Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sax & Violins

I am interested in talking sex or death or religion or politics or pepsi vs. coke or whatever else drives folks nuts. But not here on this blog. Take me out and buy me a drink and I'll argue your ear off. I might even punch you in the face. I promise.

This space is reserved for movie talk. I'm all for bringing up any of the above here if and when they relate to specific movies (and if you've been reading here long enough, then you know or could probably figure out where I stand on all sorts of issues), but not in the abstract. It's a distraction. I'm just not interested. Not here. I'm not prescribing a rule for movie club nor am I trying to change anyone else's posting persuasions; I'm just explaining why I haven't joined in on much of y'all's pontificating, from religious right-mongering to leftist-behindedness.

You guys can write about whatever you want, but I don't have the time to spend responding to those other things.

I'm here to talk movies.

So, let's talk movies.

I just re-watched The Last Exorcism. It's actually better on DVD than the big screen because the faux-doc camera movement is less nauseating. It's still one of my favorites from last year. I still can't discuss the ending because none of you have seen it. I love the ending. Brandon, get this one from Redbox. You'll either love it or we'll have a good argument about demons.

The other movie I've watched is Peter Weir's The Way Back. This is an impossible film. I almost feel bad for the studio. There was/is no good way to market this film. It can't quite be marketed as an inspiring true story because of the controversy over the source material. It could be marketed as an action film, but it would die the second weekend when word of mouth spread the cold hard fact that this is a film about walking. There's a little more to it then that, but really we're watching men walk for 2+ hours.

Thus, besides a brief limited engagement in the Big Cities, the film was doomed to the direct-to-DVD void. Which is really too bad because I'm sure the film looked stunning on a big screen.

I love The Way Back. Peter Weir has been one of my favorite directors for as long as I can remember. He never disappoints and he does not disappoint here. Weir makes you feel the journey -- including feeling the incredible length of the journey. Never mind that the whole might be a gulag fever dream. This is all true for Weir. Every moment. So it is true to us.


On to Jeff's most recent list: 2006

I've only seen three out of the ten movies you list. 2006 may as well not have existed as far as me and movies go. I had just re-discovered boardgames at the end of 2005 and that became my primary extra-family obsession that year. Movies suffered. I also just wasn't keeping track with what was going on internationally and was bummed by crappy looking American releases. I hadn't really strongly cared about film since 1999/2000/2001. The entire early to mid aughts film landscape is a wasteland to me and honestly, I haven't really felt a need to go back and catch up.

Here are the three I've seen from your list:

The Proposition
I don't like this as much as Brandon, but I like it. I feel like the tension at the end fizzles out during a right-on-cue rescue moment. I also remember liking the "misanthrope" conversation.

Yeah, this is gimmicky and I never quite fell for it even the first time. Even so, Rian Johnson is undeniably talented. I think that the script got a lot of attention, but what really stands out is the mise en scene and camerawork.

The Departed
I saw this on HBO at a hotel while being paid to be at a conference. I remember not liking it, but I can't even remember enough to tell you why.

I don't have much to add to the 2006 conversation except to list two more films that you may not have seen.

A Scanner Darkly is probably the best film adaptation of any PKD story to date (rumors have Gondry working on an Ubik adaptation, which is only a disappointment if, like me, you were hoping for Kaufman to adapt it). If you want to understand the state of the States today, you need to put down your lit-crit-psycho-sexual-colonial-response text and pick up a Dick novel. Or watch this Linklater adaptation. It's got an Alex Jones cameo, too, which is fun.

Joyeux Noel is one of my favorite war movies, about some soldiers who decide not to kill each other. I was lucky enough to catch this while it was playing at a small art theater in Buffalo.

I am not a pacifist. Sometimes violence IS the best way, even the righteous way. Instances like assassinating the Head of a tribe of murderous villains is a good recent example of good violence.

Being a grunt killing other grunts, though, rarely works out for anyone but the suits back home, but sometimes this, too, is necessary.

The grunts usually aren't the real bad guys. WWII German foot soldiers ARE the bad guys when they are following orders and occupying French territory in an all-out grab for Nazi world domination. They must be violently resisted. German soldiers aren't the bad guys when they're sharing their beer and singing Christmas Carols. They may be treated as brothers.

I don't think Brandon liked this when I let him borrow it. I'm not sure why. It's one of my favorites from the last ten years.

Shyamalan's best, Lady in the Water came out in 2006. I'm in the minority here.
X-Men: The Last Stand may be a mess, but it's far better than anyone gives it credit for. You're all cold, heartless bastards for not breaking down every time you see the final exchange between Wolverine and Jean Grey.

Ben, I'm glad to hear that you loved Black Heaven. ;) Come on. Give me a lashing. Talk me out of liking it!

Lisa, that's too bad about The Lincoln Lawyer. I was hoping to see it at the Cinema Saver soon. I haven't read that book, but I'm a Michael Connelly fan and have read all but the last two Harry Bosch novels and most of his non-Bosch books. Eastwood's Bloodwork is a really decent adaptation of the Connelly novel. A few things are changed (some significant), but Eastwood respected Connelly's novel and was true to its "feel."

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