Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Patton - 1970 - Dir. Shaffner

I have to admit to not remembering very much about this movie as I write it. There's war in it. And Patton whips a rag tag army into shape... but he's a thorn in the governments side because he's mean and plays by his own rules. He's good at tanks. Germans lose. I dunno. I suppose, George C. Scott is real good in it. I think I ended up being fonder of Karl Malden though. I JUST WANTED TO SQUEEZE HIM!! I remember feeling like the movie was sort of challenging and really conventional at the same time. And kind of too bland to feel like I wanted to be challenged by it. I suppose I do like the idea of Patton's drive being to take part in the war. That in some way it is his destiny... It's an interesting aspect but I feel like the movie doesn't go much further with it. It seems much more interested having Patton come to grips with the higher ups and the bureaucracy of the war. Which, I suppose, IS more cinematic. I dunno. I just wasn't spurred by the film. The washed-out photography didn't help win me over either. Definitely feels like a Coppola script with all the wise-ass remarks. I dunno, I guess I'm not surprised at it being an American Classic...

Jack Goes Boating - 2010 - Dir. Hoffman

EH. You know... I dunno... I like Philip Seymour Hoffman and all. And I was curious to see what kind of movie he would make. But it kind of looked like a bummer from the trailer and not the kind of bummer I like! So I passed. It slipped into a "About to Get Taken Off Netflix Instant" viewing party. You know, probably my favorite thing about this movie is John Ortiz. He's real great! He's kind of the life of the movie too... It's a shame his whole arc with Rubin-Vega feels shoved aside for Hoffman and Ryan and Grizzly Bear montages. Or I dunno. Maybe that's all they could get out of the relationship. I dunno... I feel like maybe that's what this movie feels like... like they're trying to squeeze the most out of these characters and coming up and little short and left with little that feels inspired or interesting. I do like the visualization sequences, actually, those're pretty badass. I dunno, it doesn't feel Hoffman doesn't do poorly his first time out as director. And I have to admit to being a little bugged by all the Pitchfork indie rock music in it. I guess, it's okay... it's just so PRESENT. And I actually really like the music in the movie. It made me feel like I'd just rather listen to it on my own and go for a two hour walk or something.
Joat Goes Backing.

Toy Story 3 - 2010 - Dir. Unkrich

I had the bar set pretty high for this. In fact, it was set so high... I didn't even go see it. In fact, in some ways, I actively avoided seeing it. I knew... deep in my cowboy heart... that I expected it to make me cry, to crush my spirit, and to make me long for a childhood imagined by the previous two movies. So you know... I was sorta setting myself up for a let down. But I wasn't really. The movie was good. I enjoyed watching it... sure, it didn't destroy my emotions. At best, I got a little misty eyed... Maybe I shed a single tear? I can't remember. I'm writing this a month later. Point being, it's like every other Pixar movie I've seen. It's real great. It's got a nice, well told story. Some laughs. Some thrills (oh man! That ending was pretty dang thrilling!) And there's even a Totoro! How can you beat that!? The answer is YOU CAN'T!!! Also, lemme just say... that goofy little girl in the rain boots was adorable and any child I have who isn't like that will be an inherent disappointment. The best thing about this movie is that it doesn't feel like a cash in on the series. It wraps everything up in a nice way and has a nice mix of what's comfortable and what is fresh. It never really competed with my FAV's but hell... a nice solid entry.

Seraphim Falls - 2006 - Dir. Von Ancken

I feel like I look back on my viewing of this movie in a not particularly fond manner. I want to like it. I mean, two bad ass leads chasing each other through the wilderness with the revenge and whatnot. What could go wrong!? Everything, you friggin' idiot! Don't you know how hard these movies are to pull off!? It's really hard! And this one just doesn't cut the mustard. I don't care how god damn beautiful it is (It is pretty damn beautiful)! First of all, the movie sort of oversells Brosnan's badass-ness right away. The amount of insane survivalist shit he pulls in the first act is too ridiculous for the movie's tone. It doesn't help that it feels like it was directed in a somewhat blase manner. Neeson's consistent (dull) grimace matches the movie's restrained (dull) tone much more than Brosnan leaping out of a dead horse, which would be the high point for a better/goofier movie. It's attempts to be ponderous and interesting by the third act felt just tired and considering I wanted the film to be over at this point, were pretty unwelcome. I guess the movie just felt like it bit off more than it could chew. I'm all for ponderousness... but the movie couldn't hit that bar... and tried so hard that it washed away any thrilling or excitement that could have occurred.
Blornd, Jorms Blornd.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Zed and Two Noughts - 1985 - Dir. Greenaway

This movie blew the shit out of me! I had no shit in me for days after seeing this movie! No, I loved this movie. I'd never seen any Greenaway but heard of him an awful lot. I think netflix recommended the movie after I watched... I dunno... something weird with twins maybe. And I was all, hell, why not!? And then let the DVD sit around collecting dust. When I eventually, popped it in. Even from the opening credits sequence, I knew I was going to be in for a treat. So... in case anyone was wondering, this movie could probably be considered pretty pretentious, I suppose. Self-indulgent. Maybe doing too many things at once. There's all kinds of things you can complain about. But if you are me... It's fine. It talks about death and decay and amputees and art. And Car Crashes! It's lit beautifully. HELL, the whole fucking movie is beautiful. It's weird as hell. The acting is really restrained. Themes and motifs criss-cross and leap around the screen. There is so much going on! I most certainly plan to watch the movie several times. And the score is AWESOME! The first thing to stand out is the Time Lapse decay music, which is ridiculous. Oh man, and I got a kick out of the time lapse stuff. AUUUGHG!! The lighting is so crazy in this movie! Visually, the whole movie felt very theatrical. I just liked this thing so damn much.
Heaven is Men's Legs covered in Snails.

I Love You, Philip Morris - 2009 - Dir. Ficcara/Requa

It's a strangely produced movie. Without Carrey and McGregor's presence, the movie probably would have ended up as a slight more subdued indie, I suppose. A much more understandable beast in that context too. I mean, it makes sense why Big Names would want to get on board with this. It's High Concept with outrageous characters. McGregor's gentle southern boy/belle is simultaneously eye rolling and probably the best part of the movie. I think that's where I fall in my feelings... I felt like it was broad, aiming for the lowest common denominator, but I was entertained I suppose. It's nice to see Carrey being big as hell again and he's still real good at it. And you know, it's nice to see a movie that is just Sweet in some sense. Even if it's cheap and familiar. And yeah, despite the homosex and the prison and the con games, it's a pretty basic story. You know how things are going to go down. And in some sense, I feel like the Direction was plopping the camera down in the most reasonable place and tell the actors to be as big as they can. So, I can't say there's a ton of inspiration behind the scenes. In fact, I will tell you, the best thing the movie has going for it are the performances of the leads. Everything else... Meh!
Hey boys! Leave some room for me!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - 1966 - Dir. Leone

I think seeing this with the rest of the trilogy illuminated something for me. I think I like this one the least. I mean, let me just say that it's still miles ahead of most other westerns I've seen. It's great... It really is. But I feel like it has this epic scale and a polished feel that I'm just less about. I mean, it makes perfect sense to me that this is the more popular of the three. No question there. And MAN! That opening sequence is so good. It's a little bit like the HYPER-FAMOUS (sorta, I suppose, isn't it?) opening of Once Upon the Time in the West. Just tough, weird looking guys standing around (ONE OF THE WEIRD GUYS IS THE SAME WEIRD GUY!). Then shooting! Perfect! The first scene with Angel Eyes is also pretty awesome. Lee Van Cleef feels a little underused in the film, but that's mostly because it seems like the movie is more about Wallach and Eastwood and Van Cleef is just the one who keeps moving the plot forward. Leone described him as a robot or a banal professional and I think that's a pretty cool way of looking at him. And let's not fuck around here... Eastwood and Wallach charm the FUCKING pants off of me. The ending is awesome. I guess, I just feel like the movie is a little too long, a little too repetitive, but even the parts that are long and repatative are cool... It just makes for a movie that is too long and sprawling. Like I really want to like the Bridge sequence... Out of the context of the movie. It's an awesome sequence but squeezed into the third act? No, thank you! Anyway, my nitpicking aside. It's a great classic western. Don't be a jerk and not see it. Unless you don't like westerns. Then WHATEVER. Go watch the Voice or something. >:|
The Good, the Bad, and the Handsome! (Easiest joke)

Friday, February 17, 2012

For a Few Dollars More - 1965 - Dir. Leone

This is easily my favorite Spaghetti Western. EASILY. I'm trying to think of one I might like more... and I'm TOTALLY not coming up with anything. It's not perfect by any means and, in fact, kind of drags at points. I am thinking mostly about post-bank robbery. The movie kind of goofs around. But MAN, when that movie is on. It is so good. One particular sequence... the Hat shooting especially gets me. This time around, I noticed how friggin crazy the colors are. The surreal blues and reds on the town at night! AWESOME! And when you have a nutcase like El Indio running around. It only gets better. Gian Marie Volonte balances morose dude and psychopath like they were peanut butter and jelly! He's like the saddest fucking badass! Oh man! And the editing! It's so much fun! When there's that sequence of cuts of the Wanted Poster with bullet shots! That's so COOL! The film is also RIFE with Western style masculine posturing (see Hat shooting). Also, fucking Lee Van Cleef. Man. If there's anyone who could take the wind out of Eastwood's sails, it's The Cleefster. AND OH FUCKING SHIT. I almost forgot about the opening. You know... the one that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the story. And is just visually and aurally awesome. Nothing better to start your movie that the sounds of a guy hanging out. M I RITE U GUYZ!?
Disco Volonte!

Fistful of Dollars - 1964 - Dir. Leone

MAN! It'd been a pretty long time since I'd seen this last considering how much I liked it. BUT JEEZ! It's even better than I remembered. There are so many fun little details and the whole damn movie is just put together so neatly! And I forgot that it mirrors Yojimbo so closely until it started! OH MAN! AND THE CREDITS! And that whole mule speech... THAT FUCKING MULE SPEECH AND THEN CLINT EASTWOOD LOOKS REAL MAD AT ALL THOSE GUYS. HE LOOKS SO MAD. One thing that I think left a bigger impression on me was Gian Maria Volonte. Who I didn't realize was in this as well as A Few Dollars More (WHERE I FUCKING LOVE HIM). But he's just a great villain. He just looks like such a shitty guy! But in a handsome way. Like an Italian Liev Schriber pretending to be Mexican. You know? Anyway, I also remembered Yojimbo pretty recently, so it was fun to compare and contrast. So basically, I got a real big kick out of this movie. It's a little rough around the edges since it's before Leone really honed the style, but I feel like it's roughness is a lot of fun to watch and gives it a gritty feel the others don't have.
(Peter Lorre/Igor Noise)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Secret World of Arriety - 2010 - DIr. Yonebayashi

I liked this a lot! I wasn't sure if I was. I'm a Studio Ghibli fan, although to be honest I'm mostly just familiar with Miyazaki's work. But, you know, I figured it would be pretty good being Studio Ghibli but it totally surpassed my expectations. You know... it's not as blobby as some fine ass Miyazakis but Blobs ain't everything. The finer details of the Borrowers' world make the picture pretty damn engaging pretty damn quickly. The Sound work in the house is just the absolute best. You can HEAR the bigness. Like, you know, I felt like I was exploring a whole new goddamn world. So I was charmed is what I'm saying. The movie charmed my damn pants off. Most of the voice acting is real good in the English dub. Will Arnett's casting is especially amusing. And Carol Burnett KILLS as the goofy villain. Although she's hardly a villain, I suppose... Or she's not MUCH of a villain. Sometimes I would struggle with the boy... but I think the nature of his dialogue was more of a hindrance than the acting. Those kinds of lines never seem to translate very well into English and they're certainly not easy to pull off. The movie has a nice emotional core to it, if sometimes a little stilted. It made for a really enjoyable evening and I would definitely get down with it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Captain America: The First Avenger - 2011 - Dir. Johnston

Eh. It's okay. It certainly wasn't bad or make me feel like I was watching something dumb as hell. I suppose my bar can be kind of low for Superhero movies. I guess, I appreciate that the movie seems to put forth the effort to make us give a shit, giving us a nice hefty wad of back story. All that effort made for a pretty long movie but it seemed like a fair trade off. Skinny Chris Evans was pretty neat and it's fun seeing him get all tough and whatnot. Actually, that foot chase might have been one of my more favorite parts. I'll admit that the movie drags enough that I was glad that I could stop it when I wanted. So I'm kinda glad I missed it in theaters. Anyway, The movie was more than just a lot of jokes and posturing (Iron Man 2) with some shitty action thrown in. Sure, I mean, it's goofy. You know... Red Skull being in it and all. It was good of them to give us a nice dose of Hugo Weaving. I say... that's a good call. A perfectly fine Hugo Weaving hanging about, you don't wanna waste it with a ridiculous red skull. I have to admit being pretty supremely bothered by the last line and tone of the ending BUT WHATEVER. WHATEVER, CAPTAIN AMERICA.
Hugo Weaving (with Cube).