Sunday, September 28, 2008

1134 - In the Land of Women

And the award for most deceptive trailer of the year goes to.... this film. Was that a good thing? Not sure. I don't know if I would have been that into the film I thought it was going to be. Again without spoiling anyway I'll say that this movie went in a better direction than the trailer suggested, and the trailer also covered up a major plot element, I'm assuming because it was aiming at a lower demographic. In the end the film was just OK. Love Adam Brody. Love Meg Ryan. The story wasn't anything special. Rainy afternoon film.

Friday, September 26, 2008

1133 - Burn After Reading

I've been excited for this film for quite some time. The story idea sounded wonderful, especially with the promise of the Coen's doing the execution. The early set pictures of Pitt in a bike helmet and suit were confusing in the way that makes you geek-giddy about what it could possibly mean.
I like the Coens. However I also believe that they're the kind of filmmakers who could care less about what their audience wants and expects. They make movies for themselves and if we like them too, that's just icing on their cake. That being said I found myself bored with this. None of the characters were that likable in any way that made me want to root for them. There's some shocks, but they're carefully planted. Sure we get our big starts playing goofy over-the-top characters, but as we learned with their 'The Ladykillers' that doesn't always make for a good film.
A disappointment for sure. I can't even recommend a rental on this unfortunately.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

1132 - Zodiac

I've been meaning to watch this film for a long time but the damn length kept me from it. It's hard to find time these days to watch a two and a half hour film outside of the theaters. I love that this film doesn't try and speculate on anything. All it does it observe the people that were trying to observe the killer. The tagline for the film "There's more than one way to lose your life to a serial killed" is fantastic, and that's exactly what this film is about. Obsession. The performances are fantastic and never over-the-top. Using only the information that exists it weaves a wonderful little puzzle as we watch a man potentially lose his life and those he loves, not through murder, but through the obsession of a murderer. Really interesting film. Glad I finally found time to watch it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

1131 - Intolerable Cruelty

I've been looking for love/rivalry reference films and I forgot how much I enjoyed this one. It's not perfect, no, but I think it's greatly undervalued by many Coen fans who dismiss it as a simple romantic comedy, which I suppose it can be labelled as, but it's more of a screwball comedy, and with it's cast of fantastic character it's a solid one.
Clooney is Cary Grant, and Zeta-Jones doesn't make you wonder for a second how this man could possibly fall under her spell. With some fantastic back-and-forth banter you've got to pay attention to catch all the wonder jokes in here. Some questionable plot points, but entertaining nonetheless. Really really dying to see 'Burn After Reading' now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

1130 - Thank You For Smoking

The first time I saw this film was at TIFF a few years ago. It blew me away then and I still enjoy it. I was lucky enough to be at the world premiere of Jason Reitman's 'Juno' last year as well. If he keeps making great movies I'd love to keep seeing them unveiled. The cast in this film is quite phenomenal. Nick Naylor will go down as one of the great black-comedy characters.
Having read the book since initially seeing the film it's one of those great examples of different mediums going off into different directions, but still keeping true to the nature of the story. I recommend the novel to anyone who loves the film, but don't expect it to be exactly the same. It's the differences that make them unique in a good way..

1129 - Stuck On You

A really fun high-concept premise that doesn't disappoint. Matt and Greg don't hold back and that's what makes this film work. The physical comedy is a beautiful blend of goofy and clever and the film works well because of it. I was slightly turned off by the movie business idea, but it works well enough and gives us a really fun Meryl Streep cameo. Not a movie I'd ever really need to see again, but a lot of fun and worth seeing once.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

1128 - The United States of Leland

What's worse than trying to write a scathing commentary on a film? Writing one and then losing it when the website crashes... and then trying to give a damn enough to write it again. I don't think I will. I think it's the universe laughing at me and telling me not to waste my energy on such things. Okay Universe, good on you. I agree.
I didn't like this film. If you'd like a more detailed response I'd be more than happy to tell you if you ask, but right now the universe doesn't want my opinion of it on the internet. I'll oblige, Universe!

Friday, September 19, 2008

1127 - The Wackness

Two really solid movies in one night. Yeah me! What a gem of a film. Josh Peck is Luke. He's fantastic and a perfect compliment to Ben Kingsley. The two should go down as one of those class screen odd-couples. The scenes with them together are always delightful and surprising. The whole cast is phenomenal and I could have used more of Famke and Mary-Kate. So glad to see Jane Adams who I adore and am sad that I don't see more of her. I continue to be intrigued by Oliva Thirlby. What a great little actress. The sequence with her and Luke at Fire Island is fantastic. It's beautiful and awkward and sad and lovely. I love how those two leave each other in the end, it's a perfect final scene between them.
Can't recommend this enough. It's still playing in the rep cinemas. I'm sure it'll be on DVD soon though.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

1126 - Mind The Gap

I like Eric Schaeffer's films. I've seen all but one, and sadly have not been able to find any of his T.V. stuff. He's got a very distinctive voice and it's kind of sad that he hasn't made a film in four years. I can only hope he's got something in the works. This is a really enjoyable and rewarding ensemble character film. Unlike a film I watched recently this one works with multiple story lines, the way they connect are simple and never feel over the top. Some beautiful near misses that get you excited. It's a delightful little film and doesn't even feel too long despite it being over two hours.
I discovered a new favorite actress in Elizabeth Reaser (featured above), it's good to see based on her imdb page that she seems to have lots of things on the go. She deserves it.
Check this out if you can, and anything else of Schaeffer's (minus his debut) is recommended as well. His films might not be for everything, but they're definitely for me.

1125 - American Teen

If I was a teenager in their school I would have been in love with Hannah Bailey. I would have run away with her to be her co-filmmaker. I was genuinely interested in her and found myself debating messaging her on facebook to tell her how much I enjoyed her in the film. But that would be creepy.
Some have said this film is contrived. How could the filmmakers have been there for everything? Well. It's called having a budget and the ability to be there. Some innocent b-roll was probably shot, but in the scenes where big stuff happens those emotions are real. You can't recreate that, and if they did, then I think they deserve even more praise.
I was entertained and enjoyed all the characters in this film. They felt real. And I rooted for each of them no matter how much good or bad they did. They were kids. So were we. We did shit we regret. Hurt people we shouldn't have.
Very enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1124 - Weeds - season four

After a pretty bland third season Weeds came back fighting, re-inventing itself in a little border town just outside of Mexico. Just like their second season they've ending on a beautiful cliff-hanger that leaves you wondering the fate of all involved in the show. There's a rumor floating around that the fifth season will be it's last. This feels about right. Don't get me wrong. I love this show, but because of it's nature of consistently getting it's cast in and out of trouble there comes a point where you just want to see them settle in. As much as this is Mary-Louise Parker's show, and she really is fantastic in it. She's beautiful, smart, sexy, and she never ever has a false moment. Really great performance. But like I said, as much as it's her show I love Justin Kirk. I think he's equally as fantastic as Parker but in a different way. Not sure where they found him but he's a gem. Can't believe I have to wait till May for new episodes. Thank goodness Dexter and Californication are coming back soon...

1123 - The Office: season three

This show continues to kill me. I can't get over how much it makes me laugh out loud. Each character on the show is so utterly fantastic. Dwight, Toby, Michael, Kevin, Pam, Jim, Drew, Jan, I could go on and on and on. I could list all of the moments that made me laugh out loud but I would just be summarizing most of the season. I loved the merger sub-plot and the twist on the Pam/Jim relationship. Love Jan's story arch and falling for Michael, and I love Toby. He could be one of my favorite things about the show. Can't wait to see where they take Ryan's character in the next season. Looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

1122 - The Great New Wonderful

There's a different kind of nepotism that exists within the film industry. It's the kind where people will donate their time to a film not because it's good, but because it's a favor. I love almost everyone in this film, but I love no character in this film. They're not meant to be hateful, and I don't hate them. I just don't give a rats ass nor am I ever given a reason to. I could have walked in or out of this film at any given point and it wouldn't have mattered. It's rare that I say I wish that I could have that hour and a half of my life back, but in this case I do. I'm just amazed by the lack of point there was to this film. I'm sure that if I spent a few hours thinking, analyzing it, I might come up with something, but in order for me to do that, I have to like it and not feel like I've already wasted my time.

1121 - The Narrows

The story of a youth growing up in poverty and having to do unsavory things to try and make a better life for themselves is nothing new. In fact it's almost a genre unto itself. The cast is solid. Sophia Bush is beautiful and I expect we'll see more and more of her. The story feels like it was cut and paste from a lot of other films like it and never really has a solid through-line. It's hard to attach yourself to the main character and therefore hard to care. An OK film that I wouldn't recommend nor tell someone to avoid. I'm ambivalent to it, which may be the worst.

1120 - Control Alt Delete

It's rare that my wife will admit to liking a Canadian film, so on that measure alone this film is a success. It's a rare occurrence in this country when a filmmaker actually tells a story with some kind of structure. This film is not without it's flaws, but they are out-weighed by a really great cast and a fun premise that never gets as filthy as it could. A really good solid first film from Cameron Labine. Look forward to seeing what he does next. When this gets picked up and distributed please go see it. It's worth the ticket price.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

1119 - Voy A Explotar (I'm Gonna Explode)

You can discover a lot of little gems when you give in to the foreign films at TIFF. I'm always torn between trying to see some of the bigger American films, but wisely my wife knows that in the end we'll always feel better about watching films that we'd probably never get a chance to otherwise. In a way it's a modern Romeo and Juliet really, not to say that's how these two characters turn out, however you get a sense that they're living their lives to their fullest now because something in them tells them that this might just be it. The two young actors are really phenomenal and Maria Deschamps absolutely won me over. It's hard to believe that this is her first film. What a lovely entry point. A light drama with some great characters and delicious little situations. An enjoyable film through and through.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

1118 - When Life Was Good

More often than not I have to talk my wife into seeing Canadian films. Ones like this don't do a lot to help my argument. It has it's moments, but I think a lot of that has to do with the cast and little to do with writer/director/editor/cinematographer/craft services Terry Miles. Admitting in the Q&A that it's heavily improvised, not just the dialogue but the story makes me wonder what, if anything, Miles could accomplish given a proper budget and not allowed to use jump cuts just to make a scene make sense (it was cleverly used as a style, but I wasn't fooled.) It's not horrible, there are some wonderful little moments, but on a whole it's just a bit indulgent. Good cast.

1117 - Detroit Metal City

I have to say that over the years I've been going to TIFF I've never been disappointed by any Asian cinema, and this is no exception. What a great film. Really fun and funny. The Japanese take great pride in taking a piss on themselves and the results are wonderful. The story is essentially a young Japanese musician who wants to be a trendy pop singer finds himself fronting a popular metal band. The result, hilarious and fun fill with lots of great supporting characters. There's still one more screening on TIFF next week. Check it out.

Friday, September 05, 2008

1116 - St. Elmo's Fire

There's still quite a few classic eighties films that I've never seen, this is one of them. The more I look at the good movies of the eighties I think of how that decade gets a really bad rap. Sure these films are dated as well, but they set the tone for a lot of the films that we're enjoying now. I don't think it would be over-estimation to say that the Apatow crew is the new Brat Pack with a modernized style.
This film has a lot of good things going for it. Complex characters and interesting stories. I like Ally Sheedy and she was never really fully realized in her prime. Not that it's impossible for her to do good work. I just think she could have done more in her youth. Alas.
Quite enjoyed it, glad I finally saw it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

1115 - Bee Movie

Gotta bee (haha... I'm such a nerd) honest in that that this was only sorta-OK. The animation was a bit clunky, but fun. It just seemed like at any point in time they were willing to sacrifice story or character for a joke. Which makes sense in a way, but it just doesn't make for a solid film. There's a lot of clever bits here, and enough action to keep the kids entertained I'm sure. Just felt a bit episodic, but with a nice little message behind it. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

1114 - The Wire: season two

I definitely got turned on to this show late in the game, but I'm glad that I did eventually find it. There isn't a character in this show that hasn't been fantastic and complex in their own way. I like how they bring people in and out in a way that doesn't feel forced. Characters live and die by the nature of the story. They don't care about how much you like someone. In fact, sometimes that's reason enough to take them out. I won't go into too much detail, but the port-guys took a little while to get to liking, but by the end they were an amazing representation of a large part of our population and I really felt for them. Can't wait for season three.