Cinema Diary - Vol 4 E2 - Feb 2013
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2013 Six Nations Championship
This month rugby will be taking me away from what is typically my days set aside to watch films. I'm not a huge rugby fan but I do enjoy watching the game even if I know who has won. It is one of the few sports that I actually understand what is going on.
This will continue my focus on Charlie Chaplin. This should expand to the films of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd over the next few months. A few of these films are currently in high demand and might take time for a few to make it through the mail.
Modern Times (1936)
Quiet simply this is the most fun and enjoyable lighthearted comedy I have seen. From beginning to end the film was entertaining and fun. It left me with a feeling rather rare... that of 'joy'.
This is a film worth owning.
Best Live Action Short Nominations
The 85th Academy Award Nominations by AFIoscar
With the rare exception of finding short films online it is pretty rare that I actually get to see any of the award winners. So, this year I did manage to make it to the theater to catch the 'live action shorts'. The five films were 'hosted by' Luke Matheny (previous Oscar winner). I actually found that rather annoying since the films were spaced with Luke Matheny talking about himself.
"Death of a Shadow" was my favorite of the five films. Still, "Buzkashi Boys" from Afghanistan and "Asad" (filmed with all exiles from Somalia) both managed to capture the human spirit and historical point in time.
"Curfew" was a fun rather dark comedy.
"Henry" was an interesting 'touching' film that mixed sappy with surreal but was rather predictable in its scant run time.
Death of a Shadow (2012)
Soldier Nathan died during World War I. A strange collector imprisoned his shadow and gave him a new chance: a second life against 10,000 captured shadows. It is love that guides him, as his purpose is to meet Sarah again, the woman he fell in love with before he died. But then he discovers that she's already in love with someone else, jealousy clouds his mind and pushes him towards a bitter decision, not without consequences.
Henry, a great concert pianist, has his life thrown in turmoil the day the love of this life, Maria, disappears mysteriously. He'll then discover the inevitable verdict of life.
At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year old niece, Sophia, for the evening.
Set against the dramatic landscape of contemporary Afghanistan and the National sport of Buzkashi - a brutal game of horse polo played with a dead goat - Buzkashi Boys tells the coming of age story of two best friends, a charismatic street urchin and a defiant blacksmith's son, who struggle to realize their dreams as they make their way to manhood in one of the most war-torn countries on Earth. Shot on location in Kabul city by an alliance of Afghan and international film makers, Buzkashi Boys is a look at the life that continues beyond the headlines of war in Afghanistan.
Set in a war-torn fishing village in Somalia, an all-Somali, refugee cast brings to life this coming of age fable of a Somali boy who is faced with falling into the pirate life, or rising above to choose the path of an honest fishing man.
Not quite the Oscar contender Juggernaut of a film that I was expecting. This can be a good thing in many cases and this is one as it was an unexpected break from overly polished films.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Again lets start with camera work. I hate needless use of the handheld camera which happens at the start. Then the dizzying circling the main speaker multiple times, I suppose in a courtroom drama this is to provide tension. However, I stop listening to what is being said and focus on how annoying the camera is and start disliking whoever the camera is focusing on. I guess because these two camera elements are intend for non-dialoge situations and in most of the films I watch used to show internal struggles or internal dialog.
OK, so those were rather brief and easily forgiven. This is a rather enjoyable 'lawyer crime thriller'. Yet, you know there is a twist in there somewhere and this reveals its self right when you expect it to arrive. I haven't read any Michael Connelly novels but I can say as a film watcher he is no John Grisham.
While I enjoyed the film, afterwards I felt rather empty and unimpressed.
Sleepwalk with Me (2013)
Netflix Instant Project for 2013
No, I don't have Netflix, yes I lurk on the Netflix Instant Watch thread. Hay! It is like being able to lurk on several film journals at one time!
Yes, this was a nice find. After watching the rather boring "The Trouble with Bliss" I was starting to wonder about films with a 'drifting aimlessly in life' feel to them. So, it turns out that fact isn't just stranger then fiction it is also more interesting.
Throw Momma from the Train (1987)
From beginning to end I really didn't find anything funny in this film. The acting was decent and the story was interesting but I was rather bored. I think it was worth my time to watch the film but not one that I will be quick to watch again.
The Death of James Bond ~ If you have grown up watching James Bond films you will likely find little to love in this film. The 'fantasy' elements that kept all the Bond films in realm of high fiction are stripped steadily away as Bond enters a new era. Just as Batman has undergone a Gothic-miniamlisium transformation so too has Bond undergone a minimalistic transcendence. In the age of so many spoofs and spin-offs of Bond type characters, the aging Bond films seem to be more laughable then thrilling. So, while I miss the 'high fantasy' of the older Bond films, I do like the transition this bond film has made from the parody of the past to a Bond more grounded in the present.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Sure, this is predictable from the start but I actually fond the film rather enjoyable (I watched it twice before returning it). I could have used a little more in depth story with the other monsters but I still enjoyed the film more then 'Igor'.
The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Treasure Planet (2002)
I didn't really like the main character very much but I did like the twists in his story. Also, this is one of the few Disney animated films without a romantic interest for the main character.
Hiroshima Mon amour (1959)
This is a beautiful and poetic film. I really enjoyed the idea of a story about 'the bomb' but not as a central figure. It is a presence that wraps around the story of the two lovers.
The film actually makes me love Hal Hartley's "The Unbelievable Truth" even more. As he captures much of the same feeling yet geared more towards the gen-X-ers and children of the cold war.
There is a lot to love about this film and it certainly has a very important roll in cinema. However, there were times when I was just so dreadfully bored. Not during the lovely poetic episodes but the nothingness that spaced those moments.
I really enjoyed this film. The twin brother and sister slowly unravel the facts of their dead mothers past. Each truth discovered becomes more and more disturbing. A strange and twisted film and one very much worth watching.
The African Queen (1951)
A very sweet action romance film. I don't think I have actually sat down and watched the whole film. So, I had an impression of the film without really watching the movie. It was nice to find that my impression was wrong.
Black Narcissus (1947)
Jealousy, sexual repression, madness...
Now, you may get the impression that this is a rather depraved little film. I have to say that you will most likely be disappointed if your looking for a disturbing film. This is great film with a lot of subtext.
This film has been beautifully restored and was a visually stunning. So, far my favorite film from the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger team.
The Wrong Man (1956)
Yes, real life can be stranger then fiction. It can also be boring, flat and uninteresting. I really did like the film but it feel far from riveting for me.
Gentleman's Agreement (1947) (1947)
This film pretty much covers every thing you ask about anti-Semitism. It is also a powerful film about bigotry in general. How silently disproving of racist jokes or comments is just as despicable as making the remarks yourself.
I Confess (1953)
OK, yes... I have been a little harsh on Mr Hitchcock lately. I think my 'snob' bone is broken or I just feel like stating "I'm bored" when I am actually bored watching a film.
"I Confess" was a great mix of tension and acting talent. Hitchcock's cinematic style is less pronounced as it melds well with the story. I would put this near the top of my must watch Hitchcock.
Five by Five
I really wasn't looking forward to watching yet another 'coming of age drama'. This people were complex and the film managed more then a superficial look into the lives of the characters. I would actually like to read the book now just for the complexity of the characters and their personal stories.
Now playing on MUBI
Tropical Malady (2004)
Tropical Malady chronicles the mystical love affair between a young soldier and a country boy. Soon, the boy disappears. Local legends claim he was transformed into a wild beast, and the soldier journeys alone into the jungle after him. Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes.
An interesting film and quite beautifully done. Still, if I hadn't read the synopsis I think I would have been confused at the sudden shift in the film, once the boy disappears. The transition from reality to fable was a little awkward and I think could have been done better. However, this could just be a case of there being some cultural things that aren't easy to translate.
Bibliothèque Pascal (2010)
Magic realism meets the underworld of human trafficking. The film was visually stunning and the story simple enough. I'm not sure if it has much as enduring qualities. Still, I love surrealistic films and considering the subject matter it didn't fall too far into 'disturbing'. It actually manged to be dark but emotionally sweet.
Vessel is the story of the passengers of Flight 298, a red-eye on its way from Boston to San Francisco. Midway through the flight the passengers encounter an otherworldly force and are subsequently thrown into a fight for their lives.
Watch Film Now @YouTube
Harvie Krumpet (2003)
The sad, strange life of Harvie, who is born into an impoverished Middle European existence, and whose one constant is the book of "fakts" he keeps adding to, worn around his neck. After a childhood tragedy, he emigrates to Australia, where he has a succession of menial jobs, eventually ending up in a retirement home. Along the way, he has a string of bad luck, leaving him with, among other things, a steel plate in his skull that becomes a magnet.
An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children who committed an act of violence against his family years earlier
This is a pretty basic and straight forward horror film. The action moves quickly from one part to the next. While this wasn't a particularly horrify or scary film. It is one that I would be willing to watch again.
There are aspects of this film that certainly have been done before and a certain amount of "You idiot don't do that!!!". Still, this film did manage to capture disturbing feeling from start to finish which is quite an accomplishment in modern day horror films.
State of Emergency (2011)
Strange plague, town quarantined, people holding up in a building trying to survive.... yawn... At least it wasn't done all in first person 'hand camera'. So, still manages to be better then Chernobyl Diaries but you might be better off finding something better to watch.
Internet serial killer... some decent actors but that does little to save a state script.
I can't say that I'm overly impressed by Brandon Cronenberg as a director this far but for his first feature film he did an impressive job. There are parts of the film that felt like they dragged. However, the move as a whole is truly warped and disturbing. Just as one disturbing element unfolds another twisted aspect is introduced. This is a very disturbing film about public obsession with celebrities taken to a whole new extreme.
All Superheroes Must Die (2011)
A low budget romp with young actors running around in tights. This is the rather tired plot of 'complete this task before something terrible happens' all with the slight 'superhero' twist. It actually wasn't that bad (I didn't turn it off) but one I would save for getting drunk or a b-movie night marathon.
The Trouble with Bliss (2012)
Morris Bliss is going no where in his life and really isn't moving any direction. I'm sure this is when watching a plastic bag blowing in the wind becomes interesting.
Sinners and Saints (2010)
Your typical action crime thriller tough cop sort of film. It didn't become too dreadful to watch which seems to say a lot for a genre that usually bores me.
Little Black Book (2004)
This is a strange film and I can't say I feel that after watching it that I understand the whole point. I'm also not sure why wikipedia would list it as a 'black comedy'. It is a strange 'romantic comedy' with a dark side. Yet, I don't feel that it successfully pulled off what it was attempting to convey.
Cinema Diary for 2013
The Year of The Snake
This is a scrapbook of ideas, impressions and information about the movies I watch. It is basic, rough and raw in an effort to expand my personal viewing experiences. This is a creative exercise not a critical one. I hope you enjoy.
Diary Entries for 2013
July | May & June | March & April | Feb | Jan |
Diary Entries for 2012
Oct, Nov & Dec | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February |
Diary Entries for 2011
October thru December | September | August | July | January
Diary Entries for 2010
December | November | October | September | August | July
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