Monday, April 6, 2009

Son of Rambow

Being someone who doesn’t so much enjoy children, I still enjoyed Son of Rambow. The children actors were great and I believed their performances. However, it felt like this film was really missing something or shot off into a direction that the makers hadn’t planned for, and because of that it’s not a film I would sit through again (though I wouldn’t mind watching the trailer).

Although I think they could have had something really great, it seemed like they just didn’t commit to the concept they started with. It’s a nice coming of age film, but I would have liked to see something more creative and perhaps even Michel Gondry-like that really ran with the imagination of the main little boy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Joe Versus the Volcano

This movie is really good. I noticed its not getting a lot of love from user ratings at imdb. It does have a dated feel to it. It's very "death of the 80's" 90s. However it just has so much charm and doesn't take itself to seriously while self conciously being a dark contemplation of deah and the meaning of life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good Will Hunting

1 word....AMAZING

Quantum of Solace

I didn't think it was good either.

This is James Bond. SHOW THE STUNT! Don't hide it with computer graphics and quick edits.

Monsters Vs. Aliens

3D is in. This movie looked amazing, it doesn't seem bothersome, and there is a LOT more ground to be covered just from a shot standpoint. The tech is here though.

This movie was a pretty good time. At points it got a bit slow and some turns were a little predictable. Seth Rogan as the Blob was really funny.

Monday, March 23, 2009


So I decided to watch this again. Man I love these sci-fi surrealist films like this. Great plot, insane idea, and one of the few movies Samual L Jackson doesn't suck in. Really enjoy seeing Dustin Hoffman in this, still one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time.

The Fugitive

This is a great film to just sit back and get into. A fast paced thriller that Ive had on my Netflix for awhile and finally decided to check it out. Very good film and entertaining. I miss young Harrison Ford, and man I love that beard.


Wow, this movie has shot on my shelf in its packaging for a few years now. Bout time I checked it out. A very well done film that I really enjoyed every minute of. Watching this makes me realize how much I like Edward Norton and how much of a douche Matt Damon is though. But I will admit I really want to play poker after seeing this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This was great.

I love documentaries that offer a slice of the population that is intensly interested in fringe things. This is all about roller derby.

I was involved in a local wrestling promotion as a younger man and there are so many parralells. The STRANGE people, the naive promoter, the pathetic veterans, the backstabbing and fighting over small bits of sucess, the self deception. Incredibly sad.

On top of that I've always liked roller derby. I really wish it would come back in a big bad way.

Anyone want to see the Derby Dolls next Saturday?

Rachel Getting Married


Treasure of Sierra Madre

This movie immediately reminded me of 'There Will be Blood'. Very much about greed and what fortune does to a man's soul.

It was gripping from the very begining. A very easy movie to understand and get involved in.

It's cool to see Humphry Bogart play a rotten guy. Not charming rotten, just bad. Walter seemd to set the table for the 'old prospector' character, but was really charming and trustworthy.

Definetly a good one for the AFI list. I'm getting close to knocking that one out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Love You, Man

I have a secret love for the romantic comedy. They are usually not great movies, but the formula is very tight. My favorite part is when the couple breaks up right before the climax.

The fun thing about 'I Love You, Man' was that it subverts the formula by treating male friendship as something to be attained instead of something that can be taken for granted. It follows a very formulaic arc but the fact that its men makes it feel fresh.

Paul Rudd and Jasan Segal are both hilarious. I'm a big fan of them both. I hope this movie does good box office because I'd like to see them more in leading roles.

I do think the 'bro talk' felt a little too hip. It got annoying sometimes. Although it was always funny to see Rudd stumble through it.

good flick.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Alright. I'm in the middle of Nancy's class, so I figure its a good enough time to do my Watchmen post, which has been a long time coming.

This isn't a fresh thought about the movie. I've had a lot of discussion time with people. I've read a lot of different reviews, and I've had a chance to see it twice now.

I really like the movie after all this. As time goes by my appretiation has degraded, but at the end of the day, this was a huge ambitious story told with reverence towards some very unique source material.

If I do have a problem its with Zak Snyder's direction. At the end of the day this is a movie where the best parts of it aren't action, they're talking. The conversation on Mars, the first Watchmen meeting, the cat and mouse game in the prison with Rorschach. Snyder is not an actor's director. He leaves some of his actor's out to dry. Malin Ackerman was pretty awful. I thought that Rorschach was well played. I thought Dr. Manhattan was well played.

The other thing about Zak Snyder that I can't defend is his violence fetish. The book is violent, and that is part of the subversion that is supposed to go with the story. At the same time he took the violent bits and extended them out too long. The skeleton arm hanging from the ceiling is ridiculous.

I couldn't do this without talking about the music. Maybe a bit much. I think the design idea was bold, but fell a little short.

What I will say positive about Zak Snyder is he kept the story intact. This was in development for a long long time, and this could have went a lot of different ways. Snyder kept the story as faithful as he could with the restraints from the studio. He used a lot of creative capital to make this work and I applaud him for it.

I do think it was a little bit short. I can't wait for the director's cut. The great thing about this story is the world it is set in. It makes a whole universe in a very short amount of time. In the director's cut I'm sure we'll get to spend more time in this universe.

I do think that the movie is better if you came from the book. My hope is that the movie will get people to read the book. It's not for everyone, which is great for a big movie. credits ever!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This was a really good one.

The biggest thing about this was how small this thing was domestically. This seems like a movie that should have found an audience but never did. Maybe after the success of 'Slumdog Millionaire'it wil find a DVD audience.

I thought it reminded me a lot of 2001, Alien, and Event Horizon. I hear it's a lot like Solaris, but I haven't seen that.

It plays on a really big scale but its actually not a very big budget. Just the thought of saving the dying sun was enough to make this movie seem big. the computer effects were nothing more than establishing shots.

This movie is really enjoyable if you like "hard" sci-fi.

by the way, got to see watchmen for the second time. I'm writing my thoughts now. Should be up soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sophie's Choice

I think that 'The Reader has ruined holocaust movies.

I was actually intrigued by the whole small town boy in the big city writer thing. I really like Meryl Streep and the relationship with Kevin Kline. The accent didn't bother me at all, in fact it was kind of charming.

When it got to the holocaust stuff however, I just felt kind of cynical towards it. The choice scene was high drama though.

A pretty disapointing AFI 100 movie.

The Last House On The Left (2009)

This has to stop... NOW!

These choads need to stop remaking old horror movies from the 70s and 80s (hell, even from the 00s!). Updating or rebooting (ha, asshole!) these movies has given us only faster and dumber movies and more edit-induced headaches than even the staunchest of horror fans can stomach (although this film spared the audience of having to endure an entire film of flash cuts and instead just bored us to tears with wooden characters and terrible screenwriting. Linda would be beside herself trying to find praise within such a crass and insulting script...)

We saw a preview of this worthless turd last week because we were told that Wes Craven would be doing a Q&A session afterwards. We even saw a little red carpet rolled out in front of the theater, ostensibly for some Hollywood muckity-muck to come parading through a very small doorway into the theater. But who the hell would want to stick around to answer questions about rape and murder? And that ending? I admit, I jumped a little in my seat, just grateful that these guys knew that what they were making was a filthy, stupid joke. But the original was no joke. It was mean and gory and let the audience know that it had to pay for enjoying so much carnage and degradation on screen. The reboot (ASSHOLE!) wanted to rub the audience's face in grime then laugh it off at the end...

Skip this wretched flick. Or download it off of Bit Torrent, if you really want to see it. You'd be better off renting "Funny Games" (which I borrowed from a friend later that night) or watching the original.

Doesn't "Watchmen" open this week?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Frozen River

It's wierd that there aren't many movies about this level of poverty. There was a real humdinger of a moment that was a huge twist. Pretty good.

Monday, March 2, 2009


This was a strange action movie because I wanted to hear the main hero talk about kicking ass more than I wanted to see him do it.

I thought that you have to suspend your disbelief pretty heavily, but if you can, this can be a lot of fun. The action was alright, nothing special, but Liam Neeson (SP?) has so much gravitas that his character worked.

Slumdog Millionare

Yes I know, I did just finally see it...but wow was it amazing. It reminded me a lot of the first time I saw City of God. It was filmed in a similar way with the whole in the slums theme to it. I really loved the cinematography in it, and know I know why it won so many Oscars. They were well deserved.

And then there is that stupid dance at the end. Who was it that came up with the Indian version of the Macarena??

Punisher: War Zone

So this is a little closer to the Ennis Dillon run of the early 2000s. It had the right level of irreverence, but not the black humor.

It was fun, but I wouldn't really reccomend it. Maybe in 10 years we can have a real punisher movie.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I have all these DVDs at my place from the communications project, so I decided to watch a few. This morning I popped in Sunshine because the bit I had watched for the project seemed interesting. Can I say this movie is amazing. hands down amazing. I am writing this blog as I am watching it and I cant even type cuz it is so intense.

Every aspect of this film is amazing, the editing the cinematography, the editing, the acting, the directing, the STORY!!!

If you enjoyed films like the Sphere and all other films, if you enjoy films period you have to see this film.

Simply Amazing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inside Man

I wanted to like this one more than I did. I enjoyed the heist part of it all. There was a very clever twist at the end. I just didn't care for the dark secret thing. Since Jodie Foster's character eliminated the nuclear option.

Jodie Foster played this sort of a badass but she never DID anything to back up her braggadocio.

Clive Owen and Denzel Washington were both great. This was alright.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well I had to rush out to see it since Sean Penn won the Oscar. I still say Micky Rourke got hosed.

Sean Penn did a very serviceable job doing an impression of Harvey Milk, but it was not the best performance of the year. People will be comparing other performances to Mickey Rourke's for a long time. Harvey Milk as a movie creation may be a nice touchstone as far as biopic performances.

All that aside it still was a good performance in a good movie. It was a bit square especially compared to 'Paranoid Park.' I think it was unabashedly a message movie, but it was told in a very sensitive way.

I think the most interesting thing about the movie is how "period" it looks with the dated clothing and music but the news reports of the anti gay argument hasn't changed.

Good flick.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday The 13th (2009)

Tonight I am an asshole.

More so than I usually am. Why? Because I saw the "Friday The 13th" remake (or reboot, an asshole cinematic term if there ever was one). I was excited because these movies were always events for me as a kid, at least starting with the third one. Jason in 3-D? Hell yeah! The final chapter? Oh, hell yeah! New beginning? Jason lives? New blood? Takes Manhattan? GOES TO HELL?!?! HELL FUCKING YEAH!!! The last two films in the series, "Jason X" and "Freddy Vs. Jason", were the most fun. Films that stretched the genre in, if not truly original ways, very imaginative ones. No high art needed. No high minded plot devices. Just some semi-sympathetic people doing very stupid things, getting killed by some mongoloid force of nature. Scary shit, indeed. I knew what I was getting into, I wanted to be entertained, and I got what I wanted.

Now? I'm just an asshole for having seen this latest Hollywood turd, an asshole for having taken John to go see it, an asshole for not walking out on it and an asshole for paying $12.50 in an attempt to satiate my low brow, slasher needs. I watched a film about a bunch of assholes, doing asshole things to each other and getting killed for it...

This film reminded me of Rob Zombie's "Halloween" reboot (ha, what an asshole!), only with less exposition and even more annoying flash cuts (I was half expecting Jason to do some kung fu moves on his victims, but no, the audience was spared that inanity). With the new "Friday The 13th", any kind of heartfelt explanation, no matter how awkward or ill advised, would have been appreciated.

Since this film was produced and directed by the same idiots who bank rolled and shit out "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" reboots (ha ha, God loves a ranting asshole!), it looks like those in terms of lighting and editing (nice to see that Daniel Pearl, the DP for the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", was doing similar duties on this one).

And to top off my night of unfulfilled and shredded desires, while driving John back to his bike, I saw a poster for the "Last House On The Left" reboot (ha ha ha, ha ha ha, HA HA HA!). If the 2009 version of "Friday The 13th" can make 42 million dollars in just one weekend (I think  I just felt Linda Cowgill stick a pin in her voodoo doll of me. She must be so proud...), then who knows? As PT Barnum said, there's one born every minute...

A disturbing trend I've noticed about these films (at least the ones made after 2000) is the prominence of surgically enhanced breasts in the more salacious scenes. Is that a new subtextual theme replacing the old "have sex, then die" modus operandi? Hmmm... 

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Best Years of Our Lives

This movie was on the Afi 100 list. It is strange because I've haven't heard much about this movie previously. Once I started researching it, I found that it was the second highest grossing movie behind 'Gone With the Wind.'

Nothing really stood out cinematically but it was a really touching movie. It's all about the troubles that three WWII veterans had to deal with when they came back from war.

It was a three hour movie, but it didn't feel long.

The actor with no hands was especially effecting.

It was shot by Greg Toland and there was two great shots. One was when Homer (the amputee) punched his hands through a window to scare some kids. The other one was the out of work airforce bomber who walked through a airplane scrapyard.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This movie just barely missed.

I find W a fascinating character. It is this interest that makes this movie bland. I really wish there was a better explanation besides an oedipal complex to make Bush do the things he does.

I am interested in the types of personalities that become people like presidents. I just feel that this movie didn't make me believe that the W character could have done what he did.

I did like the main performance. Josh Brolin truly disapeared into that role. There were times, especially in press conference situations, where it could have been the president himself.

The best scene was the last one, where Brolin (verbatum) recites the strange answer when John Dickerson asked him if he made any mistakes in his term.

P.S. It was lame when they would throw in "Bushisms" into random parts of his life instead of when he said them in press conferences or in speeches.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blood Diner

While waiting for Champ to write about "Black Sheep" (I still can't tell if he liked it or not), I thought I'd revisit a film with similar intentions: Blood Diner.
Made in 1987, the film is about two brothers who try to revive the ancient Lumerian goddess Sheetar by building her a new body using parts from "immoral women". Uh...
Cheerful and bloody as hell, the film is a snap shot of L.A.'s low budget movie scene. Director Jackie Kong only directed four films, and this was her crowning achievement, as well as her swan song from the film industry. From the cheesy gore effects to the endearingly goofy humor (the scene where one of the brothers tries to run over a fat biker who refuses to die is hilarious), Blood Diner is uninhibited and totally shameless. And did I mention that the ending has Sheetar come to life with a large vagina dentata on her chest? She even bites someone's head off. I thought I should say something before anyone ran out to see it...
One sad note: after watching it tonight, I looked it up and learned that Rick Burks, one of the brothers in the film, passed away in 1989.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kung Fu Panda

I enjoyed it. It's short. It's fun. Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black were great. Ian McShane is tremendous, makes me want to watch Deadwood again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Full Metal Jacket

One of the first Stanley Kubrick movies I saw when I was a kid and I decided to watch it again today. It is such a great film from start to finish. The first act is amazing and the second act is something totally different but driven by the events from the first. It was different to watch it based on the instruction we've learned in story. To be completely honest I don't think it follows anything Linda would have allowed as far as story which makes me enjoy it even more.

The movie was a monumental war film when it came out and I think it can be reapplied in the modern war in Iraq.

The Natural

Now I know everyone has seen this now... but i wanted to blog anyways.

It is a surprise I have not seen this already since I do enjoy sports movies and such. I thought the whole story was really good. The lighting was good I think the shot choices were better but anyway. Just a great feel good story that was a joy to watch.

Man On Wire

I watched this flick last night off of a whim, and to be honest it was pretty interesting. The story is about a tight rope walker who crosses the gap between the trade towers.

I thought it was done very well for a documentary. It had me on the edge of my seat for awhile and it was very interesting. I really recommend this movie to anyone who has not seen it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3D

I got a real kick out of this.

The 3D effects made the experience really immersive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that instead of pop out effects most of the effects were there to make the space on the wall seem deep.

As far as the story there was an effective whodunit although the resolution to that was disapointing. The story lied to the audience and I didn't care for that.

did have me jumping. Really fun.


This movie was strange. It seems like everything about it was funny except for Will Farrel and John C. Reily.

The brother and the family cracked me up. The Sweet Child of Mine melody plus the fact that the guy was a Dane Cook fan. all too funny.

I just didn't give a shit about two dudes that did things for seemingly no reason.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

So not long ago, I picked up a copy of the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, not knowing much besides I just wanted to see the movie because it looked good, and still not having seen it, I figured I would read the book first. After getting into the beginning of it, I started doing some research and came across the documentary, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, on Instant Play Netflix.

Now you see the runtime of two hours, which is one long documentary, and that may make you a little uneasy, but honestly, it held me in for every minute. It was so good on many different levels that I’ve been craving to watch it again, just because there was so much to see. Hunter S. Thompson was a very interesting person (it would probably be hard to try to make a boring documentary about him), and the people interviewed in the film appeared to me to be well thought out and smart choices. From Johnny Depp narrating the excerpts of his work, to hearing from the people Hunter actually followed around and wrote about, you can see the work put into the film was driven by passion to make the viewer love Hunter as much as the interviewees that knew him did.

Following the life of Hunter S. Thompson was no easy feat to document; he was such a huge persona that eventually he was a bigger story than the Gonzo journalism he invented and wrote. The mixture of unbelievable home videos of him is in itself just enough to watch the documentary, but the entertaining presentation of his whole entire life was what I found to be just good documentary filmmaking. Even going into the film not knowing much about him or his work, it walked me through it to not only care about him and appreciate who he was, but mind you, it had me crying by the end.

Double Indemnity

I'm narrowing down the AFI 100 list and this was on it. I think I'm really begining to like Billy Wilder as a director because I LOVE 'Sunset Blvd.' and 'Some Like it Hot' and I really like this.

I think this movie will be great to watch in a year or so.

I do like the Noir genre and according to the things I've heard, this is the film that codified what Noir is. It opened the door for Raymond Chandlar to get 'Maltese Falcon' on the screen.

The only thing holding this movie back from being really great today was that the plot and the tropes are so familiar. Like most Genre pieces the twists were predictable but satisfying.

I will say that Fred McMurray was really great in this.

series of short lists

films with best endings to the final frame
1. Cinema Paradiso
2. Storm

sexiest/fulfilling (not pertaining to story at all) kiss
1. Dance Party, USA
2. Spun

movie deaths i still can't accept
1. No One Knows
2. The Godfather Part II
3. The Host

best theater experience (not related to the movie)
1. Pirates of the Caribbean 2.... ticket, soda, popcorn, intermission, another ticket and a shirt FOR FREE!
2. Appoloosa... free premiere... met stars dressed like a transient

funniest coincidental movie block i rented once
1. The Invisibles, The Last Picture Show and Clerks (let you figure it out)
2. Go, Green, Groove (there's a second pattern too)

underrated actors
1. Jeff Bridges 
2. Jeremy Renner
*Casey Affleck got big

best backcover on dvd if you've never heard of them
1. The Night Porter
2. Koyaanisqatsi

funniest docs
1. Kurt and Courtney
2. Grizzly Man

fucked up docs
1. The Bridge
2. Zoo
3. Whole

most badass premises 
1. Perfume: the Story of a Murderer
2. Expiration Date

most style cues i fucking love
1. Baraka
2. Atonement

sexiest french actress
1. Vahina Giocante
2. Audrey Tautou

best title in relation to the story
1. Inside Man
2. Winter Light
3. Quantum of Soloce

greatest single shot
1. Alexander
2. The Thin Red Line

worst genocide movie
1. Ararat

best 9/11 movie
1. 25th Hour
2. United 93

best characters
1. Seven Samurai
2. Anaimalympics
3. I (heart) Huckabees

greatest acceptance to circumstance (related to the story)
1. Woman in the Dunes
2. The Crying Game

greatest symbolism beyond me
1. El Topo
2. Spirited Away

top movie genres not made
1. "Backpacking"
2. "NW Native"

greatest movies i think are okay
1. The Shawshank Redemption
2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

i got bored..........................................THIS IS MY STAND!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

If No Else Is Going To...Slumdog Millionaire

So after all the hype around Slumdog Millionaire, I finally surrendered my $13 and went to the theater. I have to admit, it was mostly what I was expecting, a predictable satisfying ending, but much better than the trailer led to believe. I enjoyed the retrospective style of how the story was told. It was a simple and effective way to not only get through the story, but also reassure me that India is a place I don’t think I want to visit anytime too soon. Though I really admire Danny Boyle for going to the slums (of any place of any country) and running around with a camera and crew and getting the result he did.
To me, the biggest thing it had going for it was primarily the story, and given the current status of our country, it’s an uplifting story that people want to see, which is partly why I think it’s gotten so much praise. Of course, when I watch a movie I never go into “film student mode” and pick it apart (unless it really is horrifyingly awful). I watch for the story and if there are other exceptional elements (cinematography, editing, etc.), then I definitely take notice. With Slumdog, I didn’t really notice much else besides getting sucked into the story.
As for the Oscars, I’ll be surprised if the Academy chooses Slumdog over Benjamin Button, not because I like Button more or less, but because it doesn’t seem to me like the type of movie they would latch onto (maybe not sad enough? The Academy loves it when the major characters die, right?).
To sum it up, I liked it. Although it’s probably not a movie I would just go to see again for kicks and giggles, though it did leave a bit of an impact on me.


So this is my first break on this blog idea. I need to write about every movie. I need to remember that there is no pressure to make a great big blog. But I do need to reflect or the whole project is kaput. I watched this two days ago, and I need to catch up.

JJ Abrams is awesome. I like his sense of timing. He can create really tense scenes. he does a good job creating emotional stakes in his movies.

Tom Cruise really doesn't bother me. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'm a fan of his work. He just has an incredible amount of charisma. You just can't separate him from his characters.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is out of control good in this movie. He is so rotten because he plays this role so flat. A lesser actor without the confidence could have played this like a bond villain, Hoffman plays it like he is selling insurance.

Plot was a little thin, but I had fun traveling to all the set pieces.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Evil Dead 2

I love this movie! It's not as twisted as the first "Evil Dead" movie, and not as funny as "Army of Darkness". But this was the FIRST unrated film I ever saw in a theater. AND it let everyone in the world know who Bruce Campbell is. That, in itself, is reason enough to watch it!
For those who haven't seen it (shame on you), Bruce and his girlfriend go to a secluded cabin in the woods and accidentally release the Deadites. He must find a way to vanquish the Deadites before all hell breaks loose!
One of the better horror films of the mid-80s, "Evil Dead 2" benefits from a larger than ususal budget for a film of this type (thank you, Dino De Laurentis) and the fucked up imagination of Sam Raimi. Whether its a headless corpse dancing in the moonlight or Bruce's fight with his own hand, this is the perfect party film: bloody, funny, and always smart enough to laugh WITH the audience and not at them.
They just don't make them this good anymore...

American Beauty, finally...

I finally saw "American Beauty" last night. I liked it, for the most part. The character of Lester was an archetype I've seen before, but Kevin Spacey did a good job. Annette Bening channeling Candace Bergen was pretty annoying, she was more of an automaton than a human being. The adult characters I felt more for were the Fitts family next door. Chris Cooper was heart breaking as Frank Fitts, and Allison Janney showed what years in a sham marriage would do to your soul. How about a prequel just on this family? It took me awhile to warm up to the teenage cast, but their stories were inevitably more interesting than Lester and Carolyn's. (Even though I called Mena Suvari's big revelation ten minutes after seeing her character, I still felt shocked by it. And why should Lester, after spending the entire film lusting for teenage jailbait, be given such an honorable and easy way out? Matthew Broderick had a more fitting, and more squirm inducing, denouement in "Election".)
Maybe it was because of all the hype this film has been given (by the media and my friends), but I was hoping to have my head taken off at the end (no pun intended). Instead, it reminded me of an adult John Hughes movie, where the people on screen always sounded more clever and witty than people actually are. We all can't have Alan Ball writing our daily dialogue for us. And as wonderful as that would be (I have to see "Towelhead" now; he really should write a movie about the Fitts family), it would suck to have Sam Mendes around to direct your day-to-day comings and goings so damn flatly! (Eeeuuuwww, what a fucked up sentence to write. Thank god this is a blog...)
I recommend seeing Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" for a more affecting view of families coming apart. "American Beauty" feels sanitized compared to some similar films about male angst and family dysfunction. I liked it, but somehow I couldn't get very close to anyone in it. Give me a Lars Von Trier film about messed up relationships any day. But we can't have a Oscar winning film look that grubby and sound that honest, can we?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Dark Knight

Saw this in IMAX today. First time seeing it in IMAX. Also first time I saw it since the DVD release and the Oscar nominations.

Super pissed that this got snubbed from the Oscar pics.

I don't think there is much wrong with this movie. The IMAX make the establishing shots and the big action scenes literally breathtaking. It is such an engrossing experience. Even after all this time there still is something emotionally challenging about it.

The crazy thing about the nominees this year is that in twenty years no one will be talking about the five nominations but we'll be still talking Dark Knight.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Y Tu Mama Tambien

I had been talking with some people recently about the road movie and how it is an American trope. Y Tu Mama Tambien was a nice reminder that Mexico is filled with long expanses of roads as well. I forget how fun it is to be driving around in such a great country.

This movie is very sexy. The sex scenes are very upfront, shot without cuts and very true to life. However its the tension and the flirting between the sex scenes that make this work.

Maribel Verdu is especially interesting in this movie. She is incredibly attractive, and the audience gets to see her at her weakest and strongest moments.

I think something that makes this movie so titillating is that there is a voyeurism to this. It's like we are the fourth memeber in the car. If it had been told by one of the characters, it would have revealed the differences between the characters instead of what connected them.

Between 'Children of Men' and this, I almost want to watch 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkazan' (SP) to see what Alfonso Cuaron saw in that project.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Reader

I admit I went in to this movie wondering if it deserved the Oscar spot over 'Dark Knight,' Wall-E,' or 'Doubt.' So it had a lot going against it.

I started by really enjoying it. The relationship between the boy and the woman had an interesting dynamic. To watch that develop was the best part.

Once some time passed in the story, it took a hard turn towards cliche that made me roll my eyes for the rest of the movie. The second act could have been interesting; German guilt is a strange and complicated issue. That question took a backseat to watch the boy sit around, brood, smoke, and look ridiculous.


the fact that the boy wouldn't testify to help Hannah was thin. I didn't buy it one bit. Also the fact that Hannah thinks that not being able to read is more shameful than being a Nazi ringleader. I don't buy it.

After that it was this sappy prison movie. Then OF COURSE, Kate Winslet has to commit suicide. I could go on. This movie was BAD.

Kate Winslet was great though.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Coming into this movie I didn't have high hopes for it but, I was interested in the technology of it. The 3D technology was good. It was better than the old red and blue glasses 3D movies. However, the technology wasn't use to any of its potential. Almost all of the shots were very flat and did not utilize the fact that the movie is in 3D. This is a disservice to the audience because the point of it being 3D is the use of a deep depth of field. When there is no use of foreground whats the point of having the movie in 3D?

The reason this movie was in 3D was becasue they had a bad story, bad actors and overall bad ideas. The only thing that was decent was the 1st kill and it comes at around 10 minutes into the movie and it is down hill from there. The technology was great but if the content is not any good then the technology isn't worth anything. This movie has neither style or content and it is garbage like this that make 3D movies just a gimmick.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I'm really going to try to keep this about the film. One thing I'm finding out about Herzog is that the story behind the making of his movies can be nearly as interesting as the movies themselves.

If you've been talking movies with me this year, you might know I'm on a Werner Herzog kick. I've been chipping away at his canon and I can't wait to get into some of his more obscure films. I think I'll write a little bit about what i'm thinking of Herzog in a bit, but let's go over this film.

Although this is a story about an alcoholic, a prostitute, and an old man coming to Wisconson to make it in America. I thought that a perspective of these characters brought America into a view that I don't get as someone who has been living here all my life. there was the mix of wonderment of the size as well as the emptiness of the struggle it takes to make it here 9or anywhere, this is a human type story).

that being said Herzog has a great eye for the bizzare. He loves eccentric people, and the strange things that we do. He also loves to see how far a person has to be pushed by their envioroment before they lose their mind. Bruno, the main character, is a sad guy to watch. The final twenty minutes of the movie, he is the opposite of heroic desperation (think Dog Day Afternoon), and he is just insanely desperate.

All that aside, I wasn't as engaged with this movie as I was with Aguirre or Fitzcarraldo. The ending is worth the wait however. I didn't even know the things he recorded even exsisted, let alone in Indian Resevations.

I think the thing that really moves me about Werner Herzog's movies are his stubbornness to shoot what is interesting instead of what is "correct." Also even in his highly produced movies (something like Rescue Dawn), there is this strong documentary feel. Ironically his documentaries feel like they are produced.

i can't wait to throw another Herzog movie on the list. He hasn't failed me yet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Whackness

it was good. Based in 1994, which Im sure most of us can relate to. Anywho, it was an interesting movie about a troubled hid who just graduated high school and like most people in that point in life is confused. The director made some very interesting choices in directing this movie. For example at one point n time the kid is on top of the world and as he walks down the the sidewalk, it lights up, just like the MJ music video that came out around that time. There is a a few moments like that in the movie, but very few, so it is not over done or annoying. I really enjoyed how they captured the 90's generation, for example, kurt cobains death, B.I.G.'s new album, a shot with the world trade center, etc. This is a coming of age story and is a good one. I recomend seeing this, I did not think i would like it, but it was good. Peace nuckas

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

High Tension

God bless free movies On-Demand for all us lazy bums... Just finished watching "High Tension" again.
The film is well lit and photographed and the director creates some of the most nerve-wracking scenes of suspense this side of early John Carpenter. The characters were all pretty sympathetic and when everything starts rolling down hill, I found myself rooting for the main character and her quest to save her best friend from a fat and dirty psychopath (his opening scene is pretty strong stuff, especially for any mainstream film made after the 1970s).
The ending was reviled by many people I knew when the film was first released. I thought it was handled well and fit the tone of the movie. Any other denouement might have come off as hokier than what was eventually shown. I can forgive a film for not knowing how to end when it has already put my eyes and imagination through the proverbial wringer ("A Nightmare On Elm Street" comes to mind).
I recommend a viewing, if only to warn people about the perils of getting your head caught between two wooden stair balusters while some psycho decides to rearrange the furniture in the hallway. Trust me.

Director Alexandre Aja also did the "The Hills Have Eyes" remake and the recent "Mirrors". At least he started out strong...

Sleepy Hollow

I just watched Sleepy Hollow last night, and I have to say that the cinematography is amazing! I love how it almost feels like it was shot in black and white because of all the darks cool tones they used in the costumes and even the buildings. Jonny deep is also amazing in it, but I just love how interesting and almost jokerish charters he always plays. If you haven't seen it, put it on your list :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Casablanca - 1/19/09

This movie never gets old. One of the movies that I own, and I don't own a lot of them. I watched it in class today. A bit of a shame when you consider how much each hour is costing me, but let's talk the movie.

After doing film school for this short bit it's been changing the way I look and watch movies. What I noticed about watching this movie at this time is no matter how much I tried, I had a hard time analyzing this. I get really drawn into this story. I don't think much of Michael Curtiz as a director, and I think that this movie is a success because of the acting and the writing. The characters are so recognizable but personal and unique.

I still can't get over the scene where they have the dueling anthems between the French and the Germans. Something about that scene gets me every time. The room always gets a little dusty.

I'm trying to think of another serendipity movie. A movie that comes out of nowhere and despite all the resources that go into it, it comes out unexpectedly spectacular. Awesome. Awesome.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

All The Presidents Men - 1/17/09

I'm trying to rewatch all of the AFI 100 movies again. It's been a while since I watched 'All the President's Men.' Although I did enjoy the movie overall, I feel that there is something good or even great about this movie, I didn't personally get involved in the story. It's almost like it needed a pop-up video feature to keep the viewer up on all names and dates that come up without explanation. Maybe the movie was too topical for it's own good.

That being said the cinematography was a lot better than I remember. The best scene in the movie was when Woodward was calling Dahlberg and the scene was all one take that took about 5 minutes and there was a really slow push. It made the whole thing very exciting.

Overall, good flick, but something kept me at a personal distance.