June 23, 2012

Movie week, days 4, 5, and 6

Love Crime [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Quiet film of psychological torture and murder. Even though you see where everything is going, it's a well-structured revenge film.

Fantastic Mr. Fox [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Like I said, ads for Moonrise Kingdom was prompting me to re-watch this. Not on On Demand or Netflix, but Amazon had it for rent. The creativity in this film makes me jealous. In chase or dance scenes, their wiry forms dance across the screen like script. The hand motions the characters use while talking are sometimes interpretable as natural gestures but just as often as made-up animal corollaries.

Good Will Hunting [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

As with Monday's Shawshank Redemption, I'm probably the last person in the world to see this film. The Hobo Genius can be a tired trope, but the writing for the relationships rose above it. It's a movie of pairs, most involving Will but one--professor and psychiatrist--notably external.

posted by sstrader at 10:20 AM in Movie week | permalink

June 20, 2012

Movie week, days 1, 2, and 3

Cinema Paradiso [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Saturday morning at Lefont in Sandy Springs, Lisa discovered that they show classic and newer independents approximately every other Saturday. Lefont has a long and storied history in Atlanta. BITD, we would go to flix at Lefont Garden Hills on Peachtree in Buckhead. And I didn't know they used to run Tara and even The Plaza on Ponce. Anyways, outstanding film from 1988. Sweet story of an Italian boy growing up around a theater's films and patrons.

Moonrise Kingdom [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]


Sunday at Landmark. The kids' performances were the typically quirky-yet-sincere that Wes Anderson seems to be able to pull off. A wealth of very short, perfect scenes. Nice on their own and building the whole of the film.

This has put me in the mood for more Wes Anderson, so I've been digging around for a legitimate stream of The Fantastic Mr. Fox to watch later in the week. Coincidentally, ABC Family broadcast it this weekend after my search had begun.

Shawshank Redemption [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Monday. I've been holding off to watch my DVD of this and avoiding spoilers and any TV-cuts (another coincidence, broadcast this weekend). Am I the last person in the world to see this film? Probably.

posted by sstrader at 12:30 AM in Movie week | permalink

May 15, 2011

Movie week, days 7, 8, and 9: Four Lions, Blank City, Bridesmaids

Four Lions [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Suicide bomber slapstick. The bumbling stupidity--and its crude implication that criminals are dumb--is redeemed by the deeper characterizations given the two brothers in the group. The lead's relationship with his wife and son is moving and absurd. Wonderful final scenes.

Blank Ciy [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Documentary about experimental films from the 70s and 80s NYC, specifically the No Wave and Cinema of Transgression movements. This is a must-see for any cinephies, especially those who love avant garde art. Notable: The Blank Generation, The Foreigner, Vortex, Minus Zero, Permanent Vacation, Wild Style. My initial search for these films on DVD brought up nothing. Links of interest:

Bridesmaids [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

I thought I'd purchased tickets for the simulcast of the Met's Die Walkure at Fork and Spoon. I had not. Plan B was Bridesmaids. This really is the tour de force of Kristen Wiig that everyone is saying it is. At times more disgusting than any guy flick, yet Kristen's scenes with her love interest, her best friend/bride, and her mother were amazing examples of comedy dialog.

posted by sstrader at 5:22 PM in Movie week | tagged metropolitan opera | permalink

May 12, 2011

Movie week, days 5 and 6: Out of the Past; The Four Musketeers

Out of the Past [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

From one volume 1 of my film noir collection, so far every one of which has been solid. This had the unusual form (though maybe common in noir) of having 30 minutes early on spent in narrated flashback. The odd aspect was that lead Robert Mitchum's narration detailed his time with a past love and was told to his current love interest. Twisty and interesting and with a very satisfyingly off-kilter final 20 minutes. It had many noir characteristics (the abovemetioned flashback, lead is a detective, femme fatale, lots of double-crossery) but, as with any good genre film, rose above being merely a genre film.

The Four Musketeers [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Sort of the Ocean's films of the 70s: a group of some of the biggest named actors of the time return to the sequel and have a lot of fun on screen. Watched the first movie last month. Both were ripping good yarns with action, humor, and the odd sets and wardrobes that I associate with the 1800s of 1970s films. These would be ideal choices for the now-defunct Screen on the Green: a perfect spectacle for large format viewing.

posted by sstrader at 6:21 PM in Movie week | tagged film noir | permalink

May 10, 2011

Movie week, day 4: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

[ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

This movie was entertaining, but it felt a little thin even when the overall bleakness resonated effectively. Starting with the cast fleeing Voldemort's minions then attending an interrupted wedding, the action continues through most of the film as an extended road movie for our heroic trio--echoing the opening chase. The core of the film nicely reveals, recaps, and allows the relationships to deepen (despite some scene gaffes that should have been worked out), but I was expecting to have experienced more by the end of the film. It's successful as a part one and successful in not feeling long at 2-1/2 hours.

posted by sstrader at 8:27 PM in Movie week | tagged harry potter | permalink

May 9, 2011

Movie week, days 2 and 3: The Teacher; Chocolate

The Teacher [ 2/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

A bit of mid-70s softcore porn from Drive-In Cult Classics Volume 1. Probably what passed for Cinemax at the time. Angel Tompkins (as said teacher) saves the film in a few scenes while Jay North (Dennis the Menace) was just odd as the 18-year-old who is afraid to have sex with her. Awesome jazz flute throughout the soundtrack. Enjoy House of Self-Indulgence's more detailed review.

Chocolate [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Thai martial arts flick. An autistic 14-year-old sallies out to collect from her sick mother's debtors. A vehicle for lead JeeJa Yanin to show off her skills. Many scenes were supposed to be split-screened to show her against those she was imitating (Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee), but sadly the company couldn't get the rights to include the clips. This movie continues my accidental foray into Female Bad-assery, paired with Nyx in God's War and Hanna. The Teacher canceled them all out, feminist-wise.

posted by sstrader at 6:34 PM in Movie week | tagged drive-in | permalink

May 7, 2011

Movie week, day 1: Hanna

[ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Inventive entry in the bad ass chick and abandoned spy genres, Hanna had both visual style and humor. The latter was needed to temper the sheer over-the-topness of much of the movie, something Sucker Punch could have learned from. The lead was perfectly cast, and her friendship with the delightfully vapid Australian girl provided some of the best quirky scenes. Excellent chase scene through shipping containers paired with one of the many gems in the soundtrack. The soundtrack was perfectly integrated and includes original work by The Chemical Brothers (adding some very No Fun Fest type of noise) plus: an absolutely beautiful Gypsy song, a track from David Bowie's first album, a menacing whistled tune a la Peter Lorre's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in M, and "In the Hall of the Mountain King". Much like Shoot em Up uses cartoon references to telegraph meaning, this film uses fairy tales.

Pair Enter the Void's ridiculously overfull title sequence with Hanna's blunt statement. Both wonderful examples of the form.

posted by sstrader at 11:54 AM in Movie week | permalink

August 7, 2010

Movie week, day 5: Kids

[ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Almost 15 years to the day after it was released, I finally get to see this film. I went to see Korine's Trash Humpers at The Plaza a week or so ago and got obsessed with seeing and re-seeing his other films. TH was beautiful and brutal. One review compared it favorably to Lynch's latter-day flicks Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire w/r/t their destruction of cinematic narrative. I saw an influence of Jean Dubuffet's Art Brut in its raw, unprocessed expression. Lisa and I went to a preview of The High's Dali exhibit last night, and I couldn't help but think that his (and the other Surrealists') Freudian confessions were nothing compared to the self-revelation of art of the last few decades. (Insert any insights about reality TV here.)

I can't believe I didn't list Gummo as one of my top 10 films. I had/have it on VHS and it has stayed with me aesthetically. After seeing TH, I ordered Gummo, Kids (18-year-old Korine as writer), and Julien Donkey-Boy on DVD. But tonight was Kids: a 16yo revels in his conquest of sub-14yo virgins. A previous virgin--Chloe Sevigny (hers and Rosaio Dawson's first film)--finds she's HIV+ from him (her only partner) and seeks him out to stop any further infection. He's got his eye on a friend's young sister, and so the movie becomes a dual race for sex and redemption. Kids ended up being more casually shocking than I expected and similarly more artful in its shock. Although I can't recommend this to any female, I'm curious about fidelity in the early scenes with the girls talking about sex. I can confirm that the early guy scenes were true enough, if a bit more explicit and, well, brutal.

posted by sstrader at 8:58 PM in Movie week | permalink

August 5, 2010

Movie week, day 4: The Ghost Writer

[ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Ewan McGregor gets hired to finish ghost writing ex-Prime Minister Pierce Brosnan's memoirs after the previous writer is found dead from an apparent drunken drowning. The chaos of an unhappy household--containing wife and mistress--gets more complicated as the PM gets thrown under the wheels of The Hague's International Criminal Court. Did you know that the United States (and their pals China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, and Yemen) voted against joining the ICC? Anyway, by staying in the US, Pierce Brosnan saves his ass from being prosecuted. There was one spoiler-tastic misstep, I felt, but overall the movie was a ripping good Polanski yarn.

posted by sstrader at 10:08 PM in Movie week | permalink

Movie week, day 3: Below

[ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

American submarine on the run from German battleships in WWII picks up British survivors of a destroyed hospital ship. After that, bad luck follows the submarine as accusations and hallucinations afflict the crew and guests. Around 10 minutes in, I realized that I had already seen part of this movie years ago but forgotten. Oops. It was long enough ago to make me forget the ending until we got there, so it was still a new-ish experience. Good suspense in a constrained physical space that reminded me, maybe unfairly, of Pitch Black, also directed and written by David Twohy. Second of three writers was Darren Aronofsky.

posted by sstrader at 8:28 AM in Movie week | permalink

August 3, 2010

Movie week, day 2: Terribly Happy

[ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

Danish noir. Feels like Fargo or Blood Simple (or that Australian movie The Square we watched a few months back at the Atlanta Film Festival). Disgraced cop gets relocated from the big city--Copenhagen--to a small town that immediately begins testing his sanity. Very well done! Nicely constructed and it keeps you on your toes. The director has quite a few flicks under his belt, so it might be worth checking out his other works.

posted by sstrader at 10:50 PM in Movie week | permalink

August 2, 2010

Movie week, day 1: Visioneers

[ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

I don't recommend this too highly but it was enjoyable enough, flaws and all. It's a predictable if surreal anti-corporate saga with strains of Office Space, Brazil, and 1984. The strangeness was too uneven and insincere at times to be successful, yet with a couple of redeemingly unexpected moments.

posted by sstrader at 11:47 PM in Movie week | permalink