In the absence of something longer and more substantial here is a brief review of what I watched last week, well, from Friday, February 25 to Saturday, March 5. But I should mention that the week before, I watched Season 8 of BBC’s MI-5, and that show just continues to get better. Peter Firth is great. And the writers impress me with how willing and able they are to deal with turnovers in the cast. Also, this season had some real stand-out direction, especially from one Alrick Riley.
02/25/11 Drive Angry 3D (Patrick Lussier; 2011; Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18)
This is is a movie that’s easy enough to put down from it’s preposterous stupidity to it’s, not unrelated, red herring of a reference to John Milton as Nicolas Cage’s character’s name. But the fun in watching Cage and William Fichtner, who I have given the benefit of the doubt ever since The Underneath, and even Amber Heard is undeniable. Also, this is, I think, only my fourth movie to see in 3D since Avatar, and this may be my favorite use of the format, especially in the way the images in dissolves, frequently faces, are layered on top of each other; to exaggerate, picture The Wrong Man‘s Fonda–Robbins but with each face on a distinctly different plane. I also seem to remember a great dissolve of a headlight into the moon. In other words, I like the 3D in the still quiet moments as much as I like it when severed hands are flying at me.
02/26/11 Devil (John Erick Dowdle; 2010; Blu-ray)
Considering that this came “from the Mind of M. Night Shyamalan,” it was much better than I was expecting. If Shyamalan truly does consider himself the Hitchcock heir, this story with it’s sense of Catholic guilt is closer than anything of his since his first two.
02/26/11 Hall Pass (Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly; 2011; Regal Cantera 30)
I enjoyed this movie, in spite of about a 5 to 10 minute nap at the end of the first act (I fell asleep right after Joy Behar introduced the idea of a “hall pass” and woke up at the scene that caused Christina Applegate to give Jason Sudeikis his pass…which is a really strange sight to wake up to. Other than that, I have very little to say about this other than to say that complaints about pedanticism are not unmerited and that I wish it took as many chances ideologically as it took with its sight gags; that is, I don’t think it says anything about marriage other than an uncomplicated affirmation of monogamy.
02/27/11 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone; 2010; DVD)
This was a serviceable and entertaining-enough movie. Shia LeBeouf is growing and improving as an actor. Carey Mulligan is completely wasted. Was surprised the movie didn’t end with Josh Brolin nibbling on the end of a quail-hunting riffle or whatever type of gun rich people in movies commit suicide with.
02/28/11 Image in the Snow (Willard Maas; 1952?; DVD)
I’ve been holding on to Avant-Garde 3: Experimental Cinema 1922-1954 since last October. I had to watch this beautiful 26 minute “film poem” one more time before returning it. “…the disinherited who have each others’ aloneness and, therefore, are not alone.”
03/01/11 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black; 2005; Blu-ray)
This movie continues to be a lot of fun, but I do have difficulty finding great substance behind the surface-level meta-ness from the breaking-the-fourth-wall narration to the Kael inspired title.
03/02/11 Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek; 2010; DVD)
Perhaps overly-influenced by Filmspotting but I really liked this movie. I’ll need to watch it again before commenting.
03/03/11 “The Peach Orchard” from Dreams (Akira Kurosawa; 1990; DVD)
March 3 is the Japanese holiday of “Girl’s Day,” and this has become standard viewing for the occasion.
03/03/11 Nostalghia (Andrei Tarkovsky; 1983; DVD)
It was over 10 years ago that this was my first introduction to Tarkovsky. Marks the director’s first collaboration with the great writer Tonino Guerra, and according to an interview on the BFI Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow DVD it was Tarkovsky who introduced Guerra to Angelopoulos; so if Nostalghia did nothing more than to make that introduction possible, it would be historic. But this movie is strong enough on it’s own merits.
03/04/11 The Adjustment Bureau (George Nofli; 2011; Regal Cantera 30)
The strength of this movie is bound to the relationship between the characters played by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; because together they work so well, the movie works okay. The agency part of the story is too incoherent. I imagine that Dick’s story, which I haven’t read, is more unified or singular in its ideology. I don’t mind the genre mixing, but I did have a problem with the inconsistent tone, whether or not the angency is or isn’t a good thing, a necessary evil, or whatever.
03/05/11 Blue Velvet (David Lynch; 1986; Music Box)
This was my first time seeing Blue Velvet theatrically; it’s also my first time seeing it in its entirety in nearly 10 years. These grabs really contain the whole of the movie.
Next week’s in review will cover Kieslowski, 3 by Tsai Ming-Liang, and Angelopoulos’ Dust of Time.