Sunday, November 2, 2014

John Wick

I haven't made a post in over a year, but today I saw a film that warranted one. Something so powerful, so uplifting, so ... JOHN WICK. Words cannot begin to describe the joyful mayhem that ensues in this film. SOMEONE WANTS JOHN WICKS CAR, JOHN WICK DOES NOT SELL CAR, SOMEONE COMES TO HIS HOUSE, HITS HIM IN THE HEAD WITH A LEAD PIPE, KILLS HIS DOG (THAT HIS WIFE GAVE HIM FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!), AND STEALS HIS CAR. This is about the first ten or so minutes. The next hour and twenty six minutes are dedicated to Mr. Wick COMPLETELY fucking up every single person that he sees.

Let me start off by saying this movie must hold the record of most headshots by a single person. John Wick shoots everyone in the face, and every time he does it gets better and better. At one point he grabs some Russian body guard by the goatee, pulls down on it, smashes his face into a table, and then shoots him in the head ... TWICE! This guy really cannot be stopped. There are only two times when he is knocked on the ground (both times) BY FUCKING SUBURBAN TRUCKS SLAMMING INTO HIM.  One time it was a Suburban THAT GOT PUSHED INTO HIM BY ANOTHER ONE!

Just when you thought Hollywood could never crank out a solid action movie again here comes this thing: THE ULTIMATE FUCKDOWN OF MOVIES. The action, blood splatter, straight up knife violence is some of the best I have ever seen period. But thats what makes this movie so good. It does not take itself seriously in the slightest and how can it when TWO CHEVROLET SUBURBANS can't take this guy out. This movie was so much fun I wanted to stay in the theater and watch it start all over again. If you like action movies this is easily one of the best popcorn revenge flicks ever made. 10/10 (on the action movie scale)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Initial reaction to Only God Forgives

Okay, this should start off with a question. Whatever happened to the term "visual poetry" when used in reference to film? It seems that this term has been widely replaced with the phrase "style over substance". At what point did it become appropriate or so widespread for mainstream critics to shun projects like this? Instead praising films like Fast & Furious 6 and attempting to send this to hell as fast as possible. Is this film Drive? No. Do not think for a second that this is anything like Drive. You can expect the same kind of violence (sometimes even more brutal), but the relationships here are not defined like mainstream films. You need to look into this, you need to think, you need to understand what characters are feeling from the expressions on their faces.

Many people on the internet are complaining about the lack of dialogue. There are plenty of great movies that lack dialogue. There are also plenty of terrible movies that lack dialogue. This movie may actually have had just as much dialogue as Drive. Its all about the execution. Nicolas Winding Refn knows how to deal with this. The reaction to Valhalla Rising and this could not be any more different, and that is something I cant understand. Both of those films are great pieces of art. Yes they have their own "style" but there is plenty of substance to them as well if you look into it enough. Both of these films lack in dialogue.

At times Winding Refn seems like a hyper violent Andrei Tarkovsky. Where violence and imagery become beauty and those images replace a need for dialogue. Unlike Tarkovsky, this film is not a masterpiece. This film is also not a complete disaster. It doesn't even come close to that. In a world that needs more originality, an art and an industry that needs new life blown in its face, and a country whose people will take Fast 12 (TBA) over anything, do yourself a favor and watch this. Challenge yourself. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


I am so terrible at maintaining one of these things. It has been another year since I have made a post on this blog. Somehow I still get page views every day. Sorry to whomever is checking out this blog and not getting anything new out of it.

I have been going to the movies quite a bit. Once every week or two just for the sake of doing something. There really hasn't been anything worthwhile lately with the exception of Mud and The Place Beyond the Pines. Oh and Spring Breakers was a real hoot too, but that was a while back. Again, I am going to try and get this going. Its really hard to maintain this when I work. I'm working six days a week and dont have a lot of free time.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More from the Criterion sale

The other day I had to get back to Barnes & Noble. This is the worst month out of the year for me because so many great releases are coming out with great prices because of the sale. Either way I picked up the Eclipse box set "Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr.", "David Lean Directs Noel Coward", "Berlin Alexanderplatz", "Sanjuro", and "Walkabout". All of these films I had not seen previous to buying them besides "Sanjuro" and "Brief Encounter" which is a part of the David Lean box set. Looking forward to finish watching all of these great films and spew my pointless thoughts around.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Yesterday I went back to Barnes & Noble and picked up some more gems from the Criterion Collection sale. One of those gems happened to be something I have put off purchasing for a long time. I am talking about Rainer Werner Fassbinders Berlin Alexanderplatz. I was putting this off for so long because I love Fassbinder and whenever I start watching something of his I cannot stop. You may ask why is that a problem? Berlin Alexanderplatz is essentially thirteen films at fifteen and a half hours (making it the longest running time for a film in history).

For those of you who do not know who Fassbinder is, he was arguably one of the greatest if not the greatest filmmaker of the past century. He completed forty four projects in eighteen years and died at the age of thirty seven. With films like The Marriage of Maria Braun (one of my all time favorite films), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, and massive television films (such as World on a Wire and Berlin Alexanderplatz) Fassbinder showed legitimate depth and understanding of the social, political, and personal aspects of his people. He grew up with German guilt that he was born with along with an entire generation that never deserved it, because they were not even alive during the war.

I am currently two episodes in to the film, which puts me at two and a half hours and a basic understanding of what is going on. The main character is Franz Biberkopf, a man who is just released from jail after serving four years for beating his girlfriend to death. He is no hero nor an anti-hero. This is a character that is extremely complex with no real rhyme or reason, and is supposed to be studied and perhaps admired for his complexity? At the same time he seems like an absolute moron. He has his moments of genius and his moments of stupidity and might just be a caricature of what the average German man was like in Weimar era Germany before the rule of the Nazis.

So far it is as enjoyable as any Fassbinder film I have seen. It has the same eccentric characters that I am used to seeing, more than an average inventiveness behind the camera,  and a pace that is slower but more than bearable considering the subject matter and everything that goes on. Hopefully I will have this film finished by next week to give a full review about how I feel about the film as a whole.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Criterion sale and impending reviews

Today Barnes & Noble has begun their semi-annual Criterion Collection sale. This is pretty much the highlight of my year, (which is pretty pathetic) but at least I get what I am normally buying for 27.99-30.00 for 16.99 or less. Today I purchased five blu rays. Alfred Hitchcocks The 39 Steps, Charles Chaplins The Gold Rush, Hal Ashbys Harold and Maude, Otto Premingers Anatomy of a Murder, and Yasujiro Ozus Late Spring. Slowly but surely I will be reviewing each and every one of these films and the purchases that are sure to follow later such as the Eclipse 33: Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr.The Samurai Trilogy, and David Lean Directs Noel Coward box sets.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom as most of you well know is the new Wes Anderson film. It has been a huge limited release hit bringing in a record for most limited release ticket sales of all time. Pretty much every person who has seen it that I have talked to absolutely loved it (many of which are calling it there favorite Wes Anderson film). I say lets not get carried away here. Wes Anderson for a man his age has already made so many great films. Look back on Rushmore or The Royal Tennenbaums which are probably my two favorite films of his. You could even take a look at Bottle Rocket (his first film) and see plenty of glimpses of genius there.

Moonrise Kingdom is a very touching story. It may be the closest Wes has ever come to making an "absolutely human" movie. With this film Wes Anderson has done something that he has done time and time again. That would be the "coming of age" story. But the reason why this film is so effective is that for the first time besides Rushmore he is actually dealing with children that are "coming of age". This is unlike his other films. A good example of what I am getting at would be The Royal Tennenbaums. In The Royal Tennenbaums the better part of the characters are adults who are extremely childish, and by the conclusion of the film they "come of age" and learn their life lessons.
But in this film the two main characters are probably the most effective and touching characters Wes has ever written (with Roman Coppola) and the performances by the lead and supporting kids were all really great.

Another point that I am hearing from major fans of this film is this: "It doesn't look like any other film he has ever made". In my opinion that is completely ridiculous statement. Wes uses the same exact color palette and shooting techniques (French New Wave inspired) that he has used in all of his films. If their is one thing that I can appreciate about Wes Anderson it is the world he has created for himself. Saying that it looks different than anything else he has ever done discredits his creativity and his style that he has always worked in. It is the way he views the world around him (which has also been very childish). You know when you are getting in to a Wes Anderson movie as soon as any of these things flash in front of your face or you hear a newly composed song by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Overall, I found Moonrise Kingdom to be a very good film. There has not been one film that Wes Anderson has made that ever really let me down. I will say that this is the best ensemble cast that he has ever put together. But don't let the hype confuse you. This film is more of the same (which really isn't a bad thing ... or is it?). 8/10