Sunday, June 28, 2009

Movie Rundown - A long list of movies

Okay, so here's a big catchup post of movies from the past three weeks or so. I don't remember exactly how long, but ... yeah. Long time. I think I'm getting back into movies, and I started another movie project, so hopefully this'll be a little more regular after this.


Sorry for the short intro. Work's been busy, and I'm trying to keep my rambling for a minimum. Hand troubles and all. So let's begin.

Kids (***)
This is one of those movies that's worth watching, but isn't a very good experience. The movie itself is fine, don't get me wrong, but it's depressing through and through in every aspect. The story of teens in New York City, it's about sex, violence, and the spreading of AIDS. And it's not happy, heartwarming fare. Nor is it comfortably tragic a la RENT. It's bleak. Refreshingly so, but ... it's not going to bring smiles to any faces. For people into depressing experiences only.

UP (*****)
Go see UP. Look, Pixar's never made a bad movie, even if I'm not really into A Bug's Life. This one is easily their best and miles above Wall-E. It's fantastic, it's beautifull, it's sad. Then after you watch it, go watch Kiki's Delivery Service and Howl's Moving Castle by Miyazaki and realize that they get their magic by emulating the master of magic.

But mostly, just go see it. It's wonderful.

Drag Me to Hell (****)
Look, I have a love/hate relationship with Sam Raimi. I really love Evil Dead 1 and 2. I'm not as into Army of Darkness. And I'm really ambivalent about Spider-Man. One was okay, two had it's great moments, but three was the blockbuster trainwreck of that year. Hated it. Hate hate hate.

This, however, is love. It's much more like Evil Dead. If you go into this as a straight up horror film, you'd be sorely disappointed. You see, Raimi has a fetish for torturing his characters. And so Drag Me to Hell, much like Evil Dead, exists in the little-explored region of horror/comedy. If you're into that sort of thing, go see this. It's brilliant. If you're not into that, no amount of explanation will ever make you see this. Which is sad, you closed-minded bastards.

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (***)
Look, have you seen Tremors? No? Because it's a CLASSIC. And the second one isn't too bad either. If you're truly a masochist, you need to go ahead and watch Tremors 3. It's awful, almost completely irredeemable, but ... then you get to this. The ghettoist ghetto. Tremors 4. A prequel to a movie that most people have never even heard of.

And guess what? It's pretty good. I mean, it's silly, sure. And it has almost no budget. But as a monsters-in-old-west story it plays pretty well. It knows what it is and that it has to tell a modest story and it does that handily. Just for the setting and genre alone I'd say go ahead and give this one a watch, assuming you like Tremors as a franchise (such as it is).

Miami Vice (****)
Michael Mann. That enough is gonna get me to see a movie. And this one is pretty much a Mannstravaganza (which sounds, in retrospect, like something WAY different). It's full of fast-paced dialogue and ambiguous characters on either side of the cop/criminal divide. It has a few action beats that are vicious and feel realistic and have impact because they're so minimally used. It's not Heat, but it feels a little more measured in terms of the character portrayals than heat. Of particular note is Colin Farrell, who I've never really been into but really surprised me here.

Easy Virtue (*****)
I already reviewed this one, and basically I feel the same way as I used to. So go HERE, read this review, and then go see this movie in any way you can.

Clerks (****)
Okay, so I started a new movie project this summer (last summer was the Coen Brothers filmography) and I chose Kevin Smith. I don't know why I chose Kevin Smith, other than I had really been feeling like comedies lately and Kevin Smith movies are all films that I wish I had seen but haven't ever gotten around to seeing.

So, Clerks. I assume most everybody's seen Clerks. Its one of those movies that is everywhere and I hear jokes referencing it all the time. So I was expecting the movie itself to be bereft of much of its original voice and impact. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case. In fact, I found this movie to be surprisingly relevant to now even if it's well over 15 years old now.

The story of a bunch of apathetic convenience store clerks over a single day, Clerks is a no-budget slice of life comedy with a good eye for dialogue and a perfect sense of how guys talk when nobody's around. I know, because this movie very much feels like it's out of my own life. While I'm not sure how much people who aren't just out of their late teens/college years would like it, I felt that it was heartfelt in its vulgarity because it was so true. It really connected to me, on a multitude of levels, where I actually related to the characters in a way I typically don't.

So ... yeah. Clerks is great. And I'm looking very forward to watching the rest of Kevin Smith's movies.


So, that's done. Who knows whats on the agenda this week, aside from my much-anticipated viewing of Public Enemies on Friday and Mallrats sometime this week. My friend Adam is trying to rope me into watching Twilight, but ... I don't think anybody wants that, other than him.

And he's a bastard.