Good weekend to everyone.It was another fun week of movies. FIST OF LEGEND (1994)- I really enjoyed Fist of Legend. My thoughts about it, however, are more complicated than I expected them to be. It is a martial-arts film that does not break new ground, but it channels the spirit of the old-school kung fu movies so well. Jet Li shines in the fights, which are brilliantly choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping. There is a rawness to the fighting that I found thrilling. The story does get a little saccharine at times, yet that sentimentality contributes to the characters seeming more than fighting machines. It is just good escapist cinema.A COLT IS MY PASSPORT (1967, dir. Takashi Nomura) – In this Nikkatsu gangster film with nods to the western genre, Jo Shishido plays an assassin who targets a Yakuza boss. All goes according to plan until he and his accomplice try to get out of Japan. It is an entertaining film with a narrative that is lean and marked by the lack of sentimentality I have observed in most of the 1960s Yakuza films I have seen. It is also stylishly shot in black and white. ROBOCOP 2 (1990) – Bang, bang, bang, bang…. Thank you for not smoking.While I was entertained by it, the tonal issues of Robocop 2 are very glaring. The scene I mentioned above is one of the few occasions when the juxtaposing of violence and humor blend together effectively. In sequences like the boy’s baseball team looting an electronics store, the effect is just jarring. Children are frequently portrayed as out of control foul-mouthed monsters in the film, the worst by far being the Hod character. I got the impression that there were issues with the script; a significant number of the plot elements feel like were randomly thrown together. The film, moreover, seems like, in a bad way, a cartoon. The one aspect that worked completely was the action scenes. There are plenty of guns and actors with squibs going off on various parts of their bodies. The drug-addicted cyborg was an interesting twist. GAME SHOW MODELS (1976)- This is a 1970s oddity that tries to do several things at once: be a satire, be a drama, and titillate with gratuitous nudity. Though it does not fully succeed, I found it adequate enough to hold my interest. The story focuses on an aspiring writer in Los Angeles who decides that the time has come to leave the bohemian life and seek worldly success in the cut-throat world of public relations. Having a sense of morality can get in the way in that line of work.With several Errol Morris documentaries on Netflix at the moment, I made a double feature of them one night. GATES OF HEAVEN (1978) is Morris’ first film and one I have wanted to see for a long time. Watching GATES, I could not help having the impression of it being a first film. Morris’ talking heads style of filmmaking is still in a rough form, and the editing feels more random than usual. The subject, the death of pets and how to commemorate them, has a certain human-interest factor, which is borne out by the interviews with people mourning their pets. The discussions with the owners of pet cemeteries are not as engaging. The exception is Floyd “Mac” McClure, who is the kind of quirky individual Morris would focus on throughout his career. The second Errol Morris film was THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN’S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY from 2016. Dorfman is a long-time friend of Morris and apparently helped him on a couple of his films. Dorfman’s specialty is the 20x24 camera, which is an enormous polaroid camera. Probably because of his familiarity with her, Morris is more of a physical presence in the documentary. You can sense him behind the camera. Elsa Dorfman has the kind of idiosyncratic personality I associate with an Errol Morris film. This is probably more for the Morris completist than a casual viewer.
A Colt is My Passport has such a good ending
I went to see SORRY TO BOTHER YOU this week, and found it extremely entertaining. The tone reminds me of the crazy satires of the '80s like ROBOCOP and REPO MAN. It's so wild and out there. It was really exciting to see a movie like that these days. I highly recommend seeing it before it gets spoiled for you, because there is some wild stuff to spoil. Also, Armie Hammer continues to be one of the most underrated actors of the day.
been wanting to see this for a while. i'll probably go tomorrow
Rewatched Aliens yesterday, because why not. Got the inspiration from playing a board game called Legendary Encounters: Alien last weekend with a friend. If anyone's at all into board games and a co-op deck building game based on the Alien franchise sound interesting, I recommend you check it out. The game mechanic works really well, plus it's well tied to the story, you basically play through the stories of the first four Alien movies. We only got through the first two, but will finish it the first chance we get. And I'll have to bone up on 3 and Resurrection before that.Also saw Monster Trucks (2016), which is a jumble of cliches, storytelling shortcuts and nonsense character motivations. On the plus side, it's occasionally charming and some of the car stunts are good (while others are CGI), plus it has a ridiculous supporting cast: Jane Levy, Barry Pepper, Frank Whaley, Thomas Lennon, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Holt McCallany, Amy Ryan, Samara Weaving... And it elicited on the Bad Movie Fiends podcast one of the funniest jokes I've heard in a long time, so that alone made the movie worth watching.
McCallany and Pepper make this expensive bomb worth sitting through, but only once. Even in paycheck collecting mode, these two (along with Whaley and Lowe) deliver the goods even in a crap movie like this.
So a friend of mine decided to quiz me and asked me to name as many actors from MCU movies I could think of. I managed to squeeze out 108 names before I gave up. And I forgot some major ones too. Can anyone best me?
Still in Arizona vacationing with my folks. Barely watched any movies, but a few that I've managed to sneak through.--WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (2018) broke me like few documentaries have before (mainly "Life Itself"), one of the few times I've cried from start to finish. Nothing but positivity emanating from the screen clashed hard with my intense negativity as a human being, resulting in a gray area where I was in a constant state of emotional turmoil. Who knew Fred Rogers' TV show could be the source of so much drama and intense feelings? Though the talking heads (primarily Rogers' surviving family members) do their thing (and a few short animated intervals clue us in on the inner thoughts of Fred that he kept to himself), director Morgan Neville ("20 Feet from Stardom") relies on hours of TV footage to showcase a singular man with a singular mission in life. My highest possible recommendation for this one, among the best documentaries I've seen this decade. Not a dry eye in the Phoenix AMC screening I attended. -AMERICAN MADE (2017): it deals with parts of the world (Central America) me and my father came from, so it was entertaining to see a fictitious-drama-mixed-with-facts, rags-to-riches story of a CIA operative moonlighting as a drug dealer for the Medellin Cartel. Dad was suitably impressed with Tom Cruise's acting, and I was reminded how good Domhnall Gleeson can be when he brings his 'A' game. Even on autopilot, Doug Liman's direction is aces.--SKYSCRAPER (2018) is such a creatively bankrupt picture it's almost worth seeing just to marvel at the soulless CGI filmmaking machine extinguish the charisma that The Rock usually relies on to carry movies beneath him ("Hercules," "Rampage"). The skyscraper-on-fire and computer-interface graphics effects are exquisite... but they had to put one-dimensional characters in front of them to ruin the illusion. Shamelessly stealing from "Die Hard" and "The Towering Inferno," the man who brought you "Central Intelligence" at least makes sure that Neve Campbell has action and plot-moving stuff to do besides being a desperate mom. Avoid.Since there's an Alamo Drafthouse close to my father's retirement community I wanted him and his wife to join me in a 35mm screening of GOODFELLAS (1990). They passed, their loss, my gain. I've seen this flick dozens of times over the past 28 years, and it never fails to completely engage me and make me marvel how 145 minutes can fly so quickly. And as a musically challenged individual, it's scary to realize how many songs that I've grown liking since moving to America in 1989 came from this movie alone. Guess I'm gonna have to break down and buy the 4K UHD of "Goodfellas" to replace my decade-old HD-DVD. :-)
THE PEACEMAKER: from 1997, back when Nicole Kidman was not yet made of plastic, and George Clooney was cool (he still is) and knew it, directed by Mimi Leder (a woman *gasp*), we get a fairly efficient post-cold war thriller featuring russian military, train theft, a nuclear explosion and a bunch of smart military and government people being good at their jobs. the movie start with a fairly elaborate sequence of train theft and covering the crime of stealing nuclear devices, and then we get the investigation and and a couple of action scenes. at the time, the movie was not received super well. with time passing, you realize the movie was pretty decent, with deliberate pacing and good acting. what passed for a wall-to-wall action movie is now just an efficient thriller with action scenes. contrary to modern action movies, the story is not driven by the action, they come when they're needed.
For some reason I have always really loved this movie. Like, everything about it. Not quite sure why though. Good point that the story drives the action here instead of the other way around. I usually fall right asleep during action movies believe it or not.
it's almost a discovery for me. i forgot about this movie until i found the blu-ray in a deal bin. i understand falling asleep because there's nothing more boring than a bad action movie with uninteresting action scenes.
Is anyone a fan of Stephen King’s Rose Red? I never hear it talked about but it’s one of my favorite haunted house movies and just has a really cool TV movie feel.
I actually kind of liked this one too and it was directed by Baxley so that's initially what drew me to watch it. I also watched the sequel (prequel if I remember correctly?) also directed by Baxley but I remember really not liking that one.
A couple movies I watched this week:Your Highness (2011) - Hilarious! Was surprised afterwards to see that everyone hated it.Shin Godzilla (2016) - Loved this movie. The googly eyes threw me off initially, but it made sense later, and I liked how they showed different stages of the monster.The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) - This was watchable, mostly for the doctor's over the top performance. "Feed her!" I don't think I'll bother with the sequels, however. One sequence is enough.