1987, 1988, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, Movies

Movies

One of the things I did in Florida was watch a lot of movies. Because that’s what you do in Florida when it’s dark and you’ve got crazy American cable with 30+ movie channels. That’s not to say that’s all I did (though this list will give you that impression), but I definitely watched a lot. The pictures of what I did will be up once I get them developed (that reminds me!).

Shallow Grave
Danny Boyle’s certainly got some interesting movies out there. This is one to check out. I liked how it was so claustrophobic. That is to say, a movie like the Sam Raimi one I can’t think of right now focuses on the same kind of story moral degradation following doing something bad for the money, but it’s almost totally set in one place. The crazy behaviour makes more sense. Also, I like how the characters don’t go the ways you’d usually expect. I guess if I said more that might ruin it. So SPOILER ALERT. The morally ambiguous one is not the one who goes to far, but you expect that he is indeed the one that will. Instead it’s the more moral one who has the break, which makes sense when you think about it, but isn’t typical of these films. As always, his angles were interesting too. Wow, this is illiterate. 8/10 or so.

They Live
Sometimes Carpenter rules (The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China) and sometimes he sucks (Ghosts of Mars or whatever, that Vampire movie). This is closer to the suckier side. I suspect it’s principally because of casting. Wrestlers don’t make leads. I think that if Kurt Russell had been in this doing his BTILC John Wayne impression, I might have loved it. The premise is pretty silly too, so it might have helped to have more of a BTILC attitude, than the supposedly serious one I got. It’s too obvious as well. 4/10? Just to be nice to John.

Brick
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a good noir (at least I think so, that I can remember right now). Its always nice to see one. It’s also always nice to see one that does something different. So let me say this, this is one of the best film noirs of the last decade or two. I’m serious. It’s awesome. Genres need to be mixed to keep them fresh, and this is so great a mixing, I’m surprised it took someone so long. I absolutely loved this movie. The only thing that hampers is the budget. As a result, the sound quality is far from uniform (I believe this is why my parents hated it, aside from the fact that it is downbeat, like all film noir should be). Aside from that, it rules. 9/10

Ong-Bak: the Thai Warrior
I appreciate people who can actually do the stuff they try to sell you. 8/10

September
A decent but not fantastic Allen entry. More on him later. 7/10

Sunset
Oh this movie is silly. So James Garner is Wyatt Earp. And Bruce Willis is some other cowboy. And they’re at the first ever Oscars. And they’re solving murders. And you’re wondering, ‘why haven’t I ever seen or heard of this movie?’ I don’t even know what to say. 4/10

V for Vendetta
Unfortunately, I saw this in two parts. This has been done before, the theme I mean. Many times, and better. Meh. 5/10

Land of the Dead
At least it was entertaining. I don’t believe directors should keep making sequels to their films any more than Bruce Willis should be in Die Hard 4. But Romero did. And it’s not terrible. But the smart zombie thing goes too far in my mind. And the whole thing just isn’t what it used to be. The remake of Dawn of the Dead is better. And what does that say? 6/10

Blade III
At least it was entertaining. And I could certainly get used to Biel the action star, if just to give me another reason to watch vampire movies. The first Blade was fun. The second was not as much fun. This one isn’t that much fun either, and makes less sense. Was that the guy from Prison Break? 4/10

The Matador
Brosnan should always play sleazy. It’s hilarious. Especially the part with the catholic girls. I also liked how it suggested a number of different things could have happened. I don’t like how it picked the upbeat one. Too many movies are impeded by endings that don’t fit the tone of the film. I blame studio execs, pre-screenings, marketing, and other such things. 7/10

The Constant Gardener
This is not City of God. And I gotta say, I’m kind of disappointed. That’s not to say that this was a bad movie, in fact it was quite good, but it seems to me like he knew what he was doing more with City of God. I don’t like it when directors tell me I’m stupid. I feel like they are doing that when they replay shots over and over. Otherwise it was excellent. Some better editing and it might have been a classic. 8/10

Imagine Me and You
Why did I watch this movie? Because I like lesbians. Incidentally, I yet again talked to a girl in a bar about lesbian porn last night. How does that happen? In fact, I believe we were having a pseudo-intellectual debate about it. Uh huh. Anyway, this is one of those lame ass rom-coms that just happens to substitute a chick for a dude in one of the roles. So lame. 3/10

An Inconvenient Truth
I like how they stuck (mostly) to what they can prove. Too often there are these hypothetical models now (see Michael Crighton’s reasonable complaints), but this tends to focus on stuff that has happened already. That is good. On the other hand, I didn’t find the presentation anywhere near as well done as everyone has been saying. It’s just a typical documentary. Oh yeah, and some of the stuff Gore uses in his actual presentation is stupid, and clearly aimed at non-thinking folks. Also, Gore can’t help being a little partisan (I guess the whole 2000 election might do that to you) but I don’t think that helps his cause. In the words of Schwarzenegger (oh my science I’m paraphrasing Arnold), there is no such thing as Republican clean air, or Democrat clean air (you can substitute the appropriate environmental cause in there if it makes you happy). 7/10

Jarhead
This is the best war film I’ve seen since The Thin Red Line or perhaps even Full Metal Jacket. It’s partly because the situation works so well. Hundreds of thousands of troops sitting in the dessert, not even firing a shot. Not only is war crazy, but this kind of war is beyond the usual insanity. Incidentally, I would suggest reading Camus (or another existentialist, but he is the most accessible) before you see this film. The references to him are very deliberate. I guess if you don’t have time for books you could listen to “Killing an Arab” by the Cure. SPOILER ALERT? War dehumanizes people. Obviously you need to dehumanize the enemy in the minds of your troops, or they will have major moral problems. But when you train people to dehumanize, they also seem to dehumanize. But at least they have a purpose (I am not trying to justify those purposes here). Normally they do. The Gulf War was apparently special in that regard. Soldiers in WWII may have killed lots of people, but felt they were fighting for something, and some saw that something eventually (liberating concentration camps, for example). They may have suffered seriously, but much of that no doubt happened after the fact. That is to say, when there is the purpose, it subordinates your problems, for many people anyway. But what happens when you take it away? This certainly seems to have happened in Nam. It also apparently happened in (our) Gulf War (I say our because the real Gulf War was between Iraq and Iran, supposedly they had the name first, we just stole it from them). What happens when you train snipers (or any soldiers) to do something and then prevent them from doing it to save their lives? Well, you fuck them up. You deny the purpose. For people who believe in God, or something like that, or any kind of purposeful universe, this causes massive problems. So that’s why Skaarsgaard goes crazy when they can’t take the shot. I think it’s the films most important scene. It symbolizes the whole mess. There they are, hundreds of thousands of them. Born to kill, as it were. And they don’t. They just find the mess after the fact. I’m not trying to say that the old ways were better. I’m just saying that these effects are understandable. If you tell someone ‘this is your job’ over and over again in such a way as to make them think there is nothing else, and then you don’t let them do their job, it can cause problems. 9/10

Match Point
What Allen does with his allusion to Crime and Punishment is just awesome. He uses the reference (SPOILER?) to strengthen the suggestion of the opening shot, about how easy it is to lose instead of win at tennis. If you’ve read the book, then the killing of the old lady instantly gets you thinking you know exactly what is going to happen. Compounded with the opening shot, suggesting a loss rather than a win, and the ring that doesn’t make the water, you’re set up for something. And he goes the other way. And it’s awesome. By the way, when I said Camus was the most accessible, I was thinking about the theory stuff, obviously any of them when they write stories or novels are more accessible than in their essays. And Dostoevsky is hardly more impenetrable than Camus, I was just thinking about essays and philosophy, rather than fiction. Sorry. Anyway, it’s stuff like this that makes me think that, despite his 10 or 15 mediocre or terrible films, Allen deserves credit as one of the great American film makers of the last 50 years. The problem obviously lies with his personal behaviour and his lack of consistency (he basically pretty much destroyed his legacy over the last decade and a half). Also, I can only name one of his films that I would list with the absolute classics, however he has made enough good to great films, branched out enough in to different genres, and done enough in terms of innovation that I think he deserves a little more credit than we give him. We talk about Scorsese  Coppola and others, and we forget about their busts. Hopefully we can forgive Allen Hollywood Ending and those other pieces of trash. 8/10

The New World
It’s the weakest Mallick movie I’ve seen. But that isn’t saying much I guess. It is also very similar to “The Thin Red Line” in a way that the first three were not similar to each other. This style worked for Line but it doesn’t work as well here. It’s still great to look at, and is interesting as revisionism, so to speak, of the Pocahontas story. But it just doesn’t hold your attention like his other films. 6/10

The Cave
Hilarious. 3/10

Cry_Wolf
Ridiculous. 3/10

Tried to watch Manhattan (speaking of Woody) but I fell asleep. Same with the Patti Hurst movie (both on my list).

Ultraviolet
This was terrible. I think giving it a 2 is being nice. But that’s what I’m doing. I guess it’s because I have a soft spot for Jovovich beating up everything. But the thing is, there’s very little that’s real in this film. Wait, calling it a film demeans the word film. Movie. 2/10

Sara Silverman: Jesus is Magic
The stand-up is funny, but is nothing new on the stand-up film shooting. The other segments don’t always work. 5/10

Sorry for my lack of command of the English language today. I did have a fair amount of beer last night.

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