MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL 10/10
Pure genius from start to finish, nary a dull moment, maybe the funniest sound film ever made.
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY 10/10
Brilliant and demanding. It doesn’t get better than this.
The Cabin in the Woods 4/5
It’s a hell of a lot of fun. Not just a meta-commentary on horror films but a fairly decent commentary on the state of the world today. Eat the young.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) – 5/10
Definitely some spying, some double agents, betrayal, everyone’s suspect ect ect…. If this type of film is your thing, then you will be hard pressed to find one as technically excellent, or as well cast. This film reminded me of Spielberg’s Munich, but done right. Maybe not right, but certainly better.
At the end of the day though, it is still very much a “Spy Fest”. I remember reading a lot of people calling it a “James Bond film for smart people”… and that’s probably fair to a certain extent… But, It’s still a james bond film after all is said and done. It’s a very pretty, smart, and sharply made bond film… but nevertheless. And that sort of thing just doesn’t interest me… the betrayals, the big reveals, ect. I don’t care about the plot points, I care about the characters… and it seemed to me the “spying” was more the point, and less the people.
PLAY (2011, Ruben Ostlund) 3/5
Not bad, but I think my expectations were a little too high for this.
For the Love of Movies – 3 stars
This is a documentary on the history of American film criticism, which was a festival hit a couple years ago. For people interested in criticism, this is a short fun little doc that goes through the highlights – Sherman, Crowley, Sarris versus Kael, Siskel & Ebert, etc. It’s not the fanciest produced docs I’ve ever seen but they interview the usual suspects and provide a nice overview of American criticism. Rosenbaum, Knowles, Ebert, Sarris, Haskell, Gleiberman, Schwartzbaum, Mitchell, and Turan are some of the critics interviewed.
The film has been playing on the Documentary channel but you can also buy the film on DVD (this is how I got it) from their website directly (this is the only place to buy the DVD – I couldn’t find it on Amazon):
For the Love of Movies
Rampage (1963) 6.5/10
directed by Phil Karlson
starring Robert Mitchum, Elsa Martinelli, Jack Hawkins, and Sabu
Made immediately after his Elvis movie (Kid Galahad) and a decade before Walking Tall, the story of a love triangle between a aging Great White Hunter-type (Hawkins) whose rifle isn’t as steady as it used to be, his younger companion (Martinelli), and a big game trapper (Mitchum) during the course of a hunt for “The Empress,” and quasi-legendary leopard/tiger hybrid cat. Minor (compared to Karlson’s best work in the ’50s), but nifty.
The Hunter – 3.5 stars.
Incredibly unsettling, atmospheric thriller. Willem Dafoe is always good and he really delivers the goods here. This is not a plot driven film at all; ironically, for how much the film relies on the setting and the environment of Tazmania, it’s also a very internal film. Very good.
aka Nathan likes old Japanese films (see below).
The Girl I Loved (Dir. Keisuke Kinoshita, 1946)
I’ve decided to go through Kinoshita’s movies in chronological order. Up to this point I’ve only seen WWII propaganda movies of varying worth (Jubilation Street was particularly interesting), but I am floored by The Girl I Loved. I don’t usually like to use superlatives like “beautiful” and “poetic” when I describe a movie, but I can’t think of anything else. It celebrates the tragedies of good people. If you have Hulu Plus access, try it.
once upon a time in anatolia 5/5 (yum yum yum yum yum)
over the door it said ‘cinema’. inside it was an art gallery punctuated by the mythic whiskers of fine dark mustaches. elegant work. even if this is the second turkish film i’ve seen tarkovsky’s dog in lately. at least here it was a reworking rather than just a dumb homage.
The Catechism Cataclysm 4/5
One of the funniest, weirdest, and most original comedies from the past few years that I’ve seen. Great title too.
city girl (1930) d. f.w. murnau
city girl is kind of the inverse sunrise and was a compromised project for murnau, only being released in a truncated sound version which is now lost. while i much prefer murnau’s original title of our daily bread, there are some lovely and lyrical scenes here as impressive as anything in sunrise, most notably the sequence of lem and kate running through the wheatfields and the final runaway wagon race lit by a single lantern. good chemistry between the two leads and the earthier mary duncan is an interesting contrast to charles farrell’s usual partner janet gaynor. it’s somewhat of a miracle this full silent version has survived and there are some nice features related to the lost film 4 devils on the disc as well 8.5/10
I love City Girl. Haven’t seen it in a while, though. Sometimes I really loathe Murnau’s city/country nonsense, but City Girl and Sunrise are so beautiful to look at that it really doesn’t matter much.
yeah, i know what u mean, the idea gets old. but some scenes in this made me think of days of heaven
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas- 3/4
It’s pretty funny, but man, the cinematography is shit!
I haven’t seen Harold and Kumar Christmas, but that has to be the funniest review ever. I wish that a major print publication had put that out.
Damsels in Distress 1/10
I read some imdb reviews before seeing it, complaining that it was ‘Pretentious’ and that ‘The characters were unlikeable’. I personally hate it when people apply the term ‘Pretentious’ to any eccentric style elements, and I don’t see lack of likable characters as a problem, so that made me want to see it.
Turns out, it’s not pretentious, at all. And the characters, while not the most likeable, were at the very least sympathetic enough to be engaging.
The problem is, the movie is incredibly stupid and the plot never goes anywhere. It’s got some genuinely funny bits and it seemed like it was doing something interesting in the first 20 minutes, but then it just sort of wandered around in circles doing nothing.
Whit Stilman is the definition of pretentious. I don’t know anything about his films but the man is bad news.
Day of the Dead (1985)- 3 1/2 out of 4
Long live Bub. My second favorite of the Dead movies.
Pierrot le fou – Same old Godard, but it had a better ending than usual. I guess being generous around 3 stars.
French Cancan – A brilliant film from Renoir and the funniest of his I have seen yet. 4/5
Night and Fog in Japan (Dir. Nagisa Oshima, 1960)
Here is Oshima’s vicious attack on the Japanese student revolutionary groups of the 50s. Those groups failed to enact true revolution and Oshima wants to expose them for what they were. Though the film is aimed at a very specific cultural/political moment in time, Oshima ends up exposing greater truths about the organization of ideals; namely that whenever you mix powerful political thought, college students, and sex, you get a volatile drink that’ll never go down.
I probably needed a little more historical context to better understand this one, but Oshima’s staging was breathtaking. And for whatever I didn’t catch on to, it is more than apparent that this is a bitter, bitter film.
Jirin, do you like Stillman’s other films? Give the guy a break, Santino, he hasn’t made a film in 13 years.
I haven’t seen his other films.
I love Stilman and cannot wait for this. Here is the first paragraph of Eberts review:
It’s delightful and a little bewildering to find a 2012 comedy that evokes a world that exists only in the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress” creates Seven Oaks College, a school so innocent and naive that only it could believe in itself. Its heroine, Violet Wister, is one of the daffiest characters in recent movies, who believes one of the noble callings of women is to date men who are their inferiors, and thus lift them up. .
This illustrates to me a certain amount of whimsy in the film that people might not jive with. I, on the other hand, who thinks Max Shulman is one of the world’s great writers might love the film for this very whimsy.
Den, you watched the three stooges yet?
Man I really want to see Damsels. Indiana University in Bloomington has lectures where Stillman came and spoke and showed the new film along with Last Days of Disco. I really should have went to that since it;s only an hour away.
Joks probably going this weekend
last weekend they were showing Duck Soup and The Music Box at my local art house
that took priority
This week may have to take fiancee to Chimpanzees (her anthro class is giving a bit of extra credit if she sees the film). If we don’t end up going I will see Stooges
I had a hard time choosing between Cabin in the Woods and Stooges last weekend. I’d like to check out Stooges soon.