Reds (1981)

I had never seen this. It has not been released on DVD in the US (Or VHS now) despite three A-list actors and a slew of Oscar nominations in 82. (Nine, winning three including best director for Beatty. Can there possibly be many other Best Director oscar winners not out on DVD? Particularly one that is fairly recent?!)

I wonder what the discussion was then as the Bright Shining Reagan Era was dawning about the merits of a very good film vs. its story of political dissent, socialism, communism, voting for leaders who would not take us into war and so on. Especially when, at its core, it’s just a love story. Continue reading Reds (1981)


Doing the pretentious thing and keeping the original Danish, for the sort-of-Dogme production Brothers. It’s a very well-meaning, very (very) well-acted melodrama in the Coming Home or Deer Hunter vein, where experiences in war (this time Afghanistan) bleed back into life at home. Which seems timely, except (given the fairly-obvious storyline and its unmissable echoes of such earlier films) it also seems kind of un- or out-of-timely. I liked it well enough, but I kept wondering… well, okay, and?

And on another note, the always-enlightening year-end discussion of movies is ongoing at Slate.

Serious, serious

I could pitch my reactions to Neil Jordan’s glorious Breakfast on Pluto as yet another spin on the politics vs. personal desire/domesticity discussion, or as a glam-rock rejoinder (or alternative chorus) to Brokeback‘s mournful fiddle, or simply say:

It’s the most fun I have had at the movies all year. (Tied, if I’m totally honest, with Kung Fu Hustle, but its pleasures are very, very different.) The soundtrack is perfect, the images saturated with color, the performances stellar. And it’s moving, funny, thrilling. I’m torn between wanting to read the novel or just see the film again.

real quickie on The Family Stone

this is not a movie worthy of discussion in a serious, intelligent forum such as this, so i’ll just say that a) we went to see it because there was absolutely nothing in south miami to see except munich, and simon wouldn’t see munich (don’t ask) and b) it is really not that funny for a christmas comedy. but i want to point out that rachel macadams, who was in the totally kick-ass and superbly paced red eye, is great. her comic talent belies her good-girl looks. i also want to register that i’m sick and tired of mothers dying of (breast) cancer. i do realize that fathers’ dying wouldn’t get the same tear-jerking effect (why don’t people love their fathers as much as they do their mothers?), but LET WOMEN LIVE, for goodnessakes! anyway, i spent most of the movie trying to figure out the birth order of the stone siblings and i can honestly say that i think i’ve got it down.

Geopolitics, part II: Munich

Thought I’d break this into a new discussion, to continue riffs from the earlier thread on Syriana and (less so) The Constant Gardener. I am tempted to rave and ramble, but I went for a run to clear my head after seeing Munich early this afternoon, and I have just a few short ideas I want to get out there–I promise no spoilers ’til the last part (and I’ll warn you), but–go see this. It’s as good as people say; I’m tempted to call it a great film, and I want to discuss it. Continue reading Geopolitics, part II: Munich

Not a movie

I dare Arnab to remove this. No, wait: I dare Arnab to leave this up. One of those dares is reverse psychology. The other is psychology.

I write a brief note to recommend the funniest book I’ve read in years. John Hodgman’s _The Areas of My Expertise_ keeps sidetracking my grading.

If only to read the Seven Hundred Hobo Names (Stick-Legs McOhio is my favorite) or “How to Win a Fight” (rule #2, “Go Ahead and Use Henchmen”). But perhaps for your spiritual health; perhaps for the health of us all.

By the by, David Edelstein calls Munich the best movie of the year. I think I’m going to try and catch it tomorrow.

Short French Takes: 5 x 2

There may already be a posting about this movie, but if so, I can’t find it using the search function.

Not a great movie by any means, actually pretty mediocre, but a clever conceit. The movie traces the relationship between a couple in five episodes that take place backwards. It begins with the divorce, after which the couple retire to a hotel room to have sex, though it is far closer to rape than consensual sex. Then the next four episodes uncover the infidelities and angst of the relationship, before ending when the couple meet (which involves the first infidelity).

It doesn’t ultimately work, primarily because the episodes don’t build to anything or explain the nature of the relationship. The third episode appears to be about the Gilles’ reluctance to be a father, or to be in a relationship, but it is hard to tell since it plays out mostly with him sitting in a car smoking. Still, the movie is French, so it can’t be all bad.


last night i saw capote, because neither simon nor our friend jennie wanted to see brokeback mountain (don’t ask). i enjoyed the movie while it was going, though i was a bit weary during the last third. but simon and jennie talked me out of liking it in about 15 minutes of conversation after the movie’s end. here is our collective thought on capote:

philip seymour hoffman is a great actor who handles his first major (or first, period) lead role with great aplomb and artistry. he is actually magnificent. i guess the director knew hoffman was his best asset, because every other shot is a close-up of his smooth, babyish, pink face. i actually find him quite fetching, so i didn’t Continue reading capote


Am I the first to see this, or the only one who cares to post?

First, I would pay to see Kong and Glick in a jelly-donut-eating contest. I did like Clifford, despite it being terrible, so I ought to give Jiminy a shot, too.

Second, I did enjoy Jackson’s film. The first hour is all glorious romanticized Hollywood-pictures-of-the-’30s crap–Black is manic, Watts is luminescent, the filmmakers glory in deep-focus recreations of NYC, there’s vaudeville depicted, there’s a vaudevillian tone. It’s fun. Then there are some amazing, exciting, even surprising action sequences on the island. And the ending does recapture some of the elegaic melancholy of the original. The graphics are what they’re cracked up to be; the film is certainly too long, maybe by a good hour; I wish it was loopier (more like early Jackson than LOTR-ambitious-Jackson). But it’s certainly fun in many ways at many times, and never dragged.

But. Continue reading Kong