movie I dislike the most, I might say this one is in the running. Cohen's movies sure do run the gamut of my opinions. I have no average for the man. Anyway, Bogosian does more bug-eying in the script than speaking... you know that thing that he's fucking incredible at. Well, he's incredible at bug-eying too, but it's not the same... The movie has a bit of promise making the usual neat Cohen-esqe jabs and whatnot but it never really amounts to much. The movie kind of pulls the usual punches and leading to fairly predictable climax. Bogosian's apartment is kinda neat sometimes, considering the usual dull settings, it's something worth mentioning. Or maybe there's just one hall that I liked. The "protagonist" is a real doof and boring as hell. Also the resolution is RIDICULOUS in a manner I might have bought in a sillier movie, but Special Effects was more stuffy than fun. Maybe if it had a bit more fun (and it does every now and then but it feels routine more than anything else), I might not have felt so strongly opposed to the whole mess, but it seemed a little caught up in itself.
I couldn't find a single picture from Special Effects, so here's Eric.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Informant! - 2009 - Dir. Soderbergh

Heck, I was pretty surprised by The Informant! I feel like I even had a good idea of what I was in for. Hell, I DID have a good idea. And I wasn't wrong. I guess, Soderbergh just goes so far into the musak aesthetics of the movie, it's a blaring announcement of goofiness. From the soap opera camera lens to the color to Matt Damon's RIDICULOUS voice over. You know, these days, people have been doing some pretty sneaky stuff with voice over and I've gotten a real kick out of all of it (BOLD STATEMENT!). I was pretty consistently pleased by the movie, by Damon, and in Soderbergh's insistence on making the film this specific way. It falls in the category of a movie more like Bubble than Ocean's 11. He's being quirkier than he is dashing. And yes, the movie drags a little bit. It's not a polished gem by any means. But it's entertaining. It's funny. Damon is charming and uncomfortable at the same time and manages to balance that load throughout the movie. It may not have left as much of a mark as I might have wanted and as much as the preview might have led me to believe. I would give it a second viewing and imagine I might like it more, which has got to be a positive thing.
Matt Damon is an excellent listener.

Friday, February 26, 2010

M. Butterfly - 1993 - Dir. Cronenberg

You know! I didn't have really high expectations for this movie but I totally dug it WAAAAAY more than I thought I would. Although, I should point out that I expected it to be the musical which I know next to nothing about. So, yeah, I'm fairly uninformed about a great deal of the background to the film, well, I WAS. The movie did a really good job of letting me know enough about the opera to follow the story. Maybe I missed some clever nods, but I think I got the thematic tomfoolery the story was playing. And I DUG the tomfoolery. It's a real clever twist. ALSO, Cronenberg was surprisingly adept at directing. His previous films and tendencies actually do show up in more subtle ways. Yes, BODILY TRANSFORMATION. I mean, I got the hell behind this movie. Jeremy Iron and John Lone are both awesome. Lone is totally such a bitch at the beginning of the movie, but still terribly mesmerizing. Even gender aspects aside, it must have been a pretty challenging part to play, considering how complex the character is. Oh, and Ian Richardson is in it. I loves me an Ian Richardson.
It looks like Jeremy Irons is having sex with the girl from the Ring.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

American Movie - 1999 - Dir. Smith

This is my second time seeing this movie. I remembered it vividly the first time around in High School, I think it slowly faded from my memory and as my career goes aimed closer and closer to showbiz, this documentary loomed more and more in my head. Of course, I'm not Mark Borchardt. I'm not NEARLY that charming. I'm not even a Mike Shank (I won't get into the debate as to who is more charming). But I suppose the way the man struggles towards what seems to be an earnest dream can be hard to watch if you share his dream. So I put off watching the movie a second time again. Seeing it again, however, I dunno. My fears were unfounded. We aren't watching a man get his ass kicked for 107 minutes. We're watching a Man, try and kick ass. Sure, he has a ton of things getting in his way, but he wants to kick ass BAD. It's actually a lot of fun. And some of the people in this movie are loons. But they are CHARMING loons. I think the one thing I noticed more than last time is the amount of fucking drinking Mark does. Oh, and also, for some reason, I remember him being a blithering idiot. I feel bad for remembering him that way. The man DOES have brains. As many (much?) brains as someone who calls Morocco at 3AM would have.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cliffhanger - 1993 - Dir. Harlin

You know, maybe because it was so pleasingly banal, I really like Cliffhanger at first. In fact, up until the second act, I think I wanted to make a movie JUST LIKE Cliffhanger. And that's not to say I wanted to make an action movie in the mountains. Oh no. I just wanted to make a movie as straightforwardly unimaginative as Mr. Harlin had. I thought it was awesome how like a million other movies it was (NOT SARCASM). It did it so well. BUT MAN, I wouldn't have thought people chasing each other through the mountains would have been so boring. I almost wanted to turn it off a few times. Even John Lithgow didn't make me wanna chug through this ass-movie (yeah, I'll pretend that's a word). In fact, if someone asked me how to enjoy John Lithgow, I would suggest they watch the fourth season of Dexter over this. I would suggest they watch friggen HALF A DAY of TV before they watch less than two hours of this. It's BORING. How did Harlin make Lithgow boring? Well, he's fun sometimes. He's certainly the most entertaining part of the movie. That and the enigmatic LEON (Of Bats fame). Apparently, they want to remake this movie, which I think is just a clever way of saying, they want to make another action movie in mountains. Wait... WHOSE THEY!?
HOT! CLIFFHANGING ACTION! (This picture is better than the movie)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arachnophobia - 1990 - Dir. Marshall

When I say Arachnophobia is a perfect movie... I am not being ironic. That movie is like Movie 101. Maybe Horror Movie 101. It's not an incredible movie. It doesn't even stand out terribly. The thing is... is that it is one of those movies that just does everything it should. If I wanted someone to study basic story telling elements in a film, I might just suggest they watch Jeff Daniels mug around and be afraid of spiders. It's entertaining enough. Doesn't lag. And actually has a really satisfying climax, bringing all kinds of things together. John Goodman is absolutely RADIANT as the doofy exterminator and I must admit at being a little surprised that he doesn't die. I can't I found the movie scary exactly. Or even all that tense. Maybe my own Arachnophobia has long gone. Or then again, the movie might just not be all that scary. I'm not badmouthing it or anything. It's sure entertaining. So it's a real good basic movie. Perfect for those days when you just want a well-oiled machine. But if you're looking for something a little challenging, if you don't have a huge fear of spiders, I suggest looking elsewhere.
Watch out! They're getting ready for dinner!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Invention of Lying - 2009 - Dir. Gervais/Robinson

If there's anything good to come out of having Movie Stars and their ilk, it's cameos. Need proof? Watch Invention of Lying, the best parts are the ones with the MOST famouse people in them, and Jason Bateman. I mean, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton KICK IT in this movie. All right, that's not entirely fair. But they are a source of amusement. Anyway, so Invention of Lying is pretty standard. Maybe assembled a little... less fluid than many others. The film feels long. It also is structured pretty strangely, takes on too many things at once. So it does a kind of an okay job with all things. Which seems to also be about how hard the damn thing is trying. Nothing is riotous about the movie. Ricky Gervais is all right. At worst, Gervais always seems to be at least watchable or WITH Greg Kinnear. The movie really does become cock-eyed somewhere halfway through. It loses whatever steam it was trying to build up and leaves us to care about whether or not Gervais gets with Gardner, which is not exactly the most interesting relationship going on, especially since Gardner can't lie and her opinion of Gervais never moves too much from middling, and Gervais is so clearly and unobtrusively infatuated with her that it lacks too much interest or tension. Rob Lowe also has hair in the movie. It's great.
Bateman is delivering the news that Ricky's Grandma will be ALL RIGHT!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - 2009 - Dir. Herzog

You know, I really like Nick Cage. He's just plain awesome. He can do REAL acting as well as... Ghost Rider acting. In Bad Lieutenant, he busts out his real acting and THANK GOD for it! He. Is. Excellent. Alternately goofing off and bringing a reality to the character. His kind of fractured acting matches perfectly with film. It's tons of fun and the more I think about it, the more I like it. Also, Shea Whigham is in it as a ridiculous pseudo antagonist. This is my second Whigham movie to be seen and that guy just gets me excited about the lines he says. Also my best friend Brad Dourif is in it. ANYWAY, the movie toes a line between bizarre and mainstream. I can't even describe how awesome one of the ending scenes is. I'm a little surprised by Herzog. I mean, he's all over it but still, I'm a little impressed. The film had SUCH a tricky tone and Herzog can be all over the place sometimes. It also works really well as a meditation of focus and multi-tasking. In many senses, we are watching a man attempting to juggle everything and go in every direction. He can no longer find his "spoon" in a scene I thought was goofy but ended up being rather resonant. Obviously, it is also says quite a bit about addiction. Jennifer Coolidge's scene where they watch television together is sweeeeeeet!
Heeeey Mr. Cage, you're looking pretty astute.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Boy and His Dog - 1975 - Dir. Jones

I won't say I liked this. Because I didn't. But I'll certainly pursue an interest in Harlan Ellison stories. So I can't say it's all bad. He wrote the short story the film is based on. They share a premise, which is what got me interested in the film in the first place. And then I got all interested in Ellison stories. Meanwhile, I turned off the movie 25 minutes into it. I never had a desire to watch it again but did eventually, and often times wanted to turn it off again. The movie is just damned boring. It doesn't have a lot to draw you in past the initial premise, which was engrossing enough to draw me in. But it just doesn't pay off. And let me just say, I can be pretty forgiving with shitty B-movie effects. But that dog's voice just rubbed me the wrong way the whole movie though. Maybe it was because the actor sounds like he phoned it in (literally recorded over the phone [and imagine what that sounds like in the 70s]) after just waking up. I feel like I have to give it credit for some things, like not trying to try and build up a sympathetic protagonist, but so much of the movie feels half-assed or just not as much fun as it could be. The underground town in the third act is completely out of nowhere and abused. The movie is all good ideas and poor execution.
Oh god! Mr. Johnson has a canine tumor!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Knife in the Water - 1962 - Dir. Polansky

I don't think Knife in the Water was what I expected and I think I spent a good chunk of time waiting for the film to become what I expected it to: A thriller. Especially considering the last film of his I saw was The Tenant, the minimal production proved surprising... perhaps due to it's lack of surprises. The film builds tension and keeps it up so well, that it's almost surprising when next to nothing comes of it. So much of the film is unspoken and assumed, but so clearly leading in a direction, that it becomes difficult to make headway. Everything has an echo. It was definitely an effecting picture. Something I feel like I would need to see again to really determine whether or not I liked it. Despite that, I have to admit that it's definitely a GOOD film. And it's a good looking film. And it's a well-written film. A tad slow, but considering it takes place mostly on a boat, that's really to be expected. It definitely has an "OH MAN!" ending. And you know: I was surprised to learn that the wife was a non-professional actress, maybe because she's the unspoken of rivalry between the two men, but I was constantly trying to pierce her. A thriller that only hinted at being a thriller but wouldn't give us the satisfaction of a release. The bitch. ;)
It kinda looks like he's turning into Roy Batty

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Encounters at the End of the World - 2007 - Dir. Herzog

Man, I do get quite a kick out of Herzog. The man can make ANY kind of movie! Well, it's not always good, but this is a good one! He comes out saying this isn't like the usual nature documentary, taking a somewhat obnoxious and already dated jab at March of the Penguins. He's right though. The man went to Antarctica and ended up with something that focuses on the people's own eccentricities as much as the AWFUL UNSEEN CREATURES OF THE DEEP. Really, there are some nightmare creatures down there and that Jellyfish doesn't do it justice. He also captures some incredible footage. Some things he sees are so surreally beautiful, it's incredible to think they are just naturally occurrences. The sections of the film that are JUST nature footage are easily my favorite parts. ADDITIONALLY, you meet some pretty interesting people. The movie paints Antarctica as a last refuge for social outcasts and misfits. And Herzog (social misfit himself) captures them well, if in his own socially misfit-y way. At one point, the voice over mocks someone for being boring and long winded. In the end, it's an interesting, and very engaging film brimming with personality.
The Nightmare of the Sea

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - 1985 - Dir. Miller/Ogilve

So Thunderdome was generally reputed to be the ridiculous of the Mad Max series. While I have difficulty saying whether or not it was better than the first (The second being easily my favorite), it's sort of a continuation of the steps took in the second, the ridiculousness of it all, over-the-top villains. That aspect of it, I dug like nobody else. The movie drags, ESPECIALLY when the Lost Children are introduced. They don't suck as much as Lost Children could, but they aren't the Thunderdome. In fact, NO part of the movie except the Thunderdome part is the Thunderdome. That part is most certainly the Thunderdome. I might say the movie's first act is good and then everything sort of peters out from there. The ending is completely... well, the ending sucks ass. Tina Turner laughing at Max and walking away. WTF!? While the chase is exciting, I think the movie had lost it's charm at that point. To be honest, I can remember the Road Warrior chase WAAAAAY more memorable than the Thunderdome one. They felt basically the same except there's a train in it, and there's that guy that won't die. I think with all of its campiness, Thunderdome is not as much fun as it looks. Even though it looks like a ton of fun. Even thinking back to it, I want to like it.
The only three emotions I felt during this movie.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Brigitte and Brigitte - 1966 - Dir. Moullet

So I'm writing this blurb fifteen days after seeing the film. Apart from the scene where the two girls meet, I'm having trouble recalling distinct details from it. So certainly, it's not terribly memorable. It's pretty straight-forward as French New-Wave is concerned. With numerous rants, young people, and a consistent concerned with American films, even featuring a cameo from Sam Fuller. The film is less fun than the premise suggests (two almost identical girls with the same name meeting in the big city) and actually felt less fun or maybe playful than the previous Moullet films I've seen. It's his first, so it's not fair to impose such things so I'm not gonna be a dick about it. This in fact, awfully cheap looking, which I feel is a big thing to say of the generally low budget Moullet. So I suppose if you're hard up for some New-Wave and aren't familiar with Moullet, this might work. It's a nice crossroads between the two as far as I'm concerned. Not a great introduction to either though.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brick - 2005 - DIr. Johnson

I suppose like a twisted, flaming car wreak, Brick could have been a bad time. Instead... it was... well, it was something else. Sort of like a drive that is all right except that the car keeps swerving into oncoming traffic. It holds your attention. But after a while, it grows tedious and you just want to get to your destination. You still have to admire the balls on a driver that swerves so much though. I mean, really, I could have only predicted the worst for this movie. So, if gathered anything. This movie is not the Worst. I'm not sure I'll see it again. Sometimes I was thrown by how silly the movie was at times and it made me rethink how ironic it was aiming for. I imagine the bulk of the movie was supposed to be taken seriously, which I couldn't do. The film while handling a pretty masterful tone, doesn't feel like it creates a real world. When I think about when the film retreats into silliness, it's often when it must look at the larger world, the parents, the principals. Upon leaving the film noir California bubble, we see nothing but a facade. Brick becomes nothing more threatening than a Lukas Haas with a gimp foot and a cape and his unconvincing muscle. I heard a lot of criticism of the dialogue, which I actually got behind. And it certainly flowed naturally enough and the slang doesn't sound NEARLY made up as I was led to believe. Oh, and JGL does kick ass. Even though I got real thrills seeing him get the crap beaten out of him. OH! And I could have done without his mystery illness. It kept derailing shit for me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

True Grit - 1969 - Dir. Hathaway

I'm not a big John Wayne fan. I'm not really sure if True Grit has really changed my mind. I was told this would be the one to watch considering my taste in Western. Additionally, the Coen brothers are remaking it which only gets me excited. Adding fuel to the fire was that I heard the climactic gun fight was awesome. SO I was disappointed. It's not bad. John Wayne's real good. I can't badmouth the man. And he plays a meeeaaan drunk (as in, he plays a drunk real well). The thing is, he doesn't get my heart pumping. It just doesn't click. Almost as soon as the movie started, I began to see how things weren't going to go my way. It's a neat enough story. I'm not sure I really ever supported Mattie all that much, which I'm sure is an important part of getting behind the movie. I didn't really much care about LaBeouf at all. There are some interesting elements in it, especially when the three of them are at odds earlier on. It's telling of the characters to see who reacts how. I was a little baffled by the highly spoke of climactic shoot out. I'm really not sure what the appeal is. I suppose it's a little badass, but I've already seen plenty of fellas go up against other fellas so I dunno.
Hey John Wayne, you don't know where that... uh... fuck what's it called... it's not a leash. A reign? TAKE IT OUTTA YOUR MOUTH!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Big Fan - 2009 - Dir. Siegel

I suppose I got what I expected with Big Fan. To some degree this was disappointing. I had high hopes for the film though, so let's keep that in mind. It's as funny and as dramatic and as challenging as the preview sets it up to be. It doesn't go much deeper than that. But to meet the standards of the preview can be hard enough these days. Patton Oswalt IS really good in it. I only have a minor grasp as to what the sports afficiando is like, but it seemed to line up with my general idea without making him out to be a complete retard. Oswalt and Siegel both let us get to know Paul well enough. They do treat it like a dramatic role, they respect it, but Paul is unfortunately a person we just laugh at, and they both seemed to figure that out. I did get a real kick out of Paul's first call in speech, hearing the thing he planned out and the way Patton plays it is just awesome. Sure, the movie doesn't dig as deep as I would have liked, but it digs deeper than a lot of other movies would have bothered. If anything, I feel like I could have gone for SOME kind of change in Paul. The film challenges him, but it's kind of like a Job deal. Where it's just a matter of testing his merit. And when he passes, and so mundanely, it feels a little bit of a let down because it's what we knew from the start: Dude like the Giants.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Visioneers - 2008 - Dir. Drake

I've been fooled plenty of times by indie movies released after the once unknown star hits it big. I expected more of the same from Visioneers. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the movie. I feel like its really easy to make this type of 1984-ish future dull. We've basically been exposed to all the different ways the human soul can be destroyed and enveloped by technology and bureaucracy and mind control. Visioneers doesn't pull too many new punches, but it certainly pulls funnier ones. While the cast is quite good, a lot of the time, it feels like they're cruising. I feel like Greer, who is usually tons of fun to watch anyway, is the only one really stretching her chops. Maybe that's not exactly fair to Zach, who plays with a kind of earnestness I don't really see in him very regularly in film. I feel like a lot of the credit belongs to the n00b writer-directors the Drake brothers, who seemed to have a good idea of how to navigate what could have been a rather disastrous or tired script. It scratches the very specific itch but I think I'm more excited by the prospects of the Drake brothers rather than the film itself. OH! That action hero guy is awesome. And Zach's personal trainer: See below.
Watch out Zach! That guy's awesome!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Name is Bruce - 2007 - Dir. Campbell

So, Bruce Campbell. A man who was a kind of demi-god for me in high school. I'll admit that perhaps I lost a little bit of interest in the man. By that, I mean, I won't just watch ANY movie because BC is in it. But it does help. After all, I did decide to eventually watch this movie. Forgetting that it was, in fact, directed by Campbell, which is an intensely interesting idea. It's a goofy movie. Sometimes, perhaps when we're not seeing Campbell, it can be a little tricky to watch. The teen-filled opening is a little cringe-worthy. Campbell definitely makes a point to camp it up, illustrated by his INSANE opening scenes. To the degree where I had a smile but while rolling my eyes. Campbell basically goes insane and gets drunk pretty quickly and then he's suddenly fighting Asian demons. Oh, and Ted Raimi is awesome in 2/3 roles he was. I did not like his chinese fella. The film doesn't ask a lot from the audience. Basically only asking us to enjoy the film. And we probably will. I like to think of myself as a rather jaded Campbell fan but I still found enough to sit though the movie and I won't speak a word too harshly about it. And I'm certainly glad that they are making a sequel. The HYPER- meta idea of Bruce Campbell LITERALLY being a horror hero is pretty fucking awesome
Oh hey, look! Acting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Serious Man - 2009 - Dirs. Coens

You know, I liked this movie when I first saw it and I'm writing my bit a little later. And my feelings for it have only grown since seeing it. I really liked this movie. It was one of those movies that to me, just proved that the Coen brothers can still make awesome movies. Sure, they've been on a roll recently what with the terrific No Country and the silly Burn After Reading, A Serious Man is a kind of middle ground between the two. Not an outstanding No Country but not as strange as Burn After Reading. I have to say, Sy Ableman is an incredible kind of villain. He's the kindest man in the world, and all he wants to do is see Larry Gopnik be destroyed. Also, Richard Kind but most importantly is the Mentaculus, which is just a kind of hypnotizing notebook in the film and Kind as its creator is just perfect. But lets not sell short Michael Stuhlbarg, who is not so sympathetic or pathetic that we're watching a man be cut down by life, but paints a man in a struggle just perfectly. I guess it's just pleasing that he didn't end up as much as a pushover as the commercials set him up to be. I mean, he's milquetoast to the end but hell, he doesn't take it sitting down nearly as much as he could have.
Hey who is this guy? Oh yeah... He's Fucking Awesome.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two-Lane Blacktop - 1971 - Dir. Hellman

A fun movie! First of all, when is Warren Oates not awesome!? I'm sure there's a movie out there, but I've yet to see it. So, Two-Lane Blacktop is one of those fantastic counter-culture-y movies about two guys just cruisin' around America. It's all right. It has an intensely loose plot line. I did like the ending. Especially when comparing it to something like Easy Rider (which is really a film that should be kept in mind in some sense), the ending is a LITTLE badass. I mean, I was all "You're not gonna end it this way, are you?" AND THEY DID! I'm not really sure if there's any kind of emotional connection to the film. I was never like, "Oh! I get that guy!" But the story telling remains a little more distant than that. They have a very circular type of story telling, most easily seen through Oates, who also probably has way more dialogue that everyone else combined. His way of talking about his car is perhaps the best throughline throughout the movie. It's not as slow as a movie about people driving around could be and it certainly has a pretty sweet soundtrack. A fun driving movie, but I don't how well it's going to stick in my head.
Man! Everyone is POOPED!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Prairie Home Companion - 2006 - Dir. Altman

I did not know who Garrison Keillor was. Hell, I barely know who he is now! You know... he's that guy! In the picture below! I mean, I'm no radio child. I've listened to probably a total of twelve minutes of radio in my lifetime. So stumbling into this film blindly, what did I think? Seemed all right to me! It certainly wasn't my exact cup of tea but I can't deny the humor of it and Keillor was actually a really great... uh... centerpiece for the film, kind of a gathering unit. The film seems to try and avoid self-importance, never sounding like a love song for the radio show instead it seems like its trying to accurate depict the feeling of the show. At times, it probably is acting like a "Best Of..." of the radio show. Some post-viewing reading informed me that my favorite jokes were perhaps old favorites. It's certainly proves that even towards the end, Altman had a touch for making something very watchable out of a lot of hectic characters. I imagine if you aren't fans of Keillor or can't find an entry point in the trailer, there are better Altman's out there to see. I'm not sure the movie made a Keillor fan out of me or changed my opinion of country/folk music, but it certainly charmed the pants offa me.
GK looks like a demented Toby Jones who is going to bust some heads.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Last Winter - 2006 - Dir. Fessenden

The Last Winter was basically what I was expecting it to be. Something that didn't really grab me or make me get all mad at it. I have nothing but mild feelings for The Last Winter. While it is interesting enough to keep me watching, it isn't interesting enough to make me WANT to watch. I simply wanted answers. I didn't really care too much who lived or died. Or how anyone felt about anything. The pacing kind of putts along. It doesn't feel like we have a huge reason to really be watching the film. I will admit there's is a startling lack of character development in the film. Well, maybe not startling. But I don't know if there really was any development at all. On the other hand, the movie doesn't resort to ridiculousness. It is actually pretty atmospheric and some individual scenes are paced REALLY well. But nothing stands out and I imagine this film could be pretty easy to forget. Even WITH Ron Perlman, who is consistently crabby throughout the whole picture. Oh, wait. Elk Ghosts. I mean, the movie sells Elk Ghosts. It's not silly. It's pretty good, actually. Good job, Movie. I imagine its not easy to sell Elk Ghosts. So, I dunno. If you're REALLY pumped for this movie, I don't know why that might be, go out and see it. It's not awful.
Be careful! You might get Frostbite!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Duck Season - 2004 - Dir. Eimbcke

Duck Season plays by the rules more than you think it will. The first impression it makes is that it won't give us the formulaic movement of the "I'm slacking around at home" film. It does give in to some degree. We have video games that can't be played, love interest, drug use, new friends, pizza guys, thinking about life. You know, movie stuff. The opening minutes feel like the movie won't have movie stuff in it. But let me move on. I will admit that as far as that genre is concerned, it's top-notch. If it isn't breaking new ground, it's certainly traveling the worn road with class. I like the whole Duck business that was going on in the film. All the acting is dandy, which is definitely impressive considering the age of the cast. Although, I must admit liking the pizza guy character. Probably he ends up having the most full arc, which isn't a surprise being that he is probably the oldest character. Although now that sounds like children can't have full arcs, which is TOTALLY what I'm not saying. OR am I? Hrm. Well, nothing feels awfully explicit but it's not so vague where by the end of the film, I can't understand what I've watched. It shifts between playful and somber with ease. I nice little movie if people slacking is what you're looking for.
Roberto Benigni?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

All the President's Men - 1976 - Dir. Pakula

MAN! This movie ended REALLY suddenly. Although, in retrospect, the ending was really cool, but I didn't feel any kind of great climax or resolution. Jason Robards kinda give them a little pep-talk/chewing out and then the cool scene with the type-writing sound and what not and then a little summary. C'MON! It's especially unsatisfying since you are kind of waiting for them to get a moment to gloat or bask in all of their hard work but we never really get that moment. Their victory is suddenly made distant, unemotional, and factual, a strange twist considering the amount of time spent creating a paranoid and thrilling atmosphere, which is pretty impressive considering the most of the film is Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman asking questions. It focuses little time on personal relationships, it's good enough to define them slightly without turning to charactiture: "Hey, I'm Carl Bernstein and I'm always smoking!" It's kind of like a detective movie in a lot of ways. Except we all know who did it. And I suppose that's why we skip the ending, but I suppose I just wanted something a little more definitive feeling. A pay-off for all their hard work.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Autumn Afternoon - 1962 - Dir. Ozu

Ahhhhh... Ozu. Flowing like a clear stream of... uh... Japanese family dramas. It really is like he's making the same movie again and again. Granted, I'm watching all of the movies of the same period. But I don't want that to register as a complaint. This one features an aging widower trying to marry off his daughter before she gets too old. Basically like a different version of Late Autumn. The film actually has a strange focus on alcohol, I've never seen before in an Ozu film, which I always considered a little strange considering the amount of booze the man was known for drinking. Most scenes involve drinking and there's a surprising amount of drunkenness for an Ozu film. It's kind of like an elderly Swingers for 1960's Japan :p Although I've apparently seen the End of Summer before, I would like to watch it in this context of the rest of his color films considering so many of them revolve around marriage and relationships between generations. I feel like this one tried least to be coy and charming. That's not to say it is a strict drama, but I feel like the film was very focused and even in goofy drinking scenes, there is a kind of reality and sadness undercutting it all.
Her smile is trying to keep up with her mouth!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wolf - 1994 - Dir. Nichols

You know, if you told me that this movie ended with a Werewolf battle between Jack Nicholson and James Spader, I would have walked through you to get to a copy of it. I might have been a little disappointed with the final product... but only a little. It's still hard to not enjoy seeing these actors in "attack mode" as they a lifted by wires with their arms and legs splayed like an X. I have to say, the first act is great. I do appreciate a good visual metaphor and the movie manages to stay silly without getting to ridiculous. I mean, anytime a movie compares book publishers to werewolves, it's gotta have a little bit of humor. James Spader is appropriately wormy, and Nicholson actually comes off as a little timid, something you don't see very often. I think the more of a werewolf Nicholson becomes, the less exciting the film gets. Nichols doesn't direct horror, and he continues his trend in this. The scenes are more suspenseful and that's... that's really giving them a lot more credit than they deserve. A LOT MORE. By the time we get to the werewolf battle, the movie's deflated a little bit. OH! But Richard Jenkins is absolutely awesome as a lazy-ish cop. And David Schwimmer has a bit part as a cop. MAN! That's like casting David Schwimmer as someone with tons of charisma.

Monday, February 1, 2010

In the Loop - 2009 - Dir. Iannucci

I had heard comparisons to Dr. Strangelove. I don't know why I believed them. Maybe I was just very badly in a Strangelove mood and wanted something LIKE it. Either way, it's not Strangelove. Whoever made that comparison is a big asshole. It's just a war comedy. That doesn't make it STRANGELOVE! All right, so now that that's out of the way. Let me also point out, I didn't realize this was a companion piece to The Thick Of It, a BBC series I hadn't heard of. Probably another factor of my disorientation to the film. I suppose I just felt like I was getting a lot of information and wasn't absorbing any of it. It also doesn't help that its quickly spoken with a nice 'ole accent. There was a lot of "getting used to" for me. I won't deny that the film was certainly entertaining, but I will say it was a bit of chore to follow it. A great sense of humor, throughout. It's fun to see the actors work their way through the scenes, even if plot-wise I wasn't following. I mean, Horsecock jokes? I'm on board. In fact, there's a pleasant amount of goofiness. And Malcolm Tucker is an attention grabbing motherfucker, even if I felt a little tired of the crabby British fella stereotype. A movie I would definitely watch again. I'm sure there's plenty I missed. ;)
Watch out Guy Like Dr. House! James Gandolfini is a RANGER!

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