Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movie Diary 4: September & October 2012

You may have noticed that I haven't finished the Eurotrip blogging yet. We finished it and returned home exhausted, there was so little time for sleep let alone blogging in the final two weeks so I apologise to those of you who care. I will finish reporting on interesting and uninteresting European things when I can face the zillion photographs taken by Leah.

For now I return to the Movie Diary posts, skipped in September due to the lack of films seen I have combined two half months of watching in to this one post instead.

In the last two months I watched 36 films. Of those 36 films 11 were repeat viewings. Most were not even worth discussing, the kind of films I'd recommend only if you have oodles of time on your hand with only the one film leaving me wondering:

Why Did They Even Bother?

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Honestly I cannot see why this was made. If you haven't seen the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man then some of this might be interesting to you but beyond that this was all a bit dull.
Andrew Garfield is a good Spider-Man in a dull movie, Emma Stone is wasted and Rhys Ifans did not seem like the right choice at all. Not to mention the actual mediocre sub-Mega Shark villain involved.
Why even bother?
 As with August here are some others that you might want to steer clear of:

The Broken (2008)
Sean Ellis either has a great visual eye or a fantastic DoP. Visually this movie is fantastic but everything else about it is just plain awful. The script is a joke, did nobody think to tell him to write a second draft that featured much less exposition and more realistic dialogue for example?
No Blade of Grass (1970)
As reviewed here as part of Dystopia Fortnight

It Passes The Time

The Astronaut Farmer (2006)
Another charming, interesting and unique low budget movie from The Polish Brothers who always seem like they're having a great time making films.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
I didn't love it but it certainly had charm and quirk going for it and serves as a reminder of why people feel the need to copy Wes Anderson in other quirky indie movies.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)
Unexpectedly great the first time, still very funny the second time.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
Quite absurd that THIS is the movie I choose to rewatch quicker than any other in a long time! Still very funny on repeat viewing.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
It's not great by any stretch of the imagination but it sure is a great terrible action movie. A series of action set pieces strung together by incompehensible exposition and cheesy one-liners The Expendables 2 revels in its ridiculousness and plays on the viewers nostalgia for when these guys were legitimately the biggest names in Hollywood and movies like this were made without the tongue being pressed firmly in to the cheek.
I personally found the playful use of the actors essentially playing themselves to be the best part of the movie but I know it won't be for everyone. Also I can't see myself watching it ever again.
Bernie (2012)
A decent enough movie that relies heavily on the charisma of Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey to make the 95 minutes less interminable. As Courtney said this is one of the better movies to come out of Hollywood this year but that isn't exacty saying much.
The Interview (1998)
Solid one room police drama that owes a huge debt to The Usual Suspects.
Hugo Weaving is very good in what was the kind of role an actor dreams of. It's all him, all of the time; he gets to play multiple emotions to the extent that it occasionally verges on multiple characters without the farce of being a Martin Lawrence movie.
It won Australian film awards and deserves to be seen by a wider audience but don't expect anything you haven't already seen in other movies.
The Dish & The Spoon (2011)
Of all of the post-mumblecore titles I've come across this is by far the best and most comparable to the great films put out by Aaron Katz.
Notable for fine performances from the obnoxiously "quirky" Olly Alexander and the mumblecore "IT Girl" Greta Gerwig channeling Jennifer Jason Leigh and Sarah Polley instead of the incredibly annoying Zooey Deschanel this is a movie that whilst occasionally frustrating to watch is also the kind of film you can't help but be mesmerised by; not for any incredibly visual styling (although some of it is) but because of the two train wrecks coming together onscreen with such wonderful honest and natural chemistry.
The fact that writer/director Alison Bagnall had some input in to the quite wonderful Buffalo 66 comes as no surprise to me after seeing this movie. Hooray for The Dish & The Spoon!

Sometimes They Make Something Great

Killer Joe (2012)
Very cool. Very creepy. Superb performances all round but especially from McConaughey. Everything was understated including the great direction from Friedkin. A highly enjoyable film with one of the best blow job scenes ever seen in cinemas.
Bout De Souffle (1961)
The noir-a-thon continued after a 5 week break with a complete change of pace and style. Godard's debut is still a fun and playful yet powerful work that relies upon and subverts the signifiers of the genre. Viewing this film after the classic period of American Noir cinema is probably as close as I will get to understanding just how revolutionary the French New Wave was at its inception. The effect of the cinematography alone shines through after the studio bound productions that came before. Now I begin to regret not putting Bonnie & Clyde on the noir-a-thon schedule which surely owes everything to Godard and Bout de Souffle.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Gosh I love this film. I've seen it countless times and it still has the capacity to scare me as much as it did when I first saw it as a 10 year old and even strike that chord of wonder and awe in the science and fantasy of the Crichton/Spielberg vision.
There's always Jeff Goldblum to laugh at too.
I, Robot (2004)
I always love watching this movie, if there had been a couple more movies this good on my flights time would have gone by much quicker.
A great evolution of the Asimov stories and the presence of Will Smith combine to entertain for two hours in a great action/sci-fi film, something that Hollywood seems to do so rarely it's like gold dust.
Kontroll (2003)
A very well made debut that at times looks like it cost a lot more than it did and with natural performances that keep you fascinated with the occasionally surreal fairytale world contained on the Budapest metro of Antal's film.
Entertaining both visually and as a well told story.
Cockfighter (1974)
I'm not sure how to feel about this movie. It's a strange one that's for sure. Warren Oates is all but silent as the titular Cockfighter and does an incredible job of carrying the film.
Hellman and Willeford don't feel the need to explain any of what happens in the "sport" of cockfighting which lends the film a documentary style feel. Half of the cast must have been either amateurs or actual cockfighting enthusiasts, if they weren't then they did a great job of looking like a natural part of the scene, especially in the way that I could hardly understand a word any of them said to each other.
The Hit (1984)
A truly great British gangster movie. Stephen Frears gets the best out of his Spanish locations, the tight script and his very talented actors to bring together a funny yet existential, violent film. The chemistry between Stamp and Roth and Hurt is what really makes this stand out from the crowd. It's a crime that Stamp isn't/hasn't been in more movies; his delivery of dialogue turns ordinary lines into so much more.
High Plains Drifter (1973)
A fantastic film with a slightly surreal edge recently chosen to be part of The Blahblahblahgay Family DVD Guide for Westerns.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)
I Heart Scott Pilgrim So Much
As far as adaptations go this is one of the very best.
Visually its great and the soundtrack is awesome. The cast all perform brilliantly and the script filled with wonderful ideas and an incredible sense of fun.
Touch of Evil (1958)
A film that is as beautiful to look at as the bad guy is mean. A fantastic film, the opening scene signals the end of the classic noir period - the car blows up and nothing will ever be the same again in American cinema.
Touch of Evil is a masterpiece of the genre and whilst films such as Big Sleep, Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard are rightly considered as greats, Orson Welles takes things to a whole new level of darkness and sleaze, violence and heartbreak with his interpretation of the pulp source material of Whit Masterson.

As usual I welcome your input, your thoughts on what I loved and of course if anyone can claim to think Spider-Man was legitimately good I'm all ears. Did we share anything this month whilst I was away? Leave all this and more in the blahs below.


  1. Welcome back!

    The Amazing Spider-Man was completely unnecessary. And a sequel is coming anyway. :(

    Love Breathless, Touch of Evil, Jurassic Park and I, Robot too.

    1. Yeah it felt like one of those pre-avengers movies, designed purely to set the scene for the big movie. Hence the lazy choice of villain.

      I was quite surprised at just how many great films I've been watching recently. It's a hot run, that just got spoiled by two pieces of shit in a row.

  2. Good to have you back. Sounds like you had an awesome trip.

    I agree Kontroll is a pretty cool film.

    1. Thanks BT. I saw that you marked Kontroll as watched on letterboxd and have been meaning to check for your review actually. It's a shame that Nimrod Antal's work in America has been much less interesting if at least visually impressive.

  3. Agree on many of these. I want to single out the Spider-man reboot and Scott Pilgrim to say I REALLY agree on those.