Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Shot in the Dark - 1964 - Dir. Edwards

I have a rough knowledge of the Pink Panther films. I'm never really sure if I've seen one before, they kind of congealed into one large blob of shots of Peter Sellers falling over. I'm told regularly that this is the one to watch, though. And I have no idea as to whether or not I've seen it before. Some sequences felt familiar but I can't say with any confidence if I've seen them or not. I'm a fan of Sellers though. It's not exactly the top of his game (STRANGELOVE or BEING THERE!) but it's certainly a good example of his general buffoonery. It's obvious though as to why Sellers and Edwards worked together as frequently as they did. They both have awesome comedic timing. The opening sequence is probably one of the more memorable/impressive ones for a comedy in my memory. It's funny and wacky enough, I suppose. I think considering it's somewhat classic status, I expected to find it a bit more humorous and felt somewhat let down by the experience. Perhaps it's just dated because Sellers does make being a klutz watchable for the running time. And I do like the chaos and coincidence of the very end. So despite seeing somewhat let down, I feel like it would make for a pleasant re-watching experience and imagine I would find some more goofiness hidden about.
Peter Sellers discovering the Mysteries of the Universe.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Man in Havana - 1959 - Dir. Reed

I got a kick out of this movie. I think especially looking back on it, it strikes me as super charming and impressively pulled off. I was a little baffled by an aspect of the ending. Mostly about how it's edited together... and to be honest, I still feel a little unsure about that specific sequence. It soured the end for me a little bit. After I got over my sourness and found myself still thinking about the movie, I take that as a good sign! It's funny, charming, and I was invested in it. It's got a bit of bite for it considering it's 1959. Alec Guiness is absolutely terrific. His daughter is cast a bit strangely since she's way older than the character seems to be written as. It's kinda of distractingly so. Although, I suppose having someone younger might be creepy with the Police Chief fella trying to get all up in her. :s Carol Reed is excellent at making movies that have a little bit of everything in them. It seems like a natural fit that he would work with Graham Greene on multiple occasions, considering how he jumped around in tone as well. OH MAN! This movie is pretty great. The plot takes the most satisfying turns and really keeps you involved. YES!
Quit looking so sly, Guiness!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wild at Heart - 1990 - Dir. Lynch

I've seen this before back in high school, at which point I got a hell of a kick out of it. As a Nicholas Cage fan, there's still a ton about this movie to be crazy about. It's a perfect role for Cage. Super campy, violent, loud, and a little bit like Elvis. The opening scene is the perfect summary of Nicholas Cage. BURSTING AT THE SEAMS. And probably as a Lynch film, it's definitely one of the more watchable ones. It inhabits the campy space of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. Where Lynch was weird but still telling a straightforward story at the same time. It probably helps that the movie is based off of a book. Like any Lynch film, a chunk of the movie is just weird people saying weird things (Jack Nance.) and as usual, Harry Dean Stanton is awesome. He's the most restrained weirdo ever. And actually is kind of sweet. Willem Dafeo must also be mentioned. When I looked back on the first viewing of the film, I couldn't remember much... but I certainly could remember Willem Dafoe. That creepy sonuvabitch with his awful teeth linger long after the movie has ended. That and Cage and Dern's awesome dancing. Lynch slips a ton of metal music in the film which is just a ton of fun mixed in with the Wizard of Oz references.
Always good advice.

How High - 2001 - Dir. Dylan

I like the Wu as much as the next white suburban kid born in the 80's. I'm well familiar with Method Man's antics. Not so much Redman. I have no real excuse for this... well, I do: I don't like him as much. And to be honest, maybe I'm not entirely interested in Method Man's antics either. So I suppose I didn't enjoy this as much as I expected to. Now, if it were the RZA and Ghostface that would be NUUUUTTTSSSS! It's a stoner movie... It's an all right one... Maybe I liked Half-Baked more... I'm not sure I'd bother watching it again. Even in the most convenient format of "It's on TV." But I didn't not enjoy myself watching it. It has a really uneven balance of silliness. Everything seems somewhat muted... probably censored somewhat... and it really suffers because so much of the film is soaked in absurdity. I suppose both Method and Red carry the movie well enough considering their lack of experience at the time, but it's not exactly like they're stretching their acting muscles all that much. Jeffrey Jones shows up to be snide and Obba Babatundé ends up actually being the life of the party, which I suppose is impressive being that he's the "straight character." Mike Epps also makes an amusingly loud pimp.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! - 1984 - Dir. Richter

This is a movie I remember seeing parts of as a child. AND I NEVER FORGOT IT. I also never tried very hard to pursue it. I suppose I could see the writing on the wall. It's really goofy. It's funny. Then it kind of gets boring... with some bursts of wackiness... then it ends anti-climatically. I'm kind of surprised by how anti-climactic. I feel like there's a bunch of movies (mostly from the 80's) that are like this, but this is kind of the poster child for them. BUT MAN DOES IT HAVE A CAST! It's a Who's Who of Guys who played creeps in the 80's! So let me be clear... It had plenty of fun moments... you don't get a movie filled with these actors (and one actress [is there only one female in this?!]) and not have a great time. And the script is fun. The movie is directed with a sense of humor. It just really flags as it goes on. The thrill of everything that pulls you in dies off and you're just stuck in a room with a bunch of weirdos and nothing worth doing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tron: Legacy - 2010 - Dir. Kosinski

ALL RIGHT. I really like 3D movies. I also really like IMAX. Tron: Legacy convinced me of those two things. It got me through Avatar and it certainly got me through Tron. It can be kind of a short cut for me to be immersed in the world of the film and generally just to thrill the pants off of me when in the hands of capable fellas. I can't wait until I see a movie that I think it good in it's own right on 3D Imax. Because both Avatar and Tron would have pissed the shit out of me if I watched it on a TV. But let me focus on Tron, which the best part for me was (apart from it being in 3D on Imax) Daft Punk. Yeah, the music was the best part. I could have used more effort from every one else involved. Most of the action scenes are lacking and filled with more reaction shots than I cared for. Every time something cool started to happen (And to the movie's credit, that does happen a lot), it cut to a huge close up of someone looking awestruck. Jeff Bridges looks and sounds like he's phoning it in. BUT MAN, I still prefer that over the CGI version of him. Maybe it's because I don't have much experience watching those Zemeckis movies, but THAT SHIT IS HORRID AND FOUL. And there's SO MUCH OF IT! I suppose Garret Hedlund and Olvia Wilde were, uh... okay. Didn't really leave any kind of impression on me, apart from both visually fitting the part. Michael Sheen was unrecognizably atrocious... I couldn't wait for his character to go away. It's comic relief only in the sense that he makes jokes and no one else does, I found no relief only an empty hollow pain in my heart. When I saw the first Tron, I saw a world to be explored. I really thought this movie would be that exploration... and it was I do honestly think the Tron universe is interesting enough to warrant these movies... but what I found was a bored, cynical tour guide telling us about better sci-fi movies and books and then a decent laser light show. But hey, IMAX and 3D... I'm still a sucker for it. For some reason, I don't regret the experience. But my patience IS wearing thin.
Not as sexy as David Warner. (NASADW)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love Actually - 2003 - Dir. Curtis

It's a charming movie, I suppose. I don't know... It's kind of a shapeless charming mess. I had fun watching it and it breezed right by. It doesn't really aim terribly high. In fact, the one point that actually bothers me is when I feel like it does aim high with the prologue and epilogue which kinda feel like they're trying to class up and otherwise shameless heart string pulling. I suppose it's like Crash, in a way, not just in the ensemble casting but also in the way it is a little more blatant in it's emotional manipulation. Crash used string pulling is to make a serious argument, though, which has made the film always grate my nerves. Love Actually is in the arena of light entertainment. It's a rom-com, at least. It's not overwhelmed with sentimentality, irony, or cynicism but manages to make a nice balance of each. I suppose it can be a bit mawkish sometimes. It manages to stay charming enough to avoid nausea. Martin Freeman and Joanna Page's sequence is easily my more favorite sequences. I didn't like it at first but the one with Andrew Lincoln is kinda clever. And Rickman and Thompson's sequence provides us enough bite to keep us from feeling like we're watching a hallmark card. I suppose Laura Linney's sequences sticks out a bit and also feels somewhat underdeveloped... but hey... they're jamming a lot of stuff into this one... Oh, and Nighy is a ball.
Nighy in evening wear

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inside Deep Throat - 2005 - Dir. Baily/Barbato

I was disappointed with Inside Deep Throat. I don't mean to suggest that the release of Deep Throat should make a thrilling full length documentary by any means, but I suppose I would have expected it to be a little more interesting. They linger a great deal on the production of the film, which was really just produced like most other pornos at the time. There's little of interest there, no matter how loud the old men who were interviewed are. If anything, the backgrounds of those involved is about the most interesting thing to arise out of the "set-up" sequence. Especially Linda Lovelace and the Director. The documentary gets a little more compelling when the film is released but even then, I found it dragging. It just doesn't feel like this documentary should have crossed the hour mark. Perhaps the subject just isn't as interesting as it sounds. We spend the majority of the time listening to old men who were grips and other behind the scenes people rant somewhat incoherently. Despite it's best efforts, the documentary at times even makes the porno seem inconsequential, any recognizable cultural figures that show up do so briefly with little to say. Larry Flynt seemed to have only one thing to say and Gore Vidal has a bizarrely edited sequence and again falls to the wayside. There are few opposing voices, I can only remember one and he is pretty outrageously conservative (although I guess he would be), I suppose that is one of the more interesting moments and I could have gone for more of those types of interviews.

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Unreasonable Man - 2006 - Mantel/Skrovan

Knew very little about Nader apart from he was a presidential candidate for the Greens and he looked like a grump. I WAS RIGHT ON BOTH PARTS. So, hey, as any full length documentary can be when its on a subject you know next to nothing about... it was pretty informative for me. I had only meant to watch a little bit but it really drew me in and sat me down. The movie almost seems to have the attitude of "Oh hey, I bet you didn't know what a great guy Ralph Nader is..." Which I suppose might be kind of reasonable. Even the part that kind of trashes Ralph for stealing votes from Gore makes the Democrats look like massive jackasses. So it does strike me as somewhat biased in that the arguments against Nader and what he's done seem relatively weak and underdeveloped. It doesn't really amount to much more than fickle emotional people and a small number of clearly bitter people. So you know, the movie really is about how important Nader has been, rather than a straight-forward bio. It suggests that Nader doesn't have much of a private life as is. Which is kinda badass, I guess, in a rebel type lawyer role. So yeah, it pulled me in!
Oh look, it's Ralph Nader, and he's ready to fuck you up now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Casino Jack and the United States of Money - 2010 - Dir. Gibney

I don't know why, I guess I've been in a Gibney mood or something. His documentaries are a breeze to watch and generally pretty entertaining. Sometimes I'm bothered by because they seem somewhat morally simplified... or one-sided. I try and watch what I've seen of his work as positing rather than telling a historical story. At times, especially as the film progresses, this feels like Democratic pornography, the corruption of Republican figures and right wing jerkwads. I think that might be the part that feels like slowest, just because it doesn't take long before it just feels like watching douches be douchy repeatedly. The first third, the rise of Abramoff and the Conservatives in the 80's is the most interesting. I suppose because radical student organizations being conservative is a somewhat fascinating beast. A hulking mutant with a nice, collared shirt and fiscal responsibility. I'm generally used to... you know... Hippies. So the movie just shed some light on a culture I don't think I really heard very much about. Jack Abramoff also is much more interesting at that time. His rise, his time as a movie producer... and basically how he goes from working with Dolph Lundgren to helping produce sweatshops, is just absolutely nuts.

Ketchup w/Jack Abramoff