Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There are no films. There isn't The Brothers Bloom. There is no The Girlfriend Experience. There is definitely no Rudo y Cursi.
A market for these films exists here. Or, the demographic that would buy into this market, if the market was there to buy into. Look at me. Look at people I know. The movies I'm being offered are the worst possible options. I don't want to see Wolverine. I want to see Adrian Brody be a con man.
- Eric T. Voigt, Disgruntled
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Werner Herzog + Nicolas Cage + Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas + Crank = This Looks Incredible
Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant Trailer with Nicolas Cage in it
Okay. Ready. This movie, and I say this with complete conviction, looks incredible. In-cred-ib-uhl. Nicolas Cage has become such a joke to the world that people are forgetting how valuable of an actor he is. He's finally getting a chance to act as balls-out crazy as I wish he had gotten in every miserable excuse for an action movie hes been in this latter half of the 00s. Take all those clips of the Wicker Man remake, and boost them up a few notches of insane, and that's what Nicolas Cage is doing in this trailer.
Herzog is a respected director. It isn't as if hes never made a bad film, but he's made a substantial amount of great films. The man knows what he's doing when it comes to cinema. Other blogs, including Slashfilm, and FirstShowing.net, where I first saw the trailer, are shooting it down left and right, claiming Herzog must be off his rocker, or slipped up accidently in a giant way. Nuh-uh. This movie is meant to be this way.
Already it's handing out amazingly quotable lines: "Shoot him again. His soul is still dancing." "This is my lucky crackpipe. You don't have a lucky crackpipe?" "What are these fucking iguanas doing on my coffee table?" The iguanas! Come on! That's great. That's an homage to Le Cercle Rouge, right there. Jean-Pierre Melville references are in this. And guns, and sex, and profanity, and absurdity. Incredible.
- Eric T. Voigt, Might Be Jumping Onto a Sinking Ship With This One
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This year is one of the most exciting years for films ever ever in the life I've lived with an awareness of what's going on in the filmic world. One of the reasons for this excitement is two of my favoritest directors (Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze) are adapting two children's books (Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are) by reknowned children's bookists (Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak).
Where the Wild Things Are is getting scored by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Carter Burwell of Fargo, Being John Malkovich and No Country For Old Men. Fantastic Mr. Fox is getting scored by Alexandre Desplat of Lust, Caution and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That's music I really like.
Fantastic Mr. Fox's cinematographer is Tristan Oliver, who shot Wallace and Gromit stuff. He does stop motion filming. Good stop motion. Lance Acord of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Lost in Translation cameramanning shot Where the Wild Things Are. I like the way he moves that camera.
The adaptations were written by Wes Anderson with Noah Baumbach, and Spike Jonze with Dave Eggers for Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are respectively. Those are good writers.
My excitement is at a high.
- Eric T. Voigt, Excitement
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I like the look of one better than the other, even though I knew about and became interested in the other one way back when, right when I discovered "Freaks and Geeks" on DVD.
Vague? You betcha.
- Eric T. Voigt, I'm At Work On Break Cut Me Some Slack Alright Gotta Go
Monday, May 25, 2009
Take Ben Kingsley's character in Sexy Beast. He is the only character I liked. He came into the film nearly a third of the way in, and unfortunately is cut out of the film before the final third kicks off. His character is unpleasant, and unruly, and unbridled, and it makes him awesome and hilarious and terrifying compared to all the other ugly, boring, aging English ex-mobsters. He was the best actor in the cast, and he gets a short, supporting role. It leaves the rest of the film dead when he isn't there. He's the driving force of anything in the movie. What I'm saying is that if the film had been all about Ben Kingsley, or had more Ben Kingsley, it would have been a good movie. But he isn't, so it's not.Now take Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson in A Scanner Darkly. Their characters play off each other, bouncing their wacked-out philosophies and paranoid worries off of each other lightning fast, with incidental wits sharp as knives. They're the characters with personality, personalities that feel even bigger and stronger next to Keanu's usual flat delivery, and Winona's laziness. Each of their sequences left me laughing quite vocally. But the rest of the film... well, it's dry, nearly confusing, and seems to lack substance. Excluding Downey, Jr. and Harrelson.
So, I'm asking you guys, my co-writers and readers, if you can think of any films that you feel are pretty useless films as a whole, but with memorable characters. Interesting characters. Superiorly acting characters. I think the group of black guys from Snatch can count towards my list too. They were the coolest.
- Eric T. Voigt, Please?
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tom Hanks looks weird with hair in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Nicolas Cage looks weird with hair in Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Next, and basically any movie after Adaptation that wasn't The Weather Man. Now Bruce Willis joins the ranks. Bravo, Bruce!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Brick is a film I've watched five or seven times since 2006. More than once a year at this point. I'm probably going to keep that up. Why? Because this is one of my favorite films. I was on the fence about it for a while, I couldn't tell if it was definitely one of my favorite films, but now I know in my heart Brick is one of my favorite films. Why? All of it. Beginning with the schtick. A hard-boiled detective, fast-talking to boot, who happens to be a highschooler obsessively investigates his ex-girlfriend's death in a world of other interesting, fast-talking characters. That's what the movie is. It's a noir story set in a high school. That's just what it is. And I like that a lot. The schtick, no matter how much of a schtick it is, works because the story is fascinating, and the characters are both believable and captivating. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a perfect bitter detective, a badass in his own realm, which is quite small. Matt O'Leary, The Brain, plays Levitt's inside guy, the one with the information, and he's witty, and awkward, and adorable. Nora Zehetner is an enchanting young femme fatale. Lukas Haas, The Pin, with his clubbed-foot, is an awesome shadowy drug lord. What I'm saying is the cast is great. They make the schtick work. WHY? Because Rian Johnson is a good director. Or a great director, maybe. And writer. The dialogue is great. Even when I can barely keep up I can keep up, and motivations are given at exactly the right times, and the motivations all make sense, and the characters say exactly what they should, because they know what they do when they know it. If the story and the acting doesn't float your boat, the visuals surely should. Steve Yedlin's cinematography is amazing. It is. The blues, the greys, the whites. The lighting, well, the lighting makes every scene feel like it's taking place just before dusk, and it's not. The special effects on some of the fight scenes, or the dream sequences, are incredible. I cannot fathom how they pulled it off, all those occasions. I'm glad about that. Oh, and things are wide so often. He uses his wide like a phoenix. And to finish it all off, I think this film's score is one of the most effective scores I've yet heard. The chimes, the other percussion, I mean, it's hauntingly good. Also, the chase scene is one of my favorite chase scenes. Claaaang.
Eric T. Voigt
Watch it as many times as you like. I will jump off the fence and run in the other direction. I think the mere fact that you keep referring to a "schtick" illustrates a big problem I have with this film: it's as if the filmmakers said, "Hey, this is a noir set in a high school! What a concept! Now, let's pump our film with all the trappings of a noir and just roll with it rather than concern ourselves with an intriguing story." So, I'm sorry, but I just don't think the "schtick" works, at least not well enough to save an uninteresting film. As I followed Joseph-Gordon Levitt's "badass" (I get it, he's a tortured soul, now can he go brood in the background somewhere?) I kept arriving at the same thought: I don't care about this mystery or any of the characters involved, because these kids are in HIGH SCHOOL, and it's really hard to take high schoolers as seriously as Johnson expects us to take them in Brick. I honestly think this film would have worked much better as a dark comedy, and I suppose some would argue it already is, but I really think the drama is laid on too thick here. I'm not even going to entertain your argument on the cinematography, because without an engaging story/ideas/characters to back it up, who cares? I'm glad you enjoyed the score; it didn't effect me, though.
Director: Michel Gondry. Band: Radiohead. Song: "Knives Out"
"Knives Out" is the music video that sparked my adoration of music videos in general, and my interest in the art of storytelling through the medium. In just over four minutes the range of emotions the video touches on is just about overwhelming. An entire relationships lifetime flashes by on the television, little mementos from the characters' time together crop up in sweeping pans. "Knives Out" is entirely one shot from start to finish, wide lensed in one room, which probably took painstakingly careful blocking to get everything to go as smoothly as it does. The camera moves in and out, catching sometimes nuanced, sometimes exaggerated that draw forth deep concern for the characters, far deeper than you'd expect for such a brief introduction to them. The sets are amazing. The strange blueish green of the walls, and the juxtaposition of the familiar with the absurd are unsettling, but funny at points, yet Thom Yorke's voice keeps things from getting too light hearted. It's a pretty incredible short, just what I'd hope for when Michel Gondry's visuals are paired with Radiohead's musicianry.
Director: David Slade. Band: Aphex Twin. Song: "Donkey Rhubarb"
One of the cutest, creepiest videos ever. Richard D. James' face lurking just beneath neon-bright bear suits, thrusting vigorously at nothing in particular, and dancing with children in the sun. Bizarre mixes of industrial London and PBS children's programming. This video should be cited as the reason David Slade is too good to be directing part of the Twilight saga. It's spooky, and puzzling, and kind of hilarious. The video runs the gamet of desatured sepia, black-and-white, and blood red filters. Switching between slow motion and fast, coupled with quick edits and strange choices in zooming, rolled together with the rest make "Donkey Rhubarb" a highly highly highly entertaining watch.
Next week I'll introduce you to whatever strikes me at the moment.
- Eric T. Voigt, A&E Is Taking An Intimate Look Into Professional Wrestling
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I do have to start by saying that this movie is nothing short of gorgeous. Bravo cinematographer Mandy Walker, bravo. Shot entirely on location, the unforgiving Australian wilderness really makes for a great unforgiving Australian wilderness. On top of the beautiful locales the movie has chosen to be stylized (like no other) the moment it starts. From the beginning you realize that Australia is going to be told in a way and style that is very reminiscent of a fairy tale or story book. I got the same feeling the way the story was told in Australia as I got from Tarsem's The Fall which is most definitely a good feeling. Where as the use of green screen (or possibly blue screen, I wasn't able to tell) was sometimes very obvious I found it no way detrimental to the story or the film as a whole, it only complemented the fairy tale aspect I spoke of earlier. In a movie like this I sometimes think that this may be a better technical choice than using special effects that take themselves to seriously, but maybe that's just me.
Nullah: Go away.
I realize that this may seem absurd or awful or both but that's just the way I write. Take my word for it, It's a fun, action packed, well written (when you get past the cliches) movie. If you have your doubts, go see it, it's only, what, 2 hours and 46 minutes. What better do you have to do? That's what I thought.
Alex is going to hate me for this but like I wrote earlier on, Australia reminded me very much of The Fall. Both were very artificial but only in the best ways possible. They were both very stylistically similar as well. Australia may not have had crazy stairs or face mounds but, if you watch it I would hope you understand what I'm getting at. Before I ramble on to much more I think I'll end it here. For anybody who's in the mood for an action packed, stylistically charged movie about explosions and Australia, and have three hours to spare, I highly recommend this film to you. If you are Eric, I say stay away.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Guardian states that "[Basterds] is awful. It isn't funny. It isn't exciting. It isn't a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn't emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references."
Slow down, praise train. You're making me want to see this nearly too much.
Movieline lets you know that "it's all downhill after the promising opening scene. Character development is nowhere to be found."
Okay, I get it. The positivity is making me ache. You're giving me reason to have faith in this film. But what else do you have?
Jonathan Dean of Total Film had to say "much of Basterds felt flat..."
Don't let that get you down, because an equally reliable critic at Total Film decided to exclaim "not only did I love every minute of this film, if the French projectionist wanted to cue it up and roll it again from the start, I would have sat through the whole film again, with the biggest grin on my face."
Chris Hewitt of Empire says Inglourious Basterds was "rather brilliant... a wonderfully acted movie that subverts expectation at every turn. And it may represent the most confident, audacious writing and directing of Quentin Tarantino's career."
Finally, Roger Friedman claims the film was "a big sprawling entertainment that's less violent than you'd expect and a tad more intellectual, too. Tarantino fans won't be disappointed, but they may be challenged... Brad Pitt is excellent."
So I'm a little bit biased.
- Eric T. Voigt, Eagerly Awaits the Basterds
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Francis Ford Coppola wanted to make a small, personal film, out of competition from the rest of the films because it was just too indie for you too handle, Cannes audience. It would have blown your mind in competition! I was one of the first to say Tetro looked very 'meh', and I'm pleased to know I was right. Nothing personal against Coppola, but his ship sailed in the 70s. The reports:
Stripping those things out for fear that they’re unoriginal wouldn’t make something more purely mine, in fact I think it would work to the contrary. If it emotionally distances some people, I can’t really control that. But I think the negative effect of constantly worrying which creative choices will be perceived by critics or audiences as “original” would be much more detrimental.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Paris, Je T'aime, upon traveling across the ocean and settling on our shores, became an instant classic. With beautiful cinematography and some of the most original and brilliant stories I have seen in a very long time Paris, Je T'aime found a place in my heart and, like a blood sucking parasite, nestled in, not ready to leave any time soon. With its sucess came talks of several follow up films, each highlighting the most fabtastic aspects of major cities across the globe: Shanghai, Wo Ai Ni, Jerusalem, Ani O'hev O'Tach, and the only one that has thus far come to fruition, New York, I Love You. Sounds like a good idea right? I would hope so...
Let me list of a, well, list of the directors that have been slated to create a the shorts of New York:
A nice list, many directors varying in nationality and style, should be just as moving and brilliant as Paris, right? Let your eyes wander on down to the last two names on the list. What's that feeling in your stomach you ask? Well, I'll tell you, it's the angry, angry film butterflies in your gut trying to burst forth from your chest to tell you that neither of these people have proven themselves as people that should be representing America, New York, or any sort of film type media on a project that has so much potential. Tell your film butterflies to shut up so that you can read on.
Natalie Portman: An actress with so much to give. Movies such as Leon The Professional, Mars Attacks!, Garden State, V for Vendetta, The Darjeeling Limited, and Hotel Chevalier. Hotel Chevalier! Good, if not great movies (Well, known movies I guess...) but go to her imdb page and check out her writer/director credits...done yet? What did you see? Not much right? Listed are New York, I Love You, and Eve. I've never seen Eve and I can't find much on it but with character such as Grandma and Joe I can only imagine that it is utter cinematical genius. Maybe I'm just being an old man in a room of gays, maybe I just need to give her a chance. New York could very well be a chance for some up and coming young thing to test the waters. Natalie Portman, I have faith in you
Brett Ratner: Director of such classics as Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, and the in development Rush Hour IV. I don't even really know where to start here. I know there are people out there who enjoy these movies and power to ya' but they don't seem like the sort of thing I want to see come out of such an ensemble. I know that the entire point of the Je T'aime movies is to highlight differences between directors and their styles but there seems to be so many better choices when picking from the proverbial barrel of American directors, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, J.J. Abrams, and David Lynch just to name a few. You could probably even choose a British director and get away with it but Brett Ratner. Characters such as Prom Girl and Other Prom Girl just don't sound like the best way to express the beauty and uniqueness of New York as a major metropolitan area but, who knows, I could be totally wrong (I COULD be...). Brett Ratner, I want to have faith in you but I'm finding it hard to so prove me wrong...please...
With an American release date of October 16th I await this movie with anticipation. It has much to live up too, its predecessor one of the great films of our generation in my opinion and hopefully can find its place up there too but I also keep myself ready for the possible disappointment that comes creeping once every once in a while. New York, I Love You, I have faith in you. Just don't fuck it up. And if you do, well, at least there are another eight directors to try and prop it up. But who knows, maybe it's them I should be worried about. Toodles
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
You're a big fan of David Lynch. That's fine. He has a very distinct style, and tells a number of unique stories that are fascinating to people all over the world. I am not one of those people, I don't think. I watched Blue Velvet, and the entire time wondered why I was supposed to care about the characters, and why they were motivated to do what they did, and if I was going to start caring, or see any motivation anytime soon. I never did. The story, where a woman has her kid taken, and husband killed, by some guy, who for no reason dresses up in a fake mustache sometimes, and sucks air before raping women, and a young collegiate decides to investigate all this... I didn't like it. I thought his romance with Isabella Rossellini was absolutely and inappropriately out of the blue. I thought the amount of times Dennis Hopper said "fuck", and the variety of ways he said it, was laughable. I thought all the dialogue was laughable, really. The aesthetic was unpleasant for me. So many wide shots of grainy, disgustingly painted places with unsavory characters. I was busy being disconnected from the characters' problems, and griping about the set and wardrobe to notice any of the film's good points, apparently. I've heard this is one of his most accessible films, and if that's true I either have a thing for his inaccessibility, or these people are confusing a simple story for accessibility. I did not like this film, and probably won't like David Lynch films in the future, according to some.
Eric T. Voigt