Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Ten Films of the Past Four Years

1. The Master
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. The Tree of Life
4. Moonrise Kingdom
5. Her
6. Inside Llweyn Davis
7. Like Someone In Love
8. Le Havre
9. Drive
10. Kill List

Almost Made It (random order): The Social Network, A Separation, Take Shelter, Damsels in Distress, 12 Years a Slave, Blue is the Warmest Color, Another Year, Before Midnight

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Top Ten 2013 Films

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street 

2. Her 

  3. Inside Llweyn Davis

4. 12 Years a Slave

5. Blue is the Warmest Color 

 6. The World's End 

7. Gravity

8. Fruitvale Station

9. Before Midnight

10. Blue Jasmine

Honorable Mention: Nebraska, Mud, Spring Breakers, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, This is the End

Still haven't seen: American Hustle, The Wind Rises, Leviathan, The Past, The Great Beauty

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top Thirty Horror Films: Amateur Edition

UPDATED: I should've looked at Jeff's list before posting, as it reminded me of a few films I had forgotten about. And now I'm at thirty.


As those who know me know, I have no business making a list like this since I'm not much of a fan of the genre...but here goes...

30. The Amityville Horror (Rosenberg, 1979)
29. I Walked With a Zombie (Tourneur, 1943
28. The Blair Witch Project (Myrick, Sanchez, 1999)
27. Trick 'r Treat (Dougherty, 2007)
26. Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)
25. An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981)
24. The Curse of the Cat People (von Fritsch, Wise, 1944)
23. Hour of the Wolf (Bergman, 1966)
22. Dawn of the Dead (Romero, 1978)
21. The Omen (Donner, 1976)
20. Scream (Craven, 1996)
19. Cabin In the Woods (Goddard, 2012)
18. Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
17. Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)
16. The Others (Amenabar, 2001)
15. The Leopard Man (Tourneur, 1943)
14. Jaws (Spielberg, 1975)
13. Sleepy Hollow (Burton, 1999)
12. Freaks (Browning, 1932)
11. Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960)
10. 28 Days Later (Boyle, 2003)
9. The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)
8. Rosemary's Baby (Polanski, 1968)
7. The Spiral Staircase (Siodmak, 1946)
6. Don't Look Now (Roeg, 1971)
5. Eyes Without a Face (Franju, 1960)
4. Cat People (Tourneur, 1942)
3. Les Diaboliques (Clouzot, 1955)
2. The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)
1. Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

June & July


Talk of the Town ***
This Is The End ****
Before Midnight ****1/2
Contagion ***
High Society (1956) ****
Larceny Inc. ***1/2
The Lemon Drop Kid ***1/2
To Be Or Not To Be ****1/2
I Married a Witch ***


The Dark Knight Rises ****


The Colbert Report
Comedy Bang! Bang! season 2
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Family Tree season 1
Game of Thrones season 3
Mad Men season 6
Portlandia seasons 1 & 2
The Simpsons (various episodes)
The Soparanos seasons 1 & 2

It's been a slow summer, movie-wise. I cancelled my Netflix DVD-plan last month so I've been streaming and watching movies off of the TV. But not having the DVDs has really lowered my totals. Also, I haven't really been to the theater at all. With good reason no doubt, but still. Anyway, on to what I did see.

I wasn't crazy about TALK OF THE TOWN. The film attempts to have a interesting discussion about crime/law between Cary Grant and Ronald Coleman, but it never really caught my attention. I also didn't like Jean Arthur in this one; I prefer her in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and other films where she comes across as tough and competent.

We've talked about THIS IS THE END a bit already. Comedies are written make us laugh; this one made me laugh from beginning to end, so it's successful in my mind. I respect where Brandon's coming from, though.

A little bit of time has passed, so I'll just say that I still love BEFORE MIDNIGHT a lot, or at least four and half stars' worth.

CONTAGION is well done in terms of scaring the hell out of people. If you see me and I don't hug you or shake your hand, you can get ahead and blame CONTAGION. Honest, it's not just me being an asshole. Anyway, yeah, it's strange because I do feel like this movie was well-done, but I agree with Jeff that the scenes move a little too quickly.

HIGH SOCIETY is PHILADELPHIA STORY with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra....oh, and Louis Armstrong. I hadn't really seen any footage of Armstrong before so that was pretty cool. Anyway, despite knowing the story already, the great cast makes it worth watching. I put the year up top so that Jeff would be reminded that I didn't watch some stoner comedy.

LARCENY INC. was a nice sort of "deep-cut" (1942; Dir: Lloyd Bacon). I enjoyed it quite a bit; it's a very solid comedy and Edward G. Robinson is great, as always. I'd definitely recommend it to those who haven't seen it.

THE LEMON DROP KID was on TCM one day so I decided to watch it. There's a point in the second act where the movie really starts to sag, but it's Bob Hope so there's some leeway with that. There were a couple of jokes that had me laughing out loud, so for that reason, it was worth the time.

Brandon, I loved TO BE OR NOT TO BE. Not just a great comedy, but a great film as well. Jack Benny gives such a great comedic performance and I'd love to see more of his work now. I think the first five minutes of the film does a perfect job of establishing the tone of the film. It's playful, smart, and very well done.

This also reminds me of John's AudioBoo question about when was the last time a movie picked one of America's enemies. I believe that would be 1993's HOT SHOTS! PART DEUX, in which Saddam Hussein is the villain. If you were looking for a good apologies.

And now it's time for the rare, but ongoing segment called: "Sorry, Jeff" This week it's....Sorry, Jeff, I wasn't crazy about I MARRIED A WITCH. Is it bad? Of course not. But yeah, I mostly feel indifferent about it. Veronica Lake is cute and all, but I've yet to fall for her charms. I kinda feel like the movie moves too quickly. I do think it does a good job of setting up all of the pieces. It's a silly, supernatural story that knows what is and what it wants to accomplish, and's still missing something for me. I don't think I came away with any scenes that I loved. Maybe it's something to revisit in a year or two.

I love Christopher Nolan and all, but sure, each time I re-watch one of his films, I begin to see more cracks than I did the first time. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is no different. I re-watched with friends who were also re-watching it and they decided to be as critical as possible. Honestly, I have a few defenses for a few of the plot holes and contrivances, but after a certain point, I don't really care about defending it. If you don't like it, you don't like it and that's fine. I saw MAN OF STEEL last week and it was terrible. I will continue to compare the DARK KNIGHT trilogy to other comic book movies and so far, Nolan's remain the best by a pretty significant margin.

COMEDY BANG! BANG! is the best show on television right now. It's brilliant, hilarious, and I love every second of it. Luckily for me and other CBB fans, the second season features 20 episodes. I'm happy John's been watching the first season and I hope you're enjoying it.

HBO's FAMILY TREE is a fine show. Fans of Christopher Guest will enjoy it. My only beef with the show is that the main character and his friends/family are all Tottenham Hotspur supporters (talking English soccer right now, so my apologies if I've lost you and you have no plans to return). I hold nothing but contempt for that team. So yeah, beyond silly sports fandom, I have nothing against the show. It's funny and engaging. I've seen about three episodes so far. At some point I'll finish the first season.

MAD MEN season six started off fairly slow for me. I wasn't too excited about the show after the first episode. But midway through the season, I was reminded of how great it is. It's still one of the best dramas on TV. The final season airs next Spring (I assume) so there's plenty of time to get caught up if you aren't. It's well worth the time.

PORTLANDIA is funny and enjoyable. Fred Armisen is someone I wasn't crazy about while he was on SNL, but within the past year or so I've definitely come around and now consider myself a fan. PORTLANDIA is smart, funny, relatable and I wish I could write for it. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix Instant Watch; I highly recommend it.

Favorite PORTLANDIA character??

Ugh, cars, man. Whyy???

THE SOPRANOS has been great so far; it's one of the best dramas I've seen. Obviously I didn't watch the show when it aired, so I'm experiencing its impact on the shows that followed it after the fact. I'm in the middle of season 3 at the moment and I'm really enjoying it. It's very addictive and I felt that with the very first episode. There's something strangely compelling about Tony Soprano, his families, and of, course, his shrink Dr. Melfi. Great stuff.

My Quiz

It's a little embarrassing to post this so late, but I know nobody really cares about I shouldn't either. When I posted the questions, I was in a writing/blogging mood and then pretty much the next day that feeling left me. Thanks to Brandon, Cheddar, Jeff, and John for your answers; I enjoyed them a lot.

1. Is there a TV show that you'd love to see a movie version of? If yes, what? If no, think a little harder. If still no, sorry for wasting your time.

Yeah, J-bird, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fans have been calling for a movie for years now. Unlike you, I still feel like that it could be done well, despite the lackluster feel to the show's latest season. In fact, I'd rather have a movie instead of the unconventional fourth season.

I do agree with Brandon; forcing a drama such as BREAKING BAD or other hour-long dramas suck in their beautiful bellies wouldn't be wise.

I was excited when the STRANGERS WITH CANDY movie was being developed, but really, nothing could top the show. Turns out that was definitely the case, as the movie wasn't very good.

I'm going with a long "No" as well. But I'd take an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT movie.

2. What's your favorite place/setting to watch a movie (out of the choices listed below)? Why? ALSO, least favorite and why?

a) Small theater

b) Big theater

c) Drive-in theater

d) In a house, alone

e) In a house, with a group

f) Other

E, D, and B are all pretty close (but I ordered them that way intentionally). I love going to movie theater; it's one of my favorite things to do and if I'm away from the theater too long, I start to feel a pull that I need to return. I also enjoy watching movies with friends. If it's a movie I really care about, I want silence; if it's a shitty movie, I don't mind talking over it at all. Watching a movie alone is nice, too.

The Drive-in is the worst. I haven't been there since the second PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie came out. I hate the atmosphere of it and the lack of sound quality. Small theaters are fine, but the Art Mission needs to add some more space inbetween the aisles.

3. If you could be an extra in any film, what would it be AND what scene would you like to be in?

I feel like I'm forgetting something, but I'll go with being an extra in the court room during Chico's trial in DUCK SOUP.

4. Name a movie you loved as a kid that still feels special even when you watch it now.

I should've worded this question a little differently; well, all I really needed to do was write "name a bad movie..." because I wanted sillier answers. For example, D2: THE MIGHTY DUCKS is a movie I still love even though it's not exactly good. Nonetheless, good answers from everyone.

5. Best film decade (out of the choices listed below)? And tell us why, if you're so inclined:

a) 80s

b) 90s

c) 00s (aughts)

C. Even though Cheddar gave a non-answer for this one, I'm glad someone rejected the aughts. I'm kinda sorry I can't agree with you. It has to be the aughts for the rise of P. T. Anderson and the exceptional work by the Coens on NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Also there's SYNECDOCHE, NY. THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NO COUNTRY, and SYNECDOCHE would probably be my top three movies of the past thirty years.

You can find great foreign films in any of those decades; the great American films in the aughts tip the scales.

Bonus: Hypothetically, your friends have rented out a theater for your birthday. You get to choose the movie that's screened; what are you going with?

I'm sort of stealing Alex's answer to question 4. I think screening DUMB and DUMBER would be lot of fun. I'd also consider showing DR. STRANGELOVE because it's one of my all-time favorites. Hopefully no one would have a problem with black and white film. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is another possibility.

Anyway, again, thanks to everyone who answered the questions; you all get As for participating and for being handsome.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pop Quiz, Hot Shots

I realize only Jeff, Brandon, Adrienne, and I answered the questions to Jeff's last quiz and this one will probably see the same number of participants (or less).

But the good news is that there's still time to answer Jeff's quiz; it can be found here:

I came up with my own set of questions pretty quickly, so if you want to put the same level of thought into answering them, that's fine by me. And yes, John, I will grading on a curve.

Here it is...

1. Is there a TV show that you'd love to see a movie version of? If yes, what? If no, think a little harder. If still no, sorry for wasting your time.

2. What's your favorite place/setting to watch a movie (out of the choices listed below)? Why? ALSO, least favorite and why?

a) Small theater

b) Big theater

c) Drive-in theater

d) In a house, alone

e) In a house, with a group

f) Other

3. If you could be an extra in any film, what would it be AND what scene would you like to be in?

4. Name a movie you loved as a kid that still feels special even when you watch it now.

5. Best film decade (out of the choices listed below)? And tell us why, if you're so inclined:

a) 80s

b) 90s

c) 00s (aughts)

Bonus: Hypothetically, your friends have rented out a theater for your birthday. You get to choose the movie that's screened; what are you going with?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Morning Musings

On Brandon's response post to me...

Thank you for that; appreciate it. I do think, for the most part, and Jesse and Celine do a decent job of listening to each other. Because of the strong bond shared between the two, I think they often know what the other person is trying to say before he/she says it. It's why Celine knew that Jesse wanted to implement a big change in their lives very early on. They seem to be a very honest couple, but they both dance around the truth until they feel comfortable revealing it - in the way that many of us tend to do.

Agreed, the role playing and make-up sex won't mean much in the long run. I envision the fourth movie opening with Celine flying to the US to visit Jesse and his son. One of the things I was going to explore in my write-up for BEFORE MIDNIGHT was the worry that Jesse would view the probably make-up sex as a victory. I don't mean that to say that he's shallow or simple-minded, but the worry was him thinking that it would do more than just paper over the cracks. I doubt it, though, because I do think Jesse is smarter and more sensitive than that. But we do know that, for Celine, sex is an essential part of life (like eating or breathing). So for her, sex wouldn't necessarily do as much for her as it might do for Jesse.

Good point on Hank being the catalyst; like you, I love the way the script is framed. Also, it would be stupid for Jesse to go back to Hank without bringing Celine and the twins; otherwise, he'd lament the fact that he wasn't present while his daughters grew up. But in the one scene where Hank and Jesse are together, we see how insistent Jesse is that his son sticks with soccer. Based on that scene, I might assume that he enjoys having a son more than having a daughter. There's a little bit of the "living vicariously through you" thing happening there.

On the other movies I watched...

Yeah, I really enjoyed watching the transition Rock Hudson makes in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION. He plays both the insensitive drunk and the sensitive romantic very well. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS has been on my watch list for a while now; hopefully I'll see it soon. It's strange how a film like MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION would make the attention stuffed youth uncomfortable. Or even a James Dean flick. I'm sure if you were to screen REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE to a bunch of college students, they'd probably laugh through most of it.

I agree with your criticism of LIFE OF PI. Absolutely, the framing doesn't really serve a purpose and often deflates the story. It's also a weird moment when Pi explains to the novelist that he has to lie to the insurance agents. Ultimately, the get the point that's being made, but point itself seems a little sloppy.

There's also something about LIFE OF PI that makes me think of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. I guess both are popular pieces of Oscar bait. And while I'm not necessarily crazy about either, I do like the core emotional stories in both. The Pi/Richard Parker relationship and the Hushpuppy/Dad relationship. And really, that's all that I take away from those two films. The rest I could do without.

Yeah, it's amazing how shocking THE BIG HEAT is even today. I can't help but admire Fritz Lang for being that bold.

On THIS IS THE END's ending...

(Spoilers) Do you only hate the Backstreet Boys number or does your hatred for the ending begin earlier? I can't understand hating the Backstreet Boys joke, because it's one that plays out for 3-4 minutes and it isn't funny. Like Jeff, though, I have to say that in no way does this ending cheapen/ruin the entire film for me. It is a weird ending, though. There's the seemingly throw-away line about Channing Tatum that gets its callback. The Backstreet Boys' song gets the same treatment, so it isn't completely random or anything like that, but sure, it does suggest to me a bit that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg weren't exactly sure how to end the film. Ending on a dance number seems to be a bit of a throwback to 80s comedies like CADDYSHACK, though. I also think that Rogen and Goldberg get a kick at the idea that they're forcing the bros who attend their movie to sit through a Backstreet Boys music video.

But yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the ending by any means, but the rest of the movie is so enjoyable/hilarious that I can't even consider hurling complaints at it. Agree to disagree, I guess. I like the fact that THIS IS THE END is a strong contender for my 2013 list. And I was crazy to suggest that my love for the cast in this one was waning. I know everyone says it, but Seth Rogen really does seem like a cool guy to hang with. Same with the rest of the crew - I love you guys. My apologies and I look forward to the next film.

It's funny how Rogen and Goldberg have surpassed Judd Apatow now; they're making the better films/comedies.

"Failure" is too outrageous a word for THIS IS THE needs to be said.

On Jeff's quiz...

DON'T LOOK NOW's ending is a great horror film moment. I wanted to avoid stealing other people's answers, but really, that is one of my favorites. Such a great film. The ending of SEVEN is a great answer too, Adrienne.

I wish I had seen THE SEVENTH SEAL earlier in life. It definitely had a big impact on me, and it remains one of my all-time favorite movies, but because I didn't see it until my 20s, the impact feels a bit dulled, somehow.

I will watch TO BE OR NOT TO BE sometime this month. That is my personal film club homework assignment.

I see that Adrienne had some trouble picking movie recommendations for some of us. I had similar trouble, so in some cases I just went with slightly random choices.

I'm an idiot. When listing my favorite movies that take place during the summertime, I should've listed CHRISTMAS IN JULY. Guess I subconsciously didn't want to use the same answer for two different questions. REAR WINDOW is a great answer as well.

I swear this isn't bragging or anything, but Jeff told me to watch DARK CITY back in the day, citing that he really loved it. I remember not being impressed. I think the moral here is that I'm a better film critic than you, dude ;)

I like ANCHORMAN and all, but I have a strong feeling that ANCHORMAN 2 is actually going to be worthy of the hate Brandon gives the first film.

Other stuff...

I've been watching more TV than movies lately. I do hope to find more balance soon. And because I've watched a lot of the classic films that I wanted to see, the deeper cuts aren't as appealing and I've been in more of a place of wanting to re-watch the stuff that I haven't seen in a long time.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

May Activity


Dark Passage ****1/2
Magnificent Obsession ****
This Is 40 ***
Life of Pi ***1/2
The Big Heat ****
Treasure of the Sierra Madre *****


Punch-Drunk Love ****1/2


Arrested Development seasons 1-4
The Ben Stiller Show season 1
The Colbert Report
Comedy Bang! Bang! season 1
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Game of Thrones season 3
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (various episodes)
The League (1 episode)
Mad Men season 6
Mr. Show season 3 (the first half)
Parks and Recreation seasons 4 and 5
Real Time with Bill Maher
The Simpsons (various episodes)
The Twilight Zone (1 episode)

Notes: The POV shots in DARK PASSAGE are really well done; I enjoyed that one quite a bit.

MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION might be seen as a little too cornball and cheesy, but I honestly didn't have a problem with it. This was also my first Rock Hudson movie.

THIS IS 40 wasn't funny and it wasn't enjoyable; what else is left? In a way, I appreciate the fact that Judd Apatow is trying to write stuff that is much more personal, but when you're not doing a great job of writing that kind of thing, it can only be seen as a failure. One of the big critiques of FUNNY PEOPLE was that Adam Sandler's character was too wealthy for audiences to identify with and feel sympathy for. And now Judd centers his next film on a family who might have to sell their mansion and move into a smaller mansion (as Brandon pointed out in his review). And in using the word "centers," I'm actually giving the film more credit than it probably deserves. I fail to find a center for this movie; it was all over the place. I know Jeff likes the piano scene with the youngest daughter; for me, the best moments of the film were the scenes dealing with the relationship between Judd's daughters. It was far more interesting than anything else.

LIFE OF PI was pretty good. Great visuals from Ang Lee, Suraj Sharma gives a great performance, and it's pretty easy to feel invested in the story. The Pi/Richard Parker dynamic plays out in an interesting way.

I really dug THE BIG HEAT but I don't know that I have too much to add. My LIFE OF PI comments were pretty inane so I must be losing some steam here. SPOILERS: It was a little shocking that Glenn Ford's wife was killed off so quickly, but obviously makes the story that much more intense. Between this film and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, Lee Marvin is a great bad guy.

TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE had been on my list of "Movies I Must See" for a looonnnngg time. I finally watched it back in May and it didn't disappoint. Bogie, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt were a great trio, as each of them offered something different and enjoyable to watch. The ending is pretty brilliant/poignant as well.

A day or two after seeing John's post on PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, I was sitting around kinda bored one night and decided that the only thing I wanted to do was watch that film. And I actually agree with everything John wrote about it back in May. I, too, wasn't really feeling it the first time I saw it, but this time I was completely blown away. Agreed, it is one of the best romantic comedies of the past thirty years. I love the performance Paul Thomas Anderson gets out Adam Sandler here. I love the score as well - it builds some great tension and adds to the torture that Sandler goes through.

Waiting almost a year until new GAME OF THRONES episodes is gonna suck.

Also, Jason, I only watched one of the three episodes you wanted me to watch. Sorry. And I guess this will just have to be one of those things that you like that doesn't get a ton of support from the rest of Film Club. I just have strong doubts that the other two episodes would change my mind about the show. It just ain't my cup of tea.

Overall, I really enjoyed this past season of MAD MEN. It was slow-going at first, but after the third episode or so, I really got into it again. Looking forward to the final season.

I had planned on mentioning this earlier, but I did decide to buy all of the PARKS AND RECREATION on DVD so that I could re-watch them. It's only the most enjoyable shows I've ever seen and much of that is due its phenomenal cast/characters.

And hey, Twilight Zone Club, I watched one episode of the show over these past few months. I had mentioned that the one episode I really wanted to see was An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and I finally watched it. It's brutal and really well done. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Before Midnight

The most refreshing aspect of Richard Linklater's BEFORE trilogy is the level of intimacy shared between Jesse, Celine, and the audience. In watching the first two films, it's easy to feel like Cupid or a fly on the wall that isn't buzzing around, annoying the shit out of everyone. Jesse and Celine's relationship wasn't ideal, but there's an obvious sense of romanticism involved ("TRUE LOVE, all else be damed," as John says).

This romanticism and intimacy is built up through communication. There's a hypnotic rhythm to their dialogue, usually quiet beautiful and poetic. They seem to belong together, and we want them to remain that way because of how naturally and seamlessly they connect.

So with the third film, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, it was necessary to test the limits of the relationship between Jesse, Celine, and the audience. And I know that Julie Delpy issued a warning about being able to handle a pair of boobs for this one, but I think it was the moment when Ethan Hawke started to undress her that I suddenly felt as if things we were getting too intimate, and especially after the clothes went back on and they began to fight. But maybe I was also reacting to the fact that the Art Mission Theater was packed with old couples and I didn't really want to watch a sex scene with them around me. I'm sorry, old people.

Anyway, we've watched these characters in two other films but this is the first time I felt uncomfortable watching them. So for that reason, I really have to tip my hat to Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke. Thinking back on Delpy's performance, it's really quite brilliant and is my favorite performance that I've seen from her.

The fight is brutal, though not spontaneous. There are plenty of little moments where Jesse and Celine take swipes at each other, and it seems to naturally build toward the moment in the hotel. But going back to the way they communicate with each other, I couldn't help but think that overall...this was a good fight. Well, I'm actually kinda torn on that one. But let me explain a bit. Reading Brandon's first post, I get the sense that he might agree with me here?? Couples fight; it's what they do. When you care about someone deeply and your relationship is "entangled in the lives of others" (another really nice line from John), negative emotions and feelings arise. Stress arises. When Jesse and Celine fight, it isn't much different from when they have a normal conversation. They both speak their minds freely and clearly, even though the more we say, the more likely we are to contradict ourselves. I don't me, the fight, as uncomfortable as it seemed, was healthy.

But while speaking your mind is good and all, if you can't "hear" what the other person is saying, then you're doomed as a couple. I said I was torn because I'm not exactly sure if Jesse and Celine have heard each other here. And this really is new territory for the audience. We've been left out of the last nine years of their relationship. Because they are still together, I can maybe assume that they do a decent job of listening to each other. I know John is focusing on Jesse's ex and notes that we only get a bastardized, word-of-mouth version of her, but I can't help but think the same can be said for the last nine years of this story in general.

Celine talks about what it was like raising their twin daughters by herself. Jesse seems to resent that interpretation of the story (or maybe it was about something else, I forget). Sure Jesse and Celine are in the film and can/do defend themselves, but that doesn't make any of what they say true. I understand where John's coming from, though, and it is a legitimate critique of the film. And I know you (John) understand that this has been the style of these films. We only get to see and hear Jesse and Celine in the moment.

Back to the fight being healthy...

Now I know Celine says that she doesn't think she loves Jesse anymore. It's tough to know how sincere she was. Was this something said through anger and annoyance? When people in relationships are hurt they tend to try and wound the other person in some way. We won't really know what Celine had in mind until the fourth film comes out...and I really hope there is a fourth film.

I also somewhat question Celine's decision to go into "Bimbo mode" just before the credits rolled. It was my fear that she was shutting down a bit. And probably I know that's bullshit and that I'm reading too much into it. She's too strong a person to just give up. I'm not trying to suggest that I think that Celine is now going to be more servile and docile...that she'll just say yes to Chicago and let Jesse win out. I guess I'm just saying that you can still voice your concerns and have a meaningful discussion without wanting to tear at the other person's throat. But right, after such an intense fight, it's probably best to end on a lighter note. I want Jesse and Celine to work this out and stay together, but I don't know, there's something about those final moments that make me feel a little pessimistic. I hope I'm wrong.

 Our audience seemed to chuckle and smile as Jesse's time traveler stunt seemed to work some magic. I couldn't bring myself to do the same. But I also recognize the realism of ending a fight in this way. You say hurtful things and get upset, you calm down, have some sex, go about your day and come back to the fight at a later time.

Other thoughts:

I also like Brandon's response to John's "ex-wife" criticism and felt the same way. It definitely comes across as adolescent to me. Hearing them call her "a drunk" and "abusive" didn't seem to register with me. It makes sense that they would both hate Jesse's ex, so of course they're going to revert to name calling. I understand, too, that those are some pretty serious accusations, but nonetheless, it comes off as exaggerated to me. Again, though, not everyone thinks what Brandon and I think, so you do have a point, John. But I also agree with Brandon's first paragraph in his "agreeing" post. Jesse and Celine are meant to be together, and at the very least, Jesse isn't meant to be with his ex.

I think John is right in suggesting that while it's never really called into question that they belong together, MIDNIGHT does a great job of broadening the scope of their relationship. But also, we can feel like they belong together, but that doesn't mean we'll always get what we want. In the end, Jesse and Celine have important decisions to make that we won't get to see or be a part of. Hopefully we'll get to see the aftermath of those decisions, though, nine years or so down the road.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Did the Quizzy

1. Name your five favorite actors and actresses of all time.

Actors: Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant; with honorable mentions to Bogart and Cagney.

Actresses: Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, Rosalind Russell. As far as modern actresses are concerned, I really like Marion Cotillard, Cate Blanchett, and Jessica Chastain.

2. Can you remember the first foreign-language film you saw that made an impact on you? If so, what was it?

RUN LOLA RUN is my answer as well, though TALK TO HER is another foreign film that I vividly remember watching for the first time. RUN LOLA RUN was something inventive and cool. It sort of opened my eyes to the idea that foreign-language films were playing with a different set of rules. Hopefully that makes sense.

3. Favorite moment in a horror film? Least favorite?

Sorry gang, while this is a great question, it ain't exactly my forte. There are so many great scenes in THE SHINING, but I'll go with the reveal at the end of THE OTHERS. I think it's a cool idea and I didn't see the twist coming.

Least favorite...hmm...I'll go with the scenes of Rachel's sister from PET CEMETERY. I also recall a moment from the 2002 remake of CARRIE that didn't sit well with me; one dude Carrie kills at the prom is wearing glasses and she shatters them, stabbing out his eyes. While it isn't actually possible to shatter the glass in someone's eyeglasses, I still feel uneasy about that scene, being someone who needs to wear glasses/contacts.

4. Pick a film for each member of film club that you'd really like for her/him to see.

John - Love and Death
Brandon - A Single Man
Ben - Duck Soup
Jeff - MVP II: Most Vertical Primate
Jason - Rio Bravo
Adrienne - Being There
Squarehead - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Cheddar - Angel Face
Arthur - Cleo From 5 to 7

5. Is there a film(s) that you once loved (and maybe even purchased) that now makes you question what you ever saw in it?

I've made quite a few questionable DVD purchases in my lifetime. I remember buying DVDs a lot in college and I spent a good amount of time re-watching movies. Now I re-watch things much less and I'm not buying as many DVDs anymore.

But while I'm thinking of it, I bought the two-disc copy of Judd Apatow's FUNNY PEOPLE. I haven't seen it in years and don't feel the desire to re-watch it. I don't know that I ever "loved" it but clearly I liked it enough to buy it. I think I just wanted to get my special features on in the hopes that it would make the film a little better. While it does have some funny jokes/moments, overall the movie blows.

6. IFC has started releasing films on demand the same day they hit theaters. Would you like more studios to do this or are you afraid it may strike the death knell for movie theaters?

Going to the movies seems to be one of America's most popular pastimes. For that reason, I don't think we will see the death of them in our lifetime. But this question does raise an interesting point, and with the rise of instant streaming and On-Demand downloads, we now spend more time watching movies in our living rooms.

But I would like more independent studios to do this because, as we all know, if can be pretty hard to track down certain foreign and independent films. I'd happily pay five bucks to see a movie on-demand that I wouldn't really to get see anywhere else. It's a great deal.

7. Favorite movie(s) set during the summertime?

Would we call CLAIRE'S KNEE a summertime film? I forget when that one is set. Anyway, that and DO THE RIGHT THING.

8. Which director working today do you think would make a great western if given the chance (assuming he/she hasn't already made one)? Or if you don't like westerns, which director working today do you think would make a great sci-fi flick (also assuming he/she hasn't made one yet)?

Fincher and Refn are great answers for the western. Maybe a Coen brothers sci-fi flick? A Malick western would be pretty cool and boring.

9. Describe a perfect moment in a movie (courtesy of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule).

One of my favorite movie moments is the ending of CHRISTMAS IN JULY. Even though it's obvious that Dick Powell's slogan is going to be chosen in the end, it's still a great moment, especially given the roller coaster ride of the previous 60 minutes. It's a special moment because it made me feel overcome with joy. When a movie gets you to care about the story and the characters in that way, where their happiness mirrors your own, it's perfect.

10. Top-five films of 1990:

1. Goodfellas
2. Close-Up
3. Miller's Crossing
4. Metropolitan
5. Edward Scissorhands

It has to be GOODFELLAS but CLOSE-UP is also pretty worthy of the top spot. I'll give MILLER'S CROSSING the nod over METROPOLITAN; MC is the better film, but I'd rather re-watch METROPOLITAN if I had to choose between the two. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS is one of Burton's best and it beats out TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES for the fifth spot. I do love that film as well, Brandon. For a film based on a video game/cartoon, it's pretty dark. There's also great make-up/costume design on the Turtles and Splinter. Casey Jones rules as well.

I hope to write about BEFORE MIDNIGHT soon.