Have you been to Letterboxd.com yet? You should, it's ace. Aside from the social networking for film geeks aspect of it all it has the extremely helpful feature of creating a film diary, enabling you to document your thoughts quickly (essential blogging tool) before fleshing them out for a bigger review later. It also makes this much easier.
Tyler at the award winning Southern Vision hooked me up with an account last Sunday and since the 15th July I have logged 15 movies as watched. In a week that saw me go to the cinema for the first time since my Prometheus debacle for Dark Knight Rises it would be safe to say that some of these were superb whilst others were absolute garbage.
Let's get the garbage out of the way shall we?
Why Did They Even Bother?
Treasure Guards (2011) is a pan-European production starring Anna Friel that sounds a lot like The Librarian or National Treasure. At this point you may ask what exactly I expected and you'd be right. Poor Anna Friel has been in a series of awful films since Pushing Daisies got cancelled and this is right down there with Land of the Lost for worst movie of her career. My review on Letterboxd covers it quite well I feel:
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) the end of the trilogy. I really disliked the film and struggle to find any redeeming qualities. There's a story surrounding Rob Zombie and the making of Halloween 2 that says he deliberately made it in to a giant pile of shit so that nobody could ruin his brilliant reimagining of the horror franchise after he was done. The combination of the studio forcing a sequel and Zombie not wanting to do it led to a poor movie and as far as I know they haven't gone back for a third film, Zombie got his wish. This story stayed with me and is the first thing I thought of upon walking in to the bright sunshine after watching TDKR, surely this would be the only way such a revered film maker as Christopher Nolan would create something so exposition heavy, something that was all effect and no cause? I wasn't surprised to later read that he didn't really want to make a third Batman movie."Just awful. Completely and utterly shocking in every aspect. It's not even one of those bad movies you can laugh along with."
Blade: Trinity (2004) the end of another trilogy. I can't claim that this was any surprise. I'd previously turned it off after 5 minutes for crimes against the original film and excruciatingly bad performances but it was on Fox movies and Leah hadn't seen it so in one of our moods for mindless action we pressed play. Oh how we wish we didn't. Written and directed by David S. Goyer, the man responsible for the majority of TDKR script failed to entertain us in any way."There was so much wrong with this movie I don't know where to start. Just a horrible waste of 3 hours and the good will built by the previous two movies. "
"Honestly worse than i remember. I can see why Dark Knight Rises was so poor with the majority of the script written by the exposition happy writer/director of this piece of junk."
There was a whole bunch of non events in the fifteen films, mostly old Bogart movies played on TCM but from the middling bunch I should highlight a few pieces of not so bad cinema.
It Passes The Time
Treasure Island (2012) looks and feels like a TV movie, or a mini-series or something. It is a nice looking one that obviously had a very high budget. The adaptation is faithful and at three hours long probably too faithful.
Teenage Paparazzo (2010) is a documentary by Entourage star Adrien Grenier about a teenage boy in LA who became a Paparazzo (it's not just a clever name you see.) At 90 minutes it shouldn't have felt as long as it did, there were some real pacing issues that the 30 minutes of deleted scenes shows the film makers were aware of. The narrative drifted away from the subjest and in to a study of the relationship between the media and society which brought up a few interesting points but at other times felt contrived and obvious. I feel like it was worth watching though, not least for the way the relationshio between director and subject develops over time."Izzard is good as Silver but I can't get his standup routines out of my head whenever he speaks."
The Andromeda Strain (1971) was based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name. A small town is killed by a space borne virus, scientists investigate. I enjoyed it for its content but not for its cinematic qualities. There was definite potential for this to be great.
"Great story. The whole time watching it I was thinking with better direction/creative vision this would be fantastic. I'm thinking oscar potential.
But sadly this was 8 years before Alien revolutionised the thriller and it suffers dramatically in comparison thanks the slightly campy attitudes of the early 70s. In the years after this we would see dramatic improvement thanks to Logans Run and Soylent Green and next to those this stands up well as an historical artefact."
Paper Heart (2009) has some fun with the documentary format. It's a documentary style movie about a girl making a documentary about what it is to be in love and who falls in love whilst making it whilst at the same time being a documentary about love. The seemless blending of interviews with real people and performances by Michael Cera and Charlene Yi playing versions of themselves provides an enjoyable experience that I'm very glad to have found hidden in the documentary section of the local video store."Stephen Dorff is great at swearing even when it's not really necessary and so he swears in every sentence of dialogue he has. Wesley Snipes as Blade is a total badass and so he acts like a total badass at all times. Tom Cruise is going to try delivering lines like Blade has in that movie Reacher and is going to fail, simply because he is a whiny little bitch and Wesley Snipes could kick his ass with one hand behind his back and the rest of him in jail for tax evasion."
Beyond that there were only a handful of fims that were truly worth my time."A really fun and cute mockumentary for fans of Michael Cera. Cera plays on his screen persona but It's Charlene Yi's movie."
Sometimes They Make Something Great
Cabaret (1972) based on the semi-biographical writings of Christopher Isherwood in Goodbye To Berlin. Starring Liza Minelli as the simply fabulous cabaret star Sally Bowles opposite Basil Exposition in the Isherwood role. I know you;ve heard of this movie and if you haven't seen it you simply must. Even just for the show stealing performance of Joel Grey.
"I don't go in for musicals in general but this is done so well and the songs don't interrupt the flow of the story in the way I usually find them to.
A fabulously entertaining film with tragic undertones and a sad ending."
Fat City (1972) is a late John Huston film starring a very young Jeffrey Lebowski opposite a superb Stacey Keach. Recommended to me via By Kubrick's Beard I shall point you to his fantastic review as there's nothing that I can say that will come close to the brilliant job done over there.
"Whenever you hear someone telling people about the great run of films America made in the early 1970's, and they get to the list, and they begin to feel fatigue, just wait for a pause and say "And Fat City. John Huston's Fat City." At that point the kids frown, and they admit they've not even seen Fat City. "Right," you say, "and you never even heard of "Fat City"
David Thompson - Have You Seen? "
Hombre (1967) a revisionist western starring Paul Newman and based on a book by Elmore Leonard is nothing like the Tv serials I have in my mind when I think of western movies. It comes close to being noir with the existential nature of the lead character. Highly recommended indeed.
"I'm a western novice but I reckon I could watch a hundred more and not find a better or more enjoyable one.
Newman is subtle yet powerful but the impressive Diane Cilento steals the show as Jessie the innkeeper. Its rare enough to find a strong, independant woman with brains and class in a film let alone in a genre typified by misogyny. I am surprised that this performance didn't shoot her to stardom, instead she returned to the relative anonymity she came from."
Letterboxd.com is great by the way. Go get yourself some of it and don't forget to follow me.