6/7/09

My Week in Film (6/1 - 6/7)



Citizen Dog (2004)
(Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng)

I liked the Pushing Daisies-ness of this film. The crazy visuals are pretty awesome. I really love the use of music in this film and how it's just everywhere (and the credits with everyone bursting out singing are awesome). The problems lie at the film's plotting or whatever. Basically, the film just follows what's his name going from job to job as he meets a bunch of "quirky" people with "quirky personality traits" who are defined as being the sum of those traits and that's it. It's an interesting road to take and this is basically the film's conceit so if it works for you, then, hey, awesome. For me, it was just distracting/boring and I wanted more awesome music/singalongs or something. I did like how the film kind of goes the unexpected route of throwing in a character falling in with the environmentalists although the character just follows it without understanding it at all. I don't know. It was interesting. I really want to watch Tears From A Black Tiger as the aesthetic is kind of great.

★★1/2




Fear(s) of the Dark (2007)
(Directed by French People)

I have no idea what happened. I know the first one made the biggest impression on me just cuz it took the familiar then it totally fucked with my brain. It was great. After that they got progressively less interesting to me (although the final segment has probably the best art style). Anyway, whatever, mostly totally unmemorable.

★★



The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972)
(Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

The world conspires against this guy and everyone has crazy ass dramatic reactions to events. I don't know. I'm pretty sure that most of this film is ridiculously awful but who knows? It just seems so retarded. Basically, this guy is trying to live his life and provide for his family but his family pretty much despises him, his wife suspects him at every turn, and people are in general, awful. Then there's these really awful zooms and the actions of the characters are so ridiculous (and the weird as hell sex scene inserted in is so pathetic and awful -- ARGH). Basically, it's just so one-note and maybe the ridiculousness/overtness/blunt manner of the film is some kind of dumb Brechtian thing to keep the melodrama from overtaking. I don't know. It was mostly awful (but some stuff near the end (I already forgot the specifics) redeemed it).

★★



Kids (1995)
(Directed by Larry Clark)

This is movie is so great. Most of the complaints of repetitiveness and beating you over the head with a "message" or whatever don't strike me as true at all. I mean, Kids does border on "zomg what are the kids up 2?!!" sometimes, but mostly it's about hanging out with friends, smoking weed and whatever and having fun. I don't come at it from a moral level and though that's there on the script with the Jennie part, I just get a kick out of watching Telly & Casper be themselves like when they go to Telly's house and they change shirts cuz it's so hot. CINEMA! I don't like the narration or whatever but it's not a big deal to me (nor is the ending... a sick joke from a film full of sick jokes? butterscotch, yo!). Although I think the film is plenty of fun, I do feel pretty depressed by the end and the reasons are simple and obvious. Maybe superfluous and wrongheaded but the rest is so damn good, how can I complain?

★★★★



Valkyrie (2008)
(Directed by Bryant Singer)

eh, Tom Cruise as Nazi should be more interesting. Hell, a story about the failure of the man should be more interesting. It really isn't. At first, it's more like a team-building thing and Tom Cruise soon takes over and begins bossing people around. Everyone's all confident or whatever and things happen and machinations occur. Exciting stuff! All rendered in the usual ways by Singer. The assassination is well done and stuff but not very interesting either. I guess my concerns laid more toward the last parts of the film where Cruise sees his plan fail in front of his eyes. Failure and the misery of men. How is that not a hollywood blockbuster?

★★



Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
(Directed by Steve Carr)

This is a thoroughly celebration of averageness and fatness and American values or whatever. It prides itself in being completely mediocre and celebrating mediocrity and the final kicker is that when Blart gets a chance at mobility, he turns it down cuz he really likes being Joe Fatass: Mall Cop. Everything wrong with America? Maybe.





A Summer at Grandpa's (1984)
(Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien)


I liked how it limits the scope of our knowledge to just the kid and how everything we learn is offhanded and almost never direct. The scenes of the kids playing with the turtles and the implicit dichotomy between city life and country life (and how they're kind of similar sometimes with rapes, holdups, pregnancies and all that stuff). All that shit is interesting. As usual, Hou's eye is observant and caring although I did find the film bordering on tedium and I guess he got better at it later on when his camera roams around from a fixed point or something cuz in here I guess it's not that great. He observes the action from a distance or whatever but the textures are largely gone for me. I don't know what it is. I'm dumb. I'm also surprised a story about childhood didn't captivate right from the start. I guess I'm an asshole now.

★★★



Neighbours (1952)
(Directed by Norman McLaren)

Cool little short. Animating two dudes who're sharing the day's sun but can't get over the fact that they don't know who owns a flower on their land. Turns surprisingly dark. The sound effects are annoying.

★★★



Begone Dull Care (1949)
(Directed by Norman McLaren)

Kickass. Fits perfectly with the music, enhances it, gives me crazy eye and makes me spin all around. the colors of the night. . .

★★★1/2



Glassy Ocean (1998)
(Directed by Shigeru Tamura)

I've already forgotten what happened. Something about time and whales and painting and awesomeness. I loved those guys who sprung up from god knows when to sing that song. I am dumb.

★★★



Fantastic Planet (1974)
(Directed by Rene Laloux)

eh, it's pretty awesome and whatever just cuz I dig how weird some of the plants and creatures they come up with are. I also dig the alien race and all with their meditation and treating humans as pets. I am all for that. The humans aren't as interesting but their struggle (my struggle) is felt and pretty good and it helps that the music is all kinds of weird as fucking MOOG shit (right?). It gets under my skin and makes me do pirouettes while removing my eyes and stuff. Also, the ending is great. PEACE!

★★★1/2



Keep Your Right Up (1987)
(Directed by Jean-Luc Godard)

I wish the film had stayed the course of the first couple of minutes as Godard showed his capacity for visual comedy/gags/shit as he played this silent comedy HERO who was limber as shit. Then the film descends into endless scenes of shit musicians recording their shit music. People talking about god knows what. The awesomeness of Godard's character getting lost in the shuffle, Jane Birking showing up somehow, me losing interest, this one part (screenshot) that intrigued me, all while I have no idea what's this film is about (on any level) and a big whole MEH/???/WTF. It's just boring. However, Mr. Godard's framing/editing still give me insta-pleasure or something.

★★



Mr. Thank You (1936)
(Directed by Hiroshi Shimizu)

I don't have much to say about this other than it's charming and I love those fades from the behind and front to the bus all the while the guy goes "arigatou!" and I'm charmed as all hell. There's also some stuff about women's role in societies and stuff with the girl going to the city to work as a prostitute while another girl drinks and smokes with the men (and is a independent woman, I guess?). Fun stuff. Just the gentle melancholy of it all. As good as Ornamental Hairpin but without those beautiful final seconds. It's all good, this passage of time.

★★★1/2



Broadcast News (1987)
(Directed by James L. Brooks)

Safe and kind of milquetoast Brooksian nonsense but in all the best ways or something. I really like Albert Brooks' douchiness and Hurt's douchiness and Hunter's douchiness and this movie is for douches like me who believe that we are DEFINED by nonsense and dialogue that sounds like something out of other movies. Anyway, it's charming and I really loved the epilogue (although I thought I would hate it and probably would under different circumstances - I was feeling so generous). Anyway, life's tough out here. I got no helmets.

★★★



A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
(Directed by John Cassavetes)

At first, I thought the actors were insane with all their histrionics and shit. However, I soon got the uncomfortable hang of it and let each scene tumble about in its own caustic rhythm. That was the first half. I was thinking that "eh, this movie is pretty good BUT, and there's always a but with you jhon, you piece of shit, is that it's too uncomfortable or whatever and I don't know, I kind of hate Peter Falk and can't watch him at all because I keep thinking of how he looks kind of mentally ill nowadays and it's weird and I don't know." Then, the second half happens and things are reigned in and I swear it's like the greatest movie in the world. Aesthetically, too, the second half is perfection. That reunion scene with the kids shot in close ups and Rowlands' face changing every other frame cuz her emotions are overwhelming her. THEN there is the perfection of the scene where Falk takes Rowlands to the stairs and all we see are their outlines and it's such an emotionally perfect and resonant bit of filmmaking along with the implorations of Falk's character to be like herself that I'm bawling by the end of it. The ending is superb, too. Hell, everything is. Just amazing.

★★★★



The Elephant Man (1980)
(Directed by David Lynch)

eh, acceptance and all that. Good stuff but mostly it's just kinda "yes, I'm touching but now touch me and i'm like eww" SO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. The cinematography is wonderful and all and so are the performances and whatever BUT FUCK! where are my lynch fever dreams. Who killed Laura Palmer? Too normal and beautiful for my tastes. Suck it, dude!

★★★1/2



A Time To Live, A Time To Die (1985)
(Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

More distanced dreams and realities from Mr. Hou Hsiao-Hsien. This time it's his own childhood that he takes a look at and it's mostly wonderful. At first, it feels too reminiscent of A Summer at Grandpa's even though it's good/better? but then we get to the older Hou and how he starts going down the wrong path and whatever and fuck I can't write none of this shit anymore. Mental Breakdown Time. Okay, done. I kinda wish the saccharine score and voiceover from Hou that was at the very beginning had continued throughout the film because that's the kind of stuff that gets me in the mood for Nostalgia. Even a bitter and more objective brand of it. The kind that would let your alter ego just get lost in the crowd of kids or whatever. Anyway, the film touched me deep by the end. Those last quiet moments where people are unsure of their own culpability. It's not my fault, Hou, it's not my fault.

★★★1/2



Fanboys (2008)
(Directed by Kyle Newman)

This movie sucks because it's about something that sucks.





Confessions of a Shopaholic (2008)
(Directed by P.J. Hogan)

I completely I forgot I watched this. I thought it was over 45 minutes in but apparently there was a whole lot more left and I was like "huh? what? fuck this movie zomg" I like Isla Fisher in the usual weird ways but she really can't save this movie. I'm not really sure anyone can. I did like the fact that apparently it's pretty much all Lady Gaga songs. That's funny.

★1/2



Adaptation (2002)*
(Directed by Spike Jonze)

fuck, this movie is depressing. So much self-loathing and hatred for a comedy. Fits my usual moods perfectly. The self-referentiality bullshit is intriguing and whatever but it's really the bitter, bitter comedy that sells it for me. When Charlie has his head against the window while Donald prattles on about "what genre he is" or whatever and Charlie wonders how they could be part of the same species. It's totally depressing and hateful but hilarious, too. And all those masturbation jokes were funny, too. Plus more points for self-commentary. LOL GET IT. It's just so damn inventive and Laroche actually kind of broke my heart for some reason. And Spike Jonze somehow makes sense of it all. We liberated KUWAIT!

★★★1/2

Jhon's Movie of the Week is... A Woman Under The Influence

2 comments:

face said...

So, it's finally revealed. You're just a Kids apologist. I can't say I'm surprised. Whatever, at least you like the McLaren shorts and the Cassavetes.

Bill Thompson said...

I think you posted the wrong review of Merchant, you need to post the one where you are correct.