Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quiet City

I watched Quiet City. I liked it. I didn't have nearly the revelatory experience that you did. Please don't misunderstand me. I liked it.

I'll keep from spoilers.

I'll just say that I prefer Cold Weather's playfulness to Quiet City's poetic realism.

I am now an unreserved Katz fan.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An Act of God

Breaking Bad has broke bad. "Crawl Space" is the payoff after a long, slow ramping up this season. No holds barred. I'm more excited about these next two episodes than I am about any other stinkin' movie coming out this Fall. I can hardly believe that we'll have the pleasure of another whole season after this!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jeff is still wrong about Midnight in Paris...

...but he is completely right about Drive.

I don't have any response to your post. It's perfect. You've changed my mind.

Driver for President.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cosmic Justice and Becoming a Real Human Being.

Vince Gilligan says, "Walt must be punished for his sins."

Okay, he doesn't quite say that, but you'll never know what he did say unless you click on the link and listen to the interview.

Breaking Bad continues its run as TV's only genuine pulp masterpiece. I love that Walt has become less and less sympathetic to the point where he's almost unlikable now. I'm not sure how else things could be.


I never wrote about finishing Mildred Pierce. I finished it a while ago. I couldn't sympathize with much of this. The daughter character is insufferable to the point of being annoying to watch. Really, Mrs. Pierce, you deserve what you get when you cultivate spoiled milk as if it's fresh cream.


Abby watched ahead of me and finished The Killing. I still have about six episodes to go and probably will never finish. I just don't care who killed poor Rosie. I lost the momentum here and now I can't get as worked up as any of these characters.


I watched an episode of an Australian gangster show called Underbelly Razor. Again, the characters are criminal to the point of being boring and annoying.


So, why is it that I like Walt being a terrible jerk and can't stand all of these other instances. I think that it's because I loved him first. His fall is painful. It hurts to watch. These other jerks? They're just jerks.


A couple episodes of Colbert. The "too hot to fish" story was hilarious.


Robin Hood every Tuesday.


I'll try to have a Simpsons post in a week or so, but I'll only have about half of season 7 watched unless I have another binge session before the week is over.


Enough TV. On to some movies...


Night and Fog is the only concentration camp movie that matters. Talk about assisted dying.


Everyone knows by now that I watched the Pratchett doc. Choosing to Die. See FB.


Cold Weather is a marvelous little movie. There's no way to write about it without spoiling it. What's surprising to me is how often I want to compare these "mumblecore" guys to Rohmer. First, Bujalski. Now, Katz. Cold Weather has a definite Rohmerian bent in its chronicling of relationships, but Brandon may be pleased to know that it also takes a surprisingly Truffautian (distinctly not Godardian) leap toward genre mash-up. This is far from Don't Shoot the Piano Player, though. The similarity to Truffaut's work is that genre conventions are filtered through personal and relational sensibilities.

You guys are all nincompoops if you don't watch this.


If Cold Weather is a fine example of "soft-boiled noir" (I think that I just coined a new sub-genre), then Drive is about as hard-boiled as they come. Brandon's going to hate me saying this, but it reminded me most of last year's The Killer Inside of Me, a film which I begrudgingly respect and think of more often than most other films from last year. It takes pulp tropes and grinds them out methodically and mercilessly until there's nothing but the pure juice of "crime doesn't pay."

I can't agree with Jeff's enthusiastic FB proclamation that Drive is a masterpiece. There's just too much missing information. With no background for our "hero," we understand no motivation except for our imported desires to see a Killer With A Heart Of Gold Waiting For the Right Girl To Show Him How To Stop Killing And Learn To Love. Drive plays with stereotypes, but it never rises above them.

Gosling is the star here. I enjoyed his character's quiet moments. A brief nod. A smile. Gosling's got a good face and knows how to use it.

I'm looking forward to reviews from Jeff and Chris. I'll definitely interact.

(I'm being a little bit negative here. Don't be fooled. I enjoyed the movie a lot. It's the best non-TOL film I've seen from 2011 so far.)


All caught up. Gotta go.

EDIT: (oh yeah. I almost forgot. Harry Potter and the Conclusion of the Blockbuster Movie Franchise was a complete waste of time. I won't hate on your nerd crush too much. I also can't grumble too much for getting paid to see any movie. Harry Potter. Paul Blart. It's a way to make a living.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Numbered Conversations


Really, It's okay that you like Paul. I'd probably like it, too, if it wasn't so stupid and irritating and hard to watch.

Sorry that I keep bringing this up, but you haven't posted anything else so I'm stuck making fun of you for liking Paul until we get some new content from you.


Quiet City will be at the top of my queue just as soon as I sign back up for Netflix. I'm trying to sell a few things to make some money, then I'll have $ in my paypal account to pay for Netflix. Probably 2 DVDs at a time plan; no streaming.

I just finished Cold Weather. It's a serious contender to dethrone True Grit and Meek's Cutoff at the top of my 2010 list. It'll probably have to settle in right behind those, though, since the only character in the film that wears a cowboy hat is a villain.


Watch a movie. Quit spending your time hacking into celebrity computers.


I haven't seen any of the films on your 1935 list except for The 39 Steps. I will add the '35 list to the list site later today.

Here's my stab at a '39 list. Some of these I haven't seen in a decade plus, but so what, here goes...


1. Destry Rides Again (George Marshall)
2. Stagecoach (John Ford)
3. Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks)
4. Frontier Marshall (Allan Dwan)
5. The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir)
6. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra)
7. Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford)
8. The Roaring Twenties (Raoul Walsh)
9. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming)
10. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming)
11. Jesse James (Henry King)


There's a problem if Jason is posting more often than you are. Shame.


I probably won't have a Simpsons list too soon. I had a couple of days of binge watching, but haven't done much watching since. I'll see if I can finish Season 7 before the end of September, but no promises.


Just because I like it...

Monday, September 12, 2011

An entire season in Paris.

Midnight in Paris is still playing at Cinemapolis through September. The film is an arthouse juggernaut. A true blockbuster! Who'da thunk it? Jeff and Woody are vindicated.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boozed Out Baboon

I'm willing to forgive Brandon's obvious lapse in sound judgment. Our poor boy has been on a drug-and-alcohol-fueled rock 'n' roll tour for far too long. He hadn't seen a movie in weeks. He's malnourished. His only source of protein has been the moonshine that he's been swilling for breakfast. We can't be too angry with him for falling for Seth Rogen's version of Alf.

Re-posting my Paul thoughts in a shameless attempt to shame Brandon into a more sober perspective:

I was in a bad mood after having to stay late at work yesterday so I chose to go see a 10:20p showing of Paul to wind down.

If you like...
...gratuitous strings of vulgar language (for the sake of cheap laughs rather than honest character exploration), pseudo-science, nerd ignorance and prejudices, cheap shots at fundy evangelical caricatures, anal probe jokes, notorious product placement, hit-you-over-the-head-obvious-because-you're-stupid film and pop culture references, dumb road trip conventions, bromantic deconstructions of male friendships, cardboard characters, and a lame plot that doesn't do much to transcend any of the weakest of the above...

If you like all of those things, you'll love Paul.

I don't like any of those things.

I hate Paul.

Greg Mottola, you make me weep.

Honestly, I prefer ALF. The writing is much stronger. Seriously.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bryan Cranston's Contagion

Hey guys,

I don't feel like writing. Common problem these days, huh?

Yesterday, I spend the day at work helping out guys who are now homeless because of the flood.

By the time I was finished at 9:30pm, I was happy to see that the Binghamton Regal was open. I needed to watch something stupid. I was hoping to catch Rise of the Brandons Who Idiotically Think That Paul Is Better Than Adventureland, but I just missed that monkey mess. Instead, I was able to catch a 10:10pm showing of a movie that I hadn't heard anything about: Contagion. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring Bryan Cranston (okay, he's only got a small role and I had no idea that he was going to be in this based on the poster, but he still OWNS this movie).

Short Review:
Contagion is worth seeing if you're in the mood for a non-water-based natural catastrophic disaster film after a long day.

Contagion reminded me of Fincher's Zodiac. Maybe not to that same level, but Soderbergh ignores a lot of the normal thriller aspects to this sort of story and focuses on people doing their jobs. It's mostly UN-thrilling.


I came home late and watched a few episodes of The Simpsons. I can't remember if you guys love this season or not, but I think that I do. Bart sells his soul! Lisa gives up meat! Homer goes digital, then gets dumped in the "real" world! Marge buys a $90 suit! Maggie shoots Burns! Great stuff.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dentist

Chris wrote: "I'm really wishing I lived in the house from the movie right now. I've got a wisdom tooth that is bugging the hell out of me."

I just had a giant temporary filling crack apart and fall out last night. I'm not supposed to go back to the dentist for a few more weeks. For a root canal. I'd probably be better off just letting one of those little Dark buggers come at me with a razor.

And a couple of nights ago, I had a nightmare about my teeth falling out. I had to check my mouth in the morning. This is the only recurring nightmare that I have that I always remember.

Still, maybe DBAotD really scared me more than I realized and is now working its way through my system, looking for release. Or maybe I've just had dentists chastise me too often for not flossing frequently enough.

Reading Goodness

[Quick non-movie non-TV post]

I'm assuming that most of you guys (and gal) read books when you get a chance.

Join me on GoodReads.

I started using GoodReads back in '08, but I was never good about logging things read and would get frustrated when I'd spend a month reading journal articles and SF magazines and have no way to log these things (what's the use of a site designed to share what you're reading if you can't share what you're reading?). It's definitely an incomplete tool (it'd be nice to see journals/magazines added at the very least; am I getting repetitive?), but it is quite nice for what it is. It's fun to see what friends are reading and it's always great to come across that book or two that you may have never heard of otherwise.

I've been using the site again regularly since June.

Jason's been faithfully posting there for a long while.

Ben just recently joined the site.

Now it's your turn, Brandon, Jeff, Lisa, Chris.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jason Smacks Down the Tooth Fairy.

Very enjoyable posts, Jason. It was a lot of fun to read you trashing Dark. I love reading you guys urging Ben and Lisa to go see the film after writing about what a scareless crapfest it is. I don't think they're going to see it. Brandon probably won't see it either. He'll probably catch it when it hits a Redbox, then he'll be afraid to turn off the lights in his apartment for a week.

I think that you hit on the one big reason why I don't like the horror genre. I'm rarely ever scared by a horror movie; which leaves me "pissed that I didn't get scared." I know that it's probably because I'm cynical and hyper-aware of editing and because I'm generally scarier than any ol' movie monster, but I'd like to experience this movie fear, too. And I just don't. I'll try to check out either Paranormal Activity 2 and/or Insidious and get back to you on how stupid and unscary they are. Maybe Hellraiser? Maybe Ernest Scared Stupid? What's the scariest movie you can think of? I'm sick of humoring these creatures under the floorboards. It's time for me to face off against the Big Bad of horror movies.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Dang, Chris, I was just sitting down to write a post and I noticed that you had already posted. I couldn't help myself. I read it all. And now I don't really have much to say about Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. You covered it all and I think that all three of us are pretty much in agreement about the film.

Some quick notes:

The set-up is way too slow (though this seems common to this sort of horror film).

The creatures are nicely done. Computer or no computer, this is Henson-level creature wizardry. Del Toro's influence is certainly felt here. Contrary to what you wrote, I started wishing that we would see more and more of them. I'd love to see an episode of Jesse and Mike Versus the Tooth Faeries.

Seriously, some of the creaturely activities reminded me of some mischievous moments from the Gremlins films. The movie is at its best when it achieves these Dantean levels of levity.

The myth/back story was just right and the set design/artwork went a long way in helping this film.

This is the most endearing/likeable that Katie Holmes has ever been in any film that I've seen her in.

Maybe it's only because I've also been watching Mildred Pierce, but I can't think of Guy Pearce as anything but a smarmy jerk. I hope that he's a really likeable guy in "real life."

I'm done for now. I'll chime in on any further Dark talk as it happens.

Not a Mumblecore Fan

Yikes, Jason, what does someone have to do around here to prove their appreciation for something?

I'm on record highly praising Bujalski (I even compared him favorably to Rohmer, one of my favorites!) and Gerwig (favorably compared to Gish and Karina!). I've at least mildly enjoyed every Duplass offering I've seen (and have been astounded by some great isolated moments in their films). I'm likely to sign back up for Netflix before the year is over for the sole reason of wanting to see Cold Weather more than just about any other film right now. A couple of years ago, I joked about waiting for Mumblecore Noir. Now, it's finally arrived and I have no way of seeing it!!

So, while it's true that I wouldn't call myself a "Mumblecore fan," I am not dismissive of the "movement" or of any of the players or directors that I've come across so far.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We need to break this cycle of silence.

No Dark posts until Saturday.

In the meantime, here's a brief rundown on what I've been watching.

Not much.

I saw Trade Winds on the 13th.

Then, Tuesday the 16th, I watched Yankee Doodle Dandy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Colt 45. Dandy is worth watching because of Cagney. We didn't finish Smith because we had to go out that afternoon and I fell asleep to Colt and haven't finished either one of them since then.

It's over two weeks later and I haven't watched a single film besides Dark.

Lots of TV, but I'm sure Brandon doesn't want to hear it.

Robin Hood is still consistently pleasant.

The Killing is compelling. Even though I know that it was the baby dragon that killed Rosie. We're a little over halfway through it.

I've been watching Mildred Pierce on my iPod just like it was meant to be seen. I've got Part 5 left to watch. I haven't seen the Curtiz version, but I suspect that he accomplishes in 111 minutes what it takes Haynes 300 or so minutes to get across.

I'm all up-to-date on Breaking Bad. "Problem Dog" is one of the best episodes of the season so far. I love the Howard Bros idea of a Mike/Jesse spin-off series. Reminds me of how fun it would have been to see a Sawyer/Miles cop show after Lost ended. I'm also thinking that I'd like to see a Hurley/Gus What If?/Elseworlds amalgamated chicken shack showdown.

I do think it's odd that Skyler had grand plans to launder money through a carwash and never once stopped to ask Walt how much money he is making. Huh?

I watched the "nigger toes" episode of Louie. Not that funny.

I tried watching the new Thundercats series, but couldn't get into it.

A lot of Stewart/Colbert at the beginning of the month. Nothing recently.

One episode of the Twilight Zone.

And that's about it.

Sorry, Ben, I still haven't watched your dog torture video.


For the historical record:

In order to be considered official, the following criteria must be met:
1) all CR5FC members must be invited in advance
2) at least 3 of us have to show up
3) we then watch a movie together

There have been three official events so far.

1) Meek's Cutoff
In attendance: Brandon, Jeff, John, Joel (special guest)

2) Tree of Life
In attendance: Brandon, Jeff, Lisa, John, Tara (special guest)

3) Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
In attendance: Chris, Jeff, John

Jeff, it was great to see you again.
Chris, it was awesome to finally meet you.

I expect Dark posts on Saturday.

After that, we can ignore movies some more and talk some Simpsons.