Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still Walking

This is only the third Hirokazu Kore-eda film I've seen but all three have been great. Nobody Knows was one of SHR's favorites from a few years ago and I still think about 1998's After Life occasionally and it's been years since I've seen it.

This film is about one day in the life of a family. Ryota, the youngest son is visiting his elderly parents with his new wife and his stepson. His sister is also visiting. It turns out that they visit once a year on the anniversary of the drowning of Ryota's older brother. It has been 15 years since the death and his parents still haven't gotten over it.

This movie has everything SHR would want in a movie: cute kids, great cooking scenes, family drama. Granted, this film is no The Family Stone. But then again, what is?

This movie's pace reminded me a little bit of some of the later films I've seen by Shohei Imamura, including parts of Dr. Akagi. I definitely need to see more of both Imamura's and Kore-eda's films. And maybe The Family Stone again.


Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
2008, U.S. Release: 2010
Blu-ray

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rango

This movie is notable for being Sam and Otis's first ever movie experience in a theater.

Sam fell asleep 30 minutes into it but loved what he saw. Otis stayed awake until the credits started. He ate a lot of pretzels and cookies while watching. They loved the previews and kept calling out "More movies" as each one ended. When a new preview began, they cheered.

The movie itself was a bit of a letdown for them.

I enjoyed it enough though. Not the best thing I've ever seen but I respect how weird it was. First of all, how many Hunter S. Thompson references are there in kids' movies? I liked the Western aspect of it as well. The beginning was great. The Man With No Name reference was interesting. Otis was upset though that the producers cast Timothy Olyphant in that role rather than Clint.

This movie clearly was not made for 6-year-olds let alone toddlers. But I knew that going in. I just wanted to take the boys to a movie. And they passed with flying colors. They were respectful moviegoers and darn cute as well. What will be movie # 2?

Directed by Gore Verbinski
2011
34th St.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Carlos

There have been quite a few films in the past number of years about 60's and 70's era revolutionary/terrorist figures and organizations. I haven't seen all of them (I still plan on one day seeing Che) but they all kind of blur into one confusing movie for me.

The Baader Meinhof Complex was a perfect example - everything felt rushed. Two and a half hours just wasn't enough time to do that story justice.

Carlos definitely does not feel rushed. At five and a half hours, Oliver Assayas gave himself ample time to tell the story of Carlos the Jackal. And he needed every minute. Yes, things slow way down in the third part but I was expecting that. Things slowed way down in Carlos' life so why not in the movie? His fall wasn't as dramatic as I thought it would be - just a bit frustrating for the dude as his important role in the world had become slowly eroded.

But how about that first incredible part? And the 1st half of the 2nd part continued the fun. Very Three Days of the Condor 70's fun. Unbelievable how lax security used to be.

Other thoughts:
1. I loved the soundtrack. SHR saw a few minutes in passing here and there and thought that the music was a little distracting. The only song that really took me out of the movie was the late 80's sequence scored to the Lightning Seeds. But the Wire songs were perfect for the scenes they were in as was the Feelies' Loveless Love - easily the best use of that song in a movie since Smithereens.

2. At times, the globetrotting adventures reminded me a bit of the Bourne movies. And there was at least one reference to The Conformist that I caught.

3. Never ever open a door without looking to see who it is. It could be someone ready to shoot you as soon as you open the door. And for that matter, never ever walk down a dark stairwell. You will definitely be waylaid. And finally, don't ever go into your apartment without being heavily armed. Someone is definitely behind the door waiting for you.

4. When is a movie about the Red Army Faction going to be made?

Directed by Oliver Assayas
2009, Year of U.S. Release: 2010
Sundance on Demand