I'm so far behind on posting here.
Quickly, here are a bunch of movies that I've seen lately...
Sans Soleil is another marvelous Chris Marker film, on the same Criterion disc as La Jetee. Basically, Marker's formula seems to be: Memory=Cinema=Time Travel. Each memory creates its own legend. Cinema allows us to preserve memories, creating a sort of time travel. I thought about this a lot while watching I Confess. Montgomery Clift and Karl Malden seemed so ALIVE. And in a sense they still are through the preservation of the movie.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is the worst movie I've seen so far this year. Ebert has trashed it properly. I don't want to waste any more words on it.
The Incredible Petrified World is only marginally a Science Fiction film (and it would be easy to knock its faults as a less than B-movie budget picture), but the way in which everything is played out is more solidly SF than all of the Transformers and Knowings that we've been stuck with recently. To think that men would act slowly and rationally while caught up in an impossible adventure!
I watched Left For Dead because I was interested in this newfangled Horror/Western hybrid that seems to be growing in popularity. It's not the thought that counts, though, and Left For Dead is hampered by a really dumb story and bad acting.
Gremlins is movie magic, either in spite of or because of its silliness. After watching it, I've been listening to a commentary with Dante, one of the producers and the special effects guy. Even the commentary is a lot more fun than most other movies. The only problem is that my daughter Annie saw the case to Gremlins and now every day bugs me to let her watch "SCARY MONSTER WITH GLASSES."
Visioneers really bummed me out. It's got a great near-future SF premise, but is burdened by a simplified "follow your dreams" message. Unfortunately, follow your dreams equates to leaving your family. Visioneers contains some of the best images I've seen in a movie all year, but it ends on a note of false hope, leaving me in a foul mood instead of a happy one.
The Roaring Twenties is such a great film. I haven't made up a ganster film list yet because I realized that I've seen so few of the "classics." You know you've got me beat, Brandon, in terms of the sheer quantity of older American movies that you've seen. Anyhow, watching Cagney and Bogart together is pure cinematic bliss.
It Happened One Night is another classic that I was long overdue in seeing. I'm nostalgic for days in which I never lived, when I feel that every American popular Romantic Comedy had whip-smart scripts like this one. I know that the 30's had more than its fair share of bad movies, too, but at least it had great ones. I can hardly think of any contemporary Romantic Comedies that could stand beside a gem like It Happened One Night.
Timecrimes receives an 'A' for effort. It starts with mystery and the suspense keeps building. Unfortunately, the action quickly devolves into an obvious (and ridiculous) time travel conundrum that only makes sense on the surface. Still, I was impressed (because, really, who has made a time travel story work? This one comes close) and I'm looking forward to the director's future efforts.
Funny People isn't all that funny (unless you can laugh at endless variations on dick jokes) and its people aren't all that personable. I think that it tries to be honest, but things resolve too neatly in the end.
Ponyo is so good that my oldest daughter Mildred saw it twice, once with her mother, aunt, and sister Annika, and once yesterday with me. This is the first Miyazaki film in a while aimed at a much younger audience than films like Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away and I'd say that it works perfectly for the 10 and under crowd all the while pleasing an old grouch like myself. HAM!!!
More to come soon.