Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brick

I love the idea of this movie - a modern day film noir set in a high school. I like the feel of it too. It is quite strange and feels realistic in its own made up universe kind of way. I like how the main character (trying to figure out a murder) keeps getting the shit kicked out of him. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, the guy who played the blonde lunkhead, and Nora Zehetner (from Heroes fame).

But, wow, was this film way too long. It felt like a 30 minute film school project fleshed out into a two hour feature. It just kept going and going and going. And it was quite confusing. But not confusing in a way that I really care to go back and understand every little nuance like I did after first seeing films like Miller's Crossing or Mulholland Drive.

SHR described it as a high school acting troupe trying to put on a performance of Twin Peaks. It had some elements of Heathers and the 1990 B-movie Blood and Concrete to it. This is a very promising and unique first film from Rian Johnson but not one of the year's best like some would have you believe.

Director: Rian Johnson
2006
DVD

21 comments:

marc b. said...

Your goal for 2007 should be to mention Blood & Concrete in every movie review.

Listmaker said...

too bad sam and nicole don't read this blog. they'd kill me for even mentioning that movie and making them sit through it.

lachimafilms.com said...

I'm with you on this... i really wanted it to be better. I found no connection with the cool-kid psuedo detective for 30-40 minutes. I kinda HATED him for most of it, actually. Noirs will present anti-heros all the time, but there will be something to hold onto, something to get behind, maybe small and insignificant, but something. this guy had nothing. i started to really dislike the whole thing - it turned around a little for me at the running, wing-tips clicking, getting chased by a bad guy scene, but it never paid off for me. i think sujan hit it on the head with the twin peaks/high school troupe thing. johnson had the noir language but i don't think he had NOIR itself down. an understanding of it, of the good and evil and more evil. of the underbelly - of the futility of punching your way out of a frame up... i haven't seen it in awile, but i remeber being ready to love it and walked away really not liking it. all surface, no attempt at substance or even significance.

take your flunky noir and dangle.

lachimafilms.com said...

rereading your review i think i disliked it way more than i thought you did.

Listmaker said...

i didn't hate it. everything you said though i agree with. but i wasn't really expecting a noir noir if you know what i mean. i feel ike johnson was trying to create something new using noir as a template. just because critics called it noir doesn't mean his intent was to simply make straight up noir. it reminded me more of a dumb cop movie with informers and strong guys, et al (does that make any sense at all) then noir.

i liked the way it looked and i liked parts of it. but overall, now i can't say i liked it more than just "hmmm... that was somewhat interesting."

lachimafilms.com said...

he was definitely trying for noir... knowledge of that may have affected my opinion of the film - heard him on fresh aire before i saw it, and he laid out what he was trying to do, which was noir.

i remember turning to anne and saying it felt like one of these modernations of shakespeare in a contemporary setting where they don't change update the language - the problem with that is often the actors just don't seem like they know what they're saying. and that is exactly how i felt watching this. they seemed clueless to the meanings of the slang they were phoenitcally reciting. there was no listening and responding, just line reading with squinty eyes.

i wanted it to be more, so it gets my full wrath.

Listmaker said...

i was ambivalent because some of the stilted nature of it, i thought was intentional. apparently not. wow, not good at all then if that is what he was going for.

Anonymous said...

for a moment there, i thought ARJ was referring to himself in the 3rd person!

Chris Larry said...

Jeez who let the haters out. Listy and Youthlarge are like the all time haters couple..

I took it for what it was, the work of a young film maker taking some risks, as a netflix movie I dug it OK, kept me and the misses entertained for and hour and 45...although maybe we watch to much MTV, STyle network and Noggin to know good films...

Lover Larry

Listmaker said...

typical hater larry here. the real hater here was alex j but he doesn't even rate a mention in your bile here? jeesh, go watch your oxygen channel, mr. larry and have a good time.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I hate blogger beta.

I typed a long thing up about this and it went away.

But the gist was that I've seen it twice, once during the Austin Film Festival on a big, honking IMAX screen and once at home on DVD.

It was far more fun to watch on the big arse screen.

And I like the risks and the fact that he went out and created a fictional world that had its own rules and logic--a thing far too few films do.

I'll watch what he does next.

Chris Larry said...

Typical Hater? Why b/c I point out that your way more negative than me? I am a lover...

I watch nothing on Oxygen..that joke was beyond lame. I made fun of myself better than you came at me!

Pan Labrynth? Any thoughts I keep hearing its the greatest movie of all time...

Lover Larry

Listmaker said...

bill, good point. maybe i would have liked it more on the big screen. but if alex is right that he was trying for noir, i'm not quite sure he achieved it. i wrote that i was interested to see what he would do next in my review.

chris, all i'm saying is that my original review wasn't THAT negative. alex ripped it. yet you don't take him on, only me. i guess you are afraid of him. that is okay. sorry about the oxygen dig. i thought that the ya ya sisterhood was on last night. my mistake.

Listmaker said...

oh yeah,

regarding pan's labryinth. it is good but not the best movie ever. but then again, i'm a hater.

Chris Larry said...

I will battle Alex any time and have...

I could care less about Brick really, and said it was OK...I am in a cross platform campaign to paint the Ralphysmells as the ultimate hater duo...so I strike whenever, wherever...

Lover Larry

Anonymous said...

chris if there's one thing out the ralphysmells will never hate, it's you.

besos,
youthlarge hong-ralphysmell

Chris Larry said...

Well obvie!!!!

Its not insult to be a hater....call it recruitment on my part...

Lover Larry

Anonymous said...

i'm not denying being a hater. i'm denying your denial of being a hater!

p.s. things i loved about brick: joseph gordon-levitt, that scene alex described with the clicking of the shoes during the chase scene, the country glass of orange juice

Anonymous said...

What about the chick from lost without an australian accent??

Good times good times...

Lover Larry

crispin said...

I just want to know what the school play actress lady had to do with anything. She was there the entire movie so she seemed integral but I never figured out her role or why she kept popping up, once in kabuki makeup, another tim eher mirror was being smashed. Who was she and what function did she play in this convoluted mess? Anyone?

Chris Larry said...

she was like the greek chorus, or the narrator...oh whateves she was hot!