Archive for October, 2009
The beauty and brilliance of Gus Van Sant’s 2003 masterpiece Elephant are deeply indebted to two of the film’s inseparable elements: the visual style of cinematographer Harris Savides’ mobile camera and Van Sant’s mature, even-handed approach to the subjects of both Columbine and the trauma of school shooting. Read more »
Young Frankenstein, (1974) directed by Mel Brooks, written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, and starring Gene Wilder (but you probably already knew that, didn’t you?) was never one of my childhood movies. Not that I didn’t watch it a lot. But I always took it for granted. Read more »
Amongst the lesser genres, heist movies rate at the top of my book. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be a criminal. This is probably due in large part to movies. Heist movies are by design transportive, bringing you, the audience member, along for the score. Nowhere is the thrill of the score more intense than in Heat, Michael Mann’s 1995 crime classic. Read more »
It’s scary to think that the modern zombie cycle, currently moving into the realm of parody with Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious Zombieland, is less than a decade old. Read more »
Well I’m fresh out of the theater from Where The Wild Things Are. And what a relief it was, not just to pee, but to be done with the movie. Read more »
At 17, Videodrome shocked me. In the first few minutes a talk show host asks if violence and stimulation on television are linked to violence in social culture, an idea which gets James Woods’ Max Renn so hot for his co-interviewee that he asks her out on national television. Nicki brand, played by the surprisingly sublime Debbie “Blondie” Harry, in turn, is turned on by everything from being pierced mid-intercourse to hanging out watching snuff porn while being cut with a knife. Watching these tender moments of the first fifteen minutes with my father was certainly one of the more uncomfortable experiences of my moviegoing adulthood.
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Audition, the strange film by Japanese director Takeshi Miike is easily the most layered and original horror film of the 2000s. I have gone on before about the death of slow reveals/measured pacing; one of the reasons I love Audition is that the horror, gore and plot all converge in the final minutes. The first two-thirds of the film moves along as a dark comedy about confusing love and infatuation. By the end, Miike has dragged you through a Tarkowskian wormhole of desire, punishment, perception and decapitation. Read more »
My good friend, Timothy Parfitt, was very calm when he told me about Drag Me To Hell. See, my tendency is to overwhelm people with my newfound fondness for a movie. I have to tell everyone, “Have you seen Drag Me To Hell? Oh you’ve got to. It’s funny and scary and the main girl really holds it down. It was just such a pleasure to see Sam Raimi return to form after putting in all that time with Spider-Man. The movie – Drag Me To Hell – is the work of a master. It’s like he had all this energy that’d been held back while working for Stan Lee.” Too much, too much. Why do I care so much if they see a good movie? I sound desperate. Timmy wasn’t like that. He said, “It’s good,” like he just took a bite of a tuna sandwich I’d made for him. He didn’t gush, but his opinion was firm. He mentioned some of the things that I later felt: scary, funny, the Mac ad guy was appropriately cast. But it was the minimalism of his recommendation that got me to see it. I need to work on that.