Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1113 - Hard Core Logo

Look at me, I go from no Bruce films to two in one week. Am I a proud Canadian or what? I have to say that this is a heads and tails difference between this and Dance Me Outside. The acting, the visual style, everything about it seems so rejuvenated. This really is a lovely little piece of film and I love that McDonald is creating this little saga of other related films to go along with it. Excited to look out for those. Hugh Dillon and Callum Keith Rennie both give electrifying and interesting performances in a film that relies a lot on subtlety. I definitely need to re-visit this at some point with a more serious critical eye. It's a truly great film. Proud to have a poster of it in my office. Now I won't feel as bad about walking past it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

1112 - Dance Me Outside

I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first Bruce McDonald film that I've seen. Given the resources I imagine they had it's a nice little film. A little over-lit in a lot of the interiors, but it's easy enough to get past it. The non-professional cast is quite good and there's enough good moments in this film to easily recommend it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

1111 - Tropic Thunder

There's not much that I can say without ruining a lot of the greatness that's in this action-comedy. A really solid fun ensemble film that has enough biting satire to make it an almost instant classic for me. A rare movie where the jokes you look forward to in the trailer are just the beginning. Well done team. Tom Cruise has his best role in years and it's great to see Jay Baruchel continue to do well. Everyone that's in this film is at the top of their comedic game. A lot of fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1110 - Cloverfield

I remember having one of those great 'what the fuck was that' moments after seeing the trailer before Transformers. It still amazes me and makes me happy that they were able to keep the film a complete secret. I'd like to think that if they made a sequel they'd do the same thing, no announcement, just suddenly it would be done and ready. You could have it take place the same night with a different group of people... OK... getting ahead of myself.
There's a spot in my heart for this kind of film because of my personal project. I think the cast here was amazing, the party scene that starts the film is really well done. You meet everyone and you care for them all. It's a really great opening. I think this was a really smart and brave way to tell this story and it's inspiring to see it done well and smart.

1109 - No Reservations

I've only seen bits and pieces of the original version of this film. I was annoyed by this film's trailer, and it's not it's fault... or maybe it is. My first thought was simply, "Just what we need, another sibling-has-to-raise-dead-siblings-kid movie. There's been a slew of them in recent years and so I just rolled my eyes a bit, despite the fact that I enjoy everyone in this cast.
So how was it? It's a romantic comedy. It's what you'd expect. That being said all of the typical rom-com moments still play out, but not in over-the-top scenes. The relationship is subtle and actually nicely real. They don't have a massive stupid fight, they have a real one over real things. So in that, it was quite nice for what it was. Cute.

Monday, August 18, 2008

1108 - Planet Terror

After watching the shit fest that was Death Proof I had lowered my expectations completely prior to watching this, which was the perfect way to watch it since it ended up blowing me away. In a film that was meant to be kind of a throw-away, Rodriguez flexes his creative muscle to the hilt, where in QT's outing, he just spit out some more dialogue. The difference in the two films is embarrassing. This is the kind of film that makes you wonder the the fuck Rose McGowan isn't a super-star yet. She's gorgeous, smart, and funny as hell. I've had a crush on her since I first saw her in Scream many years ago. Here's hoping that we see a lot more of her in years to come. She deserves it. I'm looking forward to diving into the special features on this disc. Unlike the other Grindhouse feature I could see myself revisiting it for McGowan's performance alone. Really stellar, great fun.

1107 - Degrassi Junior High - season two

This show has grown on me. I love things that have big lives and this show definitely does. I love how characters come and go, much like real life, how they grow, re-invent themselves, etc... The acting isn't great, but the kids are getting better that's for sure. I need to watch the whole cannon of this series. A friend of mine is cutting the current season, must be an interesting thing to work on. Only one more season left in our collection and then I'll have to break down and buy the High series, then the next generation...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

1106 - Death Proof

I never got around to seeing this in the theaters along side Planet Terror, so I'm just getting to it now. I realize that the DVD version I'm watching is longer than the theatrical cut, but good goddamn if this film wasn't the biggest cock tease of all time. Everyone knows Tarantino writes great dialogue. But to make me sit through it for FOREVER with no real story or motivation to anything gets a bit trying. The two car sequences in this film really are fantastic, but are they worth the wait? I don't think so. If I ever revisit this film it'll be for those scenes only since the rest was the longest, slowest foreplay ever.
Whatever, I'm sure that Quentin has amused himself for whatever reason, and so hopefully now he'll focus his talent on a proper film and not this geek-masturbatory garbage. I wasn't disappointed because I wasn't expecting much, but this was a shit-sandwich. Unless you're a die-hard QT fan, don't waste your time.

1105 - The Darjeeling Limited

I have mixed feelings about Wes Anderson's films, and despite them I always find myself enjoying them in the end. Despite being as colorful as they are they always feel a bit cold and distant to me. Is it intentional? I have no idea. There's a heart to them, I know there is, but it's like that parent that you just can't get close to, that wants to show you love but doesn't know how. I wanted the Rita character to come back at the end and be with Jack. Oh well.
This film had some really lovely moments in it, but like most of his films, besides Tenenbaums (my favorite Anderson film), it's parts are better than the whole.

1104 - Wag the Dog

It's been awhile since I've watched this film. It was laying out on our table for some reason and I couldn't think of a good reason not to watch it. Hoffman is so amazingly funny in this role as a producer who just wants some goddamn credit for all his hard work. The film makes you laugh, and then worry that this has/is happening. A classic political satire for anyone a bit skeptical of what goes on behind the lines. I'm going to go look for my "Good Ole Shoe" album now.

1103 - I Am Legend

I wasn't expecting this film to be that good, not sure why. I think I'd heard several people trashing it. I was entertained, mostly just because I'd watch Will Smith watch paint dry. The guy is just interesting and never fails to disappoint. There's some minor holes that bother me, but not too much. I'll let them go considering what kind of movie this is trying to be. I think that the ending was perfect and the lead up to it perfectly entertaining. If you can let logic slide a bit, it's a fun ride.

Friday, August 15, 2008

1102 - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Allow me to state my bias up front. Anyone that knows me know that I love Woody Allen. That being said I don't think he's above criticism for some of his work. And some are far better than others. Of his forty odd films that he's made I re-watch or reference at least half of them on a semi-regular basis, and some of the others every few years. There's maybe three or four that I'll probably never see again.
The cast is this film is amazing. Where the hell Rebecca Hall came from I don't know, but she's really fantastic. She feels real and I was intrigued by her character so much more than I thought I would be. There is a narration to this film that takes a while to get used to, but once you're in, you're golden. Scarlett is wonderful as usual in Woody's films, and I love that she lets herself play the character that she does here. No ego whatsoever. Of course the film belongs to Bardem and Cruz as a divorced couple that just can't get over one another. Their scenes are worth watching the film for alone.
There's a brilliantly comedic moment with Bardem's father, explaining the reasons he's not a poet that just killed me. I laughed for at least a minute.
I have so much more I could say about this, but I'd rather just encourage you to go. If you like Woody at all, it's worth the price of admission.

1101 - The King of Kong

I've been wanting to see this for awhile now. Lots and lots of recommendations. What's great about it is that if you didn't know better you'd swear this was scripted and casted. It's perfect in it's execution. The classic rivalry between good Vs. evil, etc... lots of really really great stuff. The people are just wonderful. Billy is the classic evil nerd who looks charasmatic and has an evil dad (the sunglasses killed me) and an evil little protoge filling him in on his opponent's every move. Classic wonderful stuff. There's a narrative feature in development, which I think is interesting, but probably not really needed. Not sure how you can top the real thing. Fantastic stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Avenue Q

Emily and I saw this originally in New York when we were there for a film festival that a short of mine was playing in. It blew us away then and continues to even now having just gotten home from it. Originally I was just amazed and thought it would make a fantastic film, but now I think it's in it's ideal form and I'm not sure how much you could improve upon a film version. The content is so wonderfully over-the-top and in your face, and it works because it's got a heart. It'll hurt your sides from laughter and hurt your heart from some of it's brutal honesty. See it while it's still in town!

Monday, August 11, 2008

1100 - The Office: season two

I never expected this version of the show to be this good. The whole cast is stellar. And they use it to it's utmost perfect. The little roles are just so great. Fleshed out in ways the british version never could because of it's short life span. Always great bits and scenarios. And the relationship between Jim and Pam is wonderfully heartbreaking. I love the cliff-hanger that they left this series on. Can't wait to see how it plays out!!!

1099 - The Savages

This film has some really beautiful honest moments. I really enjoyed it. I liked the little understated quirks that the characters had, and I think they all came to a really nice conclusion. It was an interesting choice to stay away from the father storyline and just focus on the siblings. Laura Linney is wonderful and beautiful here. Hoffman, as always is stellar.

1098 - Eulogy

I wanted to see this film because it's close to a project that I had in mind. It's got a really great cast and some really funny moments. I have a crush on Zooey Deschanel so I'm sure that helps. She has a lovely simple and understated quality to herself. I think this film could have worked better with fewer family members to deal with. It has a great twist at the end, and it's enjoyable throughout. I like it.

1097 - Cassandra's Dream

I tried to see this film for forever. Tried to see it at TIFF, was about three people away from getting in. Somehow missed it in theaters, and then when it came out on DVD no one was stocking it. I love Woody Allen. I own all his films. Ever since I've been aware of him I've seen all of his films in the theaters (save this one, of course). Not sure what happened here. Great cast, interesting premise, but it just felt... I don't know. When it was good it was great. Some really fantastic moments, especially surrounding the 'event'. I think it could have been a little tighter in spots. Looking forward to "Vicky Christina Barcelona".

Thursday, August 07, 2008

1096 - Pineapple Express

I just want to start off by saying that no one wanted to like this film more than I did. I love the shit out of the trailer and I'm a fan of almost-all-things-Apatow. You knew they had to make a stinker eventually. That stinker has a name, and the name is Pineapple Express. Is it funny? Of course, there's some really great parts to it. Could have it been a lot funnier? Shit yes. And I don't normally do this, but I'm blaming the director on this. Having never seen anything of David Gordon Green's other pieces I have to be honest in saying that to begin with, it just feels and looks flat. The camera work is lazy and just doesn't feel exciting in any way shape or form. In terms of the action sequences, it feels like a student film director shot them. Besides that the actors seem to have far too much reign. There's just some really horrible things that can only come from the product of bad improvising and probably editing while high. I can only hope some of the "let's keep that" decisions weren't done sober.
Seth and Franco are really great, let's not rock on them, the material itself, I believe is fine. I think with a director better suited to the material this film could have worked, but I just think Green was over his head and became part of a well oiled machine and had no idea how to run it. The film fails because of it's execution. It's a shame. I'm by no means going to turn away from the Apatow camp, however I won't be able to recommend this like I wanted to :(.

Monday, August 04, 2008

1095 - The Dark Knight

It's been a long time since I saw a film twice in the theaters, but this one is worth it. It really is a great film, and is even better on the second viewing, even when you know all the turns it's going to take, it's still a great ride. There are a lot of elements working for this film, but the key is the Joker, and he's perfect. From how he almost appears out of thin air to 'cause chaos, and does he ever. The beauty of this film is how as each side tries to keep a step ahead they each keep under or over estimating the other. Scene by scene, beat by beat, this film is a near masterpiece. Give it a couple of years and we'll see how it stands up. But as far as I'm concerned this is probably one of, if not the movie of the year.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

1094 - Wanted

Here's some advice on how to approach watching this film. Take your brain out of your head, put it in a drawer, sit back and relax. You won't need it, that's for sure. In fact, having it is not going to help you enjoy this. The point of this film isn't to be realistic, I get that. The point is to justify cool action moves and set pieces with the least amount of story as possible. And it doesn't really matter that the story doesn't make sense, and that characters motivations are inconsistent and often nonexistent. This isn't that kind of movie. I guess when it comes to a lot of the talented actors in this film this was the "make one for the money" movie. There were some cool action pieces, but there kind of had to be otherwise there wouldn't be anything else. Sequel? Probably. Video game? God, I hope so. Let's get something out of this.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

1093 - Michael Clayton

Finally I got around to seeing this film. It could be because I watched it late and I was tired, but it didn't do a whole hell of a lot for me. It kind of meandered and felt a bit contrived. The environmental thriller is becoming a bit of a cliché these days. I should give this another viewing when I'm not so tired, just to be fair to it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

1092 - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

I wanted to see this last year at TIFF and then never got around to it when it was in the theaters. I'm a fan of all the actors involved, and am of the mindset that Maria Tomei is widely underused. She's more than just beautiful. She's radiant. The fractured style of this story works quite well as we get to see the motivations and perspectives at different times and for different reasons. I think that it helps to distract from a pretty simple narrative by making it more complex just through the telling. That in and of itself is a powerful choice in storytelling and it serves the film well. The stakes in this film keep rising and it works really well to the point where you wonder just how the hell they'll get out of it, or if they possibly can. I'm trying to watch heist films, etc... in preparation for something I'm working on, but I don't think this quite worked. Oh well, still worth watching :)