Friday, March 14, 2008

Blah, Meh, and Ehh

Walker (1987, Alex Cox) - **1/2

In one phrase this whole film received a "uhhhhhhh.....that was ok" from me when it finished. Walker is a strange and odd film. Maybe when you read that last sentence you are expecting something really out there but Walker is not too extreme with it's oddness. Part of me wishes that it would go to the limit with it's strangeness rather than just sprinkling it here and there through out the film.

Walker is a "historical/biopic" about an eccentric man who became the dictator of Nicaragua in the 19th century. See, there is nothing strange there. Where it becomes strange is when Alex Cos decides to throw in modern innovations into the story. So, for example,. there are scenes of soldiers reading Time and People Magazine, shots of digital clocks, a car, and even a military helicopter. This is all meant to illustrate how we haven't learned from history and the story being told from the 19th century is the same story that is happening today, or in this case, during the 80s. You see...its very clever.

The problem is not the fact that Cox decides to make the film a satire or that he decides to throw in all of these things. The problem is that the film is not subtle with its clever ideas. They are so in your face that it comes off as being forced. It also doesn't help that he decides to actually make a biopic for 30 minutes and then throw in a shot of people reading Time magazine, and then come back to the biopic. What is meant to be clever and thought provoking becomes nothing more than just a distraction. After about the 3rd time it happens you just feel like saying "I get it already! Shit!"

Walker is far from a bad film. There is some greatness there but its overall ambition is what ultimately crushes whatever aspirations of greatness that it seems to have at times. It's an interesting film that is even more interesting due to Ed Harris delivering a great and fun performance but it never becomes more than just a "interesting film".

30 Days of Night (2007, David Slade) - **1/2

There are a couple of times during the film that I felt that it was at the point of achieving greatness but then it would become bland and predictable. This happened over and over again. It's far from a bad film but it also stays stuck within the blandness of it's genre, which is very disappointing.

The Ballad of Jack & Rose (2005, Rebecca Miller) - **1/2

This is another one that had a lot of potential but also fails to achieve an overall sense of itself. I'm not sure what exactly Rebecca Miller was going for since the film is trying to say something, but I just dont know what it is or if the film even said anything at all. It's really an assorted mess of top notch quality scenes mixed with pretentious and badly acted scenes surrounding these quality scenes.

Of course, there is no surprise that any moment of quality that the film has is due to Daniel Day-Lewis' perfect performance. This is a given but I have come to learn that what is more interesting than Day-Lewis' performances are the supporting performances around him. In this case the supporting performances from the cast, save for Keener, are absolutely destroyed by Day-Lewis. The weaknesses in the supporting performances are sadly noticeable too along with its sloppy writing and uneven direction.

A Wild Mess, The Lubitsch Touch, and Space Travel

I have seen lots of films the past couple of days and it's time to play catch up.

Schizopolis (1996, Steven Soderbergh) - ***

Soderbergh's experimental and very personal film is a mess of a film but that's why it's so much fun to watch. I say this because there are even numerous times where the film doesn't even know what its doing and straight out tells you that there is "a missing idea" instead of an explanation or a scene to advance the story. You really get a feeling of Soderbergh going insane behind the camera and just pouring every single idea on screen, even if the idea doesn't make much sense.

For being such a wild and experimental film, I was surprised to find it amusing and interesting. I also think that it is one of Soderbergh's best films even though I wouldn't rate it any higher. I don't know if that makes much sense or not.

Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch) - ****

Ernst Lubitsch is a director that I have long heard and read about but had never checked out until this film. I can now safely say that he lived up to the hype and I was generally impressed by how extremely well the film holds up. A very fun time.

Also, that is easily my least favorite Criterion dvd cover of all time.

In the Shadow of the Moon (2007, David Sington) - ***1/2

I loved this one until the final 15 or so minutes when the film's impact was softened on me due to the film all of a sudden rushing through years of history and then just ending. I just feel that the film should have been titled "The First Men on the Moon" instead of the title that it has now because most of the story is more devoted to the first mission that it is to everything else. I wish I could have learned more of the overall story than just learning about a small fragment of what I think is rich and interesting history to explore.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Slapstick, Panic, and Depression

I haven't written anything in a long time, so I am going to try at least write a little bit about what I have seen the past couple of days and weeks.

Run, Fatboy, Run (2007, David Schwimmer) - *

What a flaming piece of shit. I wasn't expecting anything on the level of Shaun or Hot Fuzz but I was expecting something at least good since the film is directed by Scwhimmer (who I am a fan of), written by Michael Ian Black, and starring Simon Pegg. Instead of getting a great or even a pretty good comedy, I got a film that plays it so safe and by the numbers that it's just embarrassing to watch. I am surprised that this one was a huge over seas. It really is so bad that I saw it about 3 weeks ago I don't remember almost anything about it. Horrible.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991, Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, and Elenor Coppola) - ***1/2

I was sort of disappointed by this one, but I still found it great. I have spent years trying to watch this now legendary documentary and until a couple of weeks ago I was able to finally get the dvd instead of some shitty vhs. I watched it and I wasnt all that blown away by it as I imagine other people are by it. This isn't the films fault but my own. I have read about the trouble Apocalypse Now faced during productions a number of times and even read what I consider to be the ultimate account of all this, which is the chapter in Peter Biskind's Easy Riders and Raging Bulls that deals with the making of the film. So, while watching this documentary it felt like hearing the same story again but with images to go along with it. It's still one hell of a story but I just wish that I didn't already know it so well.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969, Sidney Pollack) - ****

This, just like Hearts of Darkness, is a film that I have long heard about and was at first hard to get my hands on. Then, it became pretty easy for me to watch it but I didn't jump at it. Now, with all the rumors flying around about Sidney Pollack lying on his death bed, I decided to check it out as a form of odd respect. I was going to write a lot more about this film but I feel like I wont be doing it justice. I was absolutely blown away by this one and it is a true hidden gem and I am a bit baffled as to why it's not even considered a cult film to some. For a film that deals with a non stop dance marathon, it is incredibly fucked up and depressing The film also contains a couple of scenes that immediately shot up on my favorites list.

I don't know what else to say so I am just going to post the music video that Paul Thomas Anderson directed that includes an homage to the film.

I really cant wait to buy this one and savor it some more. I really just loved it and it is one of the best gems I have found while "digging for films".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pretentious Mobsters, Travelers, and Secret Agents

I've decided to just start doing mini write ups in groups of three just because I like the format better and it makes me feel like I wrote a lot when I havent written almost anything.

Little Odessa (1995, James Gray) - *1/2

Sometimes when I look back on old posts I get a feeling that I might be too kind and easy towards movies. I feel like I should be more strict but when I look at the movies that I watch and rent I like to think that I rent according to my taste, I rent and buy movies that I have liked or have a feeling that I will like. I feel that I got my taste pretty much down and even when I venture off and rent a film that I have never heard of before there is always a small root that appeals to me and that is why I take a chance with them. I like to think that most of the time I am right and the film ends up good.

So..after watching and really enjoying We Own the Night I did my I-just-finished-watching-a-movie-routine of going to IMDB and checking out what other films the director, writer, or actor have doneor are doing. Through this I found Little Ordessa.

My thought process went a little bit like this:

" its a crime drama....looks dark...mid 90s and indie...hmm...I'm not a fan of those...oh but it stars Tim Roth? Tim Roth in a crime drama by the guy who did We Own the Night? I am sold"

I expected a gem and found a huge misfire. Little Odessa suffers from the same thing that I feel most indies from the 90s suffered from and while reading Down and Dirty Pictures it seems that I am not the only one who has a problem with this subgenre. They all try so hard to be dark and moody (Things to do in Denver While You're Dead, ) , be quirky (Party Girl, Living in Oblivion, Welcome to the Dollhouse), or represent generation X and freeload off of the Slacker/Clerks vibe (Empire Records). I hate them all and I think that they have aged worse than films from the 80s. They just feel extremely pretentious to me and never sincere.

I'm currently in the middle of Down and Dirty Picture by Peter Biskind (my favorite writer maybe ever and I also like to name drop books I'm ready because I am cool like that...lulz) and there is a quote from Soderbergh when hes talking about Sex,Lies, and Videotape which I feel sums up this 90s indie boom perfectly. He says something along the lines of "I look back on that film and just see a student film where the director is trying to say so much" and that line describes Little Odessa.

It feels like a student film where the director is hammering you away with his brilliance and awesome screenwriting. Maybe I sound like a dick right now but if you were to see this film then you will know what I am talking about. It just feels unpolished, amateurish, and rough but what is annoying is that the film tries to pull it all off as polished, slick, and just as good as the crime films of the 70s. I realize that I am now rambling but I will just say that all of this might excusable because of it's an indie and a debut film but the plotholes that this film takes just for the sake to create melodrama and "deepness" in its theme is just too bad and obvious for me to like. The director is also able to bring out an uneven performance from Tim Roth and that is just inexcusable and close to impossible I think. I am very happy that Gray "grew up" and can now do a film like We Own the Night.

Man..I really did go on a mini rant now that I look back. I feel like backspacing all of this and just putting "it sucks" but I will just end it now with....."it sucks"

Into the Wild (2007, Sean Penn) - ****

I am going to make this one short and use the easy way out by saying that everything that could be said has already been said. I was blown away by it and it would go into my top 5 without a doubt. The direction and writing by Sean Penn is outstanding and the performances by the entire cast are perfect. Holbrook also deserves all the praise he has received and was actually able to break my heart. I was also surprised that the film turned out to be nothing like how it was marketed as.. This is not the hip "fuck the system" movie it was made out to be. It's a much more joyful and beautifully tragic road film than anything else. I was surprised by how much I really loved it.

Also...Zach Galifianakis...what the hell are you doing in this? That was just out of nowhere and hilarious. Thank you, Sean Penn.

The Silencers (1966, Phil Karlson) - Dean Martin Cool

A very,very,very,very cool 60's spy comedy staring Dean Martin as a part time secret agent and a full time ladies man. I was reminded of Danger: Diabolik during the film with it's tongue in cheek style, colorful sets, jazzy score, and uber coolness. I enjoyed every single second and can't wait to see the rest of the series. that Dean Martin riding a gun?

And now I am officially up to date. Finally.

Lawyers, Sex Dolls, and a Schizo

Michael Clayton (2007, Tony Gilroy) - ****

This seems to be the love/hate film of the moment along with Juno most likely due to the high praise that both films have received and some people thinking that they don't deserve the praise. I belong to the group of people that believe that Clayton deserves all the praise it has received. It really is one of the most rewarding watches that I have had lately and I admire how the film has the balls to alienate it's audience through out most of the film while everything falls into place and by the final minute everything makes sense for a very "fuck yes!" type of ending.. As much as Diablo Cody's script is the favorite to win the Oscar for best original screenplay, I think that Gilroy deserves it. This really is a perfectly crafted film. I cant wait to rewatch it again while knowing how everything will play out. Oh, and Wilkinson is worthy of the praise and nomination that he received. He makes a role that could have easily been over the top very human and "makes" the film. Very,very,very solid film.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007, Craig Gillespie) - ****

There are certain films which I cant help but enjoy, love, and give 4 stars to even though they may have some minor flaws and this is mostly due to me just being too touched by it to deny it anything less than 4 stars. I go with my heart in these cases and this is exactly what happened with Lars and the Real Girl. I really fell in love with this one and it's overall sweetness and good vibes that it throws at you. Gosling knocks it so out of the park that it is ridiculous and this performance further proves that he really is the next best thing. It may not be the best film of last year but it is one of my favorites.
Clean, Shaven (1995, Lodge Kerrigan) - uh....woah...

A couple of years ago I rented a film named Keane just because I didn't have anything in mind to rent and it looked like it might be good. It turned out to be one of the most haunting and tragic films that I have stumbled upon and it is one of those films that I try to pimp out as much as possible when ever there is an opportunity to do so. I still don't know why the film doesn't have more of a cult following. A couple of months ago I decided to check out what other films the director had done and through there I was happy to find that his debut film was a criterion release and also a favorite of John Waters. So, I put it on my queue and played the waiting game because of it's wait status and now about 5 months later I have seen it and part of me wishes that I hadnt.

I dont get disturbed by movies all too easily. I really cant think of too many movies off the top of my head that I have seen past the age of 10 that have really and truly disturbed me while watching them. I think Henry and Paradise Lost would be the closest ones that I can think of but other than that...nothing. Well, that has now changed. Clean, Shaven is one of the most if not the most disturbing film that I have yet to see. This film is on a whole other level of fucked upness and after watching it I can really see why it is easy to compare it to Repulsion or Eraserhead.

After one of the most shocking and demented openings I have ever seen to a film we are treated to a 77 minute dark journey into the mind of schizophrenic man and the detective who is trying to catch him. Telling why he is trying to catch him would ruin the "fun". This all plays out while we mostly find ourselves follwoing the schizophrenic man on a quest to find something..telling would spoil it once again. This really is one of the films were it is better to not know what you are getting into and just having to embrace yourself for the ride.

I dont know what else to say. I am currently waiting on a friend of mine to watch it that way we can discuss it because this is also one of those kinds of films where despite it's creepiness and disturbing tone, there is a ton more going on underneath it and as soon as the credits roll you want to turn to your side and ask a person "So....what did you think about that scene where _____ ?"

I was shocked, intriqued, puzzled, and during one particular scene literally acting like one of those oh-so-5 minute ago reaction videos to 2girls1cup The scene I am talking about will never leave my memory and is easily the most. I also just want say that the use of sound in this film is brilliant and one of the best uses for it that I have yet to see.

I really don't know what to think of it all. I hate it when people are quick to jump to a conclusion to such a challenging film upon first viewing but even after seeing it a 2nd time with an excellent commentary track by Steven Soderbergh (who is a huge fan and produced Keane) and the director..I still don't know. It's been a couple of days and I have thought about it some more...and still I don't know what to make of it. I feel that it really is a brilliant film but is on a level where your brain struggles to wrap around all of it and it's many layers and to me that is a mark of an outstanding film.

This is also one of the best debut films that I can think of as well. A true one-of-a-kind film that is a must see.I think that even if you end up hating it, you will not soon forget it.

I also love this oh-so-great teaser/trailer for it. Check it out.

And just because Lodge Kerrigan is the man...check out the trailer for the very overlooked Keane, which is not only overlooked but features one of my favorite performances ever by Damien Lewis. You can already see his greatness in the 2 minute trailer. I just have to pimp it out some more.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Every movie I have seen in the past couple of weeks and a couple of sentences about them. Part 5

Hopefully just one more part after this one. I am a movie watching machine lulz.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964, Bryon Haskin) - ****

Very colorful and very fun. Thats all I have to say and I feel that sentence sums it up perfectly. It's also pretty great that criterion released this one.

Sidenote: I really love that "This film is Scientifically Authentic" on the poster.

Pepe Le Moko (1937, Julien Duvivier) - ****

My friend Dan over at The Public Enemy summed this one up perfectly with another simple sentence "It's like The Third Man mixed with Casablanca" and that really is a great way to put it. Jean Gabin is ridiculously pimp as a master criminal and Lucas Gridoux is just as great as the inspector trying to catch him. The interactions between them are the true highlights of the film from a film that has many. It really is just a perfect film.

Point Blank (1967, John Boorman) - ***1/2

This was a film which took me by surprise. I was expecting an excellent crime/revenge film from what I had read about it and I instead got the most non-French-French-New-Wave film that I have yet to come across. Its a bit puzzling at first and you dont really know where it's going but once it gets on its way it is excellent. Although I really did love its new wave influence and how it wore it on it's sleeve, I did feel cold and unattached towards the final act. I also felt that a film that is a huge build up to the revenge climax that it was a little bit disappointing when it finally came. I felt that the journey to it was a hundred times better than the actual final destination. I am interested in rewatching this one in a couple of years or months just because I would be interested in seeing how the film will play out once I know what I am getting into.

Sidenote: Now that is one badass poster.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Every movie I have seen in the past couple of weeks and a couple of sentences about them. Part 4

...and even one more..
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2007, Jeff Garlin) - ***1/2

It's easy to see why people are quick to compare this one to Woody Allen, I think the comparison is a compliment and it fits perfectly. Jeff Garlin has created a very personal, intimate, and even a bleak film that at times you cant help but be charmed by it because you know what you are watching came directly from the heart. It's a small, short, and sweet film which just flies by. I really enjoyed it and was surprised at it's honesty towards the lives of the characters and life. I wish romantic comedies could be more like this than whatever bullshit comes and goes in theaters. It's a great small film that deserves the small acclaim it has received.

The Age of Innocence (1993, Martin Scorsese) - **** (MASTERPIECE)

My love towards this film is extreme. It is ridiculously excellent and it now easily rests among the best from Scorsese that I have seen so far. Why this film doesn't get talked about is beyond me. It may easily seem like its very un-Scorseseish but if you only take a moment to look a tiny bit deeper, it is as Scorsese as Goodfellas is. The long tracking shots, the tension, the bleakness, the punk rock editing tricks...its all there and used in the most subtle but excellent way. If you can not tell...I absolutely fucking love this one. What else can I gush over? I guess I can praise Daniel Day-Lewis' incredible performance. It's easy to compare his performance to Scorsese's direction. You might think that he is solid as always as the role of a man in love with another woman in a time when such a relationship was forbidden but it also doesn't take too much time to notice how many layers of emotions he keeps hidden right under the surface, but keeps it to a level where it is noticeable enough for the viewer but not the characters around him. It is too good for words. The way he nervously laughs and smiles while talking to his forbidden love is some of the finest acting I have yet to see and when the film finally gets going and the heartbreaks begin to cant help but feel broken too because of his acting. This is easily one of the most criminally overlooked, underrated, and underwatched films I have ever come across. I only pray, wish, and hope that Criterion will one day release this film or at the very least that people will discover it sooner or later. It really is as much a masterpiece as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas are.

We Own the Night (2007, James Gray) - ***1/2

...and speaking about overlooked films, We Own the Night might be THE most overlooked film from 2007. I think this is mainly due to the coincidence of coming out one year after The Departed and on top of this the marking for it buying into the "The Departed Jr." image and marketing it like that. It's a shame that it will have to live in The Departed's shadow for now, but for those who take a chance on it, it will be a great surprise. I was incredibly surprised by the film that I found. This is a very slick and dark crime film that has a couple of stellar scenes that are not only stellar but also stunning. This is also not without the help of the very solid supporting cast and direction but also mainly due to the superb acting by Joaquin Phoenix. Fuck Walk the Line, this is the kind of performance which he should be raved about for. He absolutely knocks it out of the park and delivers the most overlooked performance in the most overlooked film from last year. Sure, it may be a genre film with genre cliches but its a great entry into the genre.

One more part will hopefully be coming up and I will finally be caught up.

Every movie I have seen in the past couple of weeks and a couple of sentences about them. Part 3

...and even more...

Death Sentence (2007, James Wan) - **1/2

There comes a point while watching Death Sentence that you just become frustrated with it. This isn't because the plot is confusing or because the film just throws you off, it's because there are such outstanding moments scattered through out the film that you just wish that everything surrounding these moments were as good. Sadly, they are not. As bad the dioulouge, music, and sometimes the acting may be, it still doesnt take away from these small bursts of greatness. I belong to the small little group that believes that James Wan has a lot of potential to become a good director and there are enough moments during Death Sentence which confirm this. Still, though, this goes into the pile of movies that could have been so much more.

The Fearless Freaks (2005, Bardley Beesley) - ***1/2

Despite me ranking Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots as one of the greatest albums that I have yet to hear, I am a little bit ashamed that I don't own every Flaming Lips album and that I dont follow the band at all. So, while watching this 2 hour in depth rockumentary about the band from their days of playing football in their backyard, to their early sucess, to their drug problems, and even to the sci fi film that they are in the process of making in their backyard, when the film finished I felt like I really understoof what they are all about and why they are in fact so good,unique, and interesting in the first place. While looking for a picture of the poster I found a perfect sentence which sums up why the documentary is great " is a nice example of what a rock documentary can be when it treats the people like people and not icons."

Wayne Coyne's hair - ****

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman) - ***

I don't know what exactly I was anticipating from this "road film" but it definitely was not this. I was excepting something...less..I don't know...different. By this I mean that Two-Lane Blacktop on the surface may look like it's going to be road or even a chase film from the 70's but it doesnt take too long before you realize that you jsut stepped into a film that is at the same in the genre yet completely out of it. While talking about this film with a friend I described it as "it's like a chase film by Jarmusch" and my statement still stands. Everything is stipped to it's most minimal core. There are long streatches of silence, the "chase" plot plays second fiddle to minimal character interactions, which all play together to the over all minimal story. The characters dont even have names. Yeah, it's that minimal. I'm sure there might be some thematic elements that I may have missed and I'm more than sure that there are a lot of people who would laugh at me thinking that there isnt much there but I just cant see the big picture. I feel out of the loop with this film. Still, I have to admit that I was constantly engaged with the film and I still think about it. It's a challenging film and it definitely left an impact on me. I just wish it could have been a nicer impact than the cold one that I received.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Every movie I have seen in the past couple of weeks and a couple of sentences about them. Part 2

..and so it continues...

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007, Andrew Dominik) ****

This one is easily my 2nd favorite film of last year. Everything from the themes that it explores about fame and the mythology that coems from it, to the excellent score by Nick Cave, to the gorgeous cinematography by Roger Deakins, to the overall outstanding directing by Dominik. Everything is pitch perfect. I wish I could just dive in right now and keep on writing about how much I was blown away by it but I find it hard to do. This is one of those kinds of films that you want to talk to someone about who has seen it as well. That way you can both go "How awesome was that scene where _____ ?!" and become fanboys over it. 2 things that I didnt mention about the film earlier were: 1) The so very awesome cast that includes some inspired casting (James Carville?!?!?!) as well as actors who never seem to get their due (Sam Rockwell, Paul Schneider), Brad Pitt (of course) and even some cool little cameos (Nick Cave ftw) and the 2nd thing that I did not mention earlier is the greatness that is Casey Affleck as Robert Ford. I never ever expected to be such a huge fan of the guy but he has given two of my favorite performances from the past year with this one and Gone Baby Gone. He really knocks this performance so far out of the park that it is just ridiculous. Sadly, the all too subtle performance has been overlooked, but what DDL is able to do with a shout, Affleck is able to do with a whisper. He absolutely nails the performance and makes the film as solid as it is. It really is one of the best films from last year and one the best films this decade has given us so far.

Helvitica (2007, Gary Hustwit) **1/2

I originally gave this documentary about the history of the helvitica font 3 stars but its been about 2 or 3 weeks since I saw it and I dont remember much. It's interesting and you learn something new, but that's about it.

Breakin' (1984, Joel Silberg) dope.

I have long heard of this now cult classic but never saw it until one fateful night. This movie is so unintentionally hilarious and gay that it is outstanding. I laughed almost non stop and it felt like it only lasted 10 minutes. I can't wait to see the sequel.

RocketMan (1997, Stuart Gillard) lulz

I think I might have found my favorite poster of all time. I also watched this one fateful night and it turned out to be all about the lulz. Thats all I have to say.

Varan the Unbelievable (1958, Ishiro Honda) ***

Pretty much a by the numbers, but still awesome, monster movie from the studio and director that brought you Godzilla. I really don't have much to say other than I loved how they defeated the monster and that it contained enough monster rampage for me to enjoy myself. If you're a fan of the genre, you will enjoy it too.

EDIT: After posting this entry I found out that the RocketMan poster is squished between the two Breakin' clips. I actually think it looks much better this way. The impact it has is powerful.

Every movie I have seen in the past couple of weeks and a couple of sentences about them. Part 1

I keep saying to myself that I want to write something out about ever film that I have seen from the past couple of weeks, but I finally came to conclusion that is just a dream, it is impossible to do now. Well, I guess it is possible, but it would take too long and I have become lazy lately when it comes to this blog.

So, I am just going to list every movie that I have watched lately and what I thought. Hopefully, this will catch me up and I can continue to do a write up for each movie I watch. I hope to do this in two or three parts today.

In the meantime...

Beach Red (1967, Cornel Wilde) ***1/2

I really love criterion for a lot of reasons but I think the top reason is that through their reelases, I am able to discover filmmakers that I might have not discovered otherwise. I recently saw and loved The Naked Prey, so I was quick to get a hold of the director/stars follow up, Beach Red, and it was almsot as good. Beach Red is like a glorious B movie with hints of French New Wave sparkled through out. It's a very interesting war film that is sadly knocked down a couple of notches thanks to some very wooden acting. Still, though, the film is quite fascinating at times with the odd (read, artistic) steps it takes.

Rocket Science (2007, Jeffrey Blitz) ***1/2

Once Rocket Science was about 30 minutes in, I was reminded of another film that was born through Sundance, got a ton of buzz at Sundance, came out in theaters and flopped, and then came out on dvd with little attention. The movie i am talking about is Thumbsucker. I was reminded of this film because both Rocket Science and Thumbsucker seem to have suffered from Sundance and the marketing angle that they received thanks to their "indie cred". I remember renting Thumbsucker because of all the buzz I remember reading and only because of that. I hated the marketing angle of making it seem quirky, hip, and youthful and I expected to hate the film. Instead, I got a very intimate film with some dark comedy and memorable characters in a film that was not as pretentious as the marketing made it seem. the same exact things goes for Rocket Science. I remember the grand buzz, then I was surprised by the very mixed and reviews, and then even more shocked when reviewers wrote it off as Wes Anderon lite, or a film that tried too hard to be quirky. Bullshit. This is still the film that people fell in love with at Sundance and I can see why. Sure, it does have it's moments which do come off seeming a little bit too quirky or hip for it's own good, but despite these 5 minutes or so, the film is really great. It's overall dark and depressing tone is refreshing and it's honest portrail of characters that could have easily become cartoons is also great. I really enjoyed it and was surprised by it. I hope it finds its audience one day. The same goes for Thumbsucker.

Miss Julie (1951, Alf Sjoberg) ****

This is another title that I think I might have never watched if it wasnt for Criterion. I absolutely lvoed this film and it felt like it only lasted 10 minutes. I love movies that are sexual without ever being sexual at all and Miss Julie is a great example of this. The films basic premise of a forbidden love between a high class woman and her servant at first sounds like it might be some overblown melodrama and soap opera theatrics, but I didnt feel that it was that at all. Instead, I was surprised to find a film which had such rich characters and such rich interactions between the m to match that I just fell in love with it. It also had a couple of memorable sequences which played around with what cinema can do which I also loved as well. Great stuff. It's Before Sunrise before Before Sunrise...and thats a lot of befores.

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965, Norman Taurog) ***

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that I have a giant soft spot for deliriously campy films, but to my knowledge I think everyone does, right? So, it comes to no surprise that I am actually a fan of the Avalon/Funiecello films. I love how they are the last dying grasp of innocence from the 60's and I love the not-so-hidden sexualness to it all. Plus, it's too much camp to handle at times. So, in this non-beach entry to the series, Vincent Price is a mad flamboyant scientist who is producing hot robot girls in bikinis in order so that they can get married to rich men and then take away all their money. How awesome is that? If you are able to buy into it all and enjoy the film with the mindset of the times that it came out is very awesome. Vincent Price is having the time of his life, the visual style is all over the place, and it's so insanely whacky that it feels like a live action cartoon. I'm a fan of the genre, so I liked it. Hell, I even like Gigdet...and yes I know that is pretty gay.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Spellbound (2002, Jeffrey Blitz)

After watching Spellbound I came to the conclusion that I love documentaries which tackle on a competition. The only 2 other examples that I can think of which I loved are Mad Hot Ballroom and Wordplay, but I have a feeling that I just really dig this subgenre of documentaries.

So, because of this I don't know why I never caught up with Spellbound since it is considered THE documentary to see from this subgenre. It suddenly hit me out of blue that I should check it out finally and I was pleased that I did. It lived up to the hype and it was often times a mix of cheering on your favorite kid, laughing, and just getting really into it and feeling the tension when it came time for them to compete against eachother.

- ****

Zach Galifianakis: Live At The Purple Onion (2006, Michael Blieden)

I didn't know if I should write about this one or not. I dont know if stand up specials can be considered films or not but I think as long as there is a cinematic element to it, it should be seen as a film. Since, this stand up dvd of Zach Galifianakis chooses to intercut his stand up with clips of him being on the road with his friends and even some mock interviews with his fake twin brother "seth" I think that the stand up comedy special turns into a stand up comedy film.

I dont know much about stand up comedy but Zach Galifianakis is one of the few stand up comedians which I am a big fan of. I love his sense of humor and I love the way he presents it with different personas, a child's choir, storyboards, and most of the time just by playing a nice melody on the piano meanwhile he tells random jokes.

So, given that I am a fan I enjoyed the film. I will say that some bits where Galifianakis decides to bomb on purpose or just break off from his prepared routine and interact with his audiences at times become too much and you are just waiting for him to get back on stage or for the film to cut back to him on the road or a mock interview.

Still, if you are fan, you will find it funny and entertaining.

- ***

The Comedians of Comedy (2005, Michael Blieden)

I thought I was just going to watch a normal stand up special but instead got a great behind the scenes documentary. It was funny and actually informative at times. There is no drama, no emotional scenes, and no mind blowing scenes. It's as if the 4 comedians hired a guy to just make a long home movie while recording them on tour and then after when everything was over, he just got all the footage and was able to make a documentary out of it.

- ***1/2

Personal Best (1982, Robert Towne)

I have been wanting to watch this film for a couple of years now ever since I read Easy Riders, and Raging Bulls and this film was mentioned in it during the final chapters. Due to the lack of a dvd I was never able to get a hold of it but as soon as this one popped out on dvd a couple of weeks ago I was quick to watch it.

Personal Best is a film about a group of women athletes competing and training in order to get into the U.S.A. Olympic team. The film seems to put this to the side and instead focuses more on the story of a young athlete falling in love with the older and wiser girl on the team. Of course, emotions get in the way and when the film resorts back to its overall story arch of these women competing to get on the U.S.A. Olympic team everything has a much more emotional weight to it when the final competition begins.

Personal Best makes me want to rewatch all of the films of the 70's and early 80's again since it reminded me of why I loved going through that era of film when I was starting out being a film buff. Personal Best contains all of the trademarks which I have come to love from this era of film. It contains extremely strong writing, performances, and direction which is subtle yet still with some style which is enough to catch your attention. It also takes its time to create its character and make a great character driven piece without falling into Hollywood cliches.

There is really not much more that I have to say about it. I really enjoyed it and particularly enjoyed Scott Glen's performance as the coach to the all women team. Robert Towne's writing is also top notch.

- ***1/2

This Filthy World (2006, Jeff Garlin)

My friend Greg over at Sex,Drugs, and Cinema told me this was "like stand up for film buffs" and he was 100 percent right.

I am not a fan of John Waters' films, except for Serial Mom which I consider to be an underrated film. Having said that, I love hearing John Waters speak in documentaries and I love reading his writings. I find him hilarious and always insightful and I applaud him and what he has done with his films and also with his support towards cinema. He is a one of a kind character and I like seeing him play that character..which is himself.

So, there is no surprise that I loved This Filthy World, which is just John Waters speaking to a crowd for about an hour and a half. He talks from everything from Michael Jackson to his fights with the MPAA to him going by film by film and telling stories from each. His one man show presents him as the character which film buffs have come to adore and it's easy to see why there is such a love towards him after watching it.

- ****

Cloverfield (2008, Matt Reeves)

It seems to be the love/hate film at the moment and I belong to the camp which love it to death. Without a doubt a stunning feat and one hell of a movie. Check out Sex,Drugs, and Cinema's review of it HERE since he hit the nail on the head with my thoughts towards it as well.

- ****

The Nines (2007, John August)

This movie broke my mind many times while watching it.

The Nines is a very out there and very original film. I still don't know what to make of it exactly but I know there is a great film somewhere in the mess and the craziness that it is. Some people are quick to hate on it and say that it's just a bunch of weird shit but I choose to applaud it for actually trying to do something original and out of box. Now, if it has some odd steps in it's execution and direction is a whole other thing. The one example that comes to mind is a musical sequence which is just there for the sake of making it all more weird. There are some things which I can not see making any sense at all even if the director were to personally explain it to me, but despite all these flaws, it is still one hell of a mind trip.

- ***

The Naked Prey (1966, Colonel Wilde)

I was absolutely blown away by this film. I was reminded about another film which I really love, Quest for Fire, while watching it and I think I have come to the conclusion of why I love both films so much. The thing that they both share in common is that there is little to no dialogue and for the most part everything is told visually.

Meanwhile Quest for Fire was about...well... a quest for fire, The Naked Prey is just one man running away from an African tribe and trying to survive for 90 minutes. I found it to be always thrilling, intense, and at times just bad ass.

I really don't have much else to say. I liked it a lot and loved the execution of it all.

- ****

Persepolis (2007, Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi)

I really hate when I run into one of these kinds of films. I am talking about the kinds of films which I can watch, not get bored by it, respect it, and admire it greatly from a film buff point of view...yet I was not blown away by it and never really felt anything towards it except for respect and admiration.

It's a great film but not one that I think I will be revisiting anytime soon. I can only admire it from a distance.

- ***1/2

Demons 2 (1986, Lamberto Bava)

Pretty much the same thing as the first film (which you can read my thoughts about it here) only instead of a closed in movie theater being attacked by Demons, it is a start of the art apartment building which is sealed shut. It's once again just an excuse for style and set pieces which are always amusing. The only thing is that since this is the 2nd time around everything that felt fun and original about the first film just feels like more of the same ol' thing this time around.

It's still fun, though.

- **1/2

When We Were Kings (1996, Leon Gast)

Without a doubt one of the best documentaries I have seen. The fact that it was decades in the making makes it all the better. The way it presents the film using the original footage of Ali preparing for his fight against Foreman in Africa mixed in with interviews from modern day with the people involved along with admirers of Ali makes it one of the best sports films that I have seen as well.

I know of Ali and his legacy but I never knew about it fully until watching this documentary. You really get a sense of why he was such a legend in his own time and an icon now. I loved it and made me appreciate a time in history that I didn't know much about.

- ****

Project Grizzly (1996, Peter Lynch)

This was a pretty funny documentary about a man who is obsessed with creating an indestructible suit so that he can view and study grizzly bears up close. I don't really have much to say because there isn't much to it. It's funny and nothing more.

= ***

Catching Up

I wanted to do a full write up for every single movie that I have seen in the past couple of weeks but there are just too many of them and I am just too lazy. So, I am just going to do a paragraph or a couple of sentences for each one.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar Nom Predictions.

Its 3:10 am and I am trying to stay up all night that way I can watch the nominations being announced at 5:30. are my predictions for the nominations just because I find them fun to do.

Best Picture

Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
No Country For Old Men
There Will be Blood

Might Sneak in: Atonement, Sweeney Todd, Michael Clayton

Might be the biggest surprise/shocker (!!) - Atonement will not get a nomination. Maybe even some out of left field best picture nomination for Eastern Promises.

Best Director

Tim Burton - Sweeney Todd
Joel Coen - No Country For Old Men
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel - Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Paul Thomas Anderson - There will be Blood

Might sneak in: Joe Wright for Atonement

Might be the biggest surprise/shocker (!!): Jason Reitman gets a nomination for Juno OR Cronenberg gets a nomination.

Best Actor

George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will be Blood
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling - Lars and the Real Girl
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Might sneak in: Emile Hirsch for Into the Wild

Biggest surprise/shocker (!!) - If Gosling gets in everyone will proclaim this to be a shocker. I will instead be shocked if they were to replace one of my other 4 pics for Hirsch since I feel that its Gosling vs Hirsch at the moment for the 5th spot. The other big shocker will be McAvoy getting in.

Best Actress

Amy Adams for Enchanted
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Coiltarrd - La Vie en Rose
Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart
Ellen Page - Juno

Might sneak in: this is a hard one. I put Adams up just because I think the strong BO of Enchanted and the fact that she jumped up to the A list and became an "it girl" because of that performance gives her a little, tiny, bit more of a chance. Saying that there are so many that can get the 5th spot. Linney, Blonsky, Knightley, Carter, and my friend just remined me of Blanchett just now. So, her too. I will be very curious to see who makes it.

Shocker: Blanchett gets in.

Best Supporting Actor

Cassey Affleck - The Assisignation of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tommy Lee Jones - No Country for Old Men
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Might sneak in - Paul Dano?

Shocker - Paul Dano?

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Sairose Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Might sneak in: Catherine Keener for Into the Wild/Kelly MacDonald for No Country

Shocker - Jennifer Garner for Juno

Best Screenplay (dont want to go get the names. Sorry)

Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

Best adapted Screenplay (dont want to go get the names. Sorry)

Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
Into the Wild
There Will be Blood

Best Animated Film

The Simpsons Movie

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins - The Assignation of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Roger Deakins - No Country For Old Men
Robert Elswitt - There Will be Blood
Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Dariuz Wolski - Sweeney Todd

Best Foreign Film

Ummmm 4 other movies and The Counterfeiters. I am out of the loop with this catagory and all the films that I could have sworn would get nominations became ineligible.

Best Original Score

I am going to play the "fuck them" card in this one and not even pick anyone who I think deserves a nomination. After reading about how Jonny Greenwoods brilliant and best score of last year became ineligible for such bullshit reasons, I could care less about this category this year. It may seem like I am bitching too much or being melodramatic but I just really don't care.

I know that I left out a lot of categories, the biggest maybe being Best Documentary, but thats jsut due to me not knowing too much about them, being too lazy, or me really not caring all that much about the category (I'm just being honest).

I will, however, say that I am really looking forward to seeing if Falling Down from Once will make it. I'm rooting for it but I dont know if it became ineligible or not.

And thats that. I cant wait to tune in in about 2 hours. I know I will be nervous, giddy, mad, and happy within the course of 30 minutes, but I look forward to it every single year. I really cant wait.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Bourne Series

I felt out of the loop with the Bourne trilogy and all of the people who just love them. I saw the first film when it first came out on dvd and I thought it was just "ok" nothing more and nothing less. I remember that I tried to watch the 2nd film a couple of times on cable and I just couldn't get into it. I just couldn't get why people loved them so much.

So, after seeing The Bourne Ultimatum get so many rave reviews and get on so many peoples top ten lists, I became curious in checking them out. I wondered if I really was missing out on things and because of this I got all 3 films and decided to see them all over the course of 2 days. I can now happily jump on the bandwagon who love these films.

The Bourne Identity is a solid film. Despite some genre cliches, it is still a very solid film. I have no major complaints and didn't think it was perfect but still great. I was interested in seeing how the 2nd film would measure up since people seem to say that its the worst of the trilogy and I was embraced for the worst. Instead, I found it to be just as great as the first film. No complaints from me at all and I liked how it now only continued the story from the first film but also added some backstory to the overall story from the 1st and now 2nd film. it seemed as if it created a mythology to everything and I was pleased to see it take that form.

Now this brings me to the 3rd film which I just loved,loved,loved.

The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the best action films in recent memory without a doubt. My friend Dan told me that it was basically a 2 hour chase film and he hit the nail on the head with that phrase. I am amazed that Greengrass was able to create such a non stop action film without the action ever getting old or annoying and without ignoring the film, and series, story and characters. It really is a great accomplishment, in my opinion, in not only the directing but also the writing behind the film. It is also very cool to see Damon fully flesh out a character through 3 films and finally with the 3rd film create a character that will be remembered for years to come.

I also loved how the overall story arch that began with the 1st film becomes a full circle but is given enough breathing space where ti could continue on through other films. After saying all of this...I also LOVED the way the 3rd film connects back to the 2nd film and in a way makes the 2nd film even better. It might be a gimmick but it is a brilliantly executed gimmick that had me smiling and wanting to revisit the 2nd film immediately.

In short and simple words...the Bourne Trilogy is awesome.

The Bourne Identity (2002, Doug Liman) - ***1/2
The Bourne Supremacy (2004, Paul Greengrass) - ***1/2
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007, Paul Greengrass) - ****

The Commitments (1991, Alan Parker)

i had forgotten all about this film until now and I only saw it about a week or so ago. To make this short...I hated it.

Although I have not seen too many films by Alan Parker, I do like him from what I have seen. I always see him pop up on peoples list of underrated or overlooked directors and from the couple of films of his that I have seen, I agree. Angela's Ashes, and The Wall were good. While Angel Heart is great and Midnight Express is just a masterpiece. So, based on these films that I have seen from him, I was expecting something solid. I was just very disappointed with what I saw.

The comedy is too obvious and tries too hard. All of the characters are unlikable and uninteresting to me, at least to me, and the musical was pretty good. I will give it that. Other than the music...there is nothing that I liked or even enjoyed.I get that Parker was aiming for a feel good comedy film but it just didn't work for me at all. Looking back on it the first negative thing that I can think about is the main actor and how much I just wanted to punch him in the face. I guess when a films main character brings out these emotions from you there isn't much hope that you will enjoy it. This is the case with me.

I don't have anything else to add on. I'm sure my parents would find this enjoyable and for fluff it might just be that. To each his own, but I just couldn't get into it.

- *

Hell House (2001, George Ratliff)

The person who recommended me this movie told me it was "the best film that Christopher Guest didn't direct" and he was spot on.

Hell House is an odd film to write about. I imagine that some will look at it in disgust and will be shocked by what it presents, sort of like how people approached Jesus Camp. While others, I feel, will look at it as a dark comedy with lots of dry humor. I chose to look at it as a comedy since it seems that the director is aiming for that most of time, and as a comedy it is fucking hilarious.

Hell House, for those that do not know, is a documentary which chronicles the auditions, planning, and execution of a haunted house that a couple of Christians put on every year. The twist is that they use planed scenes performed by actors involving issues of school shootings, abortion, the dangers of raves, and being a homosexual to "scare people" who are not accepting God and are not living the way that God wants them too.

The thing which I loved about the film is that it takes what could have been a touchy subject and makes it a subject that is still touchy but given that the people within it are so ridiculous and such character straight out of fiction that you cant help but not take it too seriously. I will also say that another aspect that I loved about the film is that instead of just presenting these characters and making fun of them from a distance the director, George Ratliff, gives enough background to these characters that we can sort of "get them" and we cant hate them. We actually see why some characters are the way they are towards religion. We can only laugh but not point a finger.

That is really all I have to say about the film. I will give it ***1/2 stars for now even though I want to give it 4. This is only because I still want to rewatch the film one more time to see if I was just looking for laughs too much or if the director was really aiming for laughs during some scenes. I guess the grey area that exists is too grey for me for now.

- ***1/2

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Golden Globe Predictions

There is about an hour left until the Golden Globe presentation begins. So, I might as well do my predictions right now just to see how everything plays out. we 1st choice will be in red with the runner up being just in bold.

Best Motion Picture (Drama):
American Gangster
Eastern Promises
The Great Debaters
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will be Blood

: No Country has won almost every single award so far and I think that its a lock to win both the globe and the Oscar. As much as I want to pick There Will be Blood as the runner up I think the votes will split between No Country and Blood. So, except Atonement to maybe be the shocker for tonight given it's multiple nominations.

Best performance by an Actress (Drama)

Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie – Away From Her
Jodie Foster – The Brave One
Angelina Jolie – A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley – Atonement

Why?: Julie Christie is a lock to win. I am 100 percent sure of this. As for Jolie...why not? Its between her and Knightley but I think Jolie is the 2nd favorite in this category just because A Mighty Heart seems to be a showcase just for her.

Best performance by an Actor (Drama)

George Clooney – Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
James McAvoy – Atonement
Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises
Denzel Washington – American Gangster

Why?: DDL is another 100 percent lock. Clooney is a safe bet for an Oscar nom and the couple of awards he has won for far from different groups and awards shows makes him a runner up.

Best Motion Picture (Comedy)

Across The Universe
Charlie Wilson's War
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

: I really,really,really,really want to see Sweeney take this one but my gut is telling me that it won't. I think its a close race between these two but the surprise box office numbers for Juno plus it's sweet nature is sure to get to the heart of the voters over the dark,violent, and odd film and musical that is Sweeney Todd. It could go either way, though.

Best Performance by an Actress (Comedy/Musical)

Amy Adams – Enchanted
Nikki Blonsky – Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose
Ellen Page – Juno

Ellen Page's performance is the heart and anchor of Juno. Everyone seems to be loving her performance and I expect it to be a lock for a win. However, Cotillard and Page have been fighting it out for awards the past weeks. It could go either way and they both will get an Oscar nom but for now I expect Page to take it.

Best Performance by an Actor (Comedy/Musical)

Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ryan Gosling – Lars and the Real Girl
Tom Hanks – Charlie Wilson's War
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Savages
John C. Reilly – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Why?: Depp will win this one. The SAG nominations for Gosling makes him my pick for the runner up.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett – I'm Not There
Julia Roberts – Charlie Wilson's War
Saoirse Ronan – Atonement
Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Why?: Ryan is a 100 percent lock for this one. As for Ronan...why not? Her young age and her scene stealing performance in Atonement is sure to get some votes.

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck – The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem – No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson's War
John Travolta – Hairspray
Tom Wilkinson – Michael Clayton

Why?: Despite most people calling Bardem a lock, I still think that its a close race between him and Affleck. I do, however, predict Bardem to take it.

Best Animated Film

Bee Movie
The Simpsons Movie

Why?: Ratatouille is a lock. Simpsons...why not?

Best Foreign Language Film

4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days (Romania)
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (France, United States)
The Kite Runner (United States)
Lust, Caution (Taiwan)
Persepolis (France)

Why?: This could go either way between 4 Months, Diving Bell, and Persepolis. I am predicting Diving Bell to take it because of the best director nom that comes along with it.

Best Director

Tim Burton – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – No Country For Old Men
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Ridley Scott – American Gangster
Joe Wright – Atonement

Why?: The Coens are a lock. I'm jsutp icking Schnabel as a runner up just because every article I read seems to be praising his directing a lot.

Best Screenplay

Written by Christopher Hampton
Charlie Wilson's War
Written by Aaron Sorkin
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Written by Ronald Harwood
Written by Diablo Cody
No Country For Old Men
Written by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Best Score

Grace Is Gone
Composed by Clint Eastwood
The Kite Runner
Composed by Alberto Iglesias
Composed by Dario Marianelli
Eastern Promises
Composed by Howard Shore
Into The Wild
Composed by Michael Brook, Kaki King and Eddie Vedder

Best Song

"Despedida" – Love In The Time Of Cholera
Music By: Shakira and Antonio Pinto
Lyrics By: Shakira
"Grace Is Gone" – Grace Is Gone
Music By: Clint Eastwood
Lyrics By: Carole Bayer Sager
"Guaranteed" – Into The Wild
Music & Lyrics By: Eddie Vedder
"That's How You Know" – Enchanted
Music By: Alan Menken
Lyrics By: Stephen Schwartz
"Walk Hard" – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Music & Lyrics By: Marshall Crenshaw, John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan

And thats that.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Demons (1985, Lamberto Bava)

This one just has to be seen to be believed.

The premise of the film is simple: a mysterious figure gives out tickets to a screening of a horror film to a small group of people. Once there, there is a weird mask in the lobby that scratches one person and it doesn't take too long before she transforms into a zombie/demon and begins to infect everyone that she scratches. Of course, the theater is all of a sudden sealed shut with no escape to be found. How will they ever survive...or will the even survive?

That is the plot to Demons in a nutshell. The logic behind almost everything gets thrown out of the window, nothing is explained at all, and it just becomes a showcase for style, action scenes, and gore. It's great

I really have nothing else to write about it. It really is just a showcase kind of film. Given that Lamberto Bava (Mario's son) and Argento were involved with the project, the film has a certain charm to it and becomes more that just a nomral splatter film. I even think that the film set out to be the ultimate splatter film at the time with it's over the top style.

Speaking about style, the influence that this film had over Peter Jackon's Dead Alive is very notable. When one character jumps on top of a motorcycle and starts killing the demons with a swords you cant help but think of Dead Alive's final minutes.

That's really all I have to say about this one. It's far from a great film and has a bunch of flaws but it's still a lot of fun. Its the kind of film that doesn't take itself too seriously and if you are able to do just tha towards the filmt, then you will enjoy it.

Oh...and the ending is pure gold.

- ***