Sunday, August 30, 2009

summer of quality

last summer, we had some pretty good movies grace the multiplexes. there was dark knight, wall-e, tropic thunder, iron man and possibly some other things that i am forgetting. those movies are still pretty good but i think given the crop of films this year, i think we can officially call the 09 blockbuster season the SUMMER OF QUALITY!

it started off early, with a little bit of STAR TREK, a movie that for all intents and purposes should have sucked. there were so many things about the movie that were ridiculous--the plot, the time travel spocks, eric bana's performance to name a couple things. i still cant say for the life of me what star trek was actually about. i vaguely remember bits and pieces of a plot but the visuals and the acting (thanks simon pegg) made it work. i am by no means a JJ abrams fan. in fact, i didnt like cloverfield, lost, mission impossible, alias, and most likely his bar mitzvah haftorah portion if i heard it but i liked star trek and his uniquely fresh, humourous, and stylized delivery.

then there was UP. if you didnt like this movie, you have no soul. nuf said.

at least this point, THE HANGOVER and (500) Days of Summer came out. i never saw them but for all intents and purposes, i heard they were excellent. ill include them and confirm their quality in a later blog posting. however, their proposed later exclusion from this list would NOT result in the label of SUMMER OF QUALITY being revoked. good, now that we got that out of the way...

some time passed and DISTRICT 9 was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. i initially didnt know what this movie was about, i just knew i wanted to see it. it just looked interesting and going in, i expected it to be a comedy, maybe even an indier men in black. who knows!? who is neil bloomkamp? dont know. dont care. take me to the AMC. what i discovered is that it was 3 fantastic, distinct movies in one with different tones, feelings, and styles. the first 30 minutes was a documentary, sort of like THE OFFICE does south africa. we learn that aliens came to earth, their ship got stuck, and humans herded them into camps in south africa and that they need to be moved to other camps using sketchy government practices. this portion of the film is not very subtle and is clearly a parallel for apartheid. regardless, the script was clever and the message was very well delivered. then, it turns into a horror film when the protagonist of the film gets doused with magic alien juice and begins turning into an alien himself. cue makeup, blood, and squishy noises. then, for the final part of the film, everything goes all action-ey with explosions and gun battles. the horror squishy sounds give way to klabloo-ey. in short, we have a very unlikely and suprising best picture candidate and a great new director to watch with excitement.

not but one week later, the best film of the summer (IMHO) came out. finally, quentin tarantino's long promised INGLORIOUS BASTERDS was unleashed on a very suspecting and ready public. the result was an action/comedy/war movie that pleased everyone including the tarantino haters. come oscar time, brad pitt is likely to be nominated and christoph waltz is going to win best supporting actor. yes, win. for the third year in the row, we have another unforgettable villian in hans lamda (the other two are of course anton chigurgh and the joker). also, tarantino will most likely receive a director and a screenwriting nod. with this, he proves again that he is one of the best directors working and also one of the most underrated. yes, i said underrated. somehow, people keep expecting tarantino movies to suck. every film that comes out is going to be the one that finally exposes him for the fraud he is. because resevoir dogs, pulp fiction, jackie brown, and both kill bills were total flukes. right? um...yeah. and sorry if people didnt get grindhouse. it wasnt supposed to be oscar worthy; it was supposed to be a shlocky 70s b-movie a la vanshing point or duel and as that, it succeeds.

like it or not, tarantino has mushed a bunch of different genres together and created something totally different and yes, unique. he is one of few american directors who is a true matteur en scene. in other words, you know when you are watching a tarantino film. there are other unique directors out there like scorsese and wes anderson (thanks brett for reminding me) but for now at least, tarantino is the most exciting.

as a whole, this was a wonderful to end the summer of quality.

or is it? i saw JULIE AND JULIA last night. wait, before you assume ive gone crazy and loved a chick flick, hold off. i liked this film though i was frequently bored and felt a bit meh at the end. BUT this was a nora ephron movie. despite her lazy, indistinguishable style of direction, meryl streep's versatility and amy adams, in her perpetual likeability, made this movie work. anytime i can watch a film so obviously chickey and romancey and not want to stab myself in the eyes is incredible. thus, i will include this in the summer of quality.

unfortunately, this movie made me self concious and sad about my blog. ive been writing this stupid thing for 3 months and no one has sent me any DVD box sets OR offered me a movie deal. maybe i should make these postings more interesting, accessible, spell checked, and grammatically correct. eh, fuck it. me write good. bye bi.