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Monday, August 9, 2010

5 Movie that made me love Inception

You know the thing about personal blogs, are that they are personal. So here I intend to dwelve into my feelings about some films I have seen, recently or not, and you are completely entitled to agree with them. You are also entitled to disagree, to hate my work, and to never read it again. But I prefer that if you disagree you give me a concise posted response on why you do, and leave about any insults pertaining to my weight, thought capacity, or political affiliation.

I run in fear of trolls and the power they have had over me in the past.

Now, from the title of this post, one can surmise that I LOVED Inception. I really did. And I am not so naive as to think it a perfect movie, or flawless, or any such thing you can think of. I had problems with parts of it, but I left the theater both times I have seen it with my jaw on the floor feeling good about the blockbuster for the first time in years. I don't intend to review it here, let me just say that if you haven't seen it, it is worth a watch on the big screen.

After the first time I saw it, I sat in my car in little old Santa Paula thinking about how my mind needed to be reassembled. While picking the pieces back up, I started a web of connections to other movies that I had been reminded of, and how rather than hindering my viewing of Inception, these movies had made it all the better. So, I thought I would write this out in a small essay (and I use the word essay loosely). Tell me what you think?

Memento:
Well, this is like a gigantic duh written in big letters across my blog. Memento, written and directed by Chris Nolan, is bound to have some connections to this movie. If I hadn't seen Memento and liked it so much, I probably would have liked this movie so much. Nolan knows how to make his shots interesting, how to get emotion from his actors, how to get emotion from his audience. I also propose this (spoiler?): Mr. M. Night Shyamalan may have once been considered the master of the twist, but I think this title should be firmly in Christopher Nolan's hands. Although, come to think of it, perhaps this is not a reputation someone would want, after all, it hasn't served Shyamalan very well of late.

Dark City:
Listen, if you haven't seen Dark City and you like sci-fi or comics, go out and rent it right now. It is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it EXTREMELY layered. I didn't realize how layered it was until I listened to the commentary track on the DVD. (spoilers for Dark City) So, if you have seen this one, the city building sequences in Inception had to have come to mind while watching the movie. Not to mention the manipulation of people while they are sleeping. There is a certain goofiness to the way John Murdock's (played amazingly by Rufus Sewell) power are shown in the movie, but the waves that come from his mind also remind me of the dreamscape of Inception, where when one becomes aware of the dream and ripples begin to appear and shake the very foundation. Dark City is brilliant, and I wish I could remember who turned me on to it in the first places.

Brick:
Maybe it is just because I love Brick so much, but I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was amazing in Inception. Brick is a Marlowe-esqe detective story that takes place in High School. You follow Brendan (J Gordon-Levitt) as he tries to unravel the mystery placed before him (can you tell I want to give nothing away?). Brendan is not smooth or suave, but determined and brave. He will get the job done even if it costs him his life. A warning, the way people talk in Brick is very stylized, and may require a second viewing. I have seen it 7 times at least, and once with the subtitles. How did this effect my viewing of Inception? Well, besides the Levitt love (<3) I walked in with my eyes wide open. When it comes to most movies now, I pay VERY careful attention to what is said, and what is shown. A good director does not waste any shots, so when they focus in on a decrepit looking house, it is not just to give you the creeps. It is because there is something important to see and remember.

Hard Candy:
Now this movie is not for the faint of heart. In fact, I imagine it can be quite painful for some people. I personally think that everyone should see it, because it shows a woman in control. A WOMAN. Can you imagine? Don't tell me that Hollywood is not run by guys for guys, because I have taken enough film classes with a liberal teacher to know the truth (Hi Riley!). So, why Hard Candy for this list? Purely because if I hadn't seen it, I would have expected CRAP from Ellen Page. "But she was great in Juno!" SHUT UP. Listen, Juno has its merits, and I can see how some parts of it are very good, but I was not a fan of the movie. No one talks like that. NO ONE. Its like The West Wing, it just doesn't happen that way. People are not that eloquent, myself very much included. Sorry, this isn't about Juno, its about Hard Candy. Ellen Page, is amazing in this movie, as is Patrick Wilson, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. The movie is brutal, as I said before, but it is also very VERY clever. Ellen Page has my total respect for doing it, and I will see her in almost anything now. Oh, and she was good in Whip It!

G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra:
BWAH? What the hell is THIS movie doing on my list? Well, it’s a funny thing, (spoilers for Inception, I don't give a crap about GI JOE) but during the snow scene, I kept thinking Man this is a good action scene! Now, where did I see snow in an action movie before recently? G I EFFING JOE. Not a movie I liked at all. If Joe had been shot like just that short set of action scenes in Inception, the movie would have been 200 times better, giving it a score of 8. 8 out of 100. Now, let us never speak of that Joe movie again.

So there you have it. I have heard people throw around titles like Eternal Sunshine and Paprika. Sure, they have the dreams in them and all, but this movie wasn't a fairy tale. There wasn’t any whimsy, and I am glad for it. If I want whimsy, I'll go watch Tim Burton from the 90's.

Agree, disagree, want to know where I buy my snazzy outfits? Please send an email to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Or post on the Facebook page. Thank you for reading, I love you.

Joel

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Post Number 40: Back in the saddle again.

So what has been going on? I went through that great time at school called finals, and after the stress and pain associated with that activity I was done using my brain for at least a while. Trouble is now I feel like my brain is degenerating to a gelatinous mass never to resemble its former solid glory. So I gots to get back to work. I asked anyone who reads my stuff if they had any suggestions on how I can spice up my writing and I only got one response, and that was a suggestion to write about television, specifically Lost. NO! Listen, I don’t want to write and or talk about television. It’s not that I don’t see merit in the medium; it’s that television has a way of taking over a life. Yes, I know with today’s technology it is possible to watch TV at your convenience, but I have fallen to that maiden’s sweet siren song before, and I do not wish to revisit. Just like most video games, TV and I are on the outs till I find something really worth investing time in. All that said, I really enjoyed Lost but was disappointed by the ending. I don’t want to have to watch bonus material just to learn the secrets they didn’t explain on the show, I just want it ON THE SHOW.

So back to what I can do to spice up my blog. If there is one thing I feel is missing from my posts, it is my signature sarcasm. Oh, it’s there sometimes, sticking its head out of the ground to see if winter is coming, but I hold myself back, I really do. My fear is that with placing more of my personality into my blog posts, I would alienate some readers who do not know me IRL. Now that I think about it, that’s pretty dumb of me. I’m not writing for some well know periodical that is praised and renowned by anonymous readers worldwide. Hell, I’m lucky if 5 people read this thing. So, I am not going to hide my light under a bushel no more. And this means that from this point on, some of the things I write will be NSFW. I refrained as much as I could from cussing before, going so far as to write entire sentences to navigate around a few curses, but I am done with that. I assure you I don’t intend to cuss just for cussing sake, only to do it when it best sums up what I am trying to say. I hope that this doesn’t push anyone away from the blog, because I have the utmost respect for anyone who bothers to read this.

So, I don’t really feel like doing a weekly post today, so I am just going to skim over some movies I have seen recently. A couple of them are still in theaters, a couple are foreign. Stick around it should be fun.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010 Mike Newell):
Video games and movies have a rocky relationship, and this movie didn’t help at all. At about 30 minutes into the film, I just could not have a good time with it anymore, and I was really trying to let go and enjoy a summer action movie! Let me just go over my complaints in a sort of list: The story was convoluted, I feel like the movie would have benefited from another 30 minutes just to flesh it out; The sets were extremely boring. When Destan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is swinging about fighting people and doing parkour moves in the city they invade, I felt like I was looking at a set from Universal Studios, or perhaps the Batman stunt show from Magic Mountain!; The edits DROVE ME INSANE! Ok, not literally, but the characters would say “we need to go here” and then snap! They are there. Or there was a completely pointless 2 second shot of people riding horses through the desert. And how in the HELL were the Hassansins running through a forest a night? I am not making this up. The trees must appear there magically so that we can feel like we are watching the Nazghul chase after Frodo; Why did they film the action the way they did? By doing quick cuts, slowing down things occasionally, and then moving on ASAP, I got absolutely no enjoyment out of any of the fights. EVEN THE BADASS NINJA TYPE PEOPLE SUCKED!!!! I am just getting more and more angry here. It was a bad movie, and I think it really could have been good. Don’t see it, save your money and see the Expendables when it comes out.

Mother and Child (2010 Rodrigo Garcia):
This was a brilliant drama about 3 women and their relations to being a mother, a child, and a grown-up. This would be a five star film for me except I got no sense of anything special in the direction or cinematography of the movie. The acting though is absolutely superb, as well as the storyline. I can’t do the movie justice trying to sum it up on my lowly blog. If you like any of the actors who are in it (Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits) then you should most definitely go see the film. A little warning for guys, the first 30 minutes of the movie makes you think all women are terrible. It passes, trust me.

Just a little ditty here to get my brain juices following. I feel good after writing up just this part, so I am going to try to push myself to get back to writing each week at least once. I am also going to try to get a few pals of mine to do some writing on the blog, so that multiple views can be read, and so I can argue with them. Because that’s just how I roll.

Questions, comments, send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Or post them on my facebook fan page, which is linked to on the site.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where have you been??!!

No, but really, I apologize. I stopped writing because of finals, and then I just got plain lazy. That doesn't mean I haven't been watching stuff, after all that is the easy part of the blog (for the most part). This is what I need: I need something to spice up the blog. Is there anything I could talk about that people would like? I really need some help here, and anyone's feedback would help. Send your sarcasm, send your essays and blurbs, you got an idea, I'll listen. JDTMovies@gmail.com or post on the facebook fanpage. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!

Oh yeah, Lost is also resposible for my absence, but I almost have that nipped in the bud. 12 more episodes to go!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22nd 2010, Week relating to 4/6/2010 – 4/12/2010

Movies seen: *first time viewed
Raging Bull*
Eyes Wide Shut
The Hurt Locker
Delicatessen*
In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa)*
How to Train Your Dragon*

I love movies, I don’t know if that is clear, but when pursuing one’s passion when it is not towards the betterment of human-kind (see what I did there?), how does one justify the time spent? The only answer I can give is that the improvement of one’s self is also to the betterment of everyone. I don’t believe that the expansion of my film knowledge is going to assist anyone, even myself necessarily, but the writing of this blog does help me organize my thoughts, making life seem a little less dizzy everytime.

Raging Bull (1980 Martin Scorcese):
You ever step into a situation without really thinking about the consequences? That intimidation you might feel, that’s what I have now. Raging Bull is required viewing for any film lover, considered one of the best movies of all time by almost any film critic of note. I have been thinking about this all week. See, what I do is at the end of each week of film (my film weeks start on Tuesday) I write up the first part of my blog entry, which is just a list of the movies as you can see above. If I am so inspired, and honestly I am usually too lazy to do this, I take a crack at writing up the first couple of films. Unfortunately, this time around I started off with a show stopper. My ego demands that I do not come off as an idiot when talking about important movies, lest people find out the truth: I am an idiot. Of course, part of me now is saying that this is only my cowardice coming up with an excuse in the case that I do not represent exactly what other people want. This is it! I have to tell that part of my brain only one thing: SHUT UP! So… Raging Bull. It was a mistake watching this movie right after Rocky, which I tried to. The first thing I noticed was how much more choreographed the fight scenes looked in Raging Bull. At this point, I am slapping myself upside the head. The fight scenes in Bull are not about being realistic. It is a representation of the “sweet science” as a ballet, and in that case it is done extremely well. The character study of Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro) is brutal in its honesty. This was not a wise man; this was an animal that had to be constantly handled by the people around him. I don’t know how he could have functioned in life without his brother and wife (Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty respectively). I love every piece of dialogue that was uttered in this film scripted or unscripted. Everything was so raw and so potent. The eruptions of violence, of passion, of madness and pain displayed in the film were felt all the way down my spine and back up again. After the movie was done I felt like I had gone 12 rounds with Sugar Ray. This is just my opinion, by I am guessing that Scorcese is some kind of genius. Alright, I’m done talking about the movie like I know anything. I am going to have to buy the film and study it if I ever want to get a true handle on it greatness.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999 Stanley Kubrick):
When it comes to a Kubrick movie, I have yet to be disappointed. Of course, I believe I have only seen two of his movie (this and 2001). Eyes Wide Shut was the first Kubrick directed movie I had seen, sent to me in the mail direct from Washington by a young Sarah, who even at that time had me heart and soul. I can admit freely that although I very much liked the movie at the time, I did not understand it. The sexuality and maturity of the subject matters were beyond me at that time in my life. Now with slightly more wisdom in my years, I believe I have a much firmer grasp on the material. I can imagine the direction of Stanley Kubrick, scene by scene, pain-stakingly slow to the point of madness for the victims (i.e. Cast and crew). That is the price of working with someone with such a clear vision of film. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are amazing in this movie, playing the generic socialite couple who feel that every bit of their life is a blessing, but also WELL deserved. All it took was one drug induced discussion to send Cruise on a night of insanity, where his experiences shake him to the very core. How could they not? His mettle isn’t tested in the film because of the extremely odd situations he finds himself, but more because the man is not sure what he wants (and is at a reckless pace to do something about THAT). Is he motivated by revenge for an affair that did not happen? Or is it the same as in Raging Bull, the Madonna/Whore complex (which I just read about in a review of Raging Bull by Roger Ebert!)? That part makes sense to me, because for any man to even try to walk away from a life, so set on the right side of the tracks that it seems perfect, is someone who doesn’t see the woman he loves as anything but black and white. You are either with me or not. I love the film, in case that hasn’t come through. It is beautifully shot, which is just the way Kubrick works, and scripted very well. Something I am just learning about is editing, and from what I recall this film is almost flawless. A bit of advice, if you ever want to enjoy cheap movies again, do not get into editing.

The Hurt Locker (2009 Katheryn Bigalow):
Perhaps you have heard of this movie now? I heard it won an award or something. Third time I have watched the movie, once again on the big screen in my American films class. Now, why would we watch this movie you might ask (as I did myself)? It was because the topic of that day was stars. The concept of Hollywood stars is a heavy one, and there are quite a few books on the subject that are not just tabloid filth (no offense to tabloid lovers, but you know it’s dirty too!). The stars in this movie, and there are a few, are used for a specific purpose: To disarm the viewer. It is hard when watching a movie that has relatively unknown actors to gain an attachment to any character on screen, at least for the average viewer. Now, when you see someone perfectly recognizable (like say Guy Pierce?), you may feel a certain reassurance that a good actor is going to be in the movie, someone you can trust to deliver the goods a film needs to capture the imagination. And that my friends, is the perfect time to pull the rug from under your feet! When my teacher explained this concept to us, I was astonished at how it had gone right over my head. It seems to me, that this is part of what True Romance tried to do, but The Hurt Locker did it much more effectively for me. This is also a trick that can be over used, so I am hoping that not too many people catch on to it. What’s that? Executive Decision did the same thing with Steven Seagal? How dare you bring that up!

Delicatessen (1991 Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet):
I believe Jean-Pierre Jeunet is the genius behind Amelie. I could verify this by looking it up, but I am feeling especially lazy right now. Delicatessen has the same surreal feel as Amelie, with a lot of morbid thrown in. One of my first reactions to the film was that this is what Tim Burton used to do, and do very well. I have to look back at his classics to be reminded of when he had a Edward Gorey like sense of humor and was not just into making goofy movies with Johnny Depp. Delicatessen was good, but it was not enchanting the same way Amelie was. It was a beautiful film though. Its dark tones were mixed with colorful people, and a spirit in the actors that makes everyone smile. Unless the child in you is dead (I’m talking to you Randy Jordan). I wish I had more to say. Delicatessen is worth a watch for sure. Oh, and although it has a morbid premise (a butcher in a post-apocalyptic world that serves only a certain kind of meat) it is hardly at all violent.

In the Mood for Love (Fa yueng nin wa) (2000 Kar Wai Wong):
In my World Cinema class, I am getting the feeling that my teacher is a fan of this director’s work. We have already watched his film Chungking Express, and now this. I did not get Chungking Express, and I can see why people refer to Wong Kar Wai as an MTV director. In the Mood for Love on the other hand is pretty much the opposite. It is slow paced and beautiful. It takes place in the year 1962, which is funny because while watching the movie it is easy to forget that time period. The lack of computers and other perfectly normal devices that are common place today should have made it obvious for me. Wong has such a way with shots. He emphasizes the colors of objects and the shapes of rooms. He does entire scenes filmed with someone’s head blocking the view, and swings the camera around to capture the same scene in an enlightening view. Long takes are prominent in this movie, and are very beautiful to watch. Chungking was full of cuts and edits and jumps, and I guess my brain had a hard time adapting to that. The best part of Mood for Love is a reliability of its script. The longing felt by the protagonists has been felt by everyone, and while the plot toys with audiences assumptions (did they get it on or not?), there are no tricks in the couple’s relationship. What happens in the film is this: The main characters pretend to be each other’s spouse and act out what might have happened, had there been an affair. And while that may seem weird, it isn’t so far-fetched that one cannot recognize themselves in the characters and their situation. Everyone has had imaginary conversations in their head; these people are just taking it to the next level. It was a wonderful movie, and I would like to own it. I can’t wait to watch more of Wong Kar Wai’s work.

How to Train your Dragon (2010 Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders):
Why didn’t I write up a new movie review for this film? Well, it’s because to my knowledge, America had already decided that this movie was not going to be successful. Now I see that the movie is still making money and that audiences are warming up to it. GOOD! It was a real delight to see in the theaters, and I have been itching to go see it in 3D. Hopefully I won’t have missed my chance when I can afford to go again. How to Train your Dragon was an excellent adventure/comedy, something both children and adults should be able to enjoy. My favorite thing about it? Compared to Shrek, the DreamWorks franchise, there were ZERO pop culture references. Animated movies didn’t used to have to rely on jokes like that just to be funny, BACK IN MY DAY. I think that Dragon will go down as a classic, something that can be shown and loved by every generation. And I doubt it hinges on 3D like some features in the near future undeniably will. I cannot recommend the movie enough.

I was originally going to talk about A Serious Man (2009 Coen Bros) but after trying to remember details about the film, I find that I should probably watch it again. I liked it; it reminded me of the way Barton Fink and Fargo were. I hope you like how this blog entry turned out. I am kind of proud that I was able to write so much. Any questions or comments please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com or post them on my Facebook page. Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12 2010. Week relating to 3/30/2010 – 4/5/2010

Movies Seen: *First time viewed
Ghost in the Shell*
Rocky*
True Romance*
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
All the President’s Men*
Henry & June*

Ghost in the Shell (1996 Mamoru Oshii):
I think I missed my window on this one. All I know is, before I was watching any anime at all, people were talking about how bad ass Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll were. I own and love Ninja Scroll, it is just a great little flick. Ghost in the Shell will not be in my collection. I just don’t see what the big deal is. Someone told me that for when it came out, people in this country hadn’t seen animation so cool out of Japan. All I can figure is, a lot of horny teenagers made this movie what it is today. To say it had a few boob shots is to say that a few people love Jesus. I didn’t really dig the voice acting either, but I only had the option of watching it dubbed in English. I am sure it’s better in Japanese, because most anime is. If you are one of those people who love this film, maybe you can fill me in on what I missed. I would be glad to hear about it.

Rocky (1976 John G. Avildsen):
This movie sure pulled a fast one on me. I was trying to take notes, doing my usual ADD thing (which involves stopping the movie every 15 minutes to do some random task), and then suddenly, I was not. The notes stopped, my eyes were glued to the screen. How did this happen? The dialogue is not particularly awesome, and the story is kind of predictable, so where did this movie go so right? My only intuition on this is that the reality of it made me love it. Well, I say reality accepting that heavy weight champions do not fight average Joes, unless they are drunk. Rocky’s plight was the realistic part to me. He was a man that did not have high expectations for himself. He had found a comfortable limit and had decided that was really it. So when the fight fell in his lap, he didn’t want it. The movie is probably most famous for the training scenes, but unless you see Rocky from front to end, you can’t really see the evolution of his character. That is why the movie is so inspiring, not because he was a nobody who became a somebody, but rather I think it’s due to the message, which to me was that your excepted limits are never your actual limits. And that’s why I intend to eat 5 hot dogs this time! I know I can do it! Sorry, off topic there. The music really is great, and the acting is pretty awesome too. I swear I’m not crazy, please tell me I’m not crazy!

True Romance (1993 Tony Scott):
Ok, it’s official, I’m crazy. For those of you who know me, I mean REALLY know me, what I like, what I hate, what I like to sniff, you know I should love True Romance. Written by Tarantino, having stars in it like Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Michael Rapaport, sounds like the stuff of winners! I hate to say this, and I know many of you are going to go “WHHHHHAAAAA???!!!!” but I didn’t really like it. When I told Sarah this, her reaction was, and I quote “…I don’t know what to say to that.” I love her, have I ever mentioned that? Anyway, I don’t hate the movie or anything; I can certainly see the merit of it. The story is pretty entertaining, and I like Christian Slater in it a lot, which says something because I do not consider myself a Christian Slater fan. There are just something’s I could not get past. The music, I don’t care if you love the music in this movie, in my opinion the music was horrendous. Not just the digital score in the back ground that someone cooked up for the quirky touching parts, but also the actual songs they chose to put in scenes. The only thing tolerable in that soundtrack was the Elvis tunes, and I am not an Elvis fan. Next on my list of beefs (mmm, beef) is Patricia Arquette. Now wait, before you jump all over me for that, I thing she is a fine actress, emphasis on the FINE (!), but that squeaky southern accent she had the whole movie made me want to drive a railroad spike through my ear. Her narration of the beginning and end of the film had me turning the volume down on my speakers. My last little teensy weensy complaint is this: HOW COULD YOU HAVE AN AMAZING CAMEO BY CHRISTOPHER WALKEN AND NEVER HAVE HIM APPEAR AGAIN IN THE MOVIE??!!! Although I did really like James Gandolfini, at the end there were just a bunch of anonymous bad guys. Why did that do that? Tell me why, give me a good reason, and I will buy you a sandwich. I get to choose from where.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004 Michel Gondry):
If I were a smarter man, perhaps I could put my finger on what makes this movie so special. I have watched Eternal Sunshine several times since its initial release in theaters and it has yet to lose its magic for me. I don’t know if it’s the performances, the entire cast is amazing from the minor Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Woods parts, to Kirsten Dunst’s and Tom Wilkinson’s strange duo, to the main characters portrayed by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I mean, just for instance, who knew that Kate Winslet was capable of that? And don’t you dare say “didn’t you see Titanic?” because I will digitally slap you silly. Perhaps it is the imagination of Michel Gondry that sky rocketed the film to pure greatness. About that I have my doubts, although I do love the man’s music video work, I did not really enjoy the science of sleep. I believe the man needs structure to contain all his creativity, and working within that structure, he is able to make amazing stuff. Perhaps it is the way the musical score blends in so well with the cinematography. I don’t know, at this point I am just throwing out ideas to chew on. What I really need to do is sit down with the movie and take a steady stream of notes. Eternal Sunshine is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I just want to point out that it isn’t because of some sentimental attachment (the main guys name is Joel, just to let you know). I watched this with my new critical eyes and I still did not see any holes. A magnificent movie; that is my opinion.

All the President’s Men (1976 Alan J. Pakula):
Have you seen this movie? It’s actually very good, and it isn’t just because it’s Hoffman and Redford. The representation of what Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did is fascinating. I am guessing almost anyone over the age of 20 has heard of Watergate, and has an idea of what went on there, but the idea that it almost got completely swept under the rug is amazing. Not that I don’t think that kind of thing has happened before or since, but the uncovering of said event by these two reporters is absolutely astonishing. What I learned from the film is that I will never have the back bone these two men had. Respect. I’d also like to point out some of the great camera work done in the movie. One part that stood out was in the library of congress, which you have to see to understand what was so great about it. The camera move a bit at a time, higher and higher to show the concentric circles of the library. They were so small in such a big world, that world being the US political system.

Henry & June (1990 Philip Kaufman):
So, that stinkaroo I mentioned on the facebook page? Yeah, this is it. Now, it may not be the movie people are thinking of. I do not mean the movie starring Johnny Depp. That movie is called Benny and Joon. This was an erotic piece of garbage, about a French woman named Anais Nin who meets the author Henry James before he became famous, and proceeded to have weird sexual encounters with him, his wife, her own husband, some other chicks I assume. I got through the first hour of the movie, stopped it and looked to see how much longer there was. Another hour and a half, translation, NO FLIPPIN WAY!!! It was all bad acting mixed with crappy story mixed with weird sex. Not my cup of tea. This marks only the second movie since I started the blog that I haven’t been able to finish. Not bad for someone as impatient as I am!

An explanation: I am not an expert. I do not want people to assume that I think what I say is right or wrong, that things are as black and white as that. Just because I did not like a movie, doesn’t mean it isn’t great. When writing out these little summaries, I am simply working out how I feel about the films I watch. I also use it as an exercise for writing in general. Just because we disagree on something (You being the reader, as opposed to me), doesn’t mean I think that your opinion has no merit. On the contrary, I am very glad to hear anyone’s opinion on these films I talk about. You never know, you might convince me. Any questions, comments, or secret information pertaining to the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s body, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Or post them on my handy dandy Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 06 2010, Week regarding 3/23/2010 – 3/29/2010

Movies Viewed: *First time seen
Manhattan*

What? That’s it? All I can say about that is having the week off of school (or rather, taking it off) and American TV sucked away my film attention span. Lost season 1 finally got a hold of my soul and refused to let go for even a moment. Not that I missed much I suppose, although I have been sitting on a copy of True Romance for about 3 weeks now. I consider my time off a bit of battery recharging. Or on the other hand, I probably killed off my film brain cells by watching television for the first time in a long while.

Manhattan (1979 Woody Allen):
The movie is about the usual cast of characters in Woody Allen’s movie, including Allen himself as Issac. Smart people in the middle of New York living New York lives. I apologize if that sounds condescending, I really do enjoy Woody Allen movies, but the pattern is unmistakable after a few. While watching this with Sarah, I told her that I thought this movie must be Annie Hall Jr, meaning I thought that Annie Hall was basically a remake of Manhattan. I was wrong; it is actually the other way around. So the way I figure it, and spoilers for both movies, is that Allen took the character Annie Hall and separated her into two different characters for Manhattan; one played by Diane Keaton again, and the other played by Mariel Hemmingway. I even saw a few scenes that looked like they were pulled straight from the other movie, but I am sure it is just that Allen likes to film in certain spots in Manhattan (the city, not the movie). The cafĂ© scene is the one I am talking about specifically, it seemed almost identical to the one in Annie Hall. I also noticed that Allen is a fan of the stationary camera, by which I mean he leaves the camera in one place and has the actors move around, using onscreen and off-screen space. I personally love this, because it adds a realism that Hollywood mainstream doesn’t usually go for. If you aren’t seeing the action, then how can you know what’s going on? Well, that’s real life isn’t it? It was a good movie, and I may have even liked it better than Annie Hall, probably because it was more serious.

And because I cannot simply ignore the hours I spent watching Lost, here is a list I came up with.

Things I learned from Lost season 1:
-If it’s bleeding, put pressure on it.
-Cardio may help a person survive on an island, then again there’s Hurley.
-Dynamite is dangerous.
-Almost everyone has something to hide.
-Everyone should be an expert at something.
-Never piss off the fisherman.
-If you speak more than one language, please tell everyone else.
-Reading too much is bad for your eyes.
-Sometimes all you really need is some peanut butter.

And that is my lame list! Any questions, comments, or sad tales of life on the open sea, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Or post them on my Facebook fan page.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29th 2010, Week relating to 3/16/2010 – 3/22/2010

Movies Seen: First time viewed*
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Sideways
The Jacket*
Mongol*
The Omega Man*

Remember how last week I was talking like the guy from There Will Be Blood? Now I am talking like Charlton Heston, and I CAN’T STOP!

SPOILERS AHOY!!

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985 Tim Burton):
When it comes to Tim Burton movies, I am pretty sure this is my favorite. Or maybe Beetlejuice. Anyway, we watched this in my American Films class, and it was great seeing it projected on a larger screen. The movie gives an excellent sense of joy, goofiness, suspense, and all around fun. Pee-wee is the kind of person who should be annoying, but you cannot help but love. I really do love every bit of this movie. As soon as I see Francis (Mark Holton) on screen I want to yell “It’s Enrice Pellazzo!” but I am afraid the reference will be lost on younger audience members. I guess I don’t have much to say about the movie other than that.

Sideways (2004 Alexander Payne):
Something about this movie. I cannot help but love it all the way through. Miles (Paul Giamatti) is really a detestable person when you consider his actions throughout the movie. I guess you end up feeling sorry for the man. You get a sense of his unreached potential, and how he is acutely aware that his life is pretty crappy. Then on the other side you have Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) who is an overcompensating extrovert, and once again a detestable person. In the end though, I love both of these characters as if I know them myself. This has the male bonding buddy movie feel of a new Hollywood era film. It’s kind of amazing how well scripted and acted the whole movie is. You get such a feel for these characters in the short time you spend with them. As a side note to all the male bonding as well, you get Virginia Madsen, who does such an amazing job. The casting director for the film needs to be working on every movie I have high expectations for from now on. I want to say something nice about Susan Oh too, because I do really like her in this movie, but her character is the least fleshed out of the main four people. Love the scene where she beats the hell out of Jack though, it’s just really brutal. I always wish I knew things about wine after watching this movie, but I just don’t have a taste for them. They all taste like what I imagine dirty feet would taste like. See, I inserted the “what I imagine” part in there because I don’t want people to think I have ever licked someone’s feet. EVER.

The Jacket (2005 John Maybury):
After seeing this movie, I decided to look up what the general consensus was critic wise. It seems most professional critics really didn’t like it. I’ll admit, I can see some general holes in the plot, especially looking at it from a sci-fi angle, but otherwise I thought the movie was a solid psychological thriller. Adrien Brody is great, which is what I have come to expect from the man. Kris Kristofferson and Keira Knightly did just fine for, you know, them. The show stealer by far was Daniel Craig for me. I just did not recognize him! Talk about winning major actor points in my book, that man is a downright hero to me now. That is if it’s possible to be heroic as an actor who takes on roles. So, the story contains time traveling and messed up doctors and older people getting it on with younger people. Sorry, I just had to mention that the whole “going forward in time so it’s ok to sleep with someone I knew when she was a little girl” part was just creepy. It felt incestual to me. Hmm, according to Word, incestual is not an actual word. Oh well, you heard it here first! Or maybe you didn’t, because I am pretty sure I have heard it before. All things considered about The Jacket, I would watch it again, because it has some great performances in it. I recommend it if you are curious.

Mongol (2007 Sergei Bodrov):
When you hear the name Genghis Khan, do you think love story? Well, maybe if you consider how many offspring he had I guess you could stretch it to that, but one man one woman kind of stuff? No, I doubt it unless you are a historian and if you are WHY ARE YOU READING MY LAME LITTLE BLOG?? Just kidding, I love everyone who reads this crap, especially smart people who should know better. So, foreign movie about Genghis Khan, although he is called Temudjin in the film, I expected a lot of violence. I got that, so check. I expected a long arduous journey to the top, to the leader of a large amount of people (damn vocabulary, you have failed me!). I got that, so double check. But…. But… the whole time, all throughout the movie, he was pining away for this woman he met as a child and was determined to be with her, even to the point of betraying the trust of the other khans. I am not a history buff (although I do listen to Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast!), so I was caught totally by surprise by this part of the film. And I know it isn’t a big deal, and it wouldn’t have been, except there was a lot of cheese thrown in to emphasize the love in this movie. A lot of staring into each other’s eyes and promising eternal devotion to one another scenes. Just a lot of cheese. The ending also had that going for it, but it was a different kind of cheese. The kind that should make you want more, but just kind of left me with a bad taste. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know all I have done is complain about the movie, but I still dug it. It was almost 3 hours long, and it kept me pretty enrapt the whole time. The battle scenes were pretty tight. Although they were violent, there wasn’t an emphasis on the actions of violence themselves. It seems to me it was used simply to move the story along, and keep the watcher up to speed. I would watch this movie again, and I give it a little extra pass on the cheese factor because I believe it is part 1 of a trilogy. So I am looking forward to the next film, and I would say this one is worth a watch. Especially for the cute little Eskimo kids! What’s that? Sorry, I know, that was racist. I apologize in advance for my sense of humor.

The Omega Man (1971 Boris Segal):
My adventure into “classic” sci-fi movies continues thanks to the Filmsack podcast. I don’t know if you were aware of this, but this movie is based off of the story I am Legend, just like the Will Smith movie! Now that I have seen this film, I have to say that Will Smith’s version is seriously lacking in the jive talk area. And not enough hairy chests. I haven’t seen that much hair on a man since the third X-Men movie (you know, Beast). When it comes to the sci-fi movies I have seen recently, this is on the lower end of the scale. It had really terrible music, AWFUL dialogue, and awkward sex scenes (well, only one, but still). I did enjoy the irony of Heston sitting down to enjoy the documentary Woodstock, because you know in real life that guy was probably screaming about those damn hippies. Even though the movie was bad, and trust me it was, I think I can still look upon it fondly. You get that 70’s campiness here in a very pure and tasty form. Not much more you can ask for. By the way, why were the albino weirdoes talking about how they don’t use the wheel, and then decided that it was ok later? I must have missed the part where they had a meeting and decided that part.

So, I know I said I was going to talk about Raising Arizona on here too, but when it came time to write up something about it, I felt like I couldn’t remember the things I wanted to. I remember it being really funny, probably the funniest of the Coen brother’s movies I have seen, but not exact details. Maybe next time I shouldn’t ogle Sarah while watching a movie. Plus, we were doing a jigsaw puzzle at the same time. I have ADD, sue me. Any questions, comments, or autopsy reports on famous documentarians, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19th 2010, Week relating to 3/9/2010 – 3/15/2010

Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
Paprika*
Gentlemen Broncos*
Evil Dead II*
The Will Be Blood*
Melinda and Melinda
Taxi Driver*

Paprika (2007 Satoshi Kon):
Paprika is an animated film I watched in my world cinema class. It is about a therapist (maybe? I don’t think she ever said she was one in the film) who use a newly invented machine to enter her patients dreams and help them work things out. Things get whacky of course and the dreams start mixing with reality and then we are all taught how technology can destroy civilization if we don’t keep it in check. Ok, so that is a really broad and small sighted statement about a whole cultural bias in Japan. You would be afraid of tech too if someone had dropped a couple of nukes on your cities. The movie was a real trip, full of bright colors and dialogue you had to sort of take with a grain of salt. When the dreams start influencing the people who are awake, they all start talking gibberish. I was very glad that I had read a synopsis of the movie’s plot before watching it, because if I hadn’t, I would have been so lost. Paprika goes real crazy real fast, and the plot gets pushed along at a sometimes ridiculous speed. Sometimes people need a little time to let things settle you know? All said, it was a good movie, I recommend it to people who like anime like Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Just, you know, don’t drop acid beforehand. You’ll be in for a bad trip in the end. SPOILER: The fat guy gets the girl.

Gentlemen Broncos (2009 Jared Hess):
From the man who brought you Napoleon Dynamite (which I haven’t seen) and Nacho Libre (which I don’t want to see) comes a new comedy about nerds! See, I should write tag lines for movies, because I’ve got the mad skills needed for such summaries. This movie absolutely panned at the box office and after having watched it I cannot see why. The main character Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is a reclusive nerd who lives with his weirdo mother (Jennifer Coolidge) and writes sci-fi stories as his hobby. Now based on that alone why wouldn’t you want to see this movie? Seriously though, he goes to a writing workshop with a bunch of other mostly weird looking people, including Hector Jimenez who I NEVER WANT TO SEE AGAIN ON FILM!!! His lips and mouth are DISGUSTINGLY huge. Skip all this stuff I said, besides the story line being pretty good, and the movie being pretty funny, Jemaine Clement is the reason to see the film, especially if you have watched any Flight of the Conchords. He plays such a gross human being, someone we have all met before I am sure at one time or another. The kind of person that thinks their crap smells like roses and nothing they do is wrong, but secretly they have a lot to prove to themselves. A lot of the dialogue is just embarrassingly funny and the ending is extremely satisfying. I cannot remember the last time I saw an ending that made me feel good for the characters in the film.

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987 Sam Raimi):
I maintain the have a deep love for Bruce Campbell. The man is the American dream wrapped in sexy savory bacon. Man crush? How dare you! Anyway, despite my love for the actor, I really have found very few of his horror movies very enjoyable. It has nothing to do with him; I am just not into horror for the most part. I have to say I like Evil Dead part the first for its campiness and cheap but effective effects. Evil Dead II?... Not so much. There were way too many jump scares, which are just cheap I tell you, CHEAP! I wanted to enjoy what was going on onscreen, but I was too busy shying away from the next potential jump. The over abundance of gore was great, Campbell is magnificent of course, and there really was some great camera work. I had to look up the cinematographer I liked it so much (his name is Peter Deming). I always wonder how much of the camera work is actual the cinematographer or the director. I got a heavy sense of Three Stooges from the film, and of course, I was right on. The short documentary that comes on the DVD has Sam Raimi and Bruce acting like a couple of knuckleheads right on film. All you Raimi fans are welcome to give me a big fat DUUUUHHHHHH, it’s alright. Statement; I have Army of Darkness, I am going to watch it, I have no choice. Even with all my problems with the movie, that ending just left me dying to know what happens next. DAMN YOU RAIMI! You’re making me watch movies that scare the poop out of me!

There Will Be Blood (2007 Paul Thomas Anderson):
I am a changed man. Because I have seen this film, I cannot help but start talking like Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) whenever the urge comes about. He is my new Sean Connery, and I love me some Sean Connery. This movie blew my mind away. From the acting, which was amazing all around, to the cinematography, which uses the environments and shadows as if they were actors themselves, to the music, blending from scene to scene adding so much depth it is unspeakable. Has it come across I wonder? I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I loved it so much that I am honestly sorry that No Country for Old Men, another movie I love dearly, won the best picture Oscar over this. I don’t have the words to describe the magic this movie made me feel. Daniel Plainview, as a character, is so charismatic that he could have bought all of my land (not that I have any… I guess he could have bought all my NES games for 5 bucks). The drama of this driven yet conflicted man made me hate him and love him all together at once. Paul Dano did an excellent job as well, playing religious leader/fanatic/town leader Eli Sunday. Their displays of emotion bordered on insanity, certainly on obsession. Now I would like to talk about the amazing music, but I am not very good at describing things like that. The music made the whole atmosphere of the film fascinating to me. It added intensity to scene that otherwise would have come off as filler, moments just meant to take up space in the plot. I am a mild fan of Radiohead, but right now, I would get down on my knees and kiss Jonny Greenwood’s feet. The man obviously has a huge amount of talent. I could keep gushing, but I feel like I will just embarrass myself trying to describe the indescribable. This movie may now be in my top ten all time films. ‘Nuff said.

Melinda and Melinda (2004 Woody Allen):
So, I already stated I am a fan of Woody Allen. It isn’t because I believe I am some pseudo intellectual and believe he speaks for all of us, it’s because he’s funny. That sarcastic self-deprecating bastard makes me laugh every time. Melinda and Melinda has problems. Because it is split into two tales, both about the same situation, one comedy one tragedy, I don’t feel like the stories are fleshed out enough for a proper narrative. Especially at the end of the tragic tale, I want to know what happens with Jonny Lee Miller’s character. It isn’t really important to the story I guess, because the movie is really about two playwrights’ interpretations on life, but I can’t help but feel like I missed something. I don’t have much else to say about the film, but I want to note that this is one of the few movies that I actually enjoy Will Ferrell in. The absence of over the top actions on his part is always an improvement for me.

Taxi Driver (1976 Martin Scorsese):
This movie is nothing like I imagined it would be like. I thought it would be all about this psycho cab driver and I don’t know what else. Not much to go on there. Something in this film drove at least one person to try to assassinate the president at the time. I think I can see why (I swear I’m not crazy!). Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is relatable to anyone who found something special about the novel The Catcher in the Rye. His disgust with the world and people around him, his awkwardness about sex and women, his desire to protect the innocent, sounds like Holden Caulfield to me. Now, I realize that I am not saying anything that hasn’t been said by someone before me, as is the case with almost everything I write in this blog, but I think it is important to point this angle out. I noticed it while watching the movie, and it actually drove me away from really loving the film. Taxi Driver has an amazing narrative, perfect score (that saxophone music is so seedy, it just adds stickiness to the whole movie), and superb acting. I am chased away from it by remembering how much Catcher affected me in high school. I never want to feel that way again. Travis Bickle and I will never be friends, but I don’t mind watching him from a distance. Possibly parked across the street in a cab… NO!

So, this week had a lot of heavy stuff, and not just in the movie category. I cannot help but wonder if the way I was emotionally was truly affected by what I watched this week. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised. Any questions, comments, or swarthy tales of life on the sea, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Also, I have started a fan page on facebook for my pathetic blog. Please become a fan and feel free to leave any comments you have for me there!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 9th 2010, Week regarding 3/2/2010 – 3/8/2010

Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
The Big Sleep*
Platoon*
Timecrimes*
Jurassic Park
2001: A Space Odyssey*
Planet of the Apes*
Babel*
Sunshine Cleaning*
Son of Ranbow*

Can you say science fiction? I believe I did an excellent job swimming through the universe that is SF film this week. A few classics, a foreign film, and one of my top 25 all time favorites. Big week full of flicks, this is Joel buckling down and killing his brain cells the only way he knows how. Besides drinking and basic cable that is.

The Big Sleep (1946 Howard Hawks):
This is the 3rd Bogart film I have ever seen (that is as far as I can recall). He’s good, I don’t know if you are aware of this. Even though he is certainly cast because he is Bogart and himself a character, every line that slips from his mouth, the subtleness of his actions, these things are full of a grace no one else has had before or since. Or, perhaps I am just hero worshiping. I read Raymond Chandler’s book before watching this movie, and I was actually a bit miffed at the way they had changed things. Naturally because of the time period in movie history the romantic relationship in the film had to be amped up a bit, I understand that. The sense I got from Phillip Marlowe in the book though was of a man who did not expect things to work in his favor, even with the ladies. He did his job, he did it as best he could, and he didn’t get mixed up in any real bad business if he could help himself. So, Bogart ending up with Bacall in the end did not please me. Then again, Marlowe had a very good reason not to end up with Vivian (who is played by Bogart and Bacall in the movie respectively), as in the book she tried to have him killed. So, there isn’t much to be done about it, no reason to over think it. I recommend both the movie and the book. A bit of a warning though, I watched it on Netflix streaming, and even though the dialogue was at a normal level, whenever a gun was fired the sound seemed way too loud. So you know, watch out for that and stuff.

Platoon (1986 Oliver Stone):
Hmm, Oliver Stone. The only other Oliver Stone movie I have seen is Any Given Sunday (1999), so I cannot really comment on the director as an auteur. Platoon was alright. I feel as though I am missing a manly chromosome just for feeling that way. The movie felt like a big soap opera to me. It had an obvious villain, a martyr, a young hero changed forever by the seeds of war, and Dr. Cox. I’m pretty sure after Charlie Sheen goes home from Vietnam, he becomes the Godfather. Ok, not really. There was no dignity in Vietnam, and this movie is as good as any at showing that. Good guys, bad guys, it’s all the same when you are the one being aimed at. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Timecrimes (Los cronocrimenes)(2007 Nacho Vigalondo):
The Slashfilmcast members have been raving about this movie for some time. Those guys seem like nice enough fellows so I decided to give this a shot. I really don’t want to give anything away about this movie. Sufficed to say this is a movie people should see, because it is one really great piece of sci-fi. It’s only an hour and a half long, but that hour and a half is so surprisingly good! I kept thinking, and this a little spoilish so be forewarned, that the movie was way too predictable, and then BAM! I was like WHOA, and then like NO WAY, and then I was like SAY WHAT? Sorry, I just really want other people to check this out. Timecrimes is currently being remade by Hollywood, so do yourself and the makers of the film a favor and check out the original. It is SO FREAKING GOOD! And just in case it wasn’t clear in the title of the movie, it’s about time travel and its consequences. And creepy Spanish dudes.

Jurassic Park:
Sam Neill? Check. Dinosaurs? Check. Children you wish would get eaten? Check. The only this movie is missing is Samuel L. Jackson. What’s that you say? Oh, he’s in it too. I got to see this on the big screen on classic movie nightt with my gf and my pals Aaron, Kempo, Nick, and Kelsey. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and to tell you the truth, I was a little sad after watching it this time. The dialogue is bad, Jeff Goldblum takes off his shirt and someone thought they should grease him up, and the children survive. Did I mention I hate the children? What was worst for me is that I think I realized I like Jaws better. Jaws had amazing acting in it (well, amazing is a stretch, but it’s better than Jurassic Park) and it was more innovative with the camera (I know, I know, due to the lack of SFX available at the time). Jurassic Park to me now feels like pure blockbuster. Damn you Spielberg! You should have just left the substance out of all your movies! Heh, substance makes me think the ooze from Ninja Turtles.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968 Stanley Kubric):
What. A. Trip. This movie is at the same time absolutely amazing and extremely frustrating. I’ve got the two words that sum it up for me: Space ballet. The amazing effects (for the time) and music are combined to make something that should have Fantasia (1940) fans pissing their pants with glee. Despite how visually stunning the movie is, it has about 30 minutes of actual narrative. 30 minutes of story and the rest is, as I said, ballet pure and simple. I really dig the costumes in the movie. If I could find me a stock of replica costumes based on this movie, guess who would be sporting a different colored space suit each day of the week? I loved this movie, but I can see a lot of people afterwards going, what the HELL was that!!?? Maybe this will come off as crazy, but I got a definite sense of the Italian neo-realism. There was a focus on micro actions all throughout the movie. 2001 is art, something that should be playing in a museum 24/7 while people stand around it drinking coffee and smoking French cigarettes. Even now I can see the image of spacecrafts floating in space while the blue Danube plays in the background, and I feel calmness over my mind. I should mention that the story was of course ruined for me by years of pop culture references, but no one could ever replicate the eloquence of the actual film. Sigh, my heart is a flutter!

Planet of the Apes (1968 Franklin J. Schaffner):
Wow, same year as 2001. These two movies are sci-fi apples and oranges. I really liked Planet of the Apes, and I am surprised about that. Charlton Heston delivers some of the weirdest monologues I have ever heard, the creepy bastard. All around a good time though. Nothing brightens a day like apes on horses that suck at using nets. I’ll tell you what though, Dr. Zaius? He’s a dick. I wish Heston had got him around the neck and gave him the old snickity snap! Of course, I have anger issues, and without Zaius they couldn’t have made 200 sequels. By the way, it’s thanks to the podcast the Filmsack that I even bothered watching the movie. If you like comedy and movies, that podcast is really good. Makes me laugh every time.

Babel (2006 Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu):
Well, that’s the last one for me. Little did I know when I started this movie that it was from the same writer (Guillermo Arriaga) and director of 21 Grams (2003). I was not a fan of that movie. In fact, I am not a fan of most movies that leave you feeling like your grandmother just died. Babel wasn’t as bad as 21, but I still didn’t like it very much. The Brad Pitt parts were weird, the Japanese parts were weird, the Mexico parts… weird. If the goal of the movie was to make me feel bad for people, it succeeded. Even so, I can’t think of anything production wise that really stood out about the movie. It was interesting seeing different cultures, but I could just watch the travel channel. At least then I wouldn’t have to see anyone masturbating. What was the movie about? I still have no clear idea. Something about language barriers and cultural barriers and Clifton Collins Jr.

Sunshine Cleaning (2008 Christine Jeffs):
This movie… this damn movie broke through the ice shield guarding my heart. Ok, that’s a little too much cheese. I just found this film to be very endearing. Something about Amy Adams not being annoying really worked for me. It was a cute story. The writers did an excellent job of going neither too quirky nor too morbid. And once again, we got a visit from Clifton Collins Jr. That man is everywhere now days I tells yah! Nothing really special about the cinematography or anything, the story is what has me really won over. The acting was very solid too. Emily Blunt SHOULD have annoyed the hell out of me, as she reminded me of my little sister, but she didn’t. So kudos to her and the rest of the cast.

Son of Rambow (2007 Garth Jennings):
Let me just say this first: DO NOT let that title throw you off of watching this movie! It is so great! I admit, the title is pretty bad, and it is certainly misleading. Son of Ranbow can only be about one thing right? Well, it’s actually about kids in England during the 80’s who decide to make their own movie. This film, Son of Rambow, is so GOOD! It was laugh out loud funny, and relatable, and just freaking charming. I want to grab a group of you and tie you to chairs and make you watch this movie so you can share the joy with me (he says while polishing his tools)! God, what can I say about this movie? Ah! The children! I didn’t want to strangle the children in the movie! Isn’t that an accomplishment in its own? I certainly think so. There is a great use of animation mixed into the film that makes the imagination receptors in your brain fire up. I feel all warm and tingly just talking about the movie. Please, go watch this movie so I can talk to you about it. And by you I mean the completely anonymous mass that is the internet.

ARGH! I may have seen a bit too many films this week to actually see the substance of some of the movies. But I have learned that you can’t really know a movie until you have seen it a few times, and almost all of these were the first time through. Anybody got any recommendations they want to see me talk about? I would love some feedback about this crap. Any questions, comments, or misguided angry political statements, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Toodle doo till next week!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 3rd 2010. Week regarding 2/23/2010 – 3/1/2010

Movies seen: First time viewed
Jaws*
Fire*
The White Ribbon*
Inside Man*
Gattaca*
The Brothers Bloom

THIS IS THE REMIX! Ok, not really. This is my reboot. I have simply gotten too far behind to try to catch up on all the films I have seen since my last post in February. I have them all written down if anyone is really interested! As for the John Malkovich project, despite not having a job I still found myself overwhelmed. I feel like I was saying the same thing every time I made a post. BUT I may resume the project again, because I don’t like leaving things unfinished, especially pie.

By the way, spoilers.

Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg):
Two things: 1. Isn’t the words Jaws grammatically incorrect? Is it possible for something to have more than one jaw? And 2. I saw this flick in my American Cinema class and after it was done, some loud mouth girl said it was the worst movie she had ever seen. WTF! Seriously? Because if that was the case, than I can only imagine that she had perhaps only seen the movie we have had to watch in class (Besides Jaws, The Godfather, Midnight Cowboy, and This Film is Not Yet Rated). I might agree with her if that was the case, but I am pretty sure she was just being very shallow in her interpretation of the film. My teacher referred to Jaws as the first blockbuster, and also said that it is essentially a B movie. I cannot deny the history of the film, but I’m not sure I would call it a B movie. I associate B movies with bad acting, and Jaws was severely lacking in that category. Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss were both amazing. Now, I will give that Robert Shaw was sometimes over the top (alright, most of the time), but when he toned down and entered serious mode, his performance draws you in effortlessly. Other things that separate this piece from a B movie in my opinion are the camera and editing choices. Besides having the shark attacks mostly from a first-person point of view (which I read was because the animatronics shark was a POS), the way scenes were edited to leave you looking at just the right thing, the thing that will have your jaw (no pun intended) wide open. The scene I have a fond remembrance of is when Richard Dreyfuss is in the shark cage in the water, and the shark is breaking through the bars to get to him. The camera cuts from the shark to his eyes and back. Horrifying.

Fire (1996 Deepa Mehta):
I’m afraid when it comes to Indian cinema, my exposure is Bend it Like Beckham and Slumdog Millionaire (and I’m not sure the latter really counts…). I learned about Bollywood in class, and what defines a Bollywood film. This movie, Fire, is a big FU to that with some tribute thrown in. The story follows two traditionally married women and their family. The older woman Rahda (Shabana Azmi) is settled into her life, which is traditional and rather lack luster. When Sita (Nandita Das) comes into her life, you can tell almost immediately that she does not want the life Rahda has. “Chaos” ensues, as Sita influences Rahda, making her see life doesn’t have to be what is expected. Major SPOILER: The two women eventually end up in a romantic relationship, find passion and joy in each other’s arms. And that is what I think the love is really about in this movie. It isn’t about gay or straight, although every description I have read screams out the word lesbian. These two women have completely passionless marriages. Rahda’s marriage is especially tragic as she cannot conceive a child, and so her husband has taken a vow of celibacy. In India, as in many countries, the man’s needs are first. Now, all this said, the movie is good, but having very little to compare it to in terms of Indian movies. I felt a little lost. I’d like to watch it again after seeing a few more Bollywood films. It should be noted that the movie is part of a trilogy, Fire, Water, and Earth. These films are all controversial. Look it up, it’s an interesting read.

The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band) (2009 Michael Haneke):
So in Germany some crazy stuff goes down with people dying and stuff and it might be that the kids did it, and it might just be an act of God or something. Listen, I was excited to see this movie. Black and white, in German, original story (well, sort of), sounds good to me. I left the movie feeling let down. It was more than 2 hours long, and I felt like 2 hours had passed, which is not a good thing. I kept expecting the plot to go somewhere, to do something, and it didn’t really happen. What I got was a lot of great imagery, some interesting looks into the character’s lives, and some very awkward scenes with a doctor trying to get off. Oh, didn’t see that coming did you? Me neither. I felt the suspense that the movie was trying to put forth, and I really liked how the darkness was used in scenes to leave you wondering what was going on just around the corner, but I don’t think all the “build up” (I put that in quotes because there isn’t really build up, I just don’t know how else to put it) leads nowhere. Disappointing.

Inside Man (2006 Spike Lee):
Woo doggie! This was one hell of a good heist movie! Now, I have actually seen the movie before, but I list it as first time viewed because I had previously only watched it on cable. There wasn’t too much different, but I thought it deserved a fair evaluation. I have a lot of respect for Spike Lee as a director. There is something about his films that make them each unique pieces of art. Also, love me some Clive Owen. Love me some Denzel (for the most part, he’s a fine actor, he just doesn’t always pick great roles). Inside Man is a very smart, very slick and cool heist movie. I need to buy it. Let’s see, I need to talk about something specific here… well, I loved all the interviews spread throughout the movie, they really added to the mystery behind the real story. Ok, that doesn’t say much really. Ah! The ending is twisted! Er, I mean, it has a twist, and it works really well. Ok, I’ll stop now.

Gattaca (1998 Andrew Niccol):
For some reason, I feel like I have hardly every delved into the sci-fi genre. Sure I have seen Star Wars, and other such films, but I missed out on most of the treasure trove of trash that the 80’s contained. This was due to my mother’s disdain for science fiction. Well, disdain is too harsh a word. She was just not down. So while I watched Flight of the Navigator (Disney recommended, mom approved!) I have never seen Mac and Me (A favorite among many of my friends). Needless to say, sci-fi and I did not waltz into the 90’s together either. Gattaca has the Sarah stamp of approval as a must see, and now having seen it myself, I very much agree. Very cool futuristic look at classes (social, not like in school). I don’t know if the story was supposed to be uplifting or depressing. While one of the messages is not to accept the limitations society puts upon you, the other is that even if you are Jude Law, your life can really blow. Really though, the plot drives this story forward beautifully, never letting you look away. A very great film, another I need to add to my collection.

The Brothers Bloom (2009 Rian Johnson):
As I recently put up as my Facebook status, I heart Rian Johnson. I knew I certainly loved Brick, his first movie. So stylized, an amazing tribute to film noir and still extremely original. The Brothers Bloom, the first time I watched it, I did not get it. I liked the cinematography, I liked the characters (Adrian Brody is especially awesomeness), and for the most part I liked the plot. I think the first time through I was distracted by the quirk of it. Also, I’m pretty sure this is the kind of movie you have to watch more than once to catch everything that is going on. The film uses its sound effects very carefully. Each of the sight gags actually has a purpose. And the dialogue is EXTREMELY important. Everything is said for a reason, and not just to be quirky, as I may have thought the first time through. Rian Johnson is one smart cookie, and I cannot wait for his next film.

And that ladies and germs is that. I’d like to thank my medication for getting me through this time of trials. Also, my awesome girl friend, who is always baking delicious things for me to munch on. If you have any questions, comments, or digital renditions of the last supper feature only Greg Kinnear and a handful of chimpanzees, please send them to jdtmovies@gmail.com. Adios, mes amigos!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Review: Edge of Darkness

Synopsis: Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is a cop living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. His slightly estranged daughter (Bojana Novakovic) comes home to visit, and while they are about to leave Craven’s house she is shot by an unknown assailant. This spurns Craven into a man hunt, chasing any and all leads to find his daughter’s killer. During the search Craven is contacted by a mysterious man (Ray Winstone [JOONNNEEESSSSYYYY!!!!]) who leads him to believe that the murder has deeps roots in a conspiracy. OOOOOOOOO

Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Bojana Novakovic, Jay O. Sanders

When I saw the trailer for this in the theater, I couldn’t help but feel a little joy. I like Mel Gibson in action movies, or thrillers, or even buddy-cop movies. The last movie he starred in was Signs back in 2002. That was a long time ago. Since then, I’m sure everyone witnessed as he went a little bonkers after directing The Passion of the Christ. That left a bad taste in the world’s mouth. He also directed Apocalypto, which I liked. When people of an English speaking nature put the effort into having a movie they direct be in a foreign language, I cannot help but think, kudos to you for that. Also I thought Apocalypto was very visually beautiful. Anyway, Mel is back, in the lead, in an action/thriller. Really the movie is light on the action compared to some of his other fair, but as I have learned in film class, genre is always a mixed bag. Perhaps I should get into the actual break down!

What I Liked:
Did I mention Mel Gibson is back?: I guess I am giving the man a pass here. The movie is not very good, but I am glad to see him back on screen, not trying to be sensitive to women and/or making out with Helen Hunt. Gibson is good at being badass. There were a couple of things that stood out in a bad way though. He seems to be almost a foot shorter than every other guy in the movie. He has a Boston accent the whole way through, and that is annoying (but so does most everyone else). And the last thing I want to mention is a certain fight scene, which I will not tell you about, other then he gets tossed around, and beats on the other guy, and when it’s over Gibson proceeds to act like nothing happened. It was pretty funny.

What I Didn’t Like:
Crappy plot problems: So I may go into SPOILER territory here, but let me just say that there are a lot of problems with the story. It was based on a BBC miniseries, so I can understand that they had to cut things down. Let me start from the beginning, which is where the problems start. The first 15 minutes of the movie are so rushed they are practically throwaway. If you have seen the preview for this movie, then you know everything you need to know about it. There is one minor detail, but I’m pretty sure you can figure it out with the rest of the movie, so go get your popcorn then or something. Take a nice long crap in the john. By the way, the first scene of violence made me laugh, so does that make me a bad person? Ok, true spoilers from here on. Gibson’s daughter in the movie worked for some hush hush company that worked with nuclear material. They have a facility right within driving distance, which is really weird, because the father daughter relationship was supposed to be strained due to them not seeing each other much. The 2 other holes I wanted to point out had to do with the daughter’s job and associates. At one point, Mel Gibson gets caught by these guys and beat up and taken to the facility where the nuke stuff is. Then he escapes, no problem. COMPLETELY POINTLESS. If they were going to kill him, they really should have done it at some point before they strapped him to a gurney and left him alone in a room! Just a thought. Also, naturally, there is some group of “eco terrorists” involved, and Gibson goes and pays their leader a COMPLETELY POINTLESS visit, where he beats the snot out of him. It was stupid. I wonder how this all fleshed out in the miniseries, because here it was a rushed convoluted mess.

What I Hated:
There were just a lot of bad mistakes in the story. Some of the acting was sub standard. Altogether though, I can’t say I hated anything in the movie.

Verdict:
So this movie gets a 3. I would suggest seeing it at a matinee or just waiting for it to come out on home video. Although I was disappointed by the story, I am still glad I got to see Mel Gibson shoot some people. A line they kept repeating in the movie was “Everything’s illegal in Massachusetts.” I in turn wanted to yell at the screen “Except gay marriage!” Burn.

I missed a chapter of The John Malkovich project, mostly because I saw some mind blowing movies last week and I am trying to recover (Rashomon, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Moon). I am lucky to have my sanity I tells ya! Or I could just be taking things too seriously. But considering the way I treat most things, movie art is about as serious as I get and I need it. Movie art and Sarah (please don’t hit me!).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan 22nd 2010, Week relating to 12/29/09 – 1/4/10

Movies Seen: First time viewed*
Sherlock Holmes*
The Count of Monte Cristo
Snatch
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy*

I’m sitting in my room singing Scarborough Faire to myself. I believe that means I need to take a trip to the looney bin. I hope Danny Devito isn’t there. He is annoying as hell.

Sherlock Holmes:
An enjoyable little action flick, I think Guy Ritchie was the right choice as director for the movie. I have heard a lot of people talking about his slow-mo gimmick, but in this movie in particular, I think it lends artfulness to the action scenes that would otherwise be completely generic. I really liked Holmes’ (Roberto Downey Jr.) fight break downs, and I wish he had used it against Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) during their final battle. It seems to me that it would have just made a lot of sense. I think that Jude Law probably made this movie most interesting for me. I have never seen him in an action centric role. He did really well as Watson. The only problem I really had with the movie was that there was a few times where I just could not understand what Robert Downey Jr. was saying. Mumble mumble mumble, British accent, mumble.

The Count of Monte Cristo:
I love this movie. Jim Caviezal does an amazing job as Edmond Dantes, going from innocent to scheming, almost evil (twiddles his fingers). Guy Pearce is awesome as usual. James Frain is so cool that cool cannot explain how cool he is. Even Luis Guzman, who starts off as being goofy comedy relief, becomes an awesome piece to the plot, and really shows he has more than one dimension in his acting. The movie also has one of my favorite actors, Michael Wincott, who always plays a bad guy, and does so here very well. This movie has excellent fighting scenes, a real sense of drama, and a plot that draws you in, smiling as Dantes’ revenge takes shape. The only problem with the whole thing is the end. It starts to pack on the cheese right before one of the best fights. A scene I like to poke fun at has Dantes confronting Count Mondego (Pearce), and then Mondago’s son (Henry Cavill) shows up. And then Mercades (Dagmara Dominczyk) shows up with Jacopo (Guzman). I am always surprised that all the other characters don’t suddenly show up too, dead or alive. Why not pour it on?

Snatch:
I introduced my friend Aaron to a little movie called Snatch this week. The top to bottom greatness of this movie is difficult to describe. Let me start by saying I saw it in the theater 3 times, which has the privilege of being the only one besides Jurassic park I have done that for. The style of the entire movie is so sweet it makes my teeth hurt. Everything, from the music, to the cinematography, to the dialogue, to the acting is perfect, in my opinion. This is a must see movie, I feel like I owe it a real critical break down. Perhaps I shall take on the project soon.

Anchorman:
For those of you who know me personally (which I believe is everyone who reads this), you may know my feelings about Will Ferrell. I don’t get him. He is just not that funny to me. I feel like I am once again totally missing out on something, because people seem to love him. I know he is currently on a wane of popularity because of some box office bombs (Land of the Lost), but no one can deny America’s love of this man. I am happy to say, despite my feelings, Anchorman was hilarious. What’s that? You all knew that from 6 years ago? Up yours. I just got done saying I don’t care for Ferrell, why would I go see a movie starring him? Anyway, the pure goofiness he displays here was great. He is just a caricature of egotism. And it probably helped a lot that he had an amazing cast to back him up (Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard). And finally, I just need to tell you all, I love me some Danny Trejo. If there was a sandwich named after Danny Trejo, I would eat it at least once a week.

Mmm, diet coke. If coke wants to sponsor me, I would be glad to mention coke and coke products in every blog post. I’m just saying. I don’t know about everyone else (well, actually I do) but I found the Golden Globe results to be kind of disappointing. If it’s simply a foreshadowing of the Oscars, I think Avatar is going to sweep. I know a lot of people are fine with that, but a lot of great movies came out last year, and I think they are owed their due. I am glad Christoph Waltz (Colonel Hans Lander in Inglourious Basterds) is getting so much recognition. He certainly is the bomb. Any comments, question, or revolutionary manifestos you want to send to me, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Peace out y’all.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan 18th 2010. Week relating to 12/22/09 – 12/28/09

Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Casablanca*
Kill Bill Vol. 2

Having gone hiatus for a while, I am feeling recharged. I am really excited for my new classes, I will be seeing a lot of great and important movies this year. Actually, I hate it when people refer to a movie as being important. Important to what, film and film history? Who gives a crap if it’s not important to you? Not me that’s who.

Kill Bill Vol. 1:
I went on a bit of a spending spree after Christmas. That is what happens when no one gives you anything but money (and socks)(oh, and Sarah bought me a copy of the Graduate, my favorite movie right now). I am an avowed Tarantino lover. WWTD is my motto most days (What would Tarantino do?). Kill Bill Vol. 1 is an amazing piece of cinema, combing action sequence and it’s amazing soundtrack flawless. The skimming over genre after genre of action flick just made me want a separate movie based on each character. And realistically, since Tarantino bases his work on the million other movies he has seen, I could probably find the equivalent of each character’s story out the in film land. I don’t know if you know this, but I love this movie.

Casablanca:
Wait a minute, you’re a movie buff and haven’t seen Casablanca? Shut up, I’m not perfect nor have I ever contended to be. It is only through the power of Netflix streaming that this movie was even available to me. Well, you know, besides a video store. I don’t really know anyone personally that has an affinity with this film, and now that I have seen it, I don’t know why. I loved it. I was enrapt with the setting, the music, the character’s, the plot, EVERYTHING. I have seen so many imitations and mock ups of the lines from this movie, and no one, NOT A ONE, has anything on Bogart. Is it because this movie is a given that no one talks about how great it is? Or am I simply apart of generation that has already passed on, leaving me with those who fondly remember American Pie as the pinnacle of film? I’m just joking you, I know what’s going on. You guys just wanted to keep this secret to yourselves didn’t you? WELL THE JOKES ON YOU!

Kill Bill Vol. 2:
Although Kill Bill Vol. 2 is a continuation of the first volumes story line, I think most people would agree that the movie sets an almost completely different pace. Starting by showing the origin of the bride, it begins heavily relying on the dialogue and cinematography to keep the viewer interested. This doesn’t necessarily work. I have to admit there are a few part of vol. 2 that I just find boring. When the Bride (Uma Thurman) finally goes to confront Bill (David Carradine), that scene just seems to go on forever. Then it ends in a rather abrupt way, which left me feeling almost cheated, but what do I know? Altogether both volumes cumulate into a brilliant piece of insightful action-y goodness. When the Bride gets trained by Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), I cannot help but grin in pure excitement. So, good parts and bad parts in part 2. Tarantino can still use me as his slave any time he wants.

Thank God I didn’t watch many movies that week! I did a lot of catching up in the following weeks though, so I have a lot of catching up to do in the writing. I love doing this. I wish it was my job. Any questions, comments, or searing looks into my soul, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com.

The John Malkovich Project, Chapter 3: Making Mr. Right (1987)

Synopsis: A marketing expert (Ann Magnuson) is hired by a tech company to show their new android (John Malkovich) to the world. John Malkovich also plays the introverted scientist who created the android, so they look EXACTLY ALIKE! Ooooooooo. 80’s rom com, sci-fi mish mash.

Directed by Susan Seidelman
Screenplay by Floyd Byars, Laurie Frank
Stars: John Malkovich, Ann Magnuson, Glenne Headly, Ben Masters, Laurie Metcalf (Some of these people are actually famous, I swear, look them up)

This movie, in all its glory, is a true stink-a-roo. It is an 80’s comedy, almost to the extreme. All it needed was nudity. I mean, it had nudity, but it was John Malkovich’s ass, which he either shaved for the part, for it comes naturally hairless. Now days you can just paint an ass green and remove the hair later with a computer. Ah, technology. I imagine women’s groups would be up in arms about this movie today, because although the main woman has a high ranking position in the marketing world, she is also a stereotype. She drives badly; there is a scene where she is putting on her makeup at a stop light, and of course she holds up traffic doing that. She is constantly thinking about her relationship, or consoling her sister who is being cheated on, or getting ready for her other sister’s wedding, or listening to her mother talk about how she needs to get back with her ex because she’ll never do better. Ugh, pure garbage.

I don’t want you to watch this picture, let me get that out of the bag here. It’s bad, don’t do it. It’s full of 80’s fashion, 80’s keyboard, and there is a really bad song in the beginning of the movie. Something about “too many fish in the sea”. I could go into the story, but do I really need to? I do? You bastards.

So Frankie Stone (Ann Magnuson) goes to the lab, and meets Dr. Peters (John Malkovich) who is an ass. Then she ends up hanging out with the android, who is named Ulysses, because, you know, that’s a great name. Frankie proceeds to try to teach Ulysses to be a person, and makes him feel things, and naturally the android falls for her. There is a scene at the mall where wacky stuff happens, and a scene where he puts a diaphragm in his mouth (because he doesn’t know its not gum!), and other stuff happens. It’s not a good movie, did I already say that? It has a happy ending, la de FREAKING da!

Oh, did I mention the android gets laid? Yeah.

John Malkovich in Making Mr. Right:
Now, despite everything I said about how bad this movie is, and how I’d advise you to watch a documentary on the mating rituals of hillbillies before watching Making Mr. Right, John Malkovich does a great job. He has 2 parts, and the characters are effectively varied. His scientist was easily agitated, egotistical, a gigantic nerd. His android was innocent, affectionate, pants-less for several scenes. Malkovich did a really good job, sometimes playing the characters as they talked to each other. He separated them, made the real individuals. Basically, despite the movie’s plot, I was very happy watching him do this part. I got a sense that he can actually play different parts. So, why is it that I never see him doing that (at least now days)? At some point directors just wanted John Malkovich to play John Malkovich. And I suppose he is happy playing himself, otherwise he wouldn’t do it so often. Malkovich is the only redeeming thing about Making Mr. Right, but I cannot imagine that this movie was good for his career.

The next movie I am going to watch is Dangerous Liaisons. WHOA WHOA WHOA, wait a minute you say! According to IMDB he had quite a few movies in between Making Mr. Right and Dangerous Liaisons! Yes, I am aware of that. Unfortunately, Netflix is not. My first choice was The Glass Menagerie, which I assume is based on the Tennessee Williams play. Netflix on the other hand, seems to have never heard of the movie at all, so that’s a no go. My next option was Empire of the Sun. I added it to my queue, looked around at some other stuff on my list, and noticed that the wait time for Empire was “very soon”. Now, having had other “very soon” items on my list before, I knew that “very soon” can mean 10 years from now. So, I said screw it. Next on the list Miles from Home, the never released on DVD Miles from Home. What the hell!! That left me with Oscar award winning Dangerous Liaisons. So sad for me, I know. I still have Empire of the Sun in my queue, and if it comes up I will watch it for sure. Until then, I hope you will all join me next week. Any question, comments, or pictures of your relatives you want to send me, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com.

P.S. Please don’t send me any pictures of your relatives.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Hangover review from back in the day

So I realized I never posted my Hangover review on this site. Here it is in all it's glory.





4 guys go on a road trip to Vegas. At some point of the night they lose track of what happens. Hilarity ensues. Simple enough plot to bring in average movie goers looking for a potentially raunchy laughs. I mean, this is after all directed by the guy who did Old School. You know what to expect with this one.

There’s my problem. Now, I’m trying to be even in my head about this. I had a couple moments of laughing out loud. And too be fair, I was in the first showing of the day with at most 15 other people. You can get a lot more laughs out of a flick when there is a crowd involved. So, ok, I want to talk about what I thought was good first.

Things I liked:

Movie Flow- The movie had my interest the whole time. I have ADD, it is very easy for me to lose interest in anything I do not feel vested in. I think the way they kept me in it the whole time was through their “clue leads to other clue” method. I really liked that they didn’t just keep bumping into people that went “Hey! The guys I saw here last night!” I mean, they did run into a couple of those, but usually only after devising that they had been at said location before by finding a receipt, ticket stub, hospital band, etc.

Likability of the characters- This movie is going to draw a lot of comparisons to Old School. Hell, I already did that in the first paragraph. But I am happy to say, THERE IS NO VINCE VAUGHN. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Mr. Vaughn’s acting. I enjoy several movies he is in. But his characters are always unlikable dicks. None of the guys in The Hangover feel that way to me. Ed Helms (Stu) is always worried but never whiny. Bradley Cooper(Phil) is a let’s have fun no matter what guy, but he is also the cool headed guy making everyone calm down. Zack Galifianakis (Alan) is the slightly of kilter guy, but he isn’t full-on-nuts. He has some SENSE. I like that. And Justin Bartha (Doug)? I just like him in general. He was Riley Poole in the National Treasure movies and he just seems like a cool guy. Even the “antagonists” of the film had likability. Mike Tyson had a bigger part then I thought he would, and although Tyson himself is not necessary to the story(could have been any celeb really), the scenes that revolve around him are some of the best. I’m glad it wasn’t just “RANDOM Mike Tyson”. And my favorite guy in the flick was definitely Ken Jeong (Mr. Chow). This guy knows how to make me laugh, even if I do see his junk at one point in the film. He is the king from Rolemodels in case you have no idea who I am talking about. Of course, I could just secretly be a racist who enjoys stereotypes. But he makes some fat jokes. I like fat jokes.

Things Not so much:

Recycled Jokes- I was kind of irked by how many things I had seen before in other films. Married to person you just met who turns out to be better than the person you are with. Dumb guy has a really smart side too him. An animal/car destruction scene straight out of Tommy Boy (and probably 100 other flicks). There were a few things I thought could have been funnier. Like more baby jokes! Every movie is better with more baby jokes. In fact, everything in the movie was pretty predictable (Yes, yes, He’s missing a tooth, we get it). I’m trying not to be too hard on it, but you can do only so many road trip gone wrong movies before we have seen everything that can happen. The movie made me laugh out loud when Stu is playing the piano, singing their tale like a bard. It made me laugh when Alan was making awkward “best friends” speeches. The two cops made me laughing pretty hard (Rob Riggle, Cleo King). The part during the credits: AWESOME. The rest was kind of, eh.

Things I hated:

Soundtrack- This can’t be helped. Party songs are so plentiful that you are bound to get bad music in the mix. But “Who let the Dogs Out”? Do we ever need to hear the Baja Men again?

Verdict:

This is what it comes down to: The movie just really didn’t hit my funny bone. It hit my amused bone the whole way through. I guess I was hoping for something a little wittier. And of course, that’s my problem, not the average movie goers. Smart asses make me laugh. So I say it is worth seeing, but maybe not in the theatre. It’s probably better to just wait for the DVD or see it at the cheap theater.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jan 3rd 2010, Week relating to 12/15 – 12/21

Movies Seen: *First time viewed
Yojimbo*
Princess Mononoke
Precious*
Avatar*
The Hangover
Fistful of Dollars*
Humpday*

Happy New Year! My New Year’s resolution is to eat more banana bread. Unfortunately I don’t know how to make banana bread so I am currently taking donations.

Yojimbo:
I watched this movie because I was told that the movie Fistful of Dollars was a shot for shot remake of this movie. I’ll get into that part of the movie when I talk about Fistful. This movie is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. Every shot is so well thought out and beautiful, I felt like I was in the little village the movie takes place in. The dialogue is amazing, not just because of the way it progresses the story and give the characters life, but because of its awesome sense of humor throughout. The goofiness of the situation in which the samurai (Toshiro Mifune) puts himself in the middle of is immediately interesting. You just want to know what is going on in his head, and when you think you have him figured out, he makes you do a double take. Akira Kurosawa is certainly an amazing director, and I cannot wait to watch more of his movies.

Princess Mononoke:
I believe I spoke of my love for Miyazaki in my review of Ponyo. This is my favorite Miyazaki movie. It is such a beautiful piece of animation. For some reason I feel like you don’t have to stretch your imagination as far for this movie as you do for the other Mayazaki movies. Part of the reason I didn’t really like Spirited Away was because I had no idea what was going on. I like how Mononoke is aimed at an adult audience, with it’s violence and mature subject matter. I think the only thing I don’t like about the movie is Billy Bob Thornton (who voices the monk Jigo). This never bothered me before, but the last time I watched the movie I couldn’t help but find his voice completely distracting. I can’t really put a finger on it. I guess I feel like his voice doesn’t match the character… or something else? I don’t know, don’t quote me.

Precious:
This film has left a nasty taste in my mouth that I still have to this day (1/18/10). It’s not that it isn’t an interesting story; it is well narrated for sure, and it isn’t that that I don’t understand the imagery; I just don’t like having a complete lack of hope from a film. This movie has so many rises and falls in the plot that I am lucky I kept down my lunch. The main character Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) is tested on all fronts from the very beginning, and when she steps up to prove she has worth, the narrative proceeds to knock her back down again. I cannot say I would ever watch this movie again, unless I wanted to see how good my life is in comparison.

Avatar:
Avatar was an exercise in technology. No one can deny that the visuals were stunning, realistic enough that I often lost track of when I was watching actual people as opposed to the computer animated creations. The facial tracking system made everything work amazing well. That said, the story left me dry. I liked the movie, but I wouldn’t see it again unless prompted to in the company of others. Every bit of the story became very predictable very fast, and with the exception of Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, the acting didn’t draw me into the plot very well at all. I don’t want anyone to get up in arms about this, I’m not trying to be a movie snob, I just didn’t get 100 percent out of the film. I cannot wait to see another movie using the tech though. The future looks very bright for sci-fi.

The Hangover:
As I stood as the lone detractor to this movie in my group of friends, I felt it was owed at least one more viewing. So I rolled down to the local Blockbuster and picked up a copy for me and Sarah, in order to share a night of movie laughs together. I was absolutely sure that I would either like it more the second time or that I would remain alone, Sarah having loved the film and casting me out from her high opinion. This has happened before after all (Magnolia, There’s Something About Mary) so it wouldn’t have been a surprise. I watched it again, and I am sorry, but I still didn’t find it that funny. It was just too predictable for me. I feel like an asshole honestly, because I know when I tell people this, once again, I come off as a snob. I will leave Sarah to represent her own feelings about the movie. Something’s are better to remain silent about, I assure you.

A Fistful of Dollars:
Fistful is an excellent western. I really respect it’s cinematic style. I love Clint Eastwood of course. The soundtrack is such a defining piece of work, truly iconic. My only problem with the movie is that I had already seen it. As I said earlier, the story is almost an exact copy of Yojimbo. It lacked the sense of humor Yojimbo had for the most part, but there were a few funny parts of its own (although I am drawing a blank at the moment). I will tell you what though; I want to kill that little kid in the movie. His voice made me want to rip off my toes so I could stuff them into my ears and block the sound. I don’t really have much else to say about the movie, except when it comes down to it I prefer Yojimbo. Next time I want to watch Clint, I’ll put in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Humpday:
An interesting experiment in narrative, Humpday relied almost completely on the dialogue of the characters. This film is an example of mumblecore, which I hear is a movement in film recently. The actor adlib almost everything in the movie, and in Humpday’s case, it comes off flawless. I found it really easy to relate to the characters in the movie, because they all spoke like real people. Now, I have never found myself in the situation of the movie, which is two straight men deciding to make a gay porn for the purpose of ART, but I still related. It was a really good movie, and if you are feeling experimental, I recommend you try it out.

So, it took me 15 days to get this done. I started school again, and with all the insanity surrounding moving people into assorted houses, I just didn’t have the energy. Or the brain mass. Or something like that. I hope you all missed me as much as I missed you. What’s that? You don’t read my blog anyways? Shame on you! If you have any comments, questions, or listings for slightly used refrigerators, please send them to JDTMovies@gmail.com. Toodle doo!