An entertaining walkthrough of the movie Commando by its director Mark Lester.
I had a lot of fun coming up with these. Probably a few more posts of these await you in the future.
SamuraiFrog tagged me last week with this nice little meme, and now I finally have the time to complete it.
I get to pick 12 movies to program into 6 nights at a theoretical film festival.
First, the rules:
1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.
2) Explain why you chose the films.
3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.
4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.
Okay, here goes!
A Little Princess is a wonderful children’s film filled with empathy and magic, directed by the great Alfonso Cuarón.
Time Bandits is a children’s movie aimed at adults. It captures the wonder, the fear, the disappointment, the confusion, everything about being a child. It’s my favorite Terry Gilliam movie.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
The movies of the second night have a thread of uncertainty and aimlessness. The characters are a little adrift, but not necessarily in a despairing way.
Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine pretends to be a violent gangster movie, but morphs into something odd and compelling as its characters are yanked out of their world.
Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused pretends to be a stoner comedy, but explores the casual cruelty of adolescence.
Both of these movies are complicated, deeper and richer than the genres in which they are categorized.
In A Lonely Place (1950)
Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974)
In the third night, we deal with relationships, and the difficulty of maintaining them. It’s all about the problem of making and keeping connections.
Nicholas Ray’s In A Lonely Place features what I feel to be Humphrey Bogart’s best performance. There is a romance that figures prominently between Bogart and Gloria Grahame, but I think the relationship between Bogart and his agent is even more deeply moving.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats The Soul is an extraordinarily empathetic look at what first appears to be an unusual relationship, and the strains and cracks that appear in it over time. It’s filled with truth, sadness and hope.
There aren’t many darker movies than Alfred Hitchock’s Shadow of a Doubt. That’s all I’ll say about it. See it for yourself.
If you haven’t seen Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, please do so. Mike Vargas might be the hero of this movie, but it’s Hank Quinlan that we feel for.
Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
Touch of Evil (1956)
Can we let a little hope into the festival? First we saw the decay of the human spirit, now we see its strength — strength under oppression, monotony, repetition, indifference.
Don Siegel’s Escape From Alcatraz is an incredibly watchable, suspenseful movie, filled with memorable characters. And hey, the prison warden is played by The Prisoner Patrick McGoohan himself. How crazy is that?
Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped is one of those movies that somehow communicates in the medium of film better than 99% of other movies. It’s utterly engrossing, moving and hypnotizing.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey sees a future for humanity, beyond violence and ignorance.
Jacques Tati looks for humanity, but instead of seeking it in the future, or in outer space, he finds it in the environment around us.
So, there it is. I’m not tagging anyone else, but I’d happily read about the programming of any of your own theoretical film festivals.
Hey, it’s LaGrange time!
What were my choices?
What Happens In Vegas – Y’know, I’m sure I’m as starstruck as many of my non-celebrity brothers and sisters out there. That being said, if Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz came to my house and offered to put on this show in person in my backyard, I’d be hiding out in the bathroom until they left. They would leave, wouldn’t they?
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – I didn’t like the original Narnia movie when I watched it on a washed-out bootleg DVD a couple years ago. Also, I am prejudiced against talking lions.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – STILL NO!
Iron Man – Okay!
So, I was feeling a little Paranoid. I felt the Hand of Doom upon me, the War Pigs were on TV, and the night was buzzing like an Electric Funeral. I was wearing sneakers, as everyone knows Fairies Wear Boots.
Agh! Out, Black Sabbath’s second album track listing! Trouble this review no more!
Let me start off by saying Iron Man’s director Jon Favreau annoys the bejeebus out of me. I haven’t seen any of his other movies, but I have seen far too much of Dinner For Five, his questionable series on IFC. I was going to try and find a choice clip on the YouTube of Dinner For Five to assist me in conveying the essence of this show that rubs (actually, scrapes) me the wrong way. But by searching for a clip I was watching Dinner For Five. My eyes burned. They burned! In short, no clip for you.
I don’t like Dinner For Five, and I don’t need to justify my strong dislike of Dinner For Five to you chuckleheads. Okay, just a little. Dinner For Five is a horrible Hollywood circle jerk (usually taking place, appropriately enough, at a round table) full of pontifications and fuckhead cigar smoking. There are lots of people who have appeared on this show that I respect and/or admire. These people are not the problem, although they may have made the questionable decision to appear on the show. The show is the problem. And Jon Favreau is at Ground Zero of the show. He calls movies “pictures”. He smirks. He smokes cigars. He calls movies “pictures” while smoking cigars and smirking. I DON’T CARE IF I AM COMING ACROSS AS UNREASONABLY HATEFUL TOWARDS JON FAVREAU. Fuck that guy (but in a nice, back-handed Hollywood kinda way)!
In Favreau’s defense, a friend of mine saw an interview with John Frankenheimer from a couple years ago where Mr. Frankenheimer talked in a very similar manner to Favreau. So, perhaps it’s not Favreau himself that I find issue with, but some sort of shitfuck Hollywood filmmaker archetype that grates on me.
Okay. Iron Man. It wasn’t a badly-made movie, so kudos to Mr. Favreau for that.
I got into the theatre early and saw the Hi – I’m – Samuel – Jackson – and – we’re – going – to – be – coming – out – with – an – Avengers – movie – in – 2011 little teaser at the end of the earlier showing of the movie, so I didn’t need to wade through fifteen minutes of end credits to see it again. I did stick around for the end of the film for the little bit of Black Sabbath, but from what I could discern there was no Ozzy singing! It was just the “I AM IRON MAN” thing followed by the instrumental end of the song. What a gyp.
I did not like this movie. Bob Downey was fine in the lead (I call him “Bob” when I do impressions of Favreau speaking about making the Iron Man “picture” — yes, Favreau annoys me enough that I mock him by doing ongoing impressions of him with a buddy of mine). I do love me some Jeff Bridges, though he had the unfortunate burden of playing a likable character that illogically morphs quickly into a Snidely Whiplash kinda guy. Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Stan Lee were all in this movie. Do you want me to list the stuntmen, too?
I dunno about the movie. It’s just, man this movie was so militaristic. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, I guess, given the trailer with Iron Man shooting rockets, etc. But still, the whole movie felt like weapons porn. The only solution to violence is making something that is more efficiently violent. The bodycount surprised me. The destruction surprised me. Some of the antagonists were centered in Afghanistan. Hey, don’t *we* have ongoing military operations in Afghanistan? I don’t know, the whole movie felt kind of shitty. I didn’t like it.
I never really liked Iron Man in the comics, but I had nevertheless wanted to see the film. I was into the Marvel comics as a boy, and definitely had a fair amount of Iron Man issues that I had read. The villains were often boring, and an indirect expression of American xenophobia or paranoia. There was the Mandarin (China), and Titanium Man and the Crimson Dynamo (Russkies!). The only Iron Man issue I remember wholeheartedly liking was when he went back in time somehow with Doctor Doom. Do I need to remind you of the huge pile of shit Doctor Doom was turned into in a previous Marvel comics film adaptation? I certainly I hope I don’t.
What is Tony Stark? Tony Stark is Bruce Wayne without the craziness. What is Iron Man? Iron Man is Batman without the theatrics.
What is The Dark Knight? The Dark Knight is the summer movie that will shove a rocket down Iron Man’s tin pantalones. ka-BOOM!
A person such as myself is always looking for the Citizen Kane of shitty movies. I thought I had a decent chance to hit Rosebud tonight at the LaGrange.
What were my choices?
Forgetting Sarah Mar…
Oh, forget about it. I was here to see one movie, and one movie only.
You may or may not know the plot of this film. Al Pacino plays an extremely wealthy, poofy-haired forensic psychiatrist that is constantly badgered on his cellphone, where some voice-modulated knucklehead says he has eighty-eight minutes to live. Pacino’s character is also a professor who does not have the common courtesy to set his phone on vibrate during class when he is getting menaced by voice-modulated knuckleheads.
Apparently the knucklehead is not aware that most cellphones usually come prepackaged with some form of timekeeping mechanism, and that’s it not necessary to constantly remind Pacino of the time as it elapses.
“You have seventy-six minutes.”
“Sixty-six minutes. I’m sorry, I mean fifty-six minutes.”
At the start of any cheap movie I subject myself to, I’m usually poised for the first sign that a movie is undeniably bad. This sign came rather early in the film, when an attractive woman, a conquest of Pacino’s from the night before, is shown brushing her teeth. Naked. While doing some sort of yoga pose with one of her legs pulled over her head. Hubba hubba?
Now there’s good bad and there’s bad bad. I’d say 88 Minutes falls squarely in the middle of that range.
I don’t mind the premise of the film:
1) Something bad is going to happen to a character played by Al Pacino
2) It will only take 88 minutes of time for that bad thing to happen
When you set up an impending catastrophic event within a limited timeframe, that can immediately create a sense of urgency and excitement for the viewer. For example, the Johnny Depp film Nick Of Time operated within a limited timeframe where Depp’s character had to accomplish something or a terrible thing would happen. The running time of the film actually corresponded to the events transpiring in the narrative. Wait, wait. I’m giving a bad example. Nick Of Time was terrible. Did you know that Johnny Depp’s character *wasn’t* named Nick O’Time? How much cooler would the movie have been if that were the case?
So here’s the first problem with this movie. 88 Minutes has a running time of… 108 minutes. I see some dork has posted on the Trivia section of this film on the IMDB that from the time Pacino gets his first threatening phone call, it’s eighty-eight minutes until the end of the film, including the end credits. Including the end credits? What the fuck — you think you can count the end credits? The guy who wrote this horseshit is the same stoner who bugs you to watch The Wizard Of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon in the background. Give him some Cheetos and send him on his way.
This film reminded me of Michael Mann’s Heat due to the appearance of some common actors. Amy Brenneman reminded me of her shitty romantic subplot with Robert DeNiro’s bankrobber character, and Al Pacino reminded me of the shitty parts of Heat with Al Pacino in it.
There were many, many red herrings, with a multitude of tired characters cycling through implausible motivations and actions. Why again did that motorcycle leather guy appear in Pacino’s apartment stairwell, pull a gun, and promptly get shot by the killer who was also in the stairwell for no particular reason? Oh, because it was in the script. I get it now.
Why did the killer blow up Pacino’s Porsche before the eighty-eight minutes had elapsed, which could have very well resulted in him dying before he was supposed to? Oh, because it was in the script. And trailers are better with explodey things. I get it now.
I was hoping Al Pacino would get more and more Pacino crazy as the movie progressed, but I was sadly disappointed. The most scenery-chewing thing he did was angrily throw a cellphone. But damn, what a fine cellphone thrower he is.
I decided I’d head out to the LaGrange on this cool yet ridiculously humid night to see a movie.
What were my choices?
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – That’s okay, I don’t know her to begin with.
Shine A Light – A documentary on the Rolling Stones by Martin Scorsese. I have a strict rule. I only watch documentaries on the Stones where-
- Someone is stabbed by the Hell’s Angels
- The Stones sue to prevent its release because they are embarrassed by their behavior
- They are upstaged by the Who.
21 – I think I first saw the trailer for this back in early 1992. After the forty-seventh time of seeing the trailer I got so excited about the hijinx of Kevin Spacey and his merry band of MIT pranksters, but then when I saw it thirteen more times my interest finally waned.
The Forbidden Kingdom – Let’s go!
Okay, first, some setup.
I don’t have any bills on me, so I stuff a handful of quarters into my pocket and hop in the car. I drive into LaGrange and am surprised to see a carnival setup in the downtown area. Carnivals make me happy. I like all the pretty lights, what can I say?
I mosey up to the theater and see the price is $3.50. I think, “Did they raise the price?” I had thought the new price was $2.50 — I knew the price had gone up, I just remembered wrong. I didn’t have enough quarters with me. I feebly asked the guy in the ticket booth if I could charge the ticket (I couldn’t!). I then sprinted up to an ATM, got some cash and managed to still get back in time before the film started.
Were you worried just then? That was not just dramatic license on my part. That whole series of events actually happened.
Anyways… The Forbidden Kingdom. I knew very little about this. As the credits start rolling, I see the Action Choreographer is Woo-ping Yuen. Woo-ping Yuen has choreographed a lot of Hollywood movies (Crouching Tiger, the Matrix trilogy, etc.). Even if Forbidden Kingdom turned out to be rather chokey, I had some confidence that there would be some nicely-done fight scenes.
Incidentally, Woo-ping Yuen is also an excellent director – he has directed one of my all-time favorite action movies, Wing Chun. He’s got plenty of other good ones as well — Drunken Master, Twin Warriors, etc.
So Jackie Chan and Jet Li are the big names in this movie. From what I can tell, they haven’t really worked together before, so I’m assuming this was a coup to someone somewhere. I was interested in seeing how the goofiness of Chan would mesh with the more matter-of-fact style of Li. At about the middle of the film, there’s a nice, extended fight scene between the two. I thought to myself, “It’s all downhill from here.” And I was right!
Chan and Li each play two roles in the film. Chan is an old geezer who runs a pawn shop in the present day, and also plays a drunken kung fu master in Ye Olden China. I appreciated the nod to his Drunken Master films.
Li plays a monk, as well as the Monkey King, an immortal being who lost his staff, which must be returned to him. Li had some pretty styling hair as the Monkey King, making him look like a primped-up Captain Kangaroo.
Oh, I neglected to mention the star of this movie. Hold on. Lemme look up his name. Ahhh. Michael Angarano. He plays a kung-fu movie-obsessed dweeb in the present day who finds a staff in a pawn shop, is told he needs to return the staff to its rightful owner, then falls off a building into ancient China.
When he gets to China, Chan and Li accompany him on his trip to get the staff back to the Monkey King, and improbably teach him how to fight along the way.
There’s a little problem. The actor looks like a young Sean Astin (y’know, Rudy). The audience is meant to identify with him. As the group nears their destination, his character starts sporting a little ponytail.
Think about it. Sean Astin with a little ponytail. Rudy with a little ponytail. Samwise Gamgee with a ponytail. This is who I am supposed to identify with?
Fuck the Monkey King and his staff, I don’t want any part of this stupid adventure.
We’re visiting my folks in Springfield.
When we’re here MizSplotchy and I usually try to go see a movie on one of the nights, after the kids have gone to bed.
This weekend was no exception. Last night we saw the new Indiana Jones movie, which was pretty much what we expected it would be.
All the movie theaters in Springfield are owned and run by Kerasotes Theatres.
We were purchasing treats prior to the movie, and this was the image on the soda fountain facing toward the moviehouse patrons.
Note the Kerasotes “K” overlaying the Coca-Cola logo, which combined displays the very appealing name “Cockola”. And of course the icing on the cake is the sign’s entreaty to “Taste the Magic”.