Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time for Uber Mini Tweeners!!!

I've seen a few movies, but not many lately. (Work's been preventing me from going out and having a life. On the other hand, I'm making money I'm not spending on movies. So I guess I got that going for me.

But I have seen these movies, and while I could totally get into many ins and outs of them all, I've decided to "Tweener-It-Up" and give you brief overviews. Although I may go off on a few at a later time. Most likely as I discuss my Best/Worst of the year.

Man, "Tweener-it-up" sounds like a pederast term. I should probably change that. B ut it's too late now.

Synecdoche, NY

Hands down, best film I've seen this year. It's depressing as all fuck, but I found it to be a fantastic moviegoing experience. It can certainly divide people, and there's no middle ground about it. You love it or you hate it. I'm firmly on the love side.

Full disclosure: I am a Kaufman fanatic and will follow him to the ends of the Earth. I find his movies fascinating, a firm blend of dream logic and grounded emotional truths. In his directorial debut, he just continues this natural extension.

I couldn't even begin to explain what the movie is about. But it involves Philip Seymour Hoffman, and if a movie doesn't have his approval, it is not Not NOt NOT... approved by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Lost focus for a moment there, apologies. But yeah, check this movie out. Or argue me and tell me why you think it's crap.


This movie was bullshit! You sat there for two and a half hours of Angelina Jolie crying. Oh, I'm sorry, Angelina. I didn't realize that you were missing your son. You've only repeated it the entire goddamn running time of the movie! Seriously, EVERY SINGLE SCENE! FOR TWO AND A HALF FUCKING HOURS! On top of that, there's a scene at the end, where the characters are listening to, and taking bets on, the goddamn Oscars! It's as if the movie is strolling by with it's hand out, just already presuming it won every award like a goddamn cliched prom queen. It's even more shameless Oscarbation than that trailer for The Soloist. That thing wants an award so bad, it should just end with homeless/schizophrenic/musical genius Jaime Foxx... excuse me, with ACADEMY AWARD WINNER homeless/schizophrenic/musical genius Jaime Foxx just jerking off with an Oscar statue.

If ever a movie needed the DREADNAUGHT, it is this one.

That being said, Changeling was a beautiful looking film.

Role Models

This movie just made me laugh a lot. I liked Stifler and Paul Rudd, I thought they were great together. I liked the kids, even when the little kid swearing starts to wear thin. I loved that half the cast of The State shows up. I love the LARP stuff. and the KISS jokes were great too. There's a lot of dry humour, and it's very quick. Overall, though, I thought it worked. It didn't force laughs, it earned them. The movie's damn funny.


I haven't seen a Van Damme movie in the theaters since 1999. The man's been stuck in DTV. And his movies are never really terrible, so much as they're just boring and stupid. But this JCVD movie is his most entertaining movie in over a decade.

Basically, the movie is about the failure of Jean Claude Van Damme. As an actor, as a father, as an action hero, as a human being. He knows he's old, he's losing shitty parts to Steven Seagal, and he's lost custody of his daughter. While trying to obtain funds at a post office to pay his lawyer's fees, Van Damme finds himself in a situation the action hero Van Damme would easily escape out of, but the man Van Damme just can't quite do.

What struck me about this movie the most was how cinematic it was. There are a lot of arty directorial flourishes that normally I would find distracting and annoying, but that worked here. Although the washed out brown look of the film is atrocious and tough to get by. There's a playing of linear time, cutting between Van Damme's predicament and his custody battle, or showing events from multiple points of view. The best is the opening shot, a long tracking shot of old Van Damme kicking a lot of ass, but getting a little tired along the way and missing a few beats.

And there's one scene where Van Damme actually acts, and he kinda does a good job. And makes you believe things. Like, you know, an actor should. And he pulls it off. And in one take! I couldn't believe it. It was the first time where I was actually paying attention to Van Damme's performance, and not the bump on his head.

This is one worth checking out for fans of the man, and fans of fun action movies in general. (There's a few great digs at John Woo, and Van Damme's role in bringing him to America). Check it out, so that next year maybe Dolph Days will not just be a glimmer in my mind's eye.

Quantum of Solace

Honestly, I thought this movie was stupid. It felt like a pretentious, stuffy XXX movie. (The Rob Cohen/Vin Diesel XXX movie, not the good kinds of XXX movies). Yeah, the action is fast and furious and Bourne-like, but that's why I watch Bourne movies. (A lament I'm hearing over and over again, but it's being said because it's true). This is a loud, stupid movie that makes no sense. And even though it's allegedly the shortest movie in the Bond series, it feels like the longest. There's a girl in this movie whose sole purpose is to fuck Bond then die.

A lot of the editing choices make no sense, making you think something is important, when it's not. There's too much cross cutting of action with cultural events (Horse races in the streets of Italy! A German opera! Ok, the opera scene was pretty cool). The writing's stupid, too. So many false leads that lead to nothing at all. And how many times is DJD (Dame Judi Dench) going to repeat that her boy is not her son? Whoops, I mean that she can't trust Bond, even though she's proved at the end of the last movie that she DOES trust Bond. What the flip, DJD?!?

And on top of that, they try to sort of have an environmental message. Which was sort of insulting. This movie angered me a little bit. Good to look at, but ultimately empty and insulting.


Jeffrey Wright kicks supreme amounts of ass in his limited screen time. The scene in the bar between him and Bond is outstanding. Just watch how utterly badass he handles things. If they feel the need to spinoff the franchise, make a Felix Leiter movie starring Jeffrey Wright. It would boot you in the junk so hard.

I used pictures from Casino Royale, because that's a better movie, and I couldn't find a good one of Wright in QoS.


R. Bill Mountain said...

But Strawberry Fields died like the chick in Goldfinger, but it was oil. OIL! Homage! Seriously, other than the Bourneish editing and ten pounds of action crammed into a five pound bag, it was a good sequel to Royale.

Formerly, The Dude Spoke said...

Oil! Homage! Topical Issues! BULLSHIT!

And it wasn't a good sequel. If it were, it would make a Modicum of Sense. (Which incidentally would be a good Bond title). It couldn't be more retarded even if they intercut Special Olympics footage with the car chase. Or the boat chase. Or the foot chase. Or the plane chase. Or the gun fight. OR the scene where Bond kills a guy and DJD gets upset about it, but doesn't really do anything.

I declare shenanigans.

R. Bill Mountain said...

Oh, M gets turned on when Bond kills people for no good reason when they should actually be interrogated, she's a sexy ol' minx like that. I decided to turn off my brain and enjoy the stupid ride - even if Craig gives Bond almost zero personality here-- even if I couldn't tell who was chasing whom for most of the film - but I thought it set up Quantum as a fine threat for the next two films, and had some interesting wrapup of loose ends from Royale. It's obviously flawed, but my reaction was not to hate it. Although, where are the freakish henchmen?