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: http://gnawseah.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-quiz.html

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 END...it 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.