Monday, November 9, 2015

The spiritual meaning of the picture.

Jodorowsky's Dune - 3/5
I don't think it does as a good job of establishing context. Both the context of the things that had come before it and the things that were to follow it. While that may not have necessarily made it more interesting than the struggle of no-give-up-creative-man, I think it serves to validate his ambitions. As is, it's a movie for readers of movie blogs who already basically know the story. And then there's the other thing. And that other thing's hard to quantify because it's difficult to separate myself from it, but here goes: his no-compromise attitude is placed as aspirational and soul reaffirming but hey, maybe also it resulted in him not being able to make his dream? He's willing to find a common ground with Dali – because he respects him – and he's not willing to find a common ground with the bean counters – because who are they, they are not art, etc. He's a talent, no doubt, but what's the fucking use if you can't figure out how to conduit it? All those ideas, those big ideas, they're not even words on a page – they're just thoughts in your head. So the question, then: is a thought, distorted when it hits the surface, worse than no landfall at all?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Together,

we'll go fart.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It wasn't my idea.

Ant-Man - 2.5/5
Man, I wish Michael Peña was Ant-Man. You know, someone excited by the whole thing, who didn't see it as some burden, who wasn't some sad hidden genius schlub with unnecessarily incredible abs. He could've separated himself from the rest of the pack as the one guy who's totally out of his league but genuinely excited by the idea of being a superhero. There's a telling scene early on as Paul Rudd takes the costume out for his first test drive where he just runs around – a totally visual scene that would've worked wonders in Edgar Wright's hands, but it's almost entirely silent from Paul Rudd's perspective. He just kind of screams a little and staggers to his left or right. There are jokes, they come, but Paul Rudd does that Mr. Sincere shit he does in every one of his failed romantic comedies and it's such a put on that I half expect him to do a ridiculous face every time the camera stops rolling. He doesn't feel real. Michael Peña, though. That dude. Oh, and one of the slimiest evil dudes, one of the best Marvel villains in a league of not-very-good Marvel villains.

You're approachable.

Trainwreck - 2.5/5
There are three movies battling it out – character Amy Schumer as trainwreck modern female lover woman, real life Amy Schumer with trainwreck dad and sister problems, and Amy Schumer in a trainwreck Judd Apatow comedy. All potentially fine movies if given a time to focus on any, but as is it's a zigzag of tones – I like Amy Schumer's exaggerated self-ness, so to see her 'be real' is weird, and Judd Apatow's 'just say funny things' style of comedy (which I generally adore) doesn't mesh with her calculated character (and I say that affectionately), nor does his 'end the movie on a musical cue' fetish feel at all relevant here. There were funny parts but I walk away with more a sense of just how long the whole thing was. Oh, and shit does Tilda Swinton look amazing.

The bad things in life can be a gift.

The Gift - 2.5/5
A game of 'who's worse?' Tightly packaged but I feel like Rebecca Hall – whose character we'd spent the most time with – just becomes woman-in-the-background. She's a battleground with no real say in the war.

Squinky eye.

Popeye - 2/5
It's got a sweetness, and a visual design to die for, and a funky soundtrack, but Robert Altman has no cinematic language for visual comedy. Everything is twice as slow as it should be.

I was just cleaning it.

The Visit - 3.5/5
Hey, it's fun! The kids are a hellish version of precocious and found footage just doesn't feel necessary, but fuck it, it's all in service to a REALLY SOLID STORY! Yay! A natural fear of grandparents plus a deceptively simple twist makes it feel like a good mystery rather than a good horror movie – the answers are there from early on, we just didn't know to ask the right questions.

Pain is temporary, film is forever.

Three O'Clock High - 2.5/5
It makes me wonder why there aren't more high school movies based on old Westerns. It's an easy metaphor. Guys. Guys. It's fun and inconsequential. At times crudely directed and slapped together while occasionally – mistakenly? – managing a surprisingly well-done scene.

Science the shit out of this.

The Martian - 4.5/5
Entertaining as fuuuuuck. It's the end of the world but you don't have to be such a sad fucking sack about it. That's its trick. And what a beautiful, simple, infinitely reusable trick. Everybody else, get on board.

Fuck balls shit.

50 Shades of Grey - 0/5
This was shit from minute one.

You can't be happy all the time.

Escape From Tomorrow - 3/5
Surprisingly linear given the Oceans 11-level finagling that went into the making. Not quite the psychedelic freakout I thought it'd be – just a middle-aged man freaking out about middle-aged thoughts and feelings. Its theme is a good one (and a just-about-perfect one to be told while secretly filming at Disneyland): you can't be happy all the time. But I may have perhaps wanted that to be more directed towards the place than the people. I may have perhaps wanted this to be a more damning screed against Mouse-sized politics. It's not that, nearly at all, but it's still a wonder to watch.

Fuck as many different women as you can.

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay – 2/5
Perhaps the best subject of a documentary is not a man whose entire career is based on his ability to keep secrets. He's created an aura about himself, like any good magician, and like any good magician, he never breaks the spell. The only bit of lifting up the veil is a last-minute reveal that he has a wife. Okay, thanks. It's best when they talk to the people wowed by him – or to him about the people he's wowed by. I can't describe exactly why other than to say there's an energy, a palpable afterimage left behind by people who've been magnetized. Dai Vernon, a mentor of Ricky's, is a better subject.

Just because it's a love story doesn't mean it can't have a decapitation or two.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare - 2.5/5
It's got ideas! Different ones! It makes the legend of Freddy bigger... and then does nothing new with that information. It gets small again. Manageable. Brought down to size. Maybe my love for 'Freddy's Revenge' is because there's a subtext to Freddy that rarely (in the three movies I've seen) gets pulled to the surface – that Freddy is scarier as a sexual predator than as a slasher. He hurts people in their heads. But there seems to be a reluctance to take him to that point – and for obvious reasons, sure. I'd rather dress up as iconic-dude-with-claw-hand than iconic-dude-who-touches-little-kids-with-it. There's a great pedophile movie to be made... and shit, it could've been made here. The 'love story between Nancy and Freddy' is a nice idea, except that Freddy spends most of his time on the son. And there could have been a clear implication that the love story was actually between Freddy and that little kid. And that's a creep factor that'd be nice to have. I mean, the purpose of these movies should be to give you bad dreams.

The name... is Dumass.

Duma - 2/5
I don't recall how this ended up on my Netflix DVD queue. My sister says she didn't do it. Anyway, I forced myself to watch it. Fun fact! The part of Duma was played by 6 different cheetahs! There's an entire other movie not shown of us staring at the mom's gradual deterioration as as she thinks her son is dead. No, mom, he's on an inspirational quest, lol.

Friday, September 25, 2015

He'd rather kill her

than break her heart.

Monday, September 21, 2015

We came together

to kill each other.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hiding inside

someone else's expectations of you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I got so tired of discussing my future,

I started avoiding the people I love.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An unexpected moment between darkness and dawn,

a scene with Sinatra.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sex, drugs,

and fuck you all.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Empathy

is the boner-killer.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Roses are red,

roses are pink.
Roses are white,
Bitch, don't tell me what to think.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A wish

to be interesting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

We’ve created a scale.

Lucy - 2/5
It’s movie nostalgia for ten years ago. Belongs on a double bill with ‘Swordfish.’ It’s talked-about dumbness isn’t the problem; the problem is that it’s not gleefully dumb. From smartness onwards, it gets all serious and shit. I would've preferred Chev Chelios tried some mind-expanding drugs. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

More spank and less Spock.

Punishment Park - 4/5
40-odd years old, and it could’ve been made yesterday. It’s a suburban cul de sac as war tribunal, and the people who hold church on Sunday aren’t the ones I want holding a scythe over my head. It’s wonderfully performed. The people in it aren’t great actors, per se, but they feel as real as anything you’d find in a genuine documentary. It wins the ‘Battle of Algiers’ award for being relevant for all eternity. 

My spoon is too big.

It’s Such A Beautiful Day - 4/5
Hertzfeldt’s great at tricking you into watching something meaningful. 

Genetically

pre-dispossessed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

She's not dumb.

She just has no interest in being smart.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Now no one will ever find me.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - 3.5/5
I really enjoyed this even though I can't really remember the details. I recall it being very sad.

You’re so sly, but so am I.

Manhunter - 3/5
Man, Michael Mann was really good at creating a certain mood. His movies look like how Tangerine Dream sounds. He makes very long music videos where the chords of a song create an emotional cue moreso than the look on someone’s face. Everything’s a shade of blue and played in stereo. 

Fiddly digits, itchy britches.

Frank - 3/5
I always feel like mental illness is a cop out in movies. I think that’s my failing. It always feels like a bad mystery movie. Why is this person this way? “Oh, just look at this x-ray.” Broken at birth, rather than broken for reasons we can relate to. It’s hard to understand – and so I suppose it’s why the main character found it hard to understand. omg I’m just like the main character!!! The movie is about my journey, not his!!! Well, then, all I’m left with is: the movie is at times a joy to watch and Fassbender is great and I’m not sure what its larger purpose is. Let things be what they are? Okay, I’ll buy it. 

If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.

Steel Magnolias - 3/5
Three out of the six womens are wonderful and I’d like to see them every week on my local NBC affiliate. Unfortunately, the movie is centered around the one person we care least about. The Lance Bass. The Howie Dorough. The Julia Roberts. The Boring One. There’s a very emotional and impassioned speech at the end. Good go, Sally Fields.

Your big brother that’s marrying your mother.

Monsters University - 3/5
Unnecessary and very, very likeable. More so than its predecessor. I think it was wise to take the weight off of John Goodman’s confident and boring character and replace it with Billy Crystal’s neuroses. More words more words more words more words.

I have a hard time picturing her enjoying loneliness.

Nymphomaniac (Director’s Cut) - 4/5
It’s a very quiet and deliberate movie where two very different people trade stories that alternate between graphic sex and read-alongs of Wikipedia entries.  It’s surprising in how casual it tells its tale – there’s no rush to a conclusion, it never gets beyond a certain pace. The bodies feel factual more than erotic. It gets graphic – very graphic – but I think for a reason: to convince us she’s evil. In this, I think the movie acts as a bit of a cultural prudish-ness test – oh, you can handle this? Well, what if we took it a little further… Trying to force you to find something to be offended by. But it’s not evil. The bodies aren’t evil, the sex isn’t evil – love is the evil thing. Sex is natural while “love distorts things.” Love takes people away. She’s proud of what she does, but not what it leads to. So she becomes in the end an addict in reverse – someone who doesn’t demand to have, but who demands not to have. 

You in danger, girl.

Ghost - 3.5/5
I meant to write a lot of stuff after I watched this that talked about how Patrick Swayze was the birth of the feminine male that masculine males admired – he was not a man who dances, but a dancer – but I forgot most of my talking points. Anywayze, Swayze rules. This movie also makes me understand Demi Moore’s appeal in the opposite – the masculine female that other females admire. Strong-willed but always on the verge of tears. They’re both great identities, and I’m not sure their place has been taken by someone since. 

Only unfulfilled love can be romantic.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 3/5
I haven’t seen a great number of Woody Allen movies, but there’s a clear line that you can draw through this, ‘Annie Hall,’ and ‘Manhattan’ – the ‘popular ones.’ I don’t know if he makes the same movies over and over, but the theme that people seem to respond to is the ‘chronic dissatisfaction,’ as this movie puts it, of… anyone? Lovers? New Yorkers? Woody Allen? I don’t know. The erotification of ‘the other’ – other women or men, typically, but another locale and temperament in this case. Always wanting more than what you have. ‘Demanding more from the sunset,’ as ‘Nymphomaniac’ puts it. Demanding what?  ¯\_()_/¯

It’s got 2 Chainz in it.

Dear White People - 3.5/5
I admire that they’ve created a TBS New Classic version of ‘Do The Right Thing.’ A movie legitimately about race – how are you supposed to be when everyone’s telling you how you’re supposed to be? – that has the same watchability as ‘She’s All That.’ Easy, accessible, and difficult (though not in the way that ‘Do The Right Thing’ is difficult, mind). I like the idea that someone can accidentally sit down to watch an uninvolved teen movie and be drawn into an exploration of race politics. I am enchanted by that idea.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No respect for personal boundaries.

Tarzan - 1.5/5
Welcome to a very expensive Phil Collins concept album. Rosie O’Donnell is the worst mistake culture has ever made. Tarzan is drawn very well. 

I conjure demons, and charm beasts.

The Thief and the Cobbler - 1.5/5
This is the movie that was taken from its creator and remade, with words put where words were not intended to go and such and such and such an obvious bastardization is all it ends up being. 

I am tired... yet I must dance!

Son Of The Shiek - 1.5/5
shrug.

Absolutely perfect without really being any good at all.

Spice World - 3/5
I get why they were big. They had personality, beyond the names. They were a certain amount of fearless, without aiming for fearlessness. Not-give-a-fuck-itude. They don’t feel programmed, though I’m sure they were tuned to just the right degree. They feel like very real fake people, I suppose I’m saying. The greatest trick the devil ever played, etc. 

Our place in the dirt.

Interstellar - 3/5
I think it’s funny, I think it’s interesting, I think it’s weird that the man accused (by me) of being incapable of joy makes a movie where love is the central macguffin. I appreciate him taking a stab at emotion, but he pokes a hole right through the thing. He carries the weight of a feeling like an exposition drop. Love as a non-sequitir that must be explained. He treats emotion like science. And it’s cheesy, but it’s not the worst. The worst is that there are too many other ideas at play – relativity (which could actually use an exposition drop), leaving, fathers and daughters, the one versus the many. There’s just too much. It’s ambitious (it reaches for the stars lol). But it’s broken (more like ‘Not So Stellar’ lol). 

Maybe you should just look the other way.

Inherent Vice - 3/5
To quote another reviewer – this movie doesn’t give a shit about you. It’s certainly an experience to sit down and watch it. It’s nearly always compelling. But I don’t think it’s possible to make sense of it unless you sat down with Paul Thomas Anderson as he held your hand through each choice. It’s all in his head, and there’s not that one line, that “this is something that happens” that ties the whole room together. It’s the height of self-indulgence. A movie made only for him. But dude is talent, so I’m reluctant to tell him to stop. He can keep going as long as that obfuscation leads to an occasional transcendance. I just might not be as excited to rush in headlong anymore. 

They hate us ‘cause they ain’t us.

The Interview - 4/5
This was funny and I laughed a lot. James Franco overdid it to occasional success. 

When women go wrong, men go right after them.

She Done Him Wrong - 2.5/5
Cary Grant has always been Cary Grant. He arrived fully formed. No warm-ups, no practice runs. Sigh. Mae West was also good in this. Her lines were better than that other movie I watched, but she’d rather say a good line than tell a good story. Her movies are more like comedy routines that way; more meant to create a favorite bit. 

The light outlives the star.

Winters Tale – 1.5/5
Mystical without being magical. Mythology without any world-building. Other things, also, but mostly just kinda dumb. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You could see the sea out there, if you could see it.

Los Angeles Plays Itself – 3/5
Does a city lose its soul when it’s used as surrogate for hundreds of other cities? Can a city’s character survive tourist directors who think they can define the city better than those who live there? Does Los Angeles have an identity? It takes a shitload of time and one of the least arresting voiceovers imaginable to answer the question you’ve never asked, but boy howdy does it make its point. 

I mean stupid, primitive, unenlightened.

Frankenweenie - 1/5
omg what is this soulless thing

In the dark of the night, evil will find you.

Anastasia - 3.5/5
Feels like a 1950s musical drama. A loose charm floats through it (Meg Ryan was the bomb, yo) before hitting a hard wall made of sudden realizations of affection. Like Maria and the Captain, they are two people better at sparring than being in love. They know how to do one, don’t know how to do the other, and so they stiffen up. It becomes very functional at the end because it needs to wrap up this love story that had previously been an identity story. Rasputin, the villain feels distant and afterthought-y throughout but he and his mouse bat are wonderful scenery and I really liked that evil song of theirs.

What did Jung say about glowsticks?

Chronicle - 3.5/5
You know how sometimes short stories are just excuses to throw a good idea out there without necessarily having to do the work of writing enough words to make it an entire book? This feels like that. An interesting idea, extended out. It didn’t necessarily get deeper – just longer. But man, what fun. The found footage-ness sometimes ends up focusing too much attention on the camera, but it adds to the tension and the visceral thrill of it all so I’ll call it even. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chaos is order yet undeciphered.

Enemy - 3.5/5
If the whole movie exists for that final image, then brav-fucking-o. Genuinely frightening in that, and genuinely creepy for the rest of it. One review describe the look of the film as ‘urine-soaked.’ Yes. It strikes me as a movie worth revisiting – worth figuring out. But I’m lazy, so.

Sweep the gutters.

Big Eyes - 2.5/5
Never more interesting than the Wikipedia article. Pops of color are just window dressing. I wish it was weirder. It’s just the story, told straight through. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

We drift into some unknowable

and unfuckable place.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A few people cried; most people were silent.

Godzilla - 2.5/5
Aaron Taylor-Johnson vs. Godzilla. The movie’s just stuck on this miracle dude who this force of nature cares naught about. He is our feet on the ground, eyes to the sky, I get that, but we don’t need him, we just need eeeeeeyes. Here’s my simple fix: we’re not following one dude, but a collection of dudes and dudettes. Each reacting to this thing in their own way, discovering its relative humanity vs. these Mutos as destruction surrounds them. An anthology of reactions to this beast from 20,000 fathoms. In this way, he is not just the titular tidal wave, but the star. 

All climates are the same for love.

In Search of the Castaways - 3.5/5
It’s good in a way that we don’t allow anymore. Filled to the brim with casual charm and no one’s ever really in danger. It’s the movie equivalent of the teacup ride. 

Some gay-ass crime.

Super - 2.5/5
It’s a surprisingly un-cynical movie, for as dark as it sells itself. If anything, it’s a bit too maudlin with its final message of hope. I think James Gunn’s strength as a director is how casual he is. He’s not afraid to just throw something out to see if it works. He’s just having a good time, my man. He’s like one of those stand-ups that laugh at their own jokes, and you laugh at them laughing more than you might laugh at the joke. Or something like that.

I’m de captain now.

Captain Phillips - 2.5/5
Paul Greengrass likes to direct the moment. Not the before, not the after, just what’s happening as it’s happening. No real context, even when context would make a rounder story. It’s interesting, but less so with real stories – this and ‘United 93.’ Stories in which we know the ending. It’s hard to get invested in the moment when you know the inevitable. But Tom Hanks crying at the end was all right, boss. I’d like to have felt more of that.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

You destroy their achievements and it’s as if they never existed.

The Monuments Men - 2/5.
The question it asks, repeatedly, is whether the greatest works of art are worth a single human life. The answer, repeatedly, is yes, but it never answers with enough emotion. It builds up the men (somewhat) but it doesn’t build up the art. It shows us paintings and statues and assumes we know its inherent value. It never says why art is beautiful, why art is worthwhile. That should have been easy, I’d imagine. That, and it could have probably dropped a character or two. If you’re already playing fast and loose with history, you might as well abuse it to tell a better story. 

Heterosexual romance between two white people.

They Came Together - 2.5/5
You know what, it’s a bit lazy. It’s only a half step away from those ‘Not Another… ‘ movies – a stock plot as an excuse for occasional absurdity and funny faces. And Paul Rudd makes the funniest faces, guys. He’s so entirely self-aware of how his body/face moves and it’s glorious and hard to replicate by most everyone else in the cast. Beyond the very controlled anarchy of he, I don’t think the filmmakers give themselves enough leeway to go completely off the rails. It’s stuck to this linear storyline which is the least important thing about it. I’d rather have all the funniest parts from this and the deleted scenes made into as much of a single entity as possible. As is, it feels more like ‘The Baxter’ than ‘Wet Hot American Summer.’ 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Come home, my son, when you are ready.

Merantau - 2.5/5
Iko Uwais looks like a hero so he plays a hero. Yayan Ruhian looks like a villain so he plays a villain. The action is great but I think the movie as a whole is a first pass at defining the characters that will make these guys more interesting beyond how they appear – Iko becomes more of a Jackie Chan with a bubbling anger instead of humor. Yayan becomes a weirder and weirder (redeemable) villain in each new movie. The action’s great but it’s more interesting to see the start of something that will become wonderful.

Balalalala.

Big Hero 6 - 3/5
I don’t think it understands its own origin story. This movie has a genuine heroic figure in Tadashi – a good, noble person who just wants to help people. And his lil’ bro learns from that but… doesn’t really. At the end of the movie, he’s still a botfighter and the lesson of Tadashi wasn’t that the world needs more fighting robots; it needs more heroes that hug you when you feel bad. It needs more nurses. During the end montage, you don’t see them being heroes, fighting villains – you see them rollerskating on top of subways. That’s not helping, that’s indulging.