Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolat - 2000 - Dir. Hallstrom

Call me an insensitive cad, if you must, but as I watched this, I kept this thinking of something one of my teachers said about Shakespeare in Love referring to it as Weinstein's blockbuster for ladies. Chocolat is a little bit of the same... because it is also produced by the Big Ws. There's romance. Conflict. It's a little silly. Toss a bunch of doofy metaphors around. You got feelings all over the place. But there's some nicely talented actors keeping it all together. It's a blockbuster, ya know? If there's something that makes it a little more digestible to my palate it's that there's a fable/storybook quality to it. It allows for a cartoonishness of what's going on to seep through... you know, magic chocolate changing a stuffy town into a less stuffy town (and a sad Alfred Molina to a happy Alfred Molina). AND LET ME JUST SAY. I love watching Alfred Molina. He's great. He's especially great when he's making faces with a mustache on his upper lip. I can say with all confidence that he's my favorite part of this movie. I dunno, I went into it thinking it was going to be some dull, hyper-European meditation on love with chocolate as a metaphor. Instead, it was a goofy run of the mill blockbuster fable with Peter Stormare and Judi Dench. That ain't bad!
Get outta here, Alfred Molina! And take your frown with you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson - 2008 - Dir. Gibney

I simultaneously liked this and was disappointed by it. I dunno, I like Hunter S. Thompson a whole ton. Simply by being a documentary about him, it sort of had me won over. I've read a good chunk of his work. Which is where I think some of my disappointment came in. The title ends up being pretty literal... They really do pretty thoroughly go over Thompson's work. It felt maybe a little too thorough for me. There seemed like a few too many As soon as Hunter starts producing less, the movie hurries quickly to his death. So the film seems specifically less concerned with his life than his work. I enjoy having chuckles with Pat Buchanan about stuff I read about in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail but I guess I kept finding myself looking for more. It's a simple chronology with others making comments along the way. Anyone looking for a biography or something more character driven may be let down. But I think if you're looking to get into Hunter without all of that pesky reading, this just might hit the spot. It was on Watch Instant, which was it's saving grace for me. As something that was free and convenient it was great. If I had paid for it, I would have been way more disappointed than I already am. It just feels less like a feature documentary and little bit more like a TV Special on HBO or whatever.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Last Year in Marienbad - 1961 - Dir. Renais

As Inception came out, I feel like Last Year in Marienbad kept popping up again and again. I had never heard of it before since I don't follow French cinema very closely apparently if it isn't going to rant about communism and have really bright colors... or have odes to film noir. ANYWAY. So this movie is fucking crazy. And it's a movie where there was plenty of warning that this movie was going to be real crazy... but they never end up being all that weird... (That reminds me... I wanna watch Inland Empire again. That movie was nuuuuts!) But this movie is pretty crazy. It's not David Lynch crazy. It's just a simple story that is told in the most difficult way possible. The editing and use of repetition in all aspects of the production make the film feel still very unique. And it keeps it interesting to be honest. The film moves by pretty... well... It's not slow. And you would expect it to be so. It's pretty fucking engaging, in fact. I was trying to put the pieces together the whole time. And it is filled with neat little touches in the way Renais works with sound and passage of time. And really... the repetition in this movie gives me boners. MORE THAN ONE BONER. If there was anything I struggled with, it was probably the music. It's a blaring organ. I guess it's okay... It made me very grateful for the silences... which is funny because I love loud blaring noises. Oh, and the acting is a little theatrical, I generally like really theatrical acting... and it fits in the movie. But man, nothing takes me out of a movie like people hamming it up. It's easy to understand why the movie is occasionally panned for being pretentious (It's sort of feels like the ORIGINAL Artsy foreign flick) but I certainly am more willing to get down with some "pretentiousness" more than most people.
Last Year in Marienbad: MORE THAN ONE BONER.

Waco: The Rules of Engagement - 1997 - Dir. Gazecki

I was about seven when this whole Waco business went down and I can say I knew only generally of what went on up until recently. I watched this pretty randomly in an attempt to inform myself on the whole business. I picked it because it was on Watch Instantly, but I lucked out because apparently this is the more trusted of the spate of docs to come out on the subject. They seem to try to be pretty unbiased (everyone has their chance to look like a nutjob/douchebag), but they clearly do believe and want us to believe to some degree there was a cover-up. To be fair, it really does seem like the FBI and the ATF were total fucktards and probably did all kind of terrible shit and then tried to cover it up. The movie doesn't make Koresh into a martyr by any means. He also seems to be a fucktard of a lesser degree. He didn't gas and burn children alive or anything... Just... possibly/probably... molested them... so he's a still a pretty awful guy. So yeah, I'm kind of worked up about the whole thing because of this movie. Especially since I didn't know the details of how it ended. I was pretty shocked and horrified to a degree that I don't think a documentary had me feeling in a long time. It's pretty slow at first. For a chunk of time it's just clips of politicians being political (Biden and Chuck Schumer look like dick weasels!), but it ends up feeling like a key ingredient to this big shitty soup that happened in Waco. It's a pretty informative movie. Feels fact based and uses mostly footage and clips to tell the story. It's a wild ride.
Heard any good jokes recently?