#607 Billy Elliot
A British film that was made to be a crowd pleaser, Stephen Daldry’s “Billy Elliot” is a charming if not lightweight piece of film. I reacted to it the way I reacted to “The Full Monty”. There is not much more than making an entertaining film with a bit of social commentary in it. In the film I mentioned previously, they added in the blue collar working class. Here, it is about a teenager finding himself and the connection he has with his dad. And we have seen that before if not in films in practically every episode of “Glee”. Daldry does nothing to put a stamp on the story or frankly put any twists to the story. Then again, Daldry has never been an exciting filmmaker who made films that said something. I don’t know why I am bashing him because he is talented if not just a lifelong studio worker.
9:19 pm • 27 December 2012 • 3 notes
#606 The Landlord
Hal Ashby’s “The Landlord” is kind of an underrated classic and just as poignant now, especially being a New York City kid in which gentrification has become increasingly prevalent. Just take a look at Harlem in the city. What was great about these 70’s films and especially Hal Ashby’s films, in that it is filled with poignant satire and comedy with the underlining of sadness, true sadness. Watching this film, it is no surprise that the same filmmaker will go on to make quirky yet sad character films such as “The Last Detail” and “Being There”. And who is more underrated as an actor than Beau Bridges. Usually overshadowed by his younger brother Jeff, Beau here finds complexity while still delivering comedy in a role that was probably the least showiest of them all.
9:12 pm • 27 December 2012
#605 Black Narcissus
Speaking of beautiful color films, “Black Narcissus” directed by the Archers, Powell & Pressburger, is one of the most beautiful films to be released. And to think that there was so much sexual tension in this film that it could have been easily been cut with the dullest of butter knives. Deborah Kerr, who serves almost as a muse to the two auteurs, gets to relish in her role as the Sister Superior trying stuck in a fight between faith and sex. They had a tension that kept on building and building that by the end, just like any good melodrama, that release serves as an emotional release for the audience as well. But, in reality, I could have just enjoyed this film on mute by simply watching the beautiful scenery and camera work by Jack Cardiff.
9:05 pm • 27 December 2012 • 1 note
#604 The Sound of Music
One of the most embarrassing movies I had to admit to people that I haven’t seen was finally watched by this cinephile. And the results were merely okay. It doesn’t have the warmth or the magic of “Mary Poppins” nor the fun playfulness of “The King and I”, Robert Wise’s film does create a marvelous looking picture on the hills of Austria. But, after the intermission, the film simply wasn’t engaging anymore, losing the new caretaker angle and adding a Nazi one instead. This has nowhere near the social commentary of a “Cabaret” but then again who would have expected that. Other than the enormously catchy songs, “The Sound of Music” did not hold up to the classic people made it out to be. And I can’t help but to watch Christopher Plummer and thinking how much he is hating himself for doing this movie.
8:55 pm • 27 December 2012 • 1 note
#603 The Kid with the Bike
The Dardenne Brothers “The Kid with a Bike” is probably a modern equivalent of Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” which is one of the biggest compliments that I can bestow upon any film (like my opinions matter). I say this because there has been no film since Truffaut’s that has captured a child’s frustration in life as the child grows to be cynical. Like French New Wave, The Dardennes try to avoid style and allows for the naturalistic emotions comes out. Cyril filled with the anger of a child creates much pathos and naturalism in his performance. There is grace and most of all humanity in this film which seems to be so rare with today’s films of CGI galore.
11:02 pm • 20 December 2012
The found footage genre has really overstayed its welcome since its introduction in 1999. If any film was to end this trend it is this anthology of films. Made by some of the bright, young horror directors today, it features some varied selections all with its own flair and creativity. That comes with the territory of having a bunch of young filmmakers trying to stand out from the crowd. And Ti West has a segment which like his typical style, builds up to the scare in his homage to the road killer movies. I quite enjoy this film which has gotten some vitriolic hate from some people who have seen it. Maybe close to 2 hours of found footage is a bit too much.
10:54 pm • 20 December 2012
#601 In Darkness
There are a lot of World War II, holocaust movies out there. Its getting harder and harder to find a new angle on things. With that said, “In Darkness” exposes another side of the war about survival in the Polish sewers. Featuring elements of the adventure film with a holocaust twist, this tense picture was more “The Great Escape” than it was “Schindler’s List”. But, the fact that I am comparing it to other films just make it seem like I have seen this type of film before. There is only so much harrowing films like this that I need in my life and if it can’t rise above the rest, there is no point.
10:43 pm • 20 December 2012
#600 Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry
The controversial artist Ai Weiwei is perhaps one of the most interesting humans on Earth. He is an avant garde artist but more importantly he is a revolutionary. He uses his art as political messages as he is a humanist first and foremost. China with all its imperfections is the subject at hand for Ai Weiwei as he uses his art and himself to try to get genuine change. It is cool to see the power of social media as this documentary is about a very modern time. Alison Klayman uses the bevy of footage from over 2 years of filming to make this story that is still going on today. And it also inspired me to stick my middle finger at public institutions.
10:27 pm • 20 December 2012 • 1 note
#599 Strictly Ballroom
I have never been a big Baz Luhrmann fan. In fact, I probably loathe most of his movies from “Romeo + Juliet” to “Moulin Rouge”. (Moulin Rouge probably because of the obsessed fans that it generates; that’s right I am telling you guys to settle down) “Strictly Ballroom” on the other hand, well its pretty much what I expected from one of his films. It is light and easy but masks itself with bright colors to give it style. But, one thing that it has going for it is that Luhrmann’s soul is imbued in every scene of this film. You can see the love and dedication which touches the audience. I am not saying that the other films do not have it but those films was so much about style that it overshadowed any emotional attachment other than the shallow ones. Yea, not looking forward to “The Great Gatsby”.
10:21 pm • 20 December 2012 • 2 notes
#598 A Late Quartet
What a beautiful character study this film is. Yes the melodrama could be a bit much and then there are some soap operatic entanglements but the actors that are in this bring such vigor and life to the people that they are portraying. Yaron Ziberman in his fictional feature debut, wrote a fascinating story of artists who are as personally frustrated as they are artistically frustrated. Each character gets there due time in which the audience learns about them making sure that none of them would appear one dimensional. And the classical music that these people play ignite the passion and flair that are the emotions. I didn’t come in expecting much which made this that much more of a pleasant surprise.
10:03 pm • 20 December 2012