Sunday, March 25, 2007

2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Part X: Themeless

Welcome to the tenth weekly installment of the extremely popular and award-winning SUPERBLOG!! feature in which we watch me trying to watch all the movies on the IMDb top 250 list plus a lot of other movies. All installments.

Roman Holiday (1953)
Princess Audrey Hepburn escapes her royal duties and runs into journalist Gregory Peck who's trying to get a news story out of her running away but finds himself falling for her. Charming but inconsequential.

L.A. Confidential (1997)
Very good throughout but never really takes off. Synchronicity of the scariest fucking kind: In one scene some of the characters watch Roman Holiday. Which, you know, I watched for the first time in my life a couple of hours before I watched this one. What does that mean?

Hable con ella / Talk to Her (2002)
Girlfriend in a coma times two. So gosh-darn poignant.

The Departed (2006)
Scorsese's best in at least a decade, Nicholson's best in at least two decades. A tad overlong but pretty enthralling nonetheless. It's based on some Hong Kong shit I haven't seen but probably will see at some point time in the future if you people remind me. (Please note: I assume all movies are shit until I see them. That way I'm never disappointed.)

Sling Blade (1996)
Billy Bob Thornton as a disturbed but kind person who befriends a boy. Skillfully avoids most clichés. Also, it made me realize John Ritter actually was a pretty great actor.

Children of Men (2006)
Dystopian science fiction in which everyman Clive Owen defends a pregnant African against overwhelming forces. Super-impressive set design and cinematography. I may not like long movies but I really like the long takes. Unsubtly told story; the first half hour is one big info dumb after another.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Jazzy courtroom drama directed by Mr Freeze. James Stewart plays a witty lawyer, Lee Remick plays a slut, George C Scott plays his own cool self.

House, M.D. Season 1 (2004) (22 eps)
Dr House is the coolest TV physician since Dr Cox. Almost all episodes in the first half of the season are very similar, and then it starts to develop soapish tendencies. I was concerned that it jumped the shark as early as at episode 15 (contrived Mafia story) but it seems to have recovered. There's still a real possibility that it may turn out crap if House mellows further. He's definitely less of an asshole than he was at the start and "humanizing" him could be a mistake. By the way, I have a couple of questions I would like to have answered immediately. Question #1: Why are they constantly breaking into people's houses? Do doctors do that nowadays? Question #2: How many patients will Dr House almost kill before he realizes that his first diagnosis - and prescribed treatment - is always wrong? I'm thinking, just about one in every episode.

Small Time Crooks
Something by Woody Allen.

Superman Returns (2006) (repeat)
The 1978 Superman is one of my 17 favorite movies of all time. Which may well be a requisite for enjoying this one. There's certainly a few (smallish) flaws. Flaw #1: Kate Bosworth's age. She can't have been much more than 12 years old when Cyclops started screwing her. Flaw #2: Brandon Routh looks a lot like Christopher Reeve but he isn't Christopher Reeve. Still, Spacey is excellent as a slightly more sinister Gene Hackman, and Parker Posey and most of the rest of the cast is very good.

Patton (1970)
World War II Alert! George C Scott stars as unstable super-general George S Patton Jr. Apparently this was one of Nixon's favorite films and Oliver Stone is convinced it led "directly" to the bombing of Cambodia. It deserves at least four Keatons but I'll give it three in case Oliver is correct because wouldn't that be horrible?!?.

The Ladykillers (2004)
Haven't seen the original (but I probably will next week, now that I think about it). This is a remake by the Coen Brothers. Slight but amusing. Tom Hanks should get an Oscar. No, wait. He already has too many. Give it to JK Simmons instead.

The Aviator (2004)
Scorsese's biopic about Howard Hughes. I'd have a lot more to say about it if I wasn't tired about writing about movies so I'll see you next week or probably before that but not with a movie update.

Twofifty update: 218

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Photo #128: Cat

Hello Kitty.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Worst Swedish Prime Minister Ever

Yuk! That's Palme (to the left) being happy after successfully blowing Castro. He was Swedish prime minister for too many years. Well betwwen 1969 - 1976 and then 1982 until 1986 when he got shot by Christer Pettersson, nowadays Sweden's most famous dead alcoholic. He's the dude in the picture below. Palme's wife is pretty certain that it was Christer who shot her husband and she said so after witness confrontations and stuff but since Swedish law is kinda lame he never went down with it. Instead he drank lots of booze and died like 2003 or something.

Hi! I'm Christer, and I've never hurt anybody!!!

Well, need to go and see LOOOOST s3e13 now so I'lll just post that picture below. You really need to click it to see it in full effect. I'm not saying tahat it was right that drunken Christer shot our prime minister but yes I'm saying that Palme was a commie. Totally.

Maybe he was cool sometimes but bottom line: COMMIE.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Week IX: Aliens and Santas

The ninth weekly installment (slightly delayed) of the ever-popular SUPERBLOG!! feature! You know you can view the entire epic by clinging on the label, right?

Philadelphia Story (1940)
Sophisticated-for-its-time tale of drinking and marriage and stuff. Sadly, I could totally identify with James Stewart's character. Story of my life, man! Excellent despite the stupid ending.

Trading Places (1983) (repeat)
I fucking love this movie. I watched it a bunch of times when I was a kid but this is the first time I noticed Clarence Beeks reading Gordon Liddy's Will on the train to establish what an asshole he is. (But did he really deserve to get raped by a gorilla?) It's basically a fairytale, clearly unbelivable, but there's just so many great characters. Synchronicity: Takes place in Philadelphia.

Les Quatre cents coups (1959)
400 Blows blows! Seems Real but it's the kind of Boring Reality I could do without. Every adult in the film seems to be an asshole, but since they're French it's hard to say for sure.

Spartacus (1960) (repeat)
Oysters and snails!

Bad Santa (2003) (repeat)
Original theatrical cut. I was a tad disappointed with this, Terry Zwigoff's follow-up to Ghost World, when I first saw it (in a longer, unrated version). But now I realize that, while it may basically be a one-joke story, it's heart-warming and it captures the true spirit of Christmas (getting stupid drunk and fucking Lauren Graham in a Santa outfit). That PLUS I froze the screen at the end of the end credits and saw this:

"The producers of Stolichnaya Vodka caution viewers to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and lawfully and not to consume such beverages in an abusive or irresponsible manner."

Synchronicity: I bought it at the same time as Trading Places, which also features a Bad Santa:

Another Bad Santa

The Prestige (2006)
Two stage magicians wage a lonely war against terror. No, wait, against each other I mean. Good actors and directing, but the main "twist" was screamingly obvious at a very early stage. (As Sam is my witness, I guessed it in the first or second scene the character in question was even in. Granted, I'm a lot smarter than most of you who read this, but I imagine even stupid people would figure it out 40 minutes or so before the Big Reveal.) David Bowie guest-stars as Nikola Tesla, real-life inventor of the hairdryer. In this movie he has created a cyborg, intent on killing humanity. No, wait, I just dreamt that.

Alien (1979) (Repeat)
Original theatrical release. Classic claustrophobia.

Aliens (1986)
Original theatrical release. Pretty good, and should get some credit for being very different from the first one. But there's too many action-movie clichés.

Alien3 (1992)
Original theatrical release. Not bad but not good either. Hey, remember when I used to create, or at least Photoshop, things for SUPERBLOG!!? Those were the days. But you know I care about you coz I made sure the "3" in "Alien3" was all sup.

Alien Resurrection (1997)
Guess what? Original theatrical release. Looks fantastic and I like the setup. I felt there was a good movie in there somewhere, struggling to get out. Screenwriter Joss Whedon seems to confirm it:

Whedon was extremely unhappy with the final product. In a 2005 interview, when asked how the film differed from the script he had written, Whedon responded, "It wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines...mostly...but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable."

The quote came from the Internet.

And that's it for this time.

Twofifty update: 211