The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

Postby Pacino86845 on Wed May 28, 2008 7:48 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:I prefer Verhoeven's take on similar material with BLACK BOOK, and it's interesting to compare and contrast the two films...I prefer the pulpy, lurid over-the-top antics of PV to AL anyday, but I can see why others wouldn't.


Funny, I was the exact opposite... Verhoeven's take was too much of WWII recycling, which perhaps for another type of story might make for a nice homage film... but since WWII is like the most-featured bloody theme in war movies, European war movies in particular, an homage film feels totally superfluous and fairly strange. Plus the story is really very conventional... true, there was the stand out performance by Carice van Houten and some really cool production values, but those things aren't enough to make the film anything better than "average." In my book, that's still pretty decent, but I wouldn't urge anyone to see the film.

As for Lust, Caution, Ang Lee sets the familiar WWII backdrop in a locale that's exotic to film viewers... it was something we haven't really seen (or have rarely seen) before, and infused the story with such subtext and art, that we had a painfully human story that still manages to reach great heights of cinemagical beauty.

Furthermore, whereas many filmmakers would've settled only for the bizarre relationship of the two leads as the entire basis of the film, in Lust, Caution we had several interesting story elements moving in parallel, particularly that of the "student revolutionaries." This latter element may not seem that relevant/interesting to our modern sensibilities, but it is a faithful depiction of the times, and I think (especially now, as I'm reading "Oil!") that that aspect was a very universal one, acting as a counterweight to the less familiar type of relationship between the two leads.
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Postby doglips on Wed May 28, 2008 10:46 am

Pacino86845 wrote:As for Lust, Caution, Ang Lee sets the familiar WWII backdrop in a locale that's exotic to film viewers... it was something we haven't really seen (or have rarely seen) before, and infused the story with such subtext and art, that we had a painfully human story that still manages to reach great heights of cinemagical beauty.


The locales were excellent and the film did look fresh.

Pacino86845 wrote:Furthermore, whereas many filmmakers would've settled only for the bizarre relationship of the two leads as the entire basis of the film, in Lust, Caution we had several interesting story elements moving in parallel, particularly that of the "student revolutionaries." This latter element may not seem that relevant/interesting to our modern sensibilities, but it is a faithful depiction of the times, and I think (especially now, as I'm reading "Oil!") that that aspect was a very universal one, acting as a counterweight to the less familiar type of relationship between the two leads.


I wanted more of the revolutionaries though, I never felt that involved with the plot because I never got to know them properly, the beach scene gave a little more dynamic but more from them would have enriched the main plot.

I guess I thought the film would be far more tense, more dangerous, especially as the main relationship developed. I guess I may have been expecting the wrong kind of movie. I enjoyed it, just not as fully as I thought I would.

( I'm still reading Oil!, slow going on that one.....)
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed May 28, 2008 10:52 am

I don't know how far you've gotten, but it really brings some context to early twentieth-century schools of political thought... I had no idea that the red scare had already started in the US several years before WWII. My conclusion is that in those days student activism played a larger role in society than it seems to these days... thinking back on Lust, Caution, it's pretty easy to draw up similarities with things happening in Oil!, and I find myself retrospectively filling in some of the blanks a propos the students in Lust, Caution.
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:47 pm

My best and worsts for MAY...

Funny, looking back on my 2007 Movie Journal, I see that by the end of May, I'd seen 143 movies. So far this year, that number has dropped to 56. But it still seems like I've seen some quality stuff. I guess that's what happens when you get a promotion.

Anyway, the best film a saw was FIGHT CLUB. Still awesome. I love it. The best new film was IRON MAN. Downey Jr was perfect for this role.

The worst of the month was certainly REVOLVER. Ritchie, WTF was that?
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Postby Worst Part's Almost Over on Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:31 pm

Finally seen There Will Be Blood. Absolutely loved it, Day Lewis is mesmerising!
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Postby silentbobafett on Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:14 am

junesquad wrote:Movie Journal updated (Now w/ Juno!!!)


Me too... and I was so let down by it! Was good, I got emotional at some points... but I couldn't stand Juno her self... watching a whole film and wanting to slap life into the lead character is never an enjoyable experience...

What did you think?
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:33 am

Best Films of May:
Ordet (The Word) - 9.5
A haunting examination of different factors of faith and religion. The pastoral beauty of the landscape sharply contrasted with the characters inner lives. Dreyer stages his action theatrically controlling his actors every moment for maximum potency. Each frame is filled with passion and characters on the verge of some sort of emotional crisis. This is an amazing piece of cinema.

Qing Mei Zhu Ma (Taipei Story) - 9.0
My latest foray into Edward Yang's filmography is a tightly wound ensemble piece on Taipei's decadent 80s. It is much like you would expect of a similarly themed movie from the US, but instead of focusing on the decadent lifestyle Yang focuses on characters inability to form real connection to each other to show the framework of why this decay is occuring. Each character is blocked via doorways walls glass from eachother. Every relationship is on the verge of collapse and new ones are forming but can these be sustained? Yang is able to utilize mis-en-scene and his framing to show great insight into the characters lives. The opening scene of a couple looking at a new apartment is worth the price of admission alone. Try to find this amazing film. Edward Yang is an underappreciated master.

Bad Lieutenant - 9.5
There is so much that could have gone wrong with this film, but somehow Ferrara was able to capture lightning. Keitels performance is a depraved but human. Ferrara underscores the film with some great thematic work about spirituality and the search for redemption. This actually treads similar thematic ground to Dreyer and that Ferrara was able to pull it off in spades in B movie pulp speaks volumes.

Worst Film Of May:
Diary Of The Dead - 4.0
Terrible narration. Over-expostion. Non-existent scares. Overly blatant subtext. Romero come on dude.
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:15 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:I liked it, my gripes have to do with Lee as a whole...he's an auteur, no question, but just too stately for my tastes.


Does that make him a hauteur? (I get to make ten penis jokes after that).



Best this month? Going solely on cinema visits (it's kind of unfair pitting one month of releases against the other 100 years), it's a toss-up between Speed Racer and Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream. I think Speed Racer's actually the better movie, but I haven't read Jack about CD here, so I'll pick that.

Paraphrase: "Why do you always have to look at people through a microscope all the time? Obsessing over all their little flaws."


I'm not sure what Woody Allen was going for with this. Was he returning the favour to all the Europeans who've directed films about America over the years? If so, this isn't quite the England I know. The streets are far too empty and people too reserved. Was he doing his own version of the early '60s kitchen sink dramas? There were a few hints at class differences (the contrast between Farrell's bird and Ewan McGregor's higher maintenance girlfriend), but it doesn't really delve into the subject.

Whatever this movie is, I respect Woody Allen for willfully covering the same ground over and over again in his career, unearthing new things in the process. He's asked the question: "Could you manage to live with yourself after murdering someone?" a couple of times before. In Crimes & Misdemeanors, the answer was yes, people can live with anything given enough time. Here the murder takes place a lot earlier in the film, giving us much longer to observe the toll it takes (or doesn't take) on the two central characters (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell).

There are some moments of black humour (right before the two brothers are about to do the dirty, their victim's ancient mother leaves a message on his answer machine), but in whole this seems to me like Woody Allen exorcising a few demons before he gets back to comedy again. Cold, foggy photography abounds, distancing us from the movie's goings on.

Allen may not act in this movie, but he'll almost always write a stand-in in his stead. What's interesting is the fact that the character who, physically at least, most resembles Allen, is in fact the murder victim:- unkempt hair, glasses and a similar dress sense. Is Allen killing himself on screen?

The most impressive acting probably comes from Colin Farrell, which is surprising considering he's got Tom Wilkinson and Ewan McGregor to compete with. Sure, that mono-brow is still seriously distracting, but he actually managed to convey the terror and claustrophobia of a man forced to live and relive one moment's mistake over and over again brilliantly. Ewan McGregor had a few scenes with the old Trainspotting spark- there was one monologue he gave in Wilkinson's hotel room that particularly impressed me- but his character, a kind of Cain to Farrell's Abel, had a sort of bland cool which didn't quite seem as human as Farrell to me.

There are a whole lot of flaws, and Woody Allen still doesn't quite have Britain pegged after three movies set here, but Cassandra's Dream (the name of a boat the two brothers buy earlier on) comes across far more vital and with it than recent works by Spielberg, Coppola and co. But for fuck's sake, I'm glad he's making a steamy Spanish comedy next...I don't think he'd live through another movie set in London!
Last edited by Seppuku on Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby yorrick brown on Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:10 pm

June
Texas chainsaw massacre(remake) 8/10
Zodiac 9/10
Diamonds are forever 7/10
Death sentance 8/10
Should I call you Bullet? Tooth?
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:42 am

Seppuku wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:I liked it, my gripes have to do with Lee as a whole...he's an auteur, no question, but just too stately for my tastes.


Does that make him a hauteur? (I get to make ten penis jokes after that).



Best this month? Going solely on cinema visits (it's kind of unfair pitting one month of releases against the other 100 years), it's a toss-up between Speed Racer and Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream. I think Speed Racer's actually the better movie, but I haven't read Jack about CD here, so I'll pick that.


Where have you been all my life?


Paraphrase: "Why do you always have to look at people through a microscope all the time? Obsessing over all their little flaws."


I'm not sure what Woody Allen was going for with this. Was he returning the favour to all the Europeans who've directed films about America over the years? If so, this isn't quite the England I know. The streets are far too empty and people too reserved. Was he doing his own version of the early '60s kitchen sink dramas? There were a few hints at class differences (the contrast between Farrell's bird and Ewan McGregor's higher maintenance girlfriend), but it doesn't really delve into the subject.

Whatever this movie is, I respect Woody Allen for willfully covering the same ground over and over again in his career, unearthing new things in the process. He's asked the question: "Could you manage to live with yourself after murdering someone?" a couple of times before. In Crimes & Misdemeanors, the answer was yes, people can live with anything given enough time. Here the murder takes place a lot earlier in the film, giving us much longer to observe the toll it takes (or doesn't take) on the two central characters (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell).

There are some moments of black humour (right before the two brothers are about to do the dirty, their victim's ancient mother leaves a message on his answer machine), but in whole this seems to me like Woody Allen exorcising a few demons before he gets back to comedy again. Cold, foggy photography abounds, distancing us from the movie's goings on.

Allen may not act in this movie, but he'll almost always write a stand-in in his stead. What's interesting is the fact that the character who, physically at least, most resembles Allen, is in fact the murder victim:- unkempt hair, glasses and a similar dress sense. Is Allen killing himself on screen?

The most impressive acting probably comes from Colin Farrell, which is surprising considering he's got Tom Wilkinson and Ewan McGregor to compete with. Sure, that mono-brow is still seriously distracting, but he actually managed to convey the terror and claustrophobia of a man forced to live and relive one moment's mistake over and over again brilliantly. Ewan McGregor had a few scenes with the old Trainspotting spark- there was one monologue he gave in Wilkinson's hotel room that particularly impressed me- but his character, a kind of Cain to Farrell's Abel, had a sort of bland cool which didn't quite seem as human as Farrell to me.

There are a whole lot of flaws, and Woody Allen still doesn't quite have Britain pegged after three movies set here, but Cassandra's Dream (the name of a boat the two brothers buy earlier on) comes across far more vital and with it than recent works by Spielberg, Coppola and co. But for fuck's sake, I'm glad he's making a steamy Spanish comedy next...I don't think he'd live through another movie set in London!


Brilliant write-up... I'd seen it a couple of months ago but alas laziness kept me from writing anything about Cassandra's Dream... of the three London-based films though, I thought it was Allen's best. There was still a sense of whimsy present here that was sorely lacking in Match Point, which makes it that I'm not eager to revisit that one anytime soon.
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Postby beastie on Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:53 am

Sorry for the lateness. I saw 3 movies in May. Ugh.

Best
Iron Man

Worst
Achi & Ssipak

That's not to say that Achi & Ssipak sucked, in fact I enjoyed it. It just happened to come in last of the 3 that I saw.
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Re:

Postby yorrick brown on Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:45 am

yorrick brown wrote:June
Texas chainsaw massacre(remake) 8/10
Zodiac 9/10
Diamonds are forever 7/10
Death sentance 8/10



and today i watched

Cassandra crossing 7/10
The living daylights 7/10
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Re: Re:

Postby stereosforgeeks on Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:16 am

yorrick brown wrote:
yorrick brown wrote:June
Texas chainsaw massacre(remake) 8/10
Zodiac 9/10
Diamonds are forever 7/10
Death sentance 8/10



and today i watched

Cassandra crossing 7/10
The living daylights 7/10


Yorrick if you could just edit your post. Look at the first page for an example of some journals.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby silentbobafett on Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:40 am

Updated with Indy and the Crystal Skull! WHOOP! :-)
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Re:

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:19 am

so do we now have a limit on how long posts can be?

'cuz my journo's been pruned.

least now I'm glad I didn't write anything worthwhile in it...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:54 am

Do you mean it's been pruned like you deleted portions of it, or did it automatically get portions deleted?

I know that there was a built-in post-length limit in the old Zone, but the setting of that limit may be different (lower) by default with this shiny place... worth reporting to Nick/Rusty IMO.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:56 am

Pacino86845 wrote:Do you mean it's been pruned like you gaffneyed portions of it, or did it automatically get portions gaffneyed?


yeah cockboy, I deleted it myself then asked a question about how long posts can be.

if anyone's to blame, it's you and your history of unwarranted thread deletion!

seriously though, it just cuts the fuck off, didn't even make it past January...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Bob Samonkey on Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:01 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Do you mean it's been pruned like you gaffneyed portions of it, or did it automatically get portions gaffneyed?


yeah cockboy, I gaffneyed it myself then asked a question about how long posts can be.

if anyone's to blame, it's you and your history of unwarranted thread gaffneyshun!

seriously though, it just cuts the fuck off, didn't even make it past January...


Thats a damn shame. But I feel better that I suck at watching movies and my list is short...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:43 am

Bob Poopflingius Maximus wrote:But I feel better that I suck at watching movies and my list is short...


yes, but you're funny, popular, a well liked and respected member of this forum.

I, on the other monkey's paw, don't have anything else going for me but obsessive movie watching and THC fueled inane ramblings...without those, I'm nothing.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby so sorry on Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:47 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Do you mean it's been pruned like you gaffneyed portions of it, or did it automatically get portions gaffneyed?


yeah cockboy, I gaffneyed it myself then asked a question about how long posts can be.

if anyone's to blame, it's you and your history of unwarranted thread gaffneyshun!

seriously though, it just cuts the fuck off, didn't even make it past January...



I think its just yours that's been fucked. Above you on the same page, other Zoners have really long lists (Flumm for example) that seem intact. Now I don't know how long your list was, but my conclusion is that the phpBB Zone has become sentient and decided that you used the word "meta" too much. :)
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:52 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Do you mean it's been pruned like you gaffneyed portions of it, or did it automatically get portions gaffneyed?


yeah cockboy


I'm no boy!
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:11 am

so sorry wrote:but my conclusion is that the phpBB Zone has become sentient and decided that you used the word "meta" too much. :)


your face is gonna meet a my fist if I find out it was you!

this whole imbroglio clearly points to a rogue mod looking to even the score with me over some perceived slight...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:52 pm

I'm really, really just going to try to try to either watch films I haven't seen before; films I missed in 2007, new movies from this year, "losing my geek cred" films from yesteryear, and, when that won't suffice, films I haven't seen in a number of years...which, hopefully, will lead to more "classics", foreign, and snooty intellectual films that I haven't seen since being forced to (for good or ill) in College. The internal debate, such as it is, is whether set the demarcation line at a minimum of 5 years, or, to make it a serious blast to my film-loving past, a decade.

Film - Year - Director - Hearts (out of 4)
b = first viewing
r = theater

January

3:10 to Yuma - 2007 - James Mangold - ♥♥♥
One spectacular action set-piece, which, pacing wise, unfortunately comes at the beginning of the film (the long shot of Wade's men as they turn their horses around to chase after the wagon? Lasted maybe 5seconds, tops, but it was exhilarating for both its depth of field and intimacy - felt I was right there in that bloody skirmish). Solid to stunning performances from rather stolid, stoic characters, with Peter Fonda re-defining grizzled and Ben Foster's sky blue eyes able to convey deranged bloodlust, madness, and a deep seated homo erotic adoration of Crowe's charismatic Wade. Real purty cinematography, with a damn solid score, the picture is unquestionably well put together...

But, really, it's the many ways one can read the films multi-tiered/layered allegory that bumps it up from average and, being a remake, obviously been there done that run of the mill Western to a film I somewhere between half and whole heartedly recommend.

Right off the bat we've got a romanticizing of lawlessness, of a son looking for an idealized father figure, someone, anyone, to stand-in for the crippled failure he considers his father to be. The film becomes, by this tacit admission, a stunning rebuke of the standard military recruitment - for why is it we ask the young, the youth, to go and fight and defend various flimsy rhetorical ideals when they should be led by the examples of their elders? It's not some pimply faced teen who should be out hunting Osama, but rather the "men" of the older generation, men who should be setting examples for the youth. That the younger Wade joins the fray could be seen as a quasi-right wing message of how we can win an untenable conflict...well, that's another positive in my allegorical scorecard, for I much prefer the conflicted messages on display here than any sort of rah-rah biased on whatever side of the fence you happen to think is right approach.

In addition, when one considers the youth-anizing of our current clime, how we're not asked to grow up too soon and the ever increasing life span of the average person, then Evans the younger is any 17-19yr. old wishing to "do right", to help out, to rush off to war to defend a world view that they are too inexperienced to realize is a lie. The parallel drawn between Evans risking his life on ideals (sure, he only signed on for the $$, but it became, due to his past, so much more), on leaving a lasting legacy of real heroism rather than the lies he's told his progeny could then be seen as a corrective to the collective lies we tell our youth - about honor, about a code of honor, about...well, insert any axiom handed down from our elders.

We've got a crippled war veteran (friendly fire) who, in the films best line, realizes he was paid for his damaged leg so as to let the powers that be conscience rest at ease (heh, at least he was paid, unlike so many crippled veterans of our more recent skirmishes).

We've got a criminal mastermind hijacking the "tracks" - read that as "oil pipeline" instead and Ben Wade goes from criminal to terrorist.

And a really nifty way to read the film (i.e. - it worked for me, and added much pleasure to, let's face it, a revisionist take that's been re-visioned already) isn't so much that Evans and his son equate to U.S. interventionism (with Wade as charismatic terrorist), but rather Wade and Evans being stand-ins for the Iraqi populace at large. Why would poor (dirt)farmer Evans care that terrorist Wade is fucking with a pipeline that's sure as shit to drive him off his land? Why would he side with a corrupt businessman who's only interest is the $$ Evans owes him (reconstruction as sham - see Haliburton & the corruption of government contracts)- $$ Evans can't possibly pay back with the precious lifeblood of all farmers (water) being choked off from him?

Solid film making coupled with all the ways one can read the film make (the)3:10 to Yuma a ride I was really glad I eventually caught (ugh. sorry.)


The 39 Steps - 1935 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥♥
Great Scot, a fucking cut on a pan to mask an interior car scene that was obviously shot on a studio to a location shot of the car driving away...in 1935?!? Endlessly inventive in it's many ways a man can escape capture (my favorite - while in Scotland, a sheep crossing gives our typical Hitchcock innocent on the run the impetus to flee, of course this time manacled to the pretty blonde who's already ratted him out twice already!), showing off Hitch's command of montage and, when it's required for the story, nerve racking longer takes involving fairly complicated camera moves.
Everything comes together in a brisk, economical fashion (85minutes), Robert Donat is an absolute delight, all physical grace and nonchalant blitheness in the face of the crushing forces of fate and world espionage aligned against him, and, when the time comes, this English Cary Grant proves capable of being able to spit words with the best of the "screwballers", as his at first sparring and then inevitable and delightful "romance" with co-star Madeline Carroll over the last 30minutes shows off his range, comic timing, and natural charisma.

An undertone of social commentary runs throughout, especially during the three big audience/crowd set-pieces, and Hitch really pulls out the stops during a sequence when you think Donat has just been shot - it's both seemingly out of nowhere and brilliantly set-up, which is the pinnacle of degree of difficulty to pull off.

The movie throws in some meta references, having characters often comment on how either what's going on around them or the things that Donat describes come straight outta some fiction, which has subsequently been done ad nauseum but retains a lot of charm simply for the era the film was made.

Great, great, great film, moviemaking at it's finest.


Cloverfield - 2008 - Matt Reeves - ♥1/2
Hud spelled backwards is Duh, which is pretty much all I started to insert every time that sub 80IQ having functionally ALF Moose McGee wannabe opened his yammering stupid hole. Essentially playing the by now patented JJ Abrams simpering best friend goody-goody meatbag originally inhabited by Greg Grunberg in various roles in JJ projects, Duh-boy's infuriating vapidness is the most likely reason the giant rancor beast was so rankled in the first place...little wonder the unfathomable beast from 20,000 fathoms deep seemed to always be somewhere in the vicinity of our fucktarded foursome, as it clearly had a well reasoned deep seated grudge against such an abundant waste of life.

The only positives I can say for CLOVERFIELD is that the smoking hot minority chick lived, Michael Giacchino outdoing himself yet again with his simply astounding score that plays over the credits ("ROAR!" Cloverfield Theme) and the 15 or so minutes of Slusho...aside from those, and the utter elation I experienced at Duh and his dunderheaded friends deaths, egad, what an atrocious film.

Blatantly betraying the very hand-held found footage gimmick that supposedly the film's raison d’être at every conceivable turn, presenting a cliche of a cliche of cardboard cutout characters and then not making a single one of them sympathetic, ignoring all sorts of space-time logic with Slusho's mass rampage, something something exploiting 9.11 something...suffice to say I detested the film.

A lot.

ETA: Funniest part of the film? Espying a smoky thingie burn...I don't know why, but that gave me the howling fantods.
And, idiot filmmakers, the best thing about monster movies?
The monster. No, it doesn't necessarily need to be explained or have an origin story, but something, anything more than what was shown might've mitigated by hatred.
As it was, I couldn't even really root for Slusho to kill the pointlessly blathering yuppie scum, 'cuz Slusho wasn't really given an explanation.
And if those yammering dunderheads behind this film want to equate the senseless destruction with 9/11...um, geo-political neophytes, lemme tell you something...there's a VERY good reason for terrorism, it's not unexplainable/unknowable.


Day Night Day Night - 2007 - Julia Loktev - ♥♥♥
We come to find out many things about the anonymous heroine of DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT; "She" (as listed in the credits) is 5'6" tall, a size "2 or 3 or 4", with size 9 feet. "She" is remarkably polite (always a "please" and "thank you" for her, excepting one, masked conspirators), her dulcet tones a marked contrast from the cacophony of her intended act, and seemingly quiet shy and reticent in both her appearance and demeanor. "She" is quite fastidious, thoroughly cleansing not only her body but also the few items of clothing she's brought along with her on her one way sojourn to NYC blow herself and a bunch of unknown others up in Time's Square.

Yes, you read that right.

But what we never come close to knowing in this tension filled existential thriller is the big why, the reasons behind her, and her conspirators, intended act of terrorism.

That could be a deal breaker for some, but first time director Julia Loktev is so good at getting inside the head space, via lots of medium to full on close-ups which reminded me lots of under appreciated auteur Lodge Kerrigan and his similar stylistic camera and thematic work in both KEANE and CLEAN, SHAVEN, of pretty darn remarkable and if there's any justice in the world soon to be at least minor film starlet Luisa Williams. An auspicious debut, to say the least...saying more, her stunning features - luscious lips, big 'ol saucer eyes, striking bone structure and dark complexion - might leave her in the b movie to straight to dvd action picture ghetto, playing stereotypical Middle Eastern and/or Latin villainess; which would be most unfortunate, as her naturalistic talent (sans makeup here, which works, 'cuz she kinda bares her soul) would be wasted.

What I really admired about the flick is it's sheer balls to the wall guerrilla filmmaking brio, as the (many) scenes shot right in the heart of busy Time's Square could no way have been approved of by whatever bureaucratic department gives permission to lens in NYC - 1) the budget for this flick would've been astronomical with the permission, and 2) there wouldn't have been nearly as many passerby that stared directly into the handheld near the camera person's hip digital video camera. I particularly liked that aspect of the film...since it's a rarity to see anyone stare directly at the camera, it gives the film an immediacy, a near documentary vibe that so much "reality" tv/films strive for but never achieve. The effect is startling, and it's neat how it's mirrored in the long takes that open the film of a not full revealed "She" wandering about Port Authority in NYC - as she pivots around, ostensibly searching for her contact, the camera is practically on her neck, looking over her shoulder, until, quite suddenly, "she" turns and stares directly into the camera.

The "will she or won't she" ratcheting tension becomes damn near unbearable at times, New Yorkers are shown to be a pretty caring bunch (to the surprise of my partner) and a stunning late film revelation calls into question any pre-supposed notions one might of had of "she". Good flick that I'm not surprised never caught on (not with that plot element) but am glad to have experienced, as I expect some big things from both the director and star.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 2007 - Julian Schnabel - ♥♥♥ - Some musings here.


Entourage - Season 3 p. II - 2007 - Doug Ellin - ♥♥
Haters are correct, this show has fallen the fuck off. Not nearly as funny, and not that Vince and boys are becoming somewhat domesticated, not nearly enough drugged up debauchery. Too much Johnny D, Ari has become a sniveling vagina, Vince's morals feel false, cheap and corny (why the fuck NOT sleep with that spoiled heiress for $60million?!? You think a quick fuck isn't worth that kind of dough, to make a movie your way, with final cut and everything? Fuck. That. Shit. It's a fucking bald gentleman lie, that).


Eyes Wide Shut - 1999 - Stanley Kubrick - ♥♥♥


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - 2007 - Seth Gordon - ♥♥1/2 - Fetid nerds I have observed...


Lost - Season 3 - 2006-2007 - Abrams/Lieber/Lindelof - ♥♥♥1/2


Nyocker! aka The District! - 2004 - Áron Gauder - ♥♥1/2 - Read on, morons!


Persepolis - 2007 - Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi - ♥♥♥ - Stray thoughts, much better review here.


Rififi - 1955 - Jules Dassin - ♥♥♥♥
Dassin has such a brilliant mastery over light and shadows (Chiaroscuro to my film/art school dorks) that watching RIFIFI becomes a lesson on pure filmmaking brilliance...and that's not even mentioning the 30minutes of near silence (only diegetic sounds, no music!) set-piece that will never, ever be duplicated.
One can palpably feel the immense influence Dassin had on Kubrick, particularly Kubrick's similar in tone noir that put him on the filmmaking map, THE KILLING.
Great, great, great movie.


Smiley Face - 2007 - Gregg Araki - ♥♥1/2


The Sopranos: Season 6, Part II - 2007 - David Chase - ♥♥♥♥ One of the best, in terms of both quality, trendsetting and imitators spawned in it's massive pop-cultural wake, television shows in the history of the medium goes out not with a whimper, not with a bang, but a great big What the Fuck assholes, choose your own damned interpretation.

Which, for a show that absolutely reveled in the anti-climax, in leaving many, many a thread unanswered (how great would it have been if during the last episode the long forgotten Russian mobster showed up on Paulie's doorstep?) and, even though a good chunk of the show revolved around Freudian psycho-analytic theory (the purpose of which, seemingly, to change people's behavior), it's greatest strength proved to be TV's long standing maxim of "kinetic stasis" - sure, sure, we want growth and arcs and the other lies of how people set in their ways can change, but TV is all about returning characters to the status quo.

The genius of long form, season long television arcs is telling stories whereby the characters can't grow, can't change - 'cuz if they changed too much, the very reason we latched onto them in the first place is altered.

I find it amusing that soooo many people wanted Tony to pay for his past mis-deeds, when the same fucks who wanted some form of cosmic retribution were cheering him on, rooting for him, from the very beginning of the show.

Awesome ending (and that's all of Season 6) to a brilliant run.
The studly lady may have sung, but it was a hell of a tune.

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February


4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days - 2007 - Cristian Mungiu - ♥♥♥1/2
The -1/2♥ that keeps 432 from utter perfection is for the utter clueless uselessness of Gabita...seriously, she gives halftards a bad name.
And Mungiu could easily have called this BESTEST. FRIEND. EVAR! and had just as informative a title.
For what a friend Otilia is, eh? Who the hell doesn't need a BFF like Otilia in there lives? I like to think I'd go above and beyond for my friends in a time of need, but Otilia's actions would make all such gestures moot.
Intensely gripping, with hypnotic long takes and an absolutely mesmerizing performance from Anamaria Marinca as Otilia, the 432 never beats the viewer into submission with its slight condemnations of life under an oppressive regime, but the suggestion runs throughout the course of the film - from a morally wishy-washy abortion Dr. to snooty hotel receptionist, to the black market purchasing of regular convenience goods, to the film's tour-de-static-camera-force set-piece, a very, very uncomfortable dinner party attended by Otilia 'cuz she's not only a great BFF, but an awesome girlfriend to boot.
It's in that long, painfully drawn out scene that the tension established earlier (it comes post shma-shmortion) becomes nearly unbearable, and it's all pretty much accomplished by a nifty composition and Marinca's subtle facial movement - utterly remarkable acting, staging, direction in a film that features plenty of each.
I could go on, and probably will, especially about the wonderfully discombobulating characterization of the abortionist, but suffice to say that 432 deserved all of its accolades and awards and more than lived up to the crushing expectations I had going in...no easy feat, that.


American Gangster - 2007 - Ridley Scott - ♥♥
If you've read all this before, it's because I read all of this before, 'cuz I swore I had no desire to ever see this...so the near plagiarism I'll just blame on the drugs (see MICHAEL CLAYTON review).
Since this is a pretty much 80% fictional biopic, it's still a biopic - or rather, a dual 80% fictional dual biopic. Biopics, being biopics, are rather vignette-ish in nature...writers and directors only have a certain amount of time to cover a person's life, so there's obviously the expected leaping from scene to scene, time to time. By that very nature, certain segments, certain sections, will most likely standout from the others.
AMERICAN GANGSTER is full of those discords, of great scenes sandwiched between inferior or lesser ones. About an hour could've been lost of the 3hr. take I saw, and it would've improved upon the proceedings immensely.
But buried within a lot of dreck, there's some neat things a happening - the how Frank Lucas acquired dead presidents, in the coffins of G.I.'s, was pretty damn indicting of the U.S. policies of the time (and now...). Ditto the near subconscious condemnation of said policies, how while we were losing some fight we should not have been in in the first place we were simultaneously losing large swaths of our inner cities to drugs, to decay. That was admirable, even daring.
And, contrary to a lot of Zoners, I thought the Richie story was the better story - no, not the afterschool special shenanigans of his adultery, divorce, and poor childcare skills, but his zeal, his integrity, his desire to punish his own corrupt kind was riveting - done before in SERPICO, sure, and while I thought Crowe was merely adequate, it was the dogged investigation that I really glommed to.
Does anyone know if this was shot with one of those newfangled digital cameras? While I respect the varied locations and must cut some slack for that, it didn't look all that great - and, yeah, I think that's what Scott and Savides were possibly going for, but it didn't look all that gritty and run down...it just kind of looked blah. For sure, Scott can still frame a shot well enough, but, like the vignette nature I discussed earlier, it felt sporadic - there really wasn't any one particular shot or sequence (aside from the fields of poppy...drool) that stood out for me, that had me thinking about this later.


The Assassination of JJ by the Coward RF - 2007 - Andrew Dominik - ♥♥1/2


Birth - 2004 - Jonathan Glazer - ♥♥1/2
Verily, the first 40-45minutes are without question the best sustained direction that I've possibly ever come across. Sure, it's a Kubrick homage, or it's indebted to Kubrick, but Glazer went so far as to out-Kubrick Kubrick...no small feat.
And I was still with the film for about the first hour - until it circled back upon itself to reveal just what exactly Anne Heche had buried in Central Park.
After that, after the ambiguity of whether or not that creepily adorable little bastard was Nicole's reincarnated husband? It falls off.
Hard.
Look, 'twas utterly unbelievable, no question, and, during that interim between the brilliant first third and the big reveal, I pretty much figured out that it must've been some sort of diary or journal - but the way it was played, that we just didn't know for sure, that was the drama, that, along with the let-me-pick-my-jaw-off-the-floor direction, that was the hook.
Should've let other stuff play for longer, and made that revelation the big reveal.
Almost, but not quite, a masterpiece.
But so close only gets you so far in the world of film. Can't wait to see what Glazer does next, though sadly nothing is listed on his IMDB page.

Diary of the Dead - 2008 - George A. Romero - ♥♥1/2
Don't believe the hate.

Elephant - 2003 - Gus Van Sant - ♥♥1/2


Gone Baby Gone - 2007 - Ben Affleck - ♥♥♥


Haute Tension - 2003 - Alexandre Aja - ♥♥
Figured I'd revisit after my initial outright loathing...it moved up to average, but not for lack of trying. The bootleg I scored well before it opened in the States was slightly different, as I could've sworn it opened in the car. Rewatching, it is kinda neat picking up on the hints and clues of what's to come - Marie's car ride reminisce of having a dream of chasing herself, of her distrust of the "normal", of her unhealthy love for Alex.
And they never share a scene together, Marie and her twisted alt - Marie only ever views him from wardrobe slits, glass, windows, the start of the rampage occurs when Marie is damn near literally and rather forcefully metaphorically in an removed attic, a far off room (of her mind, for those who don't pick up on such things). Even when they throw down, either one or the other's forehead/eyes are under the plastic sheet...when Marie cracks "him" on the skull, it's in the exact same spot as she's bleeding.
Ok, I get all that (now - it's not like I didn't notice the first time, but, well, more on that in the upcoming denouement) , and knowing that now, on repeat viewing, it's fun to notice.
Aja still fucking cheated though. That wasn't misdirection, that was a lie, and it ruined what could've been an amazing treatise on psycho-sexual obsession.
Still, I like Aja as a director, dug his HHE remake, and, while not completely jazzed for MIRROR, I will see it...eventually.


Hukkle - 2002 - György Pálfi - ♥♥♥♥
brilliant visual storytelling - makes your typical Amer-indie/Sundance fare look downright amateurish and boring by comparison. A remarkable achievement, can't wait for Palfi's next.


In Bruges - 2008 - Martin McDonagh - ♥1/2
Hit dudes in Bruges cop Catholic guilt attitude; bores me to moon, gag me with spoon.

The Lady Vanishes - 1938 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥1/2


Michael Clayton - 2007 - Tony Gilroy - ♥♥♥
I wish I had a viable control group...like, this is keepcool on vicodin, codeine and weed, versus this is keepcool while maximizing his potential, living life to its fullest.
But, alas, I've taken a lot of drugs for a long period of time.
If anything though, even without the control group, this should prove, once and for all, that drugs are indeed bad.
Fun, but bad.
Written while on feel good candy, obviously.


Peeping Tom - 1960 - Michael Powell - ♥♥♥♥

Shadow of a Doubt - 1943 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥1/2
The Hitchcock retrospective at the flophouse continues, this time with Hitch's personal favorite of all his films, and it's easy to see why. Debonair, dashing and devious, the always unappreciated Joseph Cotten has never been better, particularly when he articulates his disdain for his fellow humans, especially women, in a couple of wonderfully creepy monologues*. Stunning use of light and shadows throughout, the pull back in the library when Charlie Newton discovers just what Uncle Charlie was concealing with his desecration of her father's treasured daily paper being the highlight (in the DVD commentary, Hitch wanted the effect to be like a "whoosh" sound, and boy does that shot succeed in that), but there are scads of other instances of Hitch's utter mastery of composition and lighting throughout.
Very cool to see a young Hume Cronyn as a prototypical nerd - his running metatextual "perfect murder" scenarios he and Mr. Newton run on each other during the course of the film add an extra kick to what's going on before us - ditto Hitchcock filming a stolen base (of all the baseball plays Hitch could've used, it' all too fitting, no?) and one other instance of the serene bucolic charm of suburban U.S. being shown for the sham that it is (that I've unfortunately forgotten), and the parallels between Cotten's blonde charmer and the Nazi menace currently plaguing the world become even more clear. That when he's killed, his memory is untarnished in the eyes of the townsfolk, that his sister never recognized his fairly obvious evil ways, the pining that Uncle Charlie and his sister have for an idealized past? Hitch might not have done outright political commentary, generally pushing story above metaphor, but in SHADOW OF A DOUBT, at least in retrospect, its pretty clear that he had an agenda above and beyond the call of pitch-perfect story construction and ratcheting suspense.
The only reason I took off the 1/2 ♥ is that I just couldn't stand the high pitch caterwauling of Patricia Collinge as Charlie's mom and sister - I'm willing to allow Hitch his pretty darn sexist views of women, but her utter cluelessness, her grating voice and all too stereotypical demeanor had me siding with Cotten far more than I think Hitch intended...or maybe not, never know with that women issue freakshow. Charlie herself, who starts off like her mom only to grow right before our eyes into a cynical, jaded woman by the end...well, at least her early annoyingness is blunted by her character arc. I can forgive Emma only so much before her perf became too much to bear.

*"The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, studly, greedy women... Are they human or are they studly, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too studly and too old?"

and...

"You think you know something, don't you? You think you're the clever little girl who knows something. There's so much you don't know, so much. What do you know, really? You're just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there's nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares. Or did I? Or was it a silly, inexpert little lie? You live in a dream. You're a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you'd find swine? The world's a hell. What does it matter what happens in it? Wake up, Charlie. Use your wits. Learn something."

and the way Cotten delivers them both, with so much conviction, so much deep seated venom? Not to mention the way Hitch shot both of them?
Just flat out masterful filmatism.


Strange Circus (Kimyô na sâkasu) - 2005 - Sion Sono - ♥♥♥
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…no one does bizarre quite like the Japanese. Cult Director Sion Sono, he of Suicide Circle/Club infamy, ups the weird ante to the nth degree with STRANGE CIRCUS, a macabre, Grand Guignol tale with story elements typical of your garden variety, run-of-the-mill, heartwarming type themes such as incest, sexual abuse, dissociative identity disorder, and, of course, extreme gore. A mindfuck of a film whose shifting realities only become clear in a final 30minutes that really, really tie the film together, Sono culls together disparate bits from similar influences such as Fellini, FIGHT CLUB, DePalma, and The Three Faces of Eve into a potent stew of psycho-sexual tension.


Teeth - 2008 - Mitchell Lichtenstein - ♥♥1/2 - Take a bite out of cock!


Terror's Advocate - 2007 - Barbet Schroeder - ♥♥♥
So there's no question that Jacques Verges certainly deserves to have a documentary made about his utterly fascinating life and career...but to have a damn near sycophantic documentary about such a polarizing figure, with very few to nary a peep of counter-arguments against his person? I dunno...that struck me as patently false. That he comes off like a smug pompous Struggling Background Artist did him no favors in my mind either - sure, he's got a right to be, but to not stick it to him with rebuttals, with more pointed questions...Barbet, you're sure no Errol Morris, that's for damn sure.
But I can't hate on a doc whose subject matter not only fucked one, but possibly two, hot female terrorists...I mean, we've all got our kinks, maybe Verges figured his out at a young age and only went into his line of work to get a chance to experience the intoxicating feminine power of bomb-planting extremists?
The doc also is a pretty good barometer for where one stands on certain moral issues...I think a lot of us will agree that defending the freedom fighters in Algeria in the mid 50's to early 60's is righteous, is just, is something that doesn't really need defending - they were, after all, a people who had suffered through the harsh lash of colonialism and only doing what they could to bring their occupier to its knees, no?
But, and here's where it gets morally gray - do you defend Klaus Barbie? (actually mounted an intriguing defense, by putting colonialism and all it's ugliness on trial while defending Barbie - but while the twinkling in Verges eye suggests a bit of merry pranksterism to it - his scalding hot cup o' smug sure runs over.)
Do you defend the incompetent boobery of Carlos the Jackal? (say what you will about Carlos' OPEC raid in the 70's, his spree of bombings in France in the 80's was just to get his snatch back. He's a liar, a failure, and rather ugly...that's right Carlos, I'm calling your punk ass out!@!)
Fascinating, but not nearly as in-depth, as journalistic, as it could have been.


There Will Be Blood - 2007 - Paul Thomas Anderson - ♥♥♥1/2

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Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Keepcoolbutcare
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:56 pm

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SMarch

8 1/2 - 1963 - Federico Fellini - ♥♥♥♥

Appleseed: Ex Machina - 2007 - Shinji Aramaki - ♥
If one was looking to create a death sound, a sound that kills, a good start would be Luci Christian's blood curdling caterwaul of "Briareos" over and over again on an endless loop.
Possibly even dumber than the first (yeah, I didn't think it was possible either), with, somehow, even less visual flair in the cold, dead eyes of the human protagonists.
One, count 'em, one utterly badass moment, and it's early in the film.
"Films" like this make me want to give up on finding epiphanies in cinema entirely...I don't have world enough and time for pointless exercises in hackneyed drivel that the two modern Appleseed films have delivered. Waste of a good high.


The Darjeeling Limited - 2007 - Wes Anderson - ♥♥♥1/2

Doomsday - Neil Marshall - ♥1/2
What a let down. It does have some moments, but they're the smaller ones, the attention to slight gore details that, had the plot not been entirely derivative and making you wish you were watching any of the other movies that were homaged, would have made this a near classic.
But it's an abject failure. Smaller Neil, focus on smaller, more character driven horror, and you'll be fine.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 2007 - 2007 - Shekhar Kapur - ♥1/2

Into the Wild - 2007 - Sean Penn - ♥♥

Killer of Sheep - 1977 - Charles Burnett - ♥♥♥1/2

Lake of Fire - 2006 - Tony Kaye - ♥♥♥♥
You know, it used to be called playing it safe, or hedging your bets, when you straddle the middle of a divisive social issue. But now, in our left vs. right, red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative, in our highly fractious times, it's dangerous, economically for a documentary film at any rate, to play the middle, to present both sides of an argument.
And maybe that explains the utter failure for LAKE OF FIRE to find a wider audience, 'cuz it certainly can't be the breathtaking filmmaking beauty so amply on display (shot on high contrast b & w to emphasize the polar extremes of the two sides of this debate, it's never less than a marvel to look at). Nor can it's failure be attributed to the erudite talking heads, including pioneering social critic Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice, the first "liberal" I ever read who was pro-life, and the smartest man in the world, the great Noam Chomsky.
Kaye has said himself that even he, after years and years spent working on the film, even he doesn't know where he stands in regard to abortion and abortion rights.
I believe him.
You'll bring your own prejudices in, for sure, and while one wishes the film had come out in the late 90's when the events in the film were taking place (or, conversely, if the film had been more topical for the current clime), one can't argue the power of this documentary to do the things we ask of all art - to make us think, to make us question, and to make us feel.
Brilliant film, powerful filmmaking, me and BP were riveted throughout the two and a half hour runtime. There were long stretches were I couldn't blink, and others where I had to force myself to watch. Not for the squeamish, and most certainly not for the stupid.

Oh, wait, that's why it failed, commercially.

Lost Highway - 1997 - David Lynch - ♥♥♥
I still say, like I did when I first saw it, that the film nearly falls apart completely after the goddamn bravura Lynchian opening 40 or so minutes (about when Balthazar shows up)...but what a first 40minutes. And Robert Loggia nearly saves the entire 2nd and 3rd acts.
Nearly.
I mean, I like it, 'cuz Blake is all sorts of creeeeepy, and those first 40minutes maybe the best sustained suspense, most canonically Lynchian thing Lynch has ever pulled off, but, well, there's Balthazar Getty and total w/t/fness and totally unnecessary for the "narrative" Richard Pryor and Arquette's blank slate expression, and, yeah, sure, I like not being spoonfed every little thing but still...c'mon, David, w/t/f.

Lust, Caution - 2007 - Ang Lee - ♥♥1/2
Too much caution, not enough lust. Which is all too typical of Lee, but, strange, 'cuz apparently he's got butfuck more footage of the what very much looks like real fucking going on between aging but still one sexy sonbitch Tony Leung and awesome, incredibly hot newcomer Tang Wei.

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek - 1944 - Preston Sturges - ♥♥♥♥
Maybe, just maybe, the funniest movie ever made. Aside from scatalogical/raunchy humor, it's got it all...slapsticky pratfalls, gut bursting, utterly hysterical rat-tat-tat rapid fire dialog, big, broad performances, sass mouth young ladies, progressive politics, heart of gold old cronies, aw shucks hayseed-isms, and, as usual for Sturges, near pitch perfect performances.
Look, I know it's old, it's b & w, the full frame makes your widescreen tv pointless, and it's got nothing in the way of special effects (well, unless you consider the awesomeness of William Demarest a special effect)...but, honestly, get the fuck out of my life (and, thus, the Zone) if you don't recognize the comedic genius on display here.

No Country for Old Men - 2007 - The Coen Brothers - ♥♥♥1/2

Nobody Knows - 2005 - Hirokazu Koreeda - ♥♥♥1/2
heartbreaking and simultaneously uplifting ='s the most bittersweet film of all time. Lead boy won Best Actor at Cannes, and deservedly so. Based on a true story. This makes Koreeda 2 for 2, in terms of what I've seen of his work (AFTER LIFE being the other).

Paranoid Park - 2007 - Gus Van Sant - ♥♥1/2
I dunno, I was enraptured by the cinematography (I ♥ Christopher Doyle), I liked the noir-ish, time out of joint storytelling (and, yes, for Van Sant, there was some story to be found here. Non-linear, for damn sure, but still, it's there), I could stare at pretty boy lead Gabe Nevins forever and not get tired of his placid, what's he thinking? blankness...but, for some reason, it never really added up to much for me.

Saboteur - 1942 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥

Strangers on a Train - 1951 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥♥
Maybe, just maybe, my favorite Hitchcock film.
Not that I'm alone on that or anything, 'cuz this film is damn near perfect.

Suspicion - 1941 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥1/2
Butchered by the studio, Hitch still manages to get off some choice moments (another dinner table scene on how to commit the perfect murder), but I guess the studio thought audiences would be unwilling to accept Grant as a murderer. A pity, 'cuz it really hampered the film. Fontaine won an Oscar, but she's too wishy-washy and weak-willed for my modern sensibilities.

Them - 2006 - David Moreau and Xavier Palud - ♥♥
drop dead beautiful actors, fluid camerawork, atmospheric, tense, moody...but oh. so. dumb. SPOILER - kids? 10-15yr. old kids? That's your big bad? That's what they were running from? That's what they didn't just stay together and fight, instead of fleeing? Fucking cheese eating surrender monkeys, you got beat by brats!

Wristcutters: A Love Story - 2007 - Goran Dukic - ♥1/2
Yeah, I know it was intentionally shot to look drab, and while I dug the extended riff on BEETLEJUICE'S premise of what waits for suicide victims in the afterlife (here it's the same as our world, only worse), sadly, the dull visual palate and banal direction couldn't compensate. I don't think Fugit's much of an actor, but I dig his non-actorly handsome mug - and Sossamon Hollywood's answer to the adorable Faye Wong - her presence, coupled with some choice Gogol Bordello tracks and the always welcome Tom Waits ensured I didn't turn it off. But, alas, 'twas a typical amer-indie snore fest. A visual stylist could've done much more with the decent premise...

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April
(we'll get back to you, baby, I promise! You're one of my favorite months, when Spring is sprung, when love is in the air, where, on the East Coast, female flesh so studiously covered is at last revealed again, a month where I asked the hand of two significant others...)

Be Kind Rewind - 2008 - Michel Gondry - ♥♥♥

Blast of Silence - 1961 - Allen Baron(von Ruthless!) - ♥♥♥1/2

Dance Party, USA - 2006 - Aaron Katz - ♥♥♥

Dial M For Murder(ousness!) - 1954 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥

Flight of the Conchords - 2007 - Various - ♥♥♥1/2

Foreign Correspondent - 1940 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥1/2

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - 2008 - Nicholas Stoller - ♥♥1/2

The Great McGinty - 1940 - Preston Sturges - ♥♥♥

Hail the Conquering Hero - 1944 - Preston Sturges - ♥♥♥1/2

Inside - 2007 - Alexandre Bustillo/Julien Maury - ♥♥♥1/2

Justice League: The New Frontier - 2008 - Dave Bullock(s) - ♥1/2

The Man Who Knew Too Much - 1934 - Alfred Hitchcock - ♥♥♥1/2

The Man Who Wasn't There - 2001 - Joel Coen - ♥♥♥

My Blueberry Nights - 2008 - Wong Kar-Wai - ♥♥♥

The Palm Beach Story - 1942 - Preston Sturges - ♥♥♥1/2

Some Like it Hot - 1959 - Billy "Something" Wilder - ♥♥♥

Sunset Boulevard - 1950 - Billy Wilder(at Heart) - ♥♥♥♥

Superbad - 2007 - Greg Mottola - ♥♥1/2

The Talented Mr. Ripley - 1999 - Anthony Minghella - ♥♥♥

-------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- -------
-------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- -------

May

Dexter: Season 1 - 2006 - Various - ♥♥
There is only one reason that I can even warrant giving this incredibly over hyped piece of shit show even 2 hearts...and that's the absolutely magnetic, can't blink or you may miss some subtle (yet at the same time kinda over the top (yeah, I didn't think it was possible either)) facial tic or eye movement or gesture of the phenomenal Michael C. Hall. He's ridiculously better than the cardboard cutout stereotype characters uniformly poorly acted by a supporting cast that (it's gotta be intentional, right?) that never met an acting cliche they didn't want to make sweet love by the campfire to.
Predictable, make the viewer feel smart plots, bad dialog, showy, hey look at me ma I gotts me a camera ma, hyup, and watch me gets all artsy with it piss poor direction...
but yet, fuck, here I am on disc fucking 4, 'cuz, while I fucking know that the other killer (TV version of the great Ben Whishaw - he's not too shabby, actually) is going to be his long lost brother from another mother or some such hooey, I've just got to watch Hall squirm his way out of yet another hackneyed situation, 'cuz watching him is riveting, it's hypnotic, and it's a testimony that he's, by far, the greatest TV actor of his generation.
You've got to admire him for it - he doesn't have leading man Hollywood looks, he's not really distinctive looking enough for character work, so Hall's got two choices to practice his craft, which you just know he cares tremendously about - either theater or TV. He's a working actor, one that probably only feels comfortable in the real world sublimating himself into another psyche...which he does to such an eerily precise degree that I'd watch him file taxes or scrub port a potties...he's that great.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 2007 - Julian Schnabel - ♥♥♥1/2
Up half a heart from first viewing in January.

The Fall - 2008 - Tarsem - ♥♥♥1/2

Frontiers - 2007 - Xavier Gens - 1/2♥

George Washington - 2000 - David Gordon Green - ♥♥♥1/2

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai - 2000 - Jim Jarmusch - ♥♥♥1/2
"This ain't no ancient culture here, mister.
Sometimes it is."
'nuff said.

The Guns of Navarone - 1961 - J. Lee Thompson - ♥♥1/2

I'm Not There - 2007 - Todd Haynes - ♥♥♥♥
My favorite film of 2007 did just what I thought it would - got better on re-watching. One could lose oneself in the rabbit hole of meta that is this movie, if only the performances, images and music didn't yank one out of that blissful reverie back into the most experimental, daring, and, dare I say successful biopic ever made.

Indiana Jones and... - 2008 - Senor Spielbergo - ♥♥

Iron Man - 2008 - Jon Favreau - ♥♥
(what to do, what to do? Clean this up, narrow down it’s focus, come up with a snazzy, “this is what this review will do” opening paragraph and proceed to do just that in the proceeding paragraphs, wrapping it up in a nifty little final paragraph that sums up what I all that came before in a spiffy bit of verbal linguistics?
Or just put it up here, in my beloved journo of pure raw, unadulterated, unedited stoner ramblings?)

Adequate. Ordinary. Serviceable. But hardly anything to get all ga-ga and start proclaiming even top 5 status in the realm of Superherofilmdom (The Incredibles, Spiderman II, Robocop, Unbreakable and a toss-up between either one of the first two X-Men films or Batman Begins).

It’s not origintinnitus either, there is just some outright boneheaded, hacky, all too stereotypical bad guy behavior in conjunction with wonky screenwriting pablum. For example, say I give you the task of observing live digital, shot from an overhead angle, fairly high res, seemingly covering the entire room all invasive video monitor and tell you to be on the lookout for anything that doesn’t look like your cock being built.
Anything.
If it’s not long, with a pointed tip and various “wing” type dealios at it’s base, you call me. Immediately.
And what was scarscull’s motivation anyway…just world domination? Sure, you want to dream big, but dude didn’t even have an engineer, or a scientist or any sort of tech wonk to go with his, how, big two, three hundred strong army? Settle down a little son, you may want to scale down those ambitions a tad.

But how dumb can those freedom fighters/terrorists (hey, maybe those villagers were getting uppity? Maybe it was originally their land that was swindled from them years before?) possibly be if they are avoiding every satellite in known creation trying to find them – a bigger manhunt than the search for Osama…but yet they’re your basic booger eatin’ moronic minions to boot? (and, yes, I know with Stane’s behind it all, and if Stark Industries built all the Satellites and the network they’re on and Stane, say, had the know-how and wherewithal to hack ‘n crack the system and point them to another cave…but, geez, reachin’ a bit here, aren’t we? And fuck you if you come with the good ‘ol “well, you believed a man can fly and keep his ticker tockin’ with a fancy heart battery only he can create” bit. That’s fantasy, and I can live with that. But bad fiction is bad fiction.)
C’mon ya’ll, wipe away the pearl eye crust of WOOO! TONY STARK! METAL MEN HITTING EACH OTHER REPEATEDLY! pure geeky spoogery and tell me that’s not beyond fucktardation.

While Bridges is aces, he’s got nothing to work with in terms of motivation.
Nothing. It’s a humdrum hostile internal corporate takeover. Uh-oh, Stane’s been passed over for promotion again, let’s see how he handles it…
Yawn.

Let’s not even begin to quibble with conducting a weapons tryout that would be privy only to top-echelon-brass who have the pull to decide on, what was it, a $500,000,000 KABLAMO device and who, let’s face it, aren’t going to be over in Turfghistanyriaraq, they’re here, in the U.S. of Apparently we’ve-got-penis-envy…what, not enough radiated wastelands here in the states to try out our weapons of mass KABLAMO? All right, fuck it, having ignored my own advice, let’s continue with why, WHY, would TS be transported out of (I’m still hung up over the into…sure, once again, STANE!!! set-up this tryout, kinda insisted Tony go…but he didn’t even look at a map? Did none of the Top-Brass-Upper-Echelon-of-Eschaton check a map before they agreed to meet in the middle of Fuckedville Central?) a mega-hostile Zone in a Humvee even we civilian schlubs back here hear is prone to massive attacks? We’re not gonna have a flotilla of heavily armed gunships and choppers out there for kajillionaire TS?

Sigh.

But fuck if Downey jr. isn’t perfect, fuck if Matthew Libatique doesn’t save Fav’s just above average camera placement with stunning displays of lighting brilliance. Some (albeit brief) wondrous moments – I liked the shaky Iron cam in the cave, loved the raw visceral thrill of a well done set-piece when he returned to wreak destruction on his own weapons, and, well, I liked the origin here, Tony testing his creations, where Fav’s is in his comfort zone, generating easy, pleasing laughs. Missed a live Jarvis, but just hearing Paul Bettany was a hoot. Paltrow could do that role in her sleep, Howard was there, which was enough for me.

Now, maybe all that should be enough to recommend it, to not shake my head in consternation at the slobbering over this hum-drum hero-dom…but, I’ve got an ethical quibble or two to pick on as well.
I think, in this day and age, that it’s admirable that the big two @ D.C. don’t kill, that Parker forgives Marko for killing Uncle Ben, that despite being taunted and humiliated and feared the X-Men don’t kill us norms (well, the good ones at least).
But, and while I loved either OG Iron Man and New School Iron Man swatting away hapless minions, loved his thorough thrashing of them…well, he was killing them.

A lot of them.

Is it ok ‘cuz they’re Arabs, stereotypical warlord Arabs with a glean in their eyes for World Domination, stereotypical warlord Arabs who we never see praying or anything but who separate husband from wife and child and are kidnappers and just overall icky Arabs, morally speaking?

Certainly makes me more appreciative of the Batman’s moral stance on this issue, ‘cuz it’s far too easy to kill, that that is the thin line that makes someone a “Super”. What’s that you say, it’s unrealistic and naïve? That Tony was right and just and American in his actions, that it’s a brutal world with brutal people who need brutality inflected upon them?
I know that.

And I certainly desire a film with a Marvelman-esque scenario of innocent bystanders biting it by the millions when these super freaks go at it in a major metropolitan area… I want that badly.
But I'm not so sure I want that in my day-glo, PG-13, superhero films.

Tony Stark was a hero, his actions were heroic, I don't question that (even just saving his own skin).
But I found a disturbing want of the super in his execution(s).

Kill! - 1969 - Kihachi Okamoto - ♥♥♥1/2
Using the same source novel (Shugoro Yamamoto's novel Peaceful Days) as Kurosawa used for Sanjuro, Okamoto's low down, dirty, bleakly cynical and archly comic piece of badass cinema is an utter hoot and a half. Look, Mifune's fucking untouchable, but it's a damn pity that it seems that there can be only one Japanese actor everyone knows of, 'cuz Tatsuya Nakadai has blown me away in everything I've ever seen him in. Okamoto deserves some more respect thrown his way as well...with this and The Sword of Doom, man's got two bona-fide masterpieces under his belt.

Lars and the Real Girl - 2007 - Craig Gillespie - ♥

The Long Goodbye - 1973 - Robert Altman - ♥♥♥1/2

Master of the Flying Guillotine - 1975 - Jimmy Wang Yu - ♥♥♥

McCabe & Mrs. Miller - 1971 - Robert Altman - ♥♥♥♥♥ (for this film, it goes up to 5)
Perfect movie, no quibbles at all.

Noise - 2007 - Matthew Saville - ♥♥♥1/2

Open Your Eyes - 1997 - Alejandro Amenabar - ♥♥1/2

Red Belt - 2008 - David Mamet - ♥♥1/2
It's ludicrous for a h@ck like me to give writing advice to Mamet, but...well, listen buddy, having all the puzzle pieces fit doth not a great puzzle make.

The Savages - 2007 - Tamara Jenkins - ♥♥♥

Slap Shot - 1977 - George Roy Hill - ♥♥1/2

Son of Rambow - 2008 - Garth Jennings - ♥♥♥

Speed Racer: The IMAX Experience - 2008 - The Bro(wait, one of 'ems a chick now, right?)...the Wachowski Directing Siblings - ♥♥♥

There Will Be Blood - 2007 - P.T.A. - ♥♥♥1/2
3rd viewing, still can't quite give it the full on 4 ♥ masterclass rating...but it's inevitably going to get that, I suppose, as the girlfriend's love for the film will ensure more viewings.

This Sporting Life - 1963 - Lindsay Anderson - ♥♥♥1/2

Throne of Blood - 1957 - Akira Kurosawa - ♥♥♥1/2

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948 - John Huston - ♥♥♥♥
My only quibble is that Bogie loses it a tad too quickly; sure, it was adequately set up, and if you've seen it before you obviously know it's coming, but it just felt like, in terms of storybeats, Huston should've waited maybe 15-20minutes more, so it comes at the end of the first hour instead of the first 40minutes. Maybe drag out the paranoia a bit more, maybe telegraph it a tad more earlier, I don't know...it just feels too abrupt and sudden.
And Holt should've just killed him or knocked him the fuck out when it was just the two of them, after Huston was hijacked by the worshiping natives...I mean, fuck, he was just gone by then.
But those two quibbles aside?
Perfect movie.
Just perfect.

Wild Zero - 1999 - Tetsuro Takeuchi - ♥1/2

Youth Without Youth - 2007 - Francis Ford Coppola - 2007 - ♥♥♥
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:09 pm

I liked the short version better.... :wink:
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby havocSchultz on Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:10 pm

That's what she said...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:54 am

updated through May (big thanks to Tony Wilson for the archiving and re-posting!)

best? - McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Perfection. I couldn't find a fault, not that I tried, so enraptured by the proceedings.

worst? - Frontiers. The French can be just as fucktarded as anyone else when it comes to unoriginal, schlock horror.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Seppuku on Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:25 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
best? - McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Perfection. I couldn't find a fault, not that I tried, so enraptured by the proceedings.



The dodgy rotoscoped snow at the end?
Dale Tremont Presents...

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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:18 pm

Seppuku wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
best? - McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Perfection. I couldn't find a fault, not that I tried, so enraptured by the proceedings.



The dodgy rotoscoped snow at the end?


um, factually, I believe that was real snow. It's a mark of just how draw droppingly brilliant Zsigmond is that he makes it looks the way it does - hallucinatory, as if it's a fevered dream...
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby LeFlambeur on Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:11 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Seppuku wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
best? - McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Perfection. I couldn't find a fault, not that I tried, so enraptured by the proceedings.



The dodgy rotoscoped snow at the end?


um, factually, I believe that was real snow. It's a mark of just how draw droppingly brilliant Zsigmond is that he makes it looks the way it does - hallucinatory, as if it's a fevered dream...


Reminds me of the story where, throughout shooting Beatty kept demanding extra takes sometimes shooting until early in the morning, even though Altman didn't think it was nessicary. So when it came time to do the shot where McCabe is being covered in snow, Altman kept telling him to do "one more" over and over and over.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby bluebottle on Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:29 pm

You haven't watched a Hitchcock film in a month or two. Wha' Happen?
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby DaleTremont on Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:56 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Lars and the Real Girl - 2007 - Craig Gillespie - ♥


Yikes. I was disappointed with that one too, especially because I liked the script so much when I read it. Still- one heart? One and a half at least...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby bluebottle on Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:54 pm

that's funny, i actually liked the movie more than the script... but not by much.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:10 pm

bluebottle wrote:You haven't watched a Hitchcock film in a month or two. Wha' Happen?


chalk that up to the capricious whims of flighty stoners. Plus, there's only so many innocent man on the lam pictures you can watch in a row. We've each seen VERTIGO numerous times, ditto PSYCHO and REAR WINDOW. I don't think she's ever seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST as well as his work post BIRDS, but, I dunno, I'm kinda burnt out on the Hitch, for now.

DaleTremont wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Lars and the Real Girl - 2007 - Craig Gillespie - ♥


Yikes. I was disappointed with that one too, especially because I liked the script so much when I read it. Still- one heart? One and a half at least...


that's probably a personal thing more than anything else - honestly, I see broken people everyday here in Oakland; what little empathy I can muster is geared towards them, not some dipshit with an inflatable doll. BP loathes the entire awkward comedy of manners genre anyway, and I have to be in a specific mood for it.
But, really, I just didn't care about the characters, not in the slightest. The performances were solid, I particularly dig the gusto of Emily Mortimer, she seems to just throw her entire soul into her roles...but I'm too much of a cynic at heart to care about the quirk on display.
I never could stomach Capra, either, so the whole town rallying around this freakshow was the final straw for me.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby bluebottle on Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:31 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote: I don't think she's ever seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST...


Good god, man! You have to show her NxNW! That's not just a great Hitchcock film, it's ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME!!! Man!
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby magicmonkey on Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:19 pm

bluebottle wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote: I don't think she's ever seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST...


Good god, man! You have to show her NxNW! That's not just a great Hitchcock film, it's ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME!!! Man!


You see, I love the fact that NxNW exists I just plain can't stand the movie. Give me any other Hitchcock, please, Cary Grant sucks balls, and seems only a knob to me in this movie, although perhaps it would be good to watch it again just to see him sweat and get crop dusted... I've got Hitch's Topaz on my pile of DVD's to watch. Anyone seen that? Is it any good?
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Brocktune on Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:40 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Kill! - 1969 - Kihachi Okamoto - ♥♥♥1/2
Using the same source novel (Shugoro Yamamoto's novel Peaceful Days) as Kurosawa used for Sanjuro, Okamoto's low down, dirty, bleakly cynical and archly comic piece of badass cinema is an utter hoot and a half. Look, Mifune's fucking untouchable, but it's a damn pity that it seems that there can be only one Japanese actor everyone knows of, 'cuz Tatsuya Nakadai has blown me away in everything I've ever seen him in. Okamoto deserves some more respect thrown his way as well...with this and The Sword of Doom, man's got two bona-fide masterpieces under his belt.


those in the know will always mention nakadai and shimura alongside mifune. those regurgitating what they have read or heard of will only mention mifune. i dont know if you've seen em or not, so forgive me if you have, but in Kurosawa's "kagemusha" and "ran", nakadai delivers absolute tour de force performances. in fact, many would argue "ran" to be kurosawa and nakadai's finest hour. im sure you've seen em both. heh, hows that for regurgitation? oh yeah, and if you saw "kill", you gotta check out the rest of criterions rebel samurai set. nakadai has a smallish, but very significant role in the Masaki Kobayashi's slowly simmering "samurai rebellion" (fantastic fuckin film!)

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Throne of Blood - 1957 - Akira Kurosawa - ♥♥♥1/2


bout fuckin time

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Wild Zero - 1999 - Tetsuro Takeuchi - ♥1/2


aw man. not even so bad it's good? it's a fuckin guitar wolf movie, everything in it is supposed to suck but them. dude, guitar wolf will totally rape you. well, at least at first. you'll be begging for more by the time they are done with you. dont you understand that this is a b movie, and as such........ you know what? fuck it. im going to stop right now before you come back and give me a valid reason to dislike this movie. my sincerest apologies to you, sir.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby bluebottle on Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:09 pm

magicmonkey wrote:
bluebottle wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote: I don't think she's ever seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST...


Good god, man! You have to show her NxNW! That's not just a great Hitchcock film, it's ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME!!! Man!


You see, I love the fact that NxNW exists I just plain can't stand the movie. Give me any other Hitchcock, please, Cary Grant sucks balls, and seems only a knob to me in this movie, although perhaps it would be good to watch it again just to see him sweat and get crop dusted...


I love Cary Grant, but I get the hate... I have a friend who can't stand him, and says that he ruins every movie he's in... We've had many arguments.

He's one of those actors - always playing himself, never really playing a character... I get what people don't like about him... But it works for me.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:11 pm

plus, he's one damn handsome man...
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby havocSchultz on Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:04 am

He's kind of let himself go recently though...
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 pm

Best Films of the June:

Masculin feminin: 15 faits precis (Masculine, Feminine: In 15 Acts) - 9.0
Abortion, birth control, pop stars, models, and Marxism. Godard brilliantly captures the youth as it was during the mid 60s and gender issues that continue today. The film wonderfully starts with the masculine and feminine characters in separate frames until they form a connection but do they really connect on a meaningful level? There are some absolutely wonderful sequences here the ten minute interview being a particular highlight that made me cringe in knowing reality.

Viridiana - 9.0
A scathing indictment of false piety. Bunuel manages to evoke honest sympathy for Don Jaime and his incestuous longings.

Michael Robinson's Light Is Waiting - 9.0
In Light Is Waiting, Michael Robinson takes Full House and makes it devours it completely. Robinson uses footage from a Polynesian episode to showcase the hypocrisy of cultural reductionism by trapping the characters in their own world and eating it whole. Watching Michelle's face merging, Uncle Jesse sexually beckoning to himself, are strangely hypnotic and frightening. This is a bizarre piece of experimental cinema that is surprisingly accessible.

Michael Robinson's Victory Over The Sun 9.5
In Victory Over The Sun he takes scenes of abandoned World Fair Most. These World Fair locations, which once were the highlight of modernity are now relegated to obscure footnotes. What were once testaments of our will to create and forge our way headlong into the future are now being overrun by foliage. The film also incorporates chanting lines from Ayn Rand’s Anthem, and a version of a Guns N’ Roses song. Robinson seems to be speaking to the beginning of pure capitalism and the death of modern optimism. Robinson is able to create an almost narrative arc with emotional crescendos in his films despite all the disparate elements he uses.

Wall-E - 9.0
Pixar imbues these robots with an outstanding amount of humanity with almost non-existent dialog. There are sequences that had my jaw dropped. Unfortunately the humans aren’t given the same type of depth of the robots and the film fails to manage reach the true masterpiece status it could have.

Hai Tan De Yi Tian (That Day On The Beach) - 9.0
The first film of Edward Yang’s career is the final one in my viewing order. This film marked the emergence of two incredible talents in Edward Yang and Christophe Doyle and Taiwan’s New Cinema. Yang began his career in studying the effect of 80s modernity on women of the time. The film utilizes a conversation among old friends to show the trajectory of one woman’s life navigating traditional values in the midst of this cultural boom. Yang loves investigating how one people deal with these opposing forces in order to define themselves. This is a melodrama but these characters all feel completely real and their actions make sense. The acting and in particular Sylvia Chang are a big part of the realism. Doyle’s visual acuity is seen even here in his first film as a cinematographer. Doyle and Yang make brilliant use of their framing. This would be a film well worth seeking out, however, the copy I saw, which is the only one with English subtitles is incredible washed out, has some cropping, is dubbed in Cantonese, and the subtitles are difficult to read at point (luckily you can still understand what was going on).

Worst Films of the June:
La Terza Madre (The Mother Of Tears) - thoughts here.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Nachokoolaid on Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:25 pm

I noticed a lot of you that participate regularly in this thread watch a lot of high class foreign shit. I feel like I'm the only one watching just regular flicks sometimes.

Anyway, June was a good month for me. I saw 27 films in June, and that's a bit more than average for me this year.

Anyway, the best came down to BLADE RUNNER and RAMBO.

And while I sort of appreciate BLADE RUNNER for it being a modern classic and all that, as a movie, I have to choose RAMBO as my favorite for this month. I love how it's not afraid to have balls and I just had a blast watching it. Plus, I thought it put a nice end to the series.

And the worst was certainly READY TO RUMBLE. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a couple things about this (pretty much just Martin Landau), but it's pretty bad. We found out pretty quickly that David Arquette can't carry a film.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby DaleTremont on Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:00 pm

Nachokoolaid wrote:I noticed a lot of you that participate regularly in this thread watch a lot of high class foreign shit. I feel like I'm the only one watching just regular flicks sometimes.


This is following a post by stereos, though. As we all know, he is the king- King, I say!- of rare foreign gems. Nice write-ups by the way, sfg! As usual, it seems your movie month totally pwns my movie month :wink:

...or DID it :?: :?:

Well I'll have to see those ones before I make a judgment but I think the best of June for me would be hard to beat. First off- motherfucking Baby Doll.

Okay. You know how people are always saying sometimes it's more erotic the less you show? I was always in the naysaying camp to that particular school of thought. I mean, subtlety can be effective...the ol' cinematic tease...but really it couldn't get you more fidgety than when you watch...I don't know...a Lust, Caution or something. But then Elia Kazan proved me all kinds of wrong, and bless him for it. Baby Doll is the sexiest film ever made. A large part of said sexiness generated from Eli Wallach, no less! Well, Eli Wallach with Carroll Baker, an equally key component. It's just perfection all across the board though. Acting, writing, directing. I loved this movie.

Edge of Darkness was another great one. Errol Flynn, Walter Huston, Ruth Gordon, Ann Sheridan starring in a WW2 flick about a Norwegian village that stands up to the Nazis during their occupation. A clear propaganda film (it was made in 1943) but maybe it was by virtue of the fact that it was being made right in the middle of the war that it had such a sense of urgency. It wasn't just a "message movie" it was a real plea for resistance. Also interesting to see Errol Flynn in a much more modest production, with a much more somber tone. Considering you could actually begin to see his hard-living ways catch up with him (still dashing, but a little worn around the edges) it was a strangely befitting role for him. His character- leader of the resistance- was less rakish, golden boy hero and more a common man with a grim and noble determination to do right.

And finally, Persepolis. I'm sure people have said all there is to say on this, and better. So let's just say I concur with those who found it brilliant. Been a long while since I've been so absorbed by a story.

(Oh and I must give props to my monthly Bronson fix. This time- Violent City, aka The Family. One of his best, I'd say. And one of the coolest endings I've ever seen. Well done, Sergio Sollima!)
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:43 am

DaleTremont wrote:
Nachokoolaid wrote:I noticed a lot of you that participate regularly in this thread watch a lot of high class foreign shit. I feel like I'm the only one watching just regular flicks sometimes.


This is following a post by stereos, though. As we all know, he is the king- King, I say!- of rare foreign gems. Nice write-ups by the way, sfg! As usual, it seems your movie month totally pwns my movie month :wink:

...or DID it :?: :?:


Appreciated Dale. I will have to see baby doll and edge of darkness as well.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby LeFlambeur on Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:51 am

updated to include all of June and most of May

The best of June would have to be Godard's La Chinoise, Wall-E, and my re-visit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The worst is a two way tie between The Increadible Hulk and the anemic Ian Curtis bio-pic Control.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby bastard_robo on Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:57 pm

bastard_robo wrote:BASTARD ROBO'S 2008 MOVIE JOURNAL GO!

January 1st:
The Simpsons Movie
Harold and Kumar go to white castle
January 2nd:
Spiderman 3
January 3rd:
Spiderman 3
January 5th:
Jurassic Park
January 7th:
The breakfest Club
January 8th:
Robocop
January 13th:
Zoolander
The Bucket List
January 18th:
Cloverfield
January 19th:
Godzilla Final Wars
January 20th:
TMNT
There Will Be Blood
January 24th:
Boogie Nights
January 26th:
National Treasure Book of Secrets
January 30th:
Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster
Febuary 10th:
The Host
Febuary 14th:
High School High
Febuary 16th:
Jumper
Febuary 17th:
Godzilla 2000
Febuary 21st:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Febuary 26th:
Justice League: New Frontier
Beowulf
Febuary 27th:
Darjeering Limited
March 1st:
Semi-Pro
Blades of Glory
Justice League: New Frontier
March 2nd:
Beerfest
American Beauty
March 3rd:
Clerks 2
March 4th:
King Kong vs. Godzilla
March 6th
Little Miss Sunshine
March 7th:
Mothra
Morthra 2
March 9th:
10,000 BC
March 13th:
Dan in Real Life
March 14th:
Kung Pow; Enter the fist
March 15th:
Horton Hears a Who
March 16th:
Vantage Point
March 20th:
Enchanted
March 21st:
Doomsday
Frankenstein Conqures the World
March 25th:
Southland Tales
March 30th:
Run studly boy Run
April 5th:
Godzilla vs. Gigan
Godzilla vs. Destroyah
V for Vendetta
April 6th:
Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle for Earth
Godzilla vs King Ghidora
April 8th:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
April 12th:
The Adventures of Baron Munchausan
Dark Crystal
April 13th:
Constaintine
Basketball
April 14th:
Godzilla Final Wars
April 15th:
Eruotrip
April 17th:
Treasure Planet
April 19th:
Godzilla's Revenge
April 20th:
Walk Hard
April 27th:
Casino Royal
May 1st:
Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy
May 2nd:
Iron man
May 8th:
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
May 9th:
Speed Racer
May 14th:
Speed Racer
May 17th:
Face Off
The Mummy
May 18th:
Iron Man
May 20th:
Speed Racer
May 22nd:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
May 25th:
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Joe Dirt
May 26th:
Speed Racer
May 27th:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
June 1st:
The Machine Girl
June 5th:
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
June 6th:
The Fist Foot Way
June 11th:
Grandma's Boy
June 13th:
The Incredible Hulk
June 15th:
The Incredible Hulk
June 20th:
King Kong vs. Godzilla
The Love Guru
June 21st:
Get Smart
June 22nd:
Kill Zone
Knocked Up
Godzilla 2000
June 25th:
Futurama: Beat with a Billion Backs
Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster
June 26th:
Batman Begins
June 27th:
Wanted
Happy Gilmore
WALL E
June 29th:
Batman Begins
July 1st:
Godzilla King of the Monsters
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hellboy
July 3rd:
Death Race 2000
July 4th:
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Fight Club
Hancock
July 9th:
The Mummy
July 11th:
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
July 18th:
The Dark Knight

July 19th:
The Dark Knight
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Al Shut on Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:14 am

wrong button?
Note to myself: Fix this image shit!
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Nachokoolaid on Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:00 pm

Even though July is far from over, I can choose my favorite and least favorite films of the month.

The best is THE DARK KNIGHT. Wow. The heist. The magic trick. The body bag. The interrogation. The phone call. The hospital bed scene. So many classic moments. This is immediately quotable and exciting. And just a damn solid film. I gave it a 10/10 and it's my favorite superhero film.

I saw the worst film of the month on the same day, and that's KICKING AND SCREAMING. When you have Will Ferrell, and you don't use him right, it's pretty bad. When he's on, he's good, but here here's pretty bad. When Mike Ditka steals scenes from your lead, you know you're in trouble. 3/10.
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby silentbobafett on Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:55 am

Saw Wall-E! My film of the year so far! But got TDK on Tuesday night! WHOOP! WHOOP!

Also managed to see this films of note:

Welcome to the Dollhouse (Finally!)
Aboninable (real good fun! Throwback 50's horro, but with a bit on 80's thang thrown in! great stuff!)
Hot Rod and Kenny were both awesome comedies!

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR SO FAR:

Goes to DIARY OF THE DEAD!

I tend to agree with harry on our film tastes, but not this time! This film was made by one of my personal masters of film: Romero... but it looked like a 17 year old, egomaniac, wannabe filmmaker with waaay too much (despite it looking cheap and shit!!!!) and no understanding the rules of the style! AWFUIL!
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Re: The Zone's 2008 Movie Journal

Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:12 am

Diary of the Dead is my WORST FILM as well.

Yeesh was that bad.
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