Saturday, August 22, 2009

Slapped with a European 18

Link. Almost nothing gets an 18 rating in Europe, I figured this one would (and it did). This being the case, a North American release would be highly unlikely anytime soon- which is a shame, considering this one has me intrigued in a very curious & pereverse way.

Friday, August 21, 2009

'District 9' -The story of Jekyll and Hyde-

First things first, I'm not big on Sci-Fi. Sure every once in a while we get a movie that defies the genre and transcends its roots, such Minority Report & Children Of Men but for the most part, I'm indifferent to spaceships, futuristic toys & the sudden urge to run away from things. Which is why I was indifferent to watching District 9- produced by Peter Jackson- which has been getting surprisingly positive feedback from audiences and critics- not to mention its 30 million dollar box office opening this past weekend. Directed by South African newcomer Neil Blomkamp, I was highly impressed by its social relevance and the mirrored reflection it takes on the South African Apartheid & not to mention Acting newcomer Shartlo Copley, exceedingly good as a man infected by an alien transformative virus.

The first half completely floored me, I was wondering 'what the hell is going on here' ? which is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned, meaning a movie has caught you off guard and gotten you intrigued by its concept. What I didn't like was the last third of the film- which changes from the first half's social consciousness of integration into another run of the mill action blockbuster. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad movie- but if only it would have stuck to its original roots and layed down the action a little less. Its first 90 minutes are a solid foundation to build upon with undeniable shades of the world we live in but its last 20 turn into a Transformers type of movie, which -as far as I'm concerned- is never a good thing. This is not a mixed review but call me disappointed.

Attention Chan Woo Park

A 17-year-old Brazilian schoolgirl stunned cops by admitting a serial killing spree that started when she was just 15. She was held on Monday for knifing 30 men to death. She told detectives she wanted to confess before she turned 18 and could be tried as an adult reports Fox News. The girl – who can't be named as she is a minor – said she began targeting men in her home city of Sao Paulo, Brazil "for money, revenge and justice." She bragged to police,: "I don't have enough cour-age to hold a gun — but I can hold a knife." But police are still unclear about what drove her to keep on killing. Sources said one theory is she was hired by gangland bosses as an assassin because she was so innocent-looking. The teenager's sensational confession came after she was arrested over a Sao Paulo street fight.

This taken from The Times Of India and further proof that our society has managed to outdo itself on a daily basis. On a side Note, having Chan Woo Park direct a story based on this would be just awesome. My review of District 9 should be up shortly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In honor of the 'man'..

Joaquin Phoenix, circa 2009 & heavily bearded.
This Link in case you're lost, dazed and confused.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

'Pill Poppin eccentric bearded man'

James Gray's heartbreaking Two Lovers is out on DVD. Here's my review, posted a few months back. It's worth watching alone for Joaquin Phoenix's grandiose -supposedly final- screen performance (before he became the titular man of this topic) & the always reliable Gwyneth Paltrow as his subjective muse. It's easily Gray's best and most mature film and one of my favourite movies this year.

Also out is the Mike Tyson documentary which had its premiere at Sundance and got released in April. With any documentary in which the main subject narrates, there are biases and there are missteps but Tyson is worth a look because of curiosity alone and for the way he shrugs off his marriage abuse and rape accusations as if they could never have happened. It also somehow manages to have the viewer sympathize with Iron Mike in his search for a 'what the fuck does my life mean' ideal. A worthy rental & something that gives new meaning to the phrase 'There's always two sides to a story.

Tarantino on Scorsese

In which Quentin Tarantino talks of an interesting mythic rumor concerning Scorsese and the making of his masterful Taxi Driver. I've always heard of this legend but never really knew if it was fact or fiction and I still don't. Taxi Driver is one of those films that grew on me as the years went by, my first impressions of it were very minimal and unimpressive but there's something dark and sadistic about the underworld portrayed by writer Paul Schrader- so much so that many years after having seen it, I think it might be his best film. The finale is also the stuff of legend- in which you are not entirely sure if what you have just seen actually happened or was a dream reality thought out by Deniro's Travis Bickle. The influence is still there- read my review of May's Observe And Report, which has similar themes to Taxi Driver. Talkin about Tarantino, I should have my review of Inglorious Basterds up at some point next week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Image 8/18/09

Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away is too good to be true. Quite possibly the best animated movie I have ever seen. Think The Wizard Of Oz meets Twin Peaks and you'll understand what kind of trip it is. Miyazaki has always had a way of telling a story in his own, uniquely imaginative way. Here he encompasses all the promise he first brought in his earlier films and knocks all of those out with this one, a story that encompasses the same themes he's worked with since the beginning of his career -friendship, love, dreams- and make his grand opera out of sheer wild lunacy. Chiiro, the film's heroine, is a little girl that gets lost and swept up into a furiously colorful but dark world that has the most creatively imaginable characters you have ever seen in an animated movie. The way Miayazaki uses colors here is extraordinary, especially when you find out that he still animates his films the old school way and with as little special effects machinery as possible. It's a beautiful work of art that rightly gets name checked in any animation student's book. I can guarantee you've never seen anything quite like this one. It's very dreamy- right up my alley- and features scene after scene of Ecstasy and inventiveness. Every director is known for a certain movie or creation. Miyazaki will always be known for Spirited Away.

Dedicated to a special someone

Iris, Claude Monet 1900

'Stupid is as stupid does'

In the world of film there are idiots and then there's New York Press critic Armond White. The past week, people are finally giving time & day to criticize a man that has denounced every form of art released in film today and championed the bonheadedness of Michael Bay and Tyler Perry. His latest endeavour in oblivion is his infamous review of the just released District 9, which he classifies as 'racist' and 'juvenile'. Roger Ebert has been one of the few supporters of Whte's rant in an interesting but ultimately unsatisfying defensive essay. Yes, White writes for an Alternative news weekly but how far is too far? Alternative news IS a different alternative medium to the news but when what is written is comic and absurd- there must be a line crossed and questions that need to be asked. Comparing a scene from GI Joe to french master Godard is insane, so is saying that Transformers 2 director Michael Bay is a Visionary. White sets the bar high for stupidity. I guess stupid is as stupid does.

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