Cinema Diary - Vol 4 E3 - Spring 2013
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So, there were some issues with Listal trolls and posting personal information but... well screw them. The only reason to create these journals was not for the public but for me personally to take time out and truly think about the films I watch, even if I write a snip-it of information, it can give insight into my growing tastes, moods and temperaments regarding a certain film or genre of films. I do change my opinions over time, this is base on the idea that there is a "Lexicon of Filmography" that some films simply need to be enjoyed more fully if other films have been watched before hand.
The month of March has been less reflective then I wish. I have had way too may doctors appointments and way too many issues with pain to regard a 'big picture' regarding film movements. I will also be taking time off in April and will be far more in active then unusual... I will be on vacation. So, despite this journal covers March and April, I doubt it will covering very many films.
I am continuing my film focus on comedies from the silent era. What I will be watching largely depends on what gets sent to me in the mail or what is currently streaming on MUBI. I managed to watch most the primary films from Charley Chaplin that I wanted to watch so now it is on to Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.
The General (1926)
Just so you know first, "The General" is a train and the story is from the perspective of the south being the 'good guys'.
This was quite fun. I enjoyed that there was more action then comedy and the comedic elements didn't feel forced or overly played out.
This is a rather lengthy film and some comedic aspects did play out a bit too long. Still for a full length comedy it did hold my interest and was a treat.
The dvd I rented of the "Navigator" also included "The Boat" and "The Love Nest". Two of Buster Keaton's short films. I enjoyed the Love Nest a little more then "The Boat". I think due to simplicity more then anything.
The Boat (1921)
This was an entertaining short film. It sadly the print wasn't in the best condition and there was extensive damage on major portions of the film. It seemed that the whole short film was intact and actually wasn't the worst print I have seen. At least there was enough where nothing had to be 'recreated' with movie stills.
Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)
Basically this is the Australian version of "Red Dawn" but without being a propaganda film against communism. What country is actually invading Australia isn't clear. So, that was an added bonus. Yes, it at the core it can be viewed as a nationalistic film but despite that it was fun and I think did a rather interesting job. Even if the 'random group of kids' was anything but random.
This was a fun action film that I didn't take too seriously.
This Means War (2012)
OK, this is rather embarrassing but I actually liked this film. It was a humors and entertaining romantic comedy. As far as romantic comedies go... if by the end I don't feel personally offend or that I have endured something overly sweet and bland... it gets pretty good marks.
This is a really simple and sweet film. I felt that it ran too fast or that I could have used a bit more focus on other aspects of the story. Still, it was a pretty decent family film but perhaps not one that I would rush out and buy the dvd for my library.
The Butcher Boy (1998)
Based upon the novel by Patrick McCabe and directed by Neil Jordan this dark film tells the story of the trials and adventures of a boy from the lower class in Ireland. I think this will remain one of my favorite films from Neil Jordan simply for the wonderful cinematography and straightforward approach.
If the idea of an older couple talking about their sex life makes you cringe then I would avoid this film. I have to say if there are two actors who could pull off a film about a couple trying to rekindle their romance without feeling tawdry, it is Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Still, this is a film with a limited scope and a limited audience apeal so it wasn't a film that fully engaged my interest.
Despite the high ratings and wonderful reviews, I actually went into this film with very low expectations. My overly bland feelings towards the film didn't change much after watching the film. I liked the film and the initial premise but this isn't a film I will cherish.
The film did a great job with time-travel paradoxes and the punishment for the first guy who didn't close his Loop was something quite horrific and memorable. Still, there were a number of things that I felt were predictable and I spent a portion of my time watching the film to watch what I was expecting to happen to actually happen. So, in that regard I got a little bored. Then I would drift and think about other random aspects of the film... like... what was wrong with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face... was it the contacts, was it the strange make-up... now what is he doing with his face? Is he trying to mimic Bruce Willis's facial expressions?
Then there are pivotal action moments with intensive use of special effects. This was used to try to show what was happening but it also seemed to try to express an emotional state... who was the focus of the emotional state seemed to switch and again left me waiting for the film to 'get to the point' and 'just do it already'.
Still, I'm in the minority regarding this film and personally feel that it is a few marks shy of 'Amazing'. I think I walked away from this film with a greater appreciation for "Timecrimes" (2007).
This is a fun film and well worth watching simply for the cast alone. There are great moments of quick witted barbs exchanged.Some aspects dragged (running from room to room) but the film made up for this by the multiple endings which I think was my favorite part of this film.
This is a pure solid action film. There is little time to speculate on any given aspect or fantastical element before the film moves on to another sequence. So, it seem to capture a little of the essence of the old action-adventure serials.
So, for an action film... this wasn't as bad as "Battleship" and not quite as silly as "G.I. Joe, The Rise of Cobra". Also, I don't feel very compelled to watch "The Avengers" and can continue putting that film indefinitely.
This films is incredibly beautiful and certainly have a greater appreciation for Tarsem Singh. I spent half the film on the edge of my seat and the other half crying. I would easily watch this film again but might be timid to recommend given the subject matter.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
OK, now it may not be that funny or that entertaining. It really is a silly film... filled with pretty much every actor I adore and that make ever moment worth the effort. You will also be glad to know that this is not some lame attempt at making another "Porkys" film.
The film manages to capture the absurdity of a rather incompetent police force from an era of 'beating out a confession to solve the case'. This doesn't down play the horrible nature of the crimes but adds to the tragedy of the case.
After a year of this film sitting at the top of my queue labeled "high demand" it at last got sent to me. After all that time... I have to say the film was rather disappointing. This is a rather standard 'thriller' with the not so surprising twists and double twists. So, while I enjoyed the film it never reached a level that amazed me.
A film about paraplegics who play full-contact rugby in Mad Max-style wheelchairs - overcoming unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.
I liked this documentary but it wasn't a great documentary. It was nice to see a film about people who have overcome their physical injuries and manage to be much of the same person as they were before.
Living through great tragedy or illness doesn't grant you profound insights into the universe nor radically alter who you are. For some people perhaps but not for most.
A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.
With so many films about school tragedies or bulling as an element I figured I would skip the fictionalization and jump to an actual documentary.
This film presents the lives and deaths of several kids of different ages and with different experiences. It doesn't provide any deep insight into solutions but merely presents the problems faced by kids and parents.
Since the film doesn't provide answers and solutions I think it is a great film to open a dialogue about bullying.
Five by Five
Damsels in Distress (2012)
Recommend by Xanadon't
"Damsels in Distress" is a very dry comedy. Which is not really a type of film that I enjoy but this certainly hit a mark with me. I think Whit Stillman managed to capture actual conversations or ideas that I personal heard people say and managed to make those casual remarks something quite absurd.
And... yes... now I am going to actually have to track down and watch other films from Whit Stillman. I have sort of been avoiding him for some reason. So, with this film that weight is lifted off my shoulders.
The Dead Girl (2007)
Not to be mean and speak ill of the dead but I really have never enjoyed Brittany Murphy in many films. So, I'm glad her part came last. There are a lot of individual moments to digest and in an abstract way our own story begins to impose its self on the film. It almost makes the 'reality' of the dead girls life irrelevant as we carry so much baggage into her life even before we meet her.
A romantic comedy with less then half the cliche's of any other romantic comedy. There were a few 'too sweet to be true' moments but that helped keep this film from going into a totally dark territory. "Bad Baby Pie" still cracks me up.
The Apparition (2012)
Did you see the film "Pulse"? Hay... isn't that the kid from Harry Potter. Then it just becomes a bore of 'oh so expected stupid actions'. Holy crap... did these guys go to the "The Matrix' school of physics? Yes... just play the tape in reverse and everything will go back to normal. Gah... if only the dvd worked on the same principle then I could have un-watched this film.
OK, so I missed my chance to see this at the Portland International Film Festival... which is why it is nice to know at least one person with a freaking region free dvd player.
OMG... OK, the comedy is dark and dry something you sort of expect for a film out the UK. I was really surprised that the film took a few twists. I was feeling happy that I took the effort to go over and visit a friend a watch a film... by the end however. I was howling with laughter... tears streaming down my face. Simply... brilliant... now if ever comes out on for the US region... it will be a nice addition to my library.
I can also stop sulking that I won't be attending
The Stanley Film Fest. Best friends really are the best ;)
Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)
I really liked this film. I'm glad that they didn't present an ideal relationship between the two main characters. Instead is a relationship that begins to crack when their 'ideal child' is anything but ideal. For as lighthearted as this film, there is nothing easy here, the couples relationship needs help, the neighbors are less then supportive, and kids... are kids. So, I'm glad there was enough 'life is difficult' in the film to give it an even ground.
Is It Just Me? (2010)
This is a pretty trite little film. "OMG, I was on-line chatting with someone with my roomates account and now the ideal man thinks I'm built like a stripper"... yawn..
Still, it was superficially sweet and I didn't reach for the eject. It was also nice that the issue of 'why your alone' is because 'you set yourself up to be alone' was brought up.
The Forgiveness of Blood (2011)
Nik is seventeen and is in his last year at high school in northern Albania. Something of a go-getter, Nik has decided that, as soon as he has his school graduation in his hands, he wants to open an internet café. He has also recently started having feelings for girls – and has fallen in love with a girl in his class at school. Nik’s sister Rudina is fifteen; she too has a clear idea of what she wants from life and dreams of attending university.
But then their family becomes embroiled in a fight over ownership of some land and their father is accused of murder. All at once, Nik and Rudina find themselves drawn into a terrible vendetta.
According to dictates of the Kanun, Albania’s centuries-old traditional laws, none of the family’s male members – not even their young seven-year-old brother – may leave the house. As long as their father is hiding in the mountains and Nik is prevented from showing his face in public, the family has to rely on Rudina, who is now obliged to leave school and take over her father’s affairs. The young girl clearly begins to flourish as a result of her new responsibility; her brother however feels nothing but anger and frustration as a result of his isolation. Somehow Nik has to put an end to this blood feud – even if it costs him his life. –Berlinale
I think that this was an interesting film to watch and the idea of these strange community laws acting as enforcement in place of corrupt police. Still, there was a bit of a cultural disconnect for me and I just couldn't help wanting to scream at the scream "Well, that is just stupid.". Still, the film leaves and impression and will be a film to think about long into the future.
This wasn't as dreadful as I was expecting. In fact it was almost decent... well perhaps not quite. There are some rather stupid aspects to this film and well frankly this has all been done before and done a whole lot better.
So, ya you could watch this film or you could catch up on some episodes of "Criminal Minds" and feel that your time was better spent.
"A refreshing and honest portrayal of adolescent Catholic boys"... if this was the 80's perhaps. Still for yet another 'coming of age' film it wasn't that bad but honestly... does anything new happen in any of these types of films?
I don't care for football and the intro song was almost enough to make my skin crawl but after I endured the intro the film actually became a decent action film.
A coming-of-age film but now we are in a mental hospital. What could have been an interesting film that said more about the mental health of children in America or the state of the mental health care system became a 'how I lost my mind and got the girl' love story. Well... it was a nice try.
Good Dick (2008)
Nice guy falls for deranged woman... hum. There was still something oddly charming about their fucked up relationship.
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Beautiful, stylish neo-noir crime drama but I found it to be a little bit of a bore in parts. Great to watch but nothing that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Cute romantic comedy. I'll just pretend that I know nothing about psychiatric care of women during that era.
Our Idiot Brother (2011)
Somewhere between "Single White Female" and "Lord of The Flies" is the film "Cracks". There is an almost a sedate 'horror' element to the air of the film which reminded me of "Picnic at Hanging Rock". So, while not entirely engaging it was pretty to watch.
Reindeer Games (2000)
I some how thought that I had seen this film before. Not only was I wrong but I also turned it off about 30min in to the film.... just SoooOOoo Freaking boring and the realization that the only ending that would make me happy was an ending where everyone died a horrible and painful death... I somehow didn't see that playing out.
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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Movies the giraffe watched: November 2013
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