Sunday, November 30, 2008

1167 - Chaplin

It's been years since I've seen this, but because I've decided that Chaplin will become my new obsession I had to watch it again. It's a nice little film, full of some great actors giving great performances, but the storyline plays pretty straight. No great theme to tie it all together. Some nice little trivia bits about his life, all with a wonderful performance by Robert Downey Jr., but it only gives a little glimpse into his apparent genius. Not sure I'll need to see this again, but I look forward to seeing more of his work.

1166 - City Lights

I hate to admit this, being the cinema lover that I am, but I think this is the first Chaplin film I've ever seen in it's entire length. What a shit I am. Better late than never though. What a treat of a film. I don't know much about the content in this era of cinema, but I do know the history, and it's amazing that this film made it out as a silent film, although Chaplin makes excellent use of sound. Each sequence is really quite clever and has a lovely beginning, middle, and end. The boxing scene is a lot of fun. Just the way that the ups and downs work. You really feel horrible when he loses the boxing match. And then when the millionaire once again forgets who he is, especially after he's given him the money to help the girl. It's official, I need to watch more of his films. Great story, real smart and clever laughs. Great film.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1165 - Into The Wild

I remember the first time I noticed Emile Hirsch in "The Girl Next Door" and knowing that this kid has a great future ahead of him if he picks the right roles. He has. A great role at a great time for him. The film is beautifully shot, I can't even imagine what kind of effort that would take to make a film like this. Vedder's score is beautiful as well. It's an engaging story worth watching. One of those beautifully tragic stories where he touches everyone he meets and learns, only too late, his greatest lesson.
Too late he learned that the hard part isn’t walking toward the wilderness to discover the meaning of life. The hard part is returning from the consolations of nature and finding meaning anyway, a meaning lodged within the faithfulness of our ordinary lives, in the plain and painful beauty of our ordinary days.
-Sherry Simpson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

1164 - True Blood: season one

What a great new show. I never watched Buffy or Angel or any of those shows, so this is my first vampire series, but I love what Ball and HBO does with it. The cast is phenomenal and there's no shortage of surprises in this series that ends every episode with a cliff-hanger, including it's season finale. Part way through I couldn't imagine how they would carry this over into another season, but I'm not longer worried (except for the fate of one of my favorite characters).
Fantastic storytelling in every way. It's a great show and I can't wait for it's sophomore season.

1163 - Entourage: season five

Entourage is a show that has truly evolved during it's run, and I imagine it will continue to do so. It's impossible to write this without spoiling some stuff, so consider yourself warning
Some bitch and moan that this show has lost it's way, I think, like it's characters, it's matured. It's becoming something richer. It hasn't stopped what made the first couple seasons great, but it has delved deeper into it's characters in interesting ways. One problem I've had with the show is that it often forgets about it's main characters for long periods of time. A few seasons ago Turtle was on the verge of a fun relationship, and it ended for no reason whatsoever. Like it never happened. I hope and pray that what stared between Jamie and Sal continues into the next season. Since season six has just been announced maybe we'll hear some rumblings about her being signed on to more. I hope so. Sal deserves a story all his own. Drama was doing well till he screwed himself out of a relationship, and I really didn't care. His character went downhill this season. E was absent for most of it, just on the sidelines, but was great when he came out. Ari, as always way fantastic. The scene with him and Vince at the airport was Entourage's finest moment, and a perfect example of why Piven wins so many Emmys. The biggest surprise was Vince's turn into someone becoming responsible for his own career. I liked it. Can't wait to see what's in store for season six!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1162 - Fido

This is a little gem of a film, and I imagine that it's just a bit too esoteric for the average person. There's no reason that this film shouldn't have gotten the attention that Shaun of the Dead got. I think that might be the better film, but this one is easily as clever, if not more. There's a lot of smart, snappy stuff going on here and Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker, and company pull it off in spades. It looks great and the production design and music are fantastic. A great little Canadian film, and it's a shame that it didn't do better numbers at the box office, as it really deserved to based on it's quality. Hopefully it finds a second life on DVD.

1161 - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This is a very peculiar film. It's got all the right technical aspects to it. Deakins shot the shit out of it and it's gorgeous. It's cast is top-notch including roles for people like Mary Louise Parker and Zooey Deschanel, both whom I love, that are mostly wasted in this film. Knowing that there was a four-hour version of this film I can only assume that those talented actresses had more to do at some point.
This film just kind of floats along a bit like a dream, but I'm not quite sure what the point it's trying to make is. It gets lost and a little muddled. It's by no means a bad film, it's just not a great one. It sits in that worth-watching range, on a weekend afternoon. I still prefer Fuller's "I Shot Jesse James" and encourage anyone with an interest in this story to check that out. It's available on DVD now.
Worth the watch, even with a running time near three hours.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

1160 - Truly Madly Deeply

I can't recall why I wanted to watch this film. I think that at some point it was research, perhaps a recommendation. It's an interesting little film. The moments of grief are honest and messy. This film could have been a cheesy sad mess but it does well to avoid that. Of course both Alan and Juliet are wonderful in this film and have a really lovely dynamic to their relationship that hints at how great they probably were while he was alive, in a wise choice it also explains some of the problems that they might have had. This film didn't blow me away, but I enjoyed it enough to casually recommend it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

1159 - Slumdog Millionaire

It's official. Not only has Danny Boyle made a masterpiece, but it's also his second film where his protagonist dives into a toilet. This film is enchanting. It's beautiful and gritty and real all at the same time. With a brilliant narrative thread this film is wonderful despite some of it's cliches with the story of the brother, etc... it doesn't matter. You want this guy to succeed. I love that everything in his life has brought him to this moment.
It really is a treasure of a film and it has to be seen on the big screen. This is the kind of film for which I'd have to break down and buy a blue ray player...
Thank you for this, Danny Boyle. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1158 - Shaye

I didn't write a season number down since I don't think this show is going to continue. I know that because it's director, Mr. Paul Kilback, is someone I'm currently cutting a new show for. My wife and I quite enjoyed this. She likes documentaries quite a bit, and especially anything to do with music. The characters are interesting and the show has some nice natural stakes built into it. If I have any complaints it's just the lack of closure in the final episode. It ends, but a little epilogue would have been nice. Oh well. Ho hum. Not sure if you can still check it out on T.V. or not. If you like their music, you'll like the show.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

1157 - Never Again

I love Eric Schaeffer and it saddens me that he hasn't made more films. He knows people and he knows the human condition. The cast in this film is stellar and simple. It takes a bit to get going, but once the romance kicks in it just sky rockets to the end. If you don't know the name Eric Schaeffer do yourself a favor and learn it. With the exception of his first, the man has an amazing filmography. Great film.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

1156 - The Hoax

Clifford Irving has the biggest balls, that's for sure. I'm a fan of storytellers who take something known and tweak it, and this could be one of the most famous cases of that, especially since the person was real. Kudos to him for that. As a film it's enjoyable, but probably forgettable. All of the performances are good, it's a good cast. It just feels like part of that bio-pic machine that makes you wonder at what point we're going to run out of 'real life stories' to tell. God knows since theres a film out now about the guy who invented the modern windshield wiper, that the guy who introduced two-ply toilet paper can't be too far behind.

1155 - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

The more I think about this film the more it grows on me. The first half of it is... odd. It was hard to tell if Cera and Dennings just had no chemistry, or the point was that they were just missing how good they should be for each other. I have to assume that latter because when the film finally starts working, it works well. A pointless subplot about her drunken friend that only serves to chew up screen time detracts only a little. Perhaps it's unfair to say it's pointless, I'm sure it's meant to illustrate something in Norah's character, it's just too bad we don't give two figs about her friend. Cera, as a heart-broken teen, gives his least enthusiastic performance, which doesn't mean to say he's bad, he never is, but he's just kind of there. The film has a great closing line, which I won't ruin here. It's cute for sure. Worth a rental.

1154 - Heathers

I can admit that I'd never seen this film. I picked it up years ago on DVD because I knew it was one of those films that I should see. There's some really fantastic lines in this film, so many that I'll have to re-watch a few times to fully appreciate them. What a delicious dark comedy. Very inspirational, especially in line with some of the projects I'm currently working on. Very ahead of it's time, ironically even since I can't imagine how hard it would be go get this film made today. Glad I finally checked it out, I'll need to re-watch it at some point.

Friday, November 07, 2008

1153 - Gone Baby Gone

I was not prepared for how good this film is. A seriously masterful first film. Hell, it'd be a masterful fourth, fifth, or sixth film. I can't say enough about the cast. They all feature in this film so effortlessly and they belong in this world. Even Monaghan, who is a radiant beauty, just feels like a regular girl next door here and shows that she wants to build a career as an actress, not a star. Amy Ryan, god, what good can't you say about her? Fucking fantastic. This film has a great story and it keeps you thinking, keeps you guessing, it twists, it turns, but not in the sake of a 'ha ha, I fooled you' moment, but all in the sake of a great moral dilemma that stays with you long after the film has finished. Brutal, honest, and real. Great filmmaking.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

1152 - Kind Hearts & Coronets

I've had this film for awhile now and finally decided to watch it based on a strong recommendation. I'm surprised that this film hasn't been remade, especially by Eddie Murphy since it seems like he can't make a film that doesn't have himself playing half a dozen roles. No offense Eddie, but you could never put a candle to what Alec Guinness does in this film. He disappears into the different roles, never calls attention to himself and the result is fun, flawless, and never takes away from the rest of the film. It's a fun little yarn, even if it does have very little conflict going on. I liked it quite a bit.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

1151 - Lethal Weapon

I didn't realize it until watching it, but I don't think I've ever seen this film before. I have a pretty good movie memory, and nothing here triggered it, besides the characters, but I know I've seen some, if not all, of the sequels. I remember I wasn't allowed to watch this film as a kid because of the lady killing herself. There's some great set pieces in this, and the cast is a lot of fun and works well together. The ending is the weakest in a film full of great fun and creative set pieces. There's just no danger or excitement in it.
A great popcorn flick. I'll have to double back through the sequels.

1150 - Degressi Junior High: season three

This show gets better and better which each season. What started off as complete melodrama has actually turned into an interesting story. The beauty of this show is that it was the first of it's kind aimed at teens to not shy away from controversial issues. My favorite part of this season is Joey and Caitlin, who I know are the on-going tragic love story of the whole Degrassi series. I look forward to the rest of these old shows, and will probably start watching the next generation when I'm done with these...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

1149 - Zack and Miri Make a Porno

I've always liked Kevin Smith. I remember when I first became aware of him Chasing Amy had just came out on VHS and I bought all three of his first films and had a little Smith-fest. At the time he was one of my three biggest influences, the other two being Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino. I'm well aware how bizarre that combination seems, but it makes sense in that they're all dialogue whores.
This film works really well, despite the fact that it abandons the majority of it's plot points in favor of the looming love story, which is OK because it is a really great love story. The cast in this film is amazing, great characters, great fun. Rogen and Banks are phenomenal. I fell in love with her, as I imagine did the DP since they lit her to look absolutely gorgeous. A very funny film that works despite it's sometimes weak story points. I like it.