Friday, May 17, 2013

March and April in May


Laura ****
Le Corbeau ***1/2
Les Diaboliques *****
Midnight ****
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers ****
Spring Breakers ***
Captain Blood ****
Unforgiven ***1/2
The Magnificent Ambersons ***1/2
A Face In the Crowd ****
Down By Law ****
Swing Time ****
Close-Up ****1/2
The Place Beyond the Pines ***
The Spiral Staircase ****


Burning Love seasons 2 & 3
Comedy Bang! Bang! season 1
Deadwood (one episode)
Extras Christmas Special
Game of Thrones seasons 2 and 3
Human Giant season 1
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (various episodes)
Mr. Show season 2
Parks and Recreation seasons 2, 3, 4 5
Seinfeld seasons 6 and 7
The Simpsons (various episodes)
The League (one episode)
Trailer Park Boys season 1

Notes: Since I watched a lot of this stuff two months ago, I'm finding it difficult to do write-ups. Being lazy doesn't pay off...unless you continue to be lazy forever, I guess. Then it works quite well.

Out of those films, I enjoyed LES DIABOLIQUES, CLOSE-UP, and THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE the most. Slightly below those three would be LAURA, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, SWING TIME, and MIDNIGHT.

LES DIABOLIQUES was the best of the bunch, though, and I'm only disappointed that I didn't see it sooner. It moves from the plotting of murder to something of a haunted school/ghost story. And as I wrote on Letterboxd (a site I've sadly neglected as of late), the ending was everything I wanted it to be. Love the bathtub shot. Brilliant stuff.

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE has a nice, creepy feel to it. I saw the ending coming, but it still works great. SPOILERS: I'm glad that the old lady shoots the killer; and I like the moment when she apologizes to her son for assuming he was the serial murderer. Like ROPE, it does a nice job of condemning those who take social Darwinism into their own hands.

Maybe someone noticed that I only gave UNFORGIVEN three and a half stars. I'm not looking to pick a fight here, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. The film starts off strong and there are some great scenes with Gene Hackman, but aside from that I can't really single any moments out as being favorites. And I don't really pin it on Clint Eastwood--I think it's beautifully shot--but rather screenwriter David Webb Peoples. Maybe I'm missing something, but the guy has yet to really connect with me; I had a similar reaction to BLADE RUNNER (which I have still haven't finished watching). Not trying to be a snob in any way, just stating that it wasn't necessarily my thing. Now stop accusing me, willya??!!

I've thought about SPRING BREAKERS on and off since we all saw it together but I've never actually sat down to write much about it. I'm sticking with my mixed review and the idea that, while I do respect it, I probably won't give it a second viewing. To be clear, that doesn't mean I'd refuse a second viewing though, just that I won't really seek it out when it hits retail. I loved the discussion held on these blogs about it, though, and was happy that Jason got to get in on the proceedings. Just like old times.

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS is boring, Jeff. I wish I liked Joseph Cotten as much as you do; I'm just not there yet. I wish I could see Welles' original cut; I'm sure the extended version is better. Everything felt a bit underdeveloped because at no point did I care about either family. Maybe I'm just an asshole. That's it...isn't it?

A FACE IN THE CROWD has great performances from Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal - really impressive stuff. I had a very short attention span when I watched both this and AMBERSONS, so maybe I didn't give either a fair shake. I know I was definitely feeling distracted for parts of AFITC and so I don't really remember most of it. I did enjoy the theme and the ending. It reminded me of Gabbo's downfall in the Krusty Gets Kancelled episode of The Simpsons, which obviously came after this movie. I'm trying to remember if the producers/writers reference the film in the commentary...but actually I think they based it on a real-life event in which an actual TV clown called his audience "SOBs." What were we talking about again? Oh, right, The Simpsons...

CLOSE-UP is a fascinating documentary that I'd recommend to anyone. SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS has great facial hair and cool fight & dance sequences. It's not a musical, it's a mansical. Oh, wait, no..."mansical" isn't a word; it is actually a musical.

SWING TIME is damn enjoyable but why did it have to have a blackface musical number? Sonofabitch!

I'm with Jeff on THE PLACE BEHIND THE PINES. I think I enjoyed the second act more than he did, but by the time the third act rolled around, it just got to be too contrived. And hell, only the first half of the second act was something I enjoyed...the Serpico stuff dragged out far too long as well. I do admire Derek Cianfrance for sticking with the story and allowing it to play out a bit more, but eventually it does collapse under its own weight. I still like the guy and await his next film; he does some things really well, as you guys talked about. I think he does a great job of capturing real-life awkwardness.

Because of my short attention span toward the end of March, I decided to watch more TV than I usually do.

I decided to check out COMEDY BANG BANG due to its grand assemblage of guest stars: Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Zach Galifanakis, Paul Rudd, etc. I love this show (which was first a podcast...something I've also cozied up to these past few weeks) and it's on NWI if anyone else is interested in irreverent humor. Consider me a big fan of Scott Aukerman now, and he Reggie Watts are a great duo on the show. Season two (20 episodes) is being filmed now...can't wait.

I watched the first episode of DEADWOOD and eventually I'll complete the series. I liked it but I'm looking forward to it being even better as I get more invested.

I was happy to hear that Brandon is an EXTRAS fan. See it if you haven't; I've got the DVDs for anyone to borrow. And as much as I like Ricky, I will agree with you, Brandon, that he needs to get back to making more stuff like EXTRAS. I wonder if his new show DEREK is that project. It was supposed to come to NWI this spring, but I haven't heard any updates lately.

GAME OF THRONES is still the most entertaining show on TV but these past few weeks have been "punctuated" only with more pot boiling. I have a feeling that all of that will change this Sunday with some major shit going down, but we're just gonna have to wait and see.

At one point I told John that MR. SHOW was one of the best/funniest sketch comedy shows I'd ever seen. I still stick by that statement, but in watching the complete second season, I feel that the second half was slightly weaker than the first. All of it was pretty brilliant/hilarious, though. I wish HBO would put the entire series up on HBOgo. Until then I'll continue to get the DVDs on Netflix. Worth it so far; I love it. And speaking of Scott Aukerman, I look forward to seeing him in season 4 (I think) of MR. SHOW.

I watched one episode of THE LEAGUE weeks ago because of Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas (PARKS and REC alums and HOW DID THIS GET MADE? podcast hosts). I hated the one episode I watched. It was lazy and stupid and it had undone the work of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, which kinda endeared me to Mark Duplass. Our Jason likes the show...which is fine. It's always a nice feeling to discover a new show that brings us joy. But again, I hate the "guys being guys" shows. It's been done to death and it ain't funny. I agree with John on this one, but I still have two more episodes to watch (eps. 4 & 5) before I possibly change my mind (not looking good, though, sorry Jason).

One night when we were at Brandon's, he was watching TRAILER PARK BOYS with Tara and Dean. I wasn't too aware of the show up until that point, but after seeing some of it at the Musa household, I enjoyed it enough to check the first season out on NWI. I've been watching episodes here and there. It's funny; I like it.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT returns May 26th. 15 episodes all streaming at once. I can't wait to watch. The teaser was promising.

I saw about 10 minutes of THE OFFICE finale before I changed the channel. I'm a snob and I just want to stick to watching seasons 2-4 on DVD. I'm a much happier person that way. But having said all that, cheers to The Office for entertaining me and making me laugh over the years.

I stole...and I robbed...and I kidnapped the President's son...and held him for ransom.
And I never got caught neither!

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