Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Duck Season

This movie will sneak up on you. It starts off slow and never really goes nuts or anything but by the end, you'll be happy you stuck with it.

Imagine a Mexican filmmaker inspired by Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise but also The Breakfast Club and a dash of Home Alone and you can begin to imagine this movie.

The beginning gets all the details of being a young teenager right. Two friends can't wait to be left alone all day as one of the friend's moms leaves for work. They have all day in front of them to play Xbox. I loved the early shot of the tag team effort of pouring a Coke, just so, into two glasses to make sure that both were even. Not many filmmakers would take a minute to show such a mundane detail. But in the hands of director Fernando Eimbcke, it helps out flesh out the characters.

Then the boys sit down to play some games. But a neighbor girl comes over unannounced to bake a cake and steal some of the boys attention. Right at an exciting finish to a Xbox soccer match, the power goes out. What the fuck? Now what are they going to do? The boys decide to order a pizza. They know that if it takes more than thirty minutes, the pizza will be free. When the delivery guy is 11 seconds late, they refuse to pay him. But he refuses to leave. So the rest of the day is spent with the four characters in the apartment hanging out together as well as in pairs. It is in these scenes that the film really reminded me of The Breakfast Club.

This is a fun little movie that I think most people would like if they give it a chance. See it.

Directed by Fernando Eimbcke
2004, Year of U.S. Release: 2006
DVD

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three Times

Am I a philistine because I was a little bored by this movie? Perhaps I was just tired but this movie didn't do that much for me.

I'd wanted to see a Hou Hsiao Hsien film for a long time. His films are always highly touted as some of the best films of the past twenty years. Three Times was mentioned in many a 2006 year-end top ten list. I was excited to see it.

The film tells three different love stories, all cast by the same actors. The first one is set in 1966, the second in 1911, and the third in 2005. My favorite segment by far was the 1966 one. It reminded me a lot of In the Mood For Love.

The 1911 one threw me for a loop. I respected it as a piece of art but as a piece of entertainment, it kind of left me cold. Shot in color but presented as a silent film with title cards, it got a little old during its 40 minute run time. By the time the 2005 segment rolled around, I wasn't sure I had another 40 minutes in me. I made it through but I don't remember much about it. It was during the 2005 part that SHR fell asleep.

I'm more than willing to admit that I didn't give this film a real chance. I just don't know if I was in the mood for it. It looked great and the concept is really interesting. I also am still very interested to see more of Hou Hsiao Hsien's films. But, overall, Three Times, is not the film I was hoping to see - one of the year's best.

Directed by Hou Hsiao Hsien
2005, Year of U.S. Release: 2006
DVD

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

This is one of those movies that comes out at the end of the year to get Oscar consideration, tanks at the box office, gets no nominations, and then is completely forgotten. And that is a shame. Because I really liked this film.

The script was written by Guillermo Arriaga of (21 Grams and Amores Perros fame. I definitely liked it a lot more than 21 Grams. This movie also is the first film directed by Tommy Lee Jones. He should direct more. The film has a John Ford majesticness to it. I really was impressed by it.

Jones plays a rancher who befriends an illegal Mexican immigrant. When the immigrant, Melquiades Estrada, is accidentally shot and killed by an asshole border patrol agent (Barry Pepper), Jones gets pissed. When he finds out that the sheriff isn't going to do anything, he takes matters into his own hands.

He kidnaps Pepper, has him dig up the corpse of Estrada, and embarks on a journey on horseback to Estrada's village in Mexico to give him a proper burial. Jones has to elude the police, keep Pepper at bay, and make sure that Estrada's corpse doesn't decompose too quickly, all while trying to find a small village that isn't even on the map.

There are so many interesting little moments in this film. I never would have thought that a Tommy Lee Jones movie could make such an impression on me. If I had seen this last year, it definitely would have been ranked fairly high on my year end list.

Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
2005
Starz Cinema

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

This movie is breathtakingly scary and intense at times. It seamlessly skips back and forth between the evil that men do and the crazy shit that fauns ask little girls to do. The scene with the monster awoken by the eating of a grape is one of the best of the year.

The film has many thrilling moments. I liked it a lot better than del Toro's The Devil's Backbone which also was set amidst the Spanish Civil War. However after seeing this film, I kind of want go back and give The Devil's Backbone another chance.

I also loved the sound in this film. Nothing says evil quite as well as the sound of leather gloves and leather boots worn by a madman.

I saw this film almost a month ago now. I still think about it often. At first, this was another one of those films that all the accolades it received built up unreal expectations for me. A month ago, I didn't think that this was one of the year's best films. However, a month removed from all the hype, I've realized that this is indeed one of the year's best.

I just listened to a Guillermo del Toro interview with Elvis Mitchell a few days ago. Just listening to him explain his thoughts on the movie the theme of fighting facism convinced me even more how much I did like this film.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
2006
The Sunshine

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Inside Man

Ho hum. Whatever. This one was fine as far as it kept my attention. I liked the little touches of Lee throwing in social commentary into the proceedings. I liked the fact that the movie was about a bank heist that didn't involve money or violence.

But other than those things, this movie was pretty unmemorable. And the patented Spike Lee cam that made sense in Crooklyn looked ridiculous when it was Denzel supposedly running. Dumb.

Directed by Spike Lee
2006
DVD

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

L'Enfant

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, I almost saw L'Enfant (The Child) this summer but somehow I ended up missing it. I knew that it was supposed to be good but I also knew that it was supposed to be super depressing. I also wasn't that big of a fan of the Dardenne brothers last film The Son.

But I was really really pleasantly surpised by this movie. I liked it a lot more than The Son and I didn't even find it all that depressing. The Son moved at a snail's pace and I was worried that this film would too. It didn't. I was pretty riveted during its 95 minutes.

The film is about two 18 or 19-year-olds who have a baby. Bruno is a small time crook who enlists 13-year-olds to help him and brags that working is for losers. He also doesn't seem to be the easiest guy to pin down. In fact, when his girlfriend, Sonia, goes to his apartment with their baby, fresh from her hospital stay, he doesn't even live there anymore. She has to bang on the door until the hostile couple inside relent and throw her phone charger to her.

Yet Bruno is damn charismatic. He and Sonia are really in love. Many of the early scenes are of the two of them running around and goofing off like little kids.

Unfortunately, Bruno is an impulsive, immature, living in a bubble kind of guy. On a whim, he decides to sell their child for adoption so he can make money for Sonia and himself.

Of course, when he tells her about it later in the day, she's not so happy. He nonchalantly tells her that he thought that it wasn't that big of a deal because they could always have another kid. Everything to him is a transaction. Selling his child is no different and much more lucrative than the digital camera he had sold earlier in the film. He ends up correcting his mistake and getting the baby back. Of course, a person can't make such a grave error and not pay the price. The rest of the film explores the consequences of his bad decision.

The Dardennes amazingly have you rooting for Bruno at times. He did a terrible thing but rather than judge him, it is fascinating to watch his character develop over the course of the film.

The film looks great. The Dardennes film in gray places, abandoned shacks, small apartments, frigid rivers, dank hallways. But it all looks strangely beautiful.

Whether or not you view this film as simply an entertainment or as an examination of society's ills, this film is really really good.

Now I want to see 1999's Rosetta which also won the Palme d'Or

Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Year of U.S. Release: 2006
DVD

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Idiocracy

Nowhere near as bad as the movie execs that buried this movie claimed. Not as good as the people who were lucky enough to see it last year would have the people who couldn't see it believe.

Jim, SHR, and I watched this right after it came out on DVD. We were so excited to see what had been denied us in the fall. And it was, um, hmmmm... it was okay. Jim and I liked it a lot more than SHR did. I thought it definitely had some inspired moments. But it is no Office Space, not even close. Office Space is easily one of the funniest movies of the past ten years so maybe it isn't fair to compare the two.

Luke Wilson plays a man of average intelligence who is frozen for 500 years and awakens to a world where everyone is an idiot. All of the smart people don't have enough kids and all the dumb people keep having them. The most popular show on TV is a show called Ow, My Balls and a former athlete/ superstar is now the president. Everyone calls Wilson "faggy" because he can actually speak proper English. No one thinks through anything for themselves and do what the corporations tell them to do - including destroying crops by replacing water with a sports drink. The premise of this movie is perfect and the crap special effects enhance the fun.

So why was this movie buried? Is it too weird? Was the satire too biting? Was this movie just not marketable? In fact, I think it might be a brilliant marketing plan by 20th Century Fox to not really release it last year. They have guaranteed themselves a big DVD push, right?

I liked this movie enough the first time. But I'm convinced that it will be even funnier on a second viewing. In fact, as I reread my paragraph about what the movie is about, I'm cracking up just thinking about it.

Directed by Mike Judge
2006
DVD

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Descent

I used to be a horror film kind of guy. They don't do all that much for me anymore. But maybe it is just because I'm not seeing the right ones. Like this one is the right kind of one to see. It wasn't amazing or anything and it was completely ludicrous but I dug it.

Six female friends go into a cave for some extreme adventure fun. Things go awry and they get trapped. It is good even before the crazy shit happens. Once all hell breaks loose and things get ridiculous as the strange cave creatures start chasing the women, it keeps getting siller and sillier. No matter. It is still quite effectively creepy.

Apparently, the original ending is different than the one that showed in the U.S. this past summer. As much as I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen with a bunch of screaming Court Streeters in the audience, I'm glad I saw this version with the better, darker ending.

On another note, this would be a great double feature with Letters From Iwo Jima - another movie about a fight to the death in caves.

I should watch more horror films though because they make me feel close to my late friend Terry Crummitt. He would have loved this movie and I can imagine him rewinding his favorite parts over and over again and giggling and forcing his friends to pay super close attention to each second of his favorite moments.

Directed by Neil Marshall
2006
DVD

Sunday, January 21, 2007

United 93

If I hadn't seen two previous T.V. movies (one on Discovery and one on A and E, I believe) I might have really gotten into this a lot more. Plus, I think it might have lost something on the small screen. I have a feeling that watching this in the theater with a crowd would have made a big difference.

The movie was fine. I enjoyed it. It was good. It was also better than the two cable movies (big surprise) both of which spent an inordinate amount of time telling us about each key player in the uprising. There were also interviews with family members that were quite touching. But the re-enactments were not very good and both films had a I Shouldn't Be Alive vibe to them.

This one was shot like so many things are these days - shaky camera cinema verite style. While sometimes I find that a little grating, I thought it worked well for this movie. Greengrass did an excellent job recreating history with his previous Bloody Sunday and he did a great job here too. It isn't his fault that I was kind of bored with the subject.

The film almost felt like two entirely different movies. The first was mostly set in traffic control rooms as they slowly discovered what was going on. The second half was pretty much all about United 93. I liked the first half more only because that story wasn't that familiar to me. The sense of shock in the first half reminded me of the way I felt on that morning. The second half of the film reminded me of the two other movies I saw.

Director: Paul Greengrass
2006
DVD

Friday, January 19, 2007

Miami Vice

As I type this review, the movie is still on. SHR is asleep on the couch. Yes, the movie is that good.

I had heard good things about it. I had read pretty good things about it as well. I wasn't expecting much. I just wanted to be entertained. Is that too much to ask of a Friday night DVD? Apparently so.

Any sort of respect I had gained for Mann after the enjoyable Collateral is gone. The dialogue is terrible. The acting is terrible. The plot is terrible. The movie is neverending. Then again, I am watching the 140 minute director's cut.

What the fuck? Is that a Mogwai song? I believe that it is. Whatever it is, it is much better than the "In the Air Tonight" remake that played a few minutes ago during some crucial shoot out scene.

Colin Farrell's hair is a joke. The chemistry between him and Gong Li is non-existent. When SHR was awake, she commented that Farrell was so boring, they should have just cast the fiftysomething Don Johnson instead.

Oh no, Jamie Foxx's girlfriend is going to die? No? He called the nurse. But she isn't dead. I don't know. I guess I should watch to figure out what's going on.

Hark, the movie just ended. Thank heavens.

Was it just me or did Justin Theroux not even have one line in the entire movie?

I will admit that the cinematography looked really great. And Herc from The Wire is in it.

And to be fair, I always kind of thought the T.V. show was kind of dull as well. But at least that was only 48 minutes or so and there was a crocodile on a boat in that one.

Directed by Michael Mann
2006
DVD

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Inland Empire

Treading on the same terrain as the vastly superior Mulholland Drive, this movie drove me crazy. At least an hour too long, I couldn't wait for it to end. It also looked like absolute shit.

However, there were some really great moments in this film. My favorites were the bunny sitcom scenes and the early scene of Dern's neighbor visiting her and freaking her out. In fact, the more I think about it, there were many many stunning moments.

But having to sit through three hours was too much. As Alex J. said after seeing this with me, it is amazing that even a thread of a coherent plot goes a long long way. When this movie goes off the deep end, it goes way off the deep end.

When one of the actresses from Mulholland Driveshows up at the end for a dance party, is this suppposed to be another part of that movie? Who the fuck knows? As long and annoying as this movie was at times, I think I really would have been able to get more into it if it hadn't looked like absolute shit. There were also moments visually that felt like it was straight from a film school student's final project.

Alex loved David Lynch's signature cup of coffee though that they were serving at concessions. In fact, he said that if there had been two intermissions and he could go out and get two more cups of coffee, he would have enjoyed the movie a lot more.

Laura Dern was great though. Perhaps my favorite part of this whole film is this story about Lynch's unique Oscar campaign for her to get a Best Actress nomination.

The IFC has a sign posted that states that the 10th viewing of the movie is free if you present 9 ticket stubs.

Check out this negative review. And also this one by the same reviewer after the second viewing where he decided that he loved the movie.

Jim e-mailed me the other day to ask me if I wanted to go see the movie with him. He had seen it awhile back and didn't love it at the time. However, he had been thinking a lot about it recently and was curious to see it again.

When I told him that I had no desire to see it again, he replied that he wasn't all that impressed with a lot of it but he did love the bunny sitcom. I did as well. And I liked other parts of it as well but not enough to pay 11 bucks to see it again. When I told him that I couldn't get over how bad the movie looked, he wrote, "Yeah, considering how good his other films look it was like watching a movie through a bar glass that just got dropped in mud." Exactly.

Then again, if I saw it again, maybe I'd love it. And I only have eight more ticket stubs to accrue to get the 10th showing free! Who's with me?

Directed by David Lynch
2006
IFC Center

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

C.S.A. The Confederate States of America

This played for a long time this summer at The IFC Center. There were a lot of suckers who paid 11 bucks to see this. I had a hard time sitting through it on DVD and even had to get up to do other things while it was on.

Presented as a BBC documentary on the C.S.A., the movie describes what the world would have been like if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. Some of the commercials and news breaks about runaway slaves are somewhat okay. The film strives for a Zelig like feel to it. The problem is that it just isn't that good. About a fourth as clever as it thinks it is, it really drags for 90 minutes.

I would rather watch that hilarious Mr. Show sketch where Mississippi sends its black citizens out of the state on buses 50 times in a row than watch even part of this again.

Directed by Kevin Willmott
2006
DVD

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Letters From Iwo Jima

I have not been all that impressed with Clint's recent directing efforts. Million Dollar Baby was servicable but not great and I hated the bullshit that was Mystic River. So I didn't rush out to see Flags of Our Fathers either. Not to mention Paul Haggis who wrote Million Dollar Baby and directed the infernal Crash wrote the screenplay for Flags of Our Fathers and developed the story for Letters From Iwo Jima. Needless to say, I wasn't super excited to see more mediocre Clint movies.

I let Flags of Our Fathers pass but when the glowing reviews came in for Letters From Iwo Jima, I decided to do something about it.

This is a really really good movie. I don't think that a World War II film told from the enemy's side is going to get too much of an Oscar push for Best Picture but it should. I saw this film a few weeks ago and I still keep thinking about it.

Unlike other recent war films that have super cheesy modern bookends (Saving Private Ryan), this film's bookends are quick and to the point. Maybe it is because this story is told from the Japanese point of view that it doesn't feel like all of the other World War II films I've seen that have the standard cast of soldier types. You know what I mean - the country boy, the city slicker, the blowhard, etc.

It is fascinating to watch the film unfold. The soliders know they are doomed but also know that they have to fight to the death. The film begins and ends on the beach. Both times a shovel is a key element to the scene. Both times the shovel represents utter futility. The rest of the film is in the caves as the Japanese try to take out as many of the enemy as possible before succumbing to the inevitable.

The memorable images and scenes in this film are too many to mention. The first glimpse of the American war machine creeping up on the island, the school children singing a song of bravery to the soldiers on the radio, the suicide by grenade scene.

I loved Saving Private Ryan when I first saw it. But now that I think about it, so much of that movie rings false, trite, and melodramatic while set to a soaring John Williams score. In that movie, there is debate about whether or not to kill a German POW or not. He is let go and then comes back to make the Americans pay for their stupidity.

Contrast that with Letters From Iwo Jima, where the captured soldiers that get killed get no chance to talk their way out of it. Either they are slaughtered or the captor already has decided what he's going to do with his prisoner. No moral handwringing while playing to the audience's suspense. No big speeches. No Matt Damon with his perfect late 90's teeth.

I put this up there with some of my all time war favorites. See it.

Directed by Clint Eastwood
2006
The Sunshine

Monday, January 15, 2007

Invincible

This movie was really bad. I don't care how many times Beth has seen it, it really sucks. Cheesy slo-mo all the time, terrible dialogue, wooden performances. Just a bad movie.

And the football sequences reminded me of the baseball scenes from The Naked Gun. Everything looked fake. SHR said the football scenes reminded her of The Puppy Bowl. I should have listened to Hater Larry on this one when he told me that any movie about a Philadelphia Eagle was bound to suck.

The only reason to see this movie was to check in with Kirk Acevedo, Alvarez of Oz fame.

Directed by Ericson Core (Is this even a real person?)
2006
DVD

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why We Fight

First of all, who knew that Starz Cinema letterboxes a lot of their movies and plays art films? I didn't until the other day. Welcome to my periphery, Starz Cinema.

Second of all, who would have thought that Dwight Eisenhower would be so highly touted by a left-wing Muckraker?

Third of all, I was a little disappointed that there were no John Wesley Harding songs in the movie.

Fourth of all, how did Jarecki get John McCain to say some of the stuff that he did? He basically is calling for Dick Cheney's shady dealings to be investigated. Nice. As soon as he said it though, he seemed to have regretted saying it and ended the interview.

This movie is pretty good. It is one of those films though that you know that the filmmaker had his thesis before starting the movie and damn made sure that he had the right interviews in place to prove his point. Not that there is anything wrong with that as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. But this is definitely a preaching to the converted kind of movie.

I'm curious to see Jareki's other documentary The Trials of Henry Kissinger.

Director: Eugene Jareki
2006
Starz Cinema

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Mystery Of Kaspar Hauser

The German title of this film is amazing! I should make Every Man for Himself and God Against All as my new blog tagline.

The film is based on the true story of Kaspar Hauser who had lived as a captive for years in a dark room. As an adult, he was found in a town with a letter detailing who he was. As he learned how to speak, it was discovered that he was actually pretty damn brilliant.

Some people in the town try to help him, others ridicule him, others try to make money off of him. In the end, it is never really discovered where he came from or who had kept him locked up for 17 years.

The movie was quite interesting but not the masterpiece that I was led to believe. In fact, there have been a few re-releases out this year that were deemed masterpieces that were disappointing to me or my friends. To me, if you are going to call a movie a masterpiece, you are saying that it is definitely that particular filmmaker's best movie, right? I don't even think this is close to being one of Herzog's best.

I think some critics just like to be able to call somewhat obscure films masterpieces to make themselves look hep. I say, "Bah!" Stop misleading the public.

As a sidenote, Mitch and I went into the theater at 4:20 for a 4:30 showing and the movie had already started! Typical BAM bullshit. Granted, they fixed it because people complained. But how poorly run is this theater? Wow.

Director: Werner Herzog
1975
BAM

Friday, January 12, 2007

The 39 Steps

I've seen most of the classic Hitchcock films. How I managed to miss out on this one for so long is beyond me. It is really really good. It has all the classic elements - a man being chased by both the bad guys and the police. No one believes his story about being unwittingly placed into spy intrigue and national secrets.

In particular, the outside chase scenes are stellar and the shadows made my film noir heart quite happy. If you haven't seen this one, make an effort to remedy that.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
1935
TCM

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Prairie Home Companion

What a charming little picture. All warm glow and reminiscing and enjoying life. Such a nice, wistful last film for Altman.

I love the line that Garrison Keiller says about how he hoped to be remembered after his death. He said that he hoped people would respect him and remembered him but not to make too much of a fuss. Or something like that. Shit, I wish I had written the line down. Even though Altman didn't write the script, it felt like it would be perfect for Altman's epitaph.

If I had seen this film when it was out in the summer, I would have thought that it was an interesting but minor Altman film. Seeing it after Altman's death and in the context that Altman most likely knew he was dying while making it, it feels like an eloquent goodbye.

Director: Robert Altman
2006
DVD

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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Children of Men

I liked this but it definitely isn't one of the year's best like I was hoping it might be. It looks amazing. The violence is incredibly scary and realistic. In fact, one of the scenes near the beginning is one of the most out of nowhere completely riveting scenes I've seen all year. I liked the 1984 feeling of repression. I didn't mind the grab bag of historical and current events thrown into the mix. I was fascinated by the view of what the near future holds.

And I like the premise of the whole thing - women have been infertile for 18 years and the world is going to shit. Plus, I'm always a sucker for post-apocalyptic or close to it type movies. Maybe it was because I saw The Road Warrior at a formative age is why I love this genre of films so much.

But I was kind of bored by parts of the movie. When you come right down to it, how is this movie any different than any other chase film especially the second half? Not that there's anything wrong with a well made chase film but I was expecting a little more. From what I've read, the PD James novel has a lot more interesting political stuff in it than the film does.

After I saw the movie, I read this review that states a lot of what I could say if I actually knew how to write well about film.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
2006
Times Square 25

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Our generation's Wattstax. This is a great movie. This will be watched and savored twenty years from now. This movie makes Clinton Hill (my soon to be neighborhood!)/ Bed-Stuy look like heaven on earth. I love the stand up bits. I love the practice sessions. I love the crazy old white couple in that big house. I love the marching band. I love the two enthusiastic fans from Ohio. I love Erykah Badu's wig. I love Kanye West's songs.

My only complaint is that I'm just not that into hip-hop and wish that there had been subtitles telling who was performing. The DVD version had longer versions of some of the songs than the original theatrical release. As a complete novice of hip-hop, I probably would have preferred the theatrical release more considering that the only times I was ever somewhat not into the movie was during some of the performances.

Director: Michel Gondry
2006
DVD

Sunday, January 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Holy shit, this movie was scary. I mean, the facts are irrefutable. And no one will listen to the genius who has been warning us for years and years. What are we going to do?

And when that tidal wave (or was it a giant wave of ice, I can't remember) descends upon poor Jake Gyllenhaal and his less good looking friends on the steps of the New York Public Library, not even Dennis Quaid will be able to save us then.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
2006
DVD

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)

This DVD had sat on our shelf for a long long time. Winter Break proved to be the perfect time to watch it. Unfortunately, it wasn't that good especially compared to the Minutemen documentary I recently watched. But even compared to VH1 programming, this wasn't that good.

Maybe I didn't like it because there wasn't that much footgage from the golden era of the band? Although there was plenty in the extras. For whatever reason, director AJ Schnack decided to show a lot (and I mean a lot) of footage from a 2001 show at Warsaw.

Maybe I didn't like it because most of the interviews were conducted in front of the same three or so posters of the band and I got sick of looking at them.

Maybe I didn't like it because the chronology was all over the place and it just never gained good storytelling traction?

There were some highlights though including one crying girl at a record signing who seemingly thought that TMBG were the Beatles and Elvis combined. And the band's version of "New York City" at a record release gig at Tower Records just after midnight on 9/11 was pretty interesting in the context that no one there had any idea was waiting for them just 8 or so hours later.

Director: AJ Schnack
2002
DVD

Friday, January 05, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman,
Let´s go make a picture
On the island of Stromboli, Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, you´re so perty,
You´d make any mountain quiver
You´d make my fire fly from the crater
Ingrid Bergman

This old mountain it´s been waiting
All ist life for you to work it
For your hand to touch the hardrock,
Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman

If you´ll walk across my camera,
I will flash the world your story,
I will pay you more than money, Ingrid Bergman

Not by pennies dimes nor quarters,
But with happy sons and daughters,
And they´ll sing around Stromboli,
Ingrid Bergman

Director: Sam Wood
1943
TCM

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Family Stone

This is what happens when I join Netflix and am willing to watch movies that I wouldn't have on cable simply because I can now watch it letterboxed. Because, honestly, I really wouldn't have fully appreciated this movie if I hadn't seen it in the way that the auteur Thomas Bezucha had intended it to be seen.

All kidding aside, this movie was A-Ok. Nothing special but I got a few laughs out of it and it was fine for what it was. This also has Marilyn R. written all over it. So, Mom, if you haven't seen it yet, make Stone Groove record it for you.

And if nothing else, see this movie because Rachel McAdams looks fantastic in a Dinosaur Jr. t-shirt.

Director: Thomas Bezucha
2005
DVD

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

X-Men: The Last Stand

Ugh. From the moment this movie started, I knew I was in trouble. I liked the first two of these movies but did not like this one at all. I can only assume that Bryan Singer might have made it better than it was but then again, maybe not.

Maybe he decided not to do it after reading the stinker of a script. As soon as it ended, I couldn't remember much about the movie. There were a few really bad lines but I can't think of what they are right now. They've been completely erased from my mind. Dull, dull, dull and utterly forgettable.

Director: Brett Ratner
2006
DVD

Monday, January 01, 2007

Horns and Halos

This was a pretty interesting little documentary. What started as a seemingly simple case of the powers that be squashing a book about George Bush turned out to be much more than that.

Instead the film's focus was on the quite troubled writer and the quite pleased to be himself publisher. The publisher, Sander Hicks, went to JMU around the same time that I did. I've never met him, but for his sake, I hope he isn't quite the egomaniac that he seems to be in the movie.

I don't really want to get into the ending of the film for those who haven't seen it. But let me just say that the moment when Hicks breaks down at the end of the film, it is one of the more memorable moments of any movie I've seen all year.

Directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley
2002
DVD