My Week In Film(2/9 - 2/15)

Team Picture (2007)
(Directed by Kentucker Audley)

The problem is that I find the dude at the center of this really annoying. I mean, I guess I just don't find dudes who are shirtless all the time wearing cutoffs and singing shit songs on their acoustic guitar appealing in film (or in real-life). However, I guess I got used to him and was able to reasonably enjoy this. It has a kinda goofy charm to it (and the girl with the tattoos is pretty cute) and the dialogue is kinda quirky and mumbly (ha!) but not in an annoying way. As usual, there's pretty much no dramatic conflict here (which is good because I doubt these actors could handle it), instead we just arrive at a point in the character's life where they realize they need a change or something. The best part of the film is a trip to Chicago with a girl that the dude likes because there's less talking more silence and gestures which is fine by me. Overall, not as visual or as delicate as either of Aaron Katz's films but instead, more outlandish and goofy which I guess doesn't suit me as much.


Rashomon (1950)*
(Directed by Akira Kurosawa)

oh, why did I have to rewatch this? I was perfectly fine with this being totally great. Sadly, this viewing did not live up to my memory of the film. Really, this film is too much about "oh, no, humans! truth! blah blah blah!" Its characters are just puppets for the film to explore its various themes which I guess its fine if it were more entertaining. And I think this is the only time where Mifune has ever bothered me. His constant maniacal shrieking is annoying. While those things are annoying, the filmmaking here is still great. My favorite part is still at the beginning as Takashi Shimura goes in to the forest for the first time. Just superb. And I love how the sweat glistens on the skin of everyone. Anyway, I'm curious as to how the other Kurosawa's hold up (I haven't seen Ikiru or Seven Samurai in so many years...).


Rebels of a Neon God (1992)
(Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang)

So, Tsai does a Wong Kar-Wai movie? Cuz this is kinda what this feels like. Or, more accurately, it's his youth picture. There's that trademark stillness and stuff but there's so much movement than in any of his latest films (musical sequences in The Wayward Cloud not counted). And when I say youth film, I think you should get the idea that it's basically about young dudes riding bikes, lot of smoking cigarettes, staring off into space Asian Ennui ™. But it's good! Very good! For all those reasons and more, I guess. Basically, well, there's no basically, actually. Now I feel weird about this. There's two parallels stories being told. One about Hsiao-Kang about how he's quitting his school and about his general awkwardness around his parents. The other about a couple of dudes who steal coins from phone booths and other stuff and use the coins to play arcade games (and then a girl comes along...). Of course, these story lines intersect... but in a totally weird and playful way (which turns into something else later on...). It's just Lee Kang Sheng observing. And going places just to see these people there. And, weirdly, that's something I can relate to... (like there's this one scene where they all get drunk and go to a motel cuz they don't know where the girl lives, they throw her on the bed and just sit around watching porn on the TV for a little while, just exhausted... THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME AND I DON'T KNOW WHY). People are strange and weird and the things they do or don't do don't make sense to me but when the film finishes and you see a door opening you know things might just turn out awwwwwriiiiiiiiiiiight. You're all horrible people. Now watch this and stuff.

Now let's jump around in our undewear. Okay? okay.


Trouble in Paradise (1932)
(Directed by Ernst Lubitsch)

Gaston Monescu! This film was so charming and awesome. The master thief and his pickpocket girlfriend try to pwn the owner of some perfume company. Then the awesomeness sets in. Seriously, Gaston Monescu is one of the most perfect creations EVER. I almost wish I was him... Anyway, this movie is sort of sexy and kinda hilarious... and pretty romantic in its own way (just in the way that Kay Francis starts to like my main soul brotha Gaston). And it's all told with such deftness and economy, the lightest touch in the world... I don't know. I guess I like the idea of the master thief. Where the sequel at? I want more from this man.


Scorpio Rising (1964)
(Directed by Kenneth Anger)

woo! bikers! sex! jesus! nazis! great pop songs? Oh, yes.


Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)
(Directed by Kenneth Anger)

a young man worships his car. it's his dream lover. he caresses it. softly. the car is beautiful. oh yes. I watched this like 8 times... i'm not even sure why i like it so much. maybe cuz it has the greatest song ever...


Chinpira (1996)
(Directed by Shinji Aoyama)

hmmm, this movie. This Movie. Oh, yeah. It's all over the place, basically. It's sort of this asshole-meets-older-guy-who-takes-him-under-his-wings-moviefilm with dashes of yakuza crap and dashes of weirdo romance and dashes of some good ole Asian Minimalism™. Really, it starts off with him beating up some random guy in a really dumb-lookin' set cuz he was doing some drug (and because he just can't control his own badassness!). In reality, the guy's just a douchebag. Gets in everyone's business looking to prove how badass he is. "I'm not against the boss, I'm against you..." OH SHIT!. It culminates in this really weird scene on the top of a parking garage where he defends the wife of some random Yakuza. It's shot from a distance in a single take that goes from conversation to random fighting to stabbing to crying. I think it's a stupid scene (since it really has almost no point to it) and it's distracting because all you can think about it is "oh, wow, they really held this shot for a long ass time..." plus I don't think it even serves a purpose narratively or stylistically... it's just clumsy and useless... although its oddity is probably what makes it interesting to me. The film's relationships and characters are completely weird, too. The Young Douchebag from the Country is so tired and devoid of any personality aside from his behavior. Sure, he's assigned a back story (which is shown at random intervals... and we don't even realize it's a flashback until later...) and given some sort of motives... but it's really hamfisted and the guy just basically starts being a prick to everyone. Not interesting. His mentor person is some random old dude who (fuck! I gotta upload this now... their first meeting is so rife with homosexual intent that it's kinda ridiculous) has him join his bookie business out of the blue and their "bonding period" is spent in children's playgrounds, hanging out, being weird together (sounds good but it isn't). The old dude won't join the Yakuza because he's too old and a coward (something his protege calls him a million times). But, of course, when given the opportunity to seduce his boss' wife HE TAKES IT (in one of the most awkward sex scenes I've ever seen... its inclusion... totally mindboggling...). Anyway, enough rambling about stupid plot elements. All these things made the experience of watching this film kinda weirdly entertaining to me. The weird rhythm, totally unmotivated story, clumsy visuals (to me) make it sort of bad but I still had some kind of fun with it (mainly cuz I thought the parts with the Douchebag and his girlfriend were cute) but then comes the ending which is stupid in all the bad, bad ways. Not even charming stupid like Young and Dangerous... more like offensive stupid that just ruins an okay movie like Metade Fumaca. I'm guessing Aoyama only started to be interesting with Eureka then...


25th Hour (2002)*
(Directed by Spike Lee)

Still a fantastic film. Sometimes on crazy days I think this is better than Do The Right Thing. Mainly because I think it's smaller and less expansive. It's more somber. More muted colors. And a great, great score (although sometimes too prominent). I just really enjoy these fucking characters and all their flaws. I love Edward Norton even though he bothers me a bit in this one but it's more about finding his predicament interesting and the world/people around him truly lovable (except Barry Pepper... fuck that asshole :lol:). As heavy-handed and clumsy as I think that whole "Fuck You" and the "what if" scene are... they're still powerful as fuck and mirror similar thoughts I've had (probably not as racist but you get the drift :lol:) and the fuck yous/tributes to New York really hit the spot every once in a while. The only real fault I have with this movie is Ana Paquin who plays the same role in every fucking movie I see her in and whose entire gap-toothed existence makes me just go :x


Young Aphrodites (1963)
(Directed by Nikos Koundoros)

uh, this was a pretty silly movie. If it weren't myth-based, I would laugh this shit off. But that helps me situate it and deal with fucking 12-year-old nudity (so sexy!) and that the story basically amounts to some little kid trying to fuck some girl (BUT IT'S A MYTH SO IT'S OKAY). Fucking Greeks. The best thing about the film is its sense of place and location. It takes place in this really awesome rocky beach type thing and the two main characters explore it and crawl around in it wanting to fuck each other BUT HOLDING BACK (well the girl is...). I'm glad that the film doesn't rely too much on dialogue and instead just lets these highly sensual images ( :lol: ) do the talking. There's also an adult couple for comparison but their story doesn't amount to much other than the dude pressuring the girl until she succumbs. i don't know. :shrug:


Black God, White Devil (1964)
(Directed by Glauber Rocha)

Just ridiculously fucking awesome. This thing just feels from another world. From its totally awesome use of music/sound/whatever to its great, dynamic photography and ending with its totally outlandish plot that distills weird revolutionary message with mysticism/religion/violence/other. It really is just incredibly bizarre to me. Some of the characters are just so mythical/awesome that they seem to come out of some bizarre universe like Antonio das Mortes (who seems to have stumbled out of a western or something). This thing is just really fun and kickass and all that shit. Yeah.


Loulou (1980)
(Directed by Maurice Pialat)

"I found myself captivated by the motivations and concerns of these wholly sympathetic individuals. This is the kind of dream only a Frenchie could conceive, and every minute of it is perfect."

Yeah. Seriously. Huppert plays an upper-class married lady who's slumming with Depardieu, a thug more or less. There's this one scene where they're having the sex and they break the bed and they break out in laughter. Loulou tries to fix the bed but can't even move and they're both laughing and it's so great. This is what's great about this film. These great creations living their lives, making mistakes, getting drunk, smoking cigarettes and being totally French. I guess I can't really explain it more than the film's poignant final moments are the stuff of dreams. Nothing is resolved. There's only a strange feeling in me that this is perfect and that stumbling drunk in an alley may be the greatest thing ever. Maybe.


Flirt (1995)
(Directed by Hal Hartley)

Variations on a Theme.

And it's a pretty great theme. But still, this is too high concept and gimmicky although it does deliver some great, great moments of insight. I watched this without subs trusting that the concept would get me through and I think it did. Each segment has its strengths but I think the final one delivers the most since it contains the bizarreness of the opening minutes + Hal Hartley as Himself! (culminating in a truly fantastic ending that I think made me like the film much, much more than I should). The first segment has Martin Donovan so I guess I should like that one more (and it has this great part where some random lady starts dancing behind his back). The German one has Elina as a NURSE(!!!). ARGH

Love is an act, Faith is an ability


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... Trouble in Paradise

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