Sunday, June 28, 2009

a pair of TCM movies -- david copperfield and a lubitsch silent

neither of these held up very well. david copperfield or ...

The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger

is interesting for one reason and one reason only. WC Fields...reciting dickens.

WC Fields + Dickens!!!!

yeah, that needed to be bolded because it was awesome. i dont know whats better, the classic WC fields delivery or the occasional british pronounced word. the rest of the movie is pretty uneventful and typical or 1930s drama. long on length and short on interesting camerawork.

on the other hand the student prince in old heidelberg is...not on the other hand at all. it is also a not very interesting but not bad lubitsch silent. its always nice to see norma shearer in something and in this crazy day and age ole norm shears (what the cool kids) is somewhat endangered. not sure what to say about this one either!

this doesnt have the lubitsch touch; for that you need to watch his later and much superior works.

um...yeah so...PRE's new album rokz. i love scream-ey noise metal or disorganized female punk. like AIDS wolf...fuck yeah. ok, im going to sleep.

late period godard post 4 (of 4)...its over. finally

i think we have found it. a godard film that i not only didnt like but i hated it. keep your right up is avant garde nonsense and given that this film is supposed to avant garde nonsense, i suppose i shouldnt be suprised. plotless of course but even for a film without a plot, this doesnt even work. maybe it does work? i dont know.

i dont even feel like writing about this. im watching american dad and i just want to keep watching it and not talk about godard.

so this is the last late period godard i have on my netflix and in a couple weeks, i will begin a 3 dvd arc of early godard (un femee mariee, made in USA, and 2 or 3 things i know about)

more godard is more better

late period godard, post 3

finally! one that i liked! Godard's 1985 Detective was irreverant, silly, and the music was absolutely fasntastic. of course, this was the same period that godard did je vous sale marie and passion. i think what i loved most of this film was emmanuelle seigner's breasts which were featured a lot. second was the always enjoyable jean pierre leaud. i think what gets me is leaud's to conviction to nonsensical roles.

leaud did some daring movies. not just truffaut's stuff but godard's weekend, eustache's the mother and the whore, and most notably rivette's out 1. the latter made absolutely no sense but leaud was there and acted up a storm. leaud also shows some much passion in his roles and almost a self referential humor that also seems to say, 'i dont really know whats going on either but im going to act with a flair'

the movie detective made little sense and the plot was very loose. something about a 2 year old murder and a boxing set up but that was intentional. godard loved a loose plot and a lot of extemperaneous talk unrelated to anything. there were also great 'yes you are definetely watching a movie' moments in this (repeated use of filming a camera filming the action in the hotel while agfa ads blink in the distance is the biggest of them). also, much like weekend, godard loves showing calamity in the part of the screen and people acting absolutely normal in the other.

this definetely is not among his best but with a resume as extensive as godard, it is a certainly a worthy and superior effort in his already impressive canon.


a movie i shouldve liked ill just talk abotu the oscar expansion a bit

what can i say about beaufort? not too much. it was nominated for a best foreign film oscar in 2007 and has been languished on my instant watching queue for about a year (only honeydripper is ahead of it now). not much to say about it. it was a bit long and definetely a kinda plodding. i thought that the story had potential but i was never really taken in by the conflict. i normally like dark semi tragic war tales and from israel no less! oh well. cant like every movie


The Oscar Expansion

a lot of movie purists like this one and a lot of movie fans dont. whats good about it? it will allow more mainstream stuff to get attention which is good. last year, another 5 slots would have allowed stuff like wall-e and the dark knight to get nominations. also, it might allow more foreign and lesser indie films to get some attention. with 10 last year, the visitor and waltz with bashier would probably have been gotten nods.

whats bad about it? the main thing that comes is having another 5 people come out and talk about more nominees for best picture. the review of the films nominated for best picture is one of the least interesting parts of the oscar ceremony followed closely behind by the rest of the broadcast as a whole.

overall, im going to reserve judgement until i see what is nominated. hopefully, it will quiet some of the idiot populace that say that the oscars have gone too indie (which is a ridiculous argument as the oscars are supposed to award the best films of the year not the most popular. there are plenty of chances for transformers to win awards at the other inane awards ceremonies but i digress).

one can only hope that the hangover is nominated for best picture. please let zach galafinakis (sp?) appear in another oscar nominated film




the first one was into the wild...yeah he was in that

Friday, June 26, 2009

where would the world be without stupid horror movies?

here is the description of sick nurses from imdb: A group of sexy nurses who harvest organs are haunted by the vengeful spirit of one of their dead patients. lets check off the elements:

- j/k/t horror
- sexy nurses (called nubile nurses on netflix)
- body harvesting

IM IN! bring on the long black haired ghost!

make no mistake. this was a stupid film and at 82 minutes, somehow it was too long. i think that the 60 minute long kill everyone phase of the movie was definetely overdone. they really could have used more story to actually make more care even a little bit about the characters or show some sort of affection, attachment to them. but, they were really really sexy asian girls in slutty clothing. no nudity mind you which i actually thought was kind of a good thing. it gave the movie i much sexier allure.

so yeah, angry ghost. gruesome deaths (GREAT GREAT death scenes btw!) and hot girls.

this is nothing you havent seen before but if youre a sucker for the stuff like i am watch it


ps hottest scary long black haired ghost ever!

late period godard part 2

Helas Por Moi is the worst late period godard i have seen. i will say that it is beautifully shot and there are some fantastic memorable scenes and wonderful use of natural lighting. but what does it all mean when the story is so esoteric!? i know that godard really didnt want to make films for people to enjoy but passion was amazing to watch and to experience. it was like watching art and film collide into our strange gel. and je vouz salie marie was a near masterpiece in theme and style.

i would not have had any idea what this movie was about if i hadnt read the plot 20 minutes in. apparently, depardieux is god. literally. maybe? he plays a man who is inhabited by god...i think. yeah, i was not impressed.

i will say that the bonus featurette on the disc 'godard: an enigma wrapped in a mystery' has a few good critics offering their incite on this strange enigmnatic but undoubtedly brilliant (and pretentious) GOD of film.


shohei imamura died!? the new criterion set p I

you know when you first start watching a director who has a long and illustrious career only to discover he died? ok, thats pretty rare and im not sure if any of you have had that experience and i since i disabled comments on here (because im insecure and dont want speaking ill of me and my opinions) i will never know. i had that experience recently with the great shohei imamura. i say ballad and narayama and the emporer's naked army marches and was entranced by both of them. i know that the latter was directed by haro kazuo (sp?) but imamura was a strong creative force. i wasnt big on vengeance is mine but i am willing to revisit it. anyway, i know that we was a rebel in the vein of oshima and suzuki but i hadnt seen much of his masterworks (intentions of murder, the insect woman etc). so, thanks again to criterion for releasing something i wanted to watch.

and then i found out he died a couple years ago


oh well. i guess there wont be any more stuff to miss and i as plow through late godard maybe having an extensive late period isnt necessarily a good thing.

Pigs and Battleships isnt considered one of his best works and isnt listed on the TSPDT top 7000 list but it is still a very good and provocative film. it mixes the stylized sexuality and frustration of post war japan a la oshima and the gangster fascination of suzuki. the film was not terribly subtle but it wasnt meant to be. pigs was meant as a scathing indictment of the US occupation in post WWII and the japanese poor/gang culture.

Jitsuko Yoshimura was very impressive and her role as haruko really made drove this film together. as for the story itself, it was not that well congealed and a bit plodding and for the first hour, i was bored for long stretches. stylalistically, i loved the sharp B&W contrast and the anti-Ozu camera angles. ex. in table scenes, the camera initially is placed knee height and sores up to separate the viewer from the action distinctly. you cant get much more of depature from ozu than that.

spiritually it shares a lot with mizoguchi and his street of shame but without the aire of tragedy. i am looking forward to watching the insent woman and see how that compares


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the greatest movie ever on the subject of noodles and their proper preparation into soup

when i think of very good east asian food movies, i think of ang lee's the wedding banquet and eat drink man woman. both films are excellent mediations on love and food (though the latter is more food based). the italians have long held the title for best movies that integrate food. tell me you werent hankering for some pasta after fellini's roma or goodfellas (scorsese is italian!).

there is a reoccuring bit on opie and anthony (US radio show) making fun of italians and their passion for food.

'the best part of the cow is the asshole.'

that always makes me chuckle.

what was i talking about? oh yeah...

great movie!

oh. i need more words. so, the movie was about a tribute to food and the zen of cooking, eating, preparing and most of the film is absolutely hysterical. there are some great little scenes seemingly unrelated to the story; my favorite of which two lovers who are obsessed with food which begins with a hilarious 9 1/2 weeks sex-food sequence.

tsutomu yamazak plays a john wayne like character with cowboy hat and ascot (he wore an ascot...check out hatari!) and a young ken watanabe plays his sidekick of sorts

anyway, i loved this film. it was adorable and highly watchable even for the non foreign film people out there


richard widmark and the high pants fast talking film noirs

i love film noir. it is up there on my list of favorite film genres, more than german shit porn and abstract expressionism combined!

just to break movie guy character for a moment and mention that when i was typing this, an important looking guy asked for help with something. i really really hope he didnt see 'german shit porn' one of the only phrases typed out at that point in my writing.

ok back to blog

and when it comes to film noir, there are a few masters of the genre--fritz lang, sam fuller, robert siodmak, and IMO the great jules dassin. folks only familiar with rififi (a masterpiece btw) would think that dassin was an established french director in the vein of jean pierre melville. he was a jew from new york (like me!) whose american career was destroyed by mccarthyism. he then went to europe and made extraordinary films (never on sunday, topkapi, the aforementioned rififi). but before we kicked him out he made a set of unforgettable intense film noirs in brute force, thieves highway (arguably the best made on the subject smugglers!?), and the naked city.

night and the city was the last of his 'great' films that i had yet to see which is suprising given my love of high pants wearing fast talking film noirs (click on that last link...its a great family guy clip). so, it stars gene tierney who i would stab my wife in the throat to have an evening with (sorry cath) and the late great richard widmark who would stab my wife in the throat just because.

widmark might be the best crazy film noir intense guy ever! his wild eyes and sharply curved brings an aire of intensity normally reserved for djimon hounsou (sp?).

the story was straight up; low rank swindler tries to get rich using underhanded swindling and things dont go so well but the way it was filmed and the acting make this standard story a great crime movie! definetely up there as one of dassin's best


Monday, June 22, 2009

an alice in wonderland not to show the kids...

ive been meaning to watch some jan svankmajer for a while so when i saw Neco z Alenky aka Alice i was immediately engrossed in this crazy ass vision of alice through the looking glass. everything was creepy and had a wierd gothic touch to it. i expect nothing else from the land of crazy surrealism, czechoslovakia. to those of you unfamiliar with czech surrealism (wow. that sounded snooty), folks like vera chitlova and the 'guy who did report on a party and its guests' (dont feel like looking it up) have had some wierd films but are great to watch. even early milos forman is a bit wacky (fireman's ball and the superb loves of a blonde come to mind).

svankmajer specializes in stop motion animation and virtually the entire cast save for alice is a stop motion character. being only familiar with the disney take, it was wierd to see the backdrop of alice so dark and rundown. given the original text, i shouldnt be suprised as it seemed a bit macarbe and altogether, a profoundly disturbing story for children.

disney certainly created a wonderful piece of animation and i do remember being wierded out as a kid but this would give me nightmares. whether it was the clacking of the teeth on the rabbit or the vaguely hassidic jewish looking mad hatter, it was definetely a unique watch.

that being said it was fascinating and clocking in at 85 minutes, it never gets dull and is certainly a continually fascinating film to watch.

bring on more czech stuff!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2 english films

its time to play six degrees with powell/pressburger's night ambush (aka ill met by moonlight) and tony richardson's the entertainer. easy. roger livesly was the title character in powell/pressburger's life and death of colonel blimp and in the entertainer he is billy rice, olivier's father in the entertainer.

neither film is that great. powell/pressburger are one of the greatest writer/director teams in history and tony richardson was a very capable director who did his fare share of classics (lonliness of the long distance runner, taste of cherry). neither of these films are that great though

as for the entertainer, if it wasnt for olivier and livesly, the film would be a total waste of film. suprise, it was on NYT's top 1000 list. as for night ambush, it aired on TCM as part of a powell/press day. i never saw it and since their films are pretty rare, i take any to part one of their films on TV. it was pretty boring despite the presence of dirk bograde one of my favorite cool swinging 60s english actors.

yeah, neither film was that great but hey, im going to review everything i see.

both films get 2/5

i named this post two english films...a play on the film two english girls, a film by truffaut which was my last review

im going to play wii now

the bride that wore black...and killed everyone but bill

truffaut's the bridge wore black has drawn a lot of comparisons to kill bill which is understandable. a bride's new husband is killed and the bride hunts down the 5 people that were responsible and systematic kills them all. she keeps a list and is driven by revenge. that does a bit kill bill-ish but tarantino doesnt like truffaut or the french new wave and i believe him. kill bill was maybea bit of truffaut but it was also spaghetti westerns and toyko nikkatsu noir stuff and shaw bros kung fu and female empowerment movies from the was a lot of things.

what was i reviewing again?

i have seen a bunch of truffaut movies and i generally like them though for some reason i didnt like the 400 blows. go figure.

the bride wore black was very hitchcockian and rightfully so; it was a tribute to him in fact and a great tribute it was. you can see it in its longshots and tracking shots and what hitch film would be complete without a sexy leading lady and though i dont find jeanne moreau usually sexy, she is in this one.

this is a great movie and possibly one of truffaut's best and im suprised it doesnt get as much acclaim as the doniel films or day for night, it should. it is inspired and a devilishly clever film with a great ending


Saturday, June 20, 2009

victor/victoria: why did i watch this?

...because it was on the new york times top 1000 films of all time list. on my flixster reviews, one of the phrases i most uttered was 'yet another question choice on the MYT top 1000' and by questionable i mean, 'why the crap is this on here?' VICTOR/VICTORIA is definetely one of those head scratchers. why would anyone think this should be on any definitive film list? its not even that daring sexualwise for 1982. maybe it was 10 years earlier it would have been contraversial but it just seems a pedantic for the time and right now, it seems horribly dated.

this film was almost a total waste of time. lesley anne warren was very entertaining and was underused.


this is one of those rare days where i spent the entire day watching movies. this happens maybe once or twice a month. i love these days. get up, watch movies, exercise, watch more movies. seeing as this week i was out seeing concerts past midnight and then waking up for work i think i needed a day of decompression. the concerts? phoenix (AWESOME!) matt and kim (good but ive seen better shows by them)

do comedies of manners ever make you laugh?

yeah once. evil dead 2 was hilarious in its oscar wilde like satirisms of exploding heads!

i thought asquith's the importance of being earnest was actually kinda funny but other than that, the comedies of manners of merchant/ivory or period-ey pieces are never funny. in fact, they are usually pretty dull. A ROOM WITH A VIEW the 1985 merchant/ivory is not funny but its not good. i can do either way on daniel day lewis. he is at best a brilliant actor who completely disappears into a character. at worse, he is a ham who overacts like crazy. this role works for him. roles that didnt work: the boxer, the last of the mohicans, my left foot (fuck the oscar. that movie bleeeeew). he is by far the best thing about this film along with the chance of seeing a "young" maggie smith (she was only 90) and a young helena bonham carter (she was 15?) and seeing julian sands' penis (comedy rule of 3, gotta throw a silly one).

in terms of period films, its definetely one of the better ones ive seen and usually, these films bore me to tears. stuffy british cinema from 70s-90s is maybe my least favorite genre (not that stuff british cinema is going to be listed in film books).


late period godard, post 1

i am going to be posting a lot of reviews by godard. one of my cinematic goals for this year is to immerse myself in his later works. i saw keep your right up (ugh), in praise of love (meh), and forever mozart (ugh) and so i didnt have high expectations when notre musique arrived in my lil red netflix envelope. it is widely known that in the 70s godard stopped making conventional films and started making stuff for radical groups and film schools. for him, cinema became way more experimental. so, going in you need to realize that you probably arent going to enjoy his films.

that being said, i love kiarastomi and his films are very experiments. i think godard's late films are a bit too out there for me and i think he has become too obsessed with turning people off to his work. or i need to tap out. anyway, like most of his later period films, it involves a lot of philosophy, images of war, and not much of a plot. the first ten mintues of our musique are remarkable but afterwards, i was drifting quite a bit. as always, the camerawork is amazing.

next up is detective (woo! leaud!) and woe is me. incidently, i recommend godard's experimental stuff from the 60s like le gai savoir and les carabiniers


these three v. the childrens hour

both of these films were based on the same lillian helman play but until this week, ive only seen the childrens hour the unfortunately hammy and heavy handed audrey hepburn vehicle. i love audrey hepburn. i even named my cat after her but she did make some awful films (green mansions anyone?)

TCM showed these three and it was a definite improvement on the remake. i love merle oberon though and think her beauty is incredible and exotic. what else could a welsh and an indian person create but a beauty? another positive addition to these three is the great joel mccrae one of the awesome dapper tough guy / guy's guys of the first half of the 20th century. perhaps the most impressive addition for me was bonita granville. she played the busybody/bitch that wrecks the lives of the two ladies who run a girls school. she claims she saw some homosexual goings ons (which she didnt) but the damage was done. she is one of my favorite obscure actresses of early sound film. she was nancy drew peoples!

im going to break out of michael --- film guy for a moment to interject


im definetely a gay friendly dude (yay for gay marriage and gay rights) but i am extremely hetero and love girls. so regardless of what i sound like on this blog, i just want to clarify. just because i like nancy drew films...

back to the blog

bonita granville rokzed. what a little nosy bitch! love her! anyway, these three wasnt fascinating but a good effort from william wyler and definitely deserves a place in film history

the childrens house - 1/5
these three - 3.5/5

ps walter brennan cameo! GOLD GOLD!

unnecessary sequel time!

as a huge fan of the original, i was shocked and dismayed when i discovered that there was not only a sequel being made to donnie darko but without the core of the original and without richard kelly. and to show my dismay and anger, i rented s darko: a donnie darko tale with no expectations whatsoever. what resulted suprised me quite a wasnt that bad.

dont get me wrong, when compared to the original, it is an abonmination of film but i would say that s darko is vastly superior to just about every mainstream horror/sci fi film to be released in theaters in the last year. this is most a statement on the sorry state of the genre than the superiority of s darko.

this film reminded me a bit of the man from earth, another sort of well written and entertaining though horrifically acted piece of sci fi. s darko was definetely not as good though. briana evigan deserves the megan fox award for pretty bad actress (oooh second megan fox cant act reference today! awesome!)

the film wasnt nearly as thought provoking, intelligent, emotive, provocative, or genre bending as donnie dark but we all knew that but it was a decent piece of sci fi fluff. it is another time travel/change the future and past thing. meh, i was entertained.

there was no way this movie was going to please people and i think if you compare to donnie darko, you will cry your insides but if you go into it thinking of it as a tribute to donnie darko and a side story on a similar idea it will be easier to watch and you may even enjoy it a bit.


brian de palma has the subtlety of boxed wine

i just finished watching dressed to kill, one of the film in brian depalma's golden period of carrie, untouchables, scarface, and blow out (sisters was earlier). all of those movies i just mentioned are completely ridiculous almost laughably so. seriously, scarface is absolutely absurd and blow out is just downright stupid. in blow out, he took antonioni's subtle tale of paranoia and malaise and turned into a crazy ass origin tale of the wilhelm scream. likewise, in dressed to kill, he takes a hitchcokian premise cobbled together from psycho, rear window, and rope and puts it all into a blender, adds some bush in the credits, and creates an astoundingly silly yet entertaining film.

this is however, by no means, a great movie.

its featured on the new york times top 1000 films of all time lists which is actually the worst film canon in all of cinema lit. about 70% of the films on there are decent but not worthy of the lofty best of ever titles, the other 29% are films on every list (double indemnity, seventh seal, casablanca, etc) and the other 1% are genuinely good hidden gems that deserve to be noticed (um...drawing a blank right now but there are a few. i assure you).

nancy allen is a terrible terrible actresses. she is undoutedly hot but absolutely megan fox with poofy 80s hair and a penchant for nudity.

if you like depalma but recognize the innat stupidity in his films, give it a watch


science vs fiction, part I

i know that in my intro to my blog i mentioned that i am a scientist but it wouldnt pop up very often in my entries. well, one post in and the first theme i am going to discuss are a couple films about science and scientists.

this is the last of roberto rossellini's historical films included in ROSSELLINI’S HISTORY FILMS—RENAISSANCE AND ENLIGHTENMENT. Having thoroughly enjoyed Age of the Medici and especially Blaise Pascal, i was excited to sink my teeth into a nearly 3 hour treatment on the life of rene descartes, a man by theological and scientific conflict. He is a man who sought the truth and much like pascal, was one of the great thinkers/scientists to watch the earth.

apparently, i lived in the wrong era. i could totally be a scientist philosopher and i would totally wear awesome robes and a poofy hat. im still bummed i missed out on being a dandy. i would fop with the best of them but i digest...

im probably in the minority when i say that i prefer rossellini's historical films to his neorealist stuff. frankly, i thinkt he subject matter on these is way more interesting and the style and acting is decidedly more french (NO emotion in the acting. NONE). i dont think this was as impressive as rossellini's taking of power of louis xiv (IMHO, the crown jewel in his late period crown) but cartesius is still an excellent and well crafted fascinating film about a unique individual.

4/5 stars

this is a very criterion-ey post but i am pretty much a criterion fanboy. when this was announced, i was a bit baffled and kind of daunted by the thought of watching 9 hours of french nature docs from the 1st half of the 20th century. when it arrived from netflix i watched the first couple films and was in love. how cool is the birthday of a freakin' jellyfish? um...very much so! seriously. painleve gets his cameras in the oddest of places and brings forth stuff that is impossible to see in normal life. to see these things that are so obscure to the human eye is one of the many gifts cinema can deliver.

i actually havent finished watching the DVDs yet. i am about halfway through the bonus disc of an 8 part miniseries done on him and i still have to watch the amazing yo la tengo accompaniment for 8 of his films (tomorrow). ive never been a big yo la tengo guy but i respect them. any band that does 8 shows for the 8 nights of chanukah in hoboken has my affection forevah.

anyway, the movement of the octopus, the birth of a seahorse, shrimp fighting...all gold.

5/5 -- must rent!

this will be continued. i have kurosawa's red beard on my DVR which i will happily rewatch and discuss here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

formed a blog! i formed a blog! look at me, i formed a blog!

i nearly called this thing 'i formed a blog' but i reasoned that an art brut song is a good descriptor of a snooty film blog. over the last decade or so, ive always talked the thousands of movies ive watched on my facebook or myspace or friendster (remember that!?) but with the rapidly changing technological face of technology (yup.) something needed to change. that was when my smart and sophisticated and elitist snob friend melissa suggested finally starting a blog. within moments, i came up with a name and off i went.

this is going to be a lot of movie reviews charting my progress in every film of the they shoot pictures starting list of 7000+ films, the new york times top 1000, the essential cinema list, and any other film canon i decide. however, i also love asian horror films and random other stuff that isnt on those lists so im going to talk about. also, ive been to almost 750 concerts since 1995 and i will on occasion talk about indie rock or things about music that irritate or enthral me.

so, off we go. finally, a blog. yup, if i started this about 10 years it would have been really cutting edge but hey, i was too busy watching movies.