Randomly this past weekend I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I think I keep giving these Judd Apatow related projects a viewing strictly based on my affinity for the short-lived television show, "Freaks and Geeks." I pretty much had the same reaction to this film as my reactions to Knocked Up and Superbad, which is that parts made me laugh, but overall I didn't think it was that funny...enjoyable, but just not really my thing. Once again, our protagonist is adult dude who is sweet, but is totally a dude who plays video games all day and eats a lot of cereal. The story is also pretty familiar (a break-up, coping with the end of a relationship, meeting someone else, having to decide between the old girlfriend and the new love interest, etc.) I liked it, I just think people pee their pants a little too much over all of these films...3.5/5
-It was a slow movie-watching week for me. Partially a good thing because it implies that I actually had a bit of a social life this past week, but I also blame "Six Feet Under", as I am finishing up the last season of the series...
Batman Begins (2005) Nolan - I saw the trailer for The Dark Knight a couple weeks ago, which prompted me to catch up with the previous installment of the new Batman franchise. I actually enjoyed this movie quite a bit...dark, Christian Bale is good (Michael Caine is better!), just the right amount of action and character development. As the title implies, the movie is about Bruce Wayne's transformation and creation of the Batman persona, but he also has to save Gotham from the Scarecrow's mind-altering/mind-killing chemical terrorism. 4/5
Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) Cassavetes - While many Cassavetes films focus on relationships and the differences between men and women, in this film we see the 1970s "indie" version of film noir. Cosmo owns a strip club in Los Angeles, and one night a guy who owns a gambling joint across town, comes to Cosmo's club and convinces him to stop by his establishment sometime. Cosmo ends up losing $23,000 there and has some difficulties paying his debt off. 4/5
* To my disappointment/relief, Werner Herzog is not remaking Bad Lieutenant. He is filming a movie by that name, but it isn't the same story, and Herzog apparently just discovered that the Harvey Keitel movie even existed.
* Chris Marker, the director most known for his beautiful short film La Jetee, has finally had some of his other films released on DVD. Titles include The Last Bolshevik, The Case of the Grinning Cat, The Embassy, The Sixth Side of the Pentagon, and seven more short films. They are supposed to have been available for the past couple months, but probably still not easy to come across.
*Criterion is actually going to release the highly controversial (and still usually banned film) Salo (120 Days of Sodom) by Pasolini. The film is based on the pornography of the Marquis de Sade, and has been known to cause some viewers to vomit upon watching it..others call it a masterpiece. It was Pasolini's last film before he was murdered. Available in August.