Search This Blog

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec 10th 2009, Week relating to 12/1 – 12/7

Movies Seen: *First Time Viewed
Jackie Chan’s First Strike*
Jackie Brown*
When Harry Met Sally
Clash of the Titans*
Jesus Camp*

I swear I did not intend to see 2 movies with the word Jackie back to back on purpose. It just happened that way.

Jackie Chan’s First Strike:
I sat down on a lovely evening with Kempo and Aaron to watch a VHS copy of this movie. Have you heard of VHS? It’s on these tape things and it doesn’t have any menus and the picture quality is kind of crappy, but they work in a pinch. This movie had some really funny dubbing in it, which is just a standard for old Jackie Chan movies I suppose. The action was all over the place. I mean ALL OVER. From the snow, to the beach, to underwater, aye ya! I think the underwater fighting was probably my favorite part just because it was so out there. Although I don’t like sharks…. By the way, if you wanted to see Jackie Chan’s butt, this is the movie.

Jackie Brown:
After having watched this movie, I can see why some people like it least out of Tarantino’s films. It is almost completely different then his other movies. There is very little action, the dialogue is of a different sort than other Tarantino flicks, and it’s shot in sequence (that was a joke). I still liked this one a lot. It’s a really great story with lots of tension and great cinematography. It has some of the best acting I have seen in any Tarantino movie. The music is so GOOD. I need to buy this movie already. It wasn’t what I expected because from what I have seen of blaxploitation movies, I thought it would be something laughable the entire way through. I guess I need to go watch some more movies. What a shame for me.

When Harry Met Sally:
This is a movie Sarah loves that she introduced to me a few years ago, that I also love now. It’s what every romantic comedy probably strives to be. Smart, funny, relatable, and smart. Did I mention smart? Billy Crystal represents a REAL guy in this movie. We like sports (by “we” I mean a typical guy, the only sport I like is baseball), we have our guy friends we trust completely, and we can be just as emotional and broken as women are typically portrayed in romcoms. I love that Billy Crystal isn’t typically handsome because it makes the whole thing seem more real. Plus I think he’s a great actor. I cannot speak for how Meg Ryan represents the woman’s view point, but she is also great in the movie. It wouldn’t have been the same with a different actress (well, duh). I will say that she doesn’t represent a weak female POV in the movie. It’s a really good movie, you should watch it if you haven’t.

Clash of the Titans:
I have started listening to a new podcast called the Film Sack, in which every week they watch a movie that can be viewed streaming off of Netflix. Having never seen Clash of the Titans, I thought it couldn’t hurt to take a look. I am so glad I did because I honestly loved it. It isn’t like any movie I have really seen before, and I was really impressed with the acting and the stop animation within it. I thought I would hate it for sure. I really like how the Gods in the movie were a bunch of petty arsewipes and were always doing things behind each other’s backs. Clash has some very good action scenes, most famous is probably the Medusa fight, which actually had me laughing but I still thought it was pretty cool. Why does Perseus just kind of toss his shield away? He could have used it later! The creatures were all very cool looking, and I don’t just mean for their time. I think a lot of thought must have gone into the animation. I even liked the mechanical owl. I want to get this movie and watch it with my nephews and nieces so they can make fun of me for liking it. I don’t care if they do, because someday they’ll look back and say “Joel made us watch some weird movies.”

Jesus Camp:
I never want to watch this movie again. That sounds really harsh, but the whole time I sat through this movie in class, I was cringing and probably making little sounds of pain. Its not because it’s a bad movie, in no way would I say that. One sided sure, but what documentary isn’t. It’s because I wanted to reach into the film and shake those people. I wanted them to stop lying to their children and make them wake the hell up. They use scare tactics to make these children believe that they MUST be the only way, the truth. The movie is not a commentary on religion as a whole; they only focus on one branch of Christianity, one church group specifically. Even now, I don’t like to think about the movie. I don’t know if I can recommend it because it made me feel this way.

Now, one may be wondering why it took me so long to complete this week that I started so long ago. I figured out something key for myself in the future; I was stuck on writing up something about the movie Miss Congeniality and thought I was just having a sort of writer’s block. Several weeks later of typing a sentence and then quitting I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. I had not REALLY watched the movie. I simply had it on in the background while I did other things. So I didn’t have a clear picture in my head about what I wanted to say about the movie. So the lesson is that I should only write up something on movies that had my full attention. Or at least 75 percent of it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec 7th 2009, Week Relating to 11/24 – 11/30

Movies Seen: *First Time Viewed
The Fantastic Mr. Fox*
Hot Fuzz

As you can see, I finally took somewhat of a break. It wasn’t really an active choice, Thanksgiving got in the way. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving (Thank you Sarah and family!) and I hope everyone else did too. Enough guff, gimme some movies.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox:
I appreciate the effort that is put into stop-animation. Years of tireless work for a couple hours of film, it’s pretty crazy when you think about it. But I suppose a lot of things in life are like that. The Fantastic Mr. Fox did not look good not me. The trailer made the dialog seem underwhelming, the movements seemed stilted, I expected garbage. I would have sworn up and down that Wes Anderson and animation of any sort just did not go together. I was wrong. Why am I wrong about these things so often? Maybe it just seems that way. The adaptation of the Fantastic Mr. Fox presented here is itself, fantastic. So many excellent sight gags. So many goofy moments and funny lines of dialog. This is a movie I want to show my kids some day. It was full of adventure and quite a few moments where you could actually relate with these anthropomorphic characters. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the animation, despite my worries. What I had taken for stilted action was one part in the movie that was stylized and ended up looking (being) really cool. I think by the end my face hurt from grinning so much. Even if you hate Wes Anderson movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket) you should treat yourself to this movie, because it was great.

Having just seen the sequel to this the previous week and having quite enjoyed New Moon, I decided I owed it to myself to see the first movie. Plus, Sarah dropped a lot of cash to get the DVD, as Black Friday had just come and gone and the cheaper versions of the movie were nowhere to be found. I didn’t like this one as much as the second. It really came off as a long car commercial. I don’t know if the rest of you noticed that, but they take as many opportunities as possible to pull that brand new car that Edward drives around in front the camera as possible. The movie also seemed slower paced to me, which I’m sure people can argue otherwise with. And despite being slower paced, it also feels now like it was over really fast. How does that work you ask? I don’t know. I’m insane. They had less of a budget then the new one, so they get away with the lack of special effects. The scene near the end where the bad vampire gets killed was really funny. Sorry, spoilers I guess. I still want to see the next movie. I’ll bet it’ll have even more action in it. OOOOOOOOO

She’s got a GREAT ASS! Favorite line, hands down. This movie has been hyped and hyped and hyped to me over the years. So many times someone has said my least favorite exclamation in reference to this movie (YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT????). So Sarah and me sat down one cold winter’s evening and popped this into the player. 3 hours of Michael Mann. 3 hours of Val Kilmer breathing through his mouth. 3 hours of Al Pacino exclaiming things. I am sorry, but the movie didn’t do it for me. The gun fight outside the bank did not do it for me. The conversation between Pacino and Deniro did not do it for me. I was sorely disappointed. So many people really loved this movie. I liked a lot of the acting, both Deniro and Pacino are great. I don’t like that Kilmer only had a few lines the entire movie. And why do people always have to kill Danny Trejo? What did he do to you? I don’t think his death toll is as bad as Sean Bean’s, but still. The whole shoot out after the bank seen just did not seem realistic to me. The LAPD just has automatic weapons that they fire into crowded roadways? I don’t know. I should watch it again, I feel bad for not liking it. Movie guilt, sheesh…

Hot Fuzz:
I did not realize that we were going to be watching this in my film class when I watched it the week before. It’s worth a double viewing anyways, it’s a great movie. Our teacher pointed out to us how it casually pokes fun at the homosexual relationship most action-buddy flicks contain within their main plot lines. I cannot believe I didn’t notice before (that is, did not notice it making fun of the other movies for doing this). I have never seen Point Break, but if the gun was to symbolize Keanu Reeves penis, and he fires it up in the air instead of at Patrick Swayze… well that’s just playing with himself isn’t it?

And that is that for me. I wish I had something wise to say. Hmmm, I want Inglorious Bastards on DVD for Christmas! Oh, that’s not wisdom. Peace out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nov 24th 2008. Week Relating to 11/17 – 11/23

Movies Seen: *First Time Viewed
Hot Fuzz*
Annie Hall*
The Twilight Saga: New Moon*
This is Spinal Tap*

This was a week of movies I “had to see”. You know, the kind of films where people’s jaws drop as they exclaim “You haven’t seen ??? (insert movie here)”. With the exception of Twilight that is. That was my gentlemanly duty, escorting my girlfriend to her chick flick. I did some pushups before hand, I like to work out, I’m a real man. Then I watched some football. Yeah, that’s me all over. Just because I cried during some of the sensitive parts doesn’t make me less of a man. In fact, I’m pretty sure those were man tears. I think I heard them sexually harassing someone as they slid down my cheeks.

Hot Fuzz:
Bloody brilliant. I am a fan of Simon Pegg. I am a fan of Shaun of the Dead. But this movie, I just did not expect it to be so freaking GOOD! It was funny and fascinating. I can’t believe how many times I was laughing out loud while watching this. Damn you Aaron! Stop introducing me to such good stuff! Next thing you know I’ll be getting a Hellboy tattoo. Anyway, the movie. From the previews I thought this would be a lot of action in stupid ways straight off. But the movie starts by introducing you to the main character, and from there it starts a very steady progression of story. It is never boring, but quirky in a British humor kind of way. I just cannot say how much I enjoyed this film. It’s on par with my love for the movie Snatch, and if you know me, you know I love me that movie (you thought I was going to say something dirty didn’t you?).

Annie Hall:
I don’t know if you know this, but Woody Allen writes some funny stuff. And acts it out. And directs it. He’s good, I’ll leave it at that. I find myself at a blank when trying to describe this movie. I would hate to under represent it, because it means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s referenced in a hundred other movies and countless other media forms. This is what I am going to say as my initial estimation (having only seen it the once): It was a very funny comedy. It has a lot of camera shots that, as far as I know, were unusual for a comedy. And that’s why I’m getting my blank, it’s not just a comedy. Annie Hall seems really important. I can see myself going back to it every few months to see those conventions again that I have and will see repeated in tons of other movies. Does that make any sense? Sorry if I’m being totally confusing.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon:
Let’s get this out of the way: I have not seen that first movie. Why would I want to watch a movie about sparkly emo vampires? I stand by that, as there was at least one extremely emo vampire in this movie. But God help me, I enjoyed New Moon. There were some boring parts, like when they show a progression of time by spinning around Bella sitting in a chair (frankly, I got a little ill), but I found it really interesting most of the time. I love stories (yes, in general). My favorite section of the movie, and the part that will get me to watch other movies in the series, are the last 30 minutes or so. They introduce a set of characters that I found fascinating right away. There is a lot of action in New Moon, and I liked the way the effects were done, although the slowing down-speeding up thing may have been overdone. There was really only one part that REALLY bugged me. I’m not going to spoil anything. These wolves are fighting, and they rush into the forest, and knock over the camera. What was the point of that? I can understand going for realism, especially when the wolves are nothing but CGI, but to knock over the camera was to take me out of the story world. To indicate that, yes, this is a movie and being filmed. If it had happened on set, that’s one thing, but like I said, these weren’t real creatures, so I doubt that. So what’s up with that? Bad move I say.

3rd time I have seen this movie. I am officially all about it. This time around I really paid attention to the sound. Each character in the movie has their own music. It is really fascinating to me how much thought went into this movie. I saw the correlation between the bright/faded real world and the neon/dark other world. I noticed the way that in the real world Coraline herself is the only one with any bright colors. I recognized how the sewing theme and the spider go together so naturally. I cannot believe I did not notice before! And finally the voice acting, which is done so well. I just looked it up on IMDB and I was pleased to note that both Keith David ( and Ian McShane ( do voices in the movie. I had NO idea it was them. Pleased as punch, that’s me. I have to say that the first time I watched Coraline I was not wowed at all. I don’t know what that says other then I am seeing that you can’t really start to “get” a movie until you have seen it a few times. Maybe I owe Buffalo ’66 another run through…

This is Spinal Tap:
Mockumentaries… Christopher Guess movies on a whole… not really my bag. They consist of extremely dry humor. The kind of stuff you barely have time to chuckle at before they throw more at you. I think I’m smart (I cannot suppress my ego enough to think otherwise), but I need more time to process stuff. MORE TIME! Even so, This is Spinal Tap was really funny. I was amazed to find I liked the music being played, and it was hilarious. Part of the reason it was so funny was that I thought it wouldn’t at all be farfetched if a rock band would write lyrics like they had in the movie. And it is really good music. Great guitars, great singing. For some reason I thought the movie would be more raunchy. Cucumbers in tin foil aside it didn’t really push that envelope. I advise anyone who likes Flight of the Conchords or the Office to watch this movie, because I think you will get a kick out of it. I wish I had more to say. Sigh.

I love movies. Keep them coming. I feel like I am starting to get a hold on the big picture, even if it’s only a few threads at a time. If you have any recommendations for me that I haven’t watched, please let me know. I started a Twitter account, but I have no idea how to use it, so bollocks to that. Cheerio and happy movie watching to all!