Search This Blog

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
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?

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.

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 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
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.

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

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

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?


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
Princess Mononoke
The Hangover
Fistful of Dollars*

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.

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.

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 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.

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 Toodle doo!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The John Malkovich Project, Chapter 2: The Killing Fields

I am still trying to get over the movie. Wow, this has really got to my core. I cannot deny that I am a little misty eyed. On top of that I just read about what happened to Ngor, the actor who portrayed Dith Pran. If you don’t know what I mean, check it out on Wikipedia. I am sure it is covered there.

Synopsis: New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is in the middle of Cambodia with his translator and fellow reporter Dith Pran (Dr. Haing S. Ngor) during the Vietnam War and at the beginning of the new regime in that country. They eventually become separated as all foreign nations pull out of Cambodia, leaving Schanberg desperately trying to find Pran, and Pran desperately trying to survive.

Directed by Roland Joffe
Screenplay by Bruce Robinson
Starring: Sam Waterston, Dr. Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, and very briefly Craig T. Nelson.

Both Ngor and Waterston did a spectacular job in this movie. Ngor definitely deserved every award he got for his performance, especially being that this was his first movie and from what I can tell, his first time acting. All the sets added an amazing feeling of realism, and everyone in their scenes played their parts well. There were no green screens; it must have been a real challenge for everyone on set. Hell, Spaulding Gray, who was essentially an extra in the movie, wrote a monologue about the production and the MONOLOGUE got made into a movie (Swimming to Cambodia). The movie had such a great way of catching me off guard, making me feel as the reporters and people of Cambodia did. There would be a peaceful scene with a normal conversation going on and then BOOM. It was really effective. The portrayals of violence and mayhem were all done with a lot of care. Although you knew people were getting shot, you saw it only once or twice. There was no need to see it every time to know how horrible it was, so I say that was a good call on the filmmaker’s part.

Now, this movie was made in 1984, so it has basically an 80’s soundtrack. For the most part this doesn’t bother me; the synthesizer was an excellent way of highlighting the insanity during some very crazy parts of the movie. For some reason though, there was a scene in Cambodia after Schanberg has returned to New York that has actual orchestrated music. I could hear real strings and such. Then it just went back to normal. Perhaps I didn’t hear that part right, perhaps there were more orchestrated parts, but it struck me as odd anyway.

It was an amazing movie. Very emotional. Very real.

John Malkovich in The Killing Fields:

Once again Malkovich has pulled off an excellent performance. I will say that he has a minor role, but he does appear on camera for about 20 minutes altogether. He plays a photographer who has a weary look about him, and a pissy attitude. There is an excellent tense scene where he is trying desperately to develop a photo. No, I’m not being sarcastic, it was intense. Unfortunately, I saw one of the problems I associate with him during the movie. He got angry about something that happened, cursed loudly, and then proceeded to speak in a normal calm manner. At least, that is the way the scene came off to me. Other than that, I thought he was pretty damn great. Any man who wears a sanitary napkin on his head gets a thumbs up (although this does happen in the movie, this is a joke; please do not reenact this scene). That is 2 for 2 on good performances so far. Perhaps he is so widely admired because he just happens to have been in some amazing movies? I guess I’ll have to see about that.

I just started school again, and I am already intimidating by the work load I have put up for myself. I have to say though, the challenge is pretty exciting too. The next John Malkovich movie I am going to watch is Making Mr. Right. I wanted to get the movie called Eleni, but apparently they did not make it on DVD in this country. If anyone knows where I can get a hold of a copy I would be indebted to you to let me know. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions, or recipes for delicious tomato bisque to Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The John Malkovich Project, Chapter 1: Places in the Heart

I’d like to start by fully explaining the origins of this project. Throughout my years of watching movies and movies and some more movies, I have seen John Malkovich in quite a few films. There is no denying that he is a critically acclaimed actor, and has appeared in some amazing movies, but I have always found myself underwhelmed by him and his craft. He is one of those actors I associate with other that always do the same things in roles, never really stretching himself out for a character or a script (Al Pacino, Bruce Willis, this list can go on for a while). I am hoping that over the year that this will take, week by week, I will begin to see an insight into Mr. Malkovich’s acting methods, and see the true range that he is capable of. I know I am going to see some really bad movies, and some really great movies, and movies I have seen before, so I am excited at what is to come. I hope for those of you who read my crappy blog that this will be an interesting analysis of the man and my feelings towards him. Did that last sentence sound kind of gay? Oh well. Please to enjoy.

Synopsis: Sally Field plays a widow during the depression era, who must find a way to make money at the threat of losing her house and having to send away her two small children. Along comes Danny Glover and John Malkovich to save the day, or something like that. Actually, it’s probably more about the woman’s strength then what they did.

Staring: Sally Field, Danny Glover, John Malkovich, Ed Harris, Lane Smith

Described on the DVD slip as a bittersweet tale, I don’t think that could be more apt. This movie has some pretty depressing moments. In fact, the movie starts off with a bang in the depression department. I see in one an Oscar or two. Sally Field was good in the movie, but I would be curious to see who the other nominees were. And what do you know, our good friend Mr. Malkovich got an Oscar nod too. I wonder if that sky rocketed his career.

So like I said, the movie is about a widow in the south during the depression doing some “crazy” things to get by. For some odd reason, and I suppose I should say SPOILERS but really, I don’t intend to hold anything back during these reviews, there is a side story going on during the main plot. Ed Harris’ character is married to Sally Field’s sister in the movie, and is having an affair with the local school marm. I don’t really know why this was included in the movie other then possibly to take up space, because the side story does not affect the main stories plot line at all. Sure, they live in the same town, have the same friends, get hit by the same tornado, and eventually pick cotton in the same field, but it just seemed really odd to me that the two story didn’t impact each other. Well, the sub plot was affected by the main plot I suppose, but not the other way around.

There is a lot of racial tension in the movie, starting almost immediately. Some of the images were disturbing, but they were kept to a minimum really. The word “nigger” is used like 500 times at least. My sensitive ears begin to cry out in pain! And there is a fantastic appearance by the KKK doing one of their well know numbers. The scene where that happens is a very cool one for John Malkovich. Let’s just say he gets a little Daredevil on them racist folks. You know, minus the martial arts.

If there is one thing in the movie that REALLY grinded my gears, it was some of the strange editing cuts. It seemed that the editor had a liking for having someone say a line, and then RIGHT AWAY cutting to another scene. Also there were a few scenes that were on screen for 10 seconds and then BAM! Another cut to something else. Seems kind of sloppy to me, I’m just saying.

Anywho! This is kind of a depressing movie, I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone, but if someone asked me if it was any good I’d say, sure, it’s worth a watch I suppose. Danny Glover is pretty cool in it, and so is John Malkovich…………

John Malkovich in “Places in the Heart”:

John Malkovich plays a blind man who is insisted upon Sally Field by the bank in order to rent a room from her. Neither she nor he is happy about the situation, and you get the feeling from his character that he used to being pawned off to people because of his handicap and limitations. For some ODD reason, I think Mr. Malkovich did a really good job in this role. I think I can attribute this to his lack of yelling in the movie. Well, that’s not true; he did some yelling during the tornado scene. He seemed very toned down in the movie and I think that really worked for him. And it helped that his character became completely likable as the plot progressed. So kudos to you Mr. Malkovich. This round is yours.

The next movie in the John Malkovich Project is the Killing Field. I plan to have one of these up every Friday (crossing my fingers!) so if you’d like to watch along with me I more than welcome you too. Please send any comment, suggestions or love letters to Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dec 27th 2009, Week relating to 12/8 – 12/14

Movies Seen: *First Time Viewed
Dazed and Confused*
The Sting*
My Cousin Vinny*
I am looking back on my first year of being a real movie maniac (a cinephile?) with love and hate. I saw a lot of great movies, a few bad flicks, and got in a lot of great discussions. Next year is going to be full of remakes in the theater, and I am in turn going to be full of dread.

Dazed and Confused:
I must have missed my window on this movie. I think if I had watched it in high school or just after high school I would have been able to relate to the characters and probably would have really liked it a lot more. As it is, I did not like Dazed and Confused. It was a lot of music with scenes thrown in. There were stories, sure, and characters, yeah, but nothing gets resolved, at least not satisfactorily. I just don’t get it. The only thing I really liked was how much a creepo Matthew McConaughey played. Everything else… eh. This movie must have meant a lot to some people, because I can’t watch an episode of Family Guy without seeing a reference.

The Sting:
I love con movies. Heist flicks. Confidence films. I just get a kick out of them. And of course, this movie is a classic. Robert Redford and Paul Newman are great actors, and I defy you to dispute that! The Sting was a good movie, but I ruined it for myself. Having seen so many con movies, I knew what was going to happen before it happened. My recommendation is that if you rent this movie DO NOT over think it. I left feeling disappointed and I thought at first it was because there was something wrong with the movie it’s self, but upon further reflection I just ruined it for myself by trying to guess everything in my head. I have to say I think I liked this movie better then Butch Cassidy, probably because of all the other characters in The Sting that were essential to the story. And because there wasn’t an entire musical number in the middle of the movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just look at almost any movie from the 80’s.

My Cousin Vinny:
I get the feeling that this movie is a classic for some people, and not just because of the controversy around Marisa Tomei’s Oscar. It was a funny movie, but I have grown tired of fish out of water tales over the years. The character of Vinny, played by Joe Pesci, is a bit strange. He is supposed to be a hot shot Guido, but he comes off as really gentle and understanding. Not to be confused with dumb, he definitely pulled off being ignorant. Joe Pesci is a good actor. As for Ralph Macchio, let’s just say I am glad he is no longer in the business. Oh, my favorite part was when they were making jokes about rape in the prison. What does that say about me?

An excellent piece of film if you know nothing about Nelson Mandela, which I didn’t. I begin to see why the man is so well respected. Morgan Freeman does an awesome job OF COURSE. The part was practically created in history with the intention of him some day playing it. Matt Damon was also excellent. I appreciate the fact that his character was 2nd banana in the story to Mandela, and not made to be the co-star. There was a lot of beautiful camera work, and a few sport scenes that had my adrenaline going. My only problem with the movie were that the music was some times ON THE NOSE, trying to make me feel a certain way in a certain situation. The other thing was that I don’t understand Mandela’s family situation. They same to hate him, and I wish they explained why. Perhaps I am just not reading enough into it? I don’t know. It was a good movie, I recommend it.

This movie is sky rocketing up my top 25 all time list. Not that I really have one of those, but I do have certain movies that I hold in very high esteem, and this is one of the best action movies I have seen, EVER. Robert Deniro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean (I HEART YOU) they were all amazing. But Stellan Skarsgard? He stole the effin show. Having only previously seen him in Good Will Hunting, I guess I had no idea what he was capable of. He was one scary MF. This movie has some many great action scenes, such a great sense of tension throughout, the car chase scene a BAR NONE. I feel all flushed talking about this movie. So great, I cannot recommend it enough. Let’s all get together and watch it soon hmm?

Sorry, I know, I’m a few weeks behind. My brain just goes to pudding after writing stuff down sometimes and I need to take a few days to recharge. I think I am going to try to see a movie in the theater once a week this year at least. You are all invited to join me. Please, send any comments, suggestions, snazzy haikus to my email address at Hope everyone sees a great movie soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 in review, 2010 plans so far…

I decided to sum up my top 10 movies from 2009. The list is only movies I have seen, and I am going to put them in alphabetical order, because putting them in an actual top 10 is daunting. I saw 43 of the movies that came out last year. That’s out of at least 200. And as some people have pointed out to me, I have had mostly a positive reaction to the movies I saw in 2009. So, I am going to try my hardest to pick out the movies I actually liked the MOST. Sigh…

Really good story. Funny in a lot of parts, but the best stuff was the acting hands down.

Away We Go:
I thought this movie would be way more popular. Me and the other elitists are going to go hang out at Starbucks and talk about how great this movie was. This movie is another super funny, great acted film.

Saw this 3 times, and I’ll admit, I had to warm up to this one. At this point I am sold on it for sure, and I recommend it to all you Nightmare Before Christmas fans. I think it’s pretty great.

Fantastic Mr. Fox:
Didn’t I tell you people to go see this movie? I still smile thinking about it. I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD. It is most definitely going in my collection.

The Hurt Locker:
Brilliant, bloody brilliant, I cannot say it enough. I regret having only seen this the one time in theaters because I am dying to watch it again now. It is a thrilling piece about the psychology of warfare. Wait, the makes it sound boring. It’s not. Trust me please.

I Love You, Man:
I loved this movie. Sarah and I were laughing so hard while watching it. I can’t believe no one seems to like it!

Inglourious Basterds:
This is my #1 movie of last year. I saw it twice in the theater, and if I could have I would have been in there every day grinning from ear to ear. Tarantino’s dialogue and direction is absolutely BRILLIANT. I am almost sure I like this movie better then Pulp Fiction… I have to think on it more.

Star Trek:
This is just a really great Sci Fi/Adventure/Action movie. I don’t think I need to say much about it.

Panned by most everyone I know, I still remember how much I liked this movie. It was a really cool piece of sci-fi goodness. Please don’t yell at me!

Just a really well done adventure story. Pixar almost never disappoints.

Honorable Mentions:
(500) Days of Summer
Observe and Report
Public Enemies

So I would love to hear some of my few readers lists, and of course their disagreements. You can either post it here on the blog site or I have a new email address which I will list on the bottom for comments and suggestions.

Now, 2010. I am going to do a side project I am calling “The John Malkovich Project”. I have seen many John Malkovich movies, and for the life of me, I still do not understand why the man is such a celebrated actor. He seems to play the same person in every film he is in. So, weekly, I will watch one of his movies, starting from the beginning and movie up his filmography list. I intend to find out why you all love this man. His secrets will be mine!

Hope everyone had a great new year’s eve.