Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trees Lounge - 1996 - Dir. Buscemi

Man... This movie. I dunno. First off, it bummed me out and not really in a way that felt good. Like... thinking about the ending just depresses the hell out of me. It's not like overly sad or anything, but it's just like... Man... C'mon, Steve... So you know... It's put together well. Which makes it especially impressive that Buscemi directed and wrote it. That guy is so good at doing all different kinds of things! That being said... Despite my admission that the film provoked an emotional reaction, I can't say I was a huge fan. I think partially I never really jibed with mid-ninties american indie dramas or what have you. I get kinda bored. And a lot of the time I think they're goofy. I dunno... Anthony LaPaglia as a mechanic and he's always arguing with Buscemi... it just seems silly to me. It doesn't really bring anything new to the table. It just does it's job really damn well. Chloe Sevigny is pretty great in it, though. But I think she's pretty great in a lot of things. Actually, the cast has a bunch of neat people in it! So that's a cool thing. So I can't exactly say I would want to watch it again, but I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's all into 90's indies and whatnot. Or if you want to watch Steve Buscemi be real sad. And then creepy. OH MAN! And that Barfly pictured below... that fucking guy...

The Adventures of Tintin - 2011 - Dir. Spielberg

With all the people behind the camera for Tintin, I feel like I should have set a higher bar it but I went in expecting merely to be somewhat entertained. And I was. But I feel like it should have been more. I have no sense of the source material so I can't have any of that good 'ole fashioned nostalgia some people might have had. Getting right down to it the movie has one BITCHIN' action set piece. One that's pretty good. And then the rest of the movie is okay... I guess. It's not bad by any means. It's charming enough. I know people were kind of bugged by the style, but I got used to it. I understand why it's employed. It allowed it to be cartoon-y and feel like a live action adventure. Actually, there was quite a few bitchin' action sequences. I forgot about the flashback with the boats and whatnot. That was pretty awesome and made me wanna write a movie with pirates... which is not an urge I am used to having. Haddock is pretty amusing. I felt like he could have been annoying but it worked out fine! The ending felt a little sudden to me. Or rushed. But, being that I wasn't emotionally into the movie, I hardly feel like that's a big deal. The movie was supposed to give me some action-packed thrills and it did, but I feel like I should have been disappointed.

The Dirty Dozen - 1967 - Dir. Aldrich

It seems that I'm checkin' out some of the "American classics" that I've neglected. Not to be a dick by putting it in quotes or anything but you know... I feel like there were more Early Blockbusters than Classic works of American Cinema. Being that Cassavetes' appearance was more of draw than anything else. So yeah, I suppose I'll be the dick who puts American Classics in quotes. And you know, Cassavetes is his usual goofy ass self. It's sort of that same big budget high concept blockbuster we've all come to know and love. Ensemble cast, ridiculous premise. Super long. Telly Savalas ended up being probably one of my favorite parts of the movie. That guy is just a nut. This might have been my first Lee Marvin movie too and I can saw I was very impressed with the gentleman and see good things for him in the future. The movie is entertaining enough. Perhaps the slowest point is during the actual mission which devolves into a mass of explosions and characters dropping off the map like it's nobodies business. I have to say, I was surprised that the movie got as... not violent... I guess all the people burning to death seemed a little surprising... It's not like the movie is Inglorious Basterds or something!
Fuckin' love Ernie...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Goods - 2009 - Dir. Brennan

I just threw this shit on one night. It's one of those movies that would probably be straight to video if it didn't somehow attract a bunch of names to it. It's just one of those loud, crude comedies the kids seem to get such a kick out of these days. It's based around Jeremy Piven being a wise-ass loudmouth. Everyone else has the appropriate amount of quirks. James Brolin wants to have sex with David Koechner. Katheryn Hahn wants to have sex with a Man-Child. Ed Helms is in a Boy band. Basically the movie just works by repeating those jokes until 90 minutes passes. It's sad because I really do like the cast. There's no one in it that I don't think is fully capable of being hilarious but the script is just so broad, so obvious. Jokes are cheap and based on being outrageous and shocking. Even Piven, who seems pretty good at jazzing up lousy writing, flounders as the leading man. There's not nearly enough steam in the character to push through the movie. There's not nearly enough steam in any aspect of the movie to push it through, which I suppose is why it ends up resorting to being loud. But you know... I guess, I dunno. I like Loud. The sequence where everyone is just screaming is great. But I feel like the movie doesn't earn the Loudness. It's not a choice to the people who made it, it's the only thing they can think of.
The Goods staring Jeremy Piven's Face

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Towering Inferno - 1974 - Dir. Guillermin

Old 70's big budget adventure film spoke to me one drunken evening. And I got about half an hour into it. It took two more evenings before I finally managed to patch this motherfucker up. You know, we've basically perfected this kind of movie at this point but it's kind of fun to see one that is just getting used to wearing the pants of a modern day special effects thriller. I was pretty surprised at how willy-nilly it killed off its numerous characters. Much more immorally than perhaps they might get away with these days. So in a funny way, it felt a little fresh in that sense. Like, they hadn't yet come up with those hard and fast rules that are so infrequently broken. In some sense there is good reason for that. The movie does have stilted, nonsensical, and down right goofy moments. But I mean, it's a fun premise and all. Set up well. At times, it has these funny "If Only We Had All Obeyed Fire Safety Regulation" moments where it really seems like Steve McQueen is moments away from looking imploringly at the camera. The movie is long as hell, too. I watched it in enough chunks that perhaps I'm not the best person to speak of it's pacing apart from that I didn't want to watch it in one single sitting. Then again, it doesn't seem like the kind of movie that really needs to be watched in one sitting anyway. There were some exciting enough sequences. Enough cheesy moments and 1970's star power to make it well worth it. I mean, who would want to miss one of OJ Simpson's many brilliant roles pre-violent crime era!?
I fucking love this.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The American - 2010 - Dir. Corbijn

George Clooney goes to foreign land. The plot leisurely follows him. Doing stuff. It's all pretty good. Movie's over. That is what The American appeared to be and really that's what it ended up being. So all in all, the whole thing is okay. You know, I like watching George Clooney do stuff, like build a rifle in a small Italian village. I think he's real good at it. The movie looks real good. And the story is put together in a capable enough manner. There's not a lot for me to dislike. Sure, the movie doesn't really pull any new or exciting tricks out of it's hat or anything. In fact, it follows pretty closely to a normal thriller when you get right down to it but it's made well enough that I didn't mind the experience by the time it was over. A sorta fun aspect of the movie is that it spends a lot of time focusing on smaller details of the Village as Clooney methodically searches for escape routes, possibly betrayals, etc. And I would say it's the details that sell the movie. The movie didn't feel particularly thoughtful or anything but it relies more on visuals than dialogue though, so it doesn't feel like a dumb thriller or anything, but it doesn't dazzle by any means. So you know... if you wanna see George Clooney build a gun in a small Italian village, go for it!!
George Clooney being an Assassin.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Odd Man Out - 1947 - Dir. Reed

I'm at the point where I'll watch a Carol Reed movie just because it's a Carol Reed movie. I've yet to see one that didn't get my brains going or at least one that wasn't filled with just a ton of cool ideas about storytelling. Odd Man Out was no exception. At first, I think I struggled with it a little bit. It didn't seem all that interesting and had a strange tone. And it changes locations a lot, adding and taking away characters as it pleased. I was all... what's this movie about? But eventually, everything fell into place. Maybe this is a bit of wacky comparison, but it's a lot like an early Guy Ritchie movie. A lot of characters, plotlines, and goings ons. All of which based around James Mason being on the run. It's a deeper, of course, and less flashy. It's very concerned with ideas of... well, Ideas. Everyone has an belief of where James Mason needs to be and why he is important. So all of the shifting characters and focuses make the film feel sort of uneven and unfocused. But as the film ended, I found it incredibly satisfying. I felt like I had seem something new and different. Which is how I've felt with all of his film. And I just think that it is damn cool to feel that way about a movie that was made more than half a century ago. And also with such a heady basis, it's nice that the film also has a nice light-hearted streak. It makes room for some silliness amongst the ideals, especially with all of the vagabonds that are introduced.
Looks like the Odd Man Out is gettin' it ON!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Devils - 1971 - Dir. Russell

I saw it once in college and thought it seemed neat. I hadn't seem any of Ken Russell's stuff so I didn't really know what I was in for. A little slow and sometimes hard to follow. I left just feeling pretty confused but I really enjoyed the oddities that appeared throughout. But the film always sort of stuck with me. This time around, I stumbled upon the movie and threw it on to see if it still appealed to me. But this time around, I was completely blown away. This movie is so bonkers. So delightfully nuts all the while covering a serious topic still pertinent to this day. Sure, the dialogue might be a little rough to follow at times, but it felt worth it. And I like that the movie has a kind of expansive dialogue. It contrasts so well with the silliness of what is often going on visually. Vanessa Redgrave's performance is absolutely one of the best parts. I feel like the movie has the feeling of Trauma that has a tendency to win me over. Everything is so vivid, emotional, and violent. The film's strangeness is persistent but managed so well that it never changes the tone. We aren't pulled out of the universe of the film. I dunno, I just get damn kick out of the film. It's got all the elements I want and I feel like there's still stuff about the movie that makes me want to rewatch it. And it's not so burdensome that I would ACTUALLY be excited to see it again.
Nun In Thought

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Harry Brown - 2009 - Dir. Barber

I sort of accidentally watched this movie. Just sitting around one day, I popped it on. I mean, who doesn't wanna see Caine go all vigilante in his old age? But the results... MEH. The movie itself doesn't really bring anything new to the genre. Death Wish and all. But being that it's Michael Caine, you know? He's kind of the man... And I'm becoming a bigger and bigger Emily Mortimer fan... even though she's not really doing much in the film. Generic cop who is good but also on Caine's trail. She IS displaying a really bitchin' range, though. Oddly enough, I think I liked the movie more before Caine got all Death Wish on everyone. It's a little over the top especially when the quiet moments are done as well as they are. Like, the youth feel close to Schumacher style gangs. A hair's breadth away from Neon Pants and Make-up. They are so vulgar and awful... it sort of reduced the depth of the film. Rather than illustrating anything interesting morally about vigilantism or old age v. the youth, it's just Caine deciding to kill awful assholes and then trying to not getting caught. It's not all that interesting once you get past the performances. And I can't say I cared too much for the look of the film. Story telling, yes. Very nice. But the lightning and cinematography? FEH. I could feel how hard it was trying to be beautiful and poignant.
Michael Caine doesn't give a FUCK about the Sun exploding behind him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hugo - 2011 - Dir. Scorsese

This movie charmed the pants off of me! I originally didn't care to see it. Had absolutely no interest in it. The Poster, the Trailer... I just didn't give a damn. I understood that the movie was basically filled to the brim is cinema talent and it seemed to be received really well. People were talking up the 3D too... so I gave in and paid the exorbitant fee to see the movie. It was worth it! Or at least... I couldn't have been happier with it. It's just a movie that makes you feel all nice and warm. It's really nice looking. Everyone does a real good job. I personally dug all animate/inanimate themes, gears, clocks, and film history appreciation. Finding your a purpose. And the post-war European-ness of it all. It was all great! Even Sacha Baron Cohen, a man who I am getting pretty close to sick of, won me over. If anything, I was surprised to have not liked Chloe Moretz as much as would have thought. Maybe I set the bar too high for the young lady, but most of the things I've seen her in, she's been pretty awesome. But hey, can't win 'em all... perhaps it was her role. Constantly chirping on about adventure. She had some lines that were just tough sells and often rang untrue. It's use of 3D was nice. Scorcese manages to sneak so many nice layers into it all. Smoke, snow. Rather than just depth, it added to the atmosphere. All in all, I had a great time. I mean, anytime you have a plot involving an automaton, I'll be willing to jump in.
Ace Butts and B Kings.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 2011 - Dir. Bird

This movie just seals the deal: I think Brad Bird is great. As far as I'm concerned, it's pretty incidental that this is a Mission: Impossible movie. I don't think I needed more than the first one and certainly could hardly tell you about the rest of the series. I have the idea that I enjoyed the third one, but that has more to do with me insisting that Abrams made a good movie and not with any actual memories I have of the viewing experience. Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying I like the way the movie is directed. It's fun. The characters bounce around like cartoons. OR, if you will, like the fucking Incredibles. The movie is Thrilling, which I suppose is all I really wanted. It's a pretty dumb movie. Maybe the dumbest in the series (yes, dumber than the second). But it's a fun dumb. It's like a series of countdowns and incredible feats with minor or half-assed explanations. And then a lot of jokes. Some good jokes. I liked 'em a lot. Perhaps I would have liked to feel a little more emotionally involved... I didn't really care about what was going on. I didn't care about the villain. But I suppose the movie wasn't about Cruise getting the villain... it's about him and his friends doing incredible things. ALSO, there wasn't much of a build-up to the climax. I was surprised to learn I was in the climax of the movie. For a movie that's more than two hours long, that must mean its paced well but it also illustrates how distant I felt from the film. So I dunno, it's some top-notch action and goofiness, but it doesn't have much more going on apart from that. I guess the thing that makes it okay is that... well... it doesn't feel like they were aiming for much more.
Put some damn shoes on, ya hippie!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Duplicity - 2009 - Dir. Gilroy

So I liked Michael Clayton... thought it was a pretty neat movie. So I had reasonable hopes for Duplicity. I know it wasn't received as well and it didn't really look as good either but hey... I'd give it a shot... eventually. And it's okay. There's some funny ideas in it and it is a reasonably good time, I guess. It feels like its aiming a little low, a little too cheap, than it should have been by trying to be a "It's-A-Con-But-We're-All-Having-A-Good-Time" type movie. We've already got plenty of those. And being that the romance in the movie is one laced with betrayal and witty banter, it's not exactly romantic. And since a function of the movie is to just reveal how complicated the Con is, the movie boils down to witty people doing things we don't exactly understand. The thing is, I really like this movie on paper. I think it has great ideas and it handles them in a way that I'd get a kick out of. Just the execution feels insincere... it doesn't take it's plot seriously and the characters don't take themselves seriously, but despite all the not being serious, it still doesn't come off as fun. I suppose it's sort of mean... but that's not right. So I guess that's how it ends up feeling insincere. It feels like there's nothing to pull us into the movie.
Beautiful people... Loving one another...