Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mikey and Nicky - 1976 - Dir. May

I really liked this movie! It's often spoken of in the same breath as Cassavetes films and May was notorious during this shoot for running cameras for hours while Cassavetes and Falk just probably dicked around (or weren't even on the set, apparently). The film is a little more plot oriented (a little more) following a single evening as two old friends walk the streets when Nicky (Cassavetes) fears retribution from the mob after stealing their money. It's kind of funny because from what I know about the two men, their characters are kind of reflective of them and since they'd work together many times before the movie feels completely natural. May's shooting technique definitely lends itself to this as well. I feel like Cassavetes is a master at being a likable jerk. It's an unsentimental portrait of two men who work for the mob. Past the violence and the paranoia, it's about how these two men exist and how they interact with the world. Perhaps my favorite aspect of it is the past, how their friendship with each other is the last connection they have to their childhood. The ending is TOTALLY satisying, which goes along way because the movie is so guarded with it's characters intentions. So the ending feels TERRIBLY cathartic. (SPOILER) And I particularly like that to some degree Nicky even keeps up the sense of a facade (TAKE ME TO A DOCTOR, YOU BASTARD!) as he begs to be let in. The whole movie is just so well-made and satisfying to watch.
Jeez, Cassavetes! Clean up your act! This is SHOW BUSINESS!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Inception - 2010 - Dir. Nolan

All right, lemme just say, right off the bat, I liked Inception. A lot. A WHOLE LOT. It's a beautiful, captivating movie. Two and a half hours flew by. Great acting. Good plot. Fine pacing. An interesting premise. Dug the soundtrack. It was like a live-action anime with all the negative connotations eliminated. But I wasn't crazy about it. Not rabid. I didn't leave the theater feeling like there was a hook in my neck and it was ripping me from the ground I walk on. That's sorta what I wanted from the movie. And I don't actually think I was asking too much. Nolan's done it more than once. So I was technically disappointed. People keep talking about how intellectual and brain-y the movie is... but that's where I felt lacking. It didn't stir me. It didn't get my brain a-turning in that sense. I didn't feel inspired by thought. Yeah, I suppose it's heady in comparison to a summer blockbuster. You know, you have to WATCH and LISTEN to the movie and then there might be some action scenes. If you have to pay attention to an action movie, does that make it intellectual? Maybe I'm biased. Maybe because I've had a boner for Dream and Dream theory since college, I felt like I was walking down a well worn path. I'm perfectly willing to admit that. I guess, I wanted Inception to blow my mind. To make me ponder dreams and reality. Instead, I kinda got a heist/action movie with a backdrop of the subconscious. So that's my complaint: Inception didn't blow my mind. But really, (changing gears) it's a brilliant movie. If my standards weren't Blade Runner-high, I would have fucking shat my eyes out watching this. AND THE TRIPLE LAYERED ACTION SEQUENCE!?!?! WTF! THAT'S AWESOME! Even if the snow dream felt a little uninspiring by comparison, the fact that he even thought to put the film together that way is awesome. I mean, I even feel like a dick for even complaining about the movie, but what can I say?

Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon Levitt are seen on the set of Christopher Nolan's new film 'Inception' in Los Angeles, CA.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Crazies - 2010 - Dir. Eisner

EH! It's okay. For a mainstream horror movie, these days, it shows a refreshing amount of restraint. Perhaps in the theater, I might have even been held RAPT by it, but I saw it on a couch and just enjoyed it. It walks a path we've been down before without falling back on excessive camp or violence to keep us entertained. It just keeps moving and keeps the tension high. We've just got some biological weapons. People go crazy. Guy has to do heroic things to save loved ones. You know, that WHOLE thing. And Timmy O is playing a Sheriff again! I like Timothy Olyphant because he can be kind of lame. He's makes for a good hero. He's real good at pulling out the badass card when he needs to, but most of the time he's kinda, I don't know... doofy. Not unlikably doofy. Just... sometimes it makes sense when people don't respect his characters. Oh, but I haven't seen Justified yet. The movie has a lack of a significant/specific antagonist throughout, you know, just faceless gasmask guys, which is actually kind of neat until the end where these three red necks kind of wear the bad guy pants, somewhat undeservingly. Oh! I liked Joe Anderson as Deputy Whatever! Reeeeaaalll good Deputy. I would say Anderson and Olyphant save some of the more cliched or ridiculous exchanges just by being real dandy actors. So yeah, a pleasent enough way to spend an afternoon!
This man will do ANYTHING for a Klondike bar.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tokyo-Ga - 1985 - Dir. Wenders

I liked Tokyo-Ga. Although, I really feel like this is sort of a movie that I like without reason. It's kind of wander-y, unfocused, meditation on... stuff Wim Wenders was thinking about while at Tokyo. Connected loosely and supported by nice long, wide shots. It's not really a movie I go crazy about or really recommend to anyone. I just like it. It's beautiful. It's thoughtful. And it seems pretty personal. It's not really a movie I get excited about though, I actually took more than three months to watch it... a long time when you're paying for Netflix. I mean, a video-diary on Wenders' trip to Japan and part Ode to Ozu... That's something I really need to be in a particular mood to watch... and I think Ozu is awesome and makes for a terribly interesting... but STILL. I guess, my point is that it can be kind of slow. Even is the majority of it is really interesting. I mean, the whole bit on golf and Pachinko as well as the interview with Ozu's camera assistant and Chishu Ryu. There's a part with Werner Herzog that I was totally pumped for but they spoke in German without subtitles... which was kind of disappointing. I was a little thrown as to why they didn't translate it but there were languages all over the place. It opened with I think Tokyo Story subbed in French... Wenders would tell you what the Japanese people were saying in the interviews and he spoke English throughout. So I dunno what the Eff was going on.
Tokyo is just Blade Runner without flying cars and less Harrison Ford.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Predators - 2010 - Dir. Antal

I haven't seen the AvP movies. Apparently, this was supposed to bring the dignity and save the Predator from that supposed travesty. I dunno. I feel like Predators are just silly looking motherfuckers... even in the first one. Don't get me wrong. I really like the first one! But Predators are goofy fucks. I don't think they really warrant "saving." I think its completely reasonable to have Predators face off against anyone. Batman. American Indians. Dracula. I'm sure they have, too! They're just really perfect antagonists. They always want to have Face-Offs with the quiet somber warrior who kicks ass. They like hunting, always allowing the protagonists to eventually get the upperhand so there's a proper thrilling showdown. Predators like drama and thrill as much as the audience so we don't have to spend time wondering why they haven't killed the heroes. They're biding their time. It's what they DO. Rants about (possibly) fictional aliens aside, Predators is an all right movie. At some point, I got the incorrect assumption that the script was written by teenagers. I don't know why. But it's very fitting. Not written by the same teenagers that might have written Crank. The fictional teenagers in my head saw Predator, was confused as to why a movie about aliens hunting tough dudes in a jungle wasn't ONLY about aliens hunting tough dudes in a jungle, then proceeded to write the movie is should have been. That is what this movie feels like. And I have no problem with that. The end product is a perfectly entertaining action/sci-fi flick. There's plenty of silly crap in it. Sometimes it just feels like guys running around a jungle with plastic guns... but it's fun. And it's exciting. Not surprising, certainly. I feel like Topher Grace's character is proof of that (I still really liked him though.) and I could have done without Larry and his fat head showing up but he... well, it's still kind of nice to see him doing less somber stuff. The cast is pitch-perfect. Appropriately global, there's mofos from all over the place with ridiculously stereotypical movie names. The Japanese Yakuza guy is appropriately mysterious and silent. The Southern US Prisoner is appropriately racist and goofy. Nothing every feels too forced or wooden though. It goes to show what decent actors and a little bit of effort will get you. The movie is just as fun to watch when Predators aren't about. I was a little skeptical of Brody what with him being a tall lanky guy who plays piano and is mad at his brother Owen Wilson but he really manages to put on the Tough Guy Hat. I mean, I liked him a lot! Sure, he's not HUGE like Arnold, but he's got the 'tuuuuuude! Wow, jeez, I guess I had a lot to say about Predators.
"Hey guys, I'm hunting Predators."