Friday, May 20, 2011

The Carter

The Carter
Dir. Adam Bhala Lough
It's said by many that Lil' Wayne is one of the greatest rappers alive currently.   And this movie kind of just follows him around as he records and sells millions of records.  The man himself is shown as both the crazy drunk/crunk, the inspiring yet neglectful father, and the talented rhyme-spitter.  I really didn't know much about him before the movie, and I don't really listen to much rap what-so-ever.   But the documentary was pretty interesting and even comical at times.  Such a random find, but extremely watchable.



Dir. James Gun

I'm not sure Kyle and I have ever really left the movie theater with such polar opposite views on a movie before this one.  As we walked out of the theater there was the typical "So, what'd you think"?  And he just laughed and said, "I loved it!"

Going into this movie it looked like it was going to be a fun, gritty, real take on the average super hero movie.  The trailers flashed funny images of Rainn Wilsonand Ellen Page trying to make up their own super heros.  The trouble though, is that this movie is anything but light hearted, nor is a laugh a minute.  I don't base my decisions to like or not like a movie on it's trailer though.  

The issues I had with this movie were the things it seemed to blow right past.  The three rape (or near rape) scenes, killing kids, drug use...  This movie is way darker than it tries to let on.  The scenes are too bright and pretty, almost as if it were being glossed over to put the audience at ease with these images.  I was horrified.  Don't get me wrong, these things happen in a lot of movies, even movies that I do enjoy.  But the issue is in the portrayal.  These things are not funny when they're put into a realism setting like this movie. 

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this film, but don't take my word for it.  As I said before, Kyle loved it.  To each their own.

96 + 7236 = 7332

Mystery Team

Mystery Team
Dir. Dan Eckman

I've been a Derek Comedy fan for a long time now.  So, it came as no surprise that when I found this streaming on Netflix, I had to hit it up same day.  Up until then, I was unaware that they had made a feature, but with their cast members since finding some major work, it only seemed right for the smaller online comedy shorts group to go big.

This movie is really for those people that enjoy comedy that never gets serious.  It's for the adults out there that can still laugh at fart and pee jokes.

Here's a video from Derek Comedy's earlier stuff.  If you enjoy this, then definitely catch Mystery Team.

"Fuck! Yeah, that's right. I've been saying "fuck". Going in the backyard and trying it out."
 105 + 7131 = 7236

Indiana Jones Double Feature

Temple of Doom
The Last Crusade
Dir. Steven Spielberg

I had hit up Raiders of the Lost Ark a couple months ago, not for this project, but just to see and of course, loved it.  I don't know how much it had to do withHarrison Ford just after Star Wars with that kind of freshness, or it was that Spielberg blockbusters never cease to impress me.  Either way, all of the Indiana Jones movies were really fun.

To me, since I had never seen any of them before, it was like realizing your best friend has some kind of super power that they had just failed to mention.  The dvds were always on the shelf, but I never really ever thought to put them in the player.  Bad analogy, but you know what I mean.  Pretty nice find.  

So, to the movies themselves.  If you haven't seen the last two films because the first one just wasn't quite doing it for you, DEFINITELY see the second one.  And yes, for anyone out there that was wondering, Temple of Doom is my fav.  Why? You ask?  Short Round.  The kid provides just the right amount of comedy to the adventure mix to really keep me entertained.  Sadly enough, he just kind of magically appears in the second movie, and then just disappears in the third.  And oddly, it's never really even talked about in the second movie.  

I guess that left me kind of wondering about the timeline of Indiana Jones.  Do the movies happen in order?  If you go by the dates at the beginning of the movies, they're chronological.  But I guess to me for some reason, Dr. Jones seems more mature and a little more settled down in the second one.  I guess it doesn't really make any difference, but just food for thought.

"I keep telling you, you listen to me more, you live longer!"

118+127+ 6886 = 7131

A Spurlock Double Feature

Greatest Movie Ever Sold
and Super Size Me
Dir. Morgan Spurlock

In concept, Best Movie Ever Sold is genius.  Make a movie about product placement funded entirely by products.  The only trouble becomes the honesty that's lost, but at the same time, that's the point.  It just felt like there was somethign lost in the loop that the filmmaker was aiming to prove.  But over-all it seemed that the point was balance.  Money is always good for a film, but sometimes your movie will be compromised by it. 
Otherwise, this movie was much more comical and light-hearted than Super Size Me.  Although, the subject matter was a little less life changing.  In Super Size Me, he actually put his life at risk through the extreme diet that some really actually partake in regularly.  So, I guess I'd say that Super Size me was more effective in it's delivery, but really it was taking a much more one sided approach to a topic.
But in both films, I really enjoyed the ironic humor that he brings to the table.  So, if your film diet is in need of some documentaries, but don't want to lose the entertainment value, check out Best Movie Ever Sold.

100 + 90  + 6696 = 6886


Dir. Jean-Luc Godard
I won't lie, I find this an amazing movie even just based around their portrayal of the American woman.  She's quite the siren.  She'll drag you in and seduce you, but she is never to be trusted.  Although, she is a bit hasty.  

This movie is stunning in black and while.  The contrast really makes the movie.  But, don't let the starkness of the black and white fool you, most characters will dance in that grey area of morals.  

Anyway, I think this should be on everyone's list of movies to see.  I borrowed it from Mr. Gasser, but it's now streaming also on hulu plus with a membership (or hit up the free month through your xbox).  

"It's sad to fall asleep. It separates people. Even when you're sleeping together, you're all alone."

90min + 6606 =6696 (or 4.65 days)

Friday, April 29, 2011

All The Real Girls

All The Real Girls
Dir. David Gordon Green

This movie was lent to me by Mr. Gasser along with Breathless and Man Bites Dog.  Appreciate the help to my goal, man!

I really liked this movie.  I'm not sure what did it for me, really, but as a whole, I enjoyed the view.  The characters were pretty fleshed out and it was definitely an interestingly diverse cast ranging from Deschanel to McBride.  But they all seemed to work together.  It was a pretty believable ecosystem.

As strange as some of the serious moments could have been (ie. the heart to heart with Paul's mother about why she has to be a clown), this movie remained down to earth and watchable.  And over-all you could feel like filmmaker make you pull for a happy ending without realizing how wrapped up in the movie you were getting.

A really good movie though.  Would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes fractured love stories or buildingsroman type storylines.

108 + 6498 = 6606

The Fountain

The Fountain
Dir. Darren Aronofsky

One of the most recommended movies by my readers so far, has finally made the list.  Which is something I find funny since Aronofsky is kind of an acquired taste.  I'm not saying that I don't like his movies, just that I have to be in the right mindset before I view one.  Otherwise, I end up watching it like I watch movies in large groups and just end up talking through it or walking out of the room when something else catches my eye.

The Fountain was different than the rest of his movies that I had seen though.  He tends to not mind having very sad, almost hopeless endings to his movies, but this movie was quite the opposite.  Instead, he seemed to take you through sadness throughout the movie, and the ending seemed hopeful somehow.  I'm not sure I even fully understand the end.  It's definitely up for interpretation.  But, the journey to get there was beautiful.

There were a few moments that I didn't really care much for in the movie though.  I had some mixed emotions about the irony thrown into the mix toward the end.  Tom had just about cured the monkey.  It kind of took away from the sadness and made me feel a little more like face-palming.  At the same time though, it was interesting to see Aronofsky play with the idea of being torn between how he spent his time.  Does he keep racing toward the cure, or does he spend time with his dying wife?  I feel like that had to have been emotions that he toyed with within the torn character of Nina in Black Swan too.  It's interesting to follow a director's work from one project to another like that.

This movie is quite the tear jerker.  I'm not sure I really even stopped crying throughout the view.  But, I would recommend this movie if you liked any other Aronofsky movies or you really enjoy arty emotional dramas.

Viewed on DVD
96 min + 6402 = 6498


Dir. Michael Traeger

Sorry again, about the delay in posts!  There have been a couple bigger projects I've been tackling lately keeping me from blogging.  No worries though, I'm still watching my daily intake of cinema.  A little over a week ago though, I headed for Kentucky to rehearsals for a feature I'm associated with, Intrusion: Disconnected.  And, that begins shooting at the end of May in and around Louisville, KY.  Here comes the selfless plug: Support local independent filmmakers from the midwest!  If you'd like to check that out though, here's the site (that I designed) .

So, that has kept me rather busy lately.  Otherwise, if you do not follow my tweets nor check my narcissistic feed of facebook statuses lately, I've also been working my way though the entire James Bond series.  Yeah, I had never seen a Bond movie in it's entirety until last week.  So, when I get through those, there will be a nice big post chronicling my experiences with that.  Currently, I'm about 4 movies in, but I'll be watching other things too during that span.

ANYWAY, on to Amateurs.

This was a fun little movie that I had never even heard of.  I needed something to watch over the 16 hour car ride to Kentucky, so I picked a random .99$ rental on iTunes.  It turned out to be a decent find.

The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Ted Danson, and Joe Pantoliano, quite the eclectic cast, and follows Bridges's character, Andy.  Andy seems to be having a mid-life crisis and is in need of some cash.  So, he bans his friends from his small town together to make a "porno movie".

It has some touching moments, and very good character acting from both Bridges and Danson.  The subject matter stays light hearted and comedic, never really revealing too much to let it get too serious.  The filmmakers in the movie even turn and look away while shooting for the privacy of their actors.

The movie itself was never a huge release, only having made a little over $15,000, and only showing it's opening weekend on 3 screens.  So, maybe you've never heard of it either.  But if you need a little pick-me-up with some recognizable faces and off color humor, give this movie a try.

Rented through iTunes
96 min + 6309 = 6402

Saturday, April 9, 2011

La Jetee

La Jetee
Dir. Chris Marker

When a friend and I were sitting on the couch flipping through the new movies added to Hulu Plus, he said I should watch this film.  I read the words "still images" saw that it was in black and white, and replied, "Yeah...  Right.  Looks like a blast."  He of course replied with "It's only 28 minutes long, you really should give it a try."

After thinking about it for a couple days, and mulling over the idea of making an entire movie out of still images and it somehow ending up part of the Criterion Collection I became curious.  So, this evening I clicked into it and was completely blown away.

The idea of making the movie with pictures rather than a movie wasn't a cop out, but instead a very calculated move on the filmmaker's part.  This movie is a lot about people's memories, and they sort of trick you into testing yours out.  Many people can vividly remember photographs, and then when they put greater emphasis on certain ones with more screen time through longer takes or shorter quick flashes, you begin without realizing it remembering many of the moments.  On top of this, the movie's subject matter is about the exploration of a person's memory for use in time travel to help save the human race just after WWIII.

It's a little movie that doesn't seem to be much in theory, but really packs a punch.  A must-see in my opinion.  I feel like I can definitely find inspiration in this, I hope others can too.  It begins a little odd and slow, but just give it the full 28 minutes, and you won't regret it.

Viewed 4/9 on Hulu Plus
28 + 6281 =6309


Old Boy
Dir. Chan-wook Park

This film was recommended by Mr. Pfister a while back, but it took me a while to get to it.  So, sorry and thank you!  Hope life is going well for you back in Indiana!

I like how this movie is as a revenge movie, but not in the way you'd think.  It seems simple enough.  Guy is locked up for seemingly no reason, and when he gets out, he's after his captor.  But they decide he's not out for blood necessarily.  I mean, he'll get blood if anyone gets in the way, but he's more after information.  What can happen to a person that makes them feel like that was warranted?  They play on the human condition of curiosity.  It also holds a very interesting commentary on what sins are worthy of punishment and stretching people to a point where revenge is their only motivating factor.  What can come after it's taken?

The movie features some very epic fight scenes.  Although a little slow at the beginning, it really picks up in the last hour.

And a side note, don't try watching this movie dubbed (as this is how it's on Netflix watch instantly)  I started watching it like that, but within about 5 minutes couldn't stand the Tommy Wiseau sounding voice actors.  Just suck it up and turn on the subtitles!

Otherwise, I'd recommend this movie for sure!  Not for the conservative audience necessarily, but even still.  Thanks for the recommendation Ryan!

120 + 6161 = 6281

His Way

His Way
Dir. Douglas McGrath

This was a made for TV documentary about a very lucky guy.  Jerry Weintraub is a legend is the movie producing world.  This guy knows everyone in the business and then some.

I feel like this was a very interesting piece, because as many documentaries go, it could have gone a lot of ways.  It reflected on his luck, and the celebrities he was and is associated with, but over all, the filmmaker managed to make it circle back around.  It seemed that in his digging, the filmmaker found the true reason that a man that somehow finagled a deal to be Elvis and Frank Sinatra's promoter to making the Oceans trilogy.  And as easy an out as it would have been for the filmmaker to chalk it up to "it's who you know" or "some people are just lucky", he finds that it was the way he was raised.  He was told at an early age that to get what you want, you have to do whatever it takes to make money.

Anyway, an amazing story about an amazing man.  If it comes up on HBO or whatever channels it's on, definitely worth a watch.

87 + 6074 = 6161

Your Highness

Your Highness
Dir. David Gordon Green

I was a little sad to see that the trailer gave away a lot of the good parts of this movie.  It seemed also like the audience was with me on that one.  We laughed, but a lot of the jokes fell flat because they were every commercial break.  The movie was pretty funny over-all, but it was long winded between those parts.

There are reasons to go see this movie anyway though!  First off, after Portman and Franco had some stellar oscar nominating and winning performances the year before, it's fun to see them let their hair down at the beginning of blockbuster season.

Franco sings.

The special effects, and shooting style are pretty epic.

and Danny McBride does have some pretty funny moments.  You can see his hand in this entire film from the writing to the physical humor.  I'm sure if you watch Conan, Letterman, or really, any talk show lately, you've heard him talk about this project as if it's his baby.  But at the same time, he has also been talking a lot about other ideas for movies he has up his sleeve.  So, I hope this movie does go over well for him, so that he can work on making some more of his stuff.

102 +5972 = 6074

Tell Your Children/Reefer Madness

Tell Your Children/Reefer Madness
Dir. Louis J. Gasnier

One very funny propaganda film.  I had to read up on this movie to be sure as to what exactly the point of it was.  From my perspective, it seemed like a satirical take on people who think of marijuana almost the same way they think of the boogyman.  Instead though, in it's original form, it was made to be a movie seriously dedicated to warning people of the troubles of the drug.  The trouble though, with this interpretation is that their portrayal of the drug and it's effects on the users becomes so over-the-top it's laughable.  The joke, in turn, ends up the filmmakers as it it still viewed as a cult classic to this day.

Of course, this movie will forever be known for this reason.  So, who knows, maybe the joke is on the audience.  But, I'd like to think not because this movie instead had to have been an influence on Dr. Stranglove and other dark comedy satires like it.  Basically, some of my favorite kinds of movies.

Can't wait to see the musical.

The original tag line is: Adults only!
But I'd like to change it to: Drugs, Sex, and Jazz!

66 min. +5906 = 5972

Airplane 2

Airplane 2
Dir. Ken Finkleman

Totally had no knowledge until it popped up that afternoon that there was a sequel to one of my Dad's favorite movies. I of course, grew up with this sense of humor from a very young age. So, it was like a blast from the past watching this. Wasn't as good as the first movie for sure, but if you liked the first, you'll enjoy this one as well.

Only problems I had with this film were a lot of the jokes were revisited from the first movie. So, if you didn't laugh at the drinking problem joke they told 4 times in the first movie, you're probably going to get bored fast with this one. And if you didn't see the first movie, this isn't a sequel you could just pick up and run with very easily.

I also wish Kareem Abdul Jabbar would have made a cameo. Would have made my day. Instead though, the guy that speaks jibe did it instead. :)

85 + 5821 = 5906

When in Rome

When in Rome
Dir. Mark Steven Johnson

This movie kept getting recommended to me by Netflix, and looked funny enough. It wasn't until I had spent a full day watching Las Vegas reruns that I finally decided to finish the day with it.

I kind of thought that this was going to be pretty much an escapist girly movie, which it was. Lately, though those have all been pretty much same-ol', same-ol'. So, I didn't expect much, nor at the time did I want too much. Meaning of course that it wasn't a criterion kind of day for me. So, when I got something that wasn't over stimulating yet pretty entertaining, I was happy.

This has a couple pretty good actors in a cute romantic comedy situation. Putting it partly in Rome and a lot in the Gutenburg made for some pretty composition. The supporting cast was a pretty entertaining and random group of well known actors as well, making for a lot of, "Hey, I didn't know he was in this..." moments. It was extremely watchable, holding the cheesy lines to a minimum. Overall a pretty fun little movie.

91 + 5730 = 5821

Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf
Dir. Rob Daniel

This was a fun movie that I had somehow missed in my childhood.  It did come out about 2 years before I was born.  So, that kind of explains it.  I knew generally the story of the movie, but finally sat down and watched it.

What makes this movie so great?  Well, first off, it's classically 80s.  The wardrobe and the lingo of the 80s will forever be entertaining to those who did and didn't live in the decade.  Along with this, movies featuring scary creatures were being made for kids at the time.  We've got Monster Squad, Ghost Busters, Little Shop of Horrors, The Goonies, My Best Friend is a Vampire, Troll, Gremlins, Scooby-Doo, ET, and Beetle Juice all having come to the screen for the first time.  It's a prime era of really big, original movies that have taken sometimes already created and well-known monsters and villains and humanized them or made them more accessible.  And the hollywood system was capitalizing on this almost as much as their feasting on comic book characters now.

Again, I'm not saying this process they had created then got nearly as out of hand as it has now, just that it happens. And sometimes the result isn't half bad.

Back to Teen Wolf (terrible transition), I really enjoyed Michael J. Fox in this roll.  He always seems to play a really good nervous guy that tries to be cool.  I feel like this movie had to have been a good stepping stone for him into the role of Marty McFly.  Seriously, he's too cool.  It seems like in both rolls, everyone watching the movie would have been his friend, because he's mildly popular, has cool hobbies, wants a girl, and can smoothly wiggle his way out of trouble.  Who doesn't wan to be Michael J. Fox?

Yeah, I found the Dolorean outside a Ron Jon in Myrtle Beach a little while back.  This thing is put on display to collect money for Parkinson's disease, and the $ is deposited in the same place you'd put trash to make it go back to the future.  :)

91 +5639 = 5730

The Jerk

The Jerk
Dir. Carl Reiner

So, I've always been a fan of Steve Martin's sense of humor and writing style.  He's a very talented individual for sure.  I just finished The Pleasure of My Company which was a down to earth story about a loner hermit that branches out of his little apartment one block and person at a time.  And he just played with his new band on The Colbert Report.  There's something to be said about an entertainer that can do everything from play the banjo, to write good books, screenplays, plays to holding his own as a stand up comedian and a still be a very talented actor.  Not only this, but to be able to successfully stay in the business for over 40 years is a talent all it's own.

That being said, The Jerk is classic Steve Martin.  Martin uses body humor (as the character cannot keep a beat with his black family to save his life) and naive to create the character of Navin.  Throwing in some screwball characters like Emmet Walsh and Bill Macy couldn't hurt or steal away from this comedy character piece.

I just wish movies like this could survive the studio system these days.  A very good movie.

104 +5535 = 5639

Friday, April 8, 2011


Dir. Peter Yates

I began watching Krull the day Yates died, not having seen any of his other movies before.  But due to a late night at work and Kyle not making it past the first 5 minutes, we postponed the view.
Four months later, I sit on the couch trying to stay awake for the movie a second time through Kyle's snoring a the other end.  Although, I couldn't help but laugh when he woke up and asked which one was Krull about 30 minutes in.

Needless to say,  this movie isn't the fastest moving plot in the world.  It also features some long passed takes that much like the first movie in the Lord of the Rings will lull you to sleep if you don't watch out.

Many sets in this film scream of star wars, and a couple shots could have been cut from this movie and placed right in the NeverEnding Story(like the guy riding the flying horse/the boy riding the flying dog).  To me, this movie didn't' seem all that original or catching, but it probably did in '83 when the first of the Star Wars movies were hitting theaters.  Seemed like it was capitalizing on the hype and effects Lucas was already putting out, only not doing it nearly as well.
RIP Peter Yates

121 + 5414 = 5535

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown
Dir. Quentin Tarantino

After most of my views, I like to read what others have to say about the movies on imdb and online news articles and such.  I was EXTREMELY surprised to see how many people thought this was Quentin's worst piece of work as I loved the movie so much.  Honestly, it's probably one of my favorite Tarantino flicks that I've encountered.

I guess my reasoning may have been different for liking the movie than others though.  It seemed that others going into the movie expected another "flamboyant" Tarantino movie,  and the Blacksploitation movie that ensued left them with a bad taste in their mouth.  And at the time, that wouldn't have been expected.  From my vantage point, I had already seen and fallen in love with Quentin taking on the Grindhouse style and embodying it in his movies in his own way.  So, knowing what he was capable of in that respect, and knowing how much of a fan he is of certain kinds of filmmaking styles.  I got to come into this movie with a privileged view that critics of 1997 didn't.

I'm a huge admirer, of course, of Tarantino.  I feel like this whole study I'm doing with these 300 movies is inspired for sure by filmmakers like him that don't just make movies.  They love movies.  They watch them, and each one is a learning experience and has something to offer the viewer in an educational sense, not just escapist cinema.  There's inspiration in this kind of art, if you just know where to look.
RIP Sally Menke.

154 + 5260 = 5414

Total Recall

Total Recall
Dir. Paul Verhoeven

An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie made the list!  And I watched this on April fools no less.  Actually, I think it was because of an April fools joke that we ended up with this little gem (of course I'm being sarcastic) in the dvd player.

With Schwarzenegger as a headliner, you know what you're going to get.  He's the most iconic action movie actor in the world.  And this movie features one of the greatest Arnold freak out scenes of all time.  It's amazing that one guy can exude so much machoism.

Anyway, this movie was pretty epic, but of course not as epic as the James Cameron films.  $50 million is still a huge budget.  Geesh.

Run time 113 + 5147 = 5260

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Dir. Quentin Dupieux

That's right, a tire that can make things explode for nearly an hour and a half.  Sounds like a stupid premise for a movie, but they make it entertaining with a good deal of fake blood, playing up the bizarre factor, and giving Stephen Spinella a very up-front monologue about the lack of reason of what you're about to see upon entry into this film experience.

Had this humorous statement not been made at the beginning and revisited at the end of the film, I feel like people probably would have really been trying to find the reasons for many things that happen in the movie.  How'd the tire get in the desert?  Why is it set on destruction?  Why is there another audience within the movie watching the movie?

No reason.

But this movie has Cult Classic written all over it, and already has a following.  So, the lack of reason seems to work.  Really, if you think about it, most cult classics have a lot of unexplainable things occur as well.

In Eraser head, why is that guy so weird, what's up with his hair, and what's that little theater all about?

Why is it called Troll 2?  There are no trolls in that whole movie.

In the Room...  well, what was Tommy Wiseau thinking?  Has he even seen humans talk to each other?

In House...  again, what was going on throughout that entire movie that had any reason for happening besides the girl's dad wanting to ship his daughter off?

No reason.

82 min + 5065 = 5147

Tin Cup

Tin Cup

Yes, I watched this movie.  No, it wasn't because my mom had taken over the TV (she's over 1000 miles away, so that'd be pretty difficult).  But yes, I'm pretty sure she really likes this movie.

So, pretty much a lifetime movie made for screen.  There were parts that I liked.  I mildly enjoyed Kevin Costner as the Dude that plays golf.  But I think I like Don Johnson and Cheech a little better when they're fighting crime in San Francisco, or they're in the hands of Robert Rodriguez.

So, the movie wasn't as painful as it could have been, but it wasn't my fav for sure.

Run Time 135 min + 4930 = 5065

Win Win (pre-screening)

Win Win

Woot to another pre-screening!  And double Woot to it being even better than I expected.  I'm not sure I've laughed that much in a theater in a little while.  If you like dry humor, newcomer to the screen, Alex Shaffer even gives co-star Gimatti a run for his money.  Along with this, Amy Ryan (Holly from the Office) gave a very down-to-earth and honest portrayal as well.

Since this movie wasn't advertised nearly as much as it should have been, here's a quick non-spoiler synopsis:

Mike Flaherty's attorney office has seen better days, with a water heater that's disturbing what peace there is between nearly no clients.  He coaches the high school wrestling team and stumbles into a little crooked business opportunity that ends up with some extra money, a star athlete living in his basement, and his team finally winning some meets.  Everything is looking up, but this is a movie, there will be a monkey wrench.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend this movie if you like a real-to-life drama that is also quite funny.

Run time  106 min + 4824 = 4930

Hausu (House)

Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi

Where to begin?

Well, this was probably one of the most bizarre movies I've ever seen.

This movie definitely has it's place in cinema history, but it's one that if you were in the middle of the view,  you'd really be curious as to where this place was.

But I feel like what I got from it was another dose of what it takes to become a Cult Classic.  There is no real calculated formula for this, but there is a definite fun mood and feeling the movie puts on that you can't help but be entertained by in some strange way.  Even with a piano that eats a girl, a soundtrack that is sung by a cat, and some very strange camera work, something about this movie grants it it's following.

I really want a House Mondo Tee.  Very cool.

And if you've never seen any of this movie, please check out the trailer:

Run Time 88 min + 4736  = 4824

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Every Which Way But Loose

Every Which Way But Loose
Dir. James Fargo

Alright, take Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, a monkey, a gang of bikers, and a fist full of fist fights, and throw them all together.  How can this movie go wrong?  Plus, there's even a storyline with a bit of swindling and fun.

Of course, Clyde, the monkey is what's most amazing about this movie.  As a filmmaker, having a monkey in the cast would be too much of a loose canon for me to take on.  Maybe that's why I'll never make it big.  But, Kyle came into the apartment about midway through my viewing of this movie, during a great scene between Eastwood's Character, Philo and Clyde where they are riding in the truck together.  You can tell some of this scene had to be improv.  Nonetheless, Clyde has his arms around Philo's neck, and Kyle says, "that monkey could kill him right now if he wanted to."  And it's so true.  That's a huge risk on everyone on set, but these were the good ol' days in moviemaking, where not everyone was out to sue everyone else over nothing.

Otherwise, if you're a Clint Eastwood fan, this is a very interesting movie in his filmography.  One where he shows the lighterside of his character persona.  A pretty enjoyable movie.

110 min +4626 = 4736

Me and Orson Welles

Me and Orson Welles
Dir. Richard Linklater

I really didn't know what to expect with this movie.  With Zac Efron being the lead, I was worried.  I had really only seen a little bit of 17 Again, and had felt like the comedy was poorly written and the movie in general was revisited material that seems to be redone on almost a yearly basis anymore.  So, I wasn't expecting much out of him, but he surprised me with an amazing performance. I suppose the later wasn't really his fault.

I'm not completely certain as to how much of this is based in truth.  All I can seem to find is that the run of that show was accurate to that time period.  What I was more curious about was how much of a diva Orson Welles really was.  I know I have heard about him being pretty full of himself, but that's sort-of to be expected.  He's just over the top.  Which makes for a good movie, but I'd really like to know how much research the writers did, and how much creative licensing they took to create his character.

Either way, this was a very good period piece, with some very good costuming and acting.  Kudos to my fellow Austinite.

114 min + 4512 = 4626

Raising Arizona

Raising Arizona
Dir. Joel Coen

So, I'll admit, I like Nic Cage in screwball hillbilly characters.  He was pretty funny in this one for sure.

What I'm curious about after seeing this movie is how in the heck do the Coen Brothers come up with this stuff?  It's all so calculated, but completely out there.  They play on these key human elements, like the want to have a child, and somehow blow it completely into something completely beyond belief.  And it's a common thread.  In Burn After Reading, the woman just wants some money to loose some weight.  Such a small motivating factor to start such a crazy chain of events.  I would love to know their method.  Seriously, who can start with a blank sheet of paper, and somehow end up with this movie?

Along with an amazing writing style, they always bring some amazing action to the screen that keeps you watching.  Car chases, people busting out of prison, kidnapping, snappy one-liners and a polar opposites attract story.  It's a movie that you can't get up to go to the restroom during, or your friends will leave you behind in some quote inside joke from there on out.

I'll end with a couple amazing quotes from the movie.  and if you haven't seen it yet, get on it!  Enjoy.

There's what's right and there's what's right and never the twain shall meet. 

And this here's the TV. Two hours a day, either educational or football, so you don't ruin your appreciation of the finer things.

We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

Rollie! You take that diaper off your head and you put it back on your sister! 

94 min +4418 = 4512

Post Grad

Post Grad
Dir. Vicky Jenson

Sometimes I wonder how I get lulled into wanting to see movies like this one.  I think when this movie came out, I had just graduated college.  So, the trailers telling of a time in a girl's life where things were uncertain, and work is so hard to find, spoke to me.  But I was also very broke back then, and didn't make it to see the movie when it may have been a little more relevant.

Instead, I watched this movie much like the way I sometimes thumb through a 17 magazine now.  I couldn't give it my full attention because I couldn't take it seriously when I did.  And I gave a little chuckle to the light humor, almost to humor it.

It wasn't that this movie was all that bad.  It wasn't great, I just wasn't in it's target audience anymore.  Although, I feel like the target was a little skued.  The girl everyone was to be relating with was a college grad being played by someone that could have been mistaken for a high school one.  But the relationship also was pretty downplayed.  I feel like I may have enjoyed it when I was in high school, but the whole obstacle of the difficulty of finding work in a tough economy would have been lost on me then, and I would have been watching more for the progression of the relationship.  Which was pretty slow.  So, overall, not a great watch.

Run Time  88 min + 4330 = 4418


Dir. Ivan Reitman

Bill Murray is hilarious.

Enough said.

It's nice now and again to see how strong an actor is by watching them carry an entire movie.  Not that John Candy or Harold Ramis didn't help.  But, no one can say this could have been pulled off and have been the same movie what-so-ever without Murray.  Heck, neither would Zombieland, and he was barely in it.

On the flip side, I really enjoyed Ramis's character.  The pair were so not fit for the army, but very fit to make an entertaining movie.

Again, I'll say this isn't either of their best works, but it's a fun little movie from what I'd say was a great group of comedians during their prime.

Run Time 106 + 4224 (counting blade runner) = 4330

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blade Runner

Blade Runner
Dir. Ridley Scott

So, not having had a Star Wars fix in a while, it was awesome to see Harrison Ford in a SciFi/fantasy movie.  To be honest, going into this movie, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  For some reason, I thought it was going to be like an earlier matrix or something, but instead it was like Star Wars meets Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!  I love all of those movies.

But anyway, since I wasn't sure what to make of it exactly by the end, I'd like to open this up to discussion.  Invite others to join as well.

Topic: Was Harrison Ford's character, Rick Deckard, actually a replicant that was not self-aware?

Not going to lie, I felt like it was strongly hinted at, but never said.  So, I'm curious as to what others think about the issue.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Dir. Shane Black

I really liked this movie.  and yes, I ended up with two very different Val Kilmer movies back-to-back.  That actually was an accident.

This movie was a very clever idea.  A good mix of action, guy-finds-girl-that-got-away, detective, and funny accidents storylines all in a little over an hour and a half.  So, the pacing was fantastic.  Never a dull moment, and a little something for everyone.

This was also a movie was headlined with an amazing cast that really just made the whole thing work.  Robert Downy Jr. does such an awesome slightly confused, but smoothly rolling with it kinda guy.  Val Kilmer makes an amazing snappy gay(?) guy.

So, put together a good script, an amazing cast, and shoot it decently in a semi-noir style, and you've got  yourself a very entertaining movie.  There are few movies that I'll watch over and over, but this one will definitely be revisited soon.

Run Time 103 + 4004 = 4107


Dir. Ron Howard

Willow, yet another movie that people seem to either love or hate.  I really enjoyed this movie.  It reminded me of a lot of other movies that I really liked, yet was a little creeped out by as a child (ie. Neverending Story).  The story was cute, and almost seemed to tackle issues midgets have in the real world in a very cute and fantastical way (although, they were made to look even smaller than midgets to project the point).  It was a really uplifting story, though.  I kind of wish this type of movie was still being made.  By that, I mean movies with these fantasy creatures that almost seem to just spill out of a child's imagination or a story book or even a combination of both.  I think the closest to this that we've come was Were The Wild Things are (which I loved), and even that was nearly under a chopping block in post.  What a shame.
Run Time 126 min + 3878 = 4004

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lovely Bones

Lovely Bones
Dir. Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson flexing his versatility always impresses me.  I went into this movie knowing that it was going to be well written (since it was based on a best selling book), and that it would have some dreamy special effects (just because you can't have a Jackson movie without effects, and the trailer kinda gave the look away).

There's something very special about the way Peter Jackson films the imagination of children (mostly girls).  For example, in Heavenly Creatures, when the girls are frolicking in the yard of their third world, it looks amazingly beautiful, but you just get this feeling that something is off.  He brings that into Susie's limbo world.  It could be a wonderful place, but instead there's this purple fog that seems to cloud it in most shots.    His music choices follow suit (granted, they're probably not his personal choice, but a music guy in post).  There is just an eerie sense that he is great at creating on screen, that was perfect for this movie.

Typically, I'd say this wouldn't be my first choice of books for Peter Jackson to adapt, but he did it really well.  Only thing I'd change would probably be recasting Wahlberg's part.

136 min + 3742 = 3878

The Blind Side

The Blind Side
Dir. John Lee Hancock

Yes, I know.  I can't believe I hadn't seen it either, after all the hype and press about Bullock's performance.  Plus, my mom was in love with this movie.  She rarely buys movies on DVD, but she went out and bought this one.  Basically though, I went into this movie expecting a Lifetime, made for the big screen kinda movie.  Everyone seemed to either dog on the film or love it.  There were very few tweeners.  But, I think I fell into the grey area.

I'm not a football fan, and I typically do not like football movies.  I also, typically avoid them just about as much as I avoid war movies.  But, again, it was on TV, and the remote was too far away.  So, there I sat.  The thing was, there were a couple reasons I continued watching.  First, yes, Sandra Bullock was a very good southerner.  I bought into it, and I think she deserved that oscar.  If not just for that performance, another one.  I think she's pretty under appreciated (granted, not so much now that she has the oscar, but before this movie).

The other reason was the little boy.  The screenwriter did some really good writing setting him as comedic relief for the movie.  Otherwise, yes, I'd say it should have gone straight into the Lifetime lineup.  But, he broke up the seriousness of the movie, and actually had me entertained with the movie.  A very cute little kid actor.

129 minutes + 3613 = 3742

Couple's Retreat

Couple's Retreat
Dir. Peter Billingsley

Boo to being done with South by Southwest posts, but I guess there's always next year.
Onward to 3 random movies I caught on HBO one afternoon. :)

Couple's Retreat was somehow a movie I never actually went out to see nor ever sat through in it's entirety on any one occasion.  But, now I've seen it, and I'm not quite sure what I got from the viewing on a filmmaking level.  The acting wasn't amazing, but it wasn't terrible.  It seemed to just be a lot of character acting, and Vince Vaughn being his normal Vince Vaughn character.  And it began making me think Kristen Bell managed to get herself to a point in her career that she picks and chooses her projects by what beachy location they'll be on (since just the year before, she did Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

Being a filmmaker on a very tight budget most times, you can find yourself being less and less impressed by movies with an approximate $60 million budget.  But, fortunately, I'm not quite to pretentious to enjoy a little escapist cinema now and again.

The movie was pretty funny.  Not on the same level as many of Vaughn's other films (ie Dodgeball, Anchorman, and the Wedding Crashers).

Run Time 113 min + 3500 = 3613 minutes

SXSW 2011 -- Bellflower

Dir. Evan Glodell

Sorry again about the tardiness of these posts.  Currently, I'm at day 61 of this little project, I've watched 46 new movies, and have somehow ended up 12 posts behind my actual viewing.  So, in the following week, I'm forcing myself to get caught back up.  We'll see how it goes.

Synopsis: A love story with apocalyptic stakes.

My favorite movie of SXSW was probably Bellflower.  Funny enough, it was also the last movie I was able to hit up at the festival, and therefore a nice end to the thread of SX posts.  The movie was really well put together with everything from good cast chemistry to a strong plot.  But probably one of the biggest reasons for it's success, not only at all of it's packed showings at SXSW, but also it's acclaim at Sundance, has to do with what Kyle kept referring to as a gimmick.

When I say this, I don't mean it in a typically bad sense.  The gimmick is actually more like a cherry on top of an already good movie idea.  The movie follows a guy and his best friend, whom since childhood have been preparing to create a bad ass gang when the apocalypse occurs.  As one of them notes later, they are pretty influenced by Mad Max.  Over the course of the film, the boys create flame throwers and even a car that shoots flames.  This is the gimmick.  The movie is ridden with explosions, fire, and quite literally, even the linear plot explodes.  Again, no disrespect to the filmmakers, I'm actually more thinking kudos to him for coming up with such an amazing idea, but this whole idea of fire and explosions on screen make it nearly impossible to rip yourself from the screen.  It's a spectacle, almost like a firework show.  And it seems like, if you were to point a camera at something of that proportion, it's be difficult not to have a house-filling movie.

Along with this, for all of the cinemafiles and movie geeks out there, the writer/director threw in another gimmick for anyone that follows the behind the scenes stuff.  The boys built their own cameras (called the coatwolf), and not only that, they did it with full tilt-shift functionality (for any of you who don't know what that is, think back to the rowing scene in the Social Network...  remember how strange and dreamy that scene was?  well, imagine most of a movie like that).  So, not only is the movie an amazing piece of work, it's shot really well.  If you're interested in seeing their craftmanship, here's a link to their site:

Anyway,  they brought the car with them to Austin, so enjoy the video from the Alamo Drafthouse parking lot!

Run Time: 105 min +3395 = 3500 minutes

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SXSW 2011 -- 96 Minutes

96 Minutes
Dir. Aimee Lagos

Synopsis: Four kids. One night. One shocking event.  In 96 minutes, their lives will be changed forever.  (This film held it's world premier at SXSW, but I attended a later showing)

This movie was pretty powerful.  The writer/director mentioned in the Q and A that it was based around events that had actually occurred, although it was a mesh of stories.  It still seemed like the story itself was very close to her heart.  She worked with underprivileged youth in Atlanta, where the film was also shot. So, she seemed to be working with things she knew well, and brought a lot of herself into the project.  Which completely shown through to the end result.

The whole idea somewhat rotated around the idea that in some college cities, especially Ivy League, there becomes two worlds.  There's the college kids that are surrounded by sometimes the most slummy parts of a town with gangs and violence just a walking distance away.  So, when these worlds could collide so easily, and do on a seemingly average Friday night, (to steal from the synopsis) lives change forever.

The whole idea was extremely original, and not like anything I had seen before.  At first, it seemed like it was just going to be some kind of remake of Crash, where they just show how everyone is interconnected, but instead, they take a huge turn and go in a different suspense thriller/horror direction.  So, I found that really refreshing.

In the same note, the person they had score the film, they said, had never worked on a movie before.  But you wouldn't know it.  The score was very powerful and moving.

And finally, the acting was very strong.  Brittany Snow was the only bigger name that I recognized, but they all seemed to be very tight and knew what they were doing.  Ugh, and the messed up kid just made me want to punch him in the Eminem-wanna-be face.  Good casting there.  So, kudos to having an amazing cast and crew pull together such a powerful and moving piece.

Run Time (funny enough) 93 minutes + 3302 = 3395