02 April 2010

Watchmen

Bought the DVD. Watched it again. Man does that soundtrack suck. But, the movie does have as much replay value as the graphic novel.

Some decisions are bad: Rorschach's abbreviated story, the way he kills the child molestor, keeping Ubastis in the story for one tiny scene, etc. But many of the changes that updated the story and removed the tiresome "Black Freighter" distraction were appreciated.

My two favorite moments both involve Rorschach (who steals the story in both forms). One, is when he's in prison and he pours hot grease on the convict — "I'm not in here with you. You're in here with me." Two, is Rorschach's final scene where he screams "Do it!" Perhaps better than the book was able to project.

North by Northwest

Considered a classic, I believe this is the only pairing of Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock (who appears in this film during the opening credits, trying to get to a bus before the door closes on him). I'm not a fan of Cary Grant. At all. And I avoided this film for years because of it, but a recent movie reviewer that I respect put it on his TOP 30, encouraging me to view it.

I was not disappointed.

North by Northwest gets its name (I suspect) from the final flight of Northwest airlines (believe it or not) and Mr. Thornhill's trip on that flight (Thorn being an anagram for North). Or maybe its just all about misdirection, which this film exudes.

Now. The plot is contrived. The story filled with deux ex machina at every turn. And the context of the film is so flimsy, you can drive right through it. BUT. Hitchcock keeps you rooted to your seat for — wait for it — 2 hours and 11 minutes. That's 131 minutes, divided into only about 12 scenes.

I won't break it down for you, because some people still haven't seen this movie, but those are long, deliberate, laborious scenes. Real dialog (not Tarantino dialog) with real poignancy.

This is considered among Hitchcock's best, but I still prefer Rear Window and Rope. Maybe because Jimmy Stewart wasn't the tool that Cary Grant was.

31 March 2010

Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals is the telling of a modern tale of two Native Americans (from Idaho) using the classic Hero's Journey formula. Victor and Thomas are two young men living on the reservation, devoid of a past, present, or future, but haunted by all of them, just the same. Victor, the main star of the film is on his way to Arizona after hearing that his estranged father has passed away. Thomas, his rain-man like sidekick, is the heart that beats through the tale, with his medicine man wisdom and his amazing narrative.

A really strong and touching tale. Obviously made on a budget, but still a good film anyway.

Irene Bedard is a hottie.

29 March 2010

Crazy Heart

I liked this movie better when it was called the Wrestler.

Pandorum

While I firmly believe this film has ZERO horror to it and Dennis Quaid was done as an actor 10 years ago, this is one of the BEST science fiction films I've seen in a long, long time. I intend only to paste the plot of the film here, and leave the reader to decide for himself just how awesome the movie is and what actually happens there at the end of the movie.
Upon rousing themselves from hyper-sleep, Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster), a pair of crewmen assigned to work on a spacecraft, discover startling gaps in their collective memory -- including who they are and what, exactly, their mission was in the first place. The plot thickens when they realize they're not the only ones on board the ship.
NOTE: Comments section may contain spoilers.

28 March 2010

Christine

The John Carpenter classic of a demon-possessed car. Much stronger than The Car.

What else is there to say? Don't tell me you've never heard of it.

Favorite Scene: When Christine starts to rebuild herself in front of Arnie and he says "Show me."

Awesome!

Typical Stephen King… horrible ending.

Capitalism : A Love Story

With its the horrendous title, the tired Michael Moore cliches, and the reams of unnecessary sobbing scenes — this "documentary" has all the subtlety of a German propaganda film. Which is really sad, because the film needed to be made and some of the things in it needed to be said.

Moore is both way ahead of his time and way behind the curve of his with his attempt to disassemble capitalism. For most of us who read Adbusters, believe it working enough to pay the bills, and whose minimalist lifestyle keeps them from spoiling the planet any more than necessary, Capitalism is a big fat yawn.

However, for people new to the concept of a "social state" of democratic economics (like co-ops, credit unions, and the like), this documentary could be enlightening. But the squeaky hinge in this melodrama is Moore himself, who can't stop putting his special brand of annoying into every scene, with belabored tones, ill-placed cameras (are you crying enough, yet?), and long-winded diatribes of "I can't do this alone anymore."

If you watch the special features and deleted scenes, you see Moore just interviewing people. Just getting the facts from people more lucid and illuminating than Moore ever could be. Instead, he feels the need to narrate, removing any possibility that his message might reach the viewer.

The data in the film is great, as always. Moore goes to great lengths to research pertinent information for consumers unable to get ready access to some of this stuff. The "peasant insurance" angle was especially interesting.

But, try watching it with an open mind and a desire to reach the facts and not the drama of Moore's "essay," which barely qualifies as a documentary.

Laura

The classic film noir movie about a woman who is murdered in her apartment and the ensuing investigation into this bizarre crime.

Features a very young Vincent Price and a very sexy Gene Tierney.

I won't bother telling you what I thought of it. Instead, I'll just let Roger Ebert tell you.
"Film noir is known for its convoluted plots and arbitrary twists, but even in a genre that gave us The Maltese Falcon, this takes some kind of prize ... That Laura continues to weave a spell—and it does—is a tribute to style over sanity ... All of [the] absurdities and improbabilities somehow do not diminish the film's appeal. They may even add to it ... [T]he whole film is of a piece: contrived, artificial, mannered, and yet achieving a kind of perfection in its balance between low motives and high style. What makes the movie great, perhaps, is the casting. The materials of a B-grade crime potboiler are redeemed by Waldo Lydecker, walking through every scene as if afraid to step in something."