Not only is Legion by far the worst movie of the budding new year, it is the most morally reprehensible film of the decade, and quite possibly of my lifetime. Was I the only one expecting the filmmakers to subvert expectations and make a film about shooting Angels with guns somewhat conscientious by the end?
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Archive for January, 2010
So last night I went to this “sundance USA*” screening, for Jack goes Boating, this really mediocre movie directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. He wears a stupid wool cap for the first hour of the movie, only to reveal dreadlocks? I guess it was a comedy. The film follows two friends, both chaffeurs, as one finds a new romance, while the other watches his longterm relationship fall apart. Hoffman said afterwards that him and his theatre company pals were doing it as a play, but everyone said the play was “cinematic” so they adapted it into a movie… Read more »
Why I had never heard of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? before last week, I don’t know. But I loved it.
Baby Jane is one of those rare films that feels fragile. It could have so easily been an embarrassment for everyone involved – especially Bette Davis, but for the studio and director Robert Aldrich, as well. Like with Davis’ character, Baby Jane Hudson, it is sad to watch someone who believes in herself (or himself) be terrible at what they do. However, the movie succeeds beautifully! only to blow it in the second half. But it’s still worth watching, definitely. Read more »
Circumstances are limiting me to short sentences. Moon is great. It is directed by David Bowie’s son, but deserves attention based on its own merits. Sam Rockwell isn’t even annoying as Sam Bell, the isolated astronaut spending 3 years supervising the collection of solar energy by robots on the moon. It asks big, cosmic questions.
There were two main reasons I avoided seeing Inglourious Basterds initially. The first was that the film (along with Valkyrie*) seemed to belong to a recent batch of World War II movies whose historical accuracy was beyond suspect. Hollywood has always bent people and events to its advantage, but usually in easily decodable ways. Now we have nazi-scalping Jews and Tom Cruise valiantly trying to dethrone Hitler from within the SS. Even as entertainment, don’t these films indirectly benefit the causes of historical revisionism? The second reason… Read more »
First of all, don’t buy this at Wal-Mart. It sucks. The colors look like shit.
Now, I’ll tell you why I love this movie:
A. It’s the only movie I’ve ever liked Travolta in, except when I was in denial about Pulp Fiction.
B. The soundtrack rocks me every time.
C. Kirstie Alley is a babe. Especially in her aerobics outfit. Read more »
Jacob’s Ladder, directed by Adrian Lyne and released in 1990, is a remarkable movie. To classify it specifically as a horror film is to oversimplify, for Jacob’s Ladder fucks with notions of genre as much as it fucks with the minds of its viewers. Indeed, the film might be best classified as a complex horror-drama, as its story is one of self-discovery and personal growth in the face of excessive mental and physical trauma. In fact, I’ve encountered no other film that deals with the Vietnam War so abstractly, and yet so fully asks (or forces) the viewer to consider the aftereffects of gratuitous, perhaps pointless, armed conflict. Read more »
It’s too bad Michael Haneke films are so hard to watch. His latest anti-blockbuster The White Ribbon, is a superb and daring film, but will be seen by relatively few. Beautiful (shot in crisp black and white) and oblique, The White Ribbon is unflinching in its portrayal of Germany before the First World War. Read more »
Tyson is like Kurt & Courtney: if you’re interested in the subject, you’ll be able to watch the film, despite the style and quality of the filmmaking.
The word I would use for director James Toback’s TYSON is busy. And that’s an understatement. During the Tyson interviews – there are no interviews with anyone else but Tyson, except in stock footage, and even then there is Tyson commentary running underneath – there are as many as four Mike Tyson frames onscreen, playing at once. If he rambles at all, a new frame moves in and continues the thought, while the former dominant frame, still onscreen, albeit smaller, continues to play and you can hear him softly over the new, bigger frame. This sounds confusing, and it is. Likewise, there is a recurring theme of multi-frame close-ups of Tyson’s face: an eyeball, his lips, his cheekbone and tattoo – all at once – and under that, we hear a flood of words, mostly adjectives, which Tyson uses to describe himself, or something else, like what attracts him in a woman, or whatever the case may be. It’s a little much, and I don’t think it quite works. All this stuff – the hyper-editing, the many images onscreen – seems to me like function over style. It comes off as a style, but I think it was one of a few ways to deal with the wealth of rambling footage of Tyson. Apparently, according to my father who heard it on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, the cameras were set up prior to the interviews, so Tyson is actually alone when the recording begins. It makes sense since the movie is like an autobiography, completely in Tyson’s head. The only glimpse of how others see him is in the stock footage, and even that is very heavily edited, so as to serve Tyson’s narrative. When I read Malcolm X’s biography, my favorite part was the afterword by Alex Haley, X’s biographer, because I finally got a break, and saw X from the outside. Now, you could easily argue that both Malcolm X and Mike Tyson have been seen from the outside a lot, and what is curious is to see their lives, respectively, from inside their skulls. But I need a little of both. Somehow, the inside and the outside of a person gives a balanced perspective, adds to a portrait, at least a non-fictional portrait; I want to hear what others have to say about you and I want to hear it from you. And to literally hear it from someone else’s mouth, not just Tyson telling me what someone else said about him. Capiche? Read more »
Looking back on the past 30 years of his career, it’s hard to imagine Sean Connery actually made this movie. Featuring scantily clad female dictators, giant talking statues flying through space, and a post-scientific hippie burnout theology, I’m sure he looks back on this as the youthful indiscretion of his filmmaking career, much as I regret the time I chugged milk until I threw up or tried to cough up french fries through my sinuses. That being said, Zardoz reflects a paranoia about the End of The World Due to Irresponsible Human Industry that has seen a huge resurgence in popularity these days, as we consider our power to destroy ourselves, and the need to rebuild humanity. Hopefully when it happens we won’t all be forced to don his bikini-brief costume.
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