Friday, November 22, 2013
Saturday, November 2, 2013
coming home from work, sick in that low-grade continuous way that makes you forget what it's like to be well. We have never in our lives known what it is to be well. What if I were coming home, I think, from doing work that I loved and that was for us all, what if I looked at the houses and the air and the streets, knowing they were in accord, not set against us, what if we knew the powers of this country moved to provide for us and for all people, how would that be, how would we feel and think and what would we create?
Posted by not eb at 7:43 PM
Friday, August 30, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Lincoln - 7/10.
While I like Diamond Dallas Lewis as Lincoln, we never get to the core of why he's doing his thing. For the rightness of it, I guess. And while that's Good, and Noble, it's not necessarily Drama. Tommy Lee's story is more interesting as he has to sacrifice a bit of his morality to make an even greater moral leap forward. I understood that that was what Lincoln was doing as well, with all his backroom shenanigans, but it doesn't come across as poignantly because it's all done by other people.
The Queen Of Versailles - 6/10.
Boy, is this movie lucky. Just a lot of good timing that makes something we've seen before – stupid rich people being rich and stupid – turn into such an odd story of rich people not understanding how to be poor.
The Skin I Live In - 8.5/10.
It's such a masterfully told story because, while you know it's a horror story, you don't realize just how much of a horror story it is until it opens its robes and forces you to realize.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Les Miserables - 5/10.
It's long, and everyone's sad all the time and I guess I should've known that before going in. Poorly directed, as you've read, and that live singing things results in some pretty memorable performances, as you've read.
I Declare War - 7/10.
Not as fun as I expected, but a lot more drama than I would have given it credit for. Kids playing war can get real, y'all. The biggest drawback is there are too many characters to give them all satisfactory conclusions, but it manages a pretty good one for its most important characters.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - 5/10.
Oh my god, it's just so boring and sincere and Chbosky was a mistake to direct his own work because he takes what he wrote too reverently to inject fun into his high school movie. Ezra Miller (and Dylan McDermott! in his second good role ('The Campaign' being the other)) do their best to force the movie to be interesting. Boring people relate to the reality of this movie. The 80s would've made this movie good.
The We And The I - 6.5/10.
I think the setting is fantastic and the idea of a city bus as a microcosm of human behavior is something I'd like to see done again, better. But Michel Gondry gets bored and feels the need to be Gondry-esque and the mix of untrained actors – while some great – means some of the acting is not very good, and much of the movie's weight is put on one in that camp. If it had just focused on the singularity of the idea, and more time had been spent coaching the actors, it could have been great. It didn't, and so it's not.
The Window (1949) - 8/10.
I would never have guessed that 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' would have made for such a great little noir. Young boy discovers a murderer, but no one believes him because of the previous lies he's told. It feels like one of those live-action Disney movies, what with the peppiness of the young boy (who was on loan from Disney), but mixing that lightness with a fair amount of dark. What follows is a case of the villains not knowing when they've already won.
The Chase (1946) - 6.5/10.
A great everyman hero who's got this great and mysterious smile to complement the fact that he has nothing interesting to say, a great villain with a ridiculous vice, and Peter Lorre makes a great Peter Lorre. The first hour is solid, but what I thought was heading into an interesting villainous act (fucking with the hero's head) turns into just some of that psychiatric shit that makes for boring mystery movies.
Dial M For Murder - 8/10.
My dislike for mystery movies tends to be the necessity for things to come out of nowhere in the course of solving a murder, but here, I ain't got nothing to worry about. You know who, you know how, it's just a matter of waiting to see how the killer will eventually fuck up. It a mindtrick. In other words: it's magic. I think this is how every episode of 'Columbo' works. I should watch 'Columbo.'
Street of Chance (1942) - 4/10.
It answers only one of its two mysteries, and acts like there wasn't even another mystery to solve. The mystery it does solve is of that vein of movies like 'Spellbound' where it's not about being clever, it's about being the first to solve a mystery in this way.
John Dies At The End - 6.5/10.
The writing, the performances are all very fun and I'll say the word Whedonesque, but the plot itself gets lost in bad editing. It's unnecessarily confusing to have things come out of sequence. There's no purpose to it other than to bewilder. Bewilder!
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Four Lions - 6/10.
It's 'In The Loop' and all them mid-2000s handycam comedies that trade places between funny and annoying. I do think it's gutsy that they made a movie about suicide bombers and everyone who is a terrorist is sort of endearing. I do think that's something.
Silver Linings Playbook - 6.5/10.
I keep comparing it to 'The Cutting Edge,' so I might as well put that down on paper. I enjoy this movie for the same reason I enjoyed that movie, but where that movie worked to make this really passionate and ridiculous final scene, this one undercut its version with mild laughs and proclamations of love rather than just, you know, the act of. It tries to be Hollywood, but it's just not very good at it. I'M REAL PASSIONATE ABOUT 'THE CUTTING EDGE,' Y'ALL.
Zero Dark Thirty - 7/10.
My favorite part of the movie – the twenty-minute raid on the compound – is, I think, a misstep. I feel like the movie's all about uncertainty; choosing to follow a path that may lead you nowhere, but you've just got to believe it because you've spent so much time believing it. So I feel like the drama should've come from not seeing what they were doing (which is a situation we already know the outcome of) as opposed to following Maya, who the camera rarely left through the previous two hours of the movie. And her weighing her confidence with the reality that she's sending good men in to potentially die for something that is impossible to be 100% confident about. Without that, without her really sitting there for twenty minutes not knowing what she's done, that last little emotional resonance in the final scene works to make a point that I don't really think we've been led to. It's also the same bumper as the last scene of the third season of '24' and yo, I loved it when Jack Bauer just sat in his car and cried, that shit was the bomb.
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon - 6.5/10.
I want to like the movie for what it is – a fun nothing movie – but it seems like it's aiming for this emotional resonance that it can't quite fulfill. I think that's the story for everything I've seen with Mark Duplass. Meaning that isn't really there. Someone doing an impression of art. That's harsher than I mean. I liked the movie!
The Grey - 7/10.
I feel like this is what Zach Snyder's new Superman movie will feel like. Taken in any five-minute stretch, it's all very deep and moving and 'Tree of Life' whispered poems, but that same five minutes spread out over two hours of what is otherwise interesting and fertile ground where a guy tapes alcoholic mini-bottles to his hands to fight a wolf just kinda drags it down, bro-bro.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Django Unchained - 8/10.
QT-Pie gets in his own way but man-oh-man is he a natural born storyteller. Natural born. His decisions that are made in reverence to style take you out of the story, but every decision that serves the character is just fucking bonafide. This and the last movie (which I didn't care for) make easy enemies for its revenge-thriller sake, but manages to wring every available tension out of the good guys fightin' the bad guys.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Paranorman - 7.5/10.
Beautifully acted, or moved, or whatever, and a lot of goodwill directed towards Norman in particular who, in other hands, would be generic misunderstood guy but is elevated beyond that with just the tiniest moments. The couple of faults with the movie are that, for an hour or so, it seems to forget that Norman can speak to the dead on the regular, and the bad guy's not very interesting except for what her existence says about Norman himself. But in trying to make you feel something for someone – it does that pretty well.
Central Park Five - 7/10.
It's a fascinating story, it really is, but it somehow keeps from being as big as it should be. The media frenzy should be bigger, the innocent-in-a-court-of-public-opinion should be bigger, the time lost should be bigger, the lack of limelight when they're found to be innocent should be bigger. In focusing on the guys telling the story – and as empathetic as they come across, especially Kharey Wise (who deserved the spotlight all on his own) – it becomes more emotional, but lacks that giant swath of anger that needs to be directed towards something.
Winnebago Man - 7/10.
I understand that the director's active part in everything that happens is partly responsible for the fun of the film – giving Jack Rebney the opportunity to react at things – but his pushing and prodding starts to annoy and it becomes overwhelmingly apparent that he wants the Winnebago Man to act and react in the way that he wants, not the way that he necessarily is. He made this movie to make fun, it seems, and Jack Rebney is empathetic because of and in spite of that.
The Bourne Legacy - 4.5/10.
It's the 1.5-hour premiere episode of a TNT action-drama and it would have come across better to be seen that way. It repeats the same points, makes allusions to a larger (and more interesting) story, and then they sail off on a boat to be chased for four or five seasons.
Monday, February 18, 2013
The Campaign - 7.5/10.
This is the first Galifianakis and second Ferrell movie I've enjoyed and I'm going to cite the first seasons of The Simpsons as the reason. They're both dumb and destructive, but when pushed, they both choose something other than themselves as their motivating factor. And the jokes were funny. The jokes in their other movies aren't funny. That's another reason.
Total Rekall - 4/10.
I wish the main character was a schlub, and once his memories come back, there was more of a divide between what might be real and what might be fake. After all, an ugly schlub couldn't be the one to save the world, right? It had to be a dream, right? Or, failing that, I wish this movie was anything more interesting than a bland future pretty people shooting things.
Grey Gardens - 6.5/10.
The Drew Barrymore version, not the documentary. It's interesting and Barrymore does well in it. It does a fine job of getting from then to now, but it never really says anything more than 'welp, here we are.' I suppose that's just the way with mental illness: there's no reason, just a switch in your head.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Lemon Drop Kid - 6/10.
There's a certain amount of momentum to everything that makes it feel like everything was done in one take and then everyone went out and had a good time and enjoyed their lives and shit. The movie coasts on that momentum and moves along faster than the time it takes to stop and think about anything odd or out of place.
Bernie - 8/10.
I think 'Bernie' is a movie I like talking about more than I necessarily liked, but I can't see anyone having a problem with that. The half-documentary approach just straight up makes the movie. Every real person interviewed does a disservice to the actors, making them look bad by being better than them at being the type of people they are. Not just who they are, but how they responded and continue to respond to Bernie's crime makes a compelling case for just, you know, being okay with murder.
After Porn Ends - 4/10.
It's just a bunch of people being interviewed. There's no point to be made or anything. No real insight except for the one guy so in love with another actress that he didn't ask her to have sex with him. There's something there. That's drama.
Daisies - 4/10.
A Czech experimental movie that works best in the music video I first saw it in.
Searching For Sugar Man - 6.5/10.
He comes across as fascinating while never actually saying or doing anything that's altogether fascinating. To some degree, it's all surface. Or: they never find Sugar Man, guys. They never find him. Where is he, guys? I don't know, guys.
Rise Of The Guardians - 7.5/10.
As everyone good and true will tell you, ignore the trailer and you will find likeable characters and a very coherent story told well and with humor and haha, I like this movie for all the reasons I'm seeming to shit on 'Argo' because expectations are a mother.
Argo - 7/10.
To quote someone quoting someone else, and thereby distorting its meaning, I'm sure: when did making a competent movie qualify you for the highest reaches of art? I like Affleck and I mean brother no disrespect, but this is a fine thriller and that's all. I'd have liked it better if the final escape actually turned into the sci-fi film they were trying to make, thereby making some sort of statement about the exaggeration of art in telling a story, which it's already doing. Huzzah!
Holy Motors - 8/10.
I ain't know what you is, but I like what you are. If I'd hazard a guess, and I will and am doing so now, it's about art and haha, I'm going to talk about The Dark Knight: all those articles I read about how Heath Ledger got the Joker 'stuck in his head.' And I put a great weight on art and movies in particular and have a great affinity for those times when an actor becomes a something gigantic in regards to the telling of a story, and I feel this movie is about how hard and how weighty it is to really become something. To get inside someone's head – that's got to stay with you, that's got to effect you in some way, in that sort of way. And it was just a hell of a lot of fun.
Cloud Atlas - 6.5/10.
I wanted transcendence, but what was meant to be a conceit is instead just a bunch of in-jokes. Hey, it's Halle Berry as an Asian Man! It's not about 'making the same mistakes over and over' or the necessity of kindness, if that was their intent. It's just a bunch of stories, some good, some okay. Ignoring that, it's fun to watch because some stories are good and hey, those in-jokes sure make me laugh!
V/H/S - 7/10.
I really adore the found footage genre of making horror movies. It's probably my favorite way to make a horror movie. It's got that thing of 'hey, it might be real' which is what horror movies need to be scary, I think. The less likely it is to be real, the less you feel it, right? Not every story here is great, but for a movie that you watch when everybody else is asleep, man oh man oh man.
Skyfall - 7/10.
It was fun and light and there was a good villain and there were good action scenes and I like 'Home Alone' as a general film concept and everything goes great until the bad guy gets a boring death. Great villains have to die well. Hans Gruber those motherfuckers.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Wreck-It Ralph - 6.5/10.
It's such a great backdrop for a story but the potential for jokes just sort of stops at 'hey, it's that video game character that you recognize.' Ralph's a great character and the emotional bit at the end actually kind of works, but I've got this general disappointment in the easiness it travels in.
The Dictator - 5/10.
Ali G and Borat, separated from the reactions they inspire in people (which are great), aren't necessarily well-written characters. This takes what I'm sure would be a good set of vignettes and man-on-the-street reactions and puts together this boring comedy.
Killer Joe - 8/10.
I like the impression of a good actor that Matthew McConaughey has been doing the past year. It's taking all that charm of all them romantic comedies and adding a little squirt of darkness. And the movie keeps up with him. Everyone's interesting and that final, much-talked-about scene, is just great movie-making, folks.
Ted - 3/10.
I only laughed at the fart jokes. I think I mean that as an insult? Movie shits on women. Yadda yadda. A part of me likes Seth McFarlane. I think he has good comic timing. I just hate his comedy.
Savages - 6/10.
It gets lost trying to be this Pulp Fiction multiple storylines, everything converges thing. It's either not big enough to pull that off or it just makes it unnecessarily unwieldy. Taylor Kitsch plays the serious version of his 'Friday Night Lights' character, variations thereof being the only thing he should ever play. The ending fucks up anything good by trying to be cute. Don't be cute.
Three Stooges - 5/10.
I've never really seen a Three Stooges thingy, outside of the highlight package montages and any allusions made in Sam Raimi movies, so I'll take other people's word that it's pretty faithful to the humor in those originals and just say that I don't really care for the original humor of the Three Stooges.
21 Jump Street - 8/10.
I laughed a lot. Jonah Hill threatens to play the serious guy, which he's bad at, but the movie quickly gives that up in favor of them both playing the idiot. Buh. To reiterate: I laughed a lot.
Men In Black 3 - 7/10.
It seeks to answer a question no one ever asked – why is J so serious? – and it actually does the work of making that answer pretty empathetic. Josh Brolin makes a great Tommy Lee Jones. Airplane movies!
Seven Psychopaths - 6/10.
High points are Christopher Walken remembering how to be a good actor. Low points are the director, with this and 'In Bruges,' essentially making movies that feel like a lot of other movies you've seen recently.
Sleepwalk With Me - 8/10.
A great humor about it and, even though the whole movie is about his relationship sucking, you sort of forget that he's in this bad relationship because the relationship isn't bad, it just isn't working. And it's this great slow boil leading up to admitting that things just don't work, and it's not done dramatically, it's just sort of there, and that's great.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - 8/10.
All the untrained actors are pretty great, the girl especially and the father additionally. It's the movie 'Where The Wild Things Are' should've been – it's sad and joyous and makes all of its small moments feel as big as possible. It makes the real world feel unreal.
Dinner For Schmucks - 3/10.
Carell and Galifianakis play what they're known for: the sentimental idiot and the obnoxious idiot. Paul Rudd plays his boring man. I don't particularly care for any of those versions of them.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Looper - 7/10
Some fun sci-fi ideas with a Joseph Gordon-Levitt who tries too hard and a Bruce Willis who has given up on trying. In getting from A to B, it's a fun little ride, but it mars it with an easy way out. Bad guys shouldn't become good with just a little bit of sex.
The Master - 7.5/10
I don't know what it's about, but man oh man does Joaquin Phoenix more fully inhabit a role than most anything I've ever seen. He hunches his back and squints his eyes and is transformed. He is the movie, folks. It lives and dies with him.
Safety Not Guaranteed - 6.5/10
It's got that post-Galifianakis posturing that I dislike. Maybe it's post-'The Office'. Take your pick. Unreal people in real situations. Anyway. It's of the moment. But there's a certain level of empathy that it maintains through all four of its characters that makes them all friendly enough to hang around. That one dude who's on 'The New Girl' now is pretty good at his job.
Lola Versus - 6/10
I feel like it's a practice run for 'can Greta Gerwig anchor a mostly traditional romantic comedy?' And the answer is yes because she is great, as she is in everything she's in. And the, uh, where it's coming from emotionally is interesting, but it winds itself around this very typical narrative of which it then it resolves.
Wanderlust - 2/10
What I deem to be good people are involved in this, so I've got no reason for it to be as bad as it is. The insistence on Paul Rudd playing a straight man even in his Own Peoples' movie bothers me. He's better when he's the funny guy, because Jennifer Aniston sure as shit can't do that part. They're both the straight man. Maybe that's the problem. Anyway, it's bad, except for that part where they say normal words in funny voices. Sure as shit, brothers.
Snow White and the Huntsman - 5.5/10
Charlize really does avail herself well. In the Watchmen-ification of things, she and her brother are the only one that become whole characters beyond the words 'dark' and 'gritty' and 'like, serious, bro.' They give the film its stakes, and then it's up to our heroes in one-note unison to fight them off.
John Carter - 3/10.
Just too much shit trying to happen on you. Just a lot of shit trying to make me care about whole worlds and warring factions and factions within factions and histories within histories and I just need, like, one or two dudes to care about, my man. Taylor Kitsch should've played Tim Riggins 'cause that dude would have nailed it.
Battleship - 7/10
Taylor Kitsch should only ever play Tim Riggins. There are people in this movie who play it seriously, but it comes off dumb. But Kitsch plays Riggins, and it's just perfectly suited to this shit. He takes it seriously, but he puts it on the back of this pre-defined character that isn't just 'look serious'; it's 'look serious and have your own personal history, motherfucker.'
Dark Knight Rises - 7.5/10
It keeps throwing ideas at you, but can't figure out how to wrangle them into a single line. Stylistically, Nolan does here what he did with the last one which is to give everything an energy, constantly cutting to something happening, giving the whole movie this constant push forward even if the whole thing might not be going anywhere.
Brave - 6.5/10
If the title is the conceit, to co-opt and corrupt someone else's phrase, then the movie never actually builds up to someone having to exhibit real and honest courage. And that's unfortunate, because it spends a good portion of its running time building up characters I really like and creating an honest-to-god conundrum that has a tough logic (if an old-world logic) to it. To one, have the least likable character become the person we have to root for and, two, to have things settle down so easily, is a disservice to all of the little character moments that went in to its architecture.
My Idiot Brother - 4/10
I think there's been a string of mainstream-ish movies lately that have just the shit-worst women in it. Every girl in this thing is a fucking bitch of some sort and so nine-tenths of everyone in here is a pain to have to get to know. All that fuckery does, however, help to build this really nice cathartic moment towards the end where the idiot brother shits on everyone who is awful, but fuck me if I shouldn't hate them when they turn nice at the end 'cause pissants don't deserve redemption.