#460 The Gingerbread Man
Robert Altman’s foray into commercial thriller feels a bit like a sell out. Apparently there were a lot of troubles with the making of the movie and the editing of the final product by the studio. The difference between this and when Francis For Coppola made his John Grisham adaptation that was actually a good source material. This was made out of a discarded manuscript and for good reason. The story is ludicrous and Kenneth Branagh shows that whenever he embarks on a southern accent, bad results are to come. I’m looking at you “Wild Wild West”. But, At least this wasn’t Altman’s last film as he would go on to direct the far superior “Prairie Home Companion”.
8:32 pm • 23 September 2012
Anonymous asked: I've been trying to navigate your blog and search for a specific movie but nothing ever comes up when I try your search bar. Have you considered adding tags or such to your posts so that it's easier for find a particular movie?
I tested it out and the search bar is fine. Make sure you typed in the correct title. For example Bourne legacy doesn’t work but the Bourne legacy works. And if it’s not there Maybe I didn’t write about it.
9:40 am • 21 September 2012 • 1 note
#459 AKA Cassius Clay
A film about Muhammad Ali, or should I say Cassius Clay, all the way up to before his come back. Using great B roll, this is an engrossing documentary that shows just how great of a fighter and more importantly a talker, Clay was. They also put in scenes from a special that Ali and Cus D’Amato, the famous trainer, did together in which they exchange friendly banter on who actually was the greatest of all time. Muhammad Ali really was a special athlete whose charisma recaptured my imagination in this film. He is just great making fun of Sonny Liston and a slew of the other bums who cared to match up with him. With all this great footage who needed that Will Smith biopic version.
6:24 pm • 17 September 2012 • 1 note
#458 Wheels on Meals
"Wheels on Meals" is the first collaboration between three oath brothers from their young days in the Peking Opera School. Those three are Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Taking place in Barcelona, the foreign (meaning non Chinese) actors are all dubbed to speak Cantonese which is kind of annoying. But, this is a classic Hong Kong action film filled with slow motion shots and campy humor. This film also features the famous fight sequence between Chan and the kickboxing champion Benny "The Jet" Urquidez. Their fight scene is probably the greatest one on one bout in film history. Also just for your information, the weird title is because of Golden Harvest’s superstition that movies with M names are bad luck.
6:19 pm • 17 September 2012
#457 Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie
I watched this movie purely because of listening to an interview with the writer of the documentary and the book the documentary is based on, Ric Meyers. His way of relating Kung fu movies to a foreign audience make it accessible and entertaining. This movie is sort of like a beginner’s guide to Kung Fu films. It touches on all the essentials but it it just plain entertaining rewatching some of the great action sequences as well as fatten up my Netflix queue a bit. There are animation interludes that felt like an unnecessary gimmick but it made me want to watch a Jackie Chan movie which I did right afterwards.
6:13 pm • 17 September 2012
#456 The Master
I really need to watch this again. This film is so rich in material and themes that one sitting is not enough. But, from that one sitting I could recognize its greatness. Here, Paul Thomas Anderson has made not only what could be his best film but his least accessible film to audiences. The common themes of all Anderson movies are here; the disillusionment of the American Dream, the hope for change, something distorted by greed. And this is anchored by two of the finest performances on record. Joaquin Phoenix transformed himself or at least morphed himself into this Freddie Quell, hunching his back, speaking in slurs with particular ticks. None of the war trauma he went through is ever said or even alluded to except for the scars of his face. His manic personality is juxtaposed with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s subdued, charismatic performance of Laurence Dodd. Everything he says has a reason to it for show. Yet, no matter how calculated he is there is a quiet explosion waiting to go off. If Paul Thomas Anderson have not shaken off the criticisms that he is too much like Altman or Kubrick or that he takes too much from other filmmakers then this film should change it. Here we have an ambitious director that has not come along in American cinema in a while. And if Anderson suddenly disappears now, his filmography with two American classics, three great films and one film that I have not seen yet will be immortalize as one of the greats.
6:08 pm • 17 September 2012
#455 The Joy Luck Club
I must admit, it got a bit dusty when I was watching this film which happen to be on a bus ride. “The Joy Luck Club” seems to be the definitive Asian American film. It takes on melodramatic details and can feel ham fisted during several points but it is indeed a truthful take on being an Asian American. The pressures a first generation American has to take from their parents balanced with the dangerous journey to America is extremely truthful even today. In fact the immigration stories of the four mothers are so heavy that it made the problems of those who were born in America almost seem irrelevant. Everything has a certain truth to it. That said, Asian males do not seem to get a break in this film. None of them are relevant except for those who are the most evil beings in the world. As an Asian American male I am clearly offended.
5:49 pm • 17 September 2012
#453-#454 Seven Up & Seven Plus Seven
A unique documentary experiment in which the film takes several subjects and began filming them at the age of seven with the proclamation that they want to see the leaders of the country in year 2000. Every seven years afterward, they look at the same group of people again to see where they are in their stage in life. The first two installments set paths for the future. Asking the kids simple questions, you can see the naivete of children as they are asked to look upon the future. Knowing that there are films that follow up on these children’s journey in life, I cannot wait to see where they end up. Recently I believe 56 and up was released. This social film series could serve as an important time capsule for the future in how we see life.
1:34 pm • 17 September 2012 • 1 note
#452 The Shop Around the Corner
Unfortunately, this Ernst Lubitsch classic has the dubious distinction of being remade into “You’ve Got Mail”. But, this is a classic romantic comedy in which the humor holds up and even feel risque for that time. The Lubitsch touch is ever present in this film as he fills it with charm and intelligence. Frank Morgan, who is known as the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz”, gives an underrated performance that runs the spectrum of emotions. What surprised me about this film is the themes that they touched upon that were really dark including suicide and infidelity. Then again, this was the filmmaker that made “To Be or Not to Be”. It is an enduring comedy that still resonates today.
1:27 pm • 17 September 2012
#451 The Cats of Mirikitani
Jimmy Mirikitani has an amazing life story. Born in Sacramento California to Japanese immigrants, he went to school in Japan and came back right in time before World War 2 to be put in Internment Camps. Later he would work as a chef for Jackson Pollack and serve as an assistant to a wealthy man in the Upper West Side. When the man died he became homeless living off the paintings he sold. And his paintings are truly amazing combining classical western style with his Japanese style. But, the story behind the artist is more amazing as featured in this documentary.
1:17 pm • 17 September 2012