Fucky Film Review!

Archive for May, 2009

Two Lovers

Posted by Web Manager on May 30, 2009

James Gray 2008

I’m not even sure who the two lovers are; it’s too obvious if they’re Michelle and Sandra, the two women that Leonard, a mostly-medicated bipolar man in his early thirties who lives with his old world parents in Brooklyn, becomes involved with over the course of the film.  Maybe the two lovers are Leonard (Joaqin Phoenix) and his mother (Isabella Rossellini).  Did Leonard really love Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), or did he just think he did?  Did he ever love Sandra (the milky-eyed beauty, Vinessa Shaw)?  Is James Gray really the Next Big Thing? There’s a seventies feel to this movie that I think comes from the fact that despite having a lot of big actors and a big movie-making apparatus behind it, it still feels authentic and a little unfinished.  The dialogue, much improved since Gray’s last film WE OWN THE NIGHT, perhaps because he didn’t write  TWO LOVERS alone, gave it a strange timelessness that added to the impression of honesty I took from the film.   I liked how Leonard spoke to, and acted differently around, each of the two women. There were a few scenes that were a little off, like Leonard’s meeting with Sandra’s father , which felt overdramatic and out of touch with the rest of the film, hey, who’s counting. Leonard’s father was played by Moni Moshonov, an Israeli actor who also acted in WE OWN THE NIGHT.  Moni told me that Gray called him after he seeing him act in Dover Kovashvili’s A LATE MARRIAGE, a screening of which Gray had walked into accidentally.  I thought about this as I watched the movie and noticed a spooky kind of similarity between LOVERS and MARRIAGE. We’re all just fruit in the cosmic shake.

Posted in 2000's, American Films, Movies | 2 Comments »

Star Trek

Posted by Web Manager on May 24, 2009

J.J. Abrams 2009

Dear Reader,

 

Don’t miss this in the theater – it is so fun you won’t believe it.

 

Warm Regards,

Fucky Film Review!

Posted in 2000's, American Films, Movies | 4 Comments »

The Unidentified

Posted by Web Manager on May 23, 2009

Kevan Tucker 2008

coney time
I was given a copy of this film by one of the actors who played in it. I knew nothing about it, other than that it was shot in Brooklyn around the time I lived there, on a very low budget over the course of two years, and that it had gotten into a few film festivals.  It begins rather clumsily, with youthful awkwardness that made me cringe as I watched, but that now, having seen the whole film, I appreciate. The film, like its young protagonist, is continually and with charming self-awareness, in search of its own voice.  In a sense the film goes further than he does, but this is a good thing because, and I felt old reminding myself of this, he is so young.  Watching, you get a sense of the film as a dynamic and evolving process, which is exciting, and an inspiring thing to behold.

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

The Fall

Posted by Web Manager on May 17, 2009

Tarsem Singh 2006

A little girl in a hospital in Los Angeles, circa 1915, meets a suicidal stuntman recovering from a paralyzing injury and a broken heart. The stuntman begins telling the girl a fantasy story in an effort to recruit her to steal some morphine from the dispensary so he can finish himself off.  The story becomes more and more intertwined with an increasingly sad and pathetic reality, until the end where I don’t remember what happens. The movie could have been a lot better than it was. The imagery is stunning,  and the editing  – there is a lot of meaning and beauty in how each shot relates to the shot that precedes and follows it.  The juxtaposition of composition is a basic but kind of sneaky communicative element in film that when done well, can make the difference between a good film and great one. But it’s more fun when the compositions are less contrived than they were in THE FALL. The fantasy story was totally ridiculous, like a spoof from a late night talk show, worse, perhaps, because the late night characters would be more compelling. By the end I was rooting for Count Odious, the castrated antagonist of this half baked adventure.  Worth the price of admission: the bookends – gorgeous black and white sequences in homage to silent film.

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

Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait

Posted by Web Manager on May 12, 2009

Douglas Gordon / Philippe Parreno 2006

Impulse rental. Big shot cinematographer Darius Khondji, who it turns out, while talented, hasn’t shot any movies I’ve particularly liked (aside from Fincher’s SE7EN), set up like 17 movie cameras to focus entirely on the French superstar Zinedine Zidane over  the course of an entire Real Madrid match. I fell asleep. I partly blame Mogwai’s soundtrack.

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

Badlands

Posted by Web Manager on May 12, 2009

Terrence Malick 1973

There are movies, like this one, that you wish you could erase from your memory so that you’d always be able to experience seeing them for the first time. Not because of some crazy plot twist you never saw coming, but just for the sheer joy of watching it all unfold again. I approached this joy by watching BADLANDS with someone who’d never seen it or even heard of it or its director or his other films.  I loved it. I also noticed for the first time how funny the movie is.  Almost everything Kit (Martin Sheen) says is hilarious.  And you have to laugh out loud when Holly (Sissy Spacek) says that it being the flood season they built their house in the trees.

Posted in 1970's, American Films, Movies | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Light Sleeper

Posted by Web Manager on May 9, 2009

Paul Schrader 1992

Recommended to me by my old friend Ron Milan. Its hard to believe they were still making movies like this in 1992 – it feels more like a 70’s movie made in the 80’s than an 80’s movie made in the 90’s.  Willem Dafoe plays a 40 year old cocaine delivery man in the employ of Susan Sarandon, a swanky mid-level dealer.  Sarandon’s plan to leave the business and go clean threatens to make Dafoe’s already pathetic life even more pathetic, and Dafoe scrambles for a sense of himself amidst the drug-addled fog of his adulthood.  I liked it.  David Spade plays a great bit part credited as “Theological Cokehead.”

Posted in 1990's, American Films, Movies | 2 Comments »

Rumblefish

Posted by Web Manager on May 5, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola 1983

At first this felt like a spiritual cousin to THE WARRIORS, which would have been fine, but then its drama pulled me in a little differently and it became its own thing, but for some reason I’m searching for a point of reference, so maybe think of a TOUCH OF EVIL for the kids.  The acting is strange and theatrical in a way that also reminded me a little of Hal Hartley, but more hormonal and artistic, and through the stilted script come these great moments, like every scene with Dennis Hopper as the father. Stewart Copeland, the drummer from the Police, composed the score.  FFC said Stew called himself a rythmist, or maybe he even said rythmicist, which would be even funnier.  But the score is pretty awesome and seeing Copeland talk about it on the DVD made me feel a little guilty about hating him for breaking up the Police when I was in seventh grade.  I was like – just deal with it man, he’s Sting and you’re not. But now I understand that Sting is a whiny bitch.

Posted in 1980's, American Films, Movies | 2 Comments »

All About My Mother

Posted by Web Manager on May 2, 2009

Pedro Almodovar 1999

Almodovar closes this film with a dedication: “To all the women who have played actresses… who can act… to men who act and become women… to all the people who want to be mothers… to my mother .”  Like the movie, which being an Almodovar movie has some amazing things going for it (eg. when the doctors from the training video sit Manuela down to discuss organ transplants a second time), the dedication is probably a little too meta for its own good.  As far as mothers go, it bothered me that the primary vehicle Pedro used to explore mothers’ love was the death of the child. It felt a little cloying after a while, despite the overall filmmaking being so good. I think that’s why I liked VOLVER better.  It explores the action of motherhood, whereas in this film motherhood is either anticipated, ignored, or lost in grief.  And the whole idea that the social worker nun played by Penelope Cruz would have sex with an HIV-positive transsexual prostitute is a little hard to swallow, if you will.  Or maybe Lola, when we finally see her, just doesn’t live up to her reputation.

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

Stranger Than Paradise

Posted by Web Manager on May 1, 2009

Jim Jarmusch 1982

My nephew was back last weekend and he wanted to see this, which was fine with me. There’s a lot of subtlety in the choreography that I hadn’t noticed before, just in the simple ways that the director of photography Tom DeCillo tracked some action with the camera and let other significant action take place off screen, so that you’re often aware of two things happening at once. He talks about this a little in an interview with a German TV host on the bonus disc.  The Germans also visit Chris Parker, who starred in Jarmusch’s first first film PERMANENT VACATION, and it was kind of sad because it seemed like things weren’t going so well for him.  As for me, things were going great, and then this morning it turned out they weren’t as great as I thought, in large part because I am an idiot.  I hope Chris is doing OK now.

Posted in 1980's, American Films, Movies | 1 Comment »

 
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