Thursday, January 01, 2009

Recently Seen

Here's a long list of the movies I've seen in the last few months (listed from most recent).

Man on Wire
Extraordinary documentary of Phillippe Petit's 1974 high-wire crossing between the the World Trade Center towers. Incroyable!

The Rocket. The Maurice Richard Story
A great piece of French-Canadianna Melodrama (very "melodrama").

OSS 117
A bubbly Champagne parody of a French version of James Bond. Throughly fun.

Andrei Rublev
Grueling 3 hour Russian epic. Filmed in high contrast black and white this film is timeless but difficult (read: boring). For serious cinephiles and masochists only.

Pineapple Express
A bit of stupid fun - for the first 60 minutes, then it pretty much loses its buzz. Downer, dude.

Our Man in Havana
Like "Burn After Reading" 30 years ago. A spy parody based on the Graham Greene novel (really seems like it's making fun of "The Third Man" - also by Greene - making fun of himself? Isn't that kind of Post Modern?) Set in Havana. Discovery: Alec Guiness is a great comedic actor.

It Happened One Night
Carole Lombard is funny lookin' but Clark Gable is great as a saavy reporter after a swell story - and they talk fast so don't blink or you'll miss a joke. This Depression-era road movie/romantic comedy is everything you'd expect in a Depression-era romantic comedy. Worth seeing for the "auto-gyro".

His Girl Friday
Carey Grant is a world wise editor who'll do anything to get a story - wait... isn't that "It Happened One Night"?

Quantum of Solace
Not as good as "Casino Royale" but still kicks ass compared to anything Pierce Brosnan did in a tux.

Sullivan's Travels
A Depression-era romantic comedy mixed with 1 part "Grapes of Wrath" - a little odd but has some great lines:
"What do they know in Pittsburgh?"
"They know what they like."
"If they knew what they liked they wouldn't be living in Pittsburgh!"

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
A slightly too meditative depiction of Robert Ford's killing of Jesse James. Ford is called a coward yet we only ever see James killing "friends" by shooting them in the back. Maybe it should be called, "The Assassination of the Coward Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The Golden Compass
Visually stunning but that's not why we go to the "talkies". Skip it.

Fun for a few minutes. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith, is his usual charming self which isn't really enough to save this - the turning point in the story is your signal to stop watching.

Early Polanski is excellent. Ends a little odd but hey, that's what you get with Donald Pleasance in a Polanski film.

I'm Not There
People praised Kate Blanchett's performance because they couldn't figure out anything else about this dud. Too arty to be enjoyed, too stupid to be arty.

Tropic Thunder
Fun. Trite. Robert Downey Jr. as an Aussie in black face? I laughed. I yawned a little but mostly laughed.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Fun. Trite. Laughable. Enjoyable. Won't change your life, might waste an hour or so, not the worst way to spend a night.

American Gangster
Ridley Scott. Denzial Washington. Russell whatshisface. Great drama though the epilogue montage at the end spoiled what could have been a great film instead of being just a good movie.

Incredible hulk
Skip it. Worst editing I've seen in awhile (you know it's a bad film when the you notice the editing) and Ed Norton's hair colour is distractingly different in the same scenes. Whattup with that?

Great World of Sound
Simple drama, maybe a little depressing. The catch is the film includes two guys running a scam for a fake record company but many of the auditions are real folks filmed with hidden cameras.

Fassbinder's Lola is a wonderfully technicolor melodrama of a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. Not for everyone. You must enjoy German irony. See what I mean? Not for everyone.

Son of Rambow
Funny, touching tale of blah blah blah. Two kids become unlikely friends as they remake Stallone's Rambo. It is funny. It is touching and if you don't like it, you should probably get a soul transplant.

Rio Bravo
Howard Hawkes' Western starring John Wayne, Angie Dickinson (very hot), Dean Martin, and Rickie Nelson - yup the singing Rickie Nelson. This movie wins for most surprising duet in a Western. Later remade as Assault on Precinct 13 with Ethan Hawke.

Kurosawa classic. I guess. Striking cinematography but... I dunno. I don't always get the Japanese.

In Bruges
This got mixed reviews but I don't know why. I really liked this story of two Irish hit men hiding out in an idyllic medieval Belgian city.

Burn After Reading
Not classic Coen Brothers but it's okay. Brad Pitt is surprisingly funny.

Hamlet 2
Ridiculous. Steve Coogan fans only, please. Otherwise, forget it and watch an episode of The Office or something.

Modern Times
Chaplin's mostly silent classic. You'll be surprised how many classic Lil' Tramp clips are from this movie. It really is worth seeing in one sitting. Plus, it's the only the film besides The Sound of Music you can watch with your parents.

Jacque Tati came after Chaplin but his Monsieur Hulot character came 30 years before Mr. Bean. If you don't like "Bean" don't bother.

The edge of heaven
Curious Turkish film about balance in the universe. Maybe? I don't know but it was still moving and completely engrossing.

The counterfeiters
About a master Jewish counterfeiter who is tasked by his Nazi captors to forge the British Pound and American Dollar. Not your average Nazi Concentration Camp movie.

David Mamet's version of a martial arts action drama. Not perfect. Has a surprising number of plot holes, but you know, it's got some great little fight scenes and makes "mixed martial arts" look as lame as professional wrestling. It might make you want to study Jujiitsu or get pay-per-view. It's a toss up.

Play Time
Another Tati film. Kind of a fun commentary on tourism and the sameness of modern cities. Having said that, this is more fun for architects and designers than most other folks (sort of runs a little too long).



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