Tuesday, October 30, 2007

LATE! Clip o the Weeks

Halloween - 1978

This is the classic horror flick that launched the careers of almost everyone involved from Jamie Lee Curtis to John Carpenter and even the guy who played Mike Meyers is Nick Castle who went on to be a successful director (hello? he did the Boy Who Could Fly). This truly creepy movie tells the tale of Mike Meyers, a dude that's been locked up in an asylum for years since murdering his sister. When he escapes the first thing he wants to do is go back to the house where he killed his sister and stir up a little murderous havoc. His family no longer lives there and tonight (which just happens to be Halloween) it is occupied by some kids and their babysitter. Major studio player Irwin Yablans wanted to get in on the independent film scene, so he went out to make one of his own. He hired a very unknown director and told him that he could have total control of the film if he could do it for under $500k. He made it for $300k and that film was Halloween. It went on to be one of the most successful independent films of all time, spawned numerous sequels and even a remake and is in the top 5 (still!) for most profitable films of all time. Part of what makes this movies so great is that they had so little money to work with. Since they had no money they had almost no special effects. Instead, they had to rely on old-school suspense building. There's almost no blood, the mask is a William Shatner mask they bought at a local store and Carpenter himself did the music. And boy is the music good. It too is simple and wicked creepy. This movie is a marvel of simple, straight forward scare. They have truly created a tense, chilling masterpiece here and it's one of my favorite horror films of all time.
  • Worth Watching (or maybe a little bit ME)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007


2005 French film about a man who suddenly begins receiving eerie drawings and videotapes that show he’s being watched. No one knows where they’re coming from but he thinks it may be the result of a dark chapter in his past that he’s kept hidden from everyone, even his own family. This movie won director Michael Haneke the Best Director award that year at Cannes, which is ironic because the direction was the root of why I hated this movie. The acting was fantastic and the story was great. Seriously, you can’t be a plotline like this one. Every script is made up of scenes (elements) and it’s the director’s job to decide what scenes get in, where to put them and how long or short to let them run. The scenes of this movie were arranged in a boring, flat, linear fashion. The tone was so monotone that the movie even seemed to bore itself. I know I sure felt like I could turn it off at any given moment and not miss a thing. And that’s just to speak of the overall tone. The individual scenes in-and-among themselves ran way too long and many of them seemed totally unnecessary. In other words, this film wasted alot of time, don’t let it waste any of yours.
  • Unacceptable

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rocky Balboa

2006 film, written, produced and directed by Sylvester Stallone that is the sixth and (supposedly) final film in the Rocky series. And, like all the other movies in the series this movie is majorly hit-and-miss. It has some good moments. Now and then it feels good and you get wrapped up in it. This is especially true (again like in all the other one's) for the final fight scene. The good stuff in this movie is in the little things. Like Dixon's expression of gratitude when the fight is over. But overall the movie is pretty much nostalgic, sappy, boring, junk. The story concerns Rocky wanting to train and have one more fight. It's not to make a comeback, it's to get rid of all that "stuff" that's dwelling in his "basement." In other words, he needs catharsis, closure. He needs to get things off his chest through his fists. The problem is the movie is 90% reminiscing and very little actual Rocky. In fact, a large chunk of the movie is clips from the older movies. I might watch this, or parts of it, if there was nothing else on on television, but I wouldn't bother renting it.

Unacceptable (borderline Saturday Afternoon)

Trivia: They show footage in the movie of every Rocky movie ever made except Rocky V. They just sort of forget about that one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

1997 documentary about Dieter Dengler. He grew up in an area of Germany so remote that he'd never seen an airplane until an American jet came roaring through his village guns and bombs a-blazin during the latter years of WWII. The experience blew his mind and he spent the next years trying to become an American fighter pilot. Years later he achieved this goal and on his first mission in Vietnam he was shot down over Laos and captured. For weeks he was tortured and starved all while chained to the bottom of a bamboo structure. He then led a revolt and he and the other prisoners escaped after killing nearly all the other people at the camp. He then spent three weeks wandering in the jungle until he was discovered. This film is done by Werner Herzog, a German feature filmmaker who is famous for taking big risks and working hard to create real emotions. He takes that attitude and puts it into this documentary having Dieter literally walk through his experiences. The start in Laos and end up in Thailand and literally retrace his steps. The movie is really not about Dieter at all but about humanity. And boy is Dieter full of human spirit. While it may sound like a depressing movie, I say without hesitation that it's really one of the most uplifting movies I've seen in a long time. Dieter exudes an appreciation for and love of life that is so rare. He harbors no hate or resentment. He kept flying as soon as he got back and didn't stop. If you want a movie that tells an interesting story and will lift your heart and give you some much needed perspective, this is the movie for you. (and while you're at it, check out some of Herzog's other movies like Grizzly Man and Fitzcarraldo).
  • Worth Watching

The Good Shepherd

2006 thriller/history pic directed by Robert DeNiro and written by Eric Roth, who wrote some fantastic movies in the past like Ali, The Insider and Forrest Gump. This is only DeNiro's second shot at directing and man what an amazing second shot it is. It is a rich, textured, complex slow boil. It takes a very slow, simmering pace that just seems to cook, despite that fact that an enormous amount of stuff happens. It spans the whole career of Edward Wilson from college to retirement. While this isn't a true story, it's a fictionalized retelling of the founding of the CIA and the career of one of history's most influential counterintelligence personalities (James Angleton, who Ed Wilson is based on). This movie is good at just about everything it does. The story, the costumes, the cinematography, the history, it's all good, and the acting is fantastic. This movie does a great job of creating the essence of that very tense, secretive period in our history and really shows the repercussions as well.
  • Worth While
Trivia: Leo DiCaprio was originally cast as Ed Wilson, but dropped out to do The Departed. He told Matt Damon (whose also in The Departed) on set. So, Damon decided to go out for the part, got it and just decided to do both movies at the same time. Leo's loss I guess.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Clip o' the Week

Blades of Glory

2007 comedy from the directing pair Josh Gordon and Will Speck who I could describe as the pair that produced the Oscar winning comedy short Culture or who created the new TV show Cavemen, but I'm not sure which one tells more about them. This movie, starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder (and some fantastic cameo's and supporting roles) is moderately funny at times and hilarious at others. This is the first feature-length movie by this directing pair and you can kind of tell b/c it's not all that consistent in delivery. But both of the leads, and all of the support, offer really great performances and it's totally worth a watch on rental. You may not crack up, but you're gonna laugh.

  • Saturday Afternoon

Monday, October 8, 2007

Knocked Up

2007 film by director Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl. This is the latest film from the creative team that brought us Anchorman and the 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Each one seems to be better than the last, but still not that great. Like the others it has some really funny moments but is overall not that great. Worth a watch, but nothing to write home about.


Warning: there are some sex scenes and they do show the baby coming out. Na mean?

The Proposition

2005 Australian film directed by John Hillcoat and starring Guy Pearce and Danny Huston. It is a fantastic, classic-style western that tells the story of the three Burns brothers. Charlie and Arthur run the horrific Burns Brothers Gang, along with tagalong brother Mikey (who is mentally disabled). A local captain captures Charlie and Mikey, but, dissatisfied, gives Charlie a proposition. If he kills Arthur, the gang's leader and arguably the most frightening of the bunch, by Sunday he'll let Mikey go free and only hang Charlie. In the meantime he's going to torture Mikey until he returns and if Charlie doesn't return by Christmas, Mikey's dead. It's tense and old school and wonderful. It is beautifully shot by French cinematographer Benoit Delhomme. If you like Once Upon a Time in the West, you will love this one.


It's worth noting that this movie has some scenes of very intense violence, but not many.