July 30, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox trailer

I will give a detailed analysis of what makes this so awesome at a later date. For now, just enjoy it.

July 29, 2009

Perfect Blue - 1998

Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers: Yoshikazu Takeuchi & Sadayuki Murai
Starring: Bridget Hoffman, R. Martin Klein, Wendee Lee

I saw this film yesterday, and truth be told, I'm still not entirely sure what it's about. There's something in there about a singer becoming an actress, and she's got some creepy stalker, and one day she films a traumatic scene that causes reality to slowly collapse around her. The director's use of transitions will throw you for a loop even before the main character starts being unable to keep her role separate frome real life, however. There's also a chase scene near the end of the film over the rooftops of what I'm going to assume is Tokyo. Normal, actual people running around on and jumping between rooftops. Yeah...

There's never before been a film I left not knowing what happened entirely. The plot synopsis on Wikipedia sounds almost like a different movie to me. I'll stick with David Lynch or Alfred Hitchcock next time, I think.

July 26, 2009

Moon - 2009

Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Duncan Jones & Nathan Parker
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey

Let's get this out of the way: Duncan Jones is the son of David Bowie. Make your "Major Tom" and Ziggy Stardust jokes now. Done yet? Good.

Moon depicts Sam Bell, the sole crewmember of a helium mining plant on the moon, as he nears the end of his three-year contract. Eager to return home to his wife and daughter, he begins his final preparations, including a trip out to the surface to repair a seemingly damaged harvesting device. His rover crashes, and after waking up several days later in the base's infirmary, he encounters another person, who appears to be a version of himself from the first week of his time served. If I say anything more, the movie will be ruined for you.

High points of the film:
  • models used (no CGI at all) toe the line between obvious and believeable
  • Kevin Spacey's voice coming out of the computer that communicates with emoticons
  • a game of Ping-Pong between the two Sams
  • the songs "The One and Only" and "Walking on Sunshine" used spectacularly
As long as you get past the first five or so minutes of a very beardy Sam Rockwell, you have a thrilling (and surprisingly realistic) sci-fi film.

July 25, 2009

Robocop - 1987

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writers: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith

"Your move, creep." It's one-liners like this that make Robocop enthralling and loathsome simultaneously. The film allegedly takes place in a dystopian future version of Detriot, although a year is never made explicit. Any scenes involving either the ED-209 (big scary robot) or gore shows the film's age, but otherwise it holds up very well overall. Kurtwood Smith, who you know as the dad from That 70's Show, portrays one of the most detestable (in a good way) on-screen villains I've ever seen, and despite the robotic nature of Peter Weller's Alex Murphy, the actor emotes with the best of them, thanks to a remarkable something-or-other that I can't figure out (as seen in the photo above). What really pushed this movie over the top for me, however, are the satirical news and advertising segments interspersed throughout. One news story talks about the Strategic Defense Initiative (aka Star Wars) program malfunctioning and subsequently causing forest fires in southern California. Here's another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmSSVt7Mfkk Wasn't that great?

And you may have noticed I "forgot" to give a plot synopsis for this one. While I think Robocop is fairly straightforward, someone's done it far better than I ever could, so you'll get theirs instead. Two caveats: beware of spoilers and British accents. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUnMF7dV86k Enjoy!

July 22, 2009

Spending spree

We never had a huge library of DVDs when I was growing up, mostly for financial reasons. My parents won't even go see movies in theaters anymore, but that's another matter for another entry. The only movies they watch these days come courtesy of Blockbuster Online, and while it's a wonderful service, will never replace the ease of picking a movie off your personal shelf whenever the mood strikes you and popping it into the DVD player.

And yes, I do still use the "antiquated" DVD instead of Blu-Ray. I don't have an HDTV or anything like that, so I don't think it's worth it yet. My untrained eye doesn't see enough of a difference in picture quality.

I'm the type who'll go out looking for a specific film, maybe two or three, and if I can't find them, I'll buy whatever semi-reasonable amount I feel I've been missing lately. That was the case yet again today, as neither the local Best Buy, Target, nor Blockbuster had a copy of K-Pax for sale. Here's what I walked out with:

Almost Famous
Batman Begins
Burn After Reading
Edward Scissorhands
The Great Buck Howard
The Prestige
The Spirit
Stand By Me
When Harry Met Sally

The additions brings my total DVD count to around 125. It might seem like a lot, but I've got a 12 page Word document of movies I plan to buy as well, so this is just a drop in the bucket.

July 20, 2009

Good Night and Good Luck - 2005

Director: George Clooney
Writers: George Clooney and Grant Heslov
Starring: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels

With the recent demise of the great newsman Walter Cronkite, I decided to start off with a film about another man in the field, who seems to be relatively forgotten today. Good Night and Good Luck chronicles the struggle of Edward R. Murrow and others working at CBS at the time to "defy corporate and sponsorship pressures, and discredit the tactics used by Joseph McCarthy during his crusade to root out communist elements within the government." The film accomplishes exactly that, without veering into the realm of the biopic. Its crowning achievement can be found in an anecdote that Clooney shares on the film's audio commentary: 20% of one test audience was unfamiliar with Joseph McCarthy, and wanted to know the actor who portrays his segments of the film. Clooney responded that McCarthy did such a good job making himself look like a jerk at the time that only actual footage of the anti-Communist hearings was used, rather than trying to recreate them.

Clooney made this movie because he "thought it was a good time to raise the idea of using fear to stifle political debate." Considering the times we lived in until recently, where it once again became un-American to criticize the government, it couldn't have been more appropriate. So when you think of him in the future, try to ignore that he was once People's Sexiest Man Alive (which he reminds us of about three times, in jest, in the commentary), or that as Batman he "kicked Governor Freeze's ass." Instead, think of director George Clooney, and his paean to journalism of yesteryear.

July 19, 2009

Nothing to say...yet.

Greetings, all!

This'll be my blog someday, wherein I rant and rave about all things cinematic. I'll try to keep the variety of films high, but there are certain films I can't do in theaters (a disadvantage of living in a small town) and others I won't do period (you'll learn what sort they are as time goes on).

Tell your friends!