Saturday, October 08, 2005

Movie Rundown

Not many posts lately. Not nearly as many posts as movies. Here's the rundown:


  • Good movie to see on the enormo-tron at the Uptown, especially with a belly full of pho. I've always felt that Antarctica is the ultimate exotic destination (seriously, what could be more remote?) so just seeing Antartica was interesting. When you add eminently-watchable penguins, you have a grand old time. My main problem is that
    The photography was really impressive... though I can't say the movie ever made me feel like I was seeing -80 degree weather. It did look perilously cold, but even that doesn't quite do it justice. But that's a minor beef.

    The rampant anthropomorphism, however, is a major one. I buy elements of the love story. I buy the biological urge to protect one's young. I buy the born chicks not wanting to leave their parents' sight. But I highly doubt that they feel the same kind of love that is evoked by Morgan Freeman's narration. He starts the film off by describing the film as, ultimately, "a story about love." That may be true. But the context of that love is completely different. A critic whose opinion I really respect sums it up best by saying, "this is a story about love the way that the story of a crack addict stealing to get more crack is about love of crack." But that's not how it's presented, so it's misleading.

    I still liked it though. Winged Migration is better, though, especially if you watch it with the French director's dubbed English narration. It reminds me of the Monty Python nature documentary sketch: "Here ve see a pantomime goose engaged in a life-or-death struggle vith Terrence Rattigan!"

  • The Hebrew Hammer

  • This was a fantastic idea, but didn't turn out that funny. There were a few really good parts (the "Africa" and "Star of David" binoculars were brilliant) but in the end it doesn't go any further with the Jewsploitation theme than, ohh, Mad TV would have gone. And the movie isn't very even... it plays out like a stitched-together list of scenes, a sum of parts instead of a whole. I respect that it was made for like zero money, but it shows.

    That said, Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused) is the perfect guy for the role, and the supporting cast (Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Nora Dunn and an unrecognizable Peter Coyote doing an incredible over-the-top Chebrew Chaccent) is excellent. I wish they had more to work with... it could've been a Jewish Undercover Brother. But it's not.

  • Oldboy

  • This movie floored me. But it requires a strong stomach, for so many reasons that I cannot share. To call this movie disturbing would be softening its blow. But it's a work of genius, a perfect meditation on the nature of revenge, from both sides of the vengeful act.

  • The Aristocrats

  • Boy, I wish I'd seen this one AFTER seeing Old Boy... I could really use some levity right now. In fact, once they start allowing us to legally edit our own cuts of movies on DVD, I'm going to splice the ending of Old Boy with Gilbert Gottfried's epic telling of The Aristrocrats at the Friars Club.

    This movie made me laugh harder than anything I've seen in a long, long time... that's saying something when this comes on the heels of four-star comedies like The Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and The Exorcism of Charlie Rose.

    The Aristocrats starts with a bang, maintains its breakneck pace for its entire running time, and comes to rest on Gottfried at the Friars Club. (Seeing the look on Rob Schneider's face was worth the ticket price.) I never stopped laughing, and was sorry when the movie ended. That said, I don't think we could have learned any valuable lessons about the joke itself from another 10 minutes of movie. We would have learned a great deal more about the participants, though. Either way, the DVD has the potential to be an all-time classic, as far as bonus materials go. They could probably fill up two discs with outtakes or extended conversations. You think I wouldn't drop a nut to see Robin Williams' version in its entirety?


    Miscellaneous hits from the past...

  • Layer Cake: Excellent gritty gangster movie. Not much of a laugh, exactly, but good movie. Daniel Craig kicks ass up and down the street.

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Good Miyazaki. It's no Castle in the Sky, but it's up there with Spirited Away for sure.

  • Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story: Ehh. It had some good laughs, but it's basically three subpar Family Guy episodes. And any "uncensored" DVD that can't drop an F-bomb is no good with me. Four thumbs down.

  • Kung Fu Hustle: It wasn't quite what I expected. Fun, but I think I need to watch it fresh, now that I know what the whole "butterfly" thing is about.
  • 1 comment:

    1. Agree 100% on Hebrew Hammer. I really wanted to love the thing, and it underwhelmed. I still weep in my pillow thinking about it...