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.