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|Monday, August 20th, 2007|
|Wednesday, January 12th, 2005|
|Wednesday, December 15th, 2004|
|Monday, November 15th, 2004|
new site's almost up.
Saw a bunch of movies.
The 7 up! series is good and getting better (I'm on 21).
The Philadephia Story didn't really do it for me. Cary Grant wasn't very Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart either. Ah well.
The Incredibles was excellent
. Did anyone else notice that Sarah Vowell
did the voice of the daughter?
|Thursday, November 4th, 2004|
|Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004|
|Tuesday, October 26th, 2004|
Ok, so I lied about the new site being up soon.
Here's a quick recap of what I've seen recently:
The Parallax View: 12/15. It's just better than middle of the road, but even the mediocre 70's paranoia thrillers are ten times bettter than what's out today.
The Cider House Rules: 13/15. Yeah, I'm sure if I thought about it, I'd know how cheap it is, but sometimes you want something you don't want to have to think about. Unlike Big Fish, though, it doesn't shove its stupidity in your face; it puts on a guise of honesty the whole way.
Saved! 11/15. It's a good teen movie, but not really anything more than that. Jena Malone should be reaching a crossroads soon. I hope she doesn't follow the unfortunate Leelee Sobieski.
The Tin Drum: 12/15. It looked beautiful, and the first half-hour or so is near flawless. The rest gets a little mired in hyper-symbolism or not enough symbolism. Maybe it's just not being familiar enough with specific German history.
Primer: 14/15. Excellent and original sci-fi flick. Try not to read anything about it and just go see it. What it does so well is that its universe is such a natural extension of the real world, it's all the more awesome, despite the fact its scope is severly limited by its budget.
True Grit: 8/15. The girl's good, but everything else is just middling. John Wayne definitely has had better acting performances; it's a shame he got the pity Oscar for this instead of The Shootist, where he actually is deserving of one.
Solaris (the Tarkovsky one): 7/15. Gets lots of creepy points, but then again, so does Event Horizon. It touches on a bunch of really interesting issues, but doesn't really do
anything with them. I wouldn't mind the slow pacing as long as it actually went somewhere.
Ed Wood: 12/15. A nice story from back when Burton had real emotion in his films. The staging of everything is a nice homage.
|Friday, October 15th, 2004|
Emily made me this shirt. I'm really excited.
Also, I'm a total geek.
|Sunday, October 3rd, 2004|
So I always imagined Anthony Lane as being one of those snarky Dan Savage types, but it turns out he's just British.
I mean, look how well groomed he is:
And he has a wife
, though I swear he thought 8 Women
was one of the best movies, ever, but I suppose you can chalk that up to being British, too.
So anyway, we caught the New Yorker festival showing of Duck Soup
at the DGA auditorium. The beneficent New Yorker gave away free water and Milk Duds (Milk Duds!), but the dogmatic DGA took them away at the door. (The New Yorker people suggested we hide them in our bags).
The movie was good, but I just don't think I'm a big Marx Brothers fan. I liked it a lot more than A Night at the Opera
Afterwards, Anthony Lane just barely fended off one of those comment whores, but scored major points by conspicuously checking his watch and interrupting with "So, what's your question?".
And then there were more Milk Duds.
(I have a bunch of backlogged reviews, but most weren't really notable. A couple notes, though. Save the last half-hour The English Patient
wasn't as great as everyone seems to think. It's sad, too, because the one thing it does really well, its epicness and depth of importance, was the one thing absolutely lacking in Cold Mountain
which I desparately want to be one of my favorite movies, but it's just not good. Let's hope next time Anthony Minghella
can pull both halves off.
was really good. Who knew?)
|Friday, October 1st, 2004|
I've got a backlog of reviews, but I got some webspace so I'll be moving off of LJ when I get everything set up, alas. Look for www.garamond10pt.com
to go live soon-ish.
On another note, the Iron Chef
's theme is from Backdraft, a track called "Show me your firetruck". Good job, guys.
|Monday, September 27th, 2004|
Got myself some robot shoes. I'm trying to figure out if I should screen a robot in red on the side.
Spent yesterday walking down B'way checking out the new Tom Otterness
sculpture exhibition on the mall. It was also really interesting seeing Harlem give way to Columbia back to the more run down 90's until the full-blown Upper West Sidedness of the 70's. Apparently there's a ping-pong club around 100th st. Who knew? Also: the Ollie's in the 80's looks a lot like "Ollie'e". Thumbs down to bad signage.Mildred Pierce
(1945), Michael Curtiz:
Strange how Michael Curtiz
isn't a familiar name. I mean Casablanca
alone should do it for him, and then there's Robin Hood and this.
It seems odd of all forties genres to mix melodrama and noir, but it works really well. All the standard melodrama setpieces seem pretty similar to the noir ones, it's always about wanting and the friction that comes from it.
(1924), Buster Keaton, Donald CrispThe Love Nest
(1923), Buster Keaton, Edward F. ClineThe Boat
(1921), Buster Keaton:
The Navigator isn't Keaton
at his best. It does seem like a minor work; there's just not the same imagination en masse as in some of the others. It does, however, have some of the funniest bits I've ever seen on screen.
The Love Nest also had some really funny gags and good rhythm.
The Boat I wasn't that sold on. Some stock gags, some nice touches, but nothing that special. Then again, Buster Keaton in the rotating room is alwasy funny.
|Friday, September 24th, 2004|
|Monday, September 20th, 2004|
| Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
(2004), Kerry Conran:
Sigh, part II of my highly disappointing movies of the year series. I would say there's always The Life Aquatic
, but I don't want to jinx it.
Ok, so it looks gorgeous, there's that. Not even in a Attack of the Clones
type of way, but absolutely gorgeous, melding technology with art design and an actual goddamn asthetic (You hear that, Lucas?) Unfortunately, Mr. Conran
doesn't seem to have that much experience in other areas such as writing and directing and such not. I mean, it's great to have a vision, it's also great to know how to execute that (yet another lesson to be learned from Mr. Lucas.)
It's evident in almost every aspect of the movie. The action scenes, which should be the highlight, are too confusing. There's really not much explanation one way or another why
they're doing what they're doing, instead of something else that doesn't involve being in the middle of a firefight. I mean, without a goal, there's really not much tension.
The acting was for the most part horrible. Jude Law
tried to get by on charisma alone, which doesn't work all time. Gwyneth
lost, adopting the New York lady reporter diction for all of two lines, and running away from the CG robots in a manner befitting someone running to catch a cab. Of the entire cast, only Angelina Jolie
knew how to play it perfectly. Giovanni Ribisi
was decent, but the role didn't do much, and the rotting corpse of Laurence
was pretty much a letdown. This, too, I blame on Mr. Conran. To bring back Lucas, if Hayden Christensen does a bad job, it might just be him, but a cast like this should do better.
There's a bunch of little things that sabotage the rhythm of the piece. There's really only a couple of things that are built up that ever receive their resolution. For the rest, they're either left hanging or resolve for no reason at all. A lot of the things are excusable, but how about the chemistry between Jude and Gwyneth?
Also, why are they referring to World War One if this takes place in 1938/1939? It might
be an homage to a possible continuity error of period comic books, but I'm not about to give him credit for that just yet.
It had some really witty parts, though, and there's definitely the making of an Indiana Jones style adventure somewhere in there. Here's hoping that next time it comes together better.
|Saturday, September 18th, 2004|
| American Movie
(1999), Chris Smith:
I feel like it's the people who really liked Waiting for Guffman
who were behind this movie. I couldn't really get into it. It was
engaging, but after a while I just wanted to know what was going to happen instead of following Mark
(1976), Don Siegel:
A near perfect end of career movie for John Wayne
. It's a perfect part and has a great surrounding ensemble. Jimmy Stewart
has to be there, and he is, and Lauren Bacall
is always great. Bittersweet without ever becoming saccharine. Everything looks great, too. The only soft spots are the lamentable Ron Howard
and the horrible camerawork. It's the only thing that really dates the film.
14/15The Man Who Loved Women
(1977), François Truffaut:
A very witty Truffaut product. There's some really funny moments in there, which is impressive because most of it falls on the side of being New Yorker
"Huh, that's funny" funny. It's also a pretty insightful portrayal of the relationship between men and women.
(2004), Lars Van Trier:
Thank you Lars
for making me hate the human race for another three hours.
Did he purposely cast it as he did? I mean, they're all great, great actors, but it seems an odd choice to cast Nicole Kidman
, Paul Bettany
, Stellan Skarsgård
, and Zeljko Ivanek
in the great American movie.
It's a great movie, though. With the whole Our Town
thing, it's the perfect arena for looking at humanity. In a way, it's pretty much the same premise as Pleasantvile
. Taking the stock characters of old americana and giving them real emotions. Of course, Pleasantville never really left the safety of the old pattern. I mean, seeing the kind soda jerk become a kind artist doesn't really mean anything. Seeing the nice, inept writer, head full of lofty ideas, give into human temptations is what's really interesting.
|Thursday, September 16th, 2004|
| The Man Who Came to Dinner
(1942), William Keighley:
One big catfight of a movie and Bette Davis
is the nice one? She's easily the best thing of the movie. The rest I could go without, what's the fun of having a no-good curmudgeon if there's no comeuppance? What about the phone bill???
These are the things I worry about. The movie was pretty enjoyable once I let go, but it took a while.
(1988), George Sluizer:
I had expected better. I've just heard and read such great things about this movie and what do I get? A psychological thriller that doesn't exactly try to out-Hitchcock Hitchcock
but doesn't exactly try to do anything else. The end was good, but there really has to be more.
9/15They Were Expendable
(1945), John Ford:
One of the great lurid movie titles. It's really just a solid, middle-of-the-road war drama. It's John Ford; he keeps an even keel throughout. John Wayne
isn't quite John Wayne, which is a good thing in my book, and Donna Reed
does that whole cute thing pretty well.
|Monday, September 13th, 2004|
Had a nice day yesterday.
Started off with Sherman's March
(1986), Ross McElwee:
Which is a good entry point for a lazy Sunday. It's funny and fascinating, but laid back enough that you can step away to tend to your hashbrowns. It's a shame that his other movies don't seem to be as good as this, though I guess this really is a singular piece. It did seem to run a tad long, and I'm not sure how replicable it could be. Regardless, it holds together remarkably well and is a surprisingly coherent look at the South in society, not too distant from his original intentions.
After that, we completed the holy grail of living in New York, actually going to The Cloisters
on a Sunday afternoon instead of just making plans to do so. I still feel a little guilty skimping on the donation, but I guess if they really wanted us to pay the full $14 (which is a little pricey), they'd make it full admission, or at least give more of a puppydog guily face. Maybe even a sign of resignation would be enough, but there was none.
It's really amazing how uncity North Manhattan is. I mean, trees, and rocks and stuff. I'd say it's the calming presence of Jersey, but I guess all of West Manhattan has that. Maybe it's the Bronx.
What next? We've been on a big Tony Bourdain kick, and I've been craving steak, so Les Halles
was the only reasonable solution. What's nice is that it's not really a "food experience" place; it really just seems like a place that sells really extravagent comforting food, more concerned with the actual food than the exoticism or presentment. Well, having a slab of butter on your sirloin is always great, too. Good beer
is a plus, too. There's no awkward formality of inspecting the cork and swirling and sniffing while everyone knows that you really have no idea what you're doing. And at least I know something about beer.
Then we went to the Film Forum
and for once I actually made it through a show there without falling asleep, despite being full of meat and beer.Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
(1927), FW Murnau:
Sunrise was really really good. I had only seen Nosferatsu
and hated it, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from Murnau
, but the production values were really really nice. There's no silly or primitive movie pieces that date the film, and the actors seem really to be acting, not silent-film-acting. For some reason, I expected the film to be much darker than it was, but once I got the hang of it, it was astounding. It's a shame Murnau didn't make more Hollywood films. I hear good things about The Last Laugh
|Saturday, September 11th, 2004|
|Friday, September 10th, 2004|
| The Apostle
(1997), Robert Duvall:
It seems a little too much like Robert Duvall
's personal project than a movie he just thought he should make. For some reason, though, seeing people start up in a new town always makes for good story. Maybe it's seeing people do what they do, I don't know. Besides all that, though, I'm not sure it really does what it's supposed to do. Billy Bob
comes, gets saved, and promptly disappears from the movie. Well, Robert Duvall does a good job.
12/15The Asphalt Jungle
(1950), John Huston:
I just couldn't really get into it. Heist films blah blah.
|Monday, September 6th, 2004|
| Love and Death
(1975), Woody Allen:
A lot of it was lost on me because I'm not really that up on my Russians. There's some amazing gags, though, back when Allen wasn't too shy about letting everyone else have one-liners. Diane Keaton
really is wonderful.
12/15The Big Heat
(1953), Fritz Lang:
It's a nice noir, not of the standard femme-fatale-broken-destiny type, which is refreshing. The acting isn't particularly great, and it shows at places, but it's just so delightfully lurid
. I mean, disfiguration by boiling coffee, blackmailing widows in fur coats, all that fun stuff.
(1975), Robert Altman:
Emily really had the best points to say about this. She likes the sound editing, which she feels helps keep everything together. She's disappointed that it didn't come from an honest love of Nashville. She also says that she needs a second viewing to really get this movie, and I think so too.
One of the reasons Altman is a genius is the way he can juggle the characters and plot arcs and loose ends without losing the audience, and he does exceptionally here. The problem is that some things do get lost and you can't really invest yourself into any one thing except the couple major storylines. I liked the movie, but I didn't love it.
|Saturday, September 4th, 2004|
| Household Saints
(1993), Nancy Savoca:
Ugh. The first half hour? Great. The second? Also great. The third? Starting to get suspect, but it looks like it's going to pull through. Then... Jesus? No, really, Jesus?
(1987), Woody Allen:
I really don't see what Woody Allen sees in Dianne Wiest
. I'm just glad he hung on to Diane Keaton
. Julie Kavner
is also really great, though I never really noticed her until now. It's not classic Allen, but it excels when it needs to and doesn't make a single bad move.