Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Monday, March 28, 2011

Last House on the Left - 2009 - Dir. Iliadis

Better than the original as far as horror is concerned. To be honest, I'm pretty surprised that people found both versions rather hard to watch content wise... the rape sequence in particular. I'm also the first to admit I'm probably desensitized. Moving on, maybe it's not better as much as it's more polished (not hard to do). It's more like a typical horror movie than the cheapo exploitative flick from the 70's. It does all the right things and functions like a well-oiled machine... so it doesn't exactly pull any tricks, which is kind of a problem when you're dealing with a horror movie. There's not a lot to grab us. I won't credit the movie with throwing any emotional depth or subtlety our way, even though it seems to be gunning for it, I can't say I really gave a damn one way or another. And any "moral implications" the movie contains are pretty paltry. It's certainly restrained which I can praise it for. It takes it's time. It's not cheap and goofy or gory for the sake of shock (mmm... maybe excluding the microwave which feels thrown in and out of place...[also super disappointing. If you're going to go out on a limb for something so ridiculous, it better live up to the premise]) It's trying to be a honest-to-goodness horror movie. At the very least, Aaron Paul certainly gets the dickens beat out of him (probably my favorite scene). :)
Jessie Pinkman! Sleezin' it up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gamer - 2009 - Dir. Neveldine/Taylor

I think I've got to come out and say I like Neveldine/Taylor. I found a Vishnevetsky quote mentioning their "impatient genius, which is really indistinguishable from idiocy." (Thank you wikipedia). I think that sums it up somewhat. They seem to be geniuses of broad strokes. And Gamer is perhaps the best example of that. Because this movie is BROAD, if nothing else. Bad guys are bad, good guys good. Fake world is incredibly and unbelievable shitty. AND LOUD. WITH GREED GREED SEXSEXSEX. KINKY SEX. Like Crank 2. It seems a little more mean spirited than Crank 2. Actually a lot more mean spirited. Which I think detracted from my enjoyment quite a bit. Or maybe it was a bit more of a lack of charisma in the actors. Apart from Michael C. Hall and Kyra Sedwick, both of which seemed to have an idea of the tone... Hall is especially fun, but he's the fucking villain so of course he would be. But Butler... I don't think I've really seen him in anything that's really impressed me. He just looks around at stuff... and runs... and then yells sometimes. The same for his wife, who I guess was just sad looking eye candy. They are no Statham and Smart, for sure. But hey, Terry Crews is awesome. BUT HE WOULD BE, WOULDN'T HE. Anyway, it's a movie that gets me excited for what Neveldine and Taylor could do... but additionally causes me some trepidation. It's evidence that they could make movies that are really great/fun movies that are surprising and not entirely empty-headed or they could just make a lot of crabby violent bullshit that's good for a distraction.
Fuck yeah, Michael C. Hall... Fuck yeah...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Get Low - 2009 - Dir. Schneider

I feel like I'm being somewhat jaded by my reaction to Get Low. Mostly my complaints revolve around it being predictable to a fault. When a chunk of your film revolves around a secret that a character is keeping, it damn well better be an interesting one. When it isn't (which it isn't)... and when it's revealed in such a schmaltzy way, and I'm not looking back on the movie saying: "Oh well, at least I enjoyed the ride"... I feel like there's a problem. If anything saves me from being really frustrated from the film was that it looks absolutely terrific and that Duvall is friggin' awesome in it. Maybe my favorite Duvall performance ever... Don't hold me to that though. You know... it's not unlikable, it's just doesn't really stand out from any number of well-made indie dramadies that have been coming out for years now. Considering both the director and screenwriter are first timers, it is a little impressive... I admit that. It does occasionally feel amateurish... I WILL ALSO ADMIT THAT. Sometimes we're jerked from scene to scene betraying any kind of mood that might be sinking in for the sake of "getting it on with." I suppose that's somewhat impossible to avoid when... you know, it's your first damn movie. It's certainly worth checking out, especially if the plot grabs you to begin with (it did for me). It won't disappoint if you know what you're in store for, it'll do it's job.
Critics feel like Duvall was overlooked by the Oscars

The Virgin Spring (again!) - 1960 - Dir. Bergman

I watched this a second time in order to compare it to the "Last House on the Left" series. Considering it was still somewhat fresh in my memory, I don't think I was nearly as surprised. Obviously, the movies are pretty significantly different. Bergman's focuses obviously a lot less on the rape itself. One thing that I thought was pretty interesting was the attention on the youngest of the "Herdsmen." Easily one of my favorite monologues in all moviedom is probably spoken to the child (the bit about the smoke escaping through the roof). But the child's guilt is focused on quite a bit... I was about to compare it to the son in Last House on the Left... but I feel like the general trend is that the characters are more trivialized in the LHOTL. So I won't dwell on it. Although, I think that Last House is a pretty clever rethinking of the classic Bergman as far as transposing the basic premise to present day. It focuses more on the criminals (obviously) than on the parents I suppose than Bergman does, who really focuses on the guilt of parents, especially the father. I still think the battle between the violence of the Old Gods and the goodness of Christ is still a really interesting theme to play underneath the Christian father seeking vengeance and the ending is still PITCH PERFECT.
Max Von Sydow as Lady Macbeth

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Last House on the Left - 1972 - Dir. Craven

I think have a tendency to get down with these grimy 70's movies... at least, moreso than the clean fare we've got going on. I think there's a cheapness and a goofiness that's lost these days. Maybe it's just the way the 70's were, cheap and goofy. Who is to say? It was such a long time ago and anyone we could ask are long gone. Anyway... the movie is pretty straightforward, girl and friend gets abducted and terrorized by criminals, criminals by chance end up staying in girl's house, parents find out and kill criminals. I was pretty emotionally disconnected by the movie, everyone is a pretty, massive stereotype and their arcs are all pretty obvious. The movie also is supported by a goofy folksy score which undercuts what tension could be gathered up. The film is basically focused on the criminals taking advantage of the two girls. The criminals seeking shelter with the parents and the ensuing vengeance, seems like a afterthought which is a shame because I feel like that's the primary draw and contains possibilities for some really awesome scenes. Rather, we breeze through, and I'm somewhat disappointed. Especially since the movie is particularly lazy storytelling wise when it comes to anything apart from the two girls being raped and terrorized. Coincidences and bizarre, inexplicable behavior abound. The only memorable performance in the film would easily be Jeramie Rain, who was just a ton of fun to watch. She puts the others to shame with her performance. As corny 70's horror memorabilia, the movie is great and a shining example. If you're looking for genuine thrills, gore, or anything the film's plot might imply, you might want to look elsewhere. Unlike the Mother in the film, this ain't got teeth.
Caaaalm down, Lady...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alien - 1979 - Dir Scott

I've seen this a handful of times, although I can't remember the last time I've seen it. First of all, I think it's an awesome blend of the horror and sci-fi genres. It's completely understandable as to why the Xenomorph just won't stop popping up into different incarnations. To some degree, I feel like this one is almost disappointing at times because it's ONLY one Alien. That's not a complaint as much as a testament to how great of a creature is really introduced in this movie. It is also just such an excellent combination of different factors, the isolation of space and the confines of the ship, we have a creepy ass Ian Holm talking up the perfection of the alien (even the Face Hugger can't be beat!), and the infighting of the crew. I suppose it just takes the best of both genres. I guess some people would consider it pretty slow... like any good "classy" horror or sci fi flick. I have to admit getting a bit of a boner at how long they take before they actually reveal the Alien. Scott's direction helps tons. Every time I see this movie, it looks better and better. Occasionally because it's remastered, but I'm amazed at the special effects that went into the picture. Also, the cast is just a friggin' classic 70's cast. JOHN HURT ISN'T EVEN FILTHY! Until his chest burst opens... then he gets all gross again.
Awww! Man! I'm exhausted!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ponyo - 2008 - Dir. Miyazaki

I loved this movie! And I was pretty suspicious of it to begin with... well, I was suspicious of the dub. They usually piss me off a bit and I try and not make that the first version I watch. But it wasn't that bad... to be honest, I am struggling to think of any particular detraction dub-wise but it was excellent. The translation is really strong too. I suppose something like this would be easier than something like Spirited Away or Mononoke considering it was much less focused on Japanese mythology and lore. It more based in fairy tales, especially Andersen's Little Mermaid. So I guess there is something a bit more universal. But what I think was it's greatest strength was just how much fun it was. Ponyo could have been especially annoying, you know, excited little girls jabbering on about Ham endlessly. That could get old pretty fast. But I found her pretty damn charming. Sosuke worked out really well too. IN FACT, I never thought I would say it but the children felt like the best actors in the film. I'm not sure how well Tina Fey's comic tone translated to the dub and for some reason Liam Neeson sounded particularly stilted. Maybe he just couldn't really put himself in the shoes of a sea wizard who was in no way mentoring a young warrior.
I hate it when Little Me tries to get out of the Me-hole.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Repulsion - 1965 - Dir. Polanski

Apparently, I've accidentally seen all of Polanski's APARTMENT TRILOGY with this film. I am thinking that this one might have been my favorite... It might be my favorite of all of Polanski's films... or maybe it's just the one that's most up my alley. A woman going insane in her apartment!? What's not to like? At first, I just had no friggin' clue as to what was going on. It doesn't really go out of the way to give us answers for the woman's paranoia and as the film goes on, I don't really feel like I was looking for them. So little is explicit about what's going on. In fact, almost nothing is explicit and everything is left for us to assume. I love a movie like that! Being left to my own devices. It feels like one of the most natural descents into madness I've seen on screen. Deneuve is awesome as the unassuming madwoman, managing to make staring off at nothing an artform. Although her performance is assisted greatly by the morphing nightmare apartment she occupies. It lengthens, darkens, cracks, and grows arms. All kinds of neat stuff. I just really liked the subtlety of the film and then they eventual explosion. I suppose someone who is less inclined to just enjoy a lady be crazy may find the movie slow or annoying. But as a fan of Paranoia, it worked excellently for me!
Women! Always gabbing on the phone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Commando - 1985 - Dir. Lester

All right... so the thing is that Commando is the very best movie. That's the thing. If you said, make a perfect action movie, I would hand you Commando and you would tell me that it is too silly and then I would tell you to go to hell because you didn't know anything about action movies and that you were full of shit and I could barely stand looking at you anymore. Then I would walk away from you. Absolutely disgusted. If there is something wrong with a man single-handedly obliterating a private army to save his daughter, well... I'm curious as to what kind of world you live in. And I hope I never get sucked into such a terrible place where no one feeds deer from their hands and smug psychopaths wearing chain mail run wild with no one to keep them in check. My days of telling people that their opinions are wrong and they are stupid and should probably just go fly a kite are over. People dislike being told to fly kites. They will cry. But I will tell someone to fly a kite if they disagree with me about this movie. That is how hard I get about this movie. So let's just all go... and rest easy that the best action movie has already been made and we'll just use all that action movie money to make pornography or action/pornography. DONE.
Vernon Wells just came all over you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - 2010 - Dir. Snyder

I was pretty hesitant to actually take the time to see this movie... I mean... I like owls and all... but Zack Snyder... FOR KIDS? I'm not even sure if I get down with Snyder for the "mature" audience. I'll admit that he probably made the movie way more pleasant to watch than most other directors. I mean, it looks cool. I think there's a kind of banal quality about the sweeping landscapes that makes them somewhat forgettable and unremarkable. As I watched it, I was like... hey... that's great. But I couldn't tell you much about what I saw afterward. Probably on a movie screen with 3D glasses, I'm sure this would have blown me away though. But I watched it on my laptop, instead. The script is an absolute mess though. I know it's based off of a fifteen book series or something but C'MON, but some fucking effort into it. As far as I could tell, they didn't even stick that closely to the books, so I feel like there's no excuse for all that meandering story-telling and herky-jerky pace. And again, I like owls, BUT THERE WERE TOO MANY OF THE FUCKING MOTHERFUCKERS. I feel lucky that so many were inconsequential and pointless, so I didn't feel like I had to keep track. I dunno... I'm not sure if this is a great kids movie and I'm just an asshole. Probably a nice distraction for a kid. I bet i would have been a bit more of a sucker for this if I saw it in 3d... but as I've stated numerous times, I eat that shit up like Buffalo Wings.
Well maybe you shouldn't be flying in a storm you fucking owl!!