My Week In Film (3/23 - 3/29)

Out of Sight (1998)*
(Directed by Steven Soderbergh)

This film is fun, you know? In the sense that there's always something happening--whether it's a funny line of dialogue or a cool little visual flourish, the film is interesting and fun for the entirety of its duration. I've been on-and-off about if the scattered narrative actually helps the film but it seems intuitive to me for whatever reason so I won't knock it. What I like the most are the little visual touches that don't really add much overall but somehow end up becoming the main focus--the zooms, the freeze frames, shit like that. The film just seems so at ease with itself which is mirrored by the opening scene with Clooney robbing the bank. It's completely in control, completely laidback and breezy (except it doesn't end well). The end's violent showdown is far too heavy (although sort of ridiculous) for this kind of movie where it seems wordplay has more of an effect (it doesn't help that it just dispatches its characters in completely ludicrous ways--that one big white dude). However, it's not enough for me to begin to dislike the film at all because after that you get Sam MF Jackson and shit and it's playful as it can get and that's all I ask. As for the love scene, it's pretty great (though I could do without those fratboy accountants or whoever they are) (but that's expanded upon when George Clooney shows up shows them who the boss is and I tell myself "he's so dreamy!" Image). Anyway, this movie is fun. Maybe Sodaberg's best alongside Ocean's Eleven (I would have to rewatch Traffic). I dunno, whateverz.


L.A. Story (1991)
(Directed by Mick Jackson)

Thom Andersen disapproves of this racist fantasy! :lol:

This was alright. The concept was clever and I liked how at first it was just a series of situations/gags whose only purpose was to add to our picture of Martin's vision of Los Angeles (I got your back, Andersen!). So the film works best at that level for me. It's only when the film turns into a fantasy about the city helping Martin that the film runs into problems because as much as I like Martin he can't really sell me on most of it. It's specially obnoxious when Sarah Jessica Parker shows up in what I'm guessing is supposed to be a funny role... but, it wasn't happening for me. Yeah, Martin is sort of turned on/repulsed by her too but what the fuck is the point? It's just to separate Martin from his one true English love until the final act (she's pretty great though especially when she plays the tuba). However, I did like that it wasn't at all serious and it's treated as nothing more than a fling or whatever. And, yeah, she is part of a lot great jokes about vapid Los Angeles culture (I lol'd at the enema joke). I also didn't quite know what to make of the extremely rushed ending. Seriously. One moment these people shout their feelings at each other and whatever and then the next she's leaving and it's ending already? wtf? And what the hell is it with the completely misjudged "Let's go back to the sign" ending which is just ridiculous and totally unnecessary. Anyway, the whole movie should be just Martin skating through the museum. I mean, it's funny and romantic for most parts but it goes sour as it finishes and ends not in triumphant love... but with awkwardness.


The Errand Boy (1961)
(Directed by Jerry Lewis)

This film marries the gag after gag after gag stuff of The Bellboy to a semblance of a plot which for me makes it work much better. There's lots of great jokes as Lewis just wanders around the studio going from set to set. One of my favorites was when he inadvertently becomes an extra on a set and tries to sing along with the extras but can't even keep on time. It's hilarious as is another singing joke as Lewis dubs over an actress' singing part in a movie. HILARITY! There's also the jokes which are stretched out and repeated to ridiculous lengths and a play on the joke from The Bellboy about people being underwater which has Jerry Lewis diving deep down in the pool with some dude. Glorious stuff. Then there's the two instances where Lewis talks to sock puppets (I think that's what they are) which are actually kind of weirdly touching even if I can't even begin to make sense of what they're doing there. And then there's the ending which suggests that no matter how good you are, there's always someone there before you/after you... like a Tashlin, maybe? Great success!


Gomorra (2008)
(Directed by Matteo Garrone)

This is interesting, I guess, but the film is so CINECAST!ing long... wait, it's not that long? Then why did it feel so long and drawn out? I think it might be because the film's is mostly composed of long slightly jittery steadycam takes following the characters with everything else pretty much out of focus. It's an interesting style to take with this sort of film which tells stories whose only relation is that... uh, they deal with the Camorrah thingie? Anyway, maybe if it was done in shorter takes, it wouldn't drag so much? Whateverz. Some of these story lines were pretty great like the little teenage kid one and those dudes who worshipped Scarface. The less obvious terrain is what doesn't work for me as well. I mean, you want to include dressmaking? (although it does include a great joke with Scarlett Johansson). I guess the film wants to include all the different aspects of this organization thingie so it also includes garbage disposal, land management and some other shit with escalating gang warfare. However, most of the narrative threads have really obvious payoffs (they don't end well!) and move along predictable currents which isn't bad in and of itself and they do deliver great moments ( like the car crash with the dressmaker), it's just that you can feel the movie's about to end whenever everything's going wrong and then you get to see like 5 different endings to the situations (only one or two of which are actually inspired) so it feels repetitive (not to mention endless). But the music was great. Or, well, it was totally the kind of stuff that these characters would listen to so it fit and didn't fit at the same time which made it a lot cooler (cuz all those Italian pop songs feel incongruous and weird all by themselves--which is a definite plus for me) (I may want to get this soundtrack...). So, yeah.


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... The Errand Boy

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