watched this a couple of nights ago on mike’s recommendation. a strange little film. i liked it (i think sunhee did too) but i’m not entirely sure why. in many ways it is deeply conventional but it seems to also tweak those conventions (kikujiro pretty much remains an abusive cipher till the end, no one is really transformed). i would recommend it to people but i am simultaneously bemused by its winning the golden lion or hyaena or whatever at the berlin film festival, or whichever major festival it won the top award at–surely there must have been better movies that year.

mike, you should add this film to your onoging “irresponsibility” thesis.

napoleon dynamite

anyone else seen this? watched it a couple of nights ago. don’t really know what to make of it, but i did enjoy it. like something todd solondz might make if he wasn’t a miserable git–skirts the lines between caricature, affectionate identification and satire, seems to cross them from time to time but never quite falls completely into any of those modes. i wish i had more interesting things to say about it.

i have now seen two movies made by people from idaho: this and “twin falls idaho”. that was a non-sequitur.

They cut me, man, they cut me

So I had this operation yesterday. Operation’s a fancy word for it–in and out of the clinic in thirty minutes. But I had to lie around the house all day with ice on my scrotum, so I watched a movies.

Recommended, all:
“Songs from the Second Floor”–not really sure how to describe this, and the critics’ quotes on the box are terribly confused (“Short Cuts meets Night of the Living Dead” is one inept [and lousy] attempt). It’s an absurdist existential comedy of despair, by a Swede. The film is gloriously composed–each shot a fixed-cam tableau, the lighting and sky usually artificial. (In contrast to Sky Captain . . . actually I’ll put this in a comment there.) I laughed, I was intrigued, and my scrotum wasn’t hurting while I watched.

Two more… Continue reading They cut me, man, they cut me

Shaun of the Dead

This movie is one of my favorite attempts to render Englishness. The heroes of The Full Monty come through despair and learn how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps through cheek and pluckiness. The heroes of Shaun of the Dead go to the pub, when they manage to get off the sofa. Their mothers don’t want to cause a fuss even when gnawed on. I love how everyone’s a zombie before they become zombies.

Also, it was cool when that irritating guy got pulled apart.


we actually watched this a few nights ago. an andre techine film–the only other things i’ve seen by him are “wild reeds” and “my favorite season”, both of which i liked a lot, and possibly more than this. but this is quite good too. france, ww-2 right before the armistice with germany. a young mother and her children are escaping from paris when their refugee convoy is bombed (a truly horrific scene but not quite as traumatic as the black and white footage of real carnage that opens the film). they fall in with a strange young man and proceed to sit out the war for a little while. not a whole lot happens but you stay tense throughout. people connect, don’t connect and there’s no real resolution.

emanuelle beart plays the mother and the makeup people fail gallantly at trying to make her seem plain.

Million $ Baby

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were discussing “Unforgiven” and I regret that we didn’t have this blog to debate the merits of “Space Cowboys,” but perhaps we can cover “Mystic River” and this new one in the same set of posts.

I truly want to dislike Clint Eastwood. He’s like Robert Redford’s darker, reactionary twin spending way too much time exploring/confirming theories of masculinity and running out of steam by the time he fills in the women’s roles around the edges of his screenplays. But he’s also a compelling filmmaker and one of the few who thoughtfully explores American myths.

I really liked this film and fell for every one of the manipulative plot twists. But just as I can’t quite forgive him for Marcia Gay Harden’s unredeemable weakness and Laura Linney’s out-of-nowhere Lady Macbeth-ness in “Mystic River”, I think he demonstrated profound laziness in creating some of this film’s supporting characters.


harold and kumar make me happy

many things could be said about harold and kumar go to white castle. in an ideal world it would be enough to merely note that it contains the following:

*the all-time greatest pee in the woods scene
*the all-time greatest truck ride with a man named freakshow
*the all-time greatest fantasy with a bag of pot
*the all-time greatest ride through a forest on the back of a stoned cheetah scene
*the all-time greatest sing-along to wilson phillips scene
*the all-time greatest english women taking noisy shits scene
*and for those watching on dvd, the all-time greatest dvd menu sequence

but this is not an ideal world and more may need to be said. here it is:
Continue reading harold and kumar make me happy