Films of 2005
(January to August 2005)
Office (first season): thoroughly depressing BBC comedy about
the mediocre denizens of some office somewhere in the UK. Very funny,
in a sick way, where you laugh at these people, not with them. Hmmm...
David the boss is a psychopath, a liar, a buffoon, infatuated with
himself just as much as his sad existence. Gareth is simply weird. Tim
is normal, but clearly frustrated. Dawn is a sweet little thing, more
an observer than anything else really. Episodes are farcical and build
up around things like redundancies (i.e. people getting fired), office
training, hiring, pub night, quiz night, and stuff. Brutal honesty from
some of the office workers, and the mock-reality show/documentary feel
of the show if fun. First season only has six episodes, so it seems a
little skimpy. No matter - nothing much happens anyway.
Angels: Full Throttle: The sequel to the much-superior Charlie's
Angels offers a weak version of more-of-the-same, except this time the
ideas that seemed so clever in the first film just fall flat - Lucy Liu
refusing to listen to more than two words from a guy who's trying to
hit on her, the "three very different girls" origin stuff, Bosley's
entrance - all the things that seemed ad-libbed and fun in the first
film here are a bit forced. The trailer to the film is definitely ten
times as much fun as the movie itself, and you can save yourself all
the time of watching the stupid thing by just sticking to the that
little three-minute masterpiece. This film tries to innovate by going
into Drew Barrymore's past, and it tries to be innovative by ignoring
race - Lucy Liu's father is a very white John Cleese, while Bill
Murray's brother is a very black Bernie Mack. The opening Bond-esque
scene was just too unbelievable to stomach (helicoper falls into
precipice, Angels start it up in mid-fall and fly away in it), and
other scenes are just too CG-laden (the pointless BMX bike race, Demi
Moore and Cameron Diaz fighting) to take with just a grain of salt. I
was prepared to be disappointed by Demi Moore, who I just don't like,
and her grandstanding was something even I wasn't quite prepared for.
The bikinis and the oversized golden guns - yuck! I'm trying to
remember a scene that was fun and quirky and true to the spirit of the
original, but I'm not coming up with anything. Oh yeah, there was the
continued poking fun at Mission Impossible - in the first film it was
the rubber masks, in this one it was the MI:2 billboards. Funny...
Nausicaa: Need three attempts
to finish watching this film, which will probably be my favorite
Miyazaki film for its ambitious legends and weird
other-worldly geographies. Fantastic insect-laden worlds pulse with
spore-infested life, noxious gases, and the pulse of human hope for a
sane world. Weird Lovecraftian ancient spectres or cyclopean horror, as
well as pre-pubescent nymphette assassins, not to mention wild arial
battles and daring mid-air rescues and explosions. Crazy. Cool.
The fantastic Miyazaki Hayao film about Johnathan Swift's flying city
talks about dormant power and greedy princelings with overreaching
ambitions. Sure, everybody can be undone by a pair of cute spy kids,
and the hyper-kinetic ariel battles and chases are fantastic to behold,
as are the cool robots in Miyazaki's employ, even if they do look
slightly like something seen in a Superman cartoon from 1941. The
robot, along with princess Nausicaa, first appeared in an episode of
Lupin the Third, also directed by Miyazaki.
Motorcycle Diaries: No, not the Basketball Diaries, about punk
poet Jim Carroll, but the Motorcycle Diaries of Che Guevera, the
Argentine who, as a young man, drove around South America on an old
motorcycle with his good friend. As young men, torn between hormones
and ideology, Che is remarkable interested in the latter while his
older friend is clearly interested in the former. Okay - a two hour
film can never get close to desccribing the gargantuan task that these
two undertook in their epic journey, and it is just as ambitious in
trying to get under the skin of everybody's favorite martyred
revolutionary. Of course, this is Che the real guy, not Che the
inspirational t-shirt, and the tale is quite fantastic and well-told
nonetheless and the tale of friendship gets back to his friend, now a
very old man living in Havana.
III - Revenge of the Sith: Finally saw Episode III, and of
course there's lots to complain about, nothing more so than the
terrible acting and the awful dialogue. The original film didn't have
fantastic acting (Harrison Ford was awful, but at least he was cool),
but at least it had great lines. What happened? In this one, the good
things to focus on are Ian McDiarmond as the Emperor, who was mighty
creepy. Of course it might be better to see the films in order to get
an idea of what this whole war was about. The thing about the original
movies is that you understood that there were good guys fighting bad
guys and the bad guys were pretty invincible. In this one you never had
the sense that the bad guys were... what? Who were they? Of course
Lucas' shameless ripping off of the Godfather and Frankenstein was a
bit corny, and obviusly his idea of directorial style is to juxtapose
two developments on top of each other (two sword fights, two operating
rooms). Maybe what I didn't like in this one was the fact that there
were droids everywhere. What's the point of mowing down rows and rows
of stupid robots, then? Happily, C3PO wasn't in the movie much. But
neither was the cloaked-in-black Darth Vader. The transition was all a
bit too jarring, wasn't it? Oh well. Time to hope for another movie as
cool as the Matrix to come along. Who's going to make it then?
Aviator: nice Martin Scorsese film about Howard Hughes, brought
back all those memories of all those James Elroy books, weird guy, sort
of like Tucker: A Man And His Dream, but a little stranger. The plane
crashes were so scary!
a stage adapation that is just like a stage adaption. Nathalie
Portman's acting is terrible... just when you want her to be good! Lots
of stagey scenes, leaden lines, split second changes of heart, dumb
ironies, and a funny-looking Julia Roberts. Check out the closing
credits - only six actors in the whole film, and two of them are barely
in the film at all.
My Concubine: Fine, fine performance by the late Leslie Cheung
as the effeminate opera singer, devoted to his craft, secretly in love
with his stage partner, and the love-hate relationship he has both with
him as well as the stage partner's prostitute/wife, all to the backdrop
of life under the Manchus, the Japanese, the Nationalists, and finally
the Communistss, culminating with the Cultural Revolution and a raft of
forced confessions and purges. Wild, wild, wild. ""I hate only th
etyrant who ahs plunged our land in mistery." Who is the tyrant? All of
the above, of course. Great fish bowl scenes of an opium dream that
contrasted heavily with similar scenes we witnesses earlier that night
in Finding Nemo. Dhe dawning realization of life under Communism, Gong
Li and Lesley Cheung's complicated relationship. One of the most
powerful endings to a film that I can recollect, with overt and
liberating betrayals as tragedy begets tragedy. Amazing.
City: Stunning recreation of the Frank Miller graphic novels,
which I haven't read, but I know enough of Miller's style to know that
the ultra-cool look of the comics, with their stark black and white
contrasts, is a very faithful rendering of Miller's signature style -
and why not, since Miller is credited as co-director with Robert
Rodriguez (and some input from Quentin Tarantino as well?). A great
sequence with Bruce Willis, a great sequence with Mickey Rourke, and
another great sequence with Clive Owen (who is this guy - he's popping
up everywhere these days). Structurally perfect, the only thing I
didn't quite understand was the motivation of powerful political and
religious figures to harbour and nurture cannibals and serial killers,
or for bad guys to not kill the good guys when they had a chance. Oh
well. Still, it's great, gruesome fun, and certainly better than most
of the crap destined to be coming out this summer (Kingdom of Heaven,
Fantastic Four, War Of The Worlds).
Grand Day Out: Funny fun Wallace and Gromit fun, although a bit
clunky as Nick Parks' first claymation rendering of the not-so-dynamic
duo. Weird villainous moon robot, quirky touches, awful rendering of
Wallace walking down the basement stairs, funny tic-tac-toe bit.
Nemo: Borrowed this from Sean, but will have to buy it for Zen
soon. "Are you my conscience?" conversation in the dark is funny.
Albert Brooks is good as the voice of Marlin, but basically he talks
too much. Dory, as his foil, is very good - she talks less, and barely
says anything of importance, but is charming all the same with her
stupid "memory loss" problem. The "talking whale" bits were pretty
hilarious, though. Willem Dafoe is good as a scary fish, although I
thought at first he was James Woods. A shark called "Chum." Good names,
like Gill, Bloat, etc. Anchovy impressions were good, as was the sea of
jellyfish (scary, man!!). Amazing how they can wring real emotions out
of... computerized fish!! Quite a roller coaster, both physically and
emotionally. Surfer turtle, swordfish swordfight, dolphins, scum angel,
and "the Surly Mermaid" were all funny parts of the film. "Hop inside
my mouth if you want to live." Interesting...
You Listen Closely...: Ultra sentimental Miyazaki Hayao film
about a 12-year-old girl, parents are scholars and librarians, she
wants to be a writer, she meets a boy her age, he impresses her that he
is going for his dream of building violins and he will go study in
Italy, etc. etc. etc. Fantasy sequences with a cat in a suit and tails
are interesting. Nearly nothing happens in the film, it could have
easily been a regular film with real actors.
Out Love In The Center Of The World: Norwegian Wood was the
former bestselling novel in Japan, now overtaken by this one. This is
the film version of it, although according to Naoko it is quite
different from the book. Story of a guy in modern-day Japan thinking
back on his first love in high school in 1986, the Sony Walman he had
at the time, trading tapes with the girl he likes/loves, scenes of
Shikoku. One unintentionally funny scene of a near-car wreck, many
parallelisms, and lots of sobbing and crying. A sad tale, to be sure,
and fairly well done.
Not Stupid: A very funny film about three kids who are down on
their luck as they have been relegated to EM3, for dimwits and
underachievers, and they and their parents suffer the social stigma
attached. In this way it is a close companion piece to "Money No
Enough," which charts the fall and rise of three Singaoreans
from-very-different-social-spheres, although the kids really have less
to do with their parents' falls in fortune (but do help in their
recoveries). In many ways this is the better film, because the kids are
more appealing, the parents are also better characters than the "Money
No Enough" caricatures," and Jack Neo shows himself to be a very clever
screenplay writer. Many subtle barbs to social mores in Singapore, such
as when he shows that a guy who went to shunned ITE (nicknamed "It's
The End") to learn how to be a hairdresser can actually be very
successful in life. Also reverse prejudice of foreign talent, language
study, and the general disregard of kids who are stronger in artistic
subjects than the so-called "academic" fields. Interestingly, the two
poor kids learn how to shine, while the rich kid's son, who is
genuinely stupid, is not redeemed - he'll be fine anyway, since his dad
is rich, is the message here. He also gets the funniest lines,
including a surreal speech about his mom's shit, and also a freaky
"know you inside and out" speech he makes to his teacher, mixing up his
words, that could be taken as some sort of reverse pedophilia thing.
Run: When I heard that Jack Neo had remade the gorgeous
"Children of Heaven" film and set it in Singapore, my first thought was
"how will a tale of a dirt-poor family be done in prosperous
Singapore." Of course a statement like that is naive, because there are
plenty of struggling families here too, unfortunately. But the film is
set in 1965, when Singapore had just split from Malaysia, and the
kamphong where the film is set certainly could be in Malaysia. Nice
shots, cool old village, lots of good Mandarin (barely any English in
this one), great scenery. Old lifestyles. More "friendship" stuff in
this film, compared to "Me No Stupid" or "Money No Enough," rather than
the origional, and it is funny seeing so very many of the characters
from those two films, set in the '90s, turn up in this period piece
playing totally different characters. Good stylistic things - brother
and sister writing and whispering to each other while parents argue,
trying to keep a low profile and avoid attention or ire. Dancing
teacher and kicking shoes, good kids punished by bad luck, dried pork
again, punishment # 73, scoring an own goal is disqualified "because
it's my ball and I make the rules" nonsense, poor kids get smart while
priviledged kids get lazy is a subtle message among many not-so-subtle
messages. Zhou Huajian (Emil Chou) has a cameo as a riot cop getting
beat up, but it's one of those blink-and-you-missed-it sorta thing.
Pretty OK film overall, but ultimately doesn't really come close to the
Affairs I: bearing all of the typical overblown melodramatic
flourishes of yer typical Hong Kong gangster drama, shot in dark dingy
browns and greys, along with crisp blues, the stylish drama about cops
and robbers is intesting - the cops have had a gangster set himself up
among them for 10 years, and vice versa. Neither one of the moles knows
about the other, although they actually meet early on. Really a
grounded-in-reality version of Face/Off, which was basically a bit of a
Hustle: starring the so-so enjoyable Steven Chow, this film is
much funnier than Shaolin Soccer, of which it is a sequel of sorts. The
weird "wild west China" mood of the film reminds of Peace Hotel, Chow
Yun-Fat's "last" Hong Kong movie of about 1993 or thereabouts. I liked
the wacky Axe Gang dancing of the beginning of the film (surreal) and
the mood of Uzumaki that kind of pervades the film itself. I like less
the blind musical assassins with their freaky magic gang-ching.
Stylish, sadistic comic book violence, roadrunner SFX, three knives,
cobras on lips, fairy kung-fu tailer, Mr. Slippery, Mrs. Lion's Roar,
CG butterfly looked terribly fake. "He is the one" line, and many other
things (courtyard battles, flying above the clouds) reminds of the
Matrix films, but is ultimately better. "With great power comes great
responsibility" is also a funny good. Funny Funny.
To Singapore: The first of the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby films,
with Dorothy Lamour, of two "confirmed bachelors" who make googly eyes
at every woman they see. Weird responsibility fleeing, and the film
isn't really set in Singapore - it's more like somewhere in the
Philippines. Funny mating dance with sexy Malay woman, but otherwise
not really interesting.
Trek, the original series: Episodes 2 and 3, "Where No Man Has Gone
Before" and "the Corbomite Maneuver." Old episodes like this
make me remember what a good series Star Trek was. For a while I
thought that Space 1999 was a better show, but now I know better.
"Where No Man Has Gone Before" has a hunky Sally Kellerman (what else
was she in?) and some slack-jawed yokel attaining the powers of gods
and then having a showdown on an alien planet. Spock's eyebrows are
really fake-looking, and the uniforms are funny looking. No Uhuru or
McCoy yet in this episode. Good action, interestitng buildup, suspense,
everything. Also neat ethical dilemmas - if you had the power of a god,
would you remember you were once human? "The Corbomite Maneuver" is
interesting in the way it shows Kirk's leadership abilities in
outwitting a condescending enemy. Nice ending. In case you're
wondering, episode 1 can be viewed, in two versions, on the final DVD
in the series, which I will probably get to sooner or later...
Saved Hitler's Brain: Terrible old movie with near-porn film
level acting. Terrible sound quality and lack of subtitles (sometimes
you need subtitles to understand English-language films!!!) meant that
I skipped through the film. The Nazis don't even bother to have German
accents, and Hitler's disembodied head is featured in a few scenes,
mostly grimacing although he did have a line or two.
Sabbath - the Black Sabbath Story, Volume One: Good early 1970
live performances of N.I.B. and Paranoid with a cute young Ozzy
sounding great. War Pigs, from 1970 is good too, mostly to see Bill
Ward attack the drums. Children Of The Grave was filmed in the
afternoon at a California festival under a big rainbow prop, kind of
anti-climatic. Some 1978 footage from the Hammersmith Odeon is terrible
- Ozzy's voice is breaking up. Cool fringe shirts and tassled jackets.
Tony Iommi is like a British version of my old friend Paul. Sabbath
Bloody Sabbath "conceptual video" is laughable - Ozzy's voice barely
ever matches up with the audio, and he's grinning like a madman -
stoned? Never Say Die filmed on Top of the Pops with British teenagers
boogying around is also quite silly. But a good overall look at the
original line-up (there is no mention of Ronny James Dio at all) with
some cool clips of their early demo songs (that also had "conceptual
videos" attached to them!!).
Curse of the Jade Scorpion: One of those weird cases of seeing a
movie for a second time because you forgot you had already seen it.
Happened before with "The Man Who Knew Too Much," there was also a book
of Martin Amis short stories I read twice for the same reason... Woody
Allen is not so great as a tough insurance comany detective, and Helen
Hunt is not so convincing as his hate-at-first-sight love interest, but
the gags are good enough, for the most part, and it's funny to see
Elizabeth "Showgirls" Berkeley in a small role again. Good lines.
"Don't feel threatened immediagely." To a blind man "keep eating
carrots, I think they're working." "I love where you live. It's just
what I thought it would be - a grungy hellhole." "Many a man's gone to
the gaqllows on circumstantial evidence." "You're going to take your
word over mine?"
Caesar: Edward G. Robinson as the apochrycal gangster, a movie
filled to the brim with Scarface/Al Capone cliches. Nothing is known
about Rico, little Caesar, his background, past, or family. But there
he is, the vicious gangster flying to the top of the flesh heap of
gangsterdom. Weird, wily, I want to watch it again some time now that I
know what it is. I should see "Public Enemy" too... "Maybe we can get
away with it this time... if we tried..."
and Alice: A tender film about two girls falling in love with
the same guy... who has amnesia. Or does he? Will he remember which of
the two he really loves? And does this matter to the here and now?
Great story, great characters, pleasant moods and tones. Naturally,
this could erupt into a psychotic love affair, lots of sex and plots
and murder, but in the hands of Iwai Shunji, it's just a simple little
thing. Riding trains in the countryside, funny rakugo, sakura, hit head
- bright colourts, CAT scan, reading and walking, mirror manipulation
very clever. "I dream about you all the time. I dream the police come
and take you away." Hana also slug dream! Waling in the rain, or
dancing in the rain. Strange girl Fu. Open air ballet and fun pics,
meeting her father. "Make yourself at home," says mom in underwear
walking in on the sick guy. Kano Mika. He's figuring out what we've
figured out, what with the cards and the lies and the jellyfish
allergies. Bound to slip up sooner or later. Nice flourished - giant
Atomu balloon peering in on them through the window...
Caveman is a film about cavemen, set on October 9th, one zillion B.C.
It stars Ringo Starr, and a very young Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long
(even in caveman grunt language she sounds annoying and uptight). It
also has in it someone called "Barbaba Bach," whose claim to fame is
that Ringo Starr married her. She's also very easy on the eyes. See
Starr, as wimpy caveman Atouk, discover how to walk upright, invent the
wheel, discover fire, learn how to cook food and play music, and a
bunch of other things. I guess he's a kind of forgotten prehistoric
genius of sorts. Funny how only one person in the whole movie speaks
English. Of course, there are plenty of pot jokes and sex gags - it was
the '80s after all.
From Gimli Hospital: freaky weird Canadian movie that is clearly
influenced by David Lynch, Jean Cocteau, and Nordic myths, as well as
early Fritz Lang films and such. Weird ideosyncratic spots - like old
1920s make-up and stylization, with a 7-11 Big Gulp thrown in. Always
SOMETHING very strange in each scene. King Kong music, angel above,
shaving monobrow, otherworldls, fish shampoo, sexy nurses, scarred
doctor, uppet play, black face outrageous, more outrageous gore on the
operating table, three drifting coffins, a framing story, something
similar to the tragic horror of Tetsuo - the Iron Man. She died on
their wedding night. "Einar, you did not let me finish my story!"
Followed by "the Dead Father, a short film by Guy Maddin that has weird
textures, strange families, torment in a small room. "Brief recoveries
from death became common." Spooning up stomach stuff. This type of
surrealism reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what exactly, it
will come to mind later on I bet...
Rock: naturally Zen loves Conjunction Junction (it has trains)
and the tune of Lolly Lolly. I remembered a lot verbatim from my
childhood, especially "the Premble to the Constitution." Good songs,
although some of them - like the one about prepositions - were a bit
too way out there. Weird how they need to use complicated language to
explain grammar to kids - if they can't understand predicates, and they
can't understand the language needed to explain what a predicate is,
then what do they gain from it?
Short Films About Glenn Gould: literally that. Idyllic
beginning, stock still sitting, the artist must operate in secret -
intellectual dialogue by Don McKellar, the master of intellectual
dialogue (see "Roadkill"). Talk of "vertical pan-culturalism (huh?).
"Coffee with cream" cnverstaion. Seque3nce of "interviews" with people
about Glenn. He is never shown actually playing the piano. Super ugly
Ray Scheider glasses. Cool overhead camera angle. Swimming with the
music. Unmusical music. Each "Story" done in a very creative way
(except for the stock interviews). Arctic interview. "Classical musical
music," interviewers suitee, trippy animation by Norman McLaren. Sotex
stock rumour story, x-ray sequence, pills, telephones.
Is Spinal Tap (with bonus material):
The disc has a bunch of bonus material, namely a new piece by Rob
Reiner (looking old) playing Marty DeBergi and saying a few irrelevant
things, mostly acting like the Tap no longer talk to him, that they've
had a parting of ways. Oh, sure, whatever. And then it struck me -
Michael Moore is the new Marty DeBergi. Like you don't know if his
documentaries are real... or they just seem real. Kind of... surreal
somehow. Anyway, the bonus material is quite funny. Billy Crystal doing
mime-waiter stuff, and explaining his schtick - he wanted to be an
actor, but couldn't remember his lines... so he became a mime. Ha ha ha
ha. "The Sun Never Sweats" concept album. It's their final tour, but
it's more like a reunion tour. "It's a constant party, just sometimes
we're not invited." Stupid radio spots. Charles and Diana stash boc,
with limo driver Bruce Kirby, doing Sinatra in his briefs. All have
cold sores. Can't open the child-proof cap. Butt plaster caster. "Roma
means love - it's the root or 'romance,' not the city of Rome." "Why
don't they make grave stones cheerier?" Baseball stats drummer.
For some reason, I reviewed this one twice...
This Is Spinal Tap: The best
thing about it is the hilarous dialogue: "The New Originals." "Gimme
Some Money" skiffle. "Best leave it unsolved, really," about the death
of their first drummer. "Choked on somebody else's vomit." Mime waiters
(Billy Crystal "mime is money"), Sir Eton-Hogg. "Big Bottom," "the
bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'." Double bass guitarr.
"Intravenus de Milo," "what's the difference between golf and miniature
golf?" Howard Hessman. "There's such a fine line between stupid and
clever." "We toured the world we toured the States." "I'm sure I'd feel
much worse if I w asn't under such heavy sedation." "I envy us." "I
believe virtually everything I read." "As long as there's sex and
drugs, I can do without the rock 'n' roll." Kramer vs. Kramer vs.
Godzilla. Lucky us - the DVD has 1 hour of new or unreleased material!!
The bigger the cushion, the
sweeter the pushin'
That's what I said
The looser the waistband, the
deeper the quicksand
Or so I have read
My baby fits me like a flesh
I'd like to sink her with my
Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about bum cakes, my girl's
Big bottom drive me out of my
How could I leave this behind?
I met her on Monday, twas my
lucky bun day
You know what I mean
I love her each weekday, each
velvety cheek day
You know what I mean
My love gun's loaded and she's
in my sights
Big game is waiting there
inside her tights, yeah
Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about mud flaps, my girl's
Big bottom drive me out of my
How could I leave this behind?
Testament of Dr. Mabuse: A bizarre tale of a criminal genius
dictating new killings from his prison cell, and the gang out there
tasked to fulfilling his task. Fritz Lang's classic is genuinely
frightening, outlandish, stylish, and crisp. They sure don't make
movies like this any more, even with huge budgets and a well-oiled
mechanism. A brilliant roadside assassination. Parallel scenes of two
parties escaping capture. The ending is similar to that of Roman
Polanski's the Tenant, just as the water escape is similar to the
Run: Freaky '70s film about cults, hedonism, totalitarianism and
mass denial. In a future city where nobody grows old, creepy assassins
called "Sandmen" go around terminating people who are escaping the
social order. Wild '70s vision of future fashions, cool electronic
beats (reminiscent of the much-later Liquid Sky) and the world's
crappiest sci-fi city set (the old 1030s Buck Rogers sets were probably
just as crappy, but at least the black and white made them look a bit
better). Fans of the original Battlestar Galactica series should
definitely check this one out. Lots of sweaty faces, including Michael
York who now plays Nigel Exposition in the Austin Powers films. Sexe
Shoppe scene pretty barfy. Sexy computer voice. Farrah Fawcett-Majors
plays a near-retarded bimbo who works for cosmetic laser sculptors in
New You. More flooding. Cool underground set. Origami robot and
popsicle humans. Discovering graves. "Beloved husband, beloved wife -
what does that mean?" "Don't go in there. You can live! There's life
past 30.!!!" Dumb ending with styrofoam "rocks."
For some reason, I also reviewed this
Run: very weird movie - sweaty faces, blippy soundtrack, good
acting, but way-out theme. A world where nobody knows their parents, no
one marries, everyone chases a hedonistic lifesyle until they are 30
when they are called to join this freaky "ceremony" that will determine
if they are to be called to continue on or to be "reborn" in heaven or
something. Shades of Soylent Green. Sexe Shoppe scene quite bizarre,
cool underground set, sexy computer voice, Farrah in New You (dumb -
not nearly as sexy as her co-star Jenny Agutter) getting burned,
Michael York as Logan the Sandman (now better known as Basil Exposition
in the Austin Powers movies, but looking handsome in his groovy '70s
hair). Flooding, origami killer robots and popsicle humans, Sanctuary
and the ankh, discovering graves, "beloved husband, wife - what does it
mean?" "Don't go in there. You can live. There's life past 30." Dumb
ending with styrofoam rocks.
Ballou: Wacky sexy Jane Fonda movie feels more like an Elvis
movie starring a girl than anything else. Indian and Hebrew jokes, lots
of crackling funny dialogue. "I ain't responsible for what my people
did to General Custer - I was just a baby at that time." "I ain't never
seen a man get through a day so fast." "I ain't running a dude ranch
for misfits and unemployables." "SOME gang of cutthroats and
murderers." Lovers diaogue crackles. "You've no right to think about me
what you're thinking about me." The dressing of the gunfighter should
be a classic of film history. Nat King Cole is great as the singer who
is part of the Greek chorus that narrates what's going on, and Lee
Marvin is fantastic as a drunken gunfighter on a mission to eradicate
an enemy. Still, Jonny Guitar is a better film. Sighhh...
Rodgers: Found the original 1926 Buck Rodgers film series in the
library. Horribly bad sets and special effects are actually not bad
considering that Logan's Run in 1976 was still using basically the same
technology. In suspended animatin for 500 years. Robot helmets,
referernce books still exist in th e25th century. "Why don't you take a
nap, Wilma, I'll take over." "After them in the other ship." Parallels
in plot with Marix Reloaded - journeying to the other world to ask for
help, etc. "I never figured you to be the kind of guy tolet a pal
down." Buddy's "gee, gosh" tone will irk after a while. Attack of the
Clones city jumping is interesting. "Now what, Buck?"
(1941 animated TV series):
Surprisingly high-quality 8-minute animated episodes are exciting and
fun. Lois Lane is about the sexiest animated character since Jessica
Rabbit. Being a 1941 series, the world is at war and the enemies are
the Japas and the Nazis. In one episode Superman fights Japanese
saboteurs (the episode is called "Japoteurs" - in a different episode
Superman is in Yokahama and this time HE's the saboteur), and in
another he goes to a desert island where he saves a primitive tribe
from Nazis masquerading as temple priests. Funny - Superman's fighting
is kind of wimpy, and he can't fly - he just hops long distances like
the Incredible Hulk. In only one episode does he use x-ray vision, and
it's made out to be a big deal. In nearly every episode he needs to
rescue the intrepid Lois Lane as she takes on bad guys. Cool to see
Lois firing at gangsters with a machine gun. Very Indiana Jones-ish.
Robot like the Lupin robbery robot. Interesting stuff.
le Flambeur: littering in Paris, french fries, hot hot chick,
everybody smoking, the Moulin Rouge, Um Thurman, George Clooney,
Michael Imperialani to be cast for remake? Processes shown, like lock
picking. Black jazz musicians, xylophone, Chinese restaurant, Russel
Crowe as Bob, Tom Hanks as inspecor, Catherine Zeta Jones as the wife.
Mercy to all fools. Cool heist flick with the inscrutable Bob cutting
through absolutely every scene. Dishy chick is very sexy indeed. She
knows men like her. Fun, funny, great.
400 Blows: Mother's kiss, smoking cigars in bed, laughing
watching the puppet show. Kids will be kids, Alain has nothing but his
destiny, he had no choices in life, just cruel fate. Stolen typewriter.
Same streets seen at night from the back of a paddy wagon, spooky.
Freaky French processes. Little girls in cage, fantastic final shot!!!
Outer Limits (Season 2): never seen the Outer Limits before, I
only watched four episodes - one had William Shatner in it, another had
a young Robert Duvall. yet another had a young James Doohan (Scotty
from Star Trek) speaking without a Scottish accent, but I didn't watch
much of that one.
Guitar: not so much guitar in the movie, beyond the first 20
minutes or so, but still an engaging western film that is a bit
offbeat. All of the usual elements - good guys, bad guys, lynch mobs,
stagecoach holdups, bank robberies, secret hideaways, saloons,
gunslingers, tough broads - but a bit off center, with the feiry Joan
Crawford as the hero of the film, with the not-so-wimpy-either Sterling
Hayden supporting her. Fights 'n' arguments. "That's justt about the
most toughing speech a woman's ever listened to. I'm OVERWHELMED."
"When a fire burns itself out, all you have left is ASHES." "What's
keeping you awake?" "Dreams. Bad dreams."
Sopranos, Season 4: Not the best season of the Sopranos, still
some earth-shaking events. Interesting justaposition of Uncle Junior's
eye with a horse's eye (!?!), Junior falling seven steps, Paulie's
mother a "tattletale," and the priest quoting Sympathy For The Devil
"when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain." Dead horse.
Chrissy always being interrupted when he shoots up - funny or
disgusting? Adrienne throws up on the FBI agents. "On The Waterfront."
Christopher battered with a xylophone. AJ at Furio;s "why do I always
have to come here?" "I know what it's like to lose a pet." Paulie
recovers Tony's horse pic. AJ's teacher assigning Billy Budd, then
Death In Venice.
Last Emperor: The classic tale as we know it, but with a few
extra scenes that we don't remember, particularly the tale of the wet
nurse as she enters the employ of the imperial palace, and also Peter
O'Toole's character as he approraches the palace for the first time.
"I''m a spy, and I don't care who knows it." Amazing how the two
stories, past and present, parallel each other, then converge.
Zen loves this film.
America: Puppet tale that works surprisingly well on a technical
level - the puppets actually look OK, and are somewhat expressive even
- check out the death scene! Tries a bit too hard to satirize the
typical love relationship cliche stuff from your typical blockbuster
plot, which is so-so, the "dick, pussy, asshole" analogy thing is
really quite funny! Kim Jong-Il and Alec Baldwin - what a match!
of Darkness: from Sam Raimi, a sequel of sorts based on the Evil
Dead storyline, this time Ash is transported back in time where he must
steal the Necronomicon ex Mortis in order to get himself back to his
own time. Yeah, whatever. Seems like the story was built up around a
pun - the Medieval Dead, instead of the Evil Dead. I don't really dig
medieval stuff too much, considering swords and sorcery a bit boring,
but Raimi manages to inject some fun into all of the drizzle and mud
that you associate pictures like this with, and there is great
slapstick, surreal moments (such as the birth of "bad Ash"), and all
sorts of other goodies. The film falls apart at the end, as man
promising films do, by showing a lot of useless "hero saves the day"
kind of stuff, while going light on the humour, but at least the ending
is saved by some very dark irony. Ash - what a dumbass. I hear that
Bruce Campbell is going to resurrect Ash to create a kind of film
franchise, a la Freddy and Jason and all that, so let's see what
develops. Bruce Campbell, the indie actor who almost was.
Bourne Supremacy: On the ANA flight over, a bunch of crappy
movies were playing, things I would never waste time on normally. Since
I had low expectations going in to all of them, amazingly, I enjoyed
them all. Much more than crap like Electra or Catwoman or the stuff
that is showing in the cinemas now I think. The Bourne Supremacy is a
well-made spy action thiller, with a good perfomance by Matt Damon as a
government-trained killer with amnesia. Cool scenes in India, Berlin,
and Moscow make it a good looking movie, and the pace is fast, although
the super-cop lady does a Tommy Lee Jones as he was in the Fugitive,
which this film is in a sense a remake of, a bit too well, making it a
little annoying, actually.
I thought this would be terrible, but the cat is actually OK, and
voiced by Bill Murray nearly irresistable. Unfortunately that's about
the only thing that the film got right. Jennifer Love Hewitt looks nice
in a dress, but as Liz she's terrible. The guy who plays Jon is OK, but
the plot is useless. Nermel and Odie are played by real animals, not CG
like Garfield, and they are terrible as well. Odie at least should have
had more character. Oh well. Good for a laugh or two.
A Paddle: Essentially a remake of Stand By Me, with a dash of
Deliverance, these three guys go into the wilderness to find DB
Cooper's stolen millions. Of course they find it, but not after being
chased by bears and people, going over waterfalls, the usual stuff. The
best thing about the film is the dialogue, which is pretty sharp, but
not a film to watch under normal circumstances. Still, somehow I
Banks 2: a spoof of Austin Powers, Bond, or whatever, the teen
with the CIA handler tries to save the world from being brainwashed.
The dialogue is pretty good, but the kid who plays Cody is pretty
annoying. Best thing about the film is the witty dialogue and the
repartee with the big black CIA handler guy, who is very charming.
Boy: A drunk is kidnapped and held captive for fifteen years in
a room with nothing but a TV set. He spends a lot of time trying to
figure out which of his enemies may have done this to him. "I wrote
down the names of all of the people whom Ii fought with, bothered, or
hurt. This was both a prison journal and autobiography of my evil
deeds. I thought that I'd lived an average life, but I've sinned so
much." Weird disco music seems somehow inappropriate. Steals
sunglasses. Slurps down a whole live octopus, which is trying to crawl
out of his mouth. "Be it agrain of sand, or a rock, in water they sink
all the same." This line becomes important to the end, but it shows
that the smallest sin is actually as great as the largest. Or what?
Weird wallpaper rooms, rough sex, mirror and tits. Ass tattoo of a
cross!! Thrown against glass, weird forest ending. Plenty of great
stylish things that were obviously done on a small budget. A great sort
of film, with a fairly satisfying ending that can possible be viewed on
multiple levels. Not like anything I've ever seen before. Elaborate
revenge thing may be slightly similar to The Game, but I don't think
Happy Together: Black and
white? Or just bad color? Great music, including Argentine tango (which
Wong Kar-Wai obviously has an attraction to) and old rock and roll
(ditto), in this case the title song (does Wong always name his movies
after song titles?), and Frank Zappa "Chungka's Revenge," and "I Have
Been InYou." Cigarette smoke becomes slow-mo, very stylish. Flea
sprayaing - process investigation. Bought lots of cigarettes, both
sick, selfish and horny. Ears more important than eyes. Platonic gay
love. Soccer matches. Traffic boulevard at night. Rooms in Wong's films
- Nam rents Fei's room. Crying. Iguazu falls. Taipei. Sobbing on tape.
Great film. Parts Chungking Jungle and parts The Mood For Love.