21 December 2005

Movie #8

Seven. Personally, I think Brad Pitt is an amazing actor. Talented. Gifted. Sexy. Er. Forget that last part. But, I get so tired of the hype surrounding his life and how the press treats any movie involving him as though no one else were in the film.

More on this when I review Snatch on #10.

Ironically, Brad Pitt isn't the focus of this review, but by the end, these words will come back to haunt me.

No frames of this movie exist without brad pitt in them.
So he gets lower case letters. Take that.

David Fincher has directed only five movies, believe it or not. And I love all of them. Yes, even Alien3.

Unlike fight club, Seven is NOT an important film. Although the screenplay attempts to make the values of the killer seem important in the big picture. It is however very very very entertaining and wow... oh wow... is it original.

It's also the gateway to hundreds of clones.


But perhaps I should start talking about the movie.

Until it was copied by every company in America, these were amazing opening credits.

I remember not knowing or expecting a lot out of this movie. But the opening credits blew me away and within 5 minutes I was hooked (unlike The Village, which I figured out in 5 minutes).
And until it was copied by every Asian filmmakter, Se7en was original and breathtaking. Absolutely in a class by itself in terms of style and substance. You never saw a movie like this before.

Fincher is good at taking what you know and making it... better... different... stronger. Fight Club, Se7en, the Game, Alien 3, Panic Room.

So slick.

This screenplay is an amazing foundation for this film -- taut, dramatic, sharp, and some of the best dialog on mother earth. But Fincher makes it all very very real, capturing the true merit of the villain (John Doe, excellent played by Spacey), and making you believe he could, in fact, exist.

The pacing is brilliant and the death scenes are so remarkable, I'm running out of adjectives to describe what makes this film work so well.

Okay. I'm adding it to netflix right now. Be right back.

Okay. I'm back.

Here's a small piece of trivia about the movie. Brad Pitt was paid $20 million for the film (back when that was a lot). He also signed on, saying the end couldn't be changed. Fincher, the director, therefore, couldn't change it. Even if he wanted to.

But he didn't want to.

But, the producers did. Once filming started. They kept asking Brad if they could change this or that. They would propose new ideas and Brad would refuse each time.

(Wow. An actor that understands storytelling.)

It always makes me smile thinking of that, too.

They didn't ask Fincher (the director). They asked Pitt.

See. I told you this review wasn't about Brad Pitt.

Quote: Apathy is the solution. I mean, it's easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It's easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It's easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.

18 December 2005

Movie #7

Seven Samurai. Quite possibly the finest movie ever made. Period. It's not my number one because I can't watch it everyday, like I can these others. But, this movie's only flaw is that it isn't long enough.
And toping out at 3 1/2 hours, that's saying something.
This movie, of course, has an ensemble cast. A good one too. In fact, Mifune isn't even a major contributor to the coolness of the movie. Sometimes he's kind of annoying. But that's fine, because the movie doesn't make everyone appear heroic during every single frame of film. They have their flaws and for that, we love them.

Kurosawa's movie does an amazing job of showing you the life of a landless samurai. The opening hour is just the organization of the samurai; slowly learning who they are. Beautiful filmed, excellently paced, you don't even notice that the movie hasn't reached the end of Act I, yet. Certainly we know the plot, but we haven't completed the developmental t that get us to the village at hour 1:01.

Rain is cool.

And he doesn't ignore the life of the peasants, either. Gritty and real, the poor, uneducated, filthy peasants are shown in all their "grandeur". From the opening scenes of terror wrought by the bandits or the fear of what fate the samurai themselves might bring; the movie does not let you off easy. In fact, it almost doesn't care what you think.

This is what it is. Nothing else. Turn it off if you don't like. But, I bet you won't.

My favorite scene in this movie (is not shown here) is when the poor peasant picks up the fallen grains of millet, one by one. Heart-wrenchingly good. Like honey on your favorite breakfast cereal.

Botched-tooth and desolate. That's the best way to describe the ramshackled lives of these mouth-breathing peasants. Okay. Sorry. Just waxing poetic now. That was indulgent.

After my fifth viewing of this movie, I realized something very powerful about Kurosawa's work. He has this ability to make you love everything he intends to destroy. Ran. Kagemusho. Stray Dogs. Throne of Blood (a little boring). Hidden Fortress. [Sanjuro is an exception.]

Seven samurai makes you love these characters at such a level, you are personally invested in every second of fighting in the last 30 minutes. Each second is filmed with so few cuts, that you have to look away just to get a break. Its as though you are living clockwork orange, your eyes forced open to wake the inextricable horror transpiring on the screen in front of you.

Masterful filmmaking.


I told you rain was cool.

Okay. I think I'm done.

What else can I say about this movie.

I need to watch it again. And so do you.