8/17/08

My Week In Film (8/11 - 8/17)

What a weird week it was.

The Band's Visit (2007)

(Directed by Eran Kolirin)

A very lovely and quiet film. It concerns a band of Egyptian police officers who are also members of an orchestra. They go to Israel to play a show but get stuck in the wrong town. Part of the film's charm is its understatedness. It never really reaches for effect. It just gives you some characters and sees them interact with other characters. The key performances at the film's core are played by Sasson Gabai and Ronit Elkabetz with such a great sense of who exactly these characters are. They never strike a false chord and their relationship is pretty much perfectly realized. There's also lots of funny and yet kind of sad physical comedy. The movie's kinda lonely and quiet. Maybe that seemed right to me when I watched it. Maybe it seems right to me period.

★★★1/2

Lost in Translation (2003)*

(Directed by Sofia Coppola)

Is this the part of the post where I piss off the three people that are reading? Anyway, I feel I should explain my history with this film. I remember back in 03 being into film. I had seen some of the classics and I thought I knew my stuff (how wrong I was). Back then I was a freshman in high school and was taking a Japanese class. One day a friend and I went to this Japanese culture fest. I had never seen so many Asian people in my life. Everywhere we went, we felt like outsiders. It was a strange experience. Later that day, we were pretty bored and had nothing to do so I suggested we go see a movie. I had seen a trailer for Lost in Translation and thought it looked decent enough so I recommended we check it out. Maybe it was the experience that day that has kept the film so dear to my heart, I'm not sure. For some reason, this film has been one of the ones I turn to when I just need to be comforted and told that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. OK, not really. I might have to look further into this idea that my favorite movies all play into that wish fulfillment thing. You know, I long for a connection like Bob and Charlotte's or something like that. I look for things in movies that are missing in my life, etc. I'm not really sure; I'm not really sure I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, watching the film again some things solidified for me. I didn't really enjoy any outright comedic moment that the film goes for and some parts are borderline racist (sort of). However, I choose to overlook these moments because the rest is so good. There's something about the use of music and the sight of tokyo and ScarJo looking out windows and the way that Murray (a bug?) seems to walk around like a zombie. It seems familiar. It seems exciting. I want it.

It's the film that Hou Hsiao-Hsien tried and failed to make :DDDDD


★★★★★

Lost Highway (1997)

(Directed by David Lynch)

Ever since seeing trailers for Lost Highway long ago, I always thought it was going to be one of those purposefully strange films that has nothing on its mind other than confusing the viewer. Well, I think I'm wrong on one of those counts. The film definitely has something on its mind. I'm not sure what but I think I can enjoy the film on my own terms and not on the film's. As for confusing, well, it is. However, I don't mind confusing if I can have fun with it and I did. For all the psychosexual melodrama shit going on in this film, it's actually not that bad. Most of the film's narrative is taken up by a pretty sweet noir story. It's only when the Mystery Man and Pullman show up that Lynch takes us to bizarreville. Do I mind the constant shifts? Probably. Do I wish they weren't there? Nah. Lynch is Lynch. These things come with the territory. He makes interesting films. I bet he's a sweet guy. We could eat burritos or something.


★★★1/2

Son of Rambow (2007)

(Directed by Garth Jennings)

I feel like there should be something special about this film. But there really isn't. The concept is funny/interesting enough and I like the kids (French kid makes me laugh) but there just isn't enough interesting things going on here to make me really enjoy it. Frankly, it's just too formulaic and I enjoy formula!!! Kids meet, kids gradually warm up to each other, kids get into fight, kids get back together. This could really work but I don't think it does. I think it's too in love with its own preciousness (which if tooled a bit could work perfectly) but I don't know. It feels like something is missing. A missing X-factor to make this film truly special. For now, it's okay. I wish I liked it more than I do.


★★

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

(Directed by Terry Gilliam)


What's most enjoyable about this film is definitely its concept and plot. I really dug the world and vision that was created for this film. All of the time-travel stuff and its implications are interesting and enjoyable and Gilliam pulled this off really well. However, I'm not sure how much of the human element is pulled off compellingly. Willis does a fine job, for sure, but I'm not sure about the other actors. Pitt has always struck me as an actor who's always on the fence between being compelling and annoying. He's compelling in Fight Club, Se7en, and Ocean's Eleven but here, his mannerisms are just excruciatingly annoying. Stowe is fine if not memorable. Also, there comes a point in the story when everything that will happen becomes extremely obvious. I wish Gilliam had gone for a more ambiguous execution. Maybe La Jetee will quell these demands.


★★★1/2

Tampopo (1985)

(Directed by Juzo Itami)


There's something very appealing about Tampopo. Maybe it's the fact that I was FUCKING HUNGRY when I watched it or something. I'm not sure. Anyway, this is a film that deals with our relationship with food. It's pretty much the definitive film about food. Moreover, it's also about the search for the perfect noodle. It's not only hilarious, but oddly inspiring and touching and erotic and all kinds of weird stuff. It's kind of perfect... but not really. And that's why it's great?

★★★★

I think you know what it is. Is this the part where I piss you off?

Jhon's Movie of the Week is... Lost in Translation

4 comments:

face said...

You're dead to me (for at least a week).

sean said...

I feel sad for you.

roujin said...

:D

tracey burkowitz said...

i love Lost and Translation. It's one of my favourite movies. Definitely Coppola's best work.

Do you think you could recommend anything similar to Water Lilies in regards to its style of direction? I loved the stark and simple quality of it and I'm looking for more films like that.