Friday, May 17, 2013
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 26
Film Geek (2005, dir. James Westby) Film Geek is a movie I could only recommend to people who REALLY like movies. It’s amateurish and slight but it’s also fascinating, funny and very entertaining. It makes me laugh and cringe at the same time. Kudos to Melik Malkasian for his lead performance. Talk about brave. The ending of this movie is a doozy, too. And it gets working in a video store right! I miss video stores. Film Geek would make a hell of a double feature with Cinemania. Both movies tap into the awkward socialization of people who only give a damn about movies and nothing else. Here's a test if you will like this movie - if you think a scene where a film nerd recommends Cries and Whispers to a couple of 'bros' sounds amusing (because of it's depiction of isolation and loneliness), then this one is up your alley.
Looking For Richard (1996, dir. Al Pacino) You haven't seen Shakespeare until you've seen Al Pacino do it. It's truly something to behold. I have a lot of affection for Al Pacino and the weird choices he makes. I like how he has never stopped doing his performance from Scent of A Woman. Does he think "It worked so well, I'm just going to keep doing it?" This documentary follows the loud, gruff, post-Scent Pacino as he talks to his actor-type friends on what makes Shakespeare's Richard III so great, all while directing and starring in the play. It's crazy, brash, and really interesting. You can tell this is a labor of love for Pacino. We rarely get to see what makes Pacino tick, but Shakespeare clearly is one of his biggest passions. He really seems to be having fun.
The Long Good Friday (1980, dir. John Mackenzie) The single best British gangster film (is that even a genre?) and one of the best gangster films period, I feel The Long Good Friday has been overlooked in the last decade. This film made Bob Hoskins a star; his raw, out-sized performance is reason alone to see the film. Helen Mirren and Paul Freeman are also featured; Freeman here is one year away from playing Belloq in everyone’s favorite adventure film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Hoskins plays Harold Shand, king of the English underground crime scene, but events transpire over one Easter weekend that will change his life forever. The Long Good Friday was originally made for British television, but when the BBC threatened to render it completely unintelligible via cuts for violence and language, the filmmakers shopped it around. Handmade Films (the movie company started by George Harrison and Denis O’Brien to release Monty Python’s Life of Brian) came to the rescue— the film was an international hit. The Long Good Friday contains one of the most memorable final shots in all of film history.
Defiance (2008, dir. Edward Zwick) Related to the discussion in the latest Weekend Weigh-In, this Daniel Craig vehicle adapted from a book tells the story about brothers who protect Jewish refugees in the woods during World War II. The story is fairly engaging and the cast does what they do best; Craig stares, Liev Schreiber growls, Jamie Bell is puckishly impudent, and Alexa Davalos has great, great eyebrows.
Trekkies (1999, dir. Roger Nygard) It's a Star Trek kind of week, so why not celebrate the best sci-fi franchise of all time with a movie that actually understands and appreciates the fans? It may seem like this documentary, "hosted" by Tasha Yar, is making fun of these people. It is not. They have found something they love, and it has made them happy and brought them together. We should all be so lucky. This movie has the reputation that it is condescending. It's not. It is beautiful.