Monday, September 24, 2007

Chaplin, D.G. Green, Paul Scofield, and Ken Burns

Some movies I saw this last week:

Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936):
This was the last time Chaplin played the role of the Little Tramp. Sound films had been around for 8 years, but he still did this one in pantomime, and for good reason: he had perfected an art. We watched this in film history, and the kids were rolling. Highlights: the high-tech eating machine, the eating of the cocaine, the "american dream" sequence. Most of them wrote about how they never realized silent films could be so entertaining and easy to relate to.

A quote from critic James Agee: “To put it unkindly, the only thing wrong with screen comedy today is that it takes place on a screen which talks. Because it talks, the only comedians who ever mastered the screen cannot work, for they cannot combine their comic style with talk. Because there is a screen, talking comedians are trapped into a continual exhibition of their inadequacy as screen comedians on a surface as big as the side of a barn.”

And another: "Of all comedians, Chaplin worked most deeply and most shrewdly within a realization of what a human being is, and is up against. The Tramp is as centrally representative of humanity, as many sided and as mysterious, as Hamlet, and it seems unlikely that any dancer or actor can ever have excelled him in eloquence, variety or poignancy of motion... Anyone who saw Chaplin eating a boiled shoe like brook trout in The Gold Rush, or embarrassed by a swallowed whistle in City Lights, has seen perfection."

All The Real Girls: I finally saw this one (on my own, not with the class), and was blown away. I haven't been this wrapped up in a film in a long time. So many parts in here where it captured exactly how I've felt at some point in my life.


The scene where he's talking to her on the phone while she's at the party. And she looks at that guy smiling at her through the window and she smiles back, and your heart sinks because you know what she's thinking. And then the scene at the park where he's trying to be all flirty with her and glad she's back, but she's all awkward because she knows (and so do we) she's about to drop the bomb on him. I could seriously feel my heart beating, I felt sick for him. So heartbreaking, and so beautiful. I love the two legged dog, and the conversation between the main guy and Tip, where Tip's sipping on the tallboy (what does he call it? "engine cylinder" or something?) saying how he got a girl pregnant.

A Man for All Seasons: This is the kind of thing that used to win Best Picture, that hollywood used to be proud to make. Now we get... Chicago? American Beauty? The Departed? Give me a break. Sure, it's not the kind of film that will get teenage boys into the seats, there's no shower scenes or exploding heads, but the dialogue sticks with you, the kind where afterwards you say, "Now that was a FILM!" And Paul Scofield! I'll confess a special affinity to Sir Thomas More when he spoke of the teacher's profession:

More: Why not be a teacher? You’d be a fine teacher. Perhaps even a great one.
Rich: And if I was, who would know it?
More: You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public, that.

The War: Did anyone watch episode 1 of this last night? Great stuff. I especially love the writing in all Ken Burn's stuff. And I was totally caught off guard by that song at the end with Norah Jones. Shows how sometimes documentaries can be the best stuff ever.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Movies I saw in Eastern Turkey

I got to spend about a week in the cities of Dyabakir and Batman in eastern Turkey. I saw a lot of movies in the heat of the afternoon. It didn't matter if I wanted to see them or not. I didn't particularily want to see The Hitcher or Shooter, really. But it was so hot that I would have seen Bratz if it was playing there.

The movies I saw were Ocean's 13, Breach, The Hitcher, Shooter, Zodiac and Bug. I would have seen Shrek 3 and Pirates of the Caribean 3 but they were dubbed in Turkish. The Hills Have Eyes part 2 didn't come out till the weekend after I went home.

They shut down the movies without showing the end credits. I didn't get to see the ending of Zodiac where it tells what happened to all of the characters.

Ocean's 13 came out in Turkey the same weekend it came out in the United States.

In the city of Batman, the movie theater would only show a film if there were three audience members. So every day that week I'd go to the theater to see Breach and every day they would turn me away. Finally they showed pity on me. I'm glad they did. It was a good movie.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

King Of The Hill

Bryan's post about The Simpson's Movie made me think of my new favorite cartoon - King of The Hill.

A few years back I saw Office Space (written and directed by Mike Judge) and subsequently decided i needed to really give King Of The Hill a chance. Well let's just say since that time, my flirtation with said animated series has blossomed into an abiding love.

Consistently excellent writing and perfect characters are the norm with king of the hill. if you haven't yet seen the light (propane fueled of course) i highly recommend you take a chance.

one of my favorite episodes is from season 6. It's called, "Joust Like A Woman." Hank, Peggy, and Bobby visit a Renaissance Faire where Hank is trying to sell his wares and Peggy takes a job as a wench. Alan Rickman guest stars and is hilarious as King Philip.

3:10 to Yuma and Halloween

3:10 was Ill! I am a giant Western fan and this one is darker than the original and more violent but all in all it really could've been made a PG13 film. Bale and Crowe are really good and so is Fonda, but Ben Foster is amazing in this role. He really scared me as a bad, bad person! kind of the way Billy the Kid was supposed to be in Young Guns, just heartless and he pulled it off wonderfully. I am not sure if it's the best western since Unforgiven or not but it is really good.

As for Halloween, ehhh. It was dark and creepy like everything Rob Zombie does but a far better film than Corpses or Rejects. It's all the things one would expect a slasher film to be, gore, nudity, and language through the whole thing. Eli Roth should really go and spend a year under Zombie as an understudy because you could tell it was the same style as his flicks just way better, it's probably not worth seeing, use your money for A ticket on the 3:10 to Yuma instead