another korean film. i was tempted to place it in the “recently watched genre films” thread but i am having a hard time coming up with a genre for this: science fiction? comedy? horror? police procedural? love story? all these and more are mashed up unpredictably in this film and the tone shifts as abruptly and yet organically. a young man, who seems increasingly deranged, is convinced that aliens from andromeda are among us and preparing to destroy the planet. he kidnaps a sleazy industrialist who he believes is one of the key players in this plan and begins a very specific program of torture/questioning to get him to divulge the details. or is something else going on? is he in fact taking revenge on the industrialist (and maybe others) for things done to him and his family in the past? this is what the industrialist claims as he begins to turn the tables on his captors (oh right, i forgot to mention that our protagonist is being helped by his lover, a not-all-there tight-rope walker from what seems like a very low-budget circus). meanwhile, the police circle–including the wonderfully loopy detective chu played by our own hungarian, mark mauer (see below).
looper. pretty good but a little overhyped, i think.
lockout. yes, it is escape from new york in space. and yes, it’s a luc besson production. but goddammit, guy pearce is magnificent as a knowing action star knock-off. worth watching for that reason alone. alas there are as few people of colour in the future in this film as in looper.
sorum. a south korean film, billed as horror, and certainly utilizing many horror film tropes but not really a horror film; or at least you’ll be disappointed if you come expecting genre goosebumps. but it is really quite good, with some great performances and a very bleak view of lives on the fringes of global capitalism and the dislocations and ruptures of community attendant on it.
it is indeed a shame that a man with such lineage (he’s the son of gabriel garcía márquez) should be so distinctly untalented. i’ve seen two of his films, albert nobbs and things you can tell just by looking at her, and while i appreciate his attempts to present life from women’s point of view, i have to bemoan his utter failure.
has anyone reviewed this? i can’t see it. regardless.
this film starts with a couple talking to a judge. the camera is on the couple. the judge is invisible throughout but we can hear his questions. he sounds very reasonable. the couple discusses heatedly the question of their separation. the wife wants to leave the country; the husband says it’s impossible because he has to take care of his ill elderly father. they are both fetching (the wife is beautiful), articulate, passionate. they mostly look at the judge. neither gives an inch. the judge says that the only option is for them to separate. enter the problem of the 11-year-old daughter. the wife wants the daughter to go with her. the husband says the daughter doesn’t want to go. the judge (if memory serves) leaves it at that. the film starts as a family drama. Continue reading
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is an uncompromising, rigorous and disciplined work of modernist cinema—a twisty, difficult film which undermines all expectations, keeping the spectator at a critical distance throughout yet continually holding our attention via mesmerizing visuals and knotty moral and ethical conundrums. Gorgeously shot and edited, The Master looks magnificent on the big screen, and the relationship between the film’s two central characters generates a lot of heat – the work on display is about as explosive and compelling as screen acting gets.
Just got word of this new story in Slate, about the release of Normam Mailer films. The 9-minute clip embedded in the story is mesmerizing, and I highly recommend you watch with the sound turned up, as it is often muddled. I don’t quite know what to make of it.
Looking for film suggestions for a Gen Ed course on immigrant literature. Feature films that are accessible and teachable–I’m thinking of doing 2-3 films in addition to the literature. This is a new course with a historical span. Also anything featuring immigrants in the Midwest would be great too. Thanks!
If it is not too hard to believe, Expendables 2 is even better than its predecessor. Sure, it essentially has no plot, and there is something painful about watching Stallone and Dolph Lungren stagger around the place pretending to be young again. But the action sequences are well-choreographed, and it is played for laughs with everyone pretty much winking their way through the scenes. Van Damme is slyly villainous; Chuck Norris has a couple of good turns. And Schwarzenegger has a blast. He and Bruce Willis trade references to each others’ movies. It’s silly, very silly, but it’s my kind of silly. Continue reading
Here is a not-too-awful print of a rare short film by Sam Peckinpah: his adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter’s short story “Noon Wine.” It aired on ABC’s “Stage ’67″ in 1966 and stars Jason Robards, Olivia de Havilland, Theodore Bikel, as well as a couple more Peckinpah stand-bys, Ben Johnson and L.Q. Jones. If you’re a Peckinpah fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the film, which Peckinpah made between the ill-fated Major Dundee and his triumph, The Wild Bunch. It so happens that Jerry Fielding (blacklisted in 1953 and did not return until 1961) did the music here, and there are some motifs in the score that will reappear in The Wild Bunch.
Robards is great–just the perfect role for him (he will play a similar character in The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Peckinpah manages to get a pretty good performance out of de Havilland (though I understand his methods were borderline sadistic). Bikel is just on the right side of not too over the top and, although only on screen for about a minute or so, L.Q. Jones is terrific. The swedish actor Per Oscarsson plays the escaped loony Olaf. An odd performance, perhaps not well-suited to a Peckinpah film.
I’ve never seen Peckinpah use so many dissolves and superimpositions. They’re there in The Wild Bunch, certainly, but nothing quite like this–but here he has to tell a long story (really a novella) in just under 50 minutes, so I guess they’re necessary.
Can’t seem to embed the video (Arnab?) so here’s a link.
4697645 from John Bruns on Vimeo.
It’s chilling to think that the same carnival atmosphere I experienced at the midnight showing here in Ohio turned into a bloodbath in Colorado. There is some more poignancy to a light-hearted exchange between Batman and Catwoman/Selina Kyle about the ethics of eschewing guns.
You know the plot from the reviews: Batman has been in self-imposed exile for eight years, paying the price for the canonization of Harvey Dent. Bane arrives in Gotham to complete the cleansing task begun by Ra’s Al Ghul in the first movie of the triology. Batman comes out of retirement, is beaten and humiliated by Bane who engages in assorted terrorism and mock class warfare until Bruce Wayne has recovered enough for the final showdown. This movie links back satisfyingly to Batman Begins in countless ways, large and small, so that we really do see the trilogy as part of a common arc. Continue reading