Sunday, January 25, 2009

Movie Log 2009: #6-11

Song Sung Blue - I have heard that it's easier to make a decent living playing tribute shows than it is to break into music performing your own material. Your audience already exists and you go out and cater to them. If that's not a myth, then doing your own thing must be nigh-impossible, because the folks in this film, husband-and-wife Neil Diamond tribute act in Milwaukee, are barely hanging on -- and then things start to get worse.

Velvet Goldmine - I couldn't tell whether the filmmakers loved or hated glam rock. They managed to craft Bowie-esque songs that were exactly as inane as the geniune article. No small feat there.

Coraline - I find Neil Gaiman to be hit-n-miss. I read Coraline, but remembered nothing of it so can't speak to the film's fidelity. But what's here was enjoyable enough, and the 3-D is outstanding.

Rize - huh. yeah, clowning & krumping. Some pretty moves, but I don't know that I learned much.

Michael Clayton - When your gambling has you $75K in the hole to "The Greek" from The Wire, you may have taken some wrong turns in life. All I'm saying.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster - I'm getting wary of the documentarian-becomes-part-of-story school of nonfiction filmmaking. Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock, Nick Bill Maher's in on the act. In his look at performance-enhancing drugs in sports (and "legitimate" medical use, and porn, and the Air Force) Chris Bell also does some welcome self-reflection, examining the moral issues of steroid use among himself and his two brothers, all bodybuilders. The Bells are all good people, and their conflicts between themselves, parents, and spouses over to use or not to use are heartbreaking. Bell may only have one movie in him, but it's a fine one.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Oscar First For Me

So in the history of my going to movies, this year marks the first one in which I have not seen a single second of any Oscar nominated film (as in the actual film, not in TV ads or trailers).

There's nothing intentional about this, I've just gotten to a point where I see very few movies. In fact, if you look at the 2008 entries here, you'll see that I got to two movies in 2008: Mamma Mia! and Persepolis. The latter got a Best Animated Feature nod for the 2008 awards, while the former got nothing (at least from Oscar; Pierce Brosnan picked up a Razzie nod as worst supporting actor, based wholly on his lack of singing ability I have to think).

I do plan on rectifying this before the awards actually take place. Suggestions on which film to see are welcome.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Movie Log 2009: #3-5

The Good Girl - I didn't hate this like Kirsti did, but still...the only Mike White-penned stuff I think worthy of his buzz is his Freaks & Geeks work.

The Butterfly (Le Papillon) - Did you know Michel Serrault is French for "Michael Caine"? It's true. He was apparently in every other French film made since Les Diaboliques, which was the only Serrault film I'd seen previously. Cute, slight; some problems with the end.

Strange Illusion - This didn't remind me of Andy Hardy so much as the teens in various mental hygiene movies. I was perplexed by an early scene where the main character goes fishing with his doctor. I guess that's what life was like before health care went all to hell.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Butterfly (Le Papillon)

Sweet and visually attractive French movie that is entertaining despite having what Roger Ebert would call an Idiot Plot. The child actress is marvelous--she can be waiflike and can tell a dirty joke.

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Strange Illusion (1945)

Strange indeed. Andy Hardy plus Encyclopedia Brown divided by Alfred Hitchcock equals a silly but entertaining movie.
From the director of The Black Cat and Detour.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

It is, after all, called Snack Canyon

Just FYI—Orville Reddenbacher's Salt and Lime popcorn—awfully good.

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The Good Girl

(Minor plot spoiler follows)

Enervating. I guess it is really hard to write an effective satire.

John C. Reilly as Phil was great as usual, though.

Justine: Gwen is dead.
Phil: (pause) Wh—what for?

Jennifer Aniston uses her best Texis accent to pronounce her line as "Gway-in iz day-ed." She does look spectacular in her mom jeans, though. I hope pleat-front denim pants never resurface.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Movie Log 2009: #1-2

New Years resolutions and all...

The Wrong Man - Hey, social studies teachers! Here's something to liven up your classroom discussions of the Bill of Rights and Miranda. I must confess after seeing Henry Fonda as a killing machine in Once Upon A Time in the West, I was rooting against him a little here. Good Bernard Herrmann score.

Sunshine State - AAAGH. When John Sayles is on his game, he's terrific. This stumble was clumsy and preachy and obvious, and a great waste of Edie Falco and Angela Bassett.


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