Fucky Film Review!

Archive for January, 2009

Inland Empire

Posted by Web Manager on January 29, 2009

David Lynch 2006

The only thing I can say for sure is that I watched it.

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Posted in 2000's, American Films, Movies | Leave a Comment »

Being There

Posted by Web Manager on January 27, 2009

Hal Ashby 1979

 

There was something a little too cute about the extent of the misunderstanding central to the plot of BEING THERE, sort of like an elongated episode of THREE’S COMPANY, but the film carries it off without conceit, thanks to the acting (Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine), and Ashby’s unique ability to be both earnest and subversive at the same time.

Posted in 1970's, American Films, Movies | Leave a Comment »

Slumdog Millionaire

Posted by Web Manager on January 24, 2009

Danny Boyle 2008

Aims for the lowest common denominator. Flashbacks to remind us about plot turns that we saw five minutes ago, which themselves were way too predictable. There are no surprises in this movie, which shouldn’t surprise us, given the filmmaker’s record for turning good pulpy books into dumbed down eye candy (he also did THE BEACH). He still has that great touch for little music video moments within the film, as in the succession of zoom-outs during the early chase scene in the slums, and the playful nod to Bollywood in the closing credits. Also loved the kid covered in poop.

Posted in 2000's, British Films, Movies | 3 Comments »

All the President’s Men

Posted by Web Manager on January 20, 2009

Alan J. Pakula 1976

 

“Mmm, Robert – I mean, Woodward, you smell fantastic.” “Thanks, Goldstein- I mean Bernstein.” “So what is that you’re wearing, some kind of musk?” “Nope, just Old Spice.” “Old Spice you say?” “Yep, uh huh.” “Lets bring down the Nixon administration what do you say.” “Sure thing.” “OK I’ll be nosy and aggressive, and you take the high road.” “As long as no one finds out Deep Throat’s true identity.” “No problem Sundance- I mean, Bob.  Deep Throat is all yours.” “Yep, uh huh.”  Cue montage of reporting-like stuff, ups and downs, irascible editors who defy everything to stand by their boys, and a classically seventies anticlimactic ending.

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Wet Hot American Summer

Posted by Web Manager on January 19, 2009

David Wain 2001

Comedies (especially American comedies) tend not to age very well. I look to the new releases first. But TROPIC THUNDER and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS were both out and I didn’t have the patience for JCVD, and I wasn’t convinced that FINDING AMANDA would do the trick, so I went off to the comedy corner and found WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, which I’d never seen before. It starts off very boring and dumb, and continues in much the same, but the boring dumbness does set the stage for some great little bits, like the montage of the counselors going to town, which was one of the only places you could really feel like you were watching a movie by the people who brought us THE STATE.  If you stick with the movie, it, like Paul Rudd’s acting, will grow on you, and will occasionally deliver some smart laughs, like when Janeane Garafalo is calling out a list of campers and just starts making up Jewish sounding names. I can’t believe I laughed at something Janeane Garafalo did.

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Rachel Getting Married

Posted by Web Manager on January 17, 2009

Jonathan Demme 2008

Loved Anne Hathaway, but I admit that I really wanted to love her going in. People are always like: her? Like its some big surprise. Yes her. She’s so pretty that she’s almost boring, which makes her kind of ugly, and all of a sudden, more beautiful and interesting. I went to a new cinematheque in the suburbs to see RACHEL. I left dinner early to do so, thereby missing out on the main course, some kind of goulash that I had every reason to assume was excellent. This raised the bar for RACHEL, which concerned me, especially in the first moments of the film, when I felt myself struggling to buy in. The premise, acting, dialogue, even cinematography all seemed a little clumsy. I found myself wondering why someone would want to make yet another wry family drama about a wedding in a house, especially with all of these quote unquote interesting people buzzing around being creative, living out some urbane writer’s conception of what a cool 30-something wedding looks like. And there was just a tiny hint of rarified smugness that ran through the film, which I don’t see how you can avoid when you’ve got the guy from TV On The Radio playing the groom (incidentally their latest album is pretty awesome).  Nonetheless, every single thing about this movie completely won me over by its half-way point. The script unfolds dramatically and intelligently, with dozens of perfectly handled subtleties – like the mother; you could glean her whole story and how she got to where she was from where she must have been without a word spoken about it. This delicateness could have been ruined a million different ways, but the film showed restraint and trust in the viewer. Well worth missing some goulash.

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Doubt

Posted by Web Manager on January 17, 2009

John Patrick Shanley 2008

I saw DOUBT the other night in the theater, after needlessly long deliberation over what to see. Not an overly cinematic movie – it had the feel of theater, which makes sense since it was adapted (by the director) from a play (he wrote). But it was so tight, with dramatic twists in all the right places, perfectly executed by the actors – and not just the leads (P.S. Hoffman and Meryl Streep), but also the supporting actors, like Viola Davis, who played the choir boy’s mother and almost stole the movie in her two scenes.

Seeing DOUBT also reminded me that Fucky has failed to list all of the movies that I’ve seen in the theater over the past year or so. I’m not sure how this happened, but from now on there will be no such omissions, and following is a partial list of the films I saw in the theater in 2008, in order of how likely I am to see them again:

 

DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY. Genius. Best thing I’ve seen in years, maybe ever. Made me sick for a week.

I’M NOT THERE. Beautiful and full of stuff I probably didn’t catch. 

IN BRUGES. Surprisingly awesome. Funny, smart, original, campy, and cool.

VICKI CHRISTINA BARCELONA. Penelope Cruz is amazing. Narrator annoyed me at the beginning, but I got over it. 

EDGE OF HEAVEN. From the director of HEAD ON. Not quite as good as HEAD ON, but still pretty fucking good.

COUNTERFEITERS. A thinking person’s holocaust film.  Loved the chicks.

CONTROL. Ian Curtis was one rad sad lad. My favorite narrative movie about a real band.

RESCUE DAWN. Very good. Better than I thought it would be, but not as good as I heard it would be.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Powerful stuff, but it got kind of out of control towards the end.

MICHAEL CLAYTON. Technically this one should be first since I already watched it again (on a plane) but watching on a plane doesn’t really count. Loved the opening scene, and Tilda Swanton rubbing her armpits. Clooney is still cool.

THE LIVES OF OTHERS. Loved it.  Like DOUBT – very taught, well acted, great script. 

DARK KNIGHT. Respect to my former neighbor Heath but it’s too long. Still it’s the kind of crap I’ll watch again.

WALTZ WITH BASHIR. Beautiful and fascinating animated documentary about the filmmaker’s memories from the Lebanon War.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD. D-Day Lewis is great, as is the music and the cinematography but P.T.A. is too heavy-handed.

BE KIND REWIND. The films within the film are the best and only reason to see the film.

FOUR MONTHS THREE WEEKS TWO DAYS. The bureaucratic contortions of getting an abortion in Communist Romania. Beautiful night shot under the streetlights. 

ELEGY. A little pretentious (why did his friend have to be a Nobel Prize winner?) but Penelope Cruz, again, was amazing.

PARANOID PARK. Too boring. Skater kids are not as interesting as the GVS seems to think they are.  Good scene when he is alone on the house on the phone.

APPALOOSA. Not a bad little Western. Viggo is pretty cool but Rene Zelwigger annoyed me for most of the film. 

TURKISH FILM WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER. About a guy who comes home to the countryside after spending a few years in jail for student political activism. Slow burning. I like it much better now than I did while I was watching it.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Quantum of entertainment.

LOST ISLANDS. Ridiculous Israeli period piece (1980’s) about family issues. Israelis liked it because they haven’t had these kind of nostalgia trips. And even so not many Israelis liked it.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO. Dumb. Not that funny. Kevin Smith has still not lived up to CLERKS. I like watching Elizabeth Banks.

INDIANA JONES. Terrible.

Posted in 2000's, American Films, Movies | 3 Comments »

Life of Brian

Posted by Web Manager on January 15, 2009

Terry Jones 1979

So smart! The Pythons’ did top-notch research, nailing (ha ha) – and finding a lot of humor in – nearly all of the sociopolitical issues that dominated Judea at the time of Christ: the infighting, the messiah-madness, the Hebes’ colossal stupidity in fighting the Romans in the first place, and political martyrdom. I also noticed that the costuming was fantastic – interesting interpretation of how people might have actually dressed at the time, combined with a kind of hippy Jew look that you can still find in certain places in Israel today, like my friend Abby’s facebook page. I watched the making-of afterwards and learned that art direction was the work of Terry Gilliam, whom I had totally forgotten was the animator of all the Monty Python cartoons (he later went on to direct BRAZIL and TWELVE MONKEYS among others).  Gilliam also vied within the group for the job of directing BRIAN but he was outvoted by the Pythons, who felt that Terry Jones was the better comedy director (duh).

Posted in 1970's, British Films, Movies | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Verdict

Posted by Web Manager on January 12, 2009

Sidney Lumet 1982

Guilty, of being a solid Hollywood flick. Newman plays an alcoholic plaintiff’s lawyer at the end of his rope, chasing ambulances and stumbling around his office, knocking file cabinets over. Lunch for him is a beer with a raw egg in it at the bar near his office. I liked how even when he got his shit together, he never really got his shit together. It’s a redemption story that’s light on the redemption. And the ending is not exactly a happy one, because there isn’t really a lot of room for happiness for these characters. The love story is also good. I like the way he walks up to her the first time in the bar, telling her he had a good day. And when he locks himself in the bathroom.

Posted in 1980's, American Films, Movies | Leave a Comment »

She’s So Lovely

Posted by Web Manager on January 11, 2009

Nick Cassavetes 1997

People have been telling me to see this movie for years, including, most recently, again, my mother, who is clearly on a roll. SHE’S SO LOVELY is fierce, mainly because the script, written by the director’s father John before he died, is amazing. It kind of felt like the actors were directing themselves, which makes some sense, but I bet if John had directed this the acting would have been a little less self-indulgent.  But there are some awesome stretches in this film especially towards and through the end. It’s cool when a film’s ending is better than its beginning — usually its the other way around.

Posted in 1990's, American Films, Movies | Leave a Comment »

 
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