Friday, October 30, 2009


Nothing in the theaters this week. I have no intentions of supporting a dead pedophile by paying to see This is It!

From Netflix I have the Woody Allen/Larry David team-up Whatever Works. And I also rented Raising Arizona, which inexplicably, I don't seem to own for some strange reason. My wife still hasn't seen a few key, early Coen entries, so we'll be doing some catch-up over the next few weeks.

I still need to finish up a new DVD round-up and my review for A Serious Man.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (A+)
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (A+)
Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (A+)
Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (A+)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man (A+)
Pete Docter’s Up (A+)
Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah (A+)
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s Sugar (A+)
Ramin Bahrani’s Good Bye Solo (A+)
Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (A+)

Jody Hill’s Observe and Report (A+)
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (A)
Henry Selick’s Coraline (A)
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (A)
Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad (A)
Todd Philips’ The Hangover (A)
Tony Scott’s The Taking of Pelham 123 (A)
Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre (A)
Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (A)
Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer (A)


Excitement builds...


I liked Donnie Darko. It's not one of my all-time favorites or anything like that, but it's a heady brew. But I liked Southland Tales even more, even if it was hardly perfect. It's a big fat mess to be perfectly honest. But it was also extremely ambitious, very entertaining, very surreal, and loopy as all hell. And those last 30 minutes are just ridiculously fun to watch. Over-stuffed and super self-indulgent, Southland Tales is the ultimate "nobody told the director No!" movie. As such, some of it works, some of it doesn't, and you're left with a schizoid vision. Richard Kelly's newest thriller, The Box, looks like his most accessible movie to date. I still hold firm in the belief that Kelly's screenplay for Tony Scott's underrated masterwork Domino is piece of genius writing. I mean that. I think The Box could be neat (I don't know the twists so no spoilers please...) but I don't want Kelly to succumb to the studio system the way it seems he might be. But if he does, all I ask is that he keeps his edge.


I love the entire ad campaign for this movie.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I went to see A Serious Man today, the new film from the Coen Brothers, and as per usual, I was blown away. I can't wait to watch it again and start discussing it in this space. It's one of the richest films of the year, and easily one of the best. Daaark. So funny. So tight. So precise. So Yiddish. It's a perfect movie the more I think about it.

I had a big DVD weekend, so in the next few days, look for a DVD round-up, with the likes of Land of the Lost, Sin Nombre, Management, and Drag Me to Hell up for discussion. I liked them all, some more than others. Sin Nombre was definitely the best of the bunch. And I think that Land of the Lost is destined to become a stoner/frat classic. It's hardly great (it's a mess to be honest), but it made me laugh. A lot.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009


I'll be seeing the Coen brothers film, A Serious Man, on Sunday afternoon. As with any previous Coen film, it's an event.

From Netflix I've got the stony looking Land of the Lost (don't hate me, Joel...), and I'll be picking up a few other titles from Blockbuster, potentially including Management, Wolverine, Drag Me To Hell, and a few others. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow so my plan is to have a DVD marathon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



I still want Raimi to do two things: make another crime noir like A Smiple Plan (still his best, most complete work), and do a big-budget Army of Darkness 2.

Sunday, October 18, 2009



As expected, I was not disappointed. It is, however, a much different film than I expected; Spike Jonze tapped his inner Kubrick, his inner Malick, and made a $100 million art film, a film not for children, but about a child, told in a mature, intelligent, creative, and singular way. I was expecting something special, and I definitely got that. It's just that I wasn't sure what the end result was going to be with this movie, what with all of the fighting between Jonze and Warner Brothers, and the delayed production. The film is definitely "the book," so anyone who is afraid that Jonze and crew didn't remain faithful to Sendak's book can stay calm. But it's much more than the book; it's a painful movie about the effects of divorce, how it shapes children, and in the case of the film's hero, Max, how it shapes an awkward boy as he starts to understand his uncertain familial future. This is as bold of a "kids" movie as I've ever seen, but again, I hesitate to really call it a "kids" movie. For a film that went through years of production and creative turmoil, you'd never know it. Where the Wild Things Are is, above all, a visual marvel; the creatures themselves are some of the most beguiling cinematic creations that have ever been imagined. The idea to go man-in-suit with the Things was a great idea. This low-tech, old-school approach has been perfectly mixed with state of the art visual effects for the eyes and mouths, and the results are nothing less than stunning. Lance Acord's gorgeous, hand-held, and totally engrossing cinematography is some of the year's best shooting, and the driving, upbeat yet melancholy score brought everything together. And I haven't even touched upon the performance of Max Records as Max -- in short, it's an auspicious debut. The entire movie hangs on his performance, and he really was captivating. But it was the interactions between the Things that will keep me coming back to this film in years to come. Where the Wild Things Are is one of the best films of the year, but it's not going to be loved by all. I think little kids, by and large, will be scared by it, and will probably be turned off by the lack of major action-moments and cutsey-humor bits. This isn't a whiz-bang CGI creation with bright colors and easy to digest themes. It's a film that is more likely to be appreciated by adults, and by people who loved the book as a child. And maybe most impressively, no other film, with the possible exception of Tarsem's The Fall (a film that Where the Wild Things Are shares many things in common with), has conjured up fever-dream images quite like the way Wild Things does. It's not to be missed on the big screen and a real tour de force for Jonze as an artist.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Do I really need to say anything else?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Very much looking forward. From the director of Casino Royale and the writer of The Departed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


How do Parker and Stone keep making South Park so consistently funny?

Friday, October 9, 2009



Another weekend with no trips to the theater. That changes next weekend with the arrival of Where The Wild Things Are. I'll be seeing it in IMAX. And I am expecting to have nothing less than a religious experience in the auditorium. I also found out that the new Coen brothers movie, A Serious Man, is opening on 10/23 in my neck of the woods. I'll buy my tickets as soon as they go on sale.

From Netflix I've got The Assassination of a High School President. It sounds like it could be some dark fun.

Still lots to catch up with on DVD so maybe something else will find its way into the viewing rotation...

I've also got tons on my DVR -- last night's FlashForward, last night's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, this past Wednesday's Top Chef, and this past Tuesday's Hell's Kitchen,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Top 3 Friedkin. French Connection, The Exorcist, and this one. Ok fine, To Live and Die in LA is also pretty bad-ass. Sorcerer is an awesome, manly film. Not as good as Wages of Fear (how could it be?) but incredible nonetheless. Brutal. Unrelenting tension. Machismo dripping from the frame. I've seen it only once (in shitty pan and scan) but it needs to be seen again.


Michael Mann still won't publicly talk about The Keep. It's never been made available on DVD. I tracked down a pan and scan VHS from Eddie Brandt in North Hollywood a few years ago, and truth be told, I don't remember much from the movie (I do remember the tape quality being shit). I'd love to see this movie get a Blu Ray release at some point. There have been so many reports of production problems on The Keep over the years that I just get more and more curious to see what the fuss was all about. This is the one movie that doesn't feel like a true part of Mann's oeuvre; hopefully someone puts it out soon.


...what some of my favorite television shows have been over this past decade. There's been a lot. Here's what I came up with on the spot:

1. The X-Files
2. Mad Men
3. Friday Night Lights
4. Entourage
5. Deadwood
6. The Shield
7. Rescue Me
8. The Sopranos
9. South Park
10. Lost

Runners up: The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Eastbound and Down, Californication, 30 Rock, Rome, Robbery Homicide Division, So You Think You Can Dance, Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, Extras.


Earth (A) is a phenomenally engrossing documentary about our planet and the animals that live here with us. The cinematography, especially in Blu Ray, was stunning and eye-popping. There are heart-racing chases, mind-blowing views of mountains and the ocean, and some great white shark footage that will leave you speechless. It's a massive undertaking, and the producers and cameramen and everyone involved should be given medals of some sort. I'm serious. This movie felt like a Herculean effort. Equally impressive is the making-of doc that accompanies the film.

Sam Mendes does it again with his latest, the rom-com road movie Away We Go (A). Mendes is now 5 for 5; his taste in material and his wonderful eye for style continue to really grab me. John Krasinski is excellent and Maya Rudolph is surprisingly effective in this dark, funny, and very heartfelt little film. It's Mendes' loosest, most relaxed effort, a bit shaggy around the edges, with a lot of love in its veins. It felt like a tonic of sorts for Mendes coming on the heels of the astringent yet powerful Revolutionary Road. And I still say that Mendes has made one of the best modern war film with Jarhead.

Lymelife (B) is a quiet and solid family drama from debut director Derek Martini. It's nothing brilliant, but the performances are all first-rate (Alec Baldwin and Rory Culkin are the major standouts) and the groovy soundtrack is aces. It's not as sharply observed as Ang Lee's similarly themed The Ice Storm, but it's a good movie, and a very good first effort.

I thought Rian Johnson's first movie, Brick, was basically a perfect creation. For what it wanted to do and how it wanted to do it, the film was wonderfully self-contained and adhered to a strange alternate universe of teenage gumshoes and old noir/detective tropes. The Brothers Bloom (B), Johnson's second feature, is a step back from Brick's overall brilliance, but it further demonstrates Johnson's gift with actors and his fantastic visual sense. The movie feels like The Sting made for today, but it lacks that film's breezy elegance. Yes, The Brothers Bloom is breezy and fun and completely and utterly preposterous, but it doesn't have the gravity that you need in a great con film to make you really care about the cons taking place. Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are dependably solid and Rachel Weisz gets some laughs. I just wish that Johnson had pulled it all together a bit differently, with a bit "less is more" in his creative arsenal. Still, it's worth checking out.

Friday, October 2, 2009



Whip It. Zombieland. Capitalism: A Love Story. The Invention of Lying. I will be seeing all of these movies. On DVD in a few months. I'll also be waiting for Surrogates to hit DVD.

The new Coen brothers movie, A Serious Man, opens in limited release; it'll be a few weeks before I'm able to see it around these parts.

No trips to the multiplex planned for this weekend. Lots of DVD's to catch up with. Still have Lymelife from Netflix, and I plan on hitting up Blockbuster and renting Away We Go, Management, and maybe The Brothers Bloom.