Thursday, July 26, 2012

Men In Black 3

Jemaine Clement and Josh Brolin were both pretty good in this. There were fun bits here and there, but nothing too memorable.

Sixteen Candles (1984)

I took Heather across the street to the Readings Town Square 14 to see tonight because she had not seen since she was 12. The movie was introduced by two Asian teenagers who were trying very hard to lead the crowd in a fun game of movie trivia, but it was made increasingly difficult by a row of women who were probably in their late 30's/early 40's but all acted much younger and much more immature. Plus, they all looked like they should be a Rollergirl team. I digress, the presentation itself was among the worst I've ever seen; a dvd blown up, stretched out, and so so so dark.  A movie should have presence on the big screen, should it not?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Roadgames (1981)

Re-watch. Love this movie and love showing it to people. Showed it to my friend Carthy tonight. He thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monsers, Inc. (2001)

Waited 11 years to watch it & I loved it. Very funny and sweet.

Rear Window (1954)

I liked it, although I thought it was a bit long. Also, it's one of those movies that even though I had never actually sat down to watch it, I still felt like I had seen it. If you've never seen "Roadgames," which is essentially an Australian remake of this, you should check it out.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Possession (1981)

Bizarre, passionate, and vibrant. Wicked wtf ending.

Ted (2012)

Meh...all I was hoping for was that it would be funny and it wasn't.

Take This Waltz (2012)

A very very astute film about the perils of a long-term relationship. And full-frontal nudity to boot!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Driller Killer (1979)

Cashback (2006)

This was really good.  Very funny and stylish, with a lot of heart.  Not at all what I was expecting from the poster artwork.

Summer School (1987)

Late night re-watch in honor of Fright-Rags new "Summer School" t-shirt.

Deathdream (1974)

Re-watch:  Showing some new friends, they "liked it a lot."

Friday, June 29, 2012

To Rome With Love (2012)

Better than I expected, though not great.  2 1/2 stars. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Hidden (1987)

Re-watch.  One of the benefits of moving to a new town is making new friends, though it's been a slow process.  One of the rewards though is being able to share your favorite things with new people.  This went over well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

This was fun and fairly well-made.  Reminded me a little of "Happy Accidents," in a good way.  Also, admitted I have a crush on Aubrey Plaza.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)

One of my all time favorite movies is Don McKellar's 1998(9) Canadian Apocalyptic Comic-Drama, "Last Night."  When I first saw the trailer for Lorene Scafaria's "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World," I couldn't help but note the strange similarities between scenes in the trailer and McKellar's film.  The opening scene of the trailer features a Radio DJ uttering the line "We'll be bringing you our countdown to the end of days along with all your Classic Rock favorites," which instantly made me think of the DJ in "Last Night" opening the movie with "Coming up on the last night on the planet and you're listening to CKRT, the Top 500 Songs of All Time, with you right until the end."

The next scene in the trailer is of Steve Carell walking into a semi-abandoned office building, pointlessly going to work, which made me think of David Cronenberg's fate in McKellar's film.  Cut to the scene in the trailer with the celebratory friendly gathering, in which the charming, but depressed leading man is being pressured by his friends to "hook-up" and avoid "dying alone."  Then there's a distraught girl directly outside our lead's apartment, she needs help.  Together, the two set of on a journey trying to help one another (in Mckellar's film, the lead only wants to help her).  This stuff was all in the trailer.  To be fair to the movie though, there are plenty of differences between the films, foremost among them being the fact this movie is much more of a "road movie" than "Last Night" is.   

So going into the movie, you have to believe me when I say that I tried very very hard to remain objective while viewing "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World."  And to it's credit, for much of the movie, I was enjoying myself, for the most part.   Keira Knightly was pretty bad in the movie, especially when she cried.  Usually when people cry in real life, they're either in pain or trying to manipulate someone.  When she cried in the movie I didn't believe she was in pain, nor did I find her convincing enough to be manipulated by her.

I was really hoping to like this movie more, if for no other reason than that I like Steve Carell and want him to make good movies.  That being said, I liked him in it, but overall I thought the movie was a 2 1/2 star effort.

As far as remaining objective went, I felt like I was doing a pretty good job until the last 15 minutes or so.  The ending of the movie, while not the exact same, bore enough of a similarity to send me fuming from the theater as the credits rolled.

On a side note, how much do I love "Last Night?"  When I was programming for the Austin film series, Cinema41, the first movie I chose was "Last Night," and we even finagled Don Mckellar himself and Cinematographer Doug Koch for a Skype Q&A.  Here is the Q&A in it's entirety.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Richard Lynch (1936-2012)

The life of character actor Richard Lynch has always interested me.  Classical trained at The Actors Studio, young Richard Lynch allegedly tripping on Acid, set his head on fire, resulting in numerous facial scars.  Where some might think this would have ended his career, it actually resulted in a new career as a reptilian villain in numerous films such as "Invasion USA," "The Sword & The Sorcerer," "Bad Dreams," "God Told Me To," and many more, including the underrated "The Baron."  He always brought a sense of class to the movies he was in, even if they didn't always warrant it.

RIP Richard Lynch

The Usual Suspects (1996)

Re-watched this in the hotel room in Vegas, while waiting for Heather to wake-up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Susan Tyrrell (1945-2012)

Goodbye Susu, thank you for all the great performances.  The two Q&A's of yours that I was fortunate enough to witness were unbelievably endearing and entertaining.  The screening of "Nightwarning" at The Last Night at The Alamo is among my favorite all-time screenings.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hard Eight (1996)

Re-watch:  Just as great as ever.

Lookin' to Get Out (1982)

Directed by Hal Ashby and written by/starring Jon Voight, "Lookin' to Get Out" has all the makings of a forgotten gem, but in this case, there's a reason it's forgotten.  In some cases, when a movie has a deeply flawed character with few, if any, redeeming qualities, it is still possible to overcome the problem of having an unlikely lead.  In this movie though, it's just too hard.  Possibly due to the pacing which starts of cracklin' but quickly loses steam.  It's a catch-22, making a movie about a flawed character, but still investing the audience in that character. 

Positives:  cool opening credits, Burt Young, and the nice Vegas scenery.

Honeymoon In Vegas (1992)

We're getting ready to go to Vegas this weekend for our 4 year anniversary, so this week we've been watching movies set in Vegas.  I haven't watched this in about a decade.  Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Silent Partner (1978)

Re-watch:  Showed this to some new friends, it's easily in my Top 10 Favorite movies.  I could watch it once a week and never tire of it. 

The Color of Money (1986)

Watching this the other day for the first time on a double feature with "The Hustler" boded well for this one considering how ready I was for something a little more fast-paced at that point.  I'm as much of a Scorsese fan as anyone else.  This film, like "The Hustler," had it's moments and it fun seeing familiar faces pop-up like Forrest Whitaker and Iggy Pop.  Newman is very good in it, particularly in the 3rd act.  Cruise on the other hand just doesn't gel with Scorsese in my opinion, maybe it's the hair which is out of control.

Overall, I kind of felt the same about "The Color of Money" as I did the "The Hustler," solid, but nothing I'd watch again anytime soon.  In the realm of Scorsese, it felt particularly disappointing. 

The Hustler (1961)

Obviously this is a classic, but to be honest, watching it the other day was really difficult.  It just felt unnecessarily long, especially in the middle. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

White Dog (1982)

Re-watch:  I love this movie.  Co-written by Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") who got the job based on his script for one of my absolute favorite films, "The Silent Partner," "White Dog" famously fell victim to a timid studio and a fear-induced frenzy of unfounded racial outrage over the subject matter. As a result, the allegorical tale of an attack dog taught to hate black people, and the fight that ensues to save it's life by reteaching it, did not get a theatrical release until 1992 (not sure what exactly changed in that 10 years). "White Dog" is film filled with blood-fueled passion and gladiatorial intensity, crafted by an American master of matter-of-fact film-making.

Overnight (2003)

Not a fan of "Boondock Saints" at all, so this documentary didn't tarnish my opinion of that movie, but it didn't help my opinion of industry-folk.  Obviously Troy Duffy is, at least presenting as, a huge douche in this movie, but I'm willing to believe that although it's probably a biased portrayal of him, it's probably still a fairly accurate one.  I guess I'm willing to believe in his douchey-ness due to his incredibly douchey debut feature.  Either way, what bothered me the most about this movie was the terrible judgement of the industry-folk in this movie. 

Regardless of whether or not Miramax was ever serious about making "Boondock Saints," they certainly indulged Duffy and his cronies.  So too did the record label who was trying to cash-in on the possible success of an unmade film with media buzz.  I guess my question is, what does this sort of lack-of-judgement and wiliness to pay-out for a cliched half-baked vigilante fantasy, say about the state of the movie industry? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

In Roger Ebert's 2001 review of the Ryan Phillippe movie "Antitrust" he begins by discussing the concept of "The Goofy Meter," a hypothetical needle that regulates the level of goofiness in a given movie.  Throughout the years since, my friend Daniel & I have semi-regularly referenced the Goofy Meter, whenever a movie somehow registers a "Too Goofy" in our minds. 

For me, "Moonrise Kingdom" is the first Wes Anderson movie to sway the Goofy Meter.  It happens in the third act, pretty much from the point that lightning becomes involved.  From that point on, the movie just seems to derail a bit.  On paper, the narrative wraps up nicely, but as a viewer, it all just seemed too goofy.  Fortunately the first 2/3rds of the movie is strange and interesting enough to merit a mild recommendation.  The first-love courtship of two quirky 12 year-olds in the 1960's is the centerpiece of Anderson's strange world.  The film does a great job of articulating the ultra-seriousness and over-romanticizing of youth and contrasts it well with Bill Murray and Francis McDormand's crumbling marriage. 

In typical Anderson fashion, the film is very detail oriented and in some cases too eccentric.  The two young leads are interesting to watch; their wooden disenchanted performances would seem out of place in any other movie other than Anderson's.  Also, Edward Norton is really good in it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)

I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping to enjoy this.  I haven't enjoyed a Tim Burton film since, oh I don't know, "Corpse Bride."  Prior to that, "Mars Attacks."  Even though Burton has basically become a parody of himself, there was a part of me that was rooting for him in this one.  In the end, the real problem with "Dark Shadows" is that there are just way too many ingredients in the pie and not enough room in the pan.  To be honest, it's just one big mess.

Bernie (2012)

Always been a Linklater fan although he's had a few misses over the years.  He's an interesting filmmaker.  Jack Black & Shirley MacLaine are both very good in this.  A lot of the times whenever a comedic actor takes on a dramatic role there's usually a lot buzz calling for Oscar noms and such, but I doubt that will happen with Black's performance, but it is quite good.

The use of the real residents of Carthage, TX in the movie provides an inspired mix of documentary and narrative.  On a side note, Matthew McConaughey is not very good in this, but he did remind me of my former boss, complete with the same hair, huge glasses, jacket, tie, and even the gut.

Cabin In The Woods (2012)

I'm sure you've been there before; you're thoroughly enjoying a clever movie and then the credits roll, the lights come up, and the people behind you open their big dumb mouths.  "I would of rather watched 'Spongebob," the person behind me said to his friends as "The Cabin In The Woods" ended.  Now I have nothing against our yellow spongy friend, nor do I really have anything against others opinions about art, I mean it's all subjective.  That being said though, it is daunting sometimes when someone has such an opposing viewpoint to yours when you both just experienced the exact same thing.

I don't watch a lot of modern Horror films, so to be fair I'm not exactly in-tune with what the modern Horror fan likes.  My big criticism of modern Horror is that it tends to lack any sense of fun or originality, two things "The Cabin in the Woods" has no shortage of.  Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's satire of Horror tropes is both fun and original, but unfortunately for some, it's not very scary.  Once again, I suspect that expectations will play a big part in how much you enjoy "Cabin in the Woods."   

Monday, May 28, 2012

Straight To Hell (1987)

So much fun!   Great cast including Joe Strummer, Sy Richardson, Courtney Love (original face), Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Jim Jarmusch, Shane MacGowan, & Elvis Costello.  Free-wheeling and cool-as-fuck.

Defendor (2009)

I liked this better than "Super." 

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Blade In The Dark (1983)

I liked this a lot, it reminded me of the kind of Horror friends would make, shot on location in a single house.  The plot concerns a musician hired to score the soundtrack for Horror movie, working in a secluded house.  He meets strange people, some of which disappear and he fears have been murdered. 

The visuals and music are top notch Giallo stuff, the women are all very attractive, and the horrible English dubbing at times results in hilarious dialogue.  Fun stuff.

The Mexican (2001)

Re-watch.  Okay, real talk:  I love this movie.  I always have and I've never understood the negative reputation it has.  The most common complaint about this movie is that it has two huge stars in it but chooses to separate them for the whole duration of the film.  While that's true, I don't think that it's to it's detriment.  If you've ever seen the movie, you would know that the most obnoxious relationship in the movie is that of Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt in the first 10 minutes.  The truth is, if the whole movie was built around their relationship I probably wouldn't love it. 

The only other criticism I can understand about the movie is that Brad Pitt's performance is a little douchey, which it is, but he's supposed to be a really dumb American, so I don't think that it's that bad.  Either way, this movie, despite how the poster looks, is a fun little crime film, filled with clever twists and turns.     

Saved! (2004)

Re-watch.  Holds up. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

American Grindhouse (2010)

This was pretty good, though by the numbers.

The Avengers (2012)

This was basically what I expected.  Every Marvel movie since "Iron Man" has been fun, smart, and competently made.  The one thing that they really haven't got a lot of credit for is how funny they are.  Even the worst of them, "Iron Man 2," was really funny (intentionally or not). 

Anyway, this was a lot of fun.  I'm not going to lie though, after a decade of superhero films, I'm pretty burnt out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2009)

This was very sympathetic to Polanski.  It does a good job of illustrating how royally fucked the court case was, but in the process it really whitewashes the whole rape thing. 

Candyman (1992)

Somehow, I never saw "Candyman."  I really really liked it a lot.  Maybe it's the Phillip Glass score that makes this film seem so much smarter than the average Slasher film, or at least classier. 

Greenberg (2010)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Brothers Solomon (2007)

This movie still makes me chuckle.  Plus, the ending sequence where they're trying to get the word out is very funny and super sweet. 

Zandalee (1991)

Continuing my exploration of all thing Nic Cage, I finally got around to watching "Zandalee" last night, a film that I once racked up $35 late fee for despite never actually watching it. One third 90's Independent, one third 90's Skin-a-max, and a third New Orleans Southern Gothic, "Zandalee" is definitely a guilty pleasure (emphasis on pleasure). The cast is filled with familiar faces, Judge Reinhold, Marissa Tomei, and Steve Buscemi among others. Buscemi plays a sleazy wise-cracking garbage man/thief. Joe Pantoliano is in drag for most of the movie. Judge Reinhold and Nic Cage both wear ridiculous facial hair and hair styles in the movie. The dialogue is actually pretty good and Cage delivers lines like "“I wanna shake you naked and eat you alive" better than anyone else. And of course, Cage plays most of the movie way over the top.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Beyond The Black Rainbow (2012)

This took a fully 30 minutes to really get going, but I thought it was an interesting ride in the end.  The aesthetic is great, both visually and musically.  For some I imagine it will be a case of style over substance, but I wouldn't mind watching it again.

Empire Records (1995)

Not as good as I remembered, but it was an interest trip down memory lane.  The deleted scenes with Rex Manning should have been in the movie.  Also, I didn't realize that the director of this also directed "Times Square."


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

You know this is a movie I've seen a few times and was never really that impressed with.  That being said, seeing it on 35mm really kind of won me over.  Hard to explain why, but it did.  I enjoyed it a lot more this time around.

Casa De Mi Padre (2012)

This was a lot of fun.  I appreciated that it wasn't necessarily a straight-forward Comedy, there's subtle bits of Drama mixed in.  I have a feeling it will age very well.