Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Sunday, June 27, 2010

King of Kong - 2007 - Dir. Gordan

I saw this two years ago and I just wanted to watch it again. I get a real kick outta this movie and it was still tons of fun to re-watch. While I'm sure Billy Mitchell is a Grade-A douche, but from what I've read Gordan drops a few facts for story telling purposes (TO HEIGHTEN THE DRAMAAAAAA). I don't really mind because the story they do tell (however abbreviated) is just plain awesome. You WANT Mitchell to be a villain and Weibe crush him in the end. There's a sense of these people caring about some really petty small stuff and obviously a lot of comedy comes out of that. The idea that Mitchell has a group of psuedo-cronies that he has do his bidding is awesome when the backdrop is just an arcade or someones living room. However, the fact that these people feel it so fully makes you kinda get behind him. I don't think it really sells competitive gaming as much as it sells why these grown men are acting this way. Weibe is grasping for something he can control and be successful at. Day is stuck with the role of referee of something he created and loves but clearly wants to move on. Kuh and Sanders are consistently falling short of his own goals, doomed to play second banana, and you see their dissatisfaction with this. The doc takes the time to explore the characters rather than the acts of gaming and scores, and that's why I find the film do damned engrossing and entertaining. And why I wanna punch Mitchell RIGHT IN THE KISSER!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trash Humpers - 2009 - Dir. Korine

I was pretty excited about Trash Humpers. Not TOO excited, mind you, being that I had a pretty good idea as to what the film was going to be like: grainy quality, loud noises, people dressed as old people humping, shocking transgressive type humor. It's not always tons of fun to watch. Everytime Korine let out that high pitched scream laugh... UGH! And he certainly does it a lot. So yeah, it can really test the patience sometimes. It runs under ninety minutes, though. You know, something I can appreciate. I can also appreciate the nocturnal urban/suburban landscape. There's some really engrossing shots that carry the mood of walking around at night. I feel like for me, sequences ended up being really terrific or dull/tiring. I definitely feel like the movie gets better as it goes on. As it skirts away from the psuedo conjoined brothers and heads more towards ridiculous type Gummo figures (Sleepy trumpeter being my favorite), I definitely got on the bandwagon. Also the sequence with the haggy prostitutes probably contains one of my favorite cuts in cinema of all time. Korine approached this movie in a way I really appreciate when he made this movie, whether or not it ends up being fun/easy to watch (which I hardly feel is what one should expect to begin with). Scenes were mostly off the cuff and filmed in a short period of time as he and the actors ran around vandalizing and being perverts. I mean, that's just an awesome way to make a movie! And then edit the bitch on a VCR!? As someone who dealt with VHS for most of my life, that's a look I can appreciate.
You know... Movies!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Micmacs - 2009 - Dir. Jeunet

I hadn't seen a Jean-Pierre Jeunet in a while so Micmacs seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to see. AND IT WAS. I feel like it's the most Jeunet movie of all of his. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it's certainly in line with the rest of his oeuvre. It's charming, most of all. Probably it's charm overshadows most of what might be wrong with the picture. It's pretty predictable for one. It's pretty easy to forecast the plot step-by-step once you figure out the premise. There's not really a whole lot of conflict in the film, either. We basically watch "the Micmacs" successfully fool two arms dealers for two hours or so, really only at risk for about like... ten of those minutes. But it's Jeunet, so its actually still entertaining despite these fairly major storytelling flaws. The way they go about fooling them is imaginative and clever enough to keep me watching. I won't give him all the credit. The actors do a great job keeping up with Jeunet's cartoon-y tone. I think the contortionist was particularly impressive, a character I think I would normally find annoying and DID, but she kind of won me over as the film goes on. Additionally, Nicolas Marie was HILARIOUS. He's a perfect villain for the film, every time he gets enraged, I laughed. You wanted him to get F-ed in the A.
Dominique Pinon! STOP BEING GROSS!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Naked Gun 2 1/2 - 1991 - Dir. Zucker

This movie is a classic for me. I've seen it a bunch of times. I dunno if its my favorite in the series. I think I've accidentally seen it more than the others though... Or maybe the third one. It's ridiculous! Sure, it's corny, stupid, and immature. BUT ITS TERRIFIC! It's Perfect! And Robert Goulet is in it! AND THAT'S THAT!!!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Auto-Morphosis - 2008 - Dir. Blank

It's an entertaining enough movie! In some sense, the movie feels a little bit like Harrod Blank is just showcasing his art car friends. Which he kind of is. It's just interview after interview of art car folks talking about why they're doing what they're doing, their various theories about life and art, etc. He's just lucky he was some entertaining friends! Which he clearly knows, being that this is like... the third art car movie he's made. Some of the sequences are more entertaining or interesting than others. He definitely has a good sense of what to include and how long to linger on each person. Sometimes maybe he was a little TOO liberal in the editing room but I never really felt bored or that we were lingering too long on a particular person. The Big Horn guy is AWESOME story and the Carthedral, as well. I think the nature of film causes it to drag a little bit near the end, so I admit thinking it was a good move to keep the running time under ninety minutes. I mean, I suppose for what the movie is, it works perfectly well for what its trying to do. It's fun, I can't say much more than that. OH WAIT! Harrod is featured in the film. Which is kind of screwy, considering he has a sequence just everyone else. There's something that feels somewhat disingenuous about that... I suppose with a doc that was trying to take itself more seriously, I think this might have been a major problem but I was pretty capable of just shrugging it off.
AMERICA: The Motorcycle

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Fallen Idol - 1948 - Dir. Reed

Damn it, Carol Reed can direct a helluva movie. I feel like this had everything against it. Well... it's main character was a Kid. I think that was primarily what was against it. BUT ITS AWESOME! I might even like this more than The Third Man. It's a basic film-noir except everything is kind of turned on its head. The nature of the murder, the fact that it's told through the eyes of a child, basically the whole premise! The whole framing of the story through the eyes of a child just creates a CRAZY layer onto the whole film. The nature of truth and right and wrong. The kid isn't annoying either. He's actually kinda of likable. I think that's because he ends up being an interpreter of events. It's like the best use of a child protagonist. And MAN is it thrilling! It's excellent at setting up events and holding off on them for as long as possible. The mind REELS with the possibilities as the film continues on. And it's morally ambiguous enough that often times, it's difficult to tell what will happen, something that feels a little bit like a rarity in films of this time. And the ending is completely satisfying, something else that feels rather incredible. You know, it's just a well-made film that takes a lot of risks and really pulls through, I'm a little surprised that it doesn't seem to get as much notoriety as I would expect.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Be Here to Love Me - 2004 - Dir. Brown

I didn't know much about Townes Van Zandt when I noticed the documentary on Hulu. I had heard one song and gathered that he was perhaps the saddest man in the world. This may not be true, but the fella was certainly troubled. Obviously, I have a much better idea of the man's life. Not really a strong idea of what he was about though. I think what felt most lacking about the movie was his own connection with the music. The film seems to have two tracks: one for his life and one for his music and it feels like they run parallel to each other but seem to rarely meet. Sometimes, the film just seemed like a collection of events, stories, and impressions. It doesn't feel like it attempts to really say very much. Of course, I guess, Townes own personal behavior and mental disorders might make it difficult to have a steady footing. Considering one of his more popular songs he claims to have written in his sleep. But I guess that creates kind of a hollowness at times, even when there are very emotional people on the screen. It does "sell" Townes though. We see him as charming and charismatic. Obviously, I'm more interested in his music. And there's actually a great deal of footage of him. Performing and at home which does give us some intimacy with a rather elusive subject.
Hey I'm Townes Van Zandt, you, uh, wanna get crazy?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo - 2009 - Dir. Oreck

I was pretty excited about this movie being that it was about bugs, Japanese people, and uh... well mostly those two but it also had a pretty sweet trailer. It was the most interesting film in SIFF as well. ANYWAY, I suppose I got about what I expected. Lots of crazy footage of insects and then NIHONJIN talking about them. I'm a sucker for less straight-foward docs and lemme tell you, this was up my alley. It's beautifully shot. There's are just some incredible moments in it. OH! And Japanese children are adorable. It's really thematically strong and it doesn't really feel like it's beating you over the head with much. It gets a lot across with just it's tone. I'm a little confused by what appeared to be an English release had a Japanese language voiceover. It made it supremely distracting during the Insect footage, being that I really wanted to watch the footage but was tied to the subtitles, which I struggled to focus on. I have to admit, as is the case usually with more lyrical docs, that the last third tended to drag a bit. It kept having moments where I would be "THAT WOULD BE AN AWESOME ENDING!!" only to find we still had a ways to go. So it was an admittedly slow but really engrossing and beautiful documentary.
That's an awful nice net you've got there, sir.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life & Debt - 2001 - Dir. Black

The recent bloodshed in Jamaica led me to watch this. I knew that it wasn't the best off of countries, although I didn't really have any specifics apart from they're poor and regularly invaded by obnoxious white people. Two fact that the film is very fast to point out. I have to say, I didn't appreciate the distinct sense of guilt the film tried to impose upon me by putting me in the shoes of those Sandals type tourists. It had such a hostile and aggressive tone towards the viewer, it made me kind of grumble a bit. Not that they don't have a right to be bitter, by any means, but I don't see why I should receive that brunt of the sass for taking the time to watch the film. That aside, the film did enlighten me on the specifics of Jamaica's poverty. Not that it's a surprise that America and the World Bank could be generally insensitive and often times trying to create policy to profit off of another country's poverty, it was a surprise that Banana Companies had a hand in it. In a very proactive way, too. I guess, the phrase "Evil Banana Corporation" just didn't really form in my head. UNTIL NOW!!! So the film was a good primer I suppose if you have a real vague idea about the economic situation in Jamaica. I'm not sure if it really got me too emotionally invested, but I find it's a rare doc that can pierce my HEART OF STEEL!
Jamaicans CANNOT spell Death correctly.