Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/30/2010





60) REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
(1955 dir. Nicholas Ray) 3rd Viewing: June 30 2010




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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/29/2010





59) HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
(2010 dir. Steve Pink) 2nd Viewing: June 29 2010









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58) FUNNY PEOPLE
(2009 dir. Judd Apatow) 3rd Viewing: June 29 2010









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57) MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
(1988 dir. Hayao Miyazaki) 4th Viewing: June 29 2010
Totoro's cameo in TOY STORY 3 got me wanting to see this again. It's too freakin' good. Like everything Miyazaki graces. It's my 3rd favourite film of his after SPIRITED AWAY and PRINCESS MONONOKE.





 
56) THE CRAZIES
(2010 dir. Breck Eisner) 2nd Viewing: June 29 2010







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55) CREATION
(2010 dir. Jon Amiel) Date Seen: June 29 2010




Like THE READER in '08 and THE LAST STATION in '09, CREATION is the cornerstone of period film mediocrity for 2010. The film doesn't offend me in a religious way, I'm a firm believer in evolution and I admire Charles Darwin a great deal, it's just so damn corny and dull. I really don't understand how filmmakers can ruin subject matter this interesting.





 

54) WINTER'S BONE
(2010 dir. Debra Granik) Date Seen: June 29 2010




The best film to come out of Sundance Film Festival in years. And a total palate cleanser for me. I've been seeing a lot of rubbish in theaters lately and this was exactly the type of film I needed! Even though it's quite bleak, I honestly can't wait to see it again. Will most likely end up being one of the better indie films of the year.





Monday, June 28, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/28/2010

Despite losing hours of sleep because of jury duty from 8am to 6pm today, I still managed to re-watch two great films. I was supposed to go see Debra Granik's WINTER'S BONE but I was just too tired to drive out to Dallas. I'll see it tomorrow.





53) FIXED BAYONETS!
(1951 dir. Samuel Fuller) 2nd Viewing: June 28 2010




No one made war movies like Sam Fuller. Come to think of it, no one made movies like him in general. THE STEEL HELMET remains my personal favourite of his from '51, but this one is great companion viewing. Not to be missed by combat film enthusiasts.











52) SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS

(1961 dir. Elia Kazan) 2nd Viewing: June 28 2010




Natalie Wood's best performance. Kazan was a master of casting great actors and getting outstanding work out of 'em.







Sunday, June 27, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/27/2010




51) SURROGATES
(2009 dir. Jonathan Mostow) 2nd Viewing: June 27 2010





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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/26/2010




50) CASINO ROYALE
(2006 dir. Martin Campbell) 2nd Viewing: June 26 2010




 
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49) SEX POSITIVE
(2008 dir. Daryl Wein) Date Seen: June 26 2010




 
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48) RAGING SUN, RAGING SKY
(2008 dir. Julian Hernandez) Date Seen: June 26 2010





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47) BLACK HAWK DOWN
(2001 dir. Ridley Scott) 3rd Viewing: June 26 2010




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Friday, June 25, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/25/2010



46) INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
(2009 dir. Quentin Tarantino) 5th Viewing: June 25 2010

Watched this again with my little brother today. It has to be the strongest revenge fantasy ever committed to film. I would argue Quentin's best script also.












45) PRINCESS KA’IULANI
(2010 dir. Marc Forby) Date Seen: June 25 2010




The ads for this film give it a Malickian vibe ala THE NEW WORLD. Don't buy into it. It's one of the lousiest period pieces I've seen in a long time. On the same mediocre level as THE NATIVITY STORY (2006) even. Do yourself a favor, skip this and rent the extended cut bluray of Malick's 2005 masterpiece.









44) CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE
(2009 dir. Neveldine/Taylor) 2nd Viewing: June 25 2010




 
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/24/2010




43) CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY
(2010 dir. Alex Gibney) Date Seen: June 24 2010




This was pretty good. Nothing groundbreaking. It's like the third documentary I've seen this year that is curiously derivative of the work of Errol Morris. It's a formula but it bloody works!








42) LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
(2008 dir. Thomas Alfredson) 4th Viewing: June 24 2010

Retains its power after many viewings. There's something quietly devastating about this film's central friendship and finale. It really gets to me. It's an unexpectedly painful vision of childhood. Probably won't be another vampire movie this poignant anytime soon.





Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/23/2010




41) JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK
(2010 dir. Ricki Stern,Anne Sundberg) Date Seen: June 23 2010




Joanie makes for one of the more interesting subjects I've seen in a documentary all year. The lady's had a fascinating celebrity life.









40) BLUEBEARD
(2009 dir. Catherine Breillat) Date Seen: June 23 2010




I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen a lot of Breillat. I've only seen À MA SOEUR (2001) and ANATOMY OF HELL (2004). But based on the few I have seen, I can safely say she's an interesting filmmaker and her films always have a ton of personality and visual strength. Never dull. This one was a little disturbing, in the best possible  way. Also kind of funny. An all together stunning film not to be missed by lovers of world cinema. Usually a 2nd viewing solidifies my feelings about a film, so hopefully I'll do a more in depth post after I've seen it again. Also, Ella Creton is a great young actress. She's got strong screen charisma. I don't know how Breillat finds these actors. I hope to see Ellan in more in the future. Here's a great interview Glenn Kenny did with Catherine at last year's NYFF.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Viewing Journal: 6/22/2010





38) 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION
(2010 dir. Jimmy Hayward) Date Seen: June 22 2010




Supporters of LGBT rights (myself included) shouldn't be the only people hearing the message this film delivers, but that seems to be the only crowd it's getting through to. Perhaps this is do to the familiar documentary form it's presented in? It preaches to the converted while not saying much to change the minds of those opposed to gay marriage. I think it's just loving and informative enough to capture the interest of socially conscious liberals, but not bold or inflammatory enough to spark aggressive grassroots activism. If you care about the outcome of Proposition 8 (aka the Bogus California Marriage Protection Act) you should see this. Educational stuff.






38) JONAH HEX
(2010 dir. Jimmy Hayward) Date Seen: June 22 2010




This wasn't very good. It reminded me of other sloppy superhero movies like SPAWN and GHOST RIDER. I hear it had a very troubled production. And that would make sense, because it doesn't feel like a completed project. So much is off. I really wish Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor had stayed on as the directors because I think they have a keen eye for over-the-top action that Jimmy Hayward doesn't possess. Their brand of adrenalized slapstick would have benefited this film immensely. Having said that, I did enjoy JONAH HEX a little more than the other shitty action films that are currently out i.e. THE A-TEAM and PRINCE OF PERSIA. It's at least entertainingly bad at parts. I also really liked Michael Fassbender, basically playing Alex from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) here. He's one of my favourite new actors. Minor footnote: My buddy John Chambers has a pretty funny part in this movie as the town imbecile at the beginning. It made me laugh pretty hard.






37) HANGIN' WITH THE HOMEBOYS
(1991 dir. Joseph B. Vasquez) Date Seen: June 22 2010




I've had more trouble finding Joseph B. Vasquez's work than I have Abel Ferrara and Charles Burnett's combined. I FINALLY saw this on VHS tonight, and I wasn't disappointed. It captures the spirit of a time and place better than a lot of American indies of the early 90s. It has an energy and humor to it that's usually absent in mainstream films about aimless youth. I'd compare it to Fellini's I VITELLONI (1953) and Scorsese's MEAN STREETS (1973). It also has what I think is John Lugiazamo's best performance...Wait. I'm forgetting that clown from SPAWN.









36) PANDORUM
(2009 dir. Christian Alvart) 2nd Viewing: June 22 2010