Friday, March 31, 2006
Fairytales. Parables. Stories and songs. These are the ways we are taught as children and I think there's a good reason for it. Small stories full of big symbols and small victories make excellent metaphors for Life and How To Deal With It. This movie was made during an era of war and revolution (just like today) and puts out a hope for peaceful solutions to everything. It's quite enchanting. One starts to think that perhaps music can save the world. Maybe Blue Meanies just need more flowers and a song. Possibly those Beatles, knowing a thing or two about desperation and poverty and violence, tried to show us a better, albeit drug-induced, way. It's quite possible this is their version of a "I Have A Dream Speech", their Magic Flute, their ONE Campaign against poverty. Or maybe it's just a gigantic acid-trip music video.
For me, it dosn't matter whether it's a profound metaphysical dissertation or senseless entertainment. I love it and in this era of angry blame and intolerant attitudes, a little peace & love & music goes a long long way.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
There are a lot of samurai movies I can't handle. If they don't involve a guy named Kurasawa, generally the form is too pointlessly violent and morally destitute for me to really get involved. (I have this problem w/ Spaghetti Westerns, too, except for the ones which are remakes of Kurasawa films.) TWILIGHT SAMURAI is refreshingly different from the standard samurai movie. Set in the transitional time between the Edo and Meiji restoration, it's got a LAST SAMURAI feel except it happens to be good and not involve Tom Cruise in any way. Instead it tells the story of a widowed and poor low-status samurai who is trying to raise his two daughters and take care of his senile mother. He becomes less and less invested in the samurai culture and wishes instead to be around to watch his daughters grow.
It's really pretty, even if the ethics are a touch on the modern side. Beautifully filmed, and excellently paced, it's an action/drama film made with thought and heart and just a touch of humor. Two hours well spent.
Yeah, I finally saw it. It's an amazing film. I don't know that Jack Black is the best actor 'cause I never knew what was going on as he sat there squinty eyed and staring, but it's still an amazing film. I spent the three hours trying to figure out if:
1) the natives are ghosts or if they are real
2) Kong represents mystery/connections or nature/past
3) Andy Serkis' characer "Lumpy" was really serving food that was that nasty
4) it's a requirement for all orphan boys to be named "Jimmy"
5) the guy four seats away from me who felt the need to crawl over me and go out of the theater every fifteen minutes had to because he had severe bathroom needs or if he was trying to manage all his booty calls w/out disturbing the rest of the theater.
Audiences aside, it's incredible and I'll probably buy it. Of course, when I watch it at home on DVD I'll most likely fast forward through the icky (read "bug") bits, enjoy the dinosaur pile-up, and rush right on to the charming few moments Kong and Ann Darrow have together. Beautful movie beautifully acted.
Monday, March 27, 2006
This movie is supposed to be a masterpiece of mime and old-school style cinematography (think Chaplin) but I'm not certain it really is. To me it just seems to be a strange akward German movie that really really wants to be a strange whimsical French movie. It never really gets cute enough to be a strange French movie but certainly gets creepy enough to be German.
However, the 6 minute short "Surprise" in the DVD extras is brilliant and worth the rental.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Notes from the 3.18.06 viewing of ULTRAVIOLET
– Wow, this movie has synchronized ninjas. They kick "Lord of the Dance’s" trash!
– Why have color change hair/clothing technology if you just end up wearing Blu-Blocker sunglasses and a vest you borrowed from Ivana Trump in 1983?.
– Glass armor doesn’t seem to work very well. Next time I take over the world remind me not to issue battle gear that easily shatters.
– I KNEW staple guns were deadly!!!
– Best Line Said By A Nameless Character EVER!: "I don’t know what that is but it’s ours now!"
– Whether or not the rampant face-blurring in this picture is caused by digital effects or petrolatum jelly smeared on the lense, it still looks like a Barbara Streisand movie.
– It’s a really good thing soldiers don’t know how to look up 'cause it would make it a lot harder to negotiate an escape from this mall.
– Next time we get into a huge gang fight, try not to stand in a circle. It doesn’t work.
– After each 15 people killed, be sure to strike an Elvis pose near the floor. Hold that pose for 10 seconds and then move on.
– Milla’s got a supernova in her pants.
– When choosing vampire friends, pick the sweaty ones who wear beat-up sweaters and hang out in parking lots. They’re more likely to be lonely enough to help you.
– Our villain has a tea-strainer up his nose, drinks out of hermetically sealed cups, packs his gun in a ZipLock bag to keep germs away, but drinks coffee out of some filthy office coffee pot???
– Keep your movie budget down by getting people to throw cabbages and aluminum cans around in the dark. Have everyone lie down, turn the lights on and, TaDa! You’ve got a fight sequence!
– After using a lot of tired iconography, is it funny to include the bad guys doing the three monkey "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" thing after being shot? Or am I just tired?
– Next time someone asks you "Where is this?" the correct answer starts with the phrase, "When I was a little girl..." and ends by not answering the question.
– Yay! We’re in a graveyard!
– "Hermetically Interred", the latest in death storage technology!
– If you are a man who’s stupid enough to wear a long nasty skinny braid that goes past your backside and then pick a fight with a woman who’s 2/3rds more pissed-off than you, you deserve to be strangled with your own hair.
– Dear Mr. Director: if you feel the need to show me a ticking clock, please tell me where the clock is and why I have to look at it. Thank you.
– Disposable paper phones are the CHEAPEST in stupid props.
– Uh oh, her phobia of crowds is acting up again!!!
– If you don’t want to be known as the potty-mouth killer vampire, don’t call the bad guy a "prick."
– Poor sweaty sweater-wearing vampire. He saved her life and she rewarded him by almost touching his face.
– Worst Line Poorly Translated From Another Language EVER: "These moments, as beautiful as they are, are EVIL when they go."
– We had to watch cheap effects and an entire movie filmed in just one location so you could have a CGI shot of a giant cross-shaped compound surrounded by 2 miles of giant peat moss blocks?
– Why are those 6 people leaving the theater now and how come we can’t go with them?
– Funny that the one guy who manages to survive more than 30 seconds is the one who tries to move his sword to someplace other than it's comfortable resting place on his right shoulder.
– Costumer Note: A close up of her butt shouldn’t include pants that have a blown-out seam in the middle.
– Ooooo. Now she’s got stigmata. So she’s really Our Lady of Perpetual Whup-Ash, Patron Saint of Overacting, the Holy Mother of Six.
– Apparently their accountant said "Either you can have Barbara Streisand face effects or you can have fake blood. You can’t have both."
– Best Line By A Villain With A Tea-Strainer Up His Nose EVER! : "You threw blood on me!! ........ It’s ON!!!!!"
– Lamest Response To A Villain With A Tea-Strainer Up His Nose: [3 minute pause] "Yeah it is!"
– Handy Tip: if you scrape your sword on the ground, it catches on fire!
– The kid’s alive? FEED ON HIM!!!
– Yay!! It’s over!!! Let’s wait here so the other 5 people in the theater can’t see our faces and beat us up later for talking all the way through this movie.