Archive for May, 2006

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Sunset Blvd

May 31, 2006

I didn’t enjoy this movie nearly as much as Some Like it Hot. I did like the bit of history lesson on old Hollywood, and the character acting of Norma Desmond, but as far as film noir goes it seemed less like a dark mystery and more like a Twilight Zone episode. From the beginning of the movie I never asked myself why the main character why shot, but why on Earth he died so close to the pool fully clothed. That was my big mystery, and I’m afraid it was very poorly answered. Instead of walking towards the car when he leaves at the end, he walks towards the pool, gets shot, continues walking to the pool, and with his last ounce of energy, falls in the pools direction. It seemed very contrived and silly. It could have been more like a mystery and less like a silly farce if he just would have died in the garage.

The narration was unessesary at times. I like narration when it adds something, not when it’s just describing what’s going on onscreen. “She put her arm around mine” -yeah I just saw that, and it’s not so important you have to bang it into my head.

They say that no characters, items or ideas are introduced into a movie and so when Betty the reader came back into the story I wasn’t really suprised. She was a good grounding into the “real world”. But to have her become the love interest of William again seemed very contrived and silly. Just because she’s the only other female besides Norma in the story doesn’t mean she’s got to fall in love with the main character. I don’t see how it added anything to the story anyway, since Norma was jealous of other women with or without Betty.

Gloria Swanson, who played Norma Desmond, was glorious as an aging star. She was the perfect combination of diva and crazy. Her facial expressions were perfect for the part. I remember how in the film she said that in silent film they didn’t need to talk, they used their faces, and she does exactly that in the film. Though she does have a few memorable lines (it’s the pictures that got small, I’m ready for my closeup Mr. De Ville) it’s her wide white eyes that stick with you. As she looks directly into the camera at the end, that’s an image that could be framed on a wall and put in a museum. I wonder how much was autobiographical for poor Gloria Swanson, who by her IMDB resume seems to have burnt out as movies turned to talkies.

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Some Like It Hot

May 30, 2006

Usually with older films I need to put them in context with their time periods, the limits in technology and what sort of standards they had at the time.  But with Some Like It Hot, which was filmed in the 50's and set in the 20's, it seemed to have an almost universal appeal.  All the jokes were still funny.  All the characters were still sympathetic.  And I really did like the film.

Marilyn Monroe is absolutely beautiful again.  Before I had seen her in movies I had only seen pictures, and they really didn't do justice.  The way she moves she's like silk, and I can only think that she is the most beautiful woman ever to exist.  She's like the archetype of what every woman is supposed to look like. 

The men in this film all kind of look the same to me.  They look like old men from old films.  I think one kind of looked like Regis and one like Jerry Stiller although neither were actually in the film.  It just seems to me that all the actors from certain time periods had a certain "look".  Maybe it's just how they did their hair and how they dressed.

I liked the way David Lynch always used weird looking people in his films.  An actor you can immediately pick out of a crowd is invaluable to having people attach themselves emotionally to the film.  This is why the Hollywood stars make so much money, because you can immediately identify them and understand their character, at least a little bit.  If Tom Cruise is in a movie you know his character whenever he's onscreen, and you have a basic idea of what he's about.  I'm ashamed to say that this is why Asian cinema is a little frustrating for me sometimes.  I often spend more time reading the subtitles than trying to identify the main characters faces, so I get lost on who is who.  I've never been very good at recognizing faces anyway though, I'm in a class with 19 other women and I don't know the name of a single one.  One recognized me (and knew my name!) on the Strand the other day and I was so freaked out, I had no idea who she was.

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The Price of Milk

May 24, 2006

I like New Zealand so I thought this movie might be interesting.  It's always been sort of a fantasy I have to be a sheep-farmer in New Zealand.  I don't know why, but it's always been one of the lives I've wanted to live for at least a short period of time.

It's kind of a trippy little romance film that seems way too simple at times, but it's short and entertaining.  It plays out like a modern-day Grimm's fairy tale and ends with a happily-ever-after.  But it's the visual tricks that make this film stand out and make it a whole lot more freaky than it needs to be.

Standing at the window following around her fiance, disappearing under blankets, the sudden jolt at the dinner table as their about to kiss, and especially crawling up from the back of his head- these things really freaked me out while sober.  I can't imagine how wonderful and terrifying this movie could be while intoxicated.

Vivid colors in movies are nice.  I liked that in Amelie too.

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Annie Hall

May 21, 2006

Eric says this is one of his mom's favorite films, and he's watched it a million times with her.  He watched it with me tonight, which was kind've a special occasion.  He usually doesn't watch movies with me, since they never live up to his standards.  He also things most films are too long.

I didn't know anyone else said they "lurve" people, I thought I made it up in my head.  But as I'm finding more and more, much of what I consider mine is actually leeched from film and television.  Such was the case with the sad panda. 

I know one ingredient to make a movie good.  Just throw in Christopher Walken.  For some reason, he's like a pinch of saffron.  It bleeds yellow into everything.

What the hell was with that shot where he's talking with his friend, but for the longest time he's off camera?  Why do that?  I'm trying to thing of a reason, Eric says it's because he was directing it too and couldn't be bothered with trying to keep the camera straight, haha.  Oh well, I'll find out on IMDB.  There's not a question in film that can't be answered in some way by IMDB, even if it's the wrong answer.  But that's ok, because being wrong is at least funny.

I wonder why I never watched this with my family.  How could my husband watch this as a child with his family, with all the sex and drugs in it, and somehow he never talks to them now.  You'd think with a family that open that they'd be able to communicate better.  I don't know, is there anyone on earth that has a really good relationship with their parents besides our landlord and his mom?

Annie Hall and All About Eve were good to watch next to one another.  They both have "witty" dialogue, but Annie Hall is so much more real in its context and delivery.  You can get points across in a single sentence without have a speech or tirade. 

I keep on thinking to myself, in All About Eve how did the grown up ladies develop a Kathleen Turner type voice?  I tried doing it, but I think it might be something you either can or you can't do, like wiggling your ears or curling your tongue.  I just don't think my vocal cords were built for that.  But how did they get so many leading ladies back then with that sort of voice, when I know of only Kathleen Turner of modern day?

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All About Eve

May 20, 2006

I'm trying to "culture" myself and watch some older movies.  All About Eve was also on the list of best screenplays. 

The acting was spectacular in this film.  Maybe it was easier for me to see them as real because I wasn't familiar with the actors themselves.  I was especially impressed with a very young Marilyn Monroe.  I didn't even realize it was her until the ending credits.

The script I didn't actually like very much… there are many clever one-liners and great quotes from the movie, but as a whole, it's just too much.  The characters are all constantly talking.  Sometimes it's better to leave things unsaid, so that the audience has a chance to just think.  Plus it was just unnatural, the way they delivered speeches to one another.

Another thing that really bothered me is when they were supposed to be walking out on the sidewalk and instead they just put a screen behind them.  What kind of cheap-ass shitty movie can't film real people walking on a real sidewalk?  It looked like total crap too, because they weren't at all walking on pace with the people behind them, yet they seemed to cover the same distance.  It was totally obvious, what kind of awful director would allow that cut into a movie?  And this again is the reason Citizen Kane was such a landmark film, because Orson Welles didn't pull shit like this. 

I was impressed by one other thing.  Eve as a sociopath is quite believable and very well done.  This sort of character was rarely done in American films so it's original and interesting.  The other characters just don't seem to spark my interest as much, and unfortuately the main character Margot is as overshadowed in the movie as much as she is in the performances talked about in the movie.

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Brokeback Mountain

May 19, 2006

Eh, I was expecting more.  I think if it had been a heterosexual couple in the film everyone would have said it was merely mediocre, but the homosexuality made it different and watchable.  Having not watched a lot of gay porn, it was a novel experience for me.  Now I get the images of Heath Ledger pegging Jake Gyllenhal in the buttocks to add to my internal amusement.

It's difficult to do life-long films, simply because actors can't really age for you.  Any attempt to artificially age people with makeup usually doesn't work very well.  It kind've takes away from the story when you keep thinking about how they keep switching out the children but the 2 leads really haven't aged at all over 20 years.  Many other movies such as Forrest Gump are just as awkward with the artificial aging of actors, but I guess like what people did with special effects of the pre-computer era, you just kind've let it slide because you know they're doing their best.  I think it still detracts from the movie though.  George Lucas "solved" the special effects problem by going the extra mile to make things look real, I wonder who will solve the aging problem.

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Jarhead

May 12, 2006

I don't usually watch movies like this.  I don't like war and I don't like war movies.  I like Apocalypse now but I really don't think it's all that much about war.  I also liked Full Metal Jacket and I don't know why, it must be Kubrick's magic.  But I like Jake Gyllenhaal so I got Jarhead.

I'm not sure if I really got into the movie.  It seemed like the type of move you watch while you're eating dinner or putting together a puzzle.

The only scenes that really stuck with me were the burning oil fields.  It was just so amazing and so pretty.  The orange glow against the blackness.  I'm sure it was horrible to be in but it sure was beautiful to look at.  I think it kind've reminded me of a volcano or the surface of Venus, so deadly but yet what an exotic place to end up.

Somehow the burnt bodies and other scenes really didn't get to me at all.  Maybe I'm just a heartless bitch but it didn't make me feel anything.

Am I crazy or does Peter Sarsgaard look sort of like Kiefer Sutherland?