So I finally saw The Dark Knight this week while may parents were in town visiting. The second in this particular Batman franchise, Dark Knight picks up where Batman Begins left off. This film seemed to me to contain many more action scenes than the previous film and obviously less character development. Everyone has been raving about Heath Ledger's performance, and I will say that he makes a great Joker...the Oscar buzz is a little far-fetched to me. While crazy action films aren't usually my thing, this film has enough story, darkness, and imagery for me to enjoy and I think the action scenes are well done. My only problems were that the Two-Face transformation didn't seem very believable to me (and the coin flipping thing was a little too similar to No Country For Old Men's gimmick, but better done in that film...I'm sure it's just coincidence) and the whole scene involving cell phone-sonar-multiscreened technology was pretty dumb if not confusing, but these are minor quibbles. Overall, my parents and I were all satisfied. 4/5
3 Women (1977) Altman - An oddball of a movie, even for Altman. Reportedly based on a dream that Altman had while his wife was in the hospital, this is a loose story about a woman who works at an assisted living center, a new employee who idolizes her and becomes her roommate, and a pregnant woman who paints graphic Egyptian/Greek styled murals depicting lots of genitals. Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall play the main ladies, and this is probably the most attractive either one of them has looked in a film. As far as plot or meaning goes, a lot is open to interpretation. 4/5
the Birds (1963) Hitchcock - Classic film where birds begin to fatally attack the residents of a small coastal town for no apparent reason. I understand that this film was pretty scary back in the day, and while I can't imagine present day audiences being frightened, I personally appreciated the "special" effects used to portray the bird-attack sequences for their style/aesthetic rather than believability. 4.5/5
Blood Simple (1984) Coen - The first Coen brothers film takes place in Texas and features a very young Frances McDormand. Abby is cheating on her husband, Marty, with one of his employees, Ray. Marty has hired a private detective to follow Abby and then later to murder the adulterous couple. As the title implies, there is a fair amount of blood, however, there are also a fair amount of twists. I had seen and loved this film before, and had re-watched it as something to do with my parents, and they also enjoyed it. 5/5
Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962) Varda - A young french singer believes that she has cancer and is waiting her hospital results. In the meantime, we see her prance around town, buying hats, feeling sorry for herself, meeting a nice soldier, meeting with her songwriter, etc. In one way it seems like she is questioning the meaning of her life, but on the other, she seems like a spoiled rich girl. 3.5/5
I Vitteloni (1956) Fellini - A group of friends are prolonging their adolescence as long as possible. They are bachelors, enjoy drinking and dancing, flirting with ladies, and some are persuing creative ambitions. Then, one of the friends gets his girlfriend (and sister of one of the other friends) pregnant and is forced into marrying her. He does care for her, but is reluctant to give up his lifestyle and rides the fence between these two worlds for some time. 4/5
the Tenant (1976) Polanski - Polanski actually stars in this film about a man seeking an apartment to rent in Paris and moves into one where the previous tenant had attempted suicide by jumping out of the window. The neighbors are very finicky about noise and company, and the protagonist undergoes a fairly implausible transformation. Also, this film features many scenes with Polanski in drag. 3.5/5
* The Coen Brothers have a new movie coming out in September called, Burn After Reading. Labelled as a crime comedy, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand all act. The story has something to do with information from a CIA agent and some employees at a gym.
* For more upcoming Tilda Swinton and Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Is finishing up. David Fincher (Zodiac, Se7en) is directing and it's a story about a man who ages backward.
* If you need any updates about the upcoming (as in next March) Watchmen film about the "greatest graphic novel of all time", you should check my friend Roman's page..there's a lot of comic nerdery there.