March 05, 2008

In the Bleak Midwinter

In response to the anonymous comment "All quiet on the Western front...": I myself keep intending to post something--anything--but I'm battling lethargy these days and any energy's being pooled into the mothersite.

For instance, I finally saw Rambo (awesome--I now feel less silly about comparing Stallone to Truffaut in the current Annual, although the comparison doesn't apply here) as well as my first Misty Mundae movie (never have I laughed so ironically while fighting the urge to masturbate). I've been porting whatever VHS rarities I have over to DVD--and, predictably, often get caught up in them when I should be leaving them to dub. (This project has made me want to rekindle the long-dormant "M.I.A. on DVD" column.) I want to pummel Al Gore for getting my hopes up about a nice, green winter--I've been a glorified shut-in since the end of January 'cause of the relentless snow. I want Babelfish to implement a Pat Graham translator. Etc.

Exciting twofers from Alex, Walter, and Ian are all on the docket, but howzabout I point everyone to my favourite piece of film writing of late? This is
Erich Kuersten on Tarantino's Death Proof.

Seen anything good lately?

34 comments:

Patrick Pricken/Berandor said...

Well, I'm currently rewatching Buffy and just made it past S2 and into S3. Does that count?

Also rewatched Murder by Death.

New stuff, not so much, unfortunately. I'm torn between spending money for a dubbed cinema experience and waiting for the film to come out on DVD to watch it in the original version. I decided to wait with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, but if my knee is bendable in time, will go see There will be blood and No country for old men at the cineplex.

Alex Jackson said...

Watching Zapped for review.

......

Before that I watched Inferno (god-awful, though it was fun watching my cat's reaction to it), A Hard Day's Night (justifiably classic), and Rio Bravo. This last one was pretty dull. I'm really not much of a Howard Hawks fan, I don't think. I liked Big Sleep and really liked Bringing Up Baby. Rio Bravo doesn't have much juice though. This is a movie with a Mexican that uses phrases like "Ay Chihauhau", a toothless old-timer named Stumpy, and actual tumbleweeds blowing through town. It's essentially a two and a half hour B-movie (albeit with John Wayne and Dean Martin) that is easy to feel affection for and hard to be impressed by.

Jefferson said...

I've been exploring Deadwood season 2. Interesting that Milch decided to open with the Swearengen/Bullock throwdown that other (lesser?) showrunners would've saved for the end of the season, or even used as a capper for S1. I haven't seen the season all the way through yet, but I suspect this was an attempt to deflate or derail expectations -- "This show ain't that," you might say.

All that dirt, deceit and whiskey really does make me want to see There Will Be Blood, which I blame my toddler son for making me miss in the theater.

The rest is a DVD marathon to catch up with all I missed last year. A home viewing tells me that Marion Cotillard really did do Oscar-level work in La Vie En Rose; it's too bad some antagonist (Blanchett, j'accuse!) has now excavated her 9/11 theories in retaliation.

djr said...

Oh no, you liked Rambo, Bill? Well, you are a product of the 80's, so I suppose it's partly excusable...

I saw The Other Boleyn Girl the other day, looking to see something I knew absolutely nothing about. Oh, how I laughed my ass off. Needless to say, it's crap.

The best movie I've seen as of late has been Broken English, which probably ranks as one of 07's more unappreciated efforts. Posey is better than any of the women nominated for best actress, ranking with Ricci in Black Snake Moan as one of my favorite female performances from last year.

Ian Pugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jefferson said...

Swayze. Shit, man ...

Oh, and if it means anything to anybody who ever loved Conan the Barbarian or went to school with an 8-side die in their pocket, Gary Gygax died Tuesday.

Love Gorilla said...

The Wire, Season 3. Absolutely amazing television. Also Supernatural Season 3, which isn't quite so much.

I've also got the DVD of this to watch, and I'm actually kind of hesistant to sit down and view it, with the exceptionally nasty descriptions in reviews. Anyone heard anything of it?

Anonymous said...

The Brave One??

The Brave One?????

This is unjustifiable, Chaw. Un-fucking-justifiable. The Brave One was one of the worst movies I saw last year. Too pretentious to be a good Death Wish wannabe and too fucking stupid to be a serious consideration of violence. We're not supposed to get off on her killings, except we're not because, oh gosh, this rich white woman feels so bad about herself afterwards. At least Death Sentence delivered the goods. At least Death Sentence included serious consequences to vigilantism. I can't believe we're even talking about this. I've read your review three times and I still can't fathom your perspective. "The Brave One" was worse than a dozen "Transformers."

--Kim

Dave Gibson said...

Jodie Foster's gorge-raising radio monologues (culled from a grade 11 creative writing class apparently) are enough to qualify "The Brave One" as unmitigated crap, but the "call in bit" where each caller conveniently explicates the talking points of the vigilante issue (each in their very own Noo Yawk personae)and the poignant corpse trail scored to Sarah McLachlan, quite nearly elevates it to camp classic. Erica Bain--from the french word for bathing--cleansing, cleansing because she's UNCLEAN y'now? Now that's good symbolism.
"Transformers" was just boring, long and bad. "The Brave One" is awesomely terrible.

Anonymous said...

Camp classic is when Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence drives his car into the side of a van and RIPS IT IN FUCKING HALF. The call-in sequence in The Brave One is supremely awful, yes, but not in an awesome way -- just in an incredibly insulting way. Chaw's finely tuned bullshit detector has gone decidedly on the blink. I seriously don't understand how anyone can not want to burn this movie and everyone involved.

--Kim

Walter_Chaw said...

HA - wow. So, people really hate the Brave One, huh? It's such a great Batman movie, though. Alas. Been on the blink a bit m'self these days.x

Anonymous said...

Love Gorilla - where did you find that DVD? Netflix doesn't have it.

Love Gorilla said...

Had to import it - from Brazil. Which, to my knowledge, is the only DVD version that has the movie with English subtitles at this point.

Anonymous said...

Thanks and sigh L G

Love Gorilla said...

No fear, Amazon.com has it available for preorder in April - follow the link!

Anonymous said...

This is very fun. Marty does Hitch. For real yo

http://www.scorsesefilmfreixenet.com/video_eng.htm

Bill C said...

Finally (?!) saw NANCY DREW. Walter wasn't kidding; but at least it introduced me to an unimaginably beautiful cover of "Blue Monday," which pops up at regular intervals throughout--almost never appropriately, I might add (why do you want me to feel sad and wistful while looking at illustrations of Nancy Drew?), which in itself is kinda fascinating.

Gonna check out this Marty thing now.

Anonymous said...

That Marty/Hitchcock ad is at least five months old. Remember that even Roger Ebert had mentioned it.

Seattle Jeff said...

Has anyone caught any episodes of Breaking Bad on AMC?

Loved the first 4-5 episodes. Bryan Cranston is excellent...but have stopped watching it because it's difficult to deal with emotionally on a weekly basis. Will probably finish it off on DVD.

Patrick Pricken/Berandor said...

Maybe the "latte joke" in Nancy Drew stems from the German "Ratte" mneaing rat? So there are no rats in Chinese restaurants? Not that that made much more sense...

Alex Jackson said...

Yeah, it would make sense as an ethnic joke if the waitress confirmed that they did in fact serve "ratte".

As is, I'm not sure what it's about.

Jonathan said...

I know that she's a favorite around these parts-- for good reason-- so has anyone else seen this news item about Samantha Morton? Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Walter: Batman doesn't really kill people. Nor does he lie to the police in order to exact his own personal revenge. Perhaps the superhero you're thinking of is The Punisher. Regardless, the characters in this movie don't wear goofy costumes or having entertaining nicknames, so I don't think it makes a very good superhero movie at all. It's closer to, say, a bad Death Wish redux.

jay said...

I hope Walter isn't in the midst of writing a four-star review for the Funny Games remake. I know he's a big Haneke fan, but I'd still like to see him recognize how dramatically the filmmaker has evolved over the last decade, rendering the already-facile Funny Games utterly dated, regressive, and toothless. This remake's only worth is to admire how far Haneke has come since that early experiment in provocation, and to weed out the armchair intellectual nihilists.

theoldboy said...

Nice take on I Killed Who Know'd Me or whatever it was called, although I must admit I had a hard time getting past the superficial surface Alex talks about to even get at the level of meaning he gives it.

Anonymous said...

Bah, we already have a billion horror movies that indulge extensively in the sex drive as a motivational force. What I Know Who Killed Me does is different, and whether intentional or not, rather clever in how it ties directly into Lindsay Lohan the actress, and the media-perpetuated schism between Lohan the former Mouseketeer and Lohan the whore. The most lucid take of this interpretation I've read is by Outlaw Vern, I suggest giving it a read.

Alex Jackson said...

Bah, we already have a billion horror movies that indulge extensively in the sex drive as a motivational force. What I Know Who Killed Me does is different, and whether intentional or not, rather clever in how it ties directly into Lindsay Lohan the actress, and the media-perpetuated schism between Lohan the former Mouseketeer and Lohan the whore. The most lucid take of this interpretation I've read is by Outlaw Vern, I suggest giving it a read.

Yeah, but the film could have used the sex drive as a motivational force and still tie in directly with the media-perpetuated schism between Lohan the Mouseketeer and Lohan the whore. In fact, by doing both the schism between the two Lohans would have some kind of meaning and pathos.

As is, I Know Who Killed Me is merely an intellectual exercise.

Anonymous said...

"Eli Roth's Hostel Part II looks even more impressive, locating an honestly cynical thread of misanthropy in the turnaround from rape to castration."

What does this mean, and how is it impressive?

If anything, I'd say the ending to Hostel II is more offensive than Captivity, since its turnarounds are comparatively more glib and pseudo-intellectual because they try so hard to feign being otherwise, which is then compounded by the dreadful last scene that I can only imagine troglodytes finding remotely amusing or clever. At least Captivity is upfront about its exploitative roots, and rides them to their logical conclusion without desperately reaching to be anything other than what it is.

Anonymous said...

[I Know Who Killed Me spoilers]

Why does it specifically have to be rape for any sort of meaning or pathos to be applicable? Aren't the implications of a mentor to this young woman becoming disillusioned by her burgeoning maturation and thus tearing down the very performer that he trained her to be. I'm reminded of a line from Walter's review of The Assassination of Jesse James about the media fattening the very calves it sacrifices to its own fires. That is a fascinating subtext on its own, and very much an expressive element of the narrative as well. It's hardly just an intellectual exercise. If anything, the lack of rape is telling in of itself, in regards to the nature of her captor.

Love Gorilla said...

The most lucid take of this interpretation I've read is by Outlaw Vern, I suggest giving it a read.

I have to agree with this guy, though despite that nifty reading of the film I still can't see it as anything other than a piece of shit. Walt's last line from Nancy Drew sums it up for me: "It's also, in case you were wondering, bumbling, inept, annoying, obtuse, ugly-looking, badly-cut, and, on the whole, generally unwatchable." Beyond all the terrible filmmaking, that fucking color blue never stops drawing attention to itself, becoming laughable at about the five minute mark, and then hysterical when we're watching Slutty-Lindsay's fake leg recharging against the wall post-coitus with a lovely blue filter across the redhead. Despite this, I really liked the review, especially your thoughts on Captivity, and especially the Starfuckers reference.

Alex Jackson said...

"Eli Roth's Hostel Part II looks even more impressive, locating an honestly cynical thread of misanthropy in the turnaround from rape to castration."

What does this mean, and how is it impressive?

If anything, I'd say the ending to Hostel II is more offensive than Captivity, since its turnarounds are comparatively more glib and pseudo-intellectual because they try so hard to feign being otherwise, which is then compounded by the dreadful last scene that I can only imagine troglodytes finding remotely amusing or clever. At least Captivity is upfront about its exploitative roots, and rides them to their logical conclusion without desperately reaching to be anything other than what it is.


In an earlier draft of the review, I explained my feelings in depth about Hostel Part II but I think I eliminated it just because I felt I was going too far off topic. Whenever I read one of my old reviews and see myself going off on a tangent not really related to the subject at hand I get kind of embarassed.

But anyway. The message of Hostel: Part II is that money is power. The golden rule-- he who has the gold makes the rules. This is what determines who is on the top and who is on the bottom. The heroine survives not because she is smarter, not because she is a woman, and not because she is a victim (i.e. the one offended against). She survives for no other reason than she has the money to buy herself out. And she doesn't even have this money because she earned it or deserved it. She simply inherited it from her mother.

I wouldn't exactly claim that the cynicism of Hostel Part II is groundbreaking or particularly innovative, but I do think that it's unblinking and much more sucessful in equiviating her with her captors rather than succumbing to cheap "girl power" uplift. I like that cynical attitude besides, the idea that ours is a godless universe ruled by chaos and entropy and you have to get what you can when you can. And I find the film's attack on capitalism appealing too, as an illustration of morality being governed by pure reason. Accepting the premise that human beings are essentially governed by rational self-interest I can't lucidly refute any of the actions in the film.

[I Know Who Killed Me spoilers]

Why does it specifically have to be rape for any sort of meaning or pathos to be applicable? Aren't the implications of a mentor to this young woman becoming disillusioned by her burgeoning maturation and thus tearing down the very performer that he trained her to be. I'm reminded of a line from Walter's review of The Assassination of Jesse James about the media fattening the very calves it sacrifices to its own fires. That is a fascinating subtext on its own, and very much an expressive element of the narrative as well. It's hardly just an intellectual exercise. If anything, the lack of rape is telling in of itself, in regards to the nature of her captor.


Interesting reading. Still, the film just doesn't connect with me unless she's being raped. I don't understand where the stripper half of the Lohan character comes from otherwise. And there isn't enough motivation on the part of the tutor. Dismembering his pupils because they outgrew his services seems to stem too much from the needs of the narrative. It's hokey to me, his need for them isn't pronounced enough.

Bill C said...

You know, it takes literally zero effort to sign something other than "anonymous." I'm just sayin', since it would really help us figure out who's legit and who's a troll. (When you choose "anonymous," fairly or not, you wear the face of any and all cowardly douchebags who came before you.) As it stands, I personally no longer feel compelled to engage in conversation with anyone who won't give me the courtesy of an identity.

DJR said...

While Hostel Part Two is a sort of topic, I just have to cite Koresky's review for it as RS as the most convincingly damning piece of film writing I read all last year. Of course, I was probably sympathetic to his wavelength in the first place after being bored stiff by the movie and revolted by Roth's DVD commentary on the movie, which I only made it through about ten minutes of.

brandon curtis said...

I liked The Brave One alot and to the person who thinks Walter has Batman and The Punisher confused for one another in the person of Erica Bain I think the Batman comparison had to do with the atmosphere of the city. In fact, it's in the review.

Nice take, though.