Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cobra Verde - 1987 - Dir. Herzog

It kind of sucks that this was the last collaboration between Herzog and Kinski, because I feel like of all their movies together, this one left sort of the least of an impact on me. I'm not entirely sure why. I suppose Kinski could be pretty striking at times, I just feel like I was least interested in his character. Usually they are so driven or at least... I dunno. In this film, he seemed just like kind of a pawn. The film isn't bad by any means, I guess, it just doesn't really hold up with the other four films. There's plenty of neat visuals going on. I feel like the King's fortress with the strange towers are really of note. Kind of Neverhood-ish. I really think the story just ends up being a little weaker. It sorta doesn't have a really strong focus or conflict. It is kind of dully historical and less indicative of Herzog/Kinski's collaborations. I think maybe it didn't age as well. Sure, we don't see Amazons training everyday, but seeing large groups of people train for battle just isn't as epic as it once was. The movie's last scene is awesome, I am not going to act like it isn't. It kind of felt like I really watered down version of a Herzog movie.
I would love for Kinski to play a Craig T. Nelson type character.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Black Jack: The Movie - 1996 - Dir. Dezaki

I don't know a ton about Black Jack. I had no idea that the little girl sidekick was actually some kind of awful living tumor/parasitic twin. I mean, that wasn't a plot point or anything. In fact, I basically got along pretty well as far as understanding WTF was going on in this movie. That's the point I was making. ANYWAY, it was pretty entertaining, I suppose. Although, to be honest, I'm having difficulty recalling a ton about the movie and it's only been a handful of days since I saw it. I feel like I must have blacked out during the climax or something because I don't even remember what it is exactly. Prolly the most memorable thing are the medical/sickness sequences. Which I suppose is the focus of the anime anyway. There's a ton of people spewing blood. And HOT SURGERY ACTION. It follows Black Jack as he tries to help the Brain Company figure out why it's superhuman Olympians are going nuts. The "going nuts" sequences are pretty neat and the plot/story line is interesting and approachable enough. Naturally, there's all kinds of corporate dickery going on. At one point, Black Jack gets the Olympian disease and performs Olympic surgery. I mean, this is a movie about a rogue surgeon, so I'm not applying realism here at any point. There's a lot of Manga-esqe transitions and editing tricks. Some work really well and some end up being corny. I'd say it's half-and-half. At the end of the day, I'm glad they were there. So, I dunno, clearly it ends up being rather forgettable with some neat "hospital scenes."
Be careful, I'm a rogue surgeon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Even Dwarves Started Small - 1970 - Dir. Herzog

You know, I feel like when I started this blog, I didn't have a very strong idea as to what a Herzog movie was like. I had seen a few of his films but never really managed to connect the dots, so to speak. I think, just recently, and prolly through this year of movie watching and basically picking out a shit ton of Herzog movies. Now, I think I'm catching on. My point being, this film is pretty much what I would expect an early Herzog movie to be. It has next to no narrative, basically a premise of mental patients over running an asylum except everyone is played by a dwarf... or excuse everyone IS a dwarf. The movie is basically the patients doing various things. Most of them crazy. They look at a bug collection. Make a truck drive in a circle. Crucify a monkey. Torturing and I believe killing two blind inmates. They regularly try and attack the Warden, who is locked up in his office and holding another inmate hostage. It has a neat sense of humor throughout. There are some moments that are AWESOME and then some that are less awesome. The movie drags, which is what I expected. But it's kind of interesting to see an early Herzog film. The last shot is The Best.
How to make me Happy: Hold this shot for too long and have the Camel eventually poop.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pale Rider - 1985 - Dir. Eastwood

Now, Mr. Eastwood. I don't mean to complain, cause this movie is preeeeetty awesome. But the thing is. If you have ONE film where the main character turns out to be a ghost... okay. You know, that's a twist ending sorta. A little surprising. But TWICE!? And he's sorta the same character... but not exactly... it's, uh... it's a little... it's a thing, you know? Ghost protagonist, twice? And you play both of 'em. What the deal? Anyway, I really liked this movie. A lot more than High Plains Drifter. Visually, it was beautiful. Also, there's a ton of men in awesome coats, glaring. I mean, in a lot of ways, it's exactly what I want westerns to be. It's weird to actually watch Michael Moriarty act in a non-campy manner. It threw me for a second. And Richard Kiel is in it! I love Richard Kiel. I feel like he always ends up being a heavy who turns good by the end. Oh! And Chris Penn is in it. And he's young. Yeah, this movie was real good. I know I started with a little bit of complaint, but in general this is probably one of my more favorite westerns and Eastwood movies. It makes me want to watch Unforgiven... but that's neither here nor there. It's got just a terrific mix of myth and badass-ery.
That's a dandy hat you got there Mr. Eastwood.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Talk Radio - 1988 - Dir. Stone

All right, Oliver Stone. You got me. I watched another one of your movies. You want a friggin award or something? Well, yer not getting it! This was an okay movie. It didn't blow me away. I'm familiar enough with Eric B.'s work that I had a pretty good idea of how this was going to work out. And it did work out that way. It's Bogosian being Bogosian. Classic Bogosian too, I suppose. So there's nothing new really brought to the table here. It's a series of monologues/rants basically. Interspersed with scenes involving more than just Eric. There's a kinda goofy flashback where Eric has Howard Stern hair. And I shouted at that hair. I was MAD. Although, he made a point about the play still resonating today, which is totally true. It's of the time and of this whole chunk of time. We also get to see John C. McGinley (NICE) and a really young Alec Baldwin, or a very skinny Alec Baldwin. I imagine I might have dug the play a little more since it seems to lack a lot of the fat the movie added on. Although Stone does film the final monologue in a somewhat bitchin' way. At least, it all works together. So I dunno, I liked it. I like Eric Bogosian. I have no problem with watching him rant for 2 hours.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Stroszek - 1977 - Dir. Herzog

You know, Bruno S. is a hell of a guy to watch. I saw him in Kaspar Hauser and he definitely stuck out. I thought he was just acting in Kaspar but I suppose he is a little rattled. I mean, there's a chance he isn't but Herzog cast him after seeing a doc about street musicians and apparently his early life resembles that of Stroszek's. He definitely has a kind of... he's hypnotizing to watch. He's a little bit like the opposite of Kinski, who is exploding all over the place with emotions. Bruno is imploding. It can be so difficult to read him sometimes and his isolation is just completely out of hand. I suppose the movie is never as sad as you might think it would be. It has a lot of comedic sequences and absurdity mixed in with all of the drama. Because, after all, a great deal of the film is watching Bruno get shat all over by basically everyone. The ending is just awlsome. I loved the dancing chicken and the other sideshow traps. Naturally, Herzog gives them undue focus which always makes a happy Jeff. It's pretty neat how Herzog manages to assemble these types of movies. Non actors, unchanged locations. The film just meanders around, there's a clear finish line, but Herzog doesn't take the direct route there.
Bruno S. is FEELING it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Evil Dead - 1981 - Dir. Raimi

I only saw Evil Dead once, I believe... maybe twice. Fairly shameful considering the number of times I saw the rest of the trilogy. I wasn't terribly impressed with it. Generally thought of it as a less comedic version of the second one. Which I still think is true... BUT. I think I understood it's merits a little more this time around. I don't know why, btw, but I'm also factoring in that I've clearly been on some kind of gore kick. The film isn't just gory but... It's just INTENSE. It's an attack on the senses. There's a scene where it's just a corpse screaming and bleeding which goes on for so long, it almost felt surreal. And it's also a fairly unimportant detail when you get right down to it. But there's such a focus on the screaming and it's just the worst fucking noise. So, I dunno, the movie's kind of awesome in that sense. The third act is just... terrible things. It's basically Sam Raimi, using the thinnest of premises, doing a bunch of camera stuff and making noise and gore. And he's Sam Raimi... so it's awesome. Campbell hadn't quite gotten to the smart assery or the mugging at the camera or the brilliant acting, so he's kind of just a body for blood to get launched at/taken out of. Oh, and man, that ending gets me every time. :)
You know, it's shameful the amount of Evil Dead 2 pictures that were passing for the first Evil Dead. C'mon guys, they're completely different...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pierrot Le Fou - 1965 - Dir. Godard

I saw this back when... as I was first introducing myself to Godard. I remember only really being struck by the scene where they put on the goofy play for the American Tourists, mostly because the Americans were ridiculous. Apart from that, it just seemed long as hell and slow. I liked it a lot more this time around. And it didn't even feel that long, except maybe the third act. I suppose I barely had any interest in a resolution to the plot or the "heist." I have to admit, the very end is awesome. But the first two thirds of the movie are charming as hell. Godard is so good at filming cute girls. Or he's good at finding cute girls and having them do cute things. Karina and Belmondo are a charming pair. The film is also at a nice point between Godard's hyper-political/abstract point and his black and white films. It's a little bit of both. So it's still abstract and political but he's still pretty playful and it feels less like he's beating you over the head. It also helps that they're on the Mediterranean and everything is just fucking beautiful. Oh man, and the song about her Fate Line is awesome. Sometimes the movie is just them wandering around having neat conversation. And maybe it's just the wander-y part of me, but that's just damn awesome.

Pierrot Le Fou 1

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bugged - 1997 - Dir. Armstrong

Ehhhhhh... it's okay. It's a pretty harmless film, I suppose. Goofy. Nice enough nature. I don't watch a lot of Troma films but I'm under the impression this is somewhat standard fare. I mean, it looks supremely cheap and IS a dumb movie. But you know... It's about killer bugs. And all the exterminators stop their diorama competition to all get trapped in a house filled with ultra-smart mutant termites. I was pretty shocked when I saw that Diorama competition. You don't see a lot of Diorama humor these days. But in '97, man, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting someone telling a Diorama joke. There's also a joke involving uncooked chicken. GOLDEN. It kind of reminded me of movies I made in high school/college, like as you watch the movie, you're not like "Ahhh, I'm in capable hands, right now." I feel like a lot of the jokes or ideas in the movie might have ended up a little better if it was less... uh, Troma-y, I suppose.
The movie didn't have any screenshots, but you know... THE PREDATOR.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bronson - 2009 - Dir. Refn

I suppose I wanted to like Bronson more than I did. I definitely got the impression it would be more violent and gruesome. More shocking in general. I feel like you get pretty standard fare for these movies. A lot of punching and bleeding. But I feel like I also wanted it to go a little further with the theatrics too. The movie clearly crosses the line between fantasy and reality. We're watching Bronson's brain on VIOLENCE. It doesn't wander too far from, I'm going to tell my story with face paint on every so often. So as a film, I was a little dissapointed. But jeez, Tom Hardy is the MAN in this movie. Refn clearly knows this too. There are so many shots of Hardy just staring, and it's AWESOME. He brings a great smoldering intensity. He's so absorbing, it almost takes away from the movie. It feels like just a showcase for Hardy, which like I said, is also when it works best. But then, when all is said and done, it doesn't exactly feel like it came to much. We just spent some time watching a violent man's fantasy/real life. Oh, and it's a silly movie. It's not Clockwork Orange or really many of the other comparisons. It never gets so wild, but it's certainly never boring either.
If you like looking at this man stare at you, well, you'll dig the movie.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Taken - 2008 - Dir. Morel

Liam Neeson is a perfectly respectable action hero... for some reason, I found this casting strange. Maybe because I'm so used to him being stately and distant. It's funny to think of him kicking butt. Until he starts kicking butt and then you're like, hey... He really kicked that butt. I'm less enthused about Maggie Grace, who I guess is all right. I dunno. I don't really enjoy seeing her emote. I suppose that's more my fault. She does a pretty good job. I suppose kidnapped daughter is usually not the most likable role. She certainly isn't a bimbo in the movie or anything. ANYWAY. The movie is basically Neeson going to different places and beating up the people he sees there. Rather than it being Neeson with a clear nemesis, he generally just works his way up a ladder, we never really see who is on the rung above. I suppose that takes away from a little bit of the movie. We never have a huge showdown to get excited about throughout the film since Neeson kills every antagonist within minutes of meeting them. While I think that's a neat approach (obviously the villains become less like thugs and more like... fat rich guys in robes), I'm not sure that's as exciting for an arc. A straightforward movie for the most part. Will probably satisfy the vengeance craving anyone might be having.
Liam Neeson is a FATHER!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep Red - 1975 - Dir. Argento

Man, this was my first Argento movie. I have to admit as to being a little disappointed. I had seen the teeth bashing clip and was like, "Hey... I can get down with that." But the thing is... I feel like Argento only really directs THAT way. At least, the murder scenes. He seems to have A SINGLE IDEA about Directing and just kind of follows that repeatedly. So I felt like it was getting dull pretty fast. I didn't get too much of a goofy vibe from him, which I think might have made a few scenes a little more bearable. I know the cop was supposed to be goofy. Well, I suppose I found him somewhat entertaining. I mean, when the guy is just dragged behind the truck? That's RIDICULOUS. Not even ridiculous in a fun way. Well, maybe it was a little fun. Argento did say that he wanted to have deaths that were easy to relate to. He definitely accomplishes THAT at least. I dunno why, but the film jumped back and forth between English and Italian. And the Pianist being the detective? I dunno. You know, I can accept some really implausible things in film, but Argento was really making it tricky for me.
This guy just needs to chill out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

World's Greatest Dad - 2009 - Dir. Goldthwaite

Eh, I suppose this movie made me feel a little bit like the way Big Fan did. Where I basically got everything I was expecting from these "Dark comedies." It seems to go about as far as it's premise would suggest. I think, maybe Big Fan was the better film, I think maybe because it seemed to have a clearer direction. Sometimes World's Greatest Dad feels like it's putting on airs (that it doesn't have) or it is just not as tightly put together. It's certainly got plenty of charming bits. While BF is basically Patton Oswalt focused with more jokey side characters, I think maybe it handles the larger scope of characters really well. It seems to let these characters feel a little more full, they aren't all just awful, hypocrites. Goldthwaite actually, takes time to show us their guilt, so what they're doing is sort of understandable. Sabara is actually really good playing the obnoxious son. He wasn't intolerable to watch. I guess that was kind of a thing, everyone felt pretty authentic in the movie, where I was expecting cardboard cut outs. I don't think the movie really brings anything new to the table, but it's well done enough. I don't think I got behind it as much as the movie wants you to. I certainly SAW a catharsis on screen but I didn't feel it.

HA! ... Ass School.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Candyman - 1992 - Dir. Rose

I was actually kind of surprised to like this. It's a shame it's sort of stored in our cultural memory in a kind of superficial way. I mean, It's not BRILLIANT. But I would say it's definitely an upper-tier slasher (a genre I feel sticks to the lower tier pretty regularly). First of all, an awesome amount of the film takes place in a rundown Projects. Candyman's "Lair" is terrific looking. It's spooky and an absolutely fascinating space. Rose gives us a lot of tiny details (Razor blades in candy) and some sweet graffiti. The whole atmosphere built around the Projects and the Upperclass intellectual v. lower class superstition is also handled surprisingly well. It felt fresh and more interesting than a lot of other horror films have managed. The movie does have a tendency to drag, and I don't think there are really any surprising elements in it. Maybe in 92, it might have been more surprising though. The end with the pyre is pretty awesome, I have to admit (at least in theory). I suppose in retrospect I'm enjoying it more than when I watched it, since I remember feeling pretty mild about it afterward. A lot of cool ideas, maybe a little aged?
Yeaaaahhh!!! Take it off, Tony!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grey Gardens - 1975 - Dir. Maysles

I had been meaning to watch this film for a long while. I knew what it basically consisted of, which was why I was interested... and which is also why it took me a while to sit down and watch it. I need to be in a very particular mood to watch two older ladies traipse around a filthy house, half-clothed, and yell. Lemme start off by saying, there are some beautiful shots in the film. The "sea of leaves" is awesome. And I'm a fan of derelict homes so that only made it all the better. The film is self-conscious in a nice way. The women often speak to/flirt at(?) the Maysles. The brothers even pop up now and then. The women are actually kind of charming in a way. They're loud, argumentative, and opinionated but they, I dunno, they're such big people that they end up being fascinating. Little Edie clearly has/had big dreams and often struggles with her own subconscious drive of being a kind of hermit. It has some feelings of Morris sometimes, people not listening, speaking over each other. I feel like a good deal of time is spent trying to find out how honest these women are being, considering how much they argue about the past, it's difficult to make any headway. The film is easier to get through than it originally seems. It's entertaining without mocking. It's deep without sentimental.
Little Edie wearing the hip new style: Disembodied Hand on Shoulder

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bad Girls - 1994 - Dir. Kaplan

I'm working on a movie that has a similar premise so I figured I should check it out. It's uh, well, it has Robert Loggia in it. That's always a thing that happens. It's also pretty boring. Badly structured. Kind of a waste of a neat premise. It sorta feels like everyone is busting out their mediocre game on this one. Jim Beaver from Deadwood is (sorta) in it. They start a whole plotline of Pinkertons and then just kind of send it away for the much more dull plotline involving... I dunno... Madeline Stowe and her stupid ass gangster ex-dude. I really would have rather followed the Pinkertons though. The plot should be fairly straightforward but it dicks around endless to get a decent running time or WHATEVER. Often times characters act in completely unreasonable ways, generally to create a situation where the movie can continue its endless dickery. I think Drew Barrymore might have been pretty good, I can't remember. Stowe doesn't really carry as the lead, or maybe the film just doesn't give her very much to work with. People are pretty fucking flat in it. And past the four main women, who I feel like we're only introduced to AFTER they're on the run, which seems just positively retarded. I couldn't figure out why James LeGros or Dermot were even in the fucking movie.
All right, I'll admit it. Barrymore has a pretty sweet hat.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Slammin' Salmon - 2009 - Dir. Heffernan

It's funnier than Beerfest. I'll give it that much. I still won't get behind it as much as Super Troopers or Club Dread. I remember having a significant amount of laughs though. Michael Clarke Duncan is, of course, pretty fucking entertaining, in exactly the way you would have expected him to be. It generally just nice to see someone you know who can act, doing some really dumb crap. That's why John C. Reilly's so fucking funny sometimes. This is the first Broken Lizard film that Heffernan has directed on his own. It doesn't really look or feel significantly different apart from some more robust editing than the others. I can't remember a stand-out performance from the cast apart from Duncan. No one ISN'T entertaining, which I suppose is an accomplishment. They seemed to even distribute the quirky/dickishness pretty evenly between them all. I feel like Paul Soter got to make an ass out of himself more than he usually does. I suppose like the other Broken Lizard movies: It's silly. It doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table as far as comedic ideas go, so it's understandable when it feels a little tiresome, but they are all capable and charming enough.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eraser - 1996 - Dir. Russell

Eh, it's okay, I guess. There are definitely better action films and even better action films with Arnold in it. It is mostly showcasing the type of gun you can see in the below picture... and that grenade that shoots screws. In fact, those're probably the most memorable things going on in the movie. James Caan gives an appropriately hammy performance. Although as hammy as it is, it gets a little dull after a bit mostly cause he's doing the same thing again and again. I'm a little thrown off my the climax, which sort of ends in a dissapointment and then the resolution makes it ALLLLL better. I feel like I would have rather just had a decent climax rather than a bunch of dudes falling. The Plane sequence is probably what grabbed my attention being that its completely ridiculous. Apart from that, there aren't really too many memorable set pieces. Sure, Caan and Arnold fighting on the container is cool, but it's mostly just Arnold getting beat with a pipe while Venessa Williams is overly helpless. So, I dunno. I don't think anyone would've really expected this to be that good anyway. So I would say Eraser does about everything you might expect it too... Is between 90 and 120 minutes and has action scenes in it. FEH!
Arnold holding TWO guns!? WHOOOAAAAAA!!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bram Stoker's Dracula - 1992 - Dir. Coppola

Fun. This movie should have been more fun. It's campy. It's ridiculous, in fact. But not very... I dunno. It has an air about it that feels... more important than I for one am willing to give it credit for. It has some neat visuals. A cool scene every now and then. Some acting. A lot of actors and actresses. It's got a lot going for it. But... it never really culminates into anything terribly interesting. Coppola's not an idiot of course. It's not really a bad movie, I guess. Like it's not like he messed up. I think this is what he wanted to make. It's just really a movie that belongs in 1992. Kinda like Batman Forever and 1995. I'm happy that Tom Waits and Richard E. Grant were in it. I'm always happy to see them. Hopkins is just friggin' weird in it. Or intensely boring. Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman have a WICKED AWESOME romance on the bed scene. I think that actually might have been the high point for me, who woulda thought. Keanu Reeves is kind of surprisingly bad in it. I never really jumped on the "Keanu Reeves is an awful actor" bandwagon. He does his thing, just like any other number of actors. I think it's usually pretty unfair. But MAN, he STINKS in this movie! BAAAAD! Oh yeah, and it is RETARDED in the storytelling department. I feel like... I don't know. I don't think I've seen a movie so weirdly put together before. A PROFESSIONAL MOVIE.
Sigh... Dracula...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nosferatu: The Vampire - 1979 - Dir. Herzog

Continuing my Herzogology, Nosferatu recently came into my possession. I hadn't really put two and two together of Klaus Kinski and Isabella Adjani being not only in the same film together but basically being protagonist and antagonist. I mean, they are the same kind of intensely theatrical actors, able to make HUGE emotions without being ridiculous. Not only that, but being directed by fucking Werner Herzog!? Even though, I'm talking it up, the movie is SOMEWHAT muted. Somewhat. By that, I mean, it just isn't screaming. Kinski portrays a very sad vampire, years ahead of Robert Pattinson. It kind of does some pretty neat stuff, nudging the original film. Calling it a stylistic remake, an idea that's a lot of fun and something I can get behind. The subplot of the plague is an interesting addition, especially with the goofy as festival things it leads to. There are plenty of awesome visuals in the film, especially when anyone is carrying a coffin. Unfortunately, I saw the english dub, or english version where apparently some of the performances are a little weaker since Kinski and Ganz apparently struggle with the English a little bit. Kinski still seemed plenty dandy but Ganz was totally weak. Oh man! And the last scene where they debate arresting Van Helsing is pretty ridiculous and Herzog all the way. An enjoyable film, if not a little slow.
Easily two of the most INSANE actors I know.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Girlfriend Experience - 2009 - Dir. Soderbergh

Another one of Soderbergh's more experimental films. Low-budget. Non professional actors. I don't think I liked it as much as Bubble. It's not bad. An incredibly muted film. Grey seems to know what she's doing as far as tone is concerned. She barely emotes. I'm under the impression she knows what she's doing. She emotes now and then, but the majority of her scenes calls for her to be kind of flat, with a minimum of interest. She's basically pretending to be interested, you know like an escort. The film does feel a little vague in a sense. It doesn't seem to take a strong stance towards what it shows us, and it doesn't tell us so much of a story like Bubble. So we're left with something that feels a little vapid or empty. I do like thinking of it as an experimental drama. While it isn't INTENSELY experimental, it doesn't tell the story in the usual sense. Chris Santos is a pretty good supporting player. He manages to be a whore without being a huge whore. It's also kind of neat to hear all the recession stuff, so soon and being tied into an Escort storyline. I especially liked the scenes of the dudes in the private plane on the way to Vegas. It does neat things, it just doesn't feel like a terribly strong film as a whole.
Hey look, It's Sasha Grey. In that picture that is everywhere.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Law Abiding Citizen - 2009 - Dir. Gray

EH! It's about as good as you might expect from the trailer. Of course, nothing really resolves itself as excitingly or as interestingly as you might want. It's not HORRID. Well, I mean, Gerald Butler tortures a guy, but it's not like Saw or anything of the like. I just mean, it's not unwatchable. You can just, sit and watch this movie. Not really have many significant feelings at all. I like Gerald Butler. He's a fun guy to watch. Which is good because he spends a good chunk of time in the movie sitting and saying cryptic things. Oh, when he stabs the guy, that's pretty cool. I'll get behind a well-crafted stabbing scene. I feel like this movie just had a dumb script. I think that was the problem. A bunch of generally talented and capable people got together to bring a shitty script to life. Or maybe the script originally terrific and someone wanted to dick it up. The premise is somewhat promising, if not intriguing, but nothing really comes to fruition. There's a robot, and prison tunnels, there's something almost nostalgic about the plot twists, and I don't think that's a good thing. Pondering well worn traditions when I want to be surprised isn't a good thing. Jaime Foxx is in it. And, uh, Bruce McGil or something. That guys good at playing the guys he plays. Ahhhhahaha...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tokyo Gore Police - 2008 - Dir. Nishimura

I think, if there was a perfect demographic for this film. Maybe it's Insane Children. Children who just... have no sense of reality and only want to expose and destroy the human body. Someone like that. And Me. To some degree, I know Nishimura made this movie for me. To let me know that special effects can still be like John Carpenter's The Thing. News I was overjoyed to hear. While looking for pictures, I was reminded by how incredibly insane this movie was. I was not sober while watching this movie, and I'm sure I forgot tons of weird shit. There's SO MUCH weird shit, you're bound to forget things. I'm not going to list it. But the film is just showcasing Nishimura, a special effects fella. He's worth showcasing too. It's not about realism, it's about his aesthetic. It's cheap and goofy, and pretty pleasantly reminiscent of the 80's. The movie never for a moment acts like it is something other than that. You know exactly what you're in for by time the title rolls. Hell! You know what you're in for from the title itself. TOKYO GORE POLICE. To be honest, the movie didn't even make me squeemish. And they do some AWFUL things to people, but it's never not silly. Not matter what horrible unspeakable act is on screen.
Still, nowhere near the weirdest thing in this movie.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Enemy Mine - 1985 - Dir. Petersen

I think I knew basically what I was getting into with this movie, at least in tone. The scope of the story was a little more broad than I expected. I thought it would be single man v. alien on empty planet. Well, I suppose maybe that's about half of it. Then it's a lot of Quaid raising alien baby, seeking revenge. Kind of like Jeremiah Johnson in space. Apart from the whole baby subplot, the movie functions like a buddy cop thinger. There's not a lot that's terribly interesting about it. I like the tentacle thing that came out of the sand. OH! And Leon from Blade Runner shows up as the films sudden antagonist. I do love looking at that man. The movie gets especially uninteresting when Quaid is raising the kid, the movie lazily lumps on ridiculous cliches and sappy moments. Quaid is fun enough to watch. The film never really absorbed me. It's kind of a jutting monument of goofy 80's sci-fi movies. I suppose the end action sequence was a bit fun, at least it held my attention and didn't just completely butt out. There's some neat insinuations of the future (the "funerals") but that's balanced out by boring and unimaginative rants about manifest destiny in space business simplified to a "We want it!" "No WE want it!" argument.
Both Quaid and Gossett "popping a squat."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The 39 Steps - 1935 - Dir. Hitchcock

Hitchcock's an all right guy, I suppose. No problems with the man. After reading his book with Truffaut, I was way more interested in his work than before. 39 Steps was simply on Play It Now so I just watched it one day. It's a neat enough spy thriller with somewhat charming bits with Robert Donat, although, I feel like I might have liked the movie way more with another lead. Or maybe it was just because Donat has such a nothing backstory, he's kind of just a forward motion to move through the plot. He feels more like a charming lead than anything else. It's kind of surprising how quickly he takes up the cause. I didn't feel exactly pulled into the espionage but more of an interest how the guy is going to get out of it. It's pretty basic, the twist with Mr. Memory was fun. It being from the 1930's, it's pretty basic by today's standards but perfectly engrossing and charming as you would expect from Hitchcock. I totally missed his cameo though! >:|
They're about to Pinky swear

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train - 2004 - Dirs. Ellis/Mueller

Never one to be on the up and up on... most history, I'm playing a little bit of catch-up. Point being, I had no idea who Howard Zinn was until he died. And then I wanted to figure out who that fella was. Stumbling upon this documentary and off of the heels of my time with Manufacturing Consent, I found I still had to deal with my rebellious old men fix. The film focuses a lot more on Howard Zinn's life and his accomplishments than his personal beliefs. Sort of like the opposite of Manufacturing Consent. It's a lot more straight-forward. Very charming. Doesn't feel like it's working on the political slant as much as just informing us as to how Zinn maneuvered in different situations. It's an interesting enough film. Definitely felt like a good primer for anyone interested in Zinn. I would have been a little more interested in his work rather than a chonological map of events. We get some Matt Damon narrated bits and pieces but that's about it. If the point of the film is to whet an appetite for Zinn's stuff, I suppose the movie has done it's job, but perhaps not as stirring on its own.
Watch out Howard! A peaceful Dove is headed towards your head!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism - 2004 - Dir. Greenwald

It's kind of like the Fox News of Anti-Fox News Documentaries. It's clearly biased. I mean the movie is calling out Fox News. Granted, they aren't coming out and saying "we're right and they're wrong" like Fox is, but still. I can't say I liked it. And I like bashing Fox News. Those guys are nuts! On the other hand, this documentary is basically just doing what The Daily Show does four nights a week. I remember someone saying that about Fahrenheit 9/11 too. I dunno, the film didn't really tell me much I didn't already know. It did come out six years ago, but still... Or maybe not know. But just assumed. It does exactly pose too many daunting arguments. It makes it's bias known so soon off the bat that it's hard to really respect it too much. Mostly because you get the impression they are pulling similar shit to tell their story. BUT AGAIN, it's a different position so that's not decent criticism of the film. I dunno, the film also feels pretty cheap. The Graphics look like they were made by a high school-er. I guess, it just feels like there's a better way, and better documentaries that make this same argument in less time. It culls so much Fox footage but really, we only need so many examples. Definitely glad it was only an hour and seventeen minutes long.
O'Reilly is getting into "Swallowing Head" mode.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Up and Down - 1993 - Dir. Moullet

AHHHH!!!! Up and Down was adorable. Basically covering a bike race up and down a mountain and the eccentrics doing so. Although the bulk of the film is just people biking up a mountain, it's pretty entertaining. Made up of mostly little jokes, visual or otherwise, the film has a good-natured feel that I was immediately attracted to. It's playful. Featuring a beautiful landscape of what I'm guessing is the French Alps, Moullet also lets us just take in the scenery. It's kind of like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World except the grand prize everyone is racing towards is the pride of getting to the top. Although, I must admit, it does drag. I began to multi-task as the film went on. It can be a little difficult to watch, after all, it's almost an hour and half of biking. An hour would have been perfect, but hey, I'm not complaining. I'd even watch the movie again. It's a shame it's not better known. So far, I think this might be easily my favorite Moullet film. Granted, it was made twenty years after all of the other ones I've seen and of a completely different tone, I feel like it highlights all of Moullet's strongest suits and puts them into a simple form, a film about bicyclists.
Le Velo!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pick Me Up - 2006 - Dir. Cohen

Sure, not exactly a movie, but I think it's close enough. I mean, it's an hour long movie basically. With TV production value. I think I've ranted about Michael Moriarty before. Maybe It's Alive 3. But seriously... the man is the Shit. He knows exactly how to be in Larry Cohen movies. I'm actually realizing that I've never seen him NOT in Larry Cohen movies. Not even in Law and Order and I have watched that show. I mean, it seems that he's an actor of considerable talent and skill (see picture below). Anyway, he makes this movie. Every scene he's in, it's just... MESMERIZING. He MUTTERS so well. And SO cinematically. To a degree where he is basically incomprehensible but not like an insane person. Anyone can mutter like an insane person. He mutters like someone with a clear train of though, insanely. So, the movie isn't terribly interesting. I'm glad it wasn't longer than an hour. It's clever. Written pretty well. Walker was okay. He was more subdued than Moriarty, which made for a nice contrast. The movie was like a nice Miso soup. A fine blend and flavor but it's just Miso soup. It's not a meal. You accept it with knowledge that something else will come because it's only SO satisfying. The something else in this case... I guess, is other Larry Cohen movies with Michael Moriarty. *shrugs*
Sure, I could have a still from the movie or just this sweet picture of Michael Moriarty

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food Inc. - 2009 - Dir. Kenner

I feel like I don't see any documentaries that aren't meant to rile me up in some way. I knew what I was getting into with Food Inc. It didn't blow the lid off of much of anything in way of "Being poisoned/fucked over by companies" although I feel like it made the most comprehensive argument. I have to admit, the movie began to make enemies with me off of the bat. A terrible first impression. Well, the opening credits were neat, I actually confused the name of the producer for a butter brand which is pretty impressive on all counts. But the special effects were terribly manipulative and cheap looking. It made me feel like I was getting into an amateurish production. I dunno why, but all the cheap tricks slowly fall away as the first act goes on and then seemed to have completely disappeared. What's left is a fairly convincing portrayal of an industry running amok (and being total dicks a lot of the time). I get puzzled over it's intent some of the time, I think some people criticized the lack of viable solutions, but I suppose it's just to make food safer and more transparent in some ways. The fella below made a strong argument. Either way, it's a perfectly disconcerting documentary and Farmer's markets are only feeling neater.
This guy is basically THE Man.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Manufacturing Consent - 1992 - Dir. Achbar/Wintonick

I'm not really going to approach how I feel about Mr. Chomsky. Mostly because I don't have a really good idea of how I feel. To start, I don't know much about the man. I feel like the film projects a Chomsky-ness to it, and he's certainly IN a lot of it. And he does a lot of talking. But it certainly isn't direct with basic information, which is funny because he is a direct enough fella. I feel like we get a very vague background to the man, mentioned often in passing. The film actually plays around a lot with different footage, different ways of coming across with information. Basically playing on the way the media gives us info. It's a clever, pretty watchable film. I'll say I didn't attempt to watch it in one viewing but rather many. I also think this was a good idea, and I'd certainly watch it again in the same way. Chomsky doesn't try and get our emotions all riled up, so he can certainly be dull. No problem with that, whatsoever. I still find him fascinating to listen to. It covers a few of his theories and certain topics of discussion. It's all very interesting and usually involving a kind of white wash of an event. It doesn't really offer many opposing views. It's sort of like a biased person just telling you about him and showing you Noam Chomsky youtube videos. So... depends on how much you like Noam, I guess.
Noam, you've manufactured MY consent... FOR A KISS.

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