I love PT Anderson. He hasn’t made a movie yet that I don’t enjoy; Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, and especially There Will Be Blood are all fantastic films which contain hidden fruits rewarding repeated viewing and discussion. Yet each of these masterpieces (yes, all of his films are masterpieces!) has a hard outer surface, a lattice of desperation and obfuscation which make them slightly inaccessible, at least initially. On the other hand, Boogie Nights, Anderson’s first well-known film (ok, Hard Eight isn’t quite a masterpiece), starts out with a bang, and never lets go, pulling you in from the first notes of the intro until the final money shot.
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Archive for September, 2009
Maybe I should have picked Look Who’s Talking for my Modern Classic. But I didn’t. Moonstruck has been my gag reflex for the, “What’s your favorite movie?” question, for years. Why? I’d like to say, “Because it’s the best.” But this is a review. Saying, “It’s the best,” is not good enough; I have to explain my opinions. Read more »
In hindsight, Bottle Rocket, the low budget genre mash-up that catapulted Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers to fame, fits nicely into Andersen’s oeuvre. Anderson has progressively raised the scope and vision of his films, but I believe Bottle Rocket is his true masterpiece. The film not only stylishly refutes the media’s portrayal of downer Generation X, it also manages to be the best romantic comedy of the last two decades.
We are excited to announce our new weekly feature: NEW CLASSICS. Each week, our IWA contributors will nominate two movies made since 1980, and will write short pieces explaining their pick and the importance of that film. Our definitive list will included fifty such classics. On Saturday, we (and hopefully, you the reader) will be able to vote on which five films deserve to be added to the canon. Any reader may leave a vote in the comments section and it will be counted against our own! Come give us hell.
Here is a preview of week one’s picks: Read more »
Is Mad Max affecting the Health Care debate? Road Warriors, Blade Runners, futursangst and America’s MindspacePosted in Ruminations and Dedications, Timothy Parfitt with tags Death Panel, Post-Apocalyptic, SciFi, Timothy Parfitt on September 19, 2009 by Timothy Parfitt
When people bring up these so-called “death panels,” I can’t help but chuckle. I think opposing heath care reform for fscal reasons is perfectly valid, but this ubiquitous idea of death panels seems to rely heavily on individuals’ imaginations; specifically, an imagination weaned on the filmic treatments of future dystopia. I am putting forth here that America is so media and movie saturated that we can no longer imagine the future without using the sci-fi movies of the 70′s and 80′s as reference. Read more »
This past week I had the pleasure of catching Alien on the big screen. It was playing at the Music Box Theater in celebration of its 30th Anniversary. The film is as fresh as ever, but in some ways it feels way older than that.
The sound design largely forgoes music, instead surrounding the audience with distant clanks and cavernous echoes. As a result, watching the Nostromo crew (minus Ripley) slowly realize their fate as alien food, you, the viewer, feel quite trapped. The tension builds steadily, and when the monsters are finally revealed, it’s terrifying and cathartic cinema.
Director Ridley Scott’s use of such measured pacing in the first half of Alien firmly sets this film into the category of Old Classic.* Which brings me to my rant, i mean, mission statment Read more »
Taking its name from the 1992 Abel Ferrara film Bad Lieutenant, Werner Herzog’s new film bears almost no resemblance to the original, grungy cop drama. Do not confuse them; where Harvey Keitel plays a gunslinging cop laden with guilt and remorse, in Nick Cage’s hands, the character becomes a self-conscious amalgam of genre-busting policemen, assembled from bits of everything from Police Academy to Miami Vice to Lethal Weapon, with a bit of Bad Boys-parody thrown in for good measure; where Keitel pursued a nun’s rapist, Cage tracks down the murderer of a Senegalese family; where the original was a straightforward crime drama about a drug-addicted “bad cop,” Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is equal parts a lighthearted reworking of the 90’s police caper, a reflection on the mania of our overstimulated society, and a meditation on coping with catastrophe, that embeds the texture of addiction into every character and point of view. Read more »
Kathryn Bigelow first came to my attention during my teenage years, when her film Strange Days loomed large in my imagination. It was one of my most viewed VHS tapes; I inhaled the film’s heady combination of millennial dread, racial tensions and problematic techlogical advances.
According to a recent article in the NY Times, this is the year for female directors. I welcome any advancment in the gross lack of directorial jobs afforded to women, but the real tests for any mainstream American filmmaker are at the Box Office and the Oscars. With the Academy’s history of awarding bronzed mea culpas to artists whose past classics were ignored, could this be the year that Kathryn Bigelow is nominated, and wins the Best Director Oscar for Hurt Locker? Read more »
I got really excited on the way to Big Fan. I did not know, at the time, that the movie was directed Robert Siegal, writer of The Wrestler – a movie I enjoyed despite the parts I later found out were flooded with Jesus references. I get a little tired of that shit. (Watch the subway scene in Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man is Jesus? Come on.) The starring performance is by Patton Oswalt whose voice I could not place. It was so familiar though and thanks to the internet I found out he’s Remy, Star Rat in Ratatouille. Conversely, thanks to Toy Story, whenever Tom Hanks yells dramatically in a movie (particularly when he parts with Wilson in Cast Away) I can only think of Woody. Okay so getting to the point, I think this is the best way to write a review because I walked out. I can’t ruin the ending. Read more »