Friday, January 29, 2010


AVATAR! 3D! AWESOME! WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

now that i got that out of system, i would like to welcome people back to mise en meh. ive been a little quiet since my ten megawatt list that took most of my christmas break from me. during that time i was writing i was watching A LOT of movies. i will resume the recent watching feature soon but for now i want to talk about avatar.

i saw it last week in a HUGE IMAX. as far as IMAXs go, this was a big one and of course it was in 3D.

i winced quite a bit during the movie. in fact, during each of the stupid navi dancing sequences, my wife and i were downright LOLing at the ridiculousness of it.

'silly navi. its going to take more than that to save ripley!'

before i start talking about what i liked in this awesome awful film, ill talk about the badness. going into avatar, i had heard a lot of things on this movie.

@secretcristina said it was about 'blue cats living in an internet tree'
@radmike likened to ferngully as did hitler

this is my favorite hitler video btw...but that is for another blogspot.

yes avatar was incredibly stupid. the plot was nothing new and downright silly with predictable turns, clear good and evil, and a lot of cinematic pilfering (the final battle between jake sully and the evil military guy reminded me a lot of the final battle scene in iron man). frankly, hitler is right and sam worthington is awful. REALLY awful. his acting is laughably mad and is frequently outacted by anything remotely on screen. in fact, signourey weaver really phones it in too and you have to wonder if any of the flesh actors were too distracted by the awesomeness of pandora to actually concentrate on acting.

but again, this movie is not about humans.

the world of pandora was the most amazing thing ive ever seen. floating mountains!? YEAH! crazy dog things!? WHOA! FERNGULLY RE-IMAGINED! FUCK YES!! i never wanted to leave the magical land of pandora and every moment in this world was so frickin' cool.

this is a game changer. much like the matrix did with action sequences, avatar made 3D movies with motion capture characters look silly. if you compare the navi with any of the characters in the zemekis trilogy of mediocre to attrocious IMAX films (polar express, beowolf, christmas carol), the navi reign and everything else looks silly.

a coworker of mine was comparing the 3D in avatar to beowolf. in the latter, characters would take out a weapon and seem to say something, 'look at my sword in 3D! it is totally in 3D! is this not blowing your mind!' or 'im going to swing a stein of ale and bits of red shit is going to come FLYING out at you because its 3D! ISNT THIS AWESOME!' with avatar, 'here are some floating mountains. it is impossible to picture these in 2D because this is a real place and these are really some floating mountains.'

avatar should NOT have won the golden globe for best drama. that should have went to hurt locker which should win the oscar as well. avatar was an outstanding cool film that will change the course of action films from now on. it is NOT a best picture. the story and the acting were passable to downright abysmal. cameron should get a best picture nod of course and possibly win but this film should not take away best picture honors from hurt locker, a brilliant, impressive, smart, understated, and all around excellent film. the hurt locker doesnt have weak points and will change the way hollywood will make movies about contemporary war.

next up for avatar is a sequel and maybe jimmy cameron should borrow the wachowskis to put in some cool bullet effects. that would be SWEET. seriously jim, i cant wait ten years to go back to pandora. i want to see some of those faraway lands referenced and maybe see the internet tree again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the anti-climax that is the golden globes

of all the major awards shows (sorry people's choice--not you), i have the most contempt for the golden globes or the hollywood foreign press awards. basically, its a chance for minor critics to give awards to whatever movies they feel can get the most ratings. but in the end no one watches and it isnt really much of a litmus test for the oscars (that would be the critics choice and the guild awards). anyway, because im so anti-hfpa and so pro-other tings here are my picks:

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Hurt Locker (2008)

this is the movie to beat and avatar fever was still a bit calmer when the critics were voting.

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Julie & Julia (2009)

(500) days has got a good shot but no can stop the streep

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
George Clooney for Up in the Air (2009/I)

clooney as himself. jeff bridges is the mickey rourke of this year

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (2009)


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer (2009)

part of the love for this movie was the levitt.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009)

a lock.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

another lock

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

lock again

Best Director - Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)

ditto. lock.

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino

tarantino is the ultimate always the screenplay never the film guy

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Crazy Heart (2009): T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham("The Weary Kind")

a crap song but the stuff they go for

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
A Single Man (2009): Abel Korzeniowski

i would love to see where the wild things get it but a single man was pretty brilliant

Best Animated Film
Up (2009)

will anyone who think this isnt going to win never bet again?

Best Foreign Language Film
Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)

im thinking haneke can pull this one off. the real contest is between this and almodobar's broken embraces

DONE. enjoy your evening of stupid awards show nonsense and im going to go back to writing real blogs soon

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Favorite Film of the Last Ten Years...


yup. no description needed.


ok. i guess i can write SOMETHING.

thinking back over my life watching films from this decade, ive been drawn to the macabre movies that tend to make me feel empty inside. why do i do this to myself? as ive said before, i watch movies to feel extremes and it might be because im so cynical and embittered with life that its hard for me to experience something that makes me feel good about life and humanity. dont get me wrong, there have been quite a few films i loved that genuinely made me feel happy throughout the years like that over the years. as i discussed earlier in the list, harold and kumar go to the white castle is one of them. the scene in which they finally got their burgers made me feel great to be alive as it was seeing two people struggle and then get exactly what they want. that is something i can relate to and something i have experienced- a struggle and an inevitable pay-off though not all conflicts end that way.

with wall-e, the struggle was the loss and eventual redemption of humanity. the character of wall-e, the last garbage collection bot on earth, through years of mindless work discovered humanity and finds joy and pleasure in the smallest details and minutiae we all take for granted. meanwhile, the actual human race has lost all the things that made themselves unique. they relied on machines for everything -- food, movement, reproduction and while excretion was not covered in the film, we can make a wager as to some other things those chairs did. in short, human beings could barely be classified as living things and certainly not unique. also, at any point in the movie, it doesn't show humans loving anything (love being perhaps one of the most important feelings of the human spirit). though wall-e, one of millions of similarly produced beings, alone on the planet discovered all these things and more and sought the one thing that humanity neglected: real physical contact. wall-e wanted to hold eva's hand (eva of course being another scouting droid robot sent to recover hints of plant life on earth) which he understood as the ultimate sign of love. when eva is struck down, wall-e nurses her(/it?) back to health and shelters her from rain and other elements, again something that humanity has forgotten.

without giving away spoilers (though i think we all know how it ends) the pay-off of the film is epic and consistently drives me to tears. the message for me is not that love conquers all, which im not sure i actually believe in life, but that nothing is as worse of as it appears. in the beginning of the movie, humanity seemed worse for the wear but there was a spark still alive in the form of wall-e. in that spark, there was hope, and eventually, humanity did survive and for me, knowing that seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome is an invigorating feeling.

on a side note, to anyone who has seen the film and not paid close attention to the credits, i suggest you do so. it traces the future of the human race of when they leave the ship to a recovery of their culture and it does so through art movements in history. in other words, earliest images of humans leaving the ship are cave paintings than go to ancient egyptian-->medieval-->renassaince-->impression etc. in fact, here it is:

so there ya go. my favorite movies of the last 10 years. that only took me about 30 hours to do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Favorite Movies: 2000-2009 (5-2)

5. 3-Iron
the next 4 films in the top 5 are all foreign and have all debuted to some acclaim. however, these movies from here on in affected me more than any other films this decade and they all fall within my top 20 favorite movies of all time. 3 Iron is a Korean film directed by Ki Duk Kim who i have written about quite a bit on this list. this film is about a man who breaks into people's houses when they are on vacation and live there. he doesnt steal or wreck anything. in fact, he just moves in and cleans or organizes their things before he moves out. along the way he meets a girl who joins him in this quest. the girl is in an unhappy marriage and forms a strange codependent relationship with this this other guy. so, the description of the film only gets stranger from here on in. it is mostly silent and the two leads never talk save for one important line at the film spoken by the girl. throughout the course of the film, the man learns how to make himself invisible not in the literal sense but to live in the natural world without being seen. there is nothing supernatural just the ability to avoid being seen by using quiet and speed. in the 90 minutes movie, you encounter one of the most unique love stories ever produced on film. the themes of lonliness, isolation, and in the end, redemption are common to all ki duk kim films but in this one the stately silent and claustrophobic modern world appear more beautiful than usual. ive seen this about 5 or 6 times and each time i discover new things to admire with this film. Here is the trailer...

and here is the full film...

4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
this movie absolutely should have won the best foreign film oscar in 2007. in fact, this probably should have won best picture overall. it won the cannes palm d'or which is a pretty big award. so, what is this about? it is about a romanian woman trying to help her friend get an abortion in 1987. problem is that abortion is illegal in romania and they have to do it on the black market. i think its obvious what that the title refers to. directed by christian mungui, this is a tragic tale and one that gets increasingly more tragic as the film goes on. throughout the film it becomes clear that the abortion is one of the simpler parts of their story. what continues is a dark tale of abuse, lies, and a movie that is too painful to watch twice. why do i put myself through these experiences? i could have watched transformers and everything could have been better. i never would have had to sit through this incredibly depressing film that left me too broken to cry by the end of the film. but then i wouldnt get to experience this amazing tell of human drama. this is a topic that i would never have to deal with otherwise and that is exactly why i watched this. with film, it is possible to experience life as you could never. a true life drama most likely happened to people, quite a few of them and films like allow someone like me, living a comfortable life close to boston to watch the struggles of romanian women in the 80s do something that just about any american could do without having to watch the compromises they made. here is the trailer:

and here is the full movie!

3. Kairo (Pulse)
this is in my top 10 favorite films of all time and though its considered a horror film, i consider one of the most intense and well done psychologically dramas ever made. directed masterfully by kiyoshi kurosawa, this movie is about the dead returning to on earth through computers. as the dead continue to re-enter the world, people begin to disappear into the void between worlds. like 3 iron, this is a study on alienation in the modern world. the message of the film is that is as the world gets closer throughout computers, people can become increasingly segregated into their own cyber worlds. in this respect, it is logical to think that the dead can still exist in a cyber world. this film came out in 2001 which was before a lot of the social networks and iphones and the constant connectivity which is now considered normal in society. in the film people who were once living become completely immersed in their computers and quite literally disappear in a fuzz. pulse was remade in the US and like most US remakes, completely missed the point. instead of an existential rumination of society and isolation due to increased false connections of interwebbing, it was a horror film about the dead walking the earth. the original pulse is scary but is so much more than your standard horror film. its a mindfuck and an experience. this is almost necessary to watch twice to fully appreciate what is going on in the film. im not sure if you can see kairo as a warning or a promise as to what the future will bring but its an intense and thought provoking film. here is the trailer that does sell it as a scary ass horror film. here is the trailer:

i cant find a link for the whole film :( sorry!

2. Lilja-4-Ever
a few years ago the Onion made THIS LIST featuring 24 movies that are too painful to watch twice. on this list were many of my favorite movies i have seen more than once (bergman's winter light? pssshaw ive seen that 4 times. audition? kids stuff.) but #23 is the subject of this blog entry. Lilja-4-Ever is a Russian film made by the brilliant swedish director lukas moodysson (who helmed the excellent together and fucking amal). it is about a russian teen who accidently ends up sold into forced prostitution. in short, this is the second most depressing movie ive ever seen and the most intimate and tragic film ever made on the subject of human trafficking. in the film, moodysson condemns those prey on the girls, the countries that support it, and the western world in general for not doing enough. the heroin, lilja is championed as a martyr and the ultimate victim. i dont want to talk about this movie too much because i want you all to watch this movie. its a masterpiece and it does not shove its message down your throat and if you it did, it wouldnt be nearly as effective. the most heartbreaking aspect of the film is its gritty reality and the sense of further impending doom. watching this movie you know that things arent going to get better. after all, even before she is sold into prostitution, she has a close not entirely sexual friendship with a local boy who commits suicide after she leaves and becomes her guardian angel. his best though sad is unfortunately one of the more redeeming aspects of the film. i watch this film and loved it for the same reasons as 4 months 3 weeks 2 days; for the unflinching view of someone else's reality. the magic of film allows us all to experience legitimate problems of the world. this sort of thing happens and though these are fictionalized accounts, the stories could be typical to most tales of human traffic and other violations of basic human rights.

here is the trailer

and here is the whole movie!