Finding Neverland (2004) - I loved this film in the theater, and wanted to watch it with Rocky. Just as good the second time. Five stars, definitely.
Saw II - Thought I’d go ahead with the “Saw” canon, since the first one was so intriguing. The second was about equal in thrills, but while the first movie was almost entirely sans gore, this one had plenty. It certainly made it more visceral, but I liked that the first one avoided it (and yet it somehow became a poster child for “torture porn” movies…). Three stars.
Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008) - Saw this at the Esquire midnight on Saturday. It was uber-weird (horror goth musical), but I’m real mixed about it. One, it was trying (too hard) to be a weird, cult film…and that’s just kind of wrong. Two is it took bits and pieces from a bunch of other movies: Blade Runner, The Crow, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sin City, and others. Interestingly, the director is none other than the director who did Saw II, which I saw the very next day. Also disturbing was that I had not heard anything about this film, which goes to show how out-of-touch I’ve gotten in terms of the film world. Bummer. Anyway, four stars for the stylization and costumes and sets, despite the forced, over-the-top weirdness.
I really want to do this “race”…but not this year, I’m afraid. Maybe in 2010? 4000 km (3000 miles), Lima [Peru] to Asuncion [Paraguay], over the Andes and through the rain forest. Two weeks. No set route, but you can’t ride on highways, apparently. Doing it in a 150cc three-wheeled scooter with a two-person seat attached to the back.
I figure two people, a small toolkit and spare parts, a gas can, a couple small backpacks for clothes and toiletries, food supplies, maps, a tarp and rain clothes… Camping gear…a small tent, a couple sleeping bags, a camping stove, maybe? Or skip carrying all that and just sleep in whatever accomodations you can find?
Rocky got us tickets for the Devotchka/David Byrne concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, last Saturday (June 20, 2009). It was incredible—one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Rocky loves David Byrne, and while I don’t follow him as much as she does, I’ve loved his stuff since the early Talking Heads days.
Anyway, the concert was fantastic, no crazy light shows, just him and some dancers and singers and the band, all dressed in classy white. They did three or four encores. A nice mix of old and new—the biggest crowd reaction was for the really old Heads stuff, but I liked it all. We got there early and sat in the unofficial seating way off to the side, but really close to the stage, and we had a fantastic view; David Byrne was maybe 250 feet away. I took a ton of photos, and amazingly, as far away as we were, I got some incredible close-ups (my new camera has 10x optical zoom plus extra digital zoom). Handful of photos follow; link to complete Flickr set (40 photos) is:
No, seriously, please stop whatever you are doing and go read this right now. It is perhaps my favorite movie review of all time:
“There are many great-looking babes in the film, who are made up to a flawless perfection and look just like real women, if you are a junior fanboy whose experience of the gender is limited to lad magazines.”
Ebert! Killin’ it!
This is my favorite part:
If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.
The movie has been signed by Michael Bay. This is the same man who directed “The Rock” in 1996. Now he has made “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Faust made a better deal.
10-year old girl with rare form of cancer really wants to see the Pixar movie Up, but is too ill to go to a theater to see it.
Family start cold-calling Pixar to see if they can help.
Pixar flies an employee with a DVD of the movie and Up toys to the girl. Girl gets to see the movie (well, she’s so ill she can’t open her eyes, but she can hear it, and her mother gives a play-by-play).
Girl dies about seven hours after watching the film.
I like that Pixar “declines to comment” on it. It’s between them and the family. Yay, Pixar.
Staying at Rocky’s last night; this morning the fire trucks come screaming down the street; closer…closer…and yes, they stop at her building. Someone down on the first floor or basement managed to set their mattress on fire or something. Nice and smoky…but at least we didn’t have to evacuate half-dressed or start thowing valuables into a bag or anything…
Jus’ keeping track of what I’ve watched lately, since the original catalyst for starting a Tumblr blog was so I could look back on what movies I’d seen at the Film Festival and over the year, and be able to say, “These were my 10 favorite movies of the year…” Anyway…catching up on a couple months or so of films:
Funny Face (1957) - Sweet romantic comedy musical with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Yay. (Patronizing towards Audrey’s character, though, for which: boo). Four stars.
Saw (2004) - I’ve never seen any of these, so I thought I’d watch one to see what it’s about. To my surprise, there was almost no blood at all. Weird…you think of these as the quintessential “torture porn,” but in fact there’s more gore in an episode of CSI. It was really more psychological than anything. Three-and-a-half stars.
Day of the Jackal (1973) - Old thriller with the French police trying to catch an assassin who’s trying to kill Charles de Gaulle. Pretty good, but not great. I kept thinking back to the novel, which I must have read 25 years ago… Three and a half stars.
The Ladykillers (1955) - The original Ealing comedy, with Alec Guinness. The modern remake with Tom Hanks was shit. This one was pretty good. The Ealing comedies (I’ve seen three now) are all so grim, but funny. Four stars.
Otis (2008) - Weird movie. Sort of a horror/comedy/satire. Three stars.
Young Guns (1988) - Rocky loves this movie. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, though there was definitely some cheesy 80’s music along the way. Um…two-and-a-half stars.
Matando Cabos (2004) - Mexican black comedy, about a two different groups of people toting two different unconscious bodies around Mexico City. Surprisingly funny and hip, like a comedic Amores Perros. Five stars.
Bordertown (2006) - Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas investigate the murders of women in Juarez, Mexico. Of course, they find (at least two of) the killers, unlike the real world. The movie was good, but kind of depressing knowing that in the real world, the murders continue. Three-and-a-half stars.
Bringing Up Baby (1938) - This was hilarious; I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before. Silly and madcap and clever; it instantly made it onto my list of favorite classic films. Five stars.
A Wink and a Smile - A documentary sort of about the burlesque revival, in the form of following the students of a burlesque class in Seattle. Funny, but not as in-depth as I would have liked. Three stars.
The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery (1966) - Disappointing. The whole “St. Trinian’s” meme is a British thing, based on some post-war cartoons of Ronald Searle (exactly like The Addams Family was based on the cartoons of Charles Addams). The idea is that St. Trinian’s is a private girl’s school, but the girls (and faculty, and staff, and administrators) are all crazy dangerous…gambling, drinking, smoking, casually injuring each other, setting fires, etc.. In many ways, much like the Addams Family cartoons. The general public lives in fear of the school coming to their town (somehow, the school keeps getting burned down). They’re hooligans, in the form but private girl’s school students, which makes it even funnier. There were a few movies about St. Trinian’s; this one is one of the last (but the only one available on Netflix, so I don’t have anything to compare it to). Disappointing, because the students were just in the background, yelling and waving their hockey sticks; they weren’t the real protagonists. Seems a wasted opportunity…but for all I know, they did that and ran out of ideas in the three St. Trinian’s movies before that. There was a re-make in the 90’s or 2000’s, but it seems to have been universally panned. Not on Netflix, so I can’t say.
The Guns of Navarone (1961) - Classic war movie; unfortunately, my DVD player crapped out just before the final epic “blowing up the guns” scene. Eh. Three stars.
Fados - A beautiful movie about fado, the ballad songs of Portugal. Interesting way of doing it, as a series of different stylized dancers/singers/performers on each song, but all in one giant warehouse set. I loved it. Rocky and I want to go to Portugal now. Five stars.
Synechdoche, New York (2008) - Charlie Kaufmann is so weird and wonderful. I loved this film. Five stars.
Fanboys (2008) - Four friends decide to drive to Skywalker Ranch in California to steal a copy of Star Wars: Episode I before it’s released. Lots of Star Wars in-jokes and parallels. Clever, funny at times. Three-and-a-half stars.
Dexter (First Season) - Yeah, a TV show, but I watched it on DVD, so it’s here. Watched the whole first season; it was okay, but it got really repetetive. I wonder if TV show directors or writers have an issue with issuing their show on DVD. I mean, if they’re writing it to be seen a certain way (once a week over several months) and someone watches all of them in a row in one week, that would change how it’s perceived—for example, seeming really repetitious. Different for a series like Lost where the longer series arc takes much more precedence than an episode arc. Anyway. Interesting premise, about a vigilante serial killer. Is it really an “antihero” when the guy is still doing “moral” work (in Dexter, he kills bad people who either haven’t been caught or who were caught but got free)? Shouldn’t a true antihero not have any traditional hero properties? Should we be celebrating lone-wolf killers who work according to their own moral compass, especially considering the recent murders of the abortion doctor and the guard at the Holocaust Museum? Two stars.
Burn Notice (First Season) - Slightly better, repetition-wise, though it still got some, and I don’t see that changing in later seasons. Neat hearing the spy tips and tricks; it’s like MacGyver meets James Bond. Guy’s voiceover narration grates on me after a while. Bruce Campbell rocks. Four stars.
Robot Chicken - Man, I love these. The jokes, both visual and verbal, come fast and furious, with no unneccesary exposition. Most of it is cultural references, which I love. Some episodes are particularly trenchant (the Smurf village wiped out by a failing dam; Brainy Smurf shouting, “The President doesn’t care about blue people!”). Five stars.
Apogaea went so well this year! More people than ever before (831), some cool art, a great effigy (a Volcano), and reduced shifts at Info Booth, so I wasn’t running there every three hours to train each shift’s volunteers. Gate was less crazy, even on the Hell Shift (Friday night 6:00-9:00 p.m., when after-work Denverites start to arrive). I loved not having cars parked all over the center of the event. Tons of theme camps. Lots of friendly people. Quiet hours from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. meant I could actually hear the birds singing in the mornings. I didn’t stay up crazy late any night, so I got some real sleep. My art project Colossus went together amazingly easily and was one of the hits of the festival, and I was a-rolling in the kudos. Also, no rain (as was expected) and the nights were relatively warm. Finally, Rocky came for Saturday and Sunday, which was really nice. Best Apogaea yet.