Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1778 - The Town

I haven't seen this film since it was at TIFF, and this time I watched the director's cut.  It's been a while since I saw it so it's hard to know the exact differences (I didn't select the nifty option on the bluray which tells you) but I think it seemed to flesh out the characters a lot more, especially the relationship between Rebecca Hall and Ben Affleck. 
I stated in an early posting about Argo that Ben Affleck directs Ben Affleck better than anybody, and it's true as hell here.  What's great about this film is that it's not just a cool heist flick, it's about an area - it's about people.  Sure they've thrown in the plot convulsions to keep the story going, but at it's heart there's a strong character piece inside of it.  It's intriguing in those moments, and thrilling when it gets into the action. 
I watched the Hollywood Reporter's director's roundtable today with Affleck and he doesn't seem the most confident of director's - which is fine by me, if humility is what allows you to be this good at your behind the scenes craft then keep it up.
If you like dramatic thrillers and haven't seen this, you're really doing yourself a disservice.  Check it out ASAP.  I love it. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1777 - Inglouious Basterds

I haven't watched this film since it was in theatres and for some reason felt compelled to throw it on in the background as I was doing some mindless work.  I've been a pretty harsh critic of QT in my recent years and I'm trying to think of why.  I think it's because while he makes films that are entertaining as all hell and he's got style coming out the whazu (apologies - I have no idea how to spell whazu - you get the drift) I feel like he's lacking largely in substance.  I'd argue that his first two outings had some - there was some moral at the bottom of it all.  But his recent films just feel like he's having fun with the medium of film while telling variations on the revenge story - not to being overly critical, but the revenge story is one of the easiest to tell - an audience will always root for someone trying to right a wrong.  And there's nothing wrong with that - hell I'm developing one of my own.  But it seems to be a like a tad bit of a crutch for QT.  This film is full of some really wonderful and clever moments.  It's also full of a fair deal of pretension and lingering on moment and shots just because he damn well feels like it.  Anything with Christoph Waltz is pretty much amazing, because that's a man that demands attention and Brad Pitt is a shit-tonne of fun here as well. 
If you haven't seen this yet, clearly you're not a fan of Quentin Tarantino, so not sure what else there is to say about it.  I suppose, at the bottom of it, I'm more curious what the non-die hards think.  I find it entertaining, but largely forgetful.  No offence QT.  I'll still watch every new thing you ever make - but I don't disagree with the comments you've made that state you've only got about 10 films in you - shame is that half of them are the same story.

Monday, November 26, 2012

1776 - The Incredibles

This was our weekend 'Movie Night' flick for my three year old.  I was worried at first because it's a pretty high-level concept, but it just further proves how well Pixar delivers for kids and adults alike.
I remember seeing this initially in theatres and really loving the set-up - the fake documentary and newsreel stuff was really great.  They set up the world spectacularly.  And Ephraim got a kick out of all the physical stuff.  I think it's a film he'll continue to revisit and appreciate in new ways as it goes along.
It's always surprised me that they haven't followed up with a sequel, but I assume it's because Brad Bird hasn't made it his focus in any way and should he ever get the right idea he'll be on it right away.  But for now we've got this gem to re-watch.
I'll say this - if no other reason - become a parent so you have an excuse to revisit some awesome "kids" movies :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1775 - Across the Universe

When this first came out I remember a review that said watching this film and how it treated the Beatles songs was akin to watching a neighbour molest his children.  That's a bit harsh - the musical re-imaginings are actually quite good and the strongest part of this film.  I saw this film in the theatres and despite not really liking it all that much, I really liked the soundtrack.  Now, years later, my young son is really into the Beatles and so I needed something to watch/listen to in the background so this fit the bill quite nicely.
Julie Taymor  is a visual phenom - no denying that - but holy shit can she not string a story together into this clusterfuck of a film.  It's actually kind of lazy and insulting.  Characters like Prudence exists, mostly just so that other characters can sing Dear Prudence.  The leads are strong given what they've got to work with.  It's a melodramatic puff piece.  Here's the thing - it's worth checking out for the music interpretations alone - but watch it more like you would a porno - assume that it's really just all about the music/sex and that everything is merely filler to get you from one place to the next.  That's really what it is.
I vowed I'd never watch this again, but here I am - so perhaps it's not all that terrible.  And if it is your neighbour molesting your kids, well, at least they're singing some pretty great songs while they're doing it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

1774 - The Groomsmen

For some reason I completely forgot that I owned this film and here I've been looking for it on VOD all around.  This is one of the last films that Edward Burns made before he decided to go the extremely low-budget route in his filmmaking.  This film absolutely has more polish than his current work (although his newest film looks pretty slick).  Burns tells these extremely watchable character pieces.  I'd argue that this film starts to feel long - and given that it's barely over ninety minutes that's a bit of an issue.  It's the story of a man about to head into a shotgun wedding and where he and the men in his life are currently at.  There's a lot to like about this film - Matthew Lillard is a stand-out for sure.  I found it a touch uneven and also that a good deal of the conflicts in the film came up at random as opposed to organically.  That said it's full of a lot of heart and honesty and really "gets" men and our fucked up issues.  It was lovely to see Brittney Murphy again - goddamn she was lovely.  Still missed!
So while this film is by no means essential viewing, if you're going through Burns filmography it's not one you want to skip over either.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1773 - The Girlfriend Experience

I have to be honest - I assumed that this film was going to be a tad pretentious and that it was going to feel a tad like a chore to get through - it wasn't in the slightest.  Despite having a very non-linear style to it where the story juxtaposed five different days in the life of our hero and her live-in boyfriend, it was absolutely accessible and you find yourself very drawn into the world of these two characers.
Is Sasha Gray a fantastic actress?  Probably not.  Is she amazing here?  She sure goddamn is.  There's tinge of vacancy going on, and whether it's calculated or not it works.  You're seduced into this world by Soderbergh and Gray all at once.  I don't know how widely this got released but if you're into dramatic relationship films that are slightly unconventional than this is probably going to be straight up your alley.  I found it pretty damn charming and lovely. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

1772 - The Jungle Book

I haven't watched this in a really long time.  As a child I was involved in Cub Scouts and this is where all of the names of the leaders is ripped off from (well, technically I suppose they're ripped off from the book).  Tonight was a movie night with my little guy and my wife recommended this one for him (I wanted Wizard of Oz, but he's informed me that he's not old enough to not be scared of the scary witch - fair enough).
He loved the hell out of this film.  Baloo made him howl with his physical antics, and he really got caught up with the story and how it played out.  The animation style and limitations are so dated, but it's lovely to see that that doesn't matter story-wise to someone so with such fresh eyes.  I'm going to do my best to keep him in a mixture of classic and modern films - he's got enough of an attention span so long as something's good.
Every movie geek father dreams of having a movie geek child - and so far - so good!

Friday, November 09, 2012

1771 - The Sitter

I assumed from the trailer for this that it was essentially a knock off of Adventures in Babysitting, which was one of my favourite flicks as a kid - and it more-or-less is but not in the worst possible way.  It's a solid premise, but it's made it's own here.  It's cruder, has drug use, etc… and it comes off as just a big fun flick and I'm okay with that.  Jonah Hill could do this part in his sleep - and that's not to say he's phoning it in - he brings it to the role, but it's the kind of thing that's by no means a stretch for him.  Sam Rockwell was a lovely surprise and also very wonderful here as our villain (although the best friend running gag felt a tad over-done for my liking). 
If you grew up with 80's flicks like I did this will probably make you feel right at home.  I decided to give it a shot on Netflix 'cause I wanted to just chill, catch up on e-mails and watch something not too demanding - and it fit the bill perfectly.  This film knows exactly what it is - light entertainment - and there's nothing wrong with that.