Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Remember Remember the 31th of....

....aw, huh, that's not as catchy.

Starting at Midnight:

Here's to Guy Fawkes Hanging Day!

Because, no matter the cause, blowing up buildings is stupid, murderous, and not to be sincerely celebrated. That includes for the sake of contrariness.

If Fight Club had been released after 9/11, the ending would've been extremely different.

The ending of 1984 for Vendetta is in many ways preferable to Orwell's vision, precisely because it shows hope in the face of totalitarianism. The other side of that coin, cool as the movie is, is that it's a terribly naive vision, designed quite frankly to rebel against current moralities. I can't imagine a movie getting released right now, set somewhere in the states, that advocated blowing up buildings that harbored seats of power or influence.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager that we can protest without being as egregiously melodramatic and simple minded as our ideological enemies.

Why the sudden critique of V? Dunno. Been stuck in my craw since I saw it. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but in that amoral way I enjoyed A Clockwork Orange. I don't go to movies for morality's sake, mind, and the final image didn't exactly fill me with outrage. So what's bothering me about a fairly entertaining film? Call it, in those last few, Parliament bombing minutes, that feeling you get when you're confronted by an emo kid explaining how emotional emo is to you. It's that feeling.

Subtract that from the movie (and subtract a little more of its obvious catering to our liberalism, not to mention that oft repeated reduction of the purpose of books), and you've got a helluva fun one.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bess Knows

It occurred to me, just a second ago, that I hadn't said anything at all in print about the absence, due to illness, of Roger Ebert.
His recovery has left a fairly obvious empty spot on the world of film criticism, though Turan, Kauffman, and others keep writing.

Ebert himself has been, undoubtedly, the most well-known film critic, but those who don't read film criticism might be puzzled as to why. What makes a film critic, and what makes film criticism? It's the most widely dismissed field of writing there is (next to blogging). In lieu of my own content, I thought I'd post some links to particular reviews of his that formed my attachment to him, and include some later reviews that reveal just exactly what a critic can be, at top form.

If you read none of these (shame), please, come back, and read his review of Breaking the Waves. I swear to you, he actually made me love the movie more than I already did. He wrote that review with easily as much compassion as it took to make that movie.

E.T.

Milk Money

Breaking the Waves

The Exorcist

Belle De Jour

Fitzcarraldo

Pulp Fiction

I Spit on Your Grave

Signs

Grave of the Fireflies

48 Hours

There are many, many more, and since 1968, the man hasn't stopped writing about the movies, until now. Notice how he describes that 1973 "began and ended with cries of pain" in his review of The Exorcist, or how much loathing (and for what reasons) he has for I Spit on Your Grave.

In the case of Grave of the Fireflies, take note of how he stands up for the brilliance of a terribly traumatic film, fully committed to his observance that "No great film is depressing; only bad ones are". Also, I put up a link to his review of 48 Hours, because early on in Eddie Murphy's career, he tracked with great sensitivity the how and the why of Murphy's success. It's astute and loving. Come back to us, Roger.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

el Renacimiento

Finally saw Children of Men.

I'm in my Very Happy Place right now.


I haven't had that kind of experience in a theater in quite awhile. This is a stand-alone movie, like Brazil, or 2001.
It harkens back to the days when directors had mad visions on a huge scale and all stops were pulled. Ignore everything you've heard. Just go, ye with a pulse. You owe yourself a real experience.

Takin'the Good With The Evil: The Kingdom: Series 1

Bang Bang Shoot Shoot: The White Album

If You Didn't Care What Happened to Me: Children of Men

Addendum:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blithering Dammit

I must find more opportunities to use the word unctuous. It's a word I like, but damn it all, if there's a word I misspell to the point of having to look it up CONSTANTLY, it seems to be that one (which requires being able to spell it, so you can imagine, after I've had a few more glasses of scotch, how that goes for me).

I swear, folks, this'll be it for a few days, postingly, because I'm commissioned by the government to figure out just what's happening in Moll Flanders, and by god, I'm pretty sure that I can't get to Jane Austen fast enough. Oy.

Confusing? No. Mildly diverting. ...eh...

Am I a stay-at-home middle class 17th century maid or housewife? NO.

Shoosh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Imperial Army Strong

Haters make way for steps side by side.
Riding in line to hide numbers, perchance.
We wouldn't want those Jawas to get out alive.
Riding this dewback makes me ache on the ass.
Been troopin' so long I've forgotten the taste.
The taste so sweet of wine, beer, or whiskey.

We got back to Tatooine for haggis and whiskey.
Drank so much I fell over the side.
Railings on imperial bases leave little to taste.
Course, honorable discharge from an injury perchance.
Nah, it didn't even work when Bun-Ear Lady shot me in the ass.
I can't believe we left no Jawas alive.

That gold sodden droid is in very poor taste.
I shot him several times, but he's still alive.
Some big furry screamer was around perchance.
My helmet smells like whiskey.
Plus there's this awful pain in my side.
Lord Vader has no ass...no ass.


Most troopers live fine on this side.
My parents have some money, perchance.
It's the only thing that keeps me alive.
My Mom made our planet Senator seem like such an ass.
He didn't want to seem in bad taste.
She bribed him with some Coruscantian whiskey

When I joined the Imperial Army, they called me an ass.
I told them that they lacked intergalactic taste.
They said, stay here, be on our side.
I said no matter what I'd be alive.
They've got a working death star, and you send me free whiskey.
Nothing's gonna happen, perchance

I never knew how Jawas would taste.
I'm the one who's gonna make others un-alive.
Like those screeching, annoying jawas, perchance.
Like you taught me, Mom, anything goes well with whiskey
It burns the throat on each side.
I won't even make mention of the infantry going after Leia's ass.

We come in and kick ass, for we are the storm ALIVE.
Here in the storm you will taste the knowlege of whiskey.
In the end know the side you will, PERCHANCE.


....Umm...this may or may not warrant explanation. Ok. It does. A series of events (and paranoiac, but ultimately loving worries) led me to owing Joan a Facebook Wall Sestina due 24 hours from the date it was promised. And there it is.

Reason # WAAAH?!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Well, That's Better Than Adequate

This is the only one of these I've really read.

Friday, January 05, 2007

...do we owe O'Reilly a thank you?

Dust having settled, I think back over passionate debate about certain films that should've beaten Crash last year (which is to say, dead-horse-floggingly, any of them with a pulse), and I remember going for the Soggy Bottom Boys over Mission JewPossible, Harper Lee Done Wrote Herself a Book, and George Clooney vs. The O'Reilly Factor: The Movie.
I think, now, that I must've been rootin' for Brokeback in a sort of, Don't-Change-Horses-Or-Fuck-On-A-Mountain-Top in midstream kinda way. I liked that one, but not as much as I like Good Night. Capote was a great performance piece but not a great film, and Munich, as wonderful as it is, kinda loses itself in the end.

And why the hell was I going so crazy over West Wing: Season Four?
I mean, when it rocks it rocks, but...

2,1,3,4. That's my order. God. I was swooning SO hard.
Needed to go through that, as I think re-evaluating one's opinions is like, important and stuff.

Not if we're playing bridge: Good Night, and Good Luck

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Post Titles Are Pressure

I'm bad at titles. Also, I saw maybe four movies outside of my netflix rental activity this year, so I'm going to compile the list from that and include films that have enriched my life be they aught-six titles or nyet. Yes, yes, I'm aware of the existence of several fine films I should have seen by now, but rest assured, I'll see them before the Academy gets around to giving its awards to films of a far lesser degree of achievement.

10. Manderlay (2005)
09. The Phantom of Liberty (1974)
08. Cache (2005)
07. The Departed
06. The Long Goodbye (1973)
05. The Piano Teacher (1999?)
04. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
03. Playtime (1967)
02. A Prairie Home Companion
01. Fanny and Alexander (1984)

The best film of 2006 was, hands down, A Prairie Home Companion. It's some of the most magical filmmaking I've ever seen, which should tell you how I feel about Bergman's Swann Song(kinda) from 1984.

Altman once said that he felt that there hadn't really been a great film made yet.

You Punch Like Anne Rice: Chabon - Wonder Boys

You, Me, Vast Veranda, Fortissimo: Picaresque - The Decemberists