Thursday, August 30, 2012

Premium Rush

The After Hours of bike messenger movies.

Some thoughts:
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so charming!

- As a caricature of himself, Michael Shannon was hilarious.

- The action scenes were quite thrilling. I love the live action feel of this vs. the digital effects in most movies.

- I loved the different scenarios envisioned by Gordon-Levitt's character as he makes split second decisions on what route to take while riding. When all options are bad, watch out!

- Sujan and I both dug the United Nations casting.

- I was psyched to see the dude who played Burr Redding from Oz in this.

- This was the first time Sujan had been at this particular theater in Jersey in something like 18 years.

- This movie was super fun. See it!

- Bike messengers are kind of assholes, aren't they? Wow.

Directed by David Koepp
2012
NJ suburbs

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This was like the Bill Cunninghmam doc but with sushi. Sujan and I really liked it.

The film looked incredible, 85-year-old Jiro Ono is a fascinating dude, the history was interesting, and the 80 minute run time was perfect. I'd love to see an update on this family in 20 years or so to see how Jiro's son is faring after he takes over - or maybe he won't because maybe old Jiro will still be plugging away.

As I was watching this I couldn't decide if I was happy or sad that Sujan didn't know about Jiro when we were in Tokyo back in 2006. I would have loved to have eaten at his restaurant but it would have cost us a pretty penny.

Directed by David Gelb
2012
DVD

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mean Streets

The first time I saw this on video in the early 90's, I was a bit disappointed. When I saw it at Film Forum in the late 90's, I was a bit disappointed in my younger self for not liking it. For some reason, I just didn't get some of the 70's brilliance when I was only 19. I don't know.

I really like this movie and it was good to see it again after so many years. I love the shots of NYC from the early 70's. I love the many scenes in the bar. Even though the movie feels fully realized, it also is fascinating thinking about how he perfected some of the things he was working on here in later films. For example, the NYC outdoors stuff became much more important to the storytelling in Taxi Driver. And the nonstop shooting the shit and the ball busting in the bar scenes, he came back to in Goodfellas.

Other thoughts:
- The drunk bar floating scenes with Harvey Keitel clearly influenced Spike Lee.

- The music is, of course, used incredibly well. From the beginning strains of Be My Baby in the opening credits through the very end of the film, it all works well. Was this the first movie to use such great use of previously released songs?

- De Niro was so much fun to watch. Every little thing he does in this film including arrogantly pulling up his belt at one point is perfect.

Directed by Martin Scorsese
1973
HBO

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Declaration of War

Who would have thought a film about a couple dealing with their toddler's diagnosis of cancer and than basically having to live in the hospital during the treatment could be so sunny and uplifting?

Granted, it isn't all fun and games but it sure as hell isn't Rabbit Hole on the gut wrenching front. And while I'm not quite sure how much I liked the scenes where the main characters break into song in an Umbrellas of Cherbourg kind of way, they didn't ruin the movie for me or anything.

The film was written and directed by people who actually lived through this nightmare. I would love to see a documentary on the real story vs. how they decided to portray it on the screen. It is remarkable to see a movie that takes every parent's worst fears and turns it into such an unconventional love story. Sort of.

Directed by Jeremie Elkaim and Valerie Donzelli
2012
DVD