my_window_seat: (Too Much of the Stupid)
 Since I'm on the subject of movies -

I was looking forward to watching a decent indie horror flick.  I won't say I'm an easy audience, but I am prone to liking the unusual and off-beat, and it used to be, back when they first started,  Lion's Gate did a good job of filling that bill.

Oh, Lion's Gate.  Verily thou has sucked for lo these many moons now.
And thou contin...uist?  to suck now.

Starting with an interesting concept - 20-something Jaime was born with a somewhat gruesome heart-shaped birthmark over 1/3 over his face and splashed across his torso.  Withdrawn and easily spooked, he hides beneath a hooded sweatshirt to avoid the gasps of pretty girls and the rocks and taunts hurled at him by neighborhood children.  Another in a line of photographers (his brother and his dead father are/were as well), he is out taking urb-ex photos, only to find that things he didn't expect to see show up in them after he develops the negatives.  

Okay.  I'll bite.

Meanwhile, an upsurge of gang activity in the neighborhood includes people being set on fire with molotov cocktails.  He sees the hoodie-wearing figures from his photographs, who turn out to be - duh duh duh -


Yep.  It goes downhill reeeally fast after this point.
And that's all in the first ten minutes.

Did I mention that the demons have faces like monitor lizards?
Yeah.  In hoodies.

Bad enough?
Oh, no.

Now Jaime gets to see his Lizard homies set his mom on fire.
Because that's how demons roll, dawg.

Okay, still it could be worse, right?
Pathos and sorrow and all kinds of angsty stuff.  This could still work.

Did I mention the complaint-rock soundtrack?
Yeah.  Not a good sign.

Meet the new neighbor.  Nice guy (talented young actor - and an unfortunate role for Mickey/Rickey, all you Dr. Who fans), but don't get too attached to him, because in the next ten minutes all that will be left of him is his severed arm. Which is too bad, because he was pretty much the last decent thing about this flick. 

Oh, neighbor's i-phone survives.  On which Jaime will get a phone call from his dead dad.
And now it will send him spooooky picture clues - that lead him to the building his father grew up in - where he meets -

Some scrawny long-haired dude with (ooooooooooh) SCARS.
And he's wearing leather pants WITHOUT A SHIRT.
Oh, and he's the Devil.

So what do you do when your mom's been turned into a human bottle rocket, you just saw you're neighbor's arm on TV and you've stumbled into Old Scratch's shitty upstairs cold-water flat?

Did I mention there's a completely unexplained little Indian girl there, too?

Well, the thing to do is, of course - make a deal with the Devil.  The same 80s fashion victim who just dismembered Nice Neighbor and torched your mom.  Because hey, they're dead, and De Debbil will take away your nasty ol' birthmark and then you will get the wimmins and live miserably ever after, because the devil just told you that life is unending torment because humanity needs pain to create great art and what the everloving fuck - YOU IDIOT YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE DEALS WITH THE DEVIL, ASSHOLE.

But the little Indian girl says it's okay Jaime, you're mom would have wanted it this way - she wants you to have the wimmins, Jaime - so hey, why not.

And the devil says that all you have to do is some graffitti - like spray-paint "God is an asshole" or something.
Cool.  That's doable.

PRESTO - birthmark gone!
SHAZZAM - new girlfriend!
POWIE - devirginized AND Unexplained Indian Girl keeps appearing and now she's calling you Dad because you're going to live with your new girlfriend and she will be your new daughter and everyone will live happily ever after wheeeeee!

Until the Weapons Man shows up.
And tells you the devil actually has a different assignment for you.

Said assignment:  to cut the still-beating heart out of some dude and place it on the church steps ("of your choice" - no seriously, the guy says that), no later than the stroke of midnight, of course. Oh, and you have to do it with Your Father's Dagger, which the Weapons Man conveniently finds for you in your father's box of keepsakes (which have been sitting under the bed in his untouched bedroom for the last ten years, because that's how dysfunctional families roll, dawg). 

The Weapons Man of course finds the daddy dagger - using a dowsing rod.

Oh for fuck's sake.

So Jaime naturally goes out, led by his newly adopted Third World Daughter Figment, picks up a male prostitute, wraps him up in cling film, cuts out his heart, and deposits it on the church steps ON THE 11TH STROKE OF MIDNIGHT because Jaime's a goddamn rockstar.  Awww, yeah.

I can't go on.
Please, don't make me.
Don't make me relive the moment when the devil brings Mickey/Rickey's still-living head back for a cameo and has it as a snack.  Om nom nom nom.  Because misery lasts forever and is apparently tasty, too.

Oh, and dead dad shows up at the end as the Scaly Henchmen set young Jaime on fire, whereupon Our Hero has an Epiphany and is reunited with dead daddy dearest.  And teh demons turn out to be street hooligans wearing masks. 


Not even bad enough to be good.
But of course, having made the initial investment, I went ahead and sat through the whole thing - so that you wouldn't have to.

You're Welcome.
my_window_seat: (Default)
Deserving of note - Friday was one of the first days in a very long time that I had an awesome subbing experience.  Class of 5th graders who obviously had an exceptional teacher and a school that was supportive of same - something that seems to be the exception rather than the rule, but damn the negativity - just the fact that such exists at all, even if it is rare, gives me some hope that education, in its best and brightest form, still exists.  Yay, verily.

Also, got this in my e-mail from the playwright of the show I just directed.  Boggle with me if you will:

Friday, January 9, 2009 7:57 PM
From:  "Malcolm "
To:  ~D~
SUBJECT Coyote and friends

Hi ~D~,
Happy 2009!  I just got back from a wonderful week in Mexico with my family, so I am definitely liking the way the new year is starting out.
I'm still feeding off the warm memories of seeing Coyote and meeting you all.  I really loved your production.  I would love to put some photos up on my website (unfortunately, I don't have any photos.)  My website is a homemade affair, and I keep intending to upgrade and enhance it, and try to get the play out to a wider audience.  I would love to write about some of the things you did with the show, and I'd even love to put the version of the song that the girl sang rather than as a duet between Young Scrooge and Lupe as I had written it.  I think I like it better the way you did it.  What do you think?  Would you mind if I included some stuff like that in my website?
I hope you are doing well and working on something wonderful.  I do think you should check out Paul Sills' Story Theatre.  It's a lot of fun to direct and would be great with all those young actors.
Hope your holidays were grand!

Wow.  Just - wow.  And may I say - wow?

Rounding off the awesome of Friday, got to see Repo - the Genetic Opera on the big screen.  While there was an unfortunate concentration of STUPID in the audience (seriously, who doesn't know basic movie etiquette - WHISPER if you have something to say, you effing morons...!), it was bizarre and well worth the price of admission.  I do think the trailer is somewhat misleading, as despite the title, it lead me to believe it was a musical, and it took a little while to get feel for the format, which is unapologetically rock OPERA.  You either go with it where it's going with this understanding, or it will make you miserable (to be fair, I think this is part of what lead to the stupid across the aisle, so there's that).  Once I snapped to this it was actually really interesting to see what they would do with it next,and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

So, yeah.  Friday.  Neat.  :-)

my_window_seat: (Default)
No matter how old I get, The Lost Boys remains one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Quotably cheesy dialogue, scary 80's fashions, baby Keifer Sutherland and his Undead Teen Rat Pack, and a kick-ASS soundtrack.  Aside from Jamie Gertz' mind-numbingly two-dimensional performance as The Stupidest Vampire Ho in History, this is a near-perfect nostalgic gem.

Also - the concert on the boardwalk ("I Still Believe") - the one with the well-oiled sax-playing Tim Capello?  Oh my, yes.


Edited for artist correction provided [profile] vigoro09 .  Good boy.  Have a cookie.  :)

my_window_seat: (Default)
This looks simultaneously like one of the most AWESOME and WORST things to have ever been given a budget.

And I'm going to have to see it someday.

Oh my, yes.

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I am a film snob.

Anyone who knows me knows this. I'm unashamed in my dislike of almost all contemporary American 'cinema', and have little to no patience with it.

I'm also more than a little weary of the current fascination with comic book movies. I admit to liking Sin City, but not because of the storyline - ish - but because of the gorgeous layout and design work that went into it. It was quite literally like seeing a comic book ripped apart page by page and and thrown up onto the screen. Content wise - meh. Visually - hooray!

However, most comic book movies - yawn.

That said, I just saw Catwoman.

And dear god, I loved it.

I know this was a box-office disaster. I know that there was an overabundance of CGI rendering. I know that there were enough holes in the plot to strain oatmeal through. I know that it wasn't in any way like the comic book.

But I couldn't help noticing how much fun Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt had doing it. Seriously - these two looked like they were having the time of their life with their characters. That's what doing what you love and getting paid for it should look like.

And Halle Berry as a whip-wielding nigh-indestructible feline femme-fatale, barely clad in lace-up leather and oiled to within an inch of her life?

I'm having vapors.

Guilty pleasure - I freely admit it - I loved it.

my_window_seat: (Default)
Ganked from [ profile] ilovescabs, because he's cool like dat.

The latest short from Neill Blomkamp, Alive In Joburg is available for viewing:

Transformers meet Cthulu meet - uh - South Africa...?

As [ profile] ilovescabs said, I want to see something feature-length from this guy - STAT.

Also, not only is this a well-crafted bit of documentary-esque sci-fi, it's also possibly the most well-executed anti-apartheid allegory I've ever seen.

Back to homework...
my_window_seat: (Default)
Though the file seems to be terminally stuck at 99.3%, I think I have completed a functional download of Ray Lawrence's 1985 film, Bliss.

I just did a cursory check of the file in VLC, and it does appear that a desire of twenty years' standing to see this film again is about to be realized.*

You may now worship my hard drive.

:: cue angelic choir ::

* Okay, so sometime after the Homework Mound of Unusual Size is dealt with. Sometime soon, anyway.
my_window_seat: (Default)
Can't fucking sleep. Compiled a list of movies for no apparent reason and with no particular theme, and my thoughts on them. Enjoy or disregard. Send me some sleep if you have any extra laying around.

Fog of War - 11 Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
A look into the life and history of the former Secretary of Defense, president of the World Bank and president of the Ford Motor Co., too. Occassionally succumbs to style ("OMG looka me I'm a edgy FILM MAKER!"), but it's worth looking past this - it's 98% McNamara on camera telling his own story, flipping from past to present in a way that makes a strange kind of sense. Educational and interesting, and a little bit sad.

City of God (Cidade de Deus)
Visually surreal, viscerally stimulating, but with a plot that is never lost under style. Based on a true story, it could be but isn't a documentary of street life in Rio de Janeiro - it's tinged with a kind of magical realism at the barrel of a gun that haunts.

Kung Fu, aka Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Karate, comedy and asian fairytale, with weird and wild exagerating of style bordering on Saturday morning cartoons. Beware of chain-smoking landladies and blind men bearing auto harps. No, really. I'm serious.

A first-time director and a very low-budget sci-fi-esque story. All hard science, all dialogue, only about 10 seconds of special effects that you'll miss if you blink. A strange little orobourus of story-telling and physics that I didn't always understand, but found myself wanting to keep watching all the way to the end.

Road to Perdition
A slow, dark crime drama about a hitman's son and conflicting loyaties where family and the underworld collide. A rare opportunity to see Tom Hanks as something other than a sympathetic protagonist. Score by Thomas Newman, hands down my favorite contemporary composer.

Dogtown and the z-boys
Not to be confused with the recent N'Synch-ish mtv-style remake that came out this year, this is the documentary about the kids who brought the ocean to the shore - er, invented skate boarding. I'm not even a board-dork and I still really got into this.

Another slow one. Nicole Kidman as a woman who is led to believe that a neighborhood boy is her reincarnated husband. Controversial because of some interesting scenes between her and the boy. Has one of the longest single-shot takes of nothing more than Kidman's face; probably one of the best examples of dialogue-without-words I've ever seen. Weird.

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
Documentary about the man who 'improved' the electric chair. One man's thinking about how to make the process of capital punishment 'more humane' - eery similarities to the kind of thinking that brought us the guillotine. Gets really weird when it explores Leuchter's eventual obsession with the Holocaust, and why he's convinced it never happened. Wacked.

Sex and Lucia (Lucía y el sexo)
Foreign film in a moment of greatness. The title does not disappoint; there is sex. There is also story, one where the writer seems trapped in his own tale. Circular and sensual.

Heaven (2002)
Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi are one of the unlikeliest and yet strangely believeable pairings in a story about a woman trying to find her husband's killer. The story is interesting enough, but it gets upstaged - in the right kind of way - by the mood created by the director and cinematographer. There are stories beyond stories, and this is one of them.

Sin City
Graphic beyond description, but probably one of the most faithful interpretations of comic book to screen. It's really like the pages have been torn out of the stapled bindings and electrocuted into life. All of the rest of the comic book movies are cannon fodder in front of this one.

Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions)
The most recent work by Denys Arcand, my favorite director of all. Almost a sequel to Le Déclin de l'empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire). An exploration of death and relationships and the social arrangements of all the things that go into the distillation of life. As with all of Arcand's films, I didn't want it to end, which I think is exactly how the central character and the director must have felt as well.
my_window_seat: (AA Icon)
How - I mean, just - how -

How does George Lucas go from making something as conceptually unique and stylistically challenging as THX 1138 into the space/sci-fi/soap-opera genre, never to return to the realm of the original ever again?

Until today, I'd never even heard of this film, even though it was made in 1970 and is apparently a well-referenced work. I found out about it by sheer chance; my neighbor and I were briefly chatting in passing, which led to an exchange of movies - I gave him Jesus of Montreal and Amateur to watch, and he loaned me his DVD set of THX, and I just watched it - and I'm going to have to watch the additional DVD of features and commentary tomorrow night, just to find out what the folks who put this together have to say about it.

I don't even know what to say except that it just boggles my mind, mostly because Lucas started out as a genius. I mean, I can't say that I'd want every movie to look like this one, but the fact that it was made at all just - it just challenges my ideas of what can be done with so little dialogue and with so much attention being paid to crafting an overall structure and letting the pieces assemble themselves in the audience's mind.

It's like the universe decided to hand me a mental breathmint to get rid of the sour aftertase from watching the drek that is The Island the other night.

And just when I lose faith in a benevolent universe...
my_window_seat: (Default)
Synopsis of The Island:

Take the costumes from Space: 1999. Add the acting style favored by Farrah Fawcett in Logan's Run, a mixture of dewy-eyed Bambi-like innocence and sheer stupidity and sear gently with Pulp Fiction-esque violent mood reflexes. Save money by not bothering to hire decent script writers so that you have more to spend on CGI animators to make everything possible go BANG! zzzZZZZzzzZZzz kak-kak-kak-kak-kak *CRASH!* BOOM!!!. Blend with a cast of actors who damn well should have known better but either really needed the money or read a different script than the one they were eventually handed on the set. Strain through a plotline as transparent as cheesecloth. Frost with the inevitable innocents-stumbling-into-the-light-of-a-free-day swooping overhead pan shot. Try to keep your gorge from rising.

Or better yet, just skip it.
my_window_seat: (Default)
As usual I stand alone on the rocky promontory of unpopular opinion on this one -

But I just watched The Village, and M. Night Shyamalan remains, in my estimation, a fucking genius.

It's not a fucking horror movie, people. It's only even a 'mystery' incidentally.

But anyone who's ever wanted to rediscover an innocence that isn't possible in the world as we know it - anyone who's ever dreamed of taking themselves and those they love to a kind of self-created and safe reality that could exist only in a world of their own making, however simple and far-fetched and even childishly based on fairy tale and wish-fulfillment -

That's the kind of person who might 'get' this movie.

Not to mention someone who has an attention span of longer than 7.4 seconds - who has the intelligence to appreciate some truly fine moments of understated and sincere writing, and subtlety and nuance of acting -

Phillistines - all of you - Phillistines...

[EDIT: I'm very gratified to find that I have company out here on the artistic cliffside - and must say I'm not that surprised. I know me some smart peoples, yessum I does. :) ]
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Just finished watching Greenaway's A Zed and Two Noughts, and I can only say, Peter Greenaway is who David Cronenberg only wishes he could be. Suck it, Cronenberg - Greenaway is da man.

At the request of [ profile] darkwench, am now heading to the store to get a box of some cheap, fruity wine for the hanging out tonight.

A thoroughly wasted and utterly enjoyable day.

my_window_seat: (Default)
From The Core:
Self-Important Scientist: "Excuse me - but - is this really the best we could do?"

Hacker: "How many languages do you speak?"

Scientist: "Five, actually."

Hacker: "Well I speak one: One zero one zero zero. With that I could steal your money, your secrets, your sexual fantasies, your whole life - any country, any place, any time I want. We multi-task like you breathe. I couldn't think as slow as you if I tried."

Geeks are so - fucking - HOT.

Oh, yeah.

Merry Christmas.

my_window_seat: (AA Icon)
Well, as per usual, I'm in the infinitessimal minority who actually preferred the originally released, more closely edited version of Donnie Darko. If there's even anyone else who does.

It's just that - as disturbing as ambiguity and discontinuity can sometimes be in real life - I think it's something I actually need in my art. I don't want all my questions answered for me. I don't want everything spelled out in foot-high letters and annotated with expanded commentary.

I like it when an artist leaves me room to wonder.

That's not to say that tonight was entirely disappointing.

Just marginally.

my_window_seat: (Dead Like Me)
The Director's Cut of Donnie Darko is at the Guild at Midnight tonight.

I am so going to be there. W/Bernie and Co., o' course.

If anyone else wants to go and needs a ride or whatever, do holler. :)
my_window_seat: (Default)
Johnny Depp evidences a creditable Scottish accent, and the roots of Never Never Land are revealed:

Must. See. MUST SEE!
my_window_seat: (Default)
There's a little movie by Hal Hartley called Trust.

You won't find it anywhere but some run-down, indie video shop.

It's a hard-pressed little lump of coal, diamond-sharp.

If you ever felt like carrying a hand grenade in your pocket at all times, 'just in case' -

If you've ever felt yourself drawn to save someone else because you know that you yourself are beyond saving - or just because, you happened to be there at the time -

If you ever wanted to turn your back and plunge from a high place, not knowing, not expecting, with no anticipation for the arms that are, after all, there to catch you before your body meets the ground -

Well. This might be your movie.

It does it for me, anyway.


my_window_seat: (Default)

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