Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine - 2010 - Dir. Pink

Probably like a host of others, I stopped watching Hot Tub Time Machine a little after the first act. I, however, stopped watching because it wasn't dumb enough. I felt like I should finish it up and did so a day later. I feel like the title really does give you an impression. It's hard not to say "C'mon, it's Hot Tub Time Machine" to anyone who points out how stupid it looks. I suppose, the problem is that the movie isn't as stupid as it looks or sounds. Once you get past it's goofy-ass premise, the movie is a lot more down to earth than is good for it. Our progtagonists are aimless bums. Mostly depressed and hating their lives. Apparently, sulking is really funny. >:| The film even broaches suicide a number of times. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE discusses Suicide and DEALS WITH IT. Then we also get to spend big chunks of the movie watching shitty things happen to Rob Cordry and John Cusack be depressed. And Cusack just looks EXHAUSTED the whole time. Even when he's supposed to be kicking ass, the man just looks tired. I usually really like Cordry but too much of the movie has him carrying the bulk of the energy of the group and he grows tiresome pretty quickly. Duke and Robinson fare a little better probably because they don't have much to do apart from make wisecracks. I have to say, I enjoyed watching the majority of their scenes. But with the addition of a Black-Eyed Peas song being performed at the end, we end up with nothing more than a mediocre comedy making 80's jokes when we could have had a geniuenly clever homage to the 80's goof ball genre.
This is the silliest Cusack gets in this flick.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tokyo Zombie - 2005 - Dir. Sato

I was still kind of craving Zombies after Phantasm so I decided to give Tokyo Zombie a try. I didn't really know much about it other than I'm a fan of both leads and it was directed by the guy who wrote Gozu. Oh, and it was about Losers fighting Zombies... who really seem to be the only people who are fighting zombies these days. The movie is one of those insanely frenetic types where I story rushes around throwing jokes, violence, and camera tricks while based in no kind of reality. Sort of a descent of Miike, maybe. I always feel like the downside of these types of movies is that they move SO SLOWLY. And this is really no exception. It's kind of shocking how long thirty minutes can feel. It's entertaining enough, but you just feel like the movie goes ON and ON. Obviously aided by the fact that the movie shifts gears somewhat violently halfway through. Both Asano and Aikawa are lovably, dopey enough. I'm not sure I ever really gave too much of a shit whether they lived or died. Generally, the movie is just amusing to watch, it has some real clever bits now and then and sometimes it's so absurd that it's mesmerizing. But it doesn't really dole out any real satisfaction. A somewhat empty experience. I don't regret the viewing, but I wouldn't recommend it unless it's premise and cast really appeal to you.
Asano is doing all his "Brain Thinking" right now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Phantasm - 1979 - Dir. Coscarelli

I had a craving to watch something real gory and thought maybe this might do the job but I'm afraid this really wasn't THAT kind of cult movie. I mean, there is the sphere with blades that shoots blood out, but there isn't nearly enough of that. I mean, it's a horror movie so there's still some good stuff in it, especially some silly crap like the wiggling finger in the box. I'm trying to not factor in too much of my disappointment of the lack of gore in the film. That really is usually not something that makes up a great deal of my critical opinion. I suppose, the fact that the movie doesn't have a lot else going for it doesn't help. It reminded me a lot of a movie that might be on MST3K. Well... Coscarelli is actually pretty good at times. I feel bad putting him in the same box as a MST3K type director. He's definitely is goofy on purpose... but MAN, the acting is so hard to watch sometimes (Even when/if it is campy). Just the shitty low-budgetness of it takes me back to Boggy Creek or Hobgoblins. The storytelling is pretty rickety, even for a movie like this. The final moment, I can get behind. I'm not sure I would actually bother to watch another movie of the series, even though I am a little intrigued by certain aspects of them (More Murdersphere, hyper-convoluted storylines, the decision to have MORE REGGIE). In fact, it SOUNDS like the other movies might be better than the first. Maybe kind of an Evil Dead type situation.
Probably the best thing about the movie, and I think they Don knew it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Salesman - 1968 - Dir. Maysles

First of all, let me say that it's totally crazy that they bring up Taunton in this movie. I was totally blindsided by my place of birth in this movie. The documentary follows four different Bible salesmen as they peddle their wares in snowy Boston and sunny Florida. The film ends up focusing on one salesman in particular: Badger as he struggles to get his foot in the door. He's definitely one of the more lively of the four and they Maysles seemed to luck out because he has a kind of break-down as the film progresses. The tone isn't nearly as depressing as it might sound. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to watch, Badger's jocular behavior can be alternately comedic and tragic in the same sequence. For the most part, the Maysles don't go out of their way to impress any kind of emotion on you so I feel like I could definitely watch this more than once and get something new out of it each time. It's not as outrageous as their better known Grey Gardens, but it definitely has a similar charm. People rambling on endlessly. Badger's Irish brogue. And a great deal of the film is watching these men try and close sales, which can be endlessly entertaining. The faces of some of their "customers" are priceless. The amount of stress one woman seems to exude is incredible. Almost always the Salemen push on, even though it can be a brick wall.
Come give Poppa a hug!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Macbeth - 1971 - Dir. Polansky

I don't know a whole lot of all those classy Shakespeares out there but Macbeth is certainly one I'm more familiar with. It's probably one of my favorite ones as well. I couldn't tell you how much Polansky's version strayed from the original without checking the wikipedia entry (which I did) but I know the broad strokes. Now that ignorance has been established, I thought it was okay. First of all, the opening scene is awesome. I get behind cryptic imagery like nobodies business. In fact, I just really liked the Weird Sisters. IN FACT, visually, I got behind the movie. It nails that filthy, gray, medieval look with strange bursts of color. It even has a trippy 70's hallucinatory sequence (which is okay). I think the acting felt a little bit on the weaker side though. It's not bad, but I suppose it didn't feel terribly memorable except for Francesca Annis who played a bitchin' Lady Macbeth. And I suppose Jon Finch certainly takes a subtle hand with Macbeth. I can't help but feel I would have liked to see him explode when the time came a bit more. Polansky has a bunch of the soliloquies delivered via voice over, which makes plenty of sense and is certainly the more cinematic choice. However, it was a little distracting at first and I can't help but feel like I wouldn't have minded the actors having a little bit more fat to chew. A fine adaptation, but I'll take Throne of Blood over this any day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grizzly Man - 2005 - Dir. Herzog

Grizzly Man seemed to have made a big splash when it came out years ago. At least, it seemed that way to me. I wasn't as familiar with Herzog as I am now, so I didn't pay it much mind. Having seen a ton of his movies at this point, I can tell you, it's not one of my favorites. I imagine it's probably so popular because it's a lot easier to digest than a lot of his other movies. It certainly has a lot more popular appeal than some of his other films. Certainly, he does an excellent job putting the film together. It's assembled from clips of Treadwell's own footage as well as Herzog going around speaking with people about Treadwell. It still has a lot of the Herzog touch including a weird ass Doctor (maybe my favorite part) explaining the nature of Tim's death and Herzog listening to the audio of Treadwell's violent death, then telling a friend of Treadwell's to destroy the tape and never listen to it. I feel like the former, especially, reeks of Herzog. One of my favorite aspects of his documentaries is his casual yet jarring appearances and side comments. And of course, Grizzly Man has plenty of his highly poetic/philosophical German accented voice over. It's a terrific documentary, but perhaps it just didn't grab me as tightly as his others.
It is tremendously difficult to find a picture of Timothy not "popping a squat."