Saturday, March 31, 2007
It's also been a week since I have seen a movie. This whole thing took more time that I thought it would but I hope to get better at it with time.
So, here is the official review. My first review as a critic and my first wide publication. This is just the review for the film, the interview/article type of thing that I wrote should be up in the upcoming days. Enjoy it and pass it along to anyone who cares to read it.
Thanks once again to everyone who has been reading this blog and giving me feedback. I don't know what exactly is up with transferring over this blog. I hope it happens someday soon.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
It's some brilliant stuff for sure. Here is the film broken into 2 parts. Please watch this and enjoy.
"A romantic comedy in which a girl's relationships are destroyed when she reluctantly reveals a past indiscretion."
The past indiscretion is that she blew a dog in college. This is very important to the film. In case if you forget this fact the film will remind you at least 40 times before the hour and 20 minutes are up.
There is a reason I put both covers up. It turns out that the dvd will have two different covers. The top one is the "comedy cover" and the bottom one is the "romantic cover". This is a prime example of why Sleeping Dogs Lie is a bad film. It just can't decide what exactly it wants to be. There is not enough comedy to call it a comedy and there is not enough genuine romance to call it a romance. When they mix together the film seems extremely forced and cliched. That's right, a film that deals with a girl who blew her dog comes out cliched. I thought it could never happen and it did.
I had heard a lot about this film since it went into competition at Sundance. How this film got into competition and how why some people liked it is beyond me. It's everything that is wrong with indies at times. It tries to be creative. It's not. It tries to be cute. It's not. It tries to be very daring. It's not. It tries to be something great. It's not.
The acting ranges from horrible to pretty good and the actors never seem that comfortable. When they are forced to interact with eachother for dramatic scenes the feelings come off as fake and very rough. It feels like people just reading a script. The story/plot seems to be a great launching point for an original raunchy film. With an odd mind like Bobcat behind everything it seems that it would come off as either a very off the wall comedy or a surprisingly good and sweet film. It doesn't.
This is my main problem with the film. At times we are seeing a very random off the wall comedy scene and then out of nowhere we get some very dramatic scenes, that don't come off as dramatic as the film wants to. and then we are back to comedy. The jumping between the two comes off,once again, seems very forced.
The comedy is another huge problem. Once again, with a plot like this we should have gotten some brilliant dark comedy scenes but we don't. The comedy results in dogs coming out every 2 minutes and the characters looking at the dog and doing a ": /" type of face. It's funny the first time but this gag keeps on going and going and going and going. The film even ends with this gag.
All the characters are so cliched and the story begins original and within the first 10 minutes turns into a cliche fest. Sleeping Dogs Lie tries really hard to be something good. Instead, the film comes off as a film that is just really trying hard but never succeeds.
This is the feature debut from David O. Russel. This is the man who would later on make some of the most original and odd films out there. This however, his first film, is his most original,odd, and maybe even his best film yet.
I first heard about Spanking the Monkey when I heard it mentioned on an IFC original documentary about sex on film. They kept on mentioning and referencing it as a prime example of how sex can be treated on film. I forgot to mention, the mother and son have sex. Yeah, it's more uncomfortable than it sounds. The whole film is driven through it's second half because of this and because of it Spanking the Monkey has become one of those films that you can debate and talk about for a long time. Sadly, or not sadly (I don't know), it will be hard to find one person who has watched or will watch it.
There is more to this film than "the mother has sex with the son. Ewwww!!" There are layers of psychology going on in this film. It's not surprising since it's David O. Russel and this seems to be an ongoing theme with him. I Heart Huckabees might be the best example of this. Other than the ongoing theme of psychology we are treated to some true dark comedy. By dark I mean pitch black. The comedy ranges everywhere from dialogue driven gags to slapstick but most all we are treated to some very awkward and uncomfortable comedy.
O. Russel is somehow able to make a scene go from uncomfortable to funny in a matter of seconds and this is why I liked the film so much. It's a very brave and bold film that takes more chances than it should and ends up working. Whats even more impressing is that this is the first film from him. I can't figure out how he was even able to make this film and get people to watch it. It seems like an impossible sell and an even more impossible thing to pull off.
The reason the film works is do to a lot of raw talent. The performances are just right and perfectly played out. Jeremy Davies, who was a scene stealer in Saving Private Ryan, turns in a brilliant very intense and often funny performance as the troubled son. The script is smart and well written and everything comes off natural. The direction, although simple, suits the film perfectly as well. The only flaw the film has is some secondary characters that pop up every now and then and just annoy the viewer since they don't influence the plot that much
Spanking the Monkey may not be for everyone. It's a film that has to be seen to be believed and few people will take the chance. It's a shame because there is much more to the film than the controversy it provokes and still keeps provoking.
:Last night I decided to do a double feature. The theme was "controversail indies that deal with a certain taboo" The films were going to be Spanking the Monkey and Sleeping Dogs Lie. The first deal with incest and the other with a girl who blows her dog. They were both also widely liked by most people who gave them a chance.
I decided to give them both a chance and see what all the fuss was about. It turned out to be an intteresting double feature and seemed to prove what can become of an indie. Some turn out original and great meanwhile others become a parody of themselves.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Unlike Autopsy, this description does the film justice. It's one hour and 20 minutes of people on a tour bus getting killed one by one and them trying to find out who the killer is. It's got plenty of cheese and it's silly at times but it's always fast and a lot of fun. Plus, the film has one of the coolest posters ever.
There really is not much more to say. There is nothing out of this world in the film. There is no super cool style in the film. No great direction. no great acting. The twist ending is not that great either. It's just a fun film, plain and simple. I wish I could write more but the first paragraph sums up everything the film has got going for it.
Based on the description this sounds like a great set up for a great horror film. It's not. This is the very basic plot outline but this film goes everywhere and nowhere. I seriously had no idea what was going on half of the time. For example, within 10 minutes of the film and the lead character is suddenly seeing walking corpses that begin to suck on her nipples. This is never explained and we never find out why she has these visions or why they love to suck on her nipples. As you can already imagine all these "vision scenes" are hilarious and come out of nowhere.
After these visions we are treated to a know-it-all priest who knows that these people are not committing suicide but are instead being murdered. Once again, we never know why he knows this other than he proclaims "I know my souls like you know your dead bodies!!" So naturally the priest with a dark past and the lead character team up to solve the crimes. Once again, they don't really solve crimes. They just happen to be there when the crime happens.
After an hour and ten minutes of nonsense following nonsense we get a twist that comes out of nowhere and explains very little about what we just saw. It leaves you confused and it leaves you laughing,
Autopsy is very,very,very far from a good movie. It's fun and mindless but pointless to the point where it's annoying. This is one you have to see with friends in order to make it more enjoyable.
Both of these films belong to the horror sub-genre of Giallos. Which are basically very stylish and atmospheric horror films that came out of Italy in the 60's and 70's. Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Black Sunday, and Zombi 2 seem to be the most famous and well known entries from the genre. Sadly though, I know very little about this genre. I know the directors to watch and the films to watch but I have just never had that big of an urge to watch everything and when I did try to get into it, by watching the most famous one Suspiria, I was very disappointed. I will try again one day and after tonight I have a bigger urge to do this also.
i wish tonight had two awesome entries from this genre. Instead I got 2 very lame entries that were just trying to cash in on the success of the genre. They were both fun, but far from great films.
Anyways. The audience tonight was amazing. The theater got packed and the audience could not stop participating. The trailers were all great and a lot of fun. My favorite belonging to Day of the Animals, which seems to be the greatest horror film ever made that I have yet to see.
The main thing that also made the night lots of fun was the surprise guest star, Barry Primus. He plays an ex-racer priest in Autopsy and he was cool enough to do the introduction to the film and talk about his performance and the shittyness of the film. I really didn't know who he was and now looking at his IMDB I feel stupid for not knowing.
So yeah, another great night with bad films.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
This is another great film from Chan-wook Park who is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors and in my opinion the best new filmmaker out there.
This film has all the things that I love about Park. It's a perfect mixture of art and entertainment and it's one of those films that a normal person can see and say it's great and a film buff can watch it and say it's also great. It has enough visual style, yet it never rams it down your throat. It also has some symbolism, but it also doesn't ram it down your throat. These types of films are the best in my opinion. I respect and love any director who manages to put enough of his personality in his film without ever being in your face and flashy.
J.S.A. is a film that is really hard not to like. It's a very tense but also heartwarming and heartbreaking film. The amount of love we get for these characters is great. What is even more great is the amount of love we get for these characters interacting with each other. It establishes such an innocent and sweet friendship that really makes you cringe as you know that it's going to end badly for everyone.
It's a buddy film, it's an action film, it's a comedy, it's a mystery, it's a thriller. It's just a damn good film and my favorite from Park so far.
Monday, March 19, 2007
This is my first exposure to Kim Ki-Duk and I can see why he is so deeply loved by a lot film buffs and critics. This film is just so beautiful and captivating that it's really hard to not fully immerse yourself in the story and characters.
The film is told through 5 segments. Each being a season and each taking place in a different point in the life of these characters. Also, the film is mostly told through visuals and little to no dialogue. You would think that this would make the film seem slow and boring but instead adds a sense of loneliness,beauty, and intensity to everything. Since the story is told through visuals and seasons nature and animals also play a huge part in the film.
The thing that I loved about Spring,Summer,Fall,Winter...and Spring is the sense of depth we get to these characters when there really is no actual depth. Well, at least not the type we are used to. Any and all depth is mainly told through the actors faces and these 5 short windows we get into the lives of these people. It all works perfectly though. Kim Ki-Duk is somehow able to create fully fleshed out characters who we actually care for and feel for.
I simply just loved the film. I find visual filmmaking to be some of the hardest to pull off without becoming boring or losing the viewers connection to the film. This is the frequent problem I have had with Terrence Malick, arguably the most famous visual filmmaker right now. I feel that most of his films, except for Badlands, are visually breathtaking but feel empty and at the end of the movie I find myself respecting the film but not really enjoying it.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring however manages to avoid all these flaws. It's a film that takes chances and it's a film that sounds like it might be too artsy or boring but comes off as anything but those two things. It's a captivating film that will stay with you for a very long time.
However, today I bumped into 2 opinions which just baffled me. These just boggle the mind and just get me mad.
"If you thought "Gladiator" was a bit too stingy with the bloodshed, if you felt "Sin City" could have been more stylized, if you hate it when the masses refer to graphic novels as "comic books," this is your day. For today brings about the release of "300," and it is the "Citizen Kane" of cinematic graphic novels." - Richard Roeper
Are you kidding me?! If you thought Sin City could have been more stylized? Sin City is one of the most visually stylish films ever. How could anyone see Sin City and say "hmmm needs more style" The film is basically 2 hours of just pure style. It feels like you are in a comic book and every single frame oozes with an innovative sense of style. Love or hate the film, you have to admit the film had enough style for 4 movies. Needs more style? This makes no sense to me.
Gladiator was stingy on the blood? Granted I am not the biggest fan of Gladiator but to say a phrase like "was stingy on the bloodshed" makes you sound like the most ignorant critic ever. I thought critics judged the film, not the amount of bloodshed. This all makes you sound more like a typical frat boy than a film critic.
Also, the Citizen Kane of cinematic graphic novels? Wow Roeper you just made me lose the few amount of respect I had for you. I hate it when people say "it's the Citizen Kane of ___" There is no such thing as a film that's the Citizen Kane of it's genre. There is a reason that Citizen Kane is considered by many, including Roepers fellow critic Roger Ebert, as the greatest film ever made. Saying that a film is the Citizen Kane of it's genre is degrading Citizen Kane to a novelty and a throwaway term. Great job Roeper, not only do you think an overuse of blood and slow mo is having a lot of style, you also think that it merits the film to be compared to Citizen Kane. Such an amazing job Roeper, you just compared what is considered the greatest film ever made to a film that is a fad and will go away soon and be forgotten by many within a couple of years. I thought you were a critic and you loved film?
The other thing I read today that also left me confused and mad was something that I read in Entertainment Weekly. There is a section entitled "Ask the critic" Someone asks EW critic Owen Gleiberman if watching a directors cut on dvd has ever changed his opinion on the original film. He responds with this:
"Over the Years, I've preferred Brazil, Close Encounters, Apocalypse Now, Manhunter, and many other films in their original form to their vaunted director's cut's, since even the meatiest new scenes tend to take away more than they add." - Owen Gleiberman
The main problem I had with this comment was the part about Brazil. Are you being serious? Brazil earns it's spot in film history as one of the most brutally edited down films ever. There is a reason Criterion took out a 3 disc box set that includes both the Theatrical and Director's cut It's not so that you can choose which is better, it's for you to see how the editing in the Theatrical Cut makes the film horrible. There is even a commentary track where it explains to you why the Theatrical Cut is such a piece of trash. Takes away more than it adds? If anything the director's cut adds tons of stuff that the film did not have. Yet, Own Gleiberman liked the Theatrical Cut more?
Well, I should keep ranting about this one. I should rant about how by saying that he likes that cut he is not supporting the directors true vision, but what the hell? This is the same guy who gave Epic Movie it's only good review.
"Remake Who? Dolemite, muthafu**a!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with some interesting news... yet more remake news.
Just how the hell they think they'll do DOLEMITE justice without Rudy Ray Moore is beyond me. He IS Dolemite. Dolemite IS Rudy Ray Moore.
Bill Fishman's Fallout Entertainment has the rights and will be raising the money to produce the flick, currently being written by Jeff Hause and David Hines (ONCE BITTEN).
They have a couple actors attached, including Wayne Brady and Charlie Murphy. Now, if Charlie Murphy is Dolemite, I might give this flick a chance, although he seems a better fit for D'Urville Martin character.
I don't know... the original was just such a product of its time and worked because of the incredibly low budget and the chemistry of Rudy Ray Moore. They're already going after rappers, like Snoop Dogg, to be in the remake and that sends up all kinds of red flags. I don't know if I want to see a Dolemite that belongs in the here and now. I like him in the '70s. What do you folks think?"
I don't know what to think of this. Dolemite might be the best film I have never seen. Judging from all the youtube clips I have seen of Dolemite in action I am very curious how this one is going to turn out. Charlie Murphy as Dolemite would be hilarious and would be a lot of fun
I will keep a lookout for this one for sure.
South Korea does their version of a war film and it is basically one of the greatest war films ever made. This one and Letters From Iwo Jima will go down in the history books as being some of the best of their genre.
The only true flaw this film has is that you can't help but compare it to Saving Private Ryan. It's a damn shame because Tae Guk Gi runs circles around Ryan, I'm not saying that Ryan is a bad film. I don't hate it but I don't think it's the masterpiece a lot of people make it out to be. The main problem I have always had about Saving Private Ryan is it's constant feel that the film is trying to manipulate you. The overuse of sad music over a "sad" scene is too much for me in Saving Private Ryan. It's doesn't bother me too much but I feel that it fails to evoke the emotions it sets out to. I blame this on the films broad depth. Once again the only depth I have really felt about Saving Private Ryan is "war is bad" It's enough depth to make it a good war film but not enough to truly blow me away. Sure, we feel for the characters, because they are in way, but c'mon does anyone actually feel like crying at the end?
Tae Guk Gi however manages to avoid these flaws. There is a lot of overblown melodramatic scenes but it works in the film because we actually really care for the characters. There is also a very harsh intense reality running through the film that makes these scenes also work. There are tons of differences between this and Saving Private Ryan, but this is the main one. Sad music doesn't make sad scenes. Sad music over a sad reality makes sad scenes.
Tae Guk Gi is really just an amazing heartbreaking film. The direction is great, The performances are amazing. The war scenes are realistic and brutal, but the main thing I can not praise enough is the pacing of the film. When the film is done you feel like you really went on an epic journey with these two brothers. There is no way you can not feel like you have just experienced something when the credits roll.
I really can't praise this film enough. It's one of those films that you feel ashamed of not watching sooner once it's done. I loved every minute of it and I can't wait to show it to everyone who thinks that Saving Private Ryan is the greatest modern day war film.
An amazing film for sure.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Richard Linklater is one of the most interesting directors working right now. He goes up there with Soderbergh as directors who try to get the biggest bite from every single personal project they do. The problem always comes with the question of "Can they chew it?"
They also both try to do big mainstream success' in order to try and fund these personal projects. The thing that is sad is that most of the time these personal projects fail to deliver the ambitiousness that they promised. I have learned to not trust Soderbergh all that much and I have learned to trust Linklater a lot more. Fast Food Nation falls into Linklater's personal projects, but it sadly doesn't deliver like his other more personal work.
Fast Food Nation is one of those films that you just can't pinpoint where it went wrong. I don't agree with most critics and film geeks who hated it. I felt it had enough good things going for it to not make it a waste of time. Still though, I just can't praise as much as I would like to. The main thing that the film has that I had problems with was it's multiple storylines. 1 storyline is genius and great: Greg Kinnear as a fast food executive finding out why the new beef patties are filled with cow shit. The 2nd storyline is pretty good: Mexican immigrants working at a slaughterhouse. The problem is the 3rd storyline: a teen who works for a fast food place who starts becoming a rebel.
The problem with the 3rd storyline is that it lacks any of the seriousness that makes the first 2 storylines intriguing. This one just comes off as a filler story and doesn't really add that much depth to the film . Unless if you consider the basic message of "Fast Food places suck!" depth. There is also more time wasted with a kooky crazy rebel uncle than there is with the actual "protesting" of the fast food company. It also doesn't help that there is more time wasted with this plot than there is with the great plot dealing with Kinear.
The only other problem I had with the film was it's "ohhhhhhhh...." type of script. There are plenty of scenes in this film that end with a line or two that are supposed to leave the audience stunned and in deep thought. It fails at both and just comes off as forced writing. The ending to the film made me cringe and also came off as a "ohhhhh....how brilliant!" type of ending. It's just too self conscious and you can't help but think that Linklater thought that he had the greatest ending ever.
However, the moments leading up to the ending are brilliant. The final sequence in the film is brutal and adds a very serious and shocking end to the film. I wish the film would have ended right here instead.
Fast Food Nation is far from the great film it thinks it is. It's very ambitious and means well but comes off a little bit too much of an idea that was not as brilliantly executed as it could have been. Still though, it's a good film and is intriguing enough to keep you interested until the end.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Once again, nothing much to say here. Another mediocre kung fu film. The only thing worth mentioning is that this one of those odd 70's films that tried to cash in on every type of exploitation genre. It's a kung fu film, with a black guy who pops out for 10 minutes at the most, who they tried to advertise as a black star. They also named him "Von Clief" so that people would think he was somehow related to Lee Van Cleef.
It's again a film filled with cheese. Nothing amazing to point out, or anything great. It's a lot of fun to watch with a group of people, which is how I saw it.
Not much to say about this one. It's a mediocre kung fu film. Cheese to the extreme. There is only about 10 minutes of Bolo action and all the kung fu scenes are nothing out of this world. It's a fun film if you are a fan of the genre I guess.
The second film, The Black Dragon, was a lot more fun. For some odd reason a couple of more people showed up and these people seemed to be driving the audience participation. This film goes down with Machine Gun McCaine and Wipeout! as one of the funnest I have seen at the fest. The film was a typical mediocre kung fu flick but the audience was loving every minute of it. It was also a lot of fun because of the audience's hilarious tongue in cheek "over-applauding" to certain scenes. For example: A man is going to try out his new "kung fu shoes" right before the final duel. When he puts them on and looks at the camera and says "lets go!" the audience must have applauded for 2 minutes and a lot of people people started shouting "lets kick some assssssssssssss!" and "fuck em' up!!" It was tons of fun but I just wish that this group of people would have come earlier and sat through Chinese Hercules.
The other thing that lead me to think that the night was somewhat lame were the films. I know what I was getting into but I had no idea what Tarantino pulled on everyone, After watching both films it seems that the theme was "misleading titles and posters" because both films failed to deliver what they both promised through trailers,titles, and posters. Chinese Hercules seemed to be about Bolo (big dude from Bloodsport) but in fact the film barely had any Bolo action. He must have come out for no more than 10 minutes. So lame. Black Dragon also seemed to promise a blaxploitation kung fu film and instead the black kung fu star comes out for maybe 5 minutes and most of the time is just in the background of every fight scene. So lame.
It was another fun night, but just not as fun as other nights. I just wish more people would have shown up, but oh well...
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I should let this one go but the on going debates about this film are just too annoying. I know I stand with the people who hate it, but the people who love it have the worst arguements to defend the film. Some that I have heard, no lie..
"this movie was badass straight up and down. you are all retarded. ITS A COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION!!! of course its not going to be realistic *******s."
"you thought the fighting was borning? are you daft? that movie had arguably the BEST cinematic fight sequence of all time"
"ook im not tryin to insult anyone...of course everyone has there own opinions...but come on, the movie wasnt made to be an academy award winner..it achieved everything it set out to"
"I liked the movie, but plot wise and all it was defently really weak. But hey I had a ton of fun watching people get hacked to bits and really liked some of the style choses during the fights. I didn't really mind the slow mo it just seemed to be the way that this was going to be shot, kind of showing how much faster and better then the persions they were"
"once again..it is an ACTION movie. and it was very good in that respect. its not supposed to be a historicly accurate drama"
"I think that the dialogue and the acting suited the film perfectly, because what it all comes down to is that 300 is a movie that you will feel on the most primative level. If you're a guy who loves action, you'll love this and overlook the acting because you think it suits the overall feel of the film. You'll love the dialogue because it's the way we envision the most badass warriors to talk. No bull****, just plain badass. "
One of my favorite film geeks said it perfectly when he interupted a debate by saying this:
:Discussed for a long time to come? If by discussion, you mean bickering back and forth over whether or not it sucks, then yes. As far as true film discussion, I doubt it. Any time someone attempts to discuss the film intelligently, it's usually shot down with a "LOL who cares about characters and dialogue and story and repetitive fight scenes and terrible acting. IT FREAKIN RAWKEEED!!!! FOR SPARTA LOL!!!!" kind of response."
I have loved every single minute of Chan-wook Park's revenge trilogy. Each film is so different from one another and each film is so perfect in it's own way. It really is one of the greatest achievements in modern day cinema, and will without a doubt go down as one of the greatest achievements in all of cinema. All 3 films are really that amazing and when seen as a trilogy become even more amazing.
After seeing the bleak brutality of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and the hyper intense violence of Oldboy, I really had no idea of what to expect from Lady Vengeance. I was expecting a revenge film of course but instead I got a very inner and poetic film. I really applaud Park for choosing to end his trilogy with a quiet note instead of a huge bang.
That's not saying that the film is boring. The odd out of order editing keeps the film moving fast and the final 30 minutes is perfect and gives the film, and the trilogy, a perfect ending. The framing,direction,cinematography,colors, and performances are once again top notch. Park has a certain confidence in his direction that it makes it seem as though he has been directing for a long time. It is remarkable that this is still one of his first films in his first "era". I really can not wait to see this guy bloom into an even more amazing director. This guy is going to get into the league of the masters. There is no doubt about this.
The only flaw I felt that Lady Vengeance had was it's editing, to a certain point, and it's voice over. I would just like to write that these are not flaws at all. They are just very minor complaints. The editing feels very odd for the first 30 or so minutes and stuff is hard to get, but just like Park did in Mr. Vengeance, everything makes perfect sense at the end. The voice over also feels odd at first but also makes perfect sense at the end and gives the film a very poetic feeling. I just believe that the film would have achieved a more poetic atmosphere if the voice over did not exist.
These are just minor complaints. I already loved the film and I am sure the film will get it's "+" upon a second viewing.
Park's trilogy has been an amazing thing to watch. Every single one of these films is a masterpiece and every single one of these films deserves a top spot in any "best of 00's" list.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
This is a "told exactly how it happened!" type of film. Sort of like an episode of Unexplained Mysteries or America's Most Wanted. It even has the pointless narrator that tells you everything you are already seeing. This is supposed to give the film a realistic and very creepy vibe. Instead it comes off as annoying.
The other thing this film has that is annoying but also awkward and hilarious is the killer. The poster has a picture of him but it doesn't do this guy justice. I wish I could find a still picture of him in the film. He is a creepy killer for sure, but that hood that he wears adds a lot of unintentional laughs at times. The thing about this hood is that it makes the killer not breath. So, we are treated to a handful of scenes of the killer running and then stopping to breath because of this hood and yes, the cloth does go inside his mouth every time he breathes.
The other thing this killer adds to the film is the most ridiculous murder ever in a film. He has just tackled a girl who has just left her school prom where she was playing the trombone. So, he has just gotten the girl finally after running after her. He drags her to a tree and ties her up with some rope. He then takes out his knife and ties it around the end of the trombone. He then pretends he is playing the trombone and every time he pushes that trombone thing it stabs her. This is awkward because not only does the killer do this but he also does a pretend trombone sound with his mouth. Once again, yes...the cloth does go inside his mouth every time.
Even though the film has these odd scenes it still manages to be kind of creepy and add a lot of curiosity to the viewer. We actually really want to know who this killer is. Sadly though, when the film is not following the killer or the police trying to figure who he is we are treated to a couple of horrible comedy scenes. Yup, this serial killer film has a lot of "ahhhhh shucks!" type of scenes.
The Town that Dreaded Sundown is not a great film or even a good film. It is however an entertaining film. I bet this film was chilling and disturbing when it was first released.
This is one of most intense films ever. Everything is so dark and gritty in this film that you really get a feeling that you are about to go on a dark journey within the first 10 minutes. The film only gets darker, more intense, and even more insane as it all builds up to its amazing climax. This is an amazing revenge flick.
The other thing worth mentioning is that this film is written by Paul Schrader. This is the great man who wrote Taxi Driver. This film feels like a companion piece to Taxi Driver. They both share a complex character who might be insane and they are both very dark inner journeys into these characters lives. They also both end with an extreme explosion of violence. Rolling Thunder may not be as great as Taxi Driver but it sure is great.
Charles Rane goes down as one of the most memorable characters in film. He seems to be a distant brother of Travis Bickle. He is an antihero to the extreme and literally insane. No one in the film and no one in the audience knows what Charles Rane will do next. You can't help but cheer for him but you can't help but hate him to a certain point because he is so fucked up in the head. How fucked up? Well, he loses his hand in a garbage disposal just because he learned to love pain after Vietnam. A complex character if there ever was one.
There is nothing else to say. The film is great. The film is balls to the wall. The film is one that will never leave you. The film is one that will leave you with a big smile on your face at the end. I can see why Tarantino says that this is one of his top ten favorite film.
It's also a HUGE shame that it has yet to come out on dvd. It's even a bigger shame because Tarantino named his video releasing company "Rolling Thunder Pictures" and yet never released Rolling Thunder. Hopefully the film will pop out on dvd one day with a commentary track by Schrader and one by Tarantino.
I mean, c'mon! A 19 year old film geek seeing all these hidden gems on the big screen...and it's all presented by Tarantino. It doesn't get much better than that.
Today's line was pretty lame. There was no interesting conversations or nothing special. Just people waiting in a line. It was nice to see some of the same faces I have been seeing the past days though.
The theater was once again excellent and the guy who did the introduction to the films was good enough. He turned out to be the owner of the infamous Santa Monica video store Vidiots. Now, I have heard from many people that this store is nothing short of amazing. Everything can be found there. It's a shame that I don't live close to it.
The two films that were shown tonight were Rolling Thunder and The Town that Dreaded Sundown. I don't really know what the theme was for tonight. The audience was pretty tame tonight but that was expected since both of the films are way too serious and share little to no cheesiness. Still though, the audience was fun when the occasion called for it.
So, it was another great night. I would say that the films were too serious for the crowd, but I wont' since both films were a great and fun watch.
I can't wait for Thursday night for a "double kung fu punch" of films.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Today I thought about watching my daily movie or two and I just felt bummed out and didn't.
Thank You 300. Not only do you suck but you also made my day suck.
Monday, March 12, 2007
I really do wish that I could have loved this film. I really,really,really do. I had been anticipating it since I first heard about it. I anticipated it even more when the amazing trailers started to pop out. When I saw the trailer I thought "There is no way this can suck" I know I am not the only one who thought this. A couple of hours have gone by since I walked out the theater and ever since then I have been trying to convince myself that I really liked it. I just can't do it. I feel kind of ashamed to say that it mostly sucked.
I was expecting a balls-to-the-wall-over-the-top-fun-fest. I wasn't asking for a masterpiece. Just a great fun film. I am sad to write that this film is over the top and kind of fun, to a certain point. The first 20 minutes already had me saying "oh god....please get better" There is a horrible voice over narration that basically just describes everything you are seeing. I thought this voice over would stop after we are caught up on what is happening. Nope, this voice over is heard through out the whole film.
The voice over is so annoying and horrible. An example would be this: A leader of an army has just seen his soldiers lose. He looks away in anger. The voice over then says "The blahblah was angered by his army losing" No shit Sherlock. I could tell by his horrible acting already.
The acting is over the top. It's expected,but this is just bad. Every actor is basically just screaming at each other. Butler's Scottish accent even manages to slip through a couple of times. The interaction between the "non spartan army actors" is stiff,forced, and very awkward. It also doesn't help that there is maybe about 15 minutes of characters actually interacting with each other. All of these times these conversations end up tying to be witty or funny. Watching Spartans talking witty talk just pulls you straight out of the film.
The fight scenes are also pretty crappy. For some odd reason EVERYTHING is this film happens in slow-mo. I guess Snyder thought that slow-mo action scenes are cool. Well, they are pretty cool but the impact gets old really quick. I was getting annoyed by every action scene after the first one. The overuse of slow-mo is just too much. Is there a purpose of having a person jump on a horse in slow-mo?
If all this was not enough, there are so many scenes are just odd and pointless. There is an oracle scene, in slow-mo, that might actually go down as the pointless scene in a film this year. There are a couple of these pointless scenes that once again only serve to pull the viewer right out of the film.
The only thing that 300 has going for it is it's visual style. The slow mo is annoying but it's still pretty to look at. Every single shot in this film is beautiful to look at and Snyder has a lot of fun with the digital style of filmmaking. The action scenes, although repetitive, are also fun to see just because of the style and creative use of gore.
300 just feels like a lot of half baked ideas that sound cool in little snippets but somehow end up lame. I'm guessing that's why the trailers looked so great. There is a lot potential in this film. If the film would had been done in a different way, maybe in a more serious tone, the film might have been one of the greatest epics ever. Instead of this we are treated to dumbed down action film that just looks really cool.
I wish I could have loved you 300, I really do. I also know that people will dig it. I can understand why but I just couldn't. There is just too many flaws going on in this film that it doesn't even become a "mindless fun film" It's just an annoying film, in so many ways.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
This film is just excellent. A perfect combination of mindless entertainment and intelligent film making. It's one of the best modern day films I have seen in awhile and it's sad that the film will not get the true respect and admiration it deserves because of the sub-genre it belongs to, monster movies.
What separates the film so much from others in it's sub-genre is everything. Sure, it's a monster movies but it does not feel like one at all. It just feels like a human/family drama who's main point of suffering just happens to had been caused by a monster. The monster instead of being flashy and having a lot of over the top cgi action scenes hardly comes out. Instead, the film is more focused on the family dealing with the tragedy of maybe losing one of their own to the monster. It's because of this that when the monster does pop out we are truly glued to the screen because we care about these characters. It's the first time I have seen a monster movie where we actually care for the victims. It's also the first monster movie that actually feels realistic.
The film also seems to be saying a lot about Korean society right now. Some is pretty easy to understand but because of the culture gap it feels like there is much more being said. I loved this aspect of the film. The whole decision to focus on the people dealing with a sudden monster attack that might have spread a virus instead of the actual monster is a very odd choice but it works perfectly and adds a lot of edge and humor to the film.
The Host really lives up to it's already big hype. I hope the film continues getting more buzz and I hope that people begin to tell more people to watch it. It doesn't matter too much though,. I am beyond sure that the film will find it's audience really soon and will be considered the great film is is fairly soon by people. I just hope that these people are not just the horror buffs that already are loving it. It deserves to be taken outside of it's genre.
This film also seems to prove once again that Asian Cinema is where it's at. The Host makes every single action film made in Hollywood in recent years look like pieces of crap. It's hard to pull off a great action film and The Host does this and much,much more. To put it simple, it's just an excellent film. I have the feeling that it will become a favorite of mine on repeat viewings.
This movie is horrible. It might be the worst film I have ever seen. It beats out Manos and it beats out Eegah and it beats out Pumerhman. This is just amazingly horrible. It also kind of funny, as most horrible films tend to be.
This film is just about 2 hot sluts who go around hitchhiking and also getting their own way around America. By getting their own way I mean sex. Lots of sex. The film is about an hour and 10 minutes. and about 40 minutes is sex. I never thought I would get tired of seeing naked girls.
The other thing that makes this film so amazingly bad is the introduction of 2 characters. The teenage girl who ran away from home after getting really frustrated that she is still a virgin. The other being the wacky escaped rapist. The film climaxes with the 2 girls capturing the wacky rapist by almost having sex with him. Well, that's not really the climax. The climax of the film is the virgin losing her virginity finally....yeah.
Yup, this film is really one you have to see to believe. Even though I am going to give it an F- I am still glad I saw this film. Sometimes the worst films ever made are just as interesting as the best films ever made. They both leave you in awe and with your jaw dropped.
- ZERO STARS
This film is just bad. It's just 2 wild teens being well, 2 wild teens. There are plenty of wild hi jinks and plenty of attempts to get laid for and hour and 40 minutes. Of course, this is all the backdrop to the first ever pinball championship that's happening at the end of summer. Who will ever win and get the trophy and get the respect of "the best pinball player in town! ?!
That's really about it. There are a couple of unintentional laughs here and there but not enough to make it a fun watch. I was lucky enough to watch it with a crowd of people who kept bashing the film out loud. .I thank the audience for making the film go by quick and somewhat making it a fun watch.
You ever see a film that has something in it that is so out dated that you can't help but laugh at it? Normally these type of things pop up a lot in films from the 70's and 80's. Wither it be the clothes,the hair, the style, the humor, the language. Now, imagine if all of these things were combined in one gigantic out dated film. This is The Van, one of funniest "so bad it's amazing" films I have ever seen and will ever see.
The Van is about a lame guy who is somehow considered cool around town. He becomes amazing, and I really do mean AMAZING, around town when he gets his "kick ass rockin' custom van" All the guys want to race him and all the girls want to bang him. All because of this custom van. How custom is this van? Well, it has a waterbed,mirrors,a table, a "party cup holder", a "killer 8 track", shag carpets, shag carpets on the wall, and even a toaster. This is the most kick ass van ever and everyone in town knows it.
Theres not much else to this film. It really is about a guy and his amazing custom van for one hour and a half. Every single scene in this film is hilarious. My favorite scenes are when Bobby tries to pick up some girls. His pick up line is "You see that cool van out there? Yeah, it's mine. So, you wanna go smoke a joint in the back of it" Bobby then smokes a joint with the girl. Some "groovy tunes" kick in and Bobby bangs the girl. Oh, the girls ALWAYS make sure to say that the van is amazing in the middle of sex. Yup, this movie is seriously beyond awesome. Another favorite scene of mine is when Bobby goes to the beach with his pals. On the beach are a lot of other custom vans parked. Once again some groovy tunes kick in and a montage begins of Bobby being in awe of these vans.
The Van is in the category of "so bad it's amazing" It really is a bad film. Heck, it's beyond bad but it has enough cheese and unintentional humor that makes it become a fun film to watch. After watching it you will feel like wearing some cut off shorts and buying your own rockin' van to bang girls in. It will also make you want to find out who owned a custom van in the 70's that way you can punch them right in the face.
- Ridiculously Awesome
Waiting in line was once again a lot of fun. This time I started talking to a documentarian filmmaker, who is making a documentary on grindhouse films, and his 2 friends. The conversation started when they couldn't remember who else was in the cast of SNL during the non-Lorne Micheals era. They could only remember Robert Downey Jr. and Randy Quiad and were having a tough time thinking of the rest. I turned around and helped them about by saying Anthony Michael Hall and Gilbert Godfried were also in the cast. This then led into Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer and how awesome they are. It was a cool little conversation that was a lot of fun. It's nice talking to people who are as much a geek as you are.
After all this I went inside the theater. The introduction this time was a little bit too abrupt and rushed. The guy said that they were way behind schedule, somewhere around 40 minutes, because they had some print problems with the previous showing of a film named Summer Camp. Since the print was going to take awhile to fix they decided to instead show Teenage Hitchhikers as the third feature.
The first two films shared an interesting "theme" and it seemed that Tarantino was aiming to make a tipple feature of this "theme". The "theme" was "stuff that was really cool and kick ass at the time but are now hilarious" The first film, The Van, dealt with over the top custom vans. The second film, Pick-Up Summer, dealt with pinball championships. I would have loved to have seen what the third film was about but instead I got Teenage Hitchhikers which was um....interesting and beyond horrible and also hilarious.
The trailers were once again a lot of fun. They ranged everything from teen comedies, kung fu flicks, horror films, to some very odd sexploitation films. I think I saw way too many "Naughty Nurses...with a hot temperature!" type of trailers than a person should. My favorite trailer this time belonged to a horror film named Autopsy. I had no idea what exactly was going on in the trailer but one scene where a man falls off a building in slow mo had the whole audience in stitches. Again, I am lucky enough to see this one later on in the fest.
The audience was once again beyond hilarious and tons of fun. They really made all 3 films enjoyable. Without them I don't think I would have ever sat through Teenage Hitchhikers.
It was another fun night. I wish that 2 of the films would have been a lot better, but it didn't matter with this type of crowd. Any film is fun with these people.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I don't know what to say about this great film. This is one of those few films that was able to be widely recognized as a great film, even a masterpiece, during 2004 and the years following it. I came late to this films praise. I refused to watch it until I had seen the first part of the trilogy. I can't say if watching this film after seeing Sympathy for Mr Vengeance changed anything. The only thing it really did was that it made me love and praise Chan-Wook Park even more. He really is beyond genius, I really can not praise him enough.
I really loved Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and I thought that Oldboy would not measure up to it. I also though that the hype that surrounds the film would also not measure up. I am glad to write that Oldboy is another masterpiece. Yes, a masterpiece. Sympathy and Oldboy are so different from one another and yet both so great. I'm really happy that I can't decide which is better. I can't wait to check up Lady Vengeance now.
It seems that everyone has already seen it. If you haven't, then do so. It lives up to it's hype and much more.
This is a faux documentary made from the 2 guys who made one of the best documentaries on the nature of film, Lost in La Mancha. The writer of this is also the man who gave us the great script to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There is a lot of talent behind this film and it clearly shows on screen.
The film is perfectly made. It looks and feels like it was all done in the 70's. The style is never exaggerated but it is very noticeable. The cinematography is great. Most of the film is told through old "documentary footage" of the two brothers and because of this most of the shots look really rough and handheld. Yet, every shot is pretty damn great and is very stylish. I imagine this was a tough thing to pull off. The whole mixture of making everything look fake but also making it look stylish is remarkable. The musical performances are also a lot of fun to look at and hear.
I wish I could keep writing about how great the film is but I can't. The problem with this film is that it feels empty. You don't care for the brothers at all. I'm guessing that I really didn't care for them because the only thing that we feel bad for is the fact that are conjoined. That's pretty sad I guess but not enough for me to care for them. Every scene that could have added so much layers to these characters is never shown and is instead told through the fake interviews. Instead of these scenes that are described to us, we get a lot of "footage" of the brothers fighting. You would think that by this I mean we get some really dramatic emotional scenes. Instead we just get a lot of scenes of one of the two brothers messing with the brothers. That's right, we get a couple of scenes that feature one brother not letting his brother go to sleep or not letting his brother finish a sentence, These are the scenes that are supposed to be tense and are supposed to add insight to the brothers. They do not at all.
Brothers of the Head is a well made film. It's worth watching just to see how the filmmakers pulled it all off. I just wish that the plot and characters could have had as much attention and detail as the film's style did.
Friday, March 9, 2007
I just want to point out that I have no idea what the title of this film is supposed to be. It seems to either be listed as "The Boss" or "Wipeout!" The print I saw had the title of "Wipeout!" So, whatever. Anyways. with a plot like this one there is no way this film can not deliver. The film delivers everything you would expect and a bit more. In order for me to explain how this film is, all I have to do is explain the intro to the film. This should give you a good idea of how this film is.
The film begins with no credits. It just starts with a man walking into a building holding a sniper rifle case. He walks through the building without being seen until he finally finds the people he is looking for. We find out that these group of men are part of the mafia. This silent assassin, who we later find out is Lanzetta, follows them until they go into a mini screening room where they are going to watch a porn. Lanzetta then quietly sneaks into the projector room where he knocks out the projectionist and then begins to arm his rifle. He rests it on hole in the wall and takes aim at the group of men. Now, you would expect him to begin to snipe them out, right? Nope. He starts shooting grenades out of his rifle which seem to explode on impact. He fires at least 6 of these and blows up all of these guys and sets the room on fire. Suddenly, a man hears the explosions and runs towards the projection room. He begins trying to open the door and when he is finally able to he is greeted by Lanzetta who takes dead aim at him and shoots one of these grenades right at his chest causing him to explode into a ball a fire. Freeze Frame. Music kicks in. WIPEOUT! flashes on the screen and the credits begin to roll. This is only the first 10 minutes. You can now imagine how the rest of the film is. Yeah, it's awesome.
The film is very balls to wall and never even tries to justify the lead characters actions. He is a cold blooded killer who even says "killing is like nothing. I don't see the point" He kills anyone who gets in his way and does what he has to do in order to get ahead. The film is beyond fun when we are following this character. Sadly though, we don't follow him all that much at first.
For some odd reason the film seems to begin to be told through a couple of perspectives until the film finally settles on Lanzetta. All this time spent on switching from character to character is pretty pointless and confusing at first. It does however serve a purpose at the end of the film. Still though, the first 30 or so minutes of this film are pretty lame. The last blood soaked hour makes up for it a lot though.
I don't know what else to say other than this is a very dark crime thriller where everyone is a bad guy, even the police. Seeing how everything plays out is too much fun and the last 15 minutes will make your jaw drop. It also helps a lot that the film has tons of dark comedy worked into it.
This film, just like Machine Gun McCaine, is a cult film without a cult. I too hope to see this film find it's audience one day. It's just tons of fun.