Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Recap

15 Features
Next Day Air (Boom)
Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Barton)
The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans (Herzog)
Act of God (Baichwal)
The Ace of Hearts (Worsley)
Hot Water (Taylor/Newmeyer)
Sleep Dealer (Rivera)
My Favorite Year (Benjamin)
Bang the Drum Slowly (Hancock)
Shutter Island (Scorsese)
Cold Souls (Barthes)
Crazy Heart (Cooper)
Hour of the Wolf (Bergman)
Labyrinth (Henson)
Inside the Labyrinth (Saunders) 

13 Shorts
Rapunzel (Harryhausen)
Act of God (Greenaway)
The Flag (Maude)
Puss Gets the Boot (Hanna/Barbera)
The Midnight Snack (Hanna/Barbera)
The Night Before (Hanna/Barbera)
Fraidy Cat (Hanna/Barbera)
Dog Trouble (Hanna/Barbera)
Puss N' Toots (Hanna/Barbera)
Let's Sing With Popeye (Fleischer)
Little Swee' Pea (Fleischer)
Me Feelins Is Hurt (Fleischer)
Me Musical Nephews (Kneitel)

6 TV Episodes
Fraggle Rock - Let the Water Run
Lost - 4 episodes
Three Sheets - Poland 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February Finished

For the first time there was a stir of feeling, a hint of motivation.  The tip of a pallid tongue licked hungrily around the pale lips.  "I want my soul."

-Fritz Leiber, from Conjure Wife

Cold Souls is a big disappointment.  It especially fails seen in the light of Leiber's Conjure Wife, which I read a few weeks ago.  Leiber's description of a soulless body is unsettling, as these things probably should be.  Barthes's film, in comparison, is just one long weak joke, never really realizing what an outrageously scary subject she is trying to tackle.

Inside the Labyrinth is an awe-inspiring look at the making of Labyrinth.  The mid-80s were the very height of creature effects and Henson and company were among the very best.

Hour of the Wolf might be my favorite Bergman film.  In it, Bergman explicitly externalizes the demons that he has previously only allowed to be seen and heard in fleeting glances and strained dialogue.  

I'm having a hard time feeling motivated to write more.

Briefly, one major connection between Shutter Island and various Bergman pictures is the very obvious one of all of the action being isolated to an island.  The tormented "mentally insane" man is isolated from other human beings in his head; this distance and isolation are manifest visually by the concrete physical metaphor of an island.

I started my Shutter Island post with a poem from Songs of Experience because the film itself references Blake via a print on the office wall.  I can't remember what else was on the wall, but the Blake was obvious.  I think one of the characters actually takes it off the wall at one point.

The visual references and allusions are certainly rich in Shutter Island.  In this aspect especially, Shutter Island shares a lot of commonality with Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.  Both directors live and breathe film.  Filmmakers like Bergman or Tarkovsky made films as the best way of expressing themselves.  Both tended to reference other forms of art, especially music and (more in Tarkovsky's case) painting.  Filmmakers like Scorcese and Tarantino (each following the lead of the French New Wave) make films as an act of film criticism (which is not to say that they are not also expressing themselves).  They will sometimes reference and incorporate other forms of art (each has a sense of timing informed by pop music), but, at heart, they're both primarily film critics.  Film nerds.  Absolute cinema addicts.  The best kind.  The kind who can only make sense of other films by making their own response films.

What's amazing about these two specific visually complex films is how immensely popular they are with big audiences.  Why do audiences flock to what are essentially film nerd treatises?  Obviously, it's because both films are also a lot of fun.  

But, yeah, many critics are scared of this or something.  Inglourious Basterds has gotten a better critical respoonse than Shutter Island, but I think a lot of that might be bandwagon hopping.  The initial reviews out of Cannes and upon its opening here in the States was very mixed to say the least.  I think you may be right, Brandon, that even though Shutter Island is being largely critically reviled right now, it will be vindicated in good time.    

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finishing February

Puss N' Toots is a pretty average Tom & Jerry short.  With its romantic competitions, it was fun to watch a couple of days after Valentine's day.

The girls and I started watching Popeye shorts.  We're all fans of the Segar Thimble Theatre/Popeye newspaper strip so I was hesitant to watch these, but I should have never doubted Fleischer studios.  Also, Segar gave his approval to these cartoons.  I grew up having seen a lot of these, but don't remember much except the theme and iconic spinach eating (which isn't in the strip!).

Let's Sing With Popeye is a fun follow the bouncy ball session to learn the theme song.

Little Swee' Pea made me cry.  Seriously.  Funny.  When the alligator starts rubbing Popeye's belly, I lost it.  At least I retained control of my bladder and bowels.  Popeye brings Swee' Pea to the zoo and plays rough with the animals, always a few steps away from runaway Swee' Pea.

Me Feelins Is Hurt sees Popeye mixing it up out on the range, exchanging his sailor cap for a saddle.

Me Musical Nephews is probably Mildred's favorite.  Popeye's nephews make a lot of noise while he's trying to sleep.  It ends in a nice "meta" moment in which Popeye takes himself "outside" of the frame.

The Old Spice "I'm on a horse" reveal is Abby's favorite moving image moment of the year so far.

Episode four of Lost is only decent.  I'm tired of the whole Shepherd without a flock business.  Like Sawyer, I'm ready to be done with it all.  But, of course, I'll keep watching.

Three Sheets is a discontinued TV show that my friend Mike recommended to me.  While I was on the Island in November, I grabbed some torrents.  Only now have I begun watching some episodes.  It's a lot of fun learning about international drinking habits.  

Labyrinth is Annie's favorite movie.  The girls watch Nausicaa and Labyrinth each about a half a dozen times a year.  They'd watch 'em once a week at least if I let them.  Usually, when I let the girls watch these, I'll sit with them for about 20-405 minutes, then do something else (or fall asleep).  The other night, I sat through all of Labyrinth.  Okay, I fell asleep at the end, but I later finished it in my own.  Not counting the Muppets, this is Jim Henson's greatest achievement.  I still love it.

Abby and I went out on a rare date and saw Crazy Heart.  It's good even if it is a little bit too much by-the-book.  It all works because everyone involved so obviously believes in the story being told.  But, what is Colin Farrell doing here?

I've watched Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) and will write about it and a little more on Shutter Island soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

God is a Spider

The Voice of the Ancient Bard

Youth of delight come hither:
And see the opening morn,
Image of truth new born.
Doubt is fled & clouds of reason.
Dark disputes & artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze,
Tangled roots perplex her ways,
How many have fallen there!
They stumble over bones of the dead;
And feel they know not what but care;
And wish to lead others when they should be led.

-William Blake

The best moment in Shutter Island is when Max von Sydow (!) turns to Leonardo DiCaprio and asks, "Do you believe in God?"

There's really no reason for von Sydow to say this in terms of Shutter Island's plot and nothing in the immediate context suggests its being said.  It may be in the novel, but I don't remember it.  I believe it's there simply to evoke Bergman.

I really loved seeing von Sydow in this.  Shutter Island would make a great double feature with Through a Glass Darkly.  Maybe I'm seeing Bergman everywhere, but Shutter Island plays out like pulp Bergman.

Other than that, my enjoyment was weakened by familiarity with the source text.  A lot of the joy of the story is being taken along for a dark ride.  The adaptation is as faithful as these things get.  I'm sure you know it by now if you've been reading lots of reviews.  SPOILER.  This story depends on a twist at the end.  Not knowing that allows for suspension of disbelief.  Knowing that there is a twist, what the twist is, and when it's coming makes lots of the premise seem silly.  On the positive side, it also allows one to enjoy subtle and not so subtle acting choices early on that play into the end.  I liked Ruffalo here.

There is earned emotion at the end; I think that Scorsese presents every dream/memory/hallucination just right and it pays off.  This is quite the accomplishment in the current wasteland of trite flashbacks.

I'm not sure if Justin McDonald made the final cut.  My best guess is that that's his body glimpsed out in the street through a window while a Nazi officer is struggling to die inside.  I'll try to get in touch with him and find out.

Finally, seriously, Bergman.  I listened to Edelstein's negative review on Fresh Air and he lists certain noir films that are visually referenced.  I need to rewatch Shutter Island more closely, but I'm sure Through a Glass Darkly is there.  There's a reference to insects crawling in a skull (spiders aren't insects.  Yes they are.  No they are not.  Yes they are.  I don't care.  Scary little creatures that are terrible to look at) for goodness' sake.  It's there in the script.  I'd guess it's there visually somewhere.  

Probably not.  But, I want to believe so.

God is a Spider.


I wrote all of the above Saturday.  Today is Monday and, Brandon, I just read your review this morning.  Good stuff.  We're definitely on the same page here.  I'm also glad to hear that you took my advice.  I had been afraid that too many reviews might have given you too many spoilers.  

Did you get my phone message Friday night?

The last thing I wanted to say is that I enjoyed being out in a crowd.  This is the first time in a long time that I've been to an opening night show.  Watching the trailer for Sorcerer's Apprentice was awesome because sharing a hearty guffaw with about a dozen other persons when Nicholas Cage is revealed as the action hero... That is priceless.    

Friday, February 19, 2010

Conversations 2010 #6

Conversations 2010 #6

Adrienne, hi.

You need to check out Brandon's horror posts from last year...

You should also definitely watch TimeCrimes.  There's not much cheese to be found in it, but I don't think you'll mind.  It reminds me more than anything of a Hitchcock thriller.  And I do mean that as high praise.  The first half especially is quite suspenseful.  It is also impressively structured both visually and narratively.  There's even a strange "wrong man" idea running through the film.   

As far as Herzog goes, check out Aguirre: the Wrath of God.  I've seen a decent amount of his films and this one is still my favorite.


Brandon, I don't feel like we've won.  I'm actually really disappointed that you were disappointed with The Wolfman.  I was skeptical, but I was hoping that I was wrong and that you'd come back from your viewing ready to tear my doubts apart like a sweet child's throat.  

We all lost this time.  You just bore the brunt of it for the rest of us.

I've only seen 5/12 of your '59 list.  Of those five, I'd rank them pretty much the same as you do.

1) Shadows
2) North by Northwest
3) Breathless
4) Some Like it Hot
5) Sleeping Beauty

We won't talk about FBI Story.  :)

I own copies of Rio Bravo and Ride Lonesome, but I haven't seen either one.  I regret not seeing Pickpocket most of all, but every film on the list is one I'd like to see eventually.  Do you have a copy of the Ford film?  

I need to get your DVDs back to you so we can do another swap.  I still need to watch Ikiru and Vertigo.  I've been waiting for nights when Abby and I are both awake enough and not doing something else so we can watch those together since she expressed interest in both films.

Johnny Guitar is great.  I think it was Rivette who wrote that you need to love Hawks and Ray.  If you prefer one and dislike the other, that's maybe forgivable.  If you dislike them both, you dislike cinema itself.

I envy you having seen Leave Her to Heaven.  I've seen that Scorcese program three times now (the last time being with you during the snowstorm) and that clip does stand out in my mind most vividly among the rest.

We should get together and watch it again.  Set up some sort of annual Personal Journey Through American Movies With Martin Scorcese party.  I wonder if we could get permission for a free public screening of the entire thing at that place Andy runs.

I do like Scorcese.  Gangs of New York is pretty great.  The Departed is good enough.  And I know that it's a crime that I haven't seen The Aviator.  

Not having Internet access at home and not using work computers too often anymore, I find that I haven't read many current reviews at all lately.  I keep up with a handful of film blogs, but I'm usually behind on reading those, too.  I used to follow lots of links from Hudson, but that's just too hard to do now on my iPod.  I miss tabbed browsing.

I had no idea how Shutter Island is being received until I heard it from you.

I don't know what to think of it all.  Based on Lehane's source material, I've thought that the film would do well and all of the trailers have looked promising.  It was pretty obvious, though, that the delays meant that the studio didn't believe in the final product.  Lehane adaptations aren't exactly a sure money-maker.  Mystic River was a critical and popular success.  Gone Baby Gone is just as good, if not better in some ways, yet it was mostly ignored by the masses and received a so-so critical response.  Moreso than those two works, Shutter Island just doesn't fit neatly anywhere so it's hard to market and hard to grasp.  I'm assuming that it was really difficult to film as well.  

I'm still really excited about seeing it and might go tonight.  

As for your aughts list...

I need to see A History of Violence.  

I'm glad that you liked A Christmas Tale so much.
For fun, here's Desplechin's Top 10 of the Decade, from the Film Comment poll:
The Wire (TV)
Last Days
The Bourne Ultimatum
Private Fears in Public Places
The Royal Tannenbaums
Still Life
The Secret of the Grain
Kill Bill Vol. II
Million Dollar Baby

Linklater's Sunrise/Sunset films have been high on my to-see list for a while now.  Have you seen Fast Food Nation?  That's another Linklater that I missed that I wish I hadn't.

I like Catch Me if You Can, but I might prefer The Terminal as my favorite Spielberg of the decade.  I know I'm in a small minority with this opinion.  I do need to check out both A.I. and Minority Report again.  A.I. especially seems to have a lot of champions and renewed interest based in large part on Rosenbaum's steadfast admiration of it.

I fell asleep during Old Joy.  I'm a dope.

The only film I know nothing at all about is Crimson Gold.  I know I've seen that title, but I know nothing.

Finally, I have seen a few things.
Wednesday night, I ended up unexpectedly sitting with a good guy in the hospital.  Fortunately, he was doing well and thought that watching movies on TCM was a great idea.  Unfortunately, TCM was playing crap.  My Favorite Year is remarkably unfunny.  Bang the Drum Slowly doesn't really work as a baseball movie or a buddy movie or man dying while everyone else but him talks a lot movie or whatever else it is trying to be. 

At home, Abby and I are up-to-date with Lost's final season.  The "flash-parallels" are interesting after so many flashbacks and flashforwards.  Where it's all headed is as much a mystery as ever, but I really hope that it all involves Hurley getting more and more stuff to do.  Other characters have their moments.  Hurley is the only character who has remained consistently engaging after all this time.  I'm in this series to the end thanks to him.

My friend Spike's last post says more about Lost this season better than I could while saying less about Lost than I just did.  Find it here:

While I'm writing about Spike, I need to let him know that I've adopted him as my guru through the Lenten season.

"Every day for the rest of your life. That is a large statement. Well, I hope it is. No more smokes. Every day. Exercise. Every day. Sleep enough. Every day. Write. Every day. Sit. Every day. There are a lot of Every Days left. I hope. There is falsehood in the dictum to live every day as your last. Truth as well, but falsehood dominates. There are a lot more Every Days than there are Last Days."

There are two more items that I'll add to my personal list.

Pray the Psalms.  Every day.  Live the Story.  Every day.

Live the story is personal shorthand for a lot of things, but at its core it means "walk in the spirit."

Love.  Joy.  Peace.  Longsuffering.  Gentleness.  Goodness.  Faith.  Meekness.  Temperance.

Against such there is no law.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ashes ashes we all fall down

Confession, or Why I Finally Cancelled Netflix.

In January, I spent a little less than $10 on DVDs...  Pulse, Ju-on, and Synechdoche, New York, all used.  The first two are horror films I haven't seen.  The third is a horror film I have seen and survived to appreciate.  

Relatively speaking, $10 is a forgivable trifle. 

In February, I've already spent $200 on DVDs.  That's bad.  Stupid bad.  Nearly unforgivable bad.

At least I have an understanding and forgiving wife.

Here's how my madness breaks down...

I'm in Walmart at the beginning of last week with the girls and feel like splurging a bit since I'm happy about the new baby.
Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 2
Clint Eastwood Western Icon Collection (High Plains Drifter, Joe Kidd, and Two Mules for Sister Sara)
Clint Eastwood Definitive Collection (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

It's the end of the week.  I get out of tractor supply in Vestal and think that it'll be harmless to check for movies at Hollywood Video.

It's the same day at the end of the week and I'm in a really bad mood from being out shopping for too long.  In a fit of impotent rage in Wegmans, I think to myself, "I know how I'll get back at the world.  I'll piss everyone off by buying movies out of this $4.99 bin."
The Misfits
Wild Bill
A Prayer Before Dying
The Princess and the Pirate

At this point, I'm already feeling really guilty about how irresponsible I've been in my spending.  So, of course, things only get worse.

This past Sunday, I made the worst decision of all.  I went into a Hollywood Video in Ithaca (the one by the mall) that is going out of business.  All of their DVDs are on sale, including their entire foreign section that is crammed full of Criterion titles.  As sick as I am with myself for what I spent, I have to confess that it was agonizing leaving so many great titles on the shelf.  I walked away with 15 discs.  I could have easily doubled that amount with films that are just as good as the ones I chose.  All films were 3 for $25.  Compared to retail Criterion prices, that's better than a buy 1, get 1 free sale.  It's like a buy 1, get 2 free sale.  
Mouchette (Bresson)
L'argent (Bresson)
Vampyr (Dreyer)
The Bad Sleep Well (Kurosawa)
High and Low (Kurosawa)
Dodes'ka-den (Kurosawa)
Le deuxieme souffle (Melville)
Grand Illusion (Renoir)
La bete humaine (Renoir)
Pauline at the Beach (Rohmer)
The Lady and the Duke (Rohmer)
Il generale della rovere (Rossellini)
La jetee/Sans soleil (Marker)
Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut)
The Fallen Idol (Reed)

What's really bad is that I'm already thinking about when I can get back there to see if the prices have dropped any further.  But, then I'm done.  Really.  Okay, I need to stay away until the store closes.

And so I've cancelled Netflix.

Not counting the Tom & Jerry collection, I bought 26 DVDs.  Throwing in the 3 from January, that's 29.  Let's call it 30.

I made up a few deals for myself to get Netflix back, but all of them seem unfairly skewed in my favor.

So I've made a harder list comprised of two Herculean tasks.

I can get Netflix back if...

- I watch all of the unwatched DVDs in my collection (which will probably take at least a year to do)
- I lose 50 lbs (nothing else has motivated me; maybe new movies can)

That's it.  Those are the conditions.  Goodbye Netflix.     

Monday, February 15, 2010

Waking up at 6am

It is the people we know best who can, on rare occasions, seem most unreal to us.  For a moment the familiar face registers as merely an arbitrary arrangement of colored surfaces, without even the shadowy personality with which we invest a strange face glimpsed in the street.
-Fritz Leiber, from Conjure Wife

Under different circumstances, I might be really harsh toward Sleep Dealer.  As it is, I'm in an unbearably forgiving mood and grant the film a full pardon for its multitude of transgressions.

Besides the near-future Mexican setting, we've seen it all before.  Country boy in a big city.  Woman taking advantage of person falls in love with same person.  Cozy bums 'round the campfire.  Fuzzy-bordered memory sequences.  Body implants that allow direct neurological connection to the Web and to others.  So many worn-out types and tropes.

Nevertheless, Sleep Dealer shines.  

Rivera is no Bergman, but he's asking the same fundamental questions that Bergman repeatedly asks.  Who am I?  Who are you?  How can two individuals know one another?  Why don't Americans like Mexicans?

It may be the protagonist's smile alone that kept me involved.  I'm not sure.  But I bought it all and really liked every moment.  Having willfully submitted to the schmaltz, the emotional payoff at the end was extremely satisfying because I was invested in the character and this (barely) believable near future.

In fact, I was feeling so good that I had a Fraggle Rock tune jump into my head.  Of course, later in the afternoon (I was up really early watching Sleep Dealer), I watched the Fraggle Rock episode "Let the Water Run" with my girls just to celebrate.  It's an okay episode; nothing special.  Except, yeah, it feels really good when the water starts running again.  Feel the water run.

I recommend Sleep Dealer.  I'm hoping that Rivera's next feature delivers on the promise and is twice as good.  

There's been a nice little run lately of really decent relatively low-budget science fiction.  Moon.  Timecrimes.  Visioneers.  Sleep Dealer.  I'm watching Cold Souls tomorrow night.  District 9 fits here if I'm feeling generous.  I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm missing.  Film SF is still at least 40 years behind print SF, but signs of life continue to emerge.  Here's to a bright future.   

Friday, February 12, 2010


I've got a new baby.  Quentin.  Number 5.  Her name is not Quentin.  It is Lucinda Hope.  Unfortunately, her first film seen in the hospital was a "shaken baby" doc: let's start 'em on the horror first thing!  Still in the hospital, she joined me in watching short segments of Wuthering Heights and The Pink Panther on TCM, but we gave up on both of those.  There just wasn't anything to equal the horror of that first film.

Back at home, I had a Netflix disc waiting.  I fell asleep to Baichwal's Act of God two nights in a row, then dutifully finished it the third morning.  I just couldn't get into it.  Greenaway's short doc of the same name dealing with the same subject is slightly preferable if only because it has a much better sense of humor. 

I've had off from work so I've been watching a decent amount of stuff with the girls...

The Ace of Hearts is a silent film starring Lon Cheney (sr.) that I really wanted to like.  A secret society decides that a man has lived too long and now must die.  A great premise.  The execution is lame.  The "constructive" love bit is too much.  There are a few good moments that keep the whole thing watchable.

Hot Water, a Harold Lloyd vehicle, turned out to be one of the best silent comedies I've seen in a while.  I've seen other Lloyd pictures, but nothing this good.  Basically, Lloyd's character suffers at every turn in dealing with his in-laws!  I thought it was really funny, but I was definitely helped in my appreciation by Mildred's raucous laughter.  The ghost/sleepwalking sequence is perfect.  
We've also been watching shorts:

Rapunzel is a waste of Harryhausen's talents, but pleasant enough.

The Flag is the first silent film I've ever seen that was shot in Technicolor.  It's a fun little tale of Washington and Betsy Ross.

I bought Tom & Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 2

Puss Gets the Boot has "Jasper" being thrown out after breaking too many dishes.
The Midnight Snack features some food fighting, but also ends in broken dishes.
The Night Before Christmas is going on my short list of favorite Christmas movies.  Tom and Jerry make peace for Christmas.  I feel like there is a long tradition of this happening between animated rivals, but I can't think of other specific examples right now.
Fraidy Cat is the second film we saw (the first being Hot Water) that had a really great ghost chase sequence.
Dog Trouble is notable in that Tom and Jerry form a temporary alliance to get a dog out of the house.  It ends not in dishes but furniture crashing.

More to come soon.  

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gonzo Pulp

For a lot of last year, I was on a crime/mystery novel kick and I subscribed to the Hard Case Crime Book Club (reprints of "classic" pulp tales and original works inspired by them).  TBLPoCNO, for most of its run time, feels like a skewed (Herzogian) take on Hard Case Crime.  

For comparison, Tarantino's Pulp Fiction is too self-aware and clever to truly succeed as an evocation of the seediest of pulp crime fiction.  TBLPoCNO isn't clever at all.  It's just plain nuts.  Finklestein deserves credit for keeping things pure pulp.  Herzog gets all the praise, though, for crafting something wildly compelling out of it all.  Cage, too, plays every depraved note just right.  

Ultimately, TBLPoCNO is as disposable as the pulps that inspired it, but it's also just as naughtily thrilling as the best of them.

I missed TBLPoCNO when it played at Cinemapolis.  I caught it at the last 10:15 showing of its 7-day run at Regal here in Binghamton.  I was surprised that two other people showed up.  I'd love to know what the local box office totals were for the entire week.    

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Conversations 2010 #5

Conversations 2010 #5

Eyes Wide Shut.  Yup.  I doubt I'll ever see it again due to spousal disapproval.  I don't really mind except when I hear anyone rave about the film and argue that it's a masterpiece.  I've got a BFI study that I'll try to remember to bring to you next time I'm at the Pond.

I'll also let you borrow my Cahiers du Cinema 50s anthology if you want to.  It's full of great articles, but I still haven't read more than half of it.  Like I've said before, there's only so much criticism I can read of films I haven't seen before I get tired of it not being able to fully respond and interact.  I've been meaning for a while to get a copy of Bazin's What is Cinema? And spend some time absorbing it.

I think you're being deliberately obtuse in not seeing the connection between District 9 and Next Day Air.

Both are relatively small films with relatively small budgets.  One was a surprise success.  The other was neglected by critics and audiences.  I don't begrudge District 9 its success and maybe my word choice was harsh, but Next Day Air is by far the better film and I wish it had succeeded in the same way that District 9 did.  I think that Next Day Air's failure must have come down to marketing.  Besides seeing the trailer once a long time ago, I don't remember hearing about the film anywhere else.  The studio behind District 9, on the other hand, had cities covered in mysterious advertisements for months beforehand, building up buzz like a juggernaut.  I don't think the studio believed in Next Day Air at all.

I'm not too hopeful about the upcoming Wolf Man film, but I might give it a chance.  I'll definitely be seeing Shutter Island. I'm hoping that my friend Justin's bit part remains in the final cut.  I read the Lehane novel early last year and I'm interested to see what Scorsese does with the material.  I will tell you that you should go to see it as unprepared as possible. Don't read any reviews or listen to anyone or anything.

Speaking of the Wolf Man, I watched Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein with my daughters yesterday.  That was a lot of fun.  The middle two did get tense during the final monster brawl, but otherwise there were many more laughs than scares throughout.  I haven't seen all of the Universal monster movies yet, but this film does seem like the comedy culmination of all of them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conversations 2010 #4

Conversations 2010 #4

Brandon, I eagerly await each new post.  Keep them coming.

I'm thinking of making a list of critics that I'd like to see make films.  The late 1950s Cahiers du Cinema group was truly extraordinary.  I'm not aware of anything else like it before or since. 

I enjoyed your top ten list.  I'm eager to see 35 Rhums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, 24 City, and The Box.  I've got Coraline and Treeless Mountain at home and hope to see them before this week is over.  I think that my slump feelings are over for the moment.    

I wish you hadn't squeezed Avatar in there.  Between you and Jason, I'm starting to feel the pressure to see it in the theatre before its lengthy run ends.  I honestly feel ambivalent toward the film and felt okay skipping it.  I expect the worst, but this positive buzz is getting to me.   
I remember seeing the trailer for Next Day Air a long time ago and thinking that it might be a film worth catching.  That was the first and last time that I thought about it until you posted that you loved it.  I didn't even give it a chance.  I'm glad that you found it and gave it a chance because otherwise I would have let it slip on by.  And that's too bad because it's a little film that deserves to be seen and championed.  

Screw District 9.  Next Day Air should have been the surprise hit at the box office last year.  

I know it's not likely to happen, but I'd love to see Next Day Air nominated for a best original screenplay Oscar.  [Never mind.  Since writing this earlier today, I've seen that the nominations are out and Next Day Air was ignored as expected.  What a shame.]