Monday, July 31, 2006

Some movies.

Fitzcaraldo - Very cool Werner Herzog movie about making your dreams come true at all costs or maybe just about pulling a steamboat up a mountain. Bryan did a review on this a while back and I've been wanting to see it ever since. Herzog is nuts. I listened to the commentary and I can't believe the risks he takes in making his films. He's like the German Coppolla or something the way he throws himself into his projects.

A Simple Plan - I liked this one a lot. Billy Boy Thornton was great. I laughed a lot at his little character quirks. He's great at doing the little subtle things that just make a character fun to watch. It's kind of a heavy morality tale so his character was essential to counter that feeling that pervaded throughout. (Dir. by Sam Raimi)

Blood Simple - I watched this one about five years ago and was really amazed by the direction. I think it's the Cohen Brothers second best (after Miller's Crossing). I watched it again - this time the new cut released by Forever Young Films. I like the other version better. They cut out a lot of stuff and added some weird CG smoke rings coming out of M. Emmet Walsh. Still it was great to watch. Walsh is amazing as the sleezy PI. There's two separate scenes where he's sitting there talking to Dan Hedaya and a fly buzzes around his sweaty face and lands right by his eye and he doesn't flinch or anything - it's great. This one has my favorite climaxe and ending to a neo-noir movie. They made this movie just after working for Sam Raimi on Evil Dead which is interesting because there are some horror movie elements to this one even though it's a thriller/noir.

Pirates of the Carribbean II- I really liked this one a lot. It's my favorite of the Hollywood movies this year. I know it's 30 minutes too long but it seems that everything is now a days. I thought the story was better than the first one and I liked all the story sequences except for the part when Kiera Knightley and the two comic relief guys fought off Davey Jone's crew. They became much less menacing after that happened. That whole scene was unecessary. The fighting on the big rolling mill thing was cool but too long as well. Come to think of it they also took a strange detour getting Kiera Knightley to Tartuga or whatever to find Jack Sparrow. Why did she have to go on that other boat and do all that stuff with the ghost dress and everything. Just seemed like a waist of time to me.

But I did like the movie don't get me wrong. I really liked the whole thing with the natives (I thought they depicted that old style of cartoonish natives perfectly). And I loved the corny thing with them swinging in the big bone ball/cages. I also thought the Cracken was really cool and usually I don't like big CG monsters but I liked this one a lot. Davey Jones was my favorite part though. Anyway, the movie exceeded my expectations which was a pleasant surprise.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I Really enjoyed this film and would have no problem recommending it to Micheal Mann followers. I dont think it was as good as heat but it was good. Collin Farrell isn't horrible although his voice coach should jump into a volcano. HE tries to speak all gruff and such and its really forced. I dont care for Jamie Foxx but he's solid in this role, but then again it's not exactly Ray. The movie is alot faster paced than I expected it to be, I kinda thought it would be a little more Collateral and thankfully it's closer to the aforementioned Heat. The gun play was superb and I have now decided that anyone else that ever does a shootout scene needs to hire Mann to consult them, there are a couple in this film that are just vicious.

On a seperate note before it there were trailers for like 6 good lookin movies, Babel, The Departed, Black Dhalia, The Prestige, The Protector (Tony Jaa is a bad Mo' Fo' dont sleep, watch Ong Bak), and reportedly Jet Li's last kung fu epic Jet Li's Fearless, if you dont like kung fu films you wouldn't like the last two but I though they looked promising. The other three are must see's for my punk ass.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Movies I saw last week

From favorite to least favorite. This was a pretty good week for movies. I didn't hate any of them. I loved the first four and the last four, on the whole, I liked more than disliked. The last three I don't have a desire to see again but I'm glad I saw them the first time.

Tristram Shandy: I think it was Shel Silverstein who said that some movies make you want to hug yourself. He's right and Tristram Shandy does. If you like Spinal Tap, Christopher Guest movies or The Office, then you'll love this movie. (Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden are two of the funniest men alive. Their commentary track was a real laugh.)

Brick: I have nothing to say about this movie. Except that it almost ties Tristram Shandy for best movie of the week.

The Saddest Music in the World: I concur with Jordan.

Tombstone: This film I loved. It would probably rate higher in the week, except for a few scenes that made my teeth ache. 1. Kurt Russel standing in the rain yelling, "I HURT INSIDE" or something like that, I can't remember, it's been four days. C'mon Wyat Earp. Keep it together. 2. I hated, hated, hated Val Kilmer's death scene. I liked him when he was insolently killing outlaws. I knew he was going to die so why didn't the screenwriters let him die with dignity. Off screen. Instead of laying in bed talking about how he wished he'd married his cousin. Look, I had a crush on my cousin at one time also. But I got over it. That's what grown ups do. They are supposed to be embarrassed by their youthful degenerecies. And you can bet when I'm on my deathbed, I'll be talking about something else.but the good stuff in thee movie is so good, that I'm going to forget about those scenes.

It's Always Fair Weather: It doesn't work, but well worth seeing for Gene Kelly's tap dance on roller skates. Jaw dropping.

Welcome to Sarejevo: Pretty good, and after seeing Tristram Shandy I want to see everything directed by Michael Winterbottom, but this felt like eating vegetables. It was good for me but not very interesting.

Lady in the Water: It was better than The Village. At least the characters made jokes and used contractions in their speech. But I couldn't get past the back story, it just seemed so random and silly. My wife loved it though, so I don't want to discourage anybody from going. I think for some people it will be a fun and profound time at the theater. For me, it wasn't. (BTW, I loved Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs.) (I have a lot of nitpicky comments about this movie, but I'll save those for the comments, if there becomes a debate in the comments section. And boy do I think this movie will be debated. Otherwise I'll keep them to myself.)

Tales From the Gimli Hospital: This was pretty good for the type of surreal movie it was, but I have about a twenty minute attention span for surrealness. Un Chien Andula was the perfect length. Any longer and it would have been unbearable. Gimli Hospital was just too long for me.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Recent Films

Tales From The Gimli Hospital - If Guy Maddin is "The Canadian David Lynch" then this is his Eraserhead. It was like watching an Icelandic night mare filled with disturbing images many of them you don't know why they're disturbing. Anyway that's how my nightmares are. I liked The Saddest Music in the World better but this one's worth a watch especially if you're a Lynch fan and more specifically a fan of Eraserhead. It's got some pretty funny stuff as well.

Forbidden Games - I'm referring to the Rene Clement's 1952 French version here. Not the 1995 version that looks to be soft core porn according to the profile on IMDB.

With that clarification aside, this film is set during WWII as German planes are bombing France. It follows the daily activities of two kids dealing with the death and destruction around them. Paulette's parents and dog are shot down in the first couple minutes and she wonders the countryside holding her dead dog until Michel finds her and brings her home to his family consisting of an abusive tyrant of a father who is feuding with their rural neighbors. Michel helps Paulette create a cemetary for her dog in an abandoned mill but Paulette's not satisfied. Her dog will be lonely buried without anyone else so more work needs to be done.

It's an interesting film that successfully marries stark realism in a fairy tale like fable. Probably because it's seen through the eyes of the children.

Orange County - For some reason I never wanted to see this when it first came out. I got the feeling that it was a teenager/party movie. I think I didn't know about Mike White at the time and felt that Jack Black was good but not good enough to carry a bad movie as a side character (i.e. Airborne - he's great in it but it still sucks). Anyway I watched it the other night and really liked it. I thought it was fun, clever, and appropriately sweet. The dysfunctional family that has redeeming qualities gets old at times but I liked it here.

Gods And Generals - Thankfully the DVD didn't work on side B so I only was able to watch the first two hours of this most rechid worshipping of the romantic and noble civil war south. Completely boring and self important at the same time, Gods And Generals managed to make the most intriguing war in American history seem silly by attempting to make it seem so important.

Even Robert Duvall couldn't save it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Saddest Music In The World

Guy Maddin manages to tell this bizarre and comical story in a totally fresh way that keeps you mesmorized throughout.

Considered to be "The Canadian David Lynch" by some critics, Maddin readily admits to being heavily influenced by the surreal filmmaker.

"The Saddest Music In The World," though bizarre, surreal, and somewhat dark is an extremely fun and even riveting watch unlike much of Lynch's films.

Maddin has what seems to be more than just a love for the silent film era (which he pays homage to here - though it's not a silent film). It's more like an obsession. And he mixes just the the right amount of stylistic skill, personality, and dramatic absurdity while thankfully avoiding any kind of the adoring reverence and stuffiness that other obsessed filmmakers pour into their homages of days gone by (yes, the poster of the movie displays two glass legs filled with Port Huntley beer which figure prominently in the story).

One of the most enjoyable movies I've watched this year.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lady in the Water

So as stated earlier I would probably let M. Night Shyamalan touch my bikini area so I will admit this movie could have come with a free case of Herpes and I still would have liked it but I loved this film. I cant really think of anything I disliked about the film. Shyamalan does a good job acting, and Giamatti is phenomenal.

I can see where some people may not care for the film in the same way some dont like the village (In my opinion his worst film). You cant go expecting a scary movie with twists, you have to know its a fairy tale, one with a moral point. Its about the concept that it is vital to us that we have ideoligies to grasp on to that give us hope and that we all are semi-destined to certain lives and that we have to believe in our selves in order for our greatness to be fulfilled. Enough preaching from my ass just know i liked it and would recomend it without hesitation.

A Scanner Darkly

Richard Linklater is one of my favorites so when I heard he was making Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkley I was pretty excited. This is the story that Charlie Kaufman tried to adapt but gave up on. You might remember in Adaptation when Charlie's brother Donald is writing his script called "The Three". Charlie mentions that nothing is more overused than multiple personalities in hollywood. He also asks Donald how it is possible to film such a script where multiple characters are played by one person (which is of course what Spike Jonze did in that film) to which Donald replies, "trick photography".
Being a big fan of Waking Life, I was also excited to see more use of the animation software that he developed for that project. It seemed like the perfect solution to the Kaufman problem. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Wynona Rider and takes place in a future where everybody does a drug called Substance B. I was even excited about Linklater's casting seeing how all the stars in the film have had public issues with drugs.
I understand that Linklater was very faithful to the book and even much of the dialogue is included but I couldn't make head or tails of this movie nor could the four other people I watched it with. I really need to see it again but I'm just not sure I want to. In a strange approach, the dual identidy is revealed from the start perhaps to avoid what Kaufman warned about. The problem is that I don't want to be that far ahead of the main character but I also don't want to have some surprise twist a la Fight Club. There are some very amusing scenes of drug induced paranoia in which Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson steal the show but that's about all I could make sense of or enjoy. I think Kaufman was right to pass on this, maybe there is not way to film it.

Brandies recent viewings

Hey folks, it's been a while since I've posted. Our third child was born last month, so writing about stuff on the internet has gone down a few steps on my list of priorities. Watching movies, on the other hand, has not. So here's some thoughts about things I've seen recently:

Cars: I don't know if anyone's written about this yet. I went in with pretty low expectations, due to boring previews and mostly 2-3 star reviews. But I was very pleasantly surprised with the result. Man, that John Lasseter, he knows how to make movies. He takes a story that in seems pretty dumb describing it, but fills it with character and detail and charm and the occaisional emotional gut punch. I'd say he's pretty similar to Miyazaki in his abilitiy to create fascintating alternate realities and also in his benevolence of spirit. My main suggestion for improvement: soundtrack was pretty lame, missed some golden opportunities for awesome music+visuals.

The Battle of Algiers: I've been meaning to see this for a while, and the Orem Library recently got the new Criterion (3 disc!) edition. This was made in 1966 by some Italian dude that I'd never heard of, based on the true stories of people involved in the French occupation of Algeria, and the Algerian resistance to said occupation. The film is a great example of both "realism" (almost looks like a documentary) and the "protest film" (similar to Bob Dylan or Rage Against the Machine in the music world). The paralells between this and the current state of things in Iraq are unavoidable. If only our head brass had watched this first before they invaded, they'd have known more what to expect.

The Life Aquatic: Sorry, Wes Anderson lovers, this one didn't work for me. It seemed almost like a Godard movie: a lot of flamboyant stylistic choices that make for great clips to show in intro to film classes, but overall too distant from the characters and not consistently funny enough to keep me interested. I could've turned it off half-way through with no regrets. Rushmore was the perfect combination of fairy-tale ambience and awesome characters and conflict. This one... I don't know. Feels almost like Anderson is stuck in a rut, like he's developed this certain style and thinks he has to stick with it. You know what, I blame Noah Bombauch, which brings me to...

The Squid and the Whale: even though I pretty much hated watching this movie, I have thought about it a lot since then, so that's a good sign, I guess. It fits nicely in the "naturalism" style of looking at people at their ultimate worst, similar to something like "Raging Bull", "Diabolique", "Gosford Park", or Sartre's "No Exit". What I didn't like was how hateful the tone felt the whole time. Most everything the characters did or said (with the exeption of the younger brother) seemed calculated to make them look despicable. I mean, my parents got divorced, and I pretty much hated my dad when I was a teenager, but even then I wouldn't categorize him as 100% dickhead. So it's surprising that Bambauch, 20 years later, would still be so one sided about it. But on the other hand, it does show how awful not just divorce, but the whole mess of joint custody can be for the kids, and could prove to be a nice wake up call. It seems there's a tendency to think, "things are hard being married, it would be so much easier if we just split up." but it's not easier. An interesting side note: I saw the cleanflicks version of this. It seems that their style of editing is to, rather than bleep out or replace the swears, just to cut out that whole scene. Edited running time: 63 minutes long.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My top 3 westerns:

1. The Cowboys: This is John Waynes best movie. Even those that aren't John Wayne fans tend to like this one. It is a wonderful adventure story filled with great characters and a strong moral theme about the value of hard work. It is all around just a fun movie for everybody to watch. It made me want to be a cowboy.

2. For a Few Dollars More: Although I dearly love The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I find that I am more entertained by For a Few Dollars More. The things that really stand out are: it is shorter, the bad guy is really cool, and the story takes a number of unexpected turns. I love the show down between Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood and the show down at the end with the watch chimes is really great.

3. Big Country: The movie is about the strength of character and self-respect and who better to show us than Gregory Peck. There are lot of great scenes between Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston and even more with just Gregory Peck. This is the kind of movie I wish I could see again for the first time because I enjoyed myself so much.

Other westerns I considered but didn't make the cut: Unforgiven (a little to depressing to be top 3 but definately top 5), My Name is Nobody (a little hoaky but a lot of fun), Tombstone (Doc Holiday is great, but I hate the female lead and scene where Wyatt starts yelling No! and he gets up and runs into the gunfire but doesn't get shot.) High Noon (Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly...Yes)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Movies I saw this week

From favorite to least favorite:
Play Misty For Me: It is my goal to see every movie Clint Eastwood directed. This was so good and so scary that I'm surprised I haven't heard of it more. I really recommend it. Also the psycho girl friend is the mother on Arrested Development. She was really pretty.
Manhunter: Who is the better Hannibal Lector? Brian Cox is more realistic and a little more scary. Anthony Hopkins is more hammy and a little more fun. I don't know. I like them both. I did like Manhunter more than Red Dragon. Michael Mann might be one of my favorite directors.
Libertine: I almost didn't see this because the trailers made it seem like a worshipful biography. "He dared to blah, blah, blah. He changed a nation." But it was nothing like that. It was a real good biography about a man who chased pleasure above all else, and the cost to himself and his family. (Now I've made it sound like a morality tale, but it's not at all.) I'm curious if he's really a good writer in real life? We see a play he wrote that seems to consist of nothing but references to dildos. The cast members even pass them out to the audience. ANd at one point a midget enters the stage riding on a giant dildo. Not a very good play really. It was kind of funny how the Earl of Rochester takes it all so seriously.
Hostel: If you don't like this kind of movie, not worth it. If you don't like this kind of movie but went and saw Devil's Rejects based on Roger Ebert's review, and really, really liked it, (like I did) then this movie is pretty good. One scene with an American business man is brilliant. So if this is your kind of thing, (Think Straw Dogs but less disturbing,) it's pretty good. (Be warned though, the characters are really obnoxious for the first thirty minutes. I wanted to kill them myself.)
My Pal Trigger: I've never seen a Roy Rogers movie I haven't liked. If you want to see how he got Trigger, this is a good one.
The Fog (John Carpenter): It was okay. Not as good as Halloween, The Thing or Big Trouble in Little China but I'm not going to complain.
The Matador: This was okay also. Pierce Brosnin was funny. I just wish they wouldn't have held crucial plot points from the audience just so we'd be surprised. One of my pet peeves.
Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest: Remember that moment in the first movie where Jack Sparrow escapes the British guys by twirling around on a high up thing, and he's being shot at from below, and he's twirling a little too fast and there's a look of panic on his face? It was near the beginning.
I never once felt any such chaos or danger in this one. Except for the very end. It's a so-so movie that I doubt I'll watch again. I will be seeing the sequel though.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

aarrrghhh I put me peg leg in another pirates booty

So it was only a matter of time before one of us posted about pirates de la carib so here I go. It was pretty good, overall I liked the first one better. Its a better story barbosa is a far better villan than davey jones. The visuals in the movie a nearly flawless they just throw too many in. I think it was about 20-30 minutes too long also. There's a sword fighting scene that is dreadfully long. I also feel that they did way too much cheesey humor in this one, not sparrow's personality as in the first. Its rather juvenile in parts and I thought that took away from depp's portrait of sparrow.

One more thing about this flick I wish Orlando Bloom would go away because he blows! Hard! The guy sucks as an actor look at legolas and see that its the character everyone loves not the manaquin from heaven that is good there, I loathe him. Frankly keira knietly (sic) sucks also, but at least depp saves the day.

Any movie that makes the obscene amounts of cash this one is can't suck and it certainly doesn't see it you'll like it and you'll probably leave as I did excited for three because it looks like it will be the best of the 3 to me, and don't bitch about the ending that part is perfect.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

four movies

The Big White: I refuse to watch Robin Williams films if they are comedies or are heartwarming. I like my Robin Williams as a serial killer or I don't like him at all. But this movie may be an exception. It's pretty good. And the cast is great. (Holly Hunter, Giovonni Ribisi, Allison Lohman, Tim Blake Nelson.) The soundtrack is by Mark Mothersbaugh (my favorite film composer.)

The Ringer: Neither as funny or as offensive as it could be, it still made me smile. It's worth seeing.

Knife in the Water: I thought the hitchhiker would turn out to be homicidal in a serial killer sort of way. Thankfully the movie is a lot more unpredictable than that. (After seeing Oliver Twist, I've decided to see all of Roman Polanski movies. This one maybe his best.)

The Thing: My favorite part is when the dogs face opens. Close second is when the severed head grows spider legs. This is my favorite of these four movies.

Can you drift?

Zen Buddhism can be applied to just about anything, whether it be painting or commiting arson. Thus, it came as no surprise that it would be applied to street racing. Little did I anticipate, however, the profound effect this would have on my own ability to play Rallisport 2 after learning the valuable life lesson taught in Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift. Little did I understand that "you just have to feel it". Once I learned this seemingly simple principle, it all came into perspective. Right from the beginning of this movie when the football player's girl friend offers herself as the prize of the race I knew I was in for a treat. I was not dissapointed. The racing was good, the cars were cool and it took place in Japan, all be it, there weren't very many real japanese people in it and most of the japanese culture was not very accurate but I wasn't about to let that ruin the experience. It is true that the movie did drag a little in the middle when the actors started talking but a montage was just the thing to get us charged again. And a surprise ending where the hero races the bad guy to settle their differences was just the ticket. Don't miss it.
I also saw Nacho Libre. It was pretty funny but it was about half an hour too long. And, I never really found the sound of farts that funny either.


I understand it's not real wise to get so geeked up over trailer but a couple movies have me so excited to see them I'm going to be screwed once they come out, because as we all seem to agree the more we want to see a film the lower it ranks with us. Well screw it I can't help but get a woody when I see trailers for "Lady in the water" or "Spiderman 3" both look great to me. I am a nut for Shyamilan's movies all of them bad mouth them if you want I got my own reasons to love them and you won't change my mind. I think he's brilliant.

Spiderman 3 looks like it's going to put all other comic book movies in a coffin! Or at least a viking barge, set it sail and ignite it. I was so surprised at how good it looked cause I wasn't that hyped for the first two but it looks stunning.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I've been reading this blog for a while, but this is my first post. So, hi everybody!

I recently enjoyed reading Walter Kirn's fascinating novel "Thumbsucker", so I was excited to see it adapted to film. I was pleasently surprised, and found it a funny and thought-provoking film. The sound track with Elliot Smith and the Polyphonic Spree is nice too.

I think this films deals with the idea that everything might not have an answer (or at least an answer that is as simple as we'd like). The characters mostly seem confused about one thing or another. Keanu Reeves plays an identity-confused dentist, who ends up only feeling sure that it’s ok not to be sure about anything. Tilda Swinton is a married mother and nurse who tries to win a date with a tv star, but eventually treats him at a rehab center. And Vince Vaughn is a debate teacher trying to fit in with his students.

The story wanders around a bit, just as Justin (the main character) seems to be looking for purpose. He is not a protagonist with a clear-cut objective, nor does he have concrete obstacles. But that’s usually how life is and it’s sometimes good to take a look at ourselves and see how funny, sad and inspiring it can be as we try to find our ways around.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns...from a 5 year space voyage and...

Firstly, greetings from New Zealand. I've been here for nearly a month now and life is great! When my friend, Amit, suggested we book online for tickets to the new superman at the special re-opened 3D Imax on opening day, I thought sure, why not?, even though the ticket was $20 new zealand dollars(as compared to the usual $14 NZD). As much as I love the independent spirit of lower budget and arthouse films, I can't really begrudge the occasional epic mind-blowing big-budget blockbuster, in 3D no less. All the reviewers were awe-struck it seemed. I couldn't find one major bad review in my brief perusal on the net. I have no special affinity for Superman but I have to admit, I was fairly excited. Maybe it goes back to the theory of high expectations = bad movie experience, but I left the theater nonplussed, with the feeling I had perhaps wasted my money and night. Superman comes back after an absence of five years. He briefly talks about it and his reasons. He went to see the dead remains of Krpton, his home world. There was nothing left. This is the extent we get from his escapade. I suppose he must have spent most of the 5 years...traveling in space? He seems eager to move on, change the subject. Lex Luther's master plan is fairly dumb and ludricrous for someone who is a genuis. There are some inconsistencies when it come to Kryptonite on superman's part. He becomes helpless when he first becomes exposed to it. Yet, in another scene he is able to fly a giant island of it into outer space and hurl it at the sun somehow. I guess he did just did it real quick before the krytonite drained his powers?
The characters seemed scattered and I almost felt like the writter/s were unsure of what to do with them. The film has an uneasy climax at best. Besides the plot holes and unexplored characters, the action scenes are nothing spectacular when held to today's current CG standards.
I guess the most intriguing thing for me about Superman is the duality of his person. He's the most powerful being on the planet with nearly unlimited powers. Yet by day, he chooses to be a bumbling idoit, who chases Lois Lane around, begging for any scrap of attention. The story is, Lois doesn't give Clark the time of day, but of course falls head over heels for Superman. It is an interesting situation and I was dissappointed how Brian Singer glazes over it without exporing the complexities of human nature involved. I mean, he can have the girl of his dreams as Superman...but Superman is incapable of leading a normal life, having a family, settling down. But as Clark, he's a stooge, as a necessary disguise to hide his super-powers, he can't let anyone take him too serious. It should also say something about how superficial we can be as people when we are presented with the smae person, with a different image. Clark never judges Lois as being superficial but the audience can't help but to. But all the interesting elements are like I said, largely left unexplored, given up to cheesy dialogue and CG action. Also, I felt like Clark was pretty much dissed and compltely disregarded for largely, the whole 3rd act of the film. He just goes away. No one questions where he is, not even Jimmy Olsen, who seems to have this huge man-crush on him. The Clark character recieves no resolve at all.
Kevin Spacey is the closest thing to redeeming the film. That is to say, he is the only character that has any charisma at all. He has very limited interaction with Superman and is somewhat mired by the stupidity of his master plot and all the holes contained there in.
Anyway, alot of others seem to enjoy the film and if I've lowered your expectations, maybe you will too, now reverting to the antithesis of the before mentioned theory, low expectations = better movie experience.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Decade Under The Influence

It's hard not to get excited about seventies cinema after watching this documentary and I want to say before my on-the-other-hand paragragh that I think the seventies is a fascinating period of film making. I love the seventies. I probably watch more seventies cinema than any other decade
On the other hand, I think it is the most overated decade of cinema and I think most of the films of the seventies aren't quite as good as their reputation. I hate to be a grump, but all the rhapsodizing over them makes them just a little less fun. (Except of course for The Godfather, Jaws and The In-laws, which deserve probably more praise then they get.)
What I find most obnoxious about that decade is the theory that finally the "artists" were able to truly reigned supreme, before that it was just a bunch of mass market studio guys. What about The Marx Brothers, or Alfred Hitchcock, or Ernst Lubitsch, or Billy Wilder, or Charlie Chaplin or Fred Astaire or Preston Sturges or Howard Hawkes? I would argue that they are just as good of artists (perhaps better) as the seventies filmmakers, the only difference is the artists under the studio system are a little less self important and their movies are just a little more fun.

Don't get me wrong. I love seventies film. Just not the idolatry that goes with it.


By the way, my goal is to write up every movie I see in July. I don't want to be a blog hog, but I'm afraid that's what's going to happen.

I've been an Adam Sandler fan since Happy Gilmore. (I hated Billy Madison.) So I felt vindicated when I found out so was P. T. Anderson. And at that moment I vowed to stop cowardly calling his movies guilty pleasures. I never felt guilty. I just figured other people thought I should feel guilty.
Click is one of his sentimental comdies. Closer to Wedding Singer than Little Nicky. Not as funny as some, but it's his first to make me tear up. There is a scene with the main character's father that just hit me in the gut. So, yeah, if you like Adam Sandler movies, this is a pretty good one. If you don't, you might not like it so much.
My one complaint, (and I probably even shouldn't be making it, since I need to love the movies Adam Sandler makes and not the movies I think he should make,) In a lot of his movies he's needlessly cruel to a character that doesn't deserve it. Sean Astin's only sin was that he wore a speedo? Why kick him in the balls, later pull down his pants, and then . . . . spoiler . . . flip him off on his death bed?
Other than that it was pretty good. (On the talkbacks I'll give a list of my favorite Adam Sandler movies.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Joyeux Noel

The message of this movie is pretty obvious so I won't repeat it. Most of the people who didn't like this movie felt it was too sentimental. And had the story not been a true one I would tend to agree. However, as it is a true story, I found it to be truly beautiful. The music adds a lot to the emotion of this movie. And, all the actors do a fine job. There aren't too many movies about World War I. So, it is nice to see one that is well made.