My Week in Film (6/29 - 7/5)

Collateral (2004)*
(Directed by Michael Mann)

I expected to come back to this after discovering the wordly pleasures of Miami Vice and find a treasure trove of in the moment awesomeness. I'm kind of disappointed since this is fairly ordinary. Don't get me wrong, it's done rather well. But it does feel rather rote. By the time, the cab flips, much like pixote, that lesser being, I'm left wishing things could be resolved differently. Mann's music cues are still terrible in here. The sequence depicted in the screenshot above is one of them. Foxx stops the cab and that beast up there crosses the road and then BAM! terrible song starts playing all while Cruise has a look that says "oh, wow, I'm kind of like that beast... LULZ." ok, not really, but it's still pretty bad. So, the things that I found fascinating in Miami Vice aren't here but that doesn't mean this movie is not good or whatever. I was hoping this would get me all pumped up to watch Public Enemies but I should've just stuck to rewatching that damn boat scene from Miami Vice. . .

Can you tell I'm obsessed?


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
(Directed by Wes Craven)

Another 80s classic that I've never seen before. I think I saw Freddy vs. Jason once and it was one of the most terrible movies I'd ever seen. Long story short: I didn't really know what to expect from this. I know Wes Craven isn't really involved with the other movies so it should be different. I mean, the first one is always the best one, right? Turns out I had a lot of fun with it. It seems different from other horror films. It's kind of about dread more than the violence (although the violence ramps up the feeling of dread). The concept is also kind of perfect. A villain who attacks you in your dreams. You can't really stop yourself from sleeping for too long. He'll get you either way. I enjoyed the way the film toyed with my expectations during the beginning as it opens with that one girl but then switches. Is this another case of the slutty teen dying first? Stupid horror movies. Anyway, who cares about these demons. What I meant to say was, the true horror of this being set in a dream world is that our dream worlds can be changed and not to our advantage. That's scary. Plus that Johnny Depp set piece is bananas. Too bad he wasn't tortured and beaten in a savage commentary on American foreign policy. What am I talking about?


Tongues Untied (1989)
(Directed by Marlon Riggs)

Fascinating stuff. The film is about how black men loving black men is a revolutionary act. No, really, the movie says that. The film uses a variety of methods to explore this, from direct address (by the filmmaker and others) to poetry/spoken word to documentary methods (found footage + other) to whatever else is needed. There's also a fair bit of personal testimony from Marlon Riggs himself covering his own experience (as one of many). The film covers a little bit of the same ground as something like Paris is Burning does (I think I even spotted one of the vogue dancers from that film in here) but in a much more interesting way.

Faceboy, in his review of Black Is... Black Ain't (also by Marlon Riggs), described this film's style fairly accurately with its "lone actor in front of the black background making movements meant to be thematically evocative" all while the actor also recites poetry that is meant to be profound and relevant and beautiful. It comes off as a bit silly but it kind of gets to you after a while and the poetry and the images and the cadences that the speakers imbue the words with, give it a certain kind of slant and oddness which is refreshing.

What I personally thought the most interesting was the segment when the film dispels the notion that being Gay and Black presented a conflict because, as they say, who will you be loyal to you? By film's end, the silence is gone, the music is back, black men loving black men is presented as something beautiful and wonderful. Also, Eddie Murphy's stand up routine from way back when was pretty homophobic. I should rewatch those films. . .


The End of Evangelion (1997)*
(Directed by Hideki Anno)

How did it ever get to be this way? The simple mecha show now turned ambitious art object, maybe the most ambitious of them of all. What the hell? This movie will make absolutely no sense without having seen the series so don't even try. Even with the series watched, it will still be kind of a mind fuck But how could I not love this? It's kinda beautiful in its own fucked up way. It's so inward and full of misery and then when that rage is directed at others, it's so fucking powerful. And that "Tumbling Down" part is so god damn brilliant and heartbreaking. It's as imperfect as it wants to be. And that ending is as brutal and as heartbreaking as you could want it to be. Should be in my top 10/5 animated features list. I'm just dumb.

You were using fantasy to escape reality


Heat (1995)*
(Directed by Michael Mann)

I hadn't seen this movie in so damn long that I remembered pretty much nothing about it. Sure, certain things stuck in my mind like the meeting between De Niro and Pacino but besides from that, I couldn't remember much. Well, was I even paying attention? What a beautiful and sad film. These hopeless characters hurtling themselves thru fate and their own convictions and sets of morals and the gunfights are the fucking existential/whatever/the ones where SHIT MATTERS THE MOST gunfights to compare yourself to. Have guns ever sounded so fucking loud? What I liked even more is the way that it compares to Miami Vice? This is basically that film but with characters who can actually communicate in something besides curt statements involving jargon. Troubled and broody and filled with these deliciously tragic tones, it's the fucking bomb. And it's not even about the action in the film (although I must admit, it's done as well it can be done), but about the character work. Whereas in Miami Vice, character is sublimated in favor of tone, expressionism, other shit, here the characters and their dramas and dilemmas are explored fully, not just hinted at. To sum it up, it's a glorious fucking movie. Gotta love it.


A Bittersweet Life (2005)
(Directed Kim Ji-Woon)

Lots of flash but it felt aggressively empty. I get that it's concerned with surfaces and all that stuff but the motivations and the set ups of the latter half just struck me as so flimsy. The lead dude is pretty good. Mostly kind of stoic and at key moments being broken or showing emotion. I don't know. The film was stylish and always interesting to look at and to feel around and whatever but I didn't get the feeling that those stylistics were contributing to something larger. The final image might offer a clue as to what's going on but by that point, I had largely stopped caring. I like to care. I really do.


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... Heat

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