Sunday, February 28, 2010

Moon

Suck it Avatar! Everything about this understated, thought-provoking, smart film is better than James Cameron's opus.

I love the way it looks. I love the sets. I love the soundtrack. I love the smileyfaces, frowning faces, teary faces from Gerty the Robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Everything about this movie is equal parts suspenseful and mesmerizing.

Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut miner on the moon two weeks away from finishing a three year solo mission. He's excited to come back home to see his wife and young daughter. But then things start getting a bit weird. He starts having visions. Is he going crazy? Or is it something else?

He has an accident while in a vehicle on the moon's surface. Gerty sends him to the infirmary where he begins to feel better. But then he sees another version of himself. Is it a clone? Is he a clone? Are they both clones? Is he going crazy? What the hell is going on? Not only does this lead to some interesting suspense but some really funny scenes like Sam Rockwell playing Sam Rockwell in a game of Ping Pong.

I haven't seen a straight up sci-fi film in a long time. I don't count big action movies like Star Trek. I miss seeing good ones like this. More please.

Directed by Duncan Jones
2009
DVD

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hunger

Based on the true story of Bobby Sands, an IRA leader, who organized a hunger strike in prison in 1981. The hunger strike was enacted after a failed attempt to make their point through other means. Before the hunger strike, prisoners refused to wear prison issued clothes because they wanted to be recognized as political prisoners and not standard criminals. They also refused to bathe, poured their urine under their doors into the hallway where guards walked, and wiped their feces on the walls.

Pretty vile stuff but visually this film is stunningly beautiful. And stunningly scary at times as well. The forced bathings, the beatings ... the violence is astounding.

The guards also had to worry about being killed by IRA operatives on the outside. Directer Steve McQueen does an expert job showing one guard's experience of fearing assassination on the outside as he leaves for work. We also get to see how brutal he is while in the prison. The scene of him smoking a cigarette in the light snowfall right after beating the hell out of a prisoner in an attempt to bathe him is definitely one of the more memorable scenes of the year for me.

The first half documents the failed initial attempts to protest as well as showing how prisoners passed information to people on the outside. The second half focuses on Sands as he starves himself. The two halves are broken up by a fascinating discussion between Sands and an Irish priest who disagrees with what Sands is about to do. Most of the argument is filmed in one extremely long take - must have been at least 10 minutes. But it works. It all works. This movie isn't for everyone but those with the patience for this kind of movie will be rewarded.

Directed by Steve McQueen
2008, Year of U.S. Release: 2009
Blu-ray

Friday, February 26, 2010

Funny People

Positives
Adam Sandler wasn't terrible. He played himself but as a miserable wretch. I kind of liked his performance.

The portrayal of Sandler's miserable existence is interesting. I love that he needs people to read to him as he falls asleep.

RZA!

Jason Schwartzman was funny. Between this and Bored To Death, I'm back on the Schwartman train.

The endless cameos were pretty funny. Dave Attell! Hell, even the Ray Romano/Eminem scene was funny.

I love love love Aubrey Plaza.

Jonah Hill's glasses were nice.

The last 5 minutes wrap things up nicely.

Negatives
An hour too long. Soooooooooo long.

The entire Leslie Mann/Eric Bana part. Endless. Insufferable.

The entire Adam Sandler/Leslie Mann scenes. Endless. Insufferable.

The script wasn't good overall. Every character is annoying. No one changes for the positive until the very last scene and then it's a big sea change. By then, it's too little too late. I guess Rogen's changes were hinted at but he was a big pussy the whole time anyway and went from being a big jealous jerk to a big not as jealous baby. Big deal. But again - the ending was good - it just came kind of out of nowhere. I guess if Apatow had given himself another hour to tell his story, this scene could have been foreshadowed a bit bitter. God forbid.

Seth Rogen wasn't good but maybe it was the script's fault? I like him so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

What is the deal with the nonstop penis jokes? Enough already. There's a penis joke every 3 minutes.

Overall, I was hoping for a B- but felt like I got a C-. This movie is not very good.

Directed by Judd Apatow
2009
Blu-ray

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tulpan

Who would have thought a movie from Kazakhstan that didn't feature Borat could be so good?

Tulpan is about a young man, Asa, back from the navy ready to become a shepherd, find a wife, and most importantly gain his father's respect. And while he's at it, he likes cruising around the steppe with his buddy in their run down jeep blasting pop music.

Unfortunately, Asa isn't that great a shepherd, the woman of his affections, Tulpan, thinks his ears are too big, and his father doesn't give him any respect.

Every scene in this too short movie is great. In particular, I love every scene where Asa tries to woo Tulpan - which proves to be difficult since he never actually meets her face-to-face. There are a couple of scenes where his parents try to negotiate with her parents for a union while Tulpan checks Asa out from behind curtains. Later, he tries to impress her by visiting her unannounced.

But nothing beats the pure joy of the driving through the steppe scenes or the bittersweet ending. Asa is a great character - full of wanderlust for the big city but with the bigger dream of simply finding his place at home, on the steppe.

Check out the trailer.


Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy
2009
DVD

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Medicine for Melancholy

Sort of like an American version of Before Sunrise but instead of wondering if the couple is actually going to sleep with each other, this movie begins with the awkward aftermath of a drunken tryst between two strangers at a mutual friend's party.

The film looks fantastic especially considering how low budget it is. Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show) is good in a serious role. Tracy Heggins is like a young Angela Bassett.

The two characters are completely different from each other but still spend the day together (through Cenac's persistence at the beginning of the day). Heggins' character Joanne is quite well off and lives with her (possibly white) boyfriend who is currently in London. Cenac's character Micah is an activist with a considerable chip on his shoulder. The interplay between the two and the suspense of how the relationship will progress throughout the day makes this movie pretty memorable.

Plus, I can honestly say I've never seen a film that has a plot point about an African-American being frustrated by the lack of other African-Americans in the indie rock scene. The movie deals really well with the issues of race, class, and the disappearance of the black middle class in San Francisco. I learned stuff while being completely entertained. This movie was a very pleasant surprise.

Directed by Barry Jenkins
2009
DVD

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Big Fan

I like The Onion. I like The Wrestler. I like Patton Oswalt. I like sports. I like sports radio. I loved the plot of the movie. So why didn't I like the movie all that much?

Robert Siegel (former Onion editor and screenwriter of The Wrestler) came up with a great concept - Oswalt plays a sad sack loser of a Giants fan who ends up getting pummeled by his favorite Giants player at a strip club. Even after getting beaten to the point of unconsciousness, Oswalt doesn't want to get the player in trouble because it will hurt the Giants.

None of the main characters were likable or sympathetic or all that interesting. Kevin Corrigan was fine as his usual deadbeat character. Oswalt's mom is funny especially when she yells at him to get off the phone during his nightly middle of the night calls.

But I just didn't buy it. There really wasn't that much sports passion displayed by Oswalt or Corrigan. It didn't seem like any of the people involved with the making of this movie are actually sports fans. It just seemed flat.

And the guy on the radio who is supposed to be Mad Dog wasn't that good. It should have been Chris Larry. Then this movie would have been good.

Directed by Robert Siegel
2009
DVD for the first 30 minutes but the syncing was off so Netflix Streaming for the rest.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad Day at Black Rock

This movie is an unheralded classic. I had never even heard of it until a few years ago when I first saw it on TCM. It is absolutely flawless.

Spencer Tracy (why haven't I seen more of his movies?) plays a one armed man who gets off the train in the middle of nowhere - a town named Black Rock. It is a nothing town out west. In fact, when he gets off the train, it is the fist time the train has even stopped there in four years. The year is 1945 and he's there to find a local Japanese farmer.

The locals don't take too kindly to the stranger and are quite suspicious of his intentions. They immediately start harassing him. That soon turns to outright threats and then real acts of violence.

Tracy's motive for being in town is eventually revealed. The bad guys (Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, and Anne Francis) conspire against him. The suspense is good, the Cinemascop is great, the social message is ahead of its time. A modern Western. A great movie.

Directed by John Sturges
1955
TCM

Friday, February 19, 2010

(500) Days of Summer

The debate started when a friend on Facebook gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Netflix. When that showed up on my page, I had to give him grief. 5 stars? Really? No way. I don't care how entertaining a movie this might be - five out of five stars?

I had a slight desire to see this but not enough to even add it my Netflix queue. But when Jim invited me over to watch it with him and Marc, I was definitely into it. Everyone knows that Marc loves romantic comedies. Everyone knows that his giggling makes even mediocre movies and TV shows better. Hell, I figured that maybe the sure-to-be- 3 star movie might turn into a 4 star movie with the help of Balgavy.

No such luck. Not even close.

From the very beginning of the movie that included the disclaimer: "The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch." I knew I was in big trouble.

I didn't mind the jumbled storytelling structure. What I did mind was the complete lack of chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel who I usually love. I didn't like the non stop look how cool we are because we know about cool bands and cool movies and cool books and cool artists feel of the screenplay. I didn't like either character at all. I didn't buy that Levitt was clueless around women. I didn't buy that Zooey would (SPOILER ALERT) get engaged within 3 months or so of breaking up with Levitt and then not even bother to tell him.

Some other thoughts:
The narrator was terrible.

The being silly in the park stuff and the rooftop scene reminded me of bland ripoffs of scenes from Annie Hall.

This possibly might be even worse than Garden State. Shins = Smiths. Smiths = Shins. One band will change your life if you listen to them right NOW! One band already changed both of our lives. Blah. I did like reading on IMDB that Morrissey's Viva Hate could be seen in the flashbacks to both characters' childhood bedrooms. So silly.

How many montages can one movie have?

So so precious in a please shoot me kind of way. And I like precious! That first Ikea scene was horrible.

Levitt's 11-year-old fixer and wise sage friend was insufferable. Every scene she was in was terrible.

The fake documentary stuff was like an "indie" version of When Harry met Sally. Now there's a romantic comedy! I wonder if that movie holds up.

The foreign film sequence reminded me of bad Saturday Night Live sketches that are on at 12:52 am.

The whole F greeting cards blowup scene was laughable. Yeah - stick it to the man by telling Hallmark to F off! His Network moment is about greeting cards. Sooooo deep and sooooo funny ...

Three moments I really honestly liked:
1. She didn't like the mix that he made for her. That cuts to the core, man. I know how that feels and what it means. I wanted more moments like that. While we were watching this, Jim asked me if this was worse than Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. At the very least, this one moment proves that this movie is better. It had this one honest mix CD moment. Nick and Norah didn't even bother having a playlist in their damn movie.

2. I did like the three record store scenes with Levitt showing Zooey the Ringo LP. Each time, it revealed more of their falling apart relationship. I understand that that was the point of each montage and also the jumbled storytelling structure. But I felt like it didn't really work for the most part - except for this scene.

3. The reality vs. expectations party scene was very good.

What follows is some of the heckling of the movie by Jim, Marc, and me as we watched it.

Jim: This movie makes me glad I'm not heterosexual.

Jim: Enough with the pop culture references!!!

Dan: This is the big Hall and Oates dance scene? It's not even as good as the dance scene on that recent How I Met Your Mother episode.

Marc: I hope he gets hit by a bus here. Then it would be Chances Are. Oh look - now it's an A-HA video.

At some point, Jim left the apartment to pick up his laundry and didn't bother to have us stop the movie while he was gone. It is THAT bad.

During a scene with his wise 11-year-old friend at her soccer game.
Marc: Is the next girl he meets going to be named Autumn?
Jim: I think his next girlfriend is going be one of the girls playing soccer.

Near the end but still 20 minutes left.
Jim: I want to kill myself now.

After the ridiculous slipping in of a clip from The Graduate into one of the endless series of montages:
Jim: She should get married to the real life Dustin Hoffman.
This got the second biggest laugh of the movie.

Near the end, the two were on a park bench.
Jim:It would be awesome if he killed her now.

At the very end, Levitt has learned how to flirt and flirts with Minka Kelly. They introduce themselves. Her name --- Autumn. Of course! We all burst out laughing.

Dan: The sequel is going be called (50) Years of Autumn.

Referencing a scene where Levitt tells a blind date that Summer had taken a shit on his face:
Jim: That movie just took a shit on our faces.

After the movie, I was excited to post my one star review on Facebook.

The thread:
Chris Larry: 1? Watching Zooey for 1.5 hours rates at least a 2 by default in my book.
To which SHR said to me, "Anything with Zooey starts with a -2 rating."

Me: to be fair - it probably deserves a 1.5. - 2 but man was it bad. i was in shock by how much i didn't like it. and i love zooey. i even like she and him!

but i had to give it a 1 to counterbalance matt's 5 star rating. just for spite.

Chris: it was neither as bad as you say, or as good as matt says...i'd rate it a 2.75

Tim S: 1 star? Cmon now... We watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past last night, and that is a 1 star, ass suck of a movie.

Jim: I agree with the 1 star. This movie had nothing. I like both Joseph G-L and Zooey, but this was a waste of time. 1.75 stars tops, but Netflix doesn't let you do decimals and this did not deserve a round-up

Matt: When did I become the sentimental one? I found this movie very winning. Sure, the 5 stars might have been a little excessive, but when the standards are "Really Liked It" and "Loved It", you'll have to forgive me if I get a little sloppy with my ratings.

Cara: I feel the female perspective is needed here. I don't think this movie deserves any stars. There was nothing redeeming about this film. I was very disappointed.

Matt: Fine. Here's what everyone needs to do. Move to LA and live there for 9 years. Then move to NYC where, 18 months later in the middle of a shitty snow storm, you watch a movie that is essentially a love letter to downtown LA. Throw in the additional requirements of ♥ing musicals and being overly sappy of late and you too can rate this movie 5 stars.
Right as we finished watching the movie, the Zac Efron - Matthew Perry vehicle 17 Again was making its debut on HBO. I guarantee that that movie is more entertaining than this treacle.

This movie was a lazy, boring, wannabe romantic comedy for the indie rock set. But jumbling the story line all Memento style and throwing in innumerable references to hipster pop culture doesn't make a good movie.

I talked to my dad the day after I watched the movie. It turns out that they were watching it at almost the exact same time I was watching it. They loved it.

Directed by Marc Webb
2009
DVD

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pickup On South Street

What a movie! I love Richard Widmark. I love Sam Fuller. I love the two together.

I saw this film when I first moved to New York but didn't think I remembered that much about it. But upon seeing it again, it all came back - Widmark's abode in a shack on the river where he keeps his beer in a bucket that he lowers into the cold river ("No electricity but always cold beer"), the pickpocketing, the great lines, the flirty girl (Widmark keeps calling her "muffin"), the calmly listening to a record before getting executed scene, the informant who picks up his money with chopsticks, the quick zoom shots a la Sam Raimi but 30 years earlier. Every moment in the 80 minutes of this film is perfect.

Honestly, I can't get enough Richard Widmark. I love his character in this one - Skip McCoy. While this isn't quite as good as Night and the City, it does share Widmark as a conniving lowlife. Both share key moments occurring in a shelter on a river. Both are awesome.

The film is about McCoy who pickpockets a woman on the subway. It turns out that he has stolen a film that was intended to be given to Communists who are out to get it back. And of course, the FBI wants it too. McCoy doesn't care who gets it as long as he gets paid.

I need to re-watch some more of my favorite Sam Fuller films. It's been too long.

Directed by Sam Fuller
1953
TCM

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Broken Embraces

I loved this movie. I loved the flashbacks that slowly peeled back the layers of the plot as well as adding new layers. I loved the old school Almodovar movie within the movie. I loved the creepy son with the camera. I loved the intrigue. I loved Penelope Cruz. I loved the noir sensibilities of the film. I loved the open ended possibilities of the plot that I don't want to divulge here in case you haven't seen it.

All in all, of the five Almodovar films that have come out since '99, this one is easily my favorite since 2002's Talk to Her.
I liked Volver and Bad Education but not as much as this. In fact, I like his films so much I don't know why I've only seen his five most recent films once each. I also don't understand why pre All About My Mother, I've only seen 2 or 3 of his films. I must rectify this grievous oversight. Almodovar!

Directed by  Pedro Almodóvar
2009
BAM

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The White Ribbon

I've seen all of Michael Haneke's movies that have been released in the U.S. since moving to NYC in 1997. To varying degrees I've liked them all. Even if they aren't great, they are all amazing visually. And I like the way he lets his stories slowly unfold - one layer at a time is revealed expertly. In fact, he and Pedro Almodovar might be the best directors today in this regard - both are expert storytellers.

Having seen most of Haneke's recent work, this one is by far my favorite. And it is the most different. It is the only one in black and white. It is the only one not set in modern times. And it is easily the quietest one. But that doesn't make it any less disturbing (in fact it's more disturbing) than a movie like The Piano Teacher or Funny Games (the original version).

The movie is about a small German town right before World War I. The parents are mean to the kids. There's incest. There's physical abuse. There's emotional abuse. And then bad things start happening in the town. The retarded village kid is taken to the woods and tortured. Someone ties a wire between two trees in the way of the town doctor who is seriously injured when his horse bucks him upon running into the wire. Another boy is taken to the woods and beaten.

Who is responsible for some of these awful acts? It is unclear but all signs point to the village kids. We do get to see the pastor's daughter (angry at her dad) take scissors to the family parrot. And there are other clues that the kids are responsible. But why?

This is the best kind of social message type film. Taken on its own, it is downright fascinating. As a treatise on some of the causes of World War II, it lends itself to hours of conversation. Like is the narrator/schoolteacher (telling the story from many years later) supposed to represent the Jews? What does the white ribbon that the pastor make his kids wear at all times to remind them to be pure represent? What about the denial of pretty much all of the town adults (other than the schoolteacher) that the kids might have anything to do with the events? This movie feels like a fever dream - but in a good way. This is a film that will be referenced for years and should be seen.

It feels completely original but it also reminded me of the crazy Germanness of The Tin Drum, the terrifying small villageness of Dogville, the scary kids of Children of the Corn, the messed up town folks with a secret vibe of Wicker Man, and the what's wrong with the kids vibe of Brand Upon the Brain. Brilliant.

Directed by Michael Haneke
2009
Film Forum

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rear Window

I see this movie once every ten years or so and enjoy it every single time. It is a movie that deserves to be emulated and ripped off year after year from everyone from the likes of Brian De Palma to Bart Simpson.

Stewart is great. His wholesome persona allows him to get away with his creepy voyeuristic streak in the film. I mean - come on, he has a broken leg and he's bored! He has to spy on his neighbors! And then of course, there's the perfection of Grace Kelly.

And I love how Hitchcock slowly builds up the suspense. In fact, nothing much happens suspense wise for over an hour. But the characters and all the voyeuristic scenes are intriguing enough that it still works. Each apartment scene has its own plot and rhythm within the larger structure of the movie. Brilliant.

This movie perfectly captures an era that was quickly vanishing even as the movie was being made. A few years later, Stewart's character would have been content to hang out in his apartment with his AC on full blast watching late night TV all night.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1954
TCM

World's Greatest Dad

It goes without saying that Robin Williams has been downright unwatchable for going on two decades at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised to not mind him in this movie. I found his sad sack character fairly charming. Unfortunately, his range isn't that good. In the last 1/3 of the film, I had no idea what he was thinking. The script doesn't help matters either. The ending felt abrupt and didn't feel organic to what had been leading up to it.

That being said, this movie is fun. The premise is so over-the-top that it is hard to ruin. Williams plays the father of a complete jerk of a son. His son (despite repeated warnings from his dad) accidentally kills himself by autoerotic asphyxiation. Williams decides to make it look like suicide. He writes a fake note that ends up getting leaked to the press and all of a sudden his awful son becomes an icon in his school. Williams becomes intoxicated by the attention for his dead son and takes it further by writing a journal supposedly written by his son which becomes a national sensation.

The more dark and crazy the film is, the better it is. Unfortunately, Goldthwait never lets the movie fully go off the rails. Still this is easily the best dark comedy about teen suicide since Heathers.

On another note, I still can't believe that I haven't seen Shakes the Clown.

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
2009
Blu-ray

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Key Largo

Bogart! Bacall! Edward G. Robinson! John Huston! I can't believe I had never seen it before. While a notch below some of my favorite Bogart films, this one still delivers.

Gangsters, hostages, boat rides in the storm with hostages .... good stuff.

Directed by John Huston
1948
TCM

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Up in the Air

Pretty good, not great. Clooney is Clooney but with 12.5 minutes of self doubt thrown in. The big surprise can be seen from miles away. I liked the interviews with real people who had been recently laid off. I loved the cameos by JK Simmons, Zach Galifianakis, and Sam Elliott. Danny McBride stole every scene he was in.

I liked the interplay between Clooney and his young co-worker. I liked the speech Clooney gives to people he's firing - the whole people starting empires bullshit. Vera Farmiga was good. Everything was good enough. Just like all of Jason Reitman's films. Good enough. But nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

The best thing that can be said about Avatar is that it seemed like until that movie came out, this might have been a top contender for Best Picture. In a strange way, I can much more live with a movie I didn't like much at all (Avatar) winning the top prize over an overrated but still fairly good movie winning it. What is my problem?

Directed by Jason Reitman
2009
BAM

Monday, February 08, 2010

Marathon Man

Is it safe? Say what? What was going on in the mid 70s that a movie like this was a critical and popular success? It is so strange.

The plot:
Laurence Olivier plays a Josef Mengele type - a sadistic dentist in a Nazi death camp who comes out of hiding in NYC to track down Roy Scheider who he believes is trying to rip him off of millions of dollars worth of diamonds. Scheider is really a secret agent for the US who has been getting info from Olivier about other Nazi fugitives. Exactly. What?

So anyway, Scheider's naive, pacifist, wet behind the ears grad student little brother is played by the 38-year-old Dustin Hoffman who by the way is training for a marathon hence the title. Hoffman looks every bit of his 38 years but he strains so so so so hard to seem like he's 23. So ridiculous that it works though. Hell, he's so method that it feels like he's 23 ...

Anyway, Olivier likes to play meanie dentist to extract (get it? extract!) information from Dustin H. And, oh yeah, he also has a knife that he hides in his sleeve that he loves to jab and slash people with. The oral surgery scene is the one where Olivier inexplicably keeps asking "Is it safe?" and from what I understand the phrase became a cultural touchstone during the latter days of the Ford administration.

The first scene is one of the funniest scenes I've seen in a long time and it sets the plot in motion. Olivier's brother is driving a clunker in NYC. An old Jewish driver starts harassing him when his car stalls in traffic. Then there is cursing and bumping of bumpers.

Spoiler Alert!!!

And then out of nowhere there is a high speed chase between the two old coots that ends in a fiery explosion with an oil tanker. What? A truly insane scene.

Skip ahead to 3:45 for the fun stuff.

Directed by John Schlesinger
1976
HBO

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wild Style

Not that much of a movie. Basically just an excuse to show some awesome graffiti and incredible early 80's rap performances.

Fab 5 Freddy ... Rock Steady Crew ...

and of course

Double Trouble!!!!!


Amazing stuff.

Directed by Charles Ahearn
1983
DVD

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Headless Woman

An upper class woman hits what is is pretty obviously a dog with her car. She stops the car but doesn't get out to check to see what she had hit before driving off. In the next few days, she becomes increasingly convinced that she had hit and killed a boy. The movie focuses on those days as she becomes wracked with guilt and begins to forget things and people in her life that she knows. What the hell is going on? Did she hit a boy? It seemed pretty clear that she hadn't. But perhaps she did?

I don't think I've ever been as confused watching a movie as I was while watching this one. But I wasn't the only one. Carrie had no idea either. After watching the movie, she went home and sent me the NY Times review of the movie. Apparently there are many clues that we missed. We also had no way of knowing about Argentinian history to know that this was supposed to be representative of the people having collective amnesia about the abuses of the recent past.

While I was watching it, I can't say that I enjoyed the plot because I was so perplexed. However, after having seen it once and reading the review, I think I need to see it again to really piece it together. F Lost. There aren't any polar bears or time travel to gum up the works of the mystery. It seems like this movie needs at least three viewings to fully have a handle on it. It is completely fascinating to think about trying to piece it all together on multiple viewings.

Not to mention the cinematography is stunningly gorgeous.

Directed by Lucrecia Martel
2007, Year of U.S. Release: 2009
DVD

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Extract

There's definitely some diminishing returns coming from Mike Judge. Office Space is a modern classic. Idiocracy was at the very least inspired and pointed lunacy. This one was pleasant enough.

I laughed out loud a few times. There were a few clever moments. Jason Bateman was good as usual. But this movie doesn't really amount to that much. Although JK Simmons can still do no wrong in my book. Heck, even Ben Affleck had a couple of funny moments.

I suppose part of my frustration is that Judge doesn't make enough movies. If he made one a year or so, this one would be considered a minor fun little movie. Since we might not get another one for another few years, this one doesn't cut it.

Oh yeah - the movie is about a bored owner of a vanilla extract company who pays a gigolo to sleep with his wife so he won't feel guilty trying to sleep with a saucy little number at his factory. Unfortunately for him, she's a scam artist and the gigolo falls in love with his wife.

Directed by Mike Judge
2009
DVD

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Crazy Heart

Sort of like The Wrestler but with a washed up country singer, less melodrama, less entertainment value, and way too much Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Jeff Bridges was great though. He completely carries the movie. His songs are great, his performance is amazing, and he should be a shoo in for a Best Actor Oscar. Even Colin Farrell was pretty good in this other than his horrible lip syncing. The script was pretty good. The story arc was satisfying and believable.

I guess it all comes down to Maggie G ruining it though. Cast another actress and this movie would have worked. As Chris Larry pointed out - if someone like Mary Louise Parker had been in the role, this movie would have been much better. It was hard to buy the relationship between Bridges and Gyllenhaal. It just wasn't believable and really dragged the movie down quite a bit.

I guess I should see Tender Mercies at some point huh?

Directed by Scott Cooper
2009
DVD