Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Celluloid #20

In Home

All About Eve (1950) Mankiewicz - Eve is a sweet, modest, humble girl who worships Margo, an aging theatre actress. Margo takes Eve in and gives her a job as a personal assistant. Everyone loves Eve to begin with, but she seems a little too good to be true, and as the story progresses, we see that Eve isn't exactly what we think. A story about women primarily, and the hardships they face as they grow older. Also, plenty of cat-fights...4/5

the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Dominik - Brad Pitt plays the legendary and beloved criminal Jesse James, while Casey Affleck does a good job at playing his young admirer Robert Ford. This film is actually a lot better than I expected. The pace is deliberate and the style is incredibly beautiful. Even though the title explicitly tells you what's going to happen, the film creates a terrific amount of tension. The debut by this Australian director (generally a good sign), I look forward to Dominik's next project. 4.5/5

Before Sunrise (1995) Linklater - Ethan Hawke is a young American travelling around Europe and happens to meet the lovely Julie Delpy on the train the afternoon before he flies back to the States. They have some sort of connection and end up getting off together in Vienna. They go shopping for records, walk around, eat at cafes, watch street performers, go to a fair, etc. The movie is meant to be a Romance, but with Linklater at the helm, you are sure to have your fair share of pseudo-intellectual conversation...this time having a lot to do with the idea of "love." While the conversations themselves were pretty realistic, they still often crossed over into "cringe" territory. Plus, Ethan Hawke has really ugly mid-nineties facial hair and is just kinda an ass to watch. 3.5/5

Foxy Brown (1974) Hill - Pam Grier is one sexy, stylish, badass. This time around she's a lady out to avenge her dead lover and take down a drug/prostitution ring with a little help from the Panthers. She fucks a lot of people up, including her Uncle Tom brother, and you see her boobs no less than three times. Pretty much exactly what you want to see when watching an exploitation film: great outfits, amazing soundtrack, plenty of fights, titties, and an uplifting black nationalism message. 5/5

Il Posto (1961) Olmi - Domenico has just finished school and needs to find a job to help support his family. In Milan, they are hiring clerks and postal workers, pending one is able to pass an extensive test involving math problems, psychiatric evaluation, general aptitude, and physical health. Domenico meets a young lady who is also taking the test, and they both end up getting hired. However, Domenico ends up having to work in a separate building from her and is disappointed that they won't be able to have lunch together. A plot of small details rather than a lot of action. 4/5

Mirror (1974) Tarkovsky - To be honest, I didn't often know what was going on plotwise in this film. My suspicion is actually that not much was happening, but the scenes rather served to create a mood. Supposedly an autobiographical tale of Tarkovsky's childhood, we know that his father left his mother and they seemed to live in a fair amount of isolation. The film shifts between black & white and color depending on what time period the events take place. 4/5

Paranoid Park (2007) Van Sant - Whether you will enjoy this film, I think is highly dependent on how you feel about the recent period of Van Sant's films. If you liked Gerry and Elephant and could at least deal with Last Days then you'll probably find something to appreciate about this film. I actually happen to like the mentioned films so I had no real problems with Paranoid Park. The teenager dialogue does get a bit grating after a while, but seemed awkwardly accurate, especially for the teenagers I encountered in Portland specifically. (Sidenote: The indoor high school shots were actually filmed at a high school that I worked at in Portland). The basic plot is that Alex likes to skateboard with his friends, and one day accidentally ends up killing a security guard, which he tells absolutely no one, and we witness how he copes with this reality. It's slow-paced and features some pretty shots of Portland, and a song by local rapper Cool Nutz. 4/5

In News

* Darren Aronofsky's new film The Wrestler has been getting a lot of buzz and press lately, mainly due to Mickey Rourke's performance. This film should be released in mid-December

* Russian director Timur Bekmambetov who brought us Night Watch, Day Watch, and Wanted (of that bunch I've only seen Night Watch) is working on the final (?) chapter of the "watch" trilogy set to be called Twilight Watch
* And Ang Lee is filming a comedy about Woodstock...(really?? why?)


Saxon Baird said...

Okay, I have many reactions to this week of reviews. Which admittedly is unusual. I think this is because your film-watching territory has gotten into a whole bunch of shit I havent scene cuz im busy.

Anyways here are my reactions:

1. Totally surprised by your reaction to Assassination of Jesse James. This got such mediocre reviews that I just passed it up. Will try and see it now. I like australian films anyways.

2. Before Sunrise was based on a book written by Ethan Hawke, right? Plus. his facial I am sure is still there. Even furthermore, I am going to be on set for a Vogue photoshoot with Ethan this monday. I will report if the facial hair still remains.

3. "an uplifting black nationalism message" hahahaa...that should be on the cover of this film.

4. P.S. I heard The Wrestler blew it by too obviously pandering for an Oscar.

I get tons of news of pre-production news at Vogue. I also sometimes get to screen films months before release. I will keep you updated on stuff I run across.

raridan said...

The one thing that I forgot to mention about "Assassination of Jesse", is that the ending drags on too long and feels a little sloppily tagged on. This doesn't ruin the film for me but I think may have significantly influenced the amount of mediocre reviews...