Monday, January 31, 2005

Movie time...

Well, after a weekend of intense movie viewing - a little recap is necessary to keep it all straight in my head...

Intimate Strangers - This French film from director, Patrice Leconte, is similar to his previous film Man On The Train. Once again, he throws two unlikely characters into the same space and forces them to react. The premise for this film is that a woman goes to see a psychiatrist about marital problems, but mistakenly goes into the wrong office... She tells all of her intimate secrets to a tax consultant even after he reveals the truth. Like Man On The Train, the dialogue is impeccable, but the story is forgettable. Leconte appears to be satisfied with watching the two characters interact with very little "story." Not bad, but ultimately Man On The Train's characters are more intriguing, the story is less contrived, and there is more of a payoff at the end - go see Man On The Train instead.

Maria Full Of Grace - Colombian film that follows Maria Alvarez, an exploited drug "mule", that swallows plastic bags of drugs and smuggles them over the border. By now, most of you probably have heard that Catalina Sandino Moreno is nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Maria. The first half of the story is shot like a documentary and is shockingly moving, but the second half falls apart as the writer tries to find a way to conclude the story. Worth seeing because of the subject matter, but not a fully realized film.

Mean Creek - First time director, Jacob Aaron Estes scores with this story about 6 kids going boating and inviting the school's bully to give him a taste of his own medicine. Things go wrong (as they always do) and we are left wondering, what are they to do? The ending is dissatisfying and the kids initial decision is stupifying, but the film supplied more to think about than either of the two above...

United States Of Leland - Hands-down the best thing I've seen a while. Ryan Gosling does a fabulous job as the troubled youth that commits an unthinkable crime. Don Cheadle is perfect as the concerned/opportunistic teacher, Kevin Spacey nails the asshole father role, and Jena Malone is strong enough as the druggie girlfriend. RECOMMENDED.

Any other recommendations?


Jason B said...

We just watched Anderson's the Life Aquatic. I was impressed with how much better it was than the reviews. Anderson's sense of simple illustration to create a DIY alternate reality is the most clear of his movies thus far. Jeff Goldblum and Bud Cort (shocking!!) are developed just as fully in supporting roles as Murray and Huston are obscured in lead roles. It's kitschy, but there's still stuff to get you emotionally involved. We laughed throughout the closing credits.

Speaking of Bud Cort, Harold and Maude is really worth renting. Kinda gothy before "goth" was a clique in your high school. Very touching and his scenes with the possible suitors are high-larious. Other than that, I keep hearing about the Third Man by Hitchcock.

Sinical said...

The Third Man is not by Hitchcock... it's directed by Carol Reed. Fabulous film - obviously influenced by Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and of course, Hitchcock. Stars Welles in possibly his best role (aside from Charles Foster Kane). Recommended.

Sinical said...

I pair the Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic together, because they aren't comedies really. They are excercises in absurdity. Bottle Rocket and Rushmore were comedies, because the writers were attempting to be funny when writing the dialogue. Wes has now branched into his own form of comedy. He no longer looks for the long-winded belly laugh achieved from an ironic line. We (Connie, Amy, and I) watched the film in a theater and it was a wholly rewarding experience. I was laughing at completely different times than the person 5 rows back.

Sidenote: I watched Death To Smoochy again recently and would once again like to state that this movie is unfairly criticized. If you haven't seen it, then you are wasting your life. [I love making sweeping statements that serve no purpose].

Lillian said...

I keep trying to get my netflix list up here, there's sposively some way to make my queue a feed, but hell, it's been a busy week. So I got nothin' - cept this:

Our Editor-in-Chief was in town a week ago & took some of us out to dinner. As is my want, I use times like this to fully & without regret, enjoy myself with little regard to the objections of others. I brought Joseph Bueys pics, wolf pics (one of the She wolf that raised Romulus & Remus) and came armed to ask everyone for movie recommendations. Here's what I got:

Maltese Falcon
Third Man
Angels with Dirty Faces
Book: The LA Quartet (the source for LA Stories?)
The Good the Bad & The Ugly (seen it)
There's more, but that's all I can recall.

I loaded them into our queue - right now we have (as J mentioned):
Devil in a Blue Dress (Don Cheadle is unparalleled as Mouse)
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance kid (the music is sooo corney)
and a third that I will call the mystery movie (can't remember)

Gotta jet, more later.

Sinical said...

Maltese Falcon is Bogart's quintessential role probably even more so than Casablanca. Definite quality.

Third Man - Jason mentioned this the other day on here and it inspired me to rent the film again. I was talking to the film store manager where I rent and he said there is a new Criterion edition. The new edition includes a radio broadcast Welles did where he resumes the role of Harry. Sounds entertaining...

Angels with Dirty Faces - Never seen this, but they just released a Gangster Films box set that includes this film. Four Cagney classics + 1 Bogart and one other one that I forget. This one was the most famous of the bunch. Price is approximately $60 - not bad for a 6 DVD set.

Sinical said...

Devil In A Blue Dress is soooo underrated. Kind've a mix between classic film noir and blaxploitation. One more old recommendation for anybody that enjoys classic film noir:

Out Of The Past - I'll try not to ruin the ending, but the Hollywood code (strictly adhered to during this period) forced the director to change his script. Ahhh, for me, the dreams of what could have been a fabulous end vercomes the obvious disappointment at the real ending.

Jason B said...

Ah, Carol Reed.

Regarding Angels With Dirty Faces, that's the movie that Culkin puts on in Home Alone to scare off the bad guys.