Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yojimbo - 1961 - Dir. Kurosawa

I think this is my second or third time seeing Yojimbo. It's been on Watch Instantly and I just randomly threw it on one day. For I while I think it was my favorite Kurosawa flick, I'm not sure if that's still true. That's not to say I like it any less, I've just seen more of his movies. I would always remember Nakadai's weird ass expressions and creepy gun coddling and that definitely held. He makes a great foil to Mifune's shambling ronin and I think their clashes carry the movie through the second half very nicely. I think what struck me most this time around was the Music. I was able to remember the main theme but the other parts of the score are CRAAAAAZZZZYYY... and weirdly minimal. I have absolutely nothing bad to say of Mifune, who is doing what I always associate him with, scratching his face, being lazy, and then becoming suddenly badass. And there is a nice amount of badass-ery. The movie sets up so early that he can easily kick everyone's ass, it's just a matter of him deciding that the time is right. It's a fun movie... a little bit crazier than I remember (The Man banging on the Drum is wacky as hell!) but great nonetheless. It's always sweet to see Nakadai, Mifune, and Kurosawa all being talented together, too.
Awwww.... Hell, yeah!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone - 2007 - Dir. Anno

I try and not be too skeptical of remakes and reboots and the like. It must be pretty natural for people to want to take awesome things or things that could have been awesome and make them AWESOMER or, I dunno, relevant or something. I kind of grew up on Evangelion and it'd been kind of a while since I'd seen it, so I was having ALL KINDS OF EMOTIONS while watching this reboot/whatever of NGE. Like Evangelion-type emotions, with screaming and hurling myself around and clutching limbs. I know in the later films, all kind of shizz is gonna change, but for the most part I kind of felt like this movie stuck with the original series pretty closely. A lot of settings changed, some 3d popped up (sometimes feeling very awkward and sometimes being absolutely stunning), the story feels like it's been appropriately streamlined. Sort of like Anno had about a decade to rethink how to best tell the story. Probably what felt the most reworked were the angel fights. And they look SWEET. There are some explosions where you look at it and you're like: "HELL. That thing blew up." Really, it feels like anything involving the Eva was what got the most work (which is kind of funny because that's probably what I remember the least). If there was something that felt like an unwanted change, I would say it might have been the music. Maybe I just really wanted to hear some classic tunes, or maybe it was the Choir with lyrics that were... well... distractingly dramatic. I feel like a Choir is sort of the Ace in the sleeve you toss out at the most exciting part... I don't really want it to pop up three or four times.
Did you know Michael Jackson had a song called You Are Not Alone? I didn't.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Up in the Air - 2009 - Dir. Reitman

I suppose Reitman just really likes making movies where the main characters make decisions/arguments that are generally very difficult for us to swallow, all the while making snarky little jokes. I didn't see Juno but that's gotta be a thing, yeah? Anyway, Up In The Air follows that thing I made up about Reitman just now. I mean, I like snarky jokes. And movies that might challenge my idea of how to live a life. I'll sail that boat. That movie boat. But I can't say I gave much of a fuck about what was going on in Up In The Air. Perhaps it's was that Clooney and Reitman seemed to be going through the motions. Clooney, for example, is excellent at being charming but being kind of a douche at the same time. He does it with ease. It's like watching someone make Incredible Jumpshot again and again. Eventually, you just don't really care. No matter how Incredible the Jumpshot is. Sam Elliot pops up on cue bristling with wonderment and quiet dignity as usual. Even when things shake up the world of the characters, the movie just glides along, and I sit, unstirred. I feel like Anna Kendrick might have been the most surprising thing about the movie, mostly because I thought I would want to punch her character in the mouth but she sorta won me over. So how about that. I was entertained, I suppose, but in a way where I was just interested in seeing the story play out and really didn't give much of an Eff apart from that. I have to say, I liked Clooney's arc. It felt nice. Realistic, maybe. Anyway. NO STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS ONE. Except Jason Bateman, who can play a hell of a Tool.
Clooney is worried about where to check his bags. YOU HANDSOME FOOL, YOU!

Tales from the Script - 2009 - Dir. Hanson

You know, I'd like to be a screenwriter. It's a thing I went to school for. Generally spend a good chunk of time each day working toward that goal. Part of me feels like this is a documentary for screenwriters. Mostly because I would have never heard of it if mofos hadn't kept talking about it on screenwriting newsletters/forums and whatnot. Also the music. It's got that bland, nondescript music that always seems to accompany employee training videos. I basically watched it as a would-be screenwriter, judging it's content and informativeness and the movie really seemed to play along with that. It's really straight-forward. Screenwriters talking about writing and the nature of Hollywood, accompanied by clips from movies involving screenwriting. We're not pulling any Herzog type shizz here. As someone who went to school for this biz, I was pretty familiar with the general tone and nature of what I was being told (I heard it almost every day in class). It's still fun hearing the anecdotes, though. And it did get me pretty pumped about being a starving screenwriter but maybe I'm a bit of sadist.
John Carpenter, just brimming with charisma

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tombstone - 1993 - Dir. Cosmatos

I always sort of felt like it was my responsibility as a screenwriter who keeps writing westerns to see Tombstone. I hesitated because 1) I generally don't like most American or Modern westerns and 2) If it was good (Unforgiven), I would get all pissed. It's kind of like a lose-lose situation. What ended up convincing me was the cast. The movie is LITTERED with goofy ass actors I love to see pop up. Stephen Lang. Terry O'Quinn. Paul Ben-Victor!!! I'm tempted to just keep listing them, but I'll restrain myself. I feel like I could just yammer on excitedly about mildly popular 90's actors (BILLY ZANE!), so all I'll say is that it was a joy (A JOY!) seeing Powers Boothe be a evil douchebag in the Wild West again (I loved him in Deadwood). Anyway, I do feel tempted to point out, I don't think I actually really liked the movie that much. It was maybe fun for me to get excited about actors and there's some really exciting bits... but there's also a lot of boring crap and my excitement generally fizzled out after the O.K. Corral show down (which is a SWEET show down). Too much of the action is shown through montages of guns being fired and men yelling. Amusing in it's own right but I kinda wanted the pay off to be more than a little amusing. Michael Biehn is awesome though, probably the only thing that grabbed my interest after Kurt Russel's bad-ass/ridiculous "You called the thunder" speech. In fact, the movie is surprisingly silly considering how serious it seems to be taking itself and how long it is. It's too slow to be a fun action movie... but Sam Elliot is still fucking awesome and probably worth seeing. Oh and Val Kilmer is ridiculous. I will watch him do anything for any length of time.
Kurt Russel as Wyatt Derp (OMG LULZ!!! :D )

Monday, September 13, 2010

Daisies - 1966 - Dir. Chytilova

I basically only watched this because threeframes did a bunch of gifs of it and I was like "Hey. Cute New Wave girls. Okay, then." I suppose I'm kind of a sucker for the ladies that seem to pop up in New Wave movies. I'LL ADMIT IT. It's a Czech film from Vera Chytilova. I know next to nothing about Czech cinema, but apparently she was a bit of a deal. I could see why. Daisies is a fun romp with a lot of memorable sequences. Like most films of the genre, it feels super long even though its under ninety minutes. You know, when you have a movie that forgoes narrative to just have women doing surreal things, it tends to drag. It feels a little bit stronger thematically than some others I've seen without getting super preachy. I appreciate that the movie stays pretty light-hearted. And there's a lot of food and eating in it, so that's another plus. It's not a new favorite but I feel like I may grow to like it more as time passes. In particular, I'm looking back fondly on it's use of sound effects. They have a rocky start, but it really brings a lot of character to the film. Sometimes, I would have appreciated less filters and New Wave trickery but I think eventually I was even won over in that respect. The film, aesthetically, was basically an explosion of color, noise, and camera tricks. If you get down with that for 74 minutes. Be my guest.
Women after my own heart.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sherlock Holmes - 2009 - Dir. Ritchie

I started watching the Jeremy Brett series just in time to get indignant and mad at the yet-to-be released Guy Ritchie flick (Flick being the important word there). I suppose even before that, I had an idea of what a Sherlock Holmes movie should be and all the over-the-top smart-assery didn't fit into my idea. So I have to admit being pretty narrow minded and skeptical. I'm hesitant to say the movie won me over. I was begrudgingly entertained. It's hard not to be. Jude Law and Downey are real charming guys. Ritchie keeps things moving along. The movie functions more as a blockbuster than a real Mystery. There's never any particularly thoughtful moments. Holmes is kind of a Machine in this. He never stops, staring blankly at everything, dissecting it. When his type of thinking is brought into the fight scenes, it's actually pretty fun, but I can't help but feel like I prefer my Holmes at a more easy pace. This is most certainly paced like Ritchie's ever endeavors. The performances and script both kind of reek of him as well. Again, not bad things. I watched Snatch and Lock Stock quite a few times. I suppose it just makes it hard for me to get too excited about anything. It's just everyone doing everything they do well. Except Jude Law. He is extraordinarily handsome. Oh wait... the structure of this movie is totally slipshod. I could feel myself getting yanked around after the first act.
Man... Robert Downey's abs are weirding me out.