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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

I’m a big fan of Toshiro Mifune in Akira Kurosawa movies. This clip from the movie Red Sun, while enjoyable, just doesn’t get close to the charisma of Mifune in The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashoman. What is it about him? I think it’s that he intimidates you and he laughs at you at the same time. Anyone seen this movie?

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Nine to Five

This is a really fabulous trailer. Piques your interest but doesn’t give too much away.

Happily, my job is nothing like this and I have been super busy of late hence the spotty posts. I’m doing a lot of web programming and learning javascript. All my web programming in the past has involved posting back to the server to get to the code, so this is new to me.

While times have definitely improved for women workers since Nine to Five came out, I’m always bemused by the fact that administrative assistants don’t work 9 to 5 anymore. They don’t get paid for their lunch hour, so they work 8 to 5. So I supposes admins can in some way look back to the fond days where they got an extra hour’s sleep.

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Me and Orson Welles

I managed to catch this film in Sacramento while I was visiting. It’s really fantastic. It walks a fine line between depicting Orson Welles as an asshole and a genius. That’s not easy. I also thought Zac Efron was adorable. I can see why all the tweens love him.

The best performance hands down is Christian McKay’s fantastic non-impression of Welles. It’s as accurate as an impression but it’s so full of life and sincerity. There’s no hint of caricature here. James Tupper’s Joseph Cotton wasn’t bad either.

Probably my only disappointment came during the closing credits when I found out it was based on a novel. It seemed so real, I was hoping it was an autobiographical piece.

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My review of Avatar

Don’t see it. Sorry, I hated it and I probably should have never gone. It’s extremely depressing in a colonial sort of way, and the feel-good ending doesn’t really change that. I would include details but I don’t want to depress anyone who liked the film. If you care to comment though, I will respond.

Now on to what I really liked. Michelle Rodriquez kicked ass. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a stupid part. All she does is look sexy, deliver cheesy Cameron one-liners, and do the action star thing, but she does it so well. In fact, she does it like a man. She is every bit of the action start that Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenagger, and Bruce Willis are. I’d love to see her in a James Bond style movie where she toys with men. I think with Rodriquez we actually would enjoy that very similar to Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. Or maybe a Rambo0-type movie. One thing about the eighties action stars is that they talked very little. You didn’t see too many heart-wrenching scenes. There wasn’t a lot going on upstairs and it didn’t matter. They did their thing. I think someone needs to give Michelle Rodriquez the chance to do it.

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New York Times

AP

Daily News Transcript

EOnline

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The Host

Looking for a scary monster movie? I saw The Host several years ago when it came out. It’s tough to make a monster movie without having some funny moments. This movie certainly has them. What I really liked about it was first it’s not-too-subtle knocks at America. The movie uses as its catalyst a real event. From Cineaste:

While the film tells the story of a fictional disaster (thus making his critique less explicit), Bong intended to make references to real-life events. Bong was inspired by an incident that took place in 2000, when a U.S. military employee ordered 480 bottles of formaldehyde to be dumped into the Han River (the man was arrested, given a suspended sentence, and is now back at his original job). Moreover, the media and government mania stirred by the virus in The Host, which proves to be nonexistent, is meant to reference the Iraq WMD fiasco. And the U.S. military’s indiscriminate use of a mysterious toxic chemical called Agent Yellow alludes to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

You might want to click on the above link if you’ve seen the movie. It’s a good interview.

I also liked how the heroes of this movie are members of not-too-savy family. So often we see films with ordinary people becoming extraordinary when called to duty. But what if it was my family being chased by a monster from the Han river? How would we cope? Much in the same way as the characters do in this film.


The Host TrailerThe most amazing home videos are here

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I saw this video on the Slog. Harry Connick Jr. is a judge on the Australian Gong Show when the act that appears is in blackface. What does he do? If you can’t stand to watch the whole video, Harry’s commentary is first on 2:15 and then 5:25.

I remember watching a DVD commentary by Mira Nair for the film Monsoon Wedding. Nair was talking about how in some Bollywood films, blackface still makes an appearance.

Probably the most interesting commentary on blackface can be found in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled which I liked a lot. Here’s a trailer for the film.

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My favorite Roman Polanski films

For someone with a long and prolific career, Polanski has certainly pulled off the difficult feat of consistently creating great movies in many genres. While I have my favorites I can’t think of any Polanski film I didn’t like. My favorite is an easy pick and requires no thought on my part: Tess. It’s a fantastic adaptation of the novel with probably the best casting of any novel put to screen. Alec, Angel, Tess, and the Derbyfields seem to walk straight off the pages of the novel. The photography can’t be beat.

Second favorite is a little more difficult. I have to say that I loved Bitter Moon. What an odd little movie. Usually when directors cast their wives in the lead role it’s a bad thing, but Emmanuelle Seigner is always fantastic. I loved Peter Coyote’s performance. I love how he’s a writer and how he’s not a very good one. The film has a lot of very strange surprises including one that had me rolling on the floor.

Chinatown is a favorite. I enjoyed watching Knife in the Water. Probably my least favorite would be Death and the Maiden. I wasn’t too taken with Sigourney Weaver’s performance although the film is very good. What is your favorite Polanski movie?

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The worst school ever

I saw If… for the second time. It’s fantastic and has a far better performance from Malcolm MacDowell than A Clockwork Orange. I kept thinking while watching this that the Columbine murderers certainly had nothing to complain about.

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In the Loop

I saw In the Loop last night and I can’t recommend it enough. The film is an offshoot of the British television series “The Thick of It” which I have only seen a couple of episodes of. The series and film have a sort of docu-drama feel although the actors don’t confront the camera at any time and you don’t get the idea that what they are saying is made for public consumption, but it has the shaky camera the quick cuts that are normal in such films.

The premise is to take the events that led up to the UN Resolution to attack Iraq and to show them through lower level cabinet officials of both the British and the American governments. What’s fascinating about this film is that each major point is fact. We know that the British supported America in their endeavor to declare war on Iraq. We know that the reasons were inexplicable to a large percentage of the British and American public. Tony Blair’s inexplicable unconditional support of the Bush Administration led many to characterize Blair as being the lap dog of the Americans. We know that British intelligence was used by the Bush Administration as justification to the war. We know that opposition was squashed despite very serious reservations about the quality of such intelligence.

So in this film, we see a fictionalized account of how all of the above came to be. The characters are fictional, but again I think the major points of the film are accurate. The film is funny. Depressing. How can so many people put their careers above the common good in such a callous way? It’s hard to swallow. The dialogue is great though I think the dialogue of the American characters is somewhat off. I think Americans are more likely to smile to your face and tell you what you want to hear than stab you in the back, so I guess what I’m saying is the Americans talk a little bit too much like the Brits. The Brits swear with such foul relish. It’s poetry really and very clever. And very funny. But not so American which is why it sounds odd when the American characters do it. I suppose we’ve heard of politicians like Cheney throwing fuck yous out there, but that’s not really so clever and funny. Just foul.

I loved Peter Capaldi’s performance. Just like on the television series he is fantastic. I wasn’t so taken with James Gandolfini but again I think that’s because the words coming out of his mouth just didn’t quite sound right. A little too British and not so American. It’s certainly an uncomfortable film to watch at times because the humor is so incredibly dark. This is an incredibly dark subject and very smartly done. The next day I’m still thinking of what a tragic clusterfuck this all was.

Update: I’ve just been looking on google for what other clips they show of this film. Ignore all the trailer clips. The film’s charm is the swearing which sadly is not included in any trailer.
I enjoyed the crossest man in Scotland: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa3eoMnMC80”

And the Steve Coogan clip: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5kdOvsyv98”

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If you haven’t seen Office Killer, you should. Carol Kane plays a doormat secretary who accidentally starts enacting revenge on those who have treated her badly. The photography is extraordinary as you would expect from Cindy Sherman. I also love it when my favorite character actors get to play the lead — in this case it’s Carol Kane and she rules. I should warn you that the genre is extreme black comedy. The humor is dark and disturbing.

I’m not sure what this clip below is. It’s not from the film, but it kind of looks like the film. Some sort of art is going on.

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The Tango Lesson

This is perhaps one of the most self-indulgent films I’ve ever seen. Allow me to describe. Sally Potter is a film-maker wants to learn how to tango, so she hires one of the best tango dancers to teach her. She then makes a film about her experience learning to tango casting herself as, well herself, so that the audience can watch her dance throughout the film.

We are somewhat saved in that it’s very enjoyable watching Pablo Veron dance. I was however left a little uncomfortable with this dashing young dancer having an affair with this older filmmaker. Perhaps because it seemed like he was only doing it to be part of the movie. I can’t really say what was real and what was fiction which is I suppose the whole point. Did they really have an affair? I guess I’ll never know.

If all of the above doesn’t sound ridiculous let me add that at the closing credits Sally Potter sings and sings badly. Tone deaf.

I was reminded of this film this week, because I heard an anecdote about a woman who can’t sing making a CD of her own recordings and distributing it to all her friends and subordinants at work. Some people just have no idea.

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Busy busy busy with not much to say. Danton is doing fabulously; thank you all for your inquiries into his health.

Here’s Meryl Streep in one of my favorite movies Postcards from the Edge.

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Be Kind Rewind

While this movie isn’t a great film, it has at least 4 great scenes. Most of the good stuff is in this preview.  I have to hand it to Jack Black. No film is too small for him. He truly is a risk taker.

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I’m speechless.

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Alice Cooper in Sextette

It’s getting painful to watch, but if you can’t resist, click here.

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Sextette continues

I’m glad that Timothy Dalton was able to make something of his career after this film.

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What movie stars Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Regis Philbin and George Raft? There’s no movie that could possibly have all those people in it? Well, yes there is. I’ll be posting videos this week until they run out.

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Karamazovi

I saw Karamazovi at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) last night. It uses a similar formula to Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street in that you are watching actors rehearsing a play. The drama is in the performance, yet you get these outside glimpses into real life (or are they real?) in between the play’s dialogue. The play is a theatrical version of The Brothers Karamazov.

I can’t recommend it enough. The film is in Czech, Polish and English.

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Interesting.

Here’s what I would add.

1. Just about anything from The Graduate.

2. In the Name of the Father, both title track by Gavin Friday and “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart” by Sinead O’Conner.

3. Interview with the Vampire “Sympathy For the Devil” by Guns N’ Roses. (Practically the only part of the film I liked. It played at the very end and then the closing credits.)

4. The Crying Game “Stand by your Man” performed by Llyle Lovett. I guess I really like Neil Jordan’s choices.

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Actor Stellan Skarsgard says he’s no big fan of Dan Brown’s writing and accepted a role in “Angels & Demons” only after reading the script based on Brown’s book.

“I think Dan Brown is a terribly bad writer, but he has cliffhangers after every chapter which makes you continue reading,” Skarsgard told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

“It’s like eating peanuts at a bar. You don’t like them, but you keep on eating them anyway,” he said.

This looked like the most interesting Stellan Skarsgard clip to post. Anyone seen this movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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The Implied Observer apologizes for being offline for so many days. I was moving this weekend and then unpacking. Just about the only thing I managed to do that was fun was see the new Star Trek movie. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then please do not read on. There will be spoilers a plenty.

Overall the movie was a fun two hours plus. I should add the disclaimer that I am not a huge fan of the original series, though I do like The Next Generation. So I should be in no way beholden to the original series like my friend Tom. And yet…..

Spock is not supposed to have emotions, and presumably the fact that he does not makes him a fun character. That’s why everyone loves Spock. And that’s why everyone loved Data in the TNG. So why would you take that one great part of the character and compromise it? Spock has a girlfriend? The girlfriend is Uhura? Again, not beholden to the original but this seems pretty out there and I don’t think it added anything to the film.

There was an utter lack of science fiction in this film. This is an adventure film pure and simple. All of our current technologies are replaced with newer technologies, but somehow those newer technologies don’t seem to change any aspect of human nature or cause people to reflect differently on how things are done. This is futuristic but it is not science fiction.

I think Leonard Nimoy was completely wasted and it was kind of embarrassing to watch.
One thing that was fun was that they appeared to make a conscious effort to cast actors that looked like the original actors. I especially enjoyed the guys they got to play Dr. MacCoy, Chekhov and Scottie. Sadly Sulu was the weakest link. Whether that be because they gave the actor nothing to work with or all his stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, I won’t try to guess. As for Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike? Fun, but minimal.

So have you seen the new Star Trek? Any thoughts?

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Yesterday I was talking to my friend Tom about the new Star Trek movie. Tom won’t be watching the movie because as he put it, the whole dynamic of the original series has been thrown out the window with story revision. Spock and Kirk did not know each other before working together on the Enterprise. To have them be colleagues in the academy completely changes their entire relationship. Tom went on in incredible detail about all the changes to the story and how the new film is really creating an alternate universe of the series.

Tom, this video is for you.

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Random thoughts

It’s been really hard posting lately. Work has been somewhat difficult and then there is the fact that I am once again moving. The third time in less than 2 years.

What have I read lately that I like? Well this was a great Explainer article at Slate about preventing flu. On the same topic of science you can read about the rise and fall of high fructose corn syrup, also on Slate.

Everyone says the film Bob Roberts is very poignant right now. I’ve never seen it. Care to recommend it to me?

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