Monday, July 23, 2012

1754 - The Dark Knight Rises

I'm on this a few days late (was shooting this weekend!).  I think I expected that the world, in general, was bound to be disappointed by this film in some way.  The love for The Dark Knight was so wonderfully grand that to surmount it would be near impossible.  And so, honestly, it's almost unfair to even try and compare the two.  But then you get guys like Harry Knowles rip it to shreds because he doesn't believe that the film got what Batman was all about.  Well godforbid that someone decides to shake things up in a decades old character…
I have to say that it's a feat in and of itself to make a nearly-three-hour film feel like it moved along at a non-stop pace.  I never found myself bored or lacking enjoyment.  I was glued and enjoying it the entire time.  Bale has never really been the reason for me to enjoy this series - nothing against him by any means, he's just not one of those actors that really does anything for me one way or another (although I quite like him in The Prestige).  Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all shine like the top of the Christler building here and give us characters and story to care about.  Given how complicated the plot is I was impressed that each of the characters had a pretty decent arc.  One thing that was quite interesting was hot little 'Batman' there actually was.  I'm not going to get into specifics at all here because the film has just come out and I want you to enjoy it yourselves.  I will say that it's a very satisfying conclusion to a pretty damn fine trilogy.  Nolan has done what may in time be considered his masterwork, and if it is, there's no shame in it whatsoever.  I look forward to a time where I can sit back and marathon the entire series.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1753 - The Big C: season three

When the second season ended on a cliff-hanger that assumed we might not be seeing Oliver Platt returning, I was pretty impressed by the bold move.  I was instantly unimpressed when they whisked it away right from the get-go in this season.
I'm going to rant for a moment about what I think is an essential issue when it comes to the Showtime series of shows.  It's a company that fosters really bold and original ideas - but doesn't know what the hell to do with them to the point where it just feels like it drags stories on to no end and for no good reason.  It has a laundry list of shows like this one, Californication, Dexter, United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie, wherein these fucked up main characters do whatever is most convenient at that moment to ensure that the series continues on a few seasons more, rather than offering an honest progression.  Some of those shows above do it worse than others - but sadly none of them really feel like the series are going towards anything, or have an over-all game plan.
In a world where almost everyone has been touched by the illness of cancer, I have no idea why I'm supposed to like the character of Cathy who is a bi-polar bitch.  Gotta give Linney props for making her human and likeable in small doses, but you can't fix what's a problem at the core.  We have no reason to care for her, and less for her family as they go on.  The supporting cast has become cartoon characters with quirks.  Andrea (now Ibabu) has absolutely no reason to be on the show outside of being the quirky outsider.  Son Adam is now, for whatever reason, religious.  Paul is a self-help guru, and brother Sean, the character whom had the most morals and dimensions, is not a running gag. 
Will I come back for a fourth season?  I'm sure I'll check out an episode or two, but I just don't know - in a world full of shows I've yet to see, I'm not sure this one is worth my time anymore.  It's a shame since there's a lot of great talent involved.  Alas.

Monday, July 16, 2012

1752 - Brave

I took my three year old son to see this - as his first film in the theatre it was absolutely magic to watch him experience this.  Big theatre, big sound.  He kept looking to me with this wonderful astonished gaze.  As long as I live I'll never forget that smile and amazement.  And now I'm sad knowing that it'll pass as this kind of thing becomes more 'normal' for him.
So I didn't know much of the story going into this, outside of it being a bit of a girl-power story.  But what this film really is, at it's core, is the story about a daughter and a mother, and how they have to learn to accept and embrace one another.  It's quite lovely in that, and the ending brought a bit of a tear to my eye.  I have to say that I found the mother's transformation a tad quick, wherein suddenly she was won over by what her daughter wanted - but I let it go.  It had all the staples of a solid pixar film - lots of laughs - lots of heart - smart and entertaining.  More than happy for it to be my little guy's first theatrical experience.

1751 - I Love Your Work

This damn movie has been sitting on my desk from for (literally) months.  So I finally popped it in.  I liked it, but I didn't love anything about it.  I found it a little difficult to buy Giovanni Ribissi as this hulk of a leading man, if I'm to be completely honest.  It's essentially a film about a famous actor having to figure out how to deal with their fame.  It's a bit insider-baseball, and it's just a really hard story to relate to on any level - unless, I suppose, you're an actor.  I don't really have a strong opinion on this one either way, which I think it sadly the worst thing you can feel about a film - ambivalent. 

1750 - Hear No Evil, See No Evil

I can't tell you how many times I watched this film as a kid - and I recently saw this on a friend's netflix cue and so it brought back so many memories.  For those who haven't seen it, it's a classic comedy about a man, Gene Wilder, who is deaf and befriends a blind man, Richard Pryor, and the hijinks when they get mixed up in a murder.  This was my introduction to Pryor and he did so well with it that for a long time I actually thought him to be blind.  Ahh the magic of cinema when you're a kid.  It's a fun high-concept film that really does well by it's concept.  Kevin Spacey plays a moustache twirling villain here.  If you've never seen it it's worth giving it a click - a solid rainy afternoon comedy flick :)

Tough Shit - Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith was one of those icons I had whilst I was in high school and trying to figure out how to become a filmmaker.  I had won a playwriting competition and the woman interviewing me for a local paper told me I should check out this "Kevin Smith dude - he made his film putting  money on his credit cards", and so my next trip into the city I bought every he'd done up to that point that was on VHS (that's right - VHS, bitches!) and at that point it was Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy.  And it was really interesting seeing the differences between the three - and being a high school student I used to revisit films quite a bit, I think I saw those three films a shit load of times - and forced them on others.  Chasing Amy was also the first film that I double-dipped and bought on DVD as well. 
I'm aware of Smith's shortcoming as is he, but was very curious what'd he have to say in a motivational book such as this.  The first chapter begins with a nice little bit to help ground us all and remind us that we all started out as a load of sperm.  We all are winners already, just by being alive.  The entire book is filled with stories from Smith, some old, some new, but written from his own POV and filtered through the idea that he's trying to help the reader learn about life through his experiences, good and bad. 
I can sum up what the book is about pretty quickly - Smith's main advice is that you have to figure out what it is in life that makes you happy, and just find a way to make it your life.  Life's too short to not be doing something you don't love.  I don't disagree at all, and I've always lived my life this way - so there you are - I just saved you many hours of reading - unless you want all the Smith stories, then by all means pick it up.  There's some pretty great ones there, especially when he talks about the state of the film industry these days.