Thursday, December 31, 2009
104. "World's Greatest Dad"
I don't want to ruin the film by writing about the plot. It's better to have no idea what's going to happen.
Bobcat Goldwaith's third film (yes, the comic with the odd voice) is an excellent director. He knows where to put the camera. He didn't ruin a film that could have been packed with cliches. There is room for improvement but considering the budget of this film, he couldn't have done much more.
See this movie. Probably the most realistic dialogue between 15 year old males I've seen on film.
103. "District 9"
I'm not a fan of science fiction (I tend to like the 'mainstream' stuff like "Hitchhiker's Guide" and "X-Files" but don't pay any heed to shows like "Dr. Who") so I was surprised that I even saw this film (which also doesn't make any sense since I rented it). It was much better than I anticipated.
The film paints with broad strokes. It's damn near impossible to ignore the modern day overtones. That being said, it's ambitious enough to have a message and a summer release date and budget. Kudos to having balls.
If you're able to suspend certain realities and don't let personal politics infiltrate your film going psyche, this is an extremely enjoyable film.
102. "Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2"
Thanks to the kind folks at Everything is Terrible I have now seen this thing. I'm pretty sure it revolves around a murderous psyche patient that has Hulk-like strength and a whole lotta hatred. It also involves a Santa suit and a nun. And rape. Way too many rape/almost rape scenes for my Santa murder book.
This movie was the second in a series of five. Determination will get you far.
101. "Half Nelson"
There will be no happy ending. There will be mediocre endings to complex stories and that's how it should be. Kudos to the filmmakers for not turning this film into "Dangerous Minds".
Gosling is great, the kids are great, the story is solid and the drug use looks real. See this film. It will not make you feel good.
100. "Brokeback Mountain"
One of the most beautiful films I've seen. Excellent performances, a great story, good pacing and well edited. It deserved all the acclaim it received.
The film is more about loneliness than being gay, at least in my humble opinion. Keep in mind that I am a straight, white male so, well, I don't know.
99. "Love and Basketball"
It's everything you expect from a movie called "Love and Basketball". It's not too bad, it's far from good and there are multiple slow motion scenes of both missed and made baskets. My favorite part is the ending. Our protagonists end up happily ever after and thanks to a magical, made up league called the WNBA, all is well. That is crazy. The WNBA has never been anyone's happy ending.
98. "I'm Not There"
A film only a Dylan and/or uber-indie auteur could appreciate. Seemingly pointless stories about characters that make up Dylan come together in a musical way. There is no way to explain this film. You'll either love it or not completely hate it. I can't see anyone that isn't a Dylan fan attempting to watch this thing.
The cinematography is brilliant. I'll give it that. Cate Blanchett deserved the Best Actress nomination. The rest was eh. I think I prefer my David Cross as an evil henchman to Alvin and the Chipmunks to William Ginsberg.
97. "Suburban Commando"
One of the worst films I've ever seen. I watched it because it was a birthday gift. It was a joke gift. That did not matter to me. I decided to tough it out and see the Hulkster do whatever he does. It took seven separate viewings to finish the thing. It was only completed because The Undertaker pops up near the middle and it was 3am, I was really intoxicated and Doug was over. We did not find this movie so bad it was good. We found ourselves talking about a cage match between the Undertaker and Mankind.
We found ourselves.
There is a god. His name is Hogan. Hogan's only son killed people with his car. We found ourselves.
I can not watch this movie ever again. The fact that people got SAG cards from it is depressing.
25. Nathan Rabin "The Big Rewind"
I really enjoyed this memoir. Once Rabin landed his job at The Onion it lost a little of its appeal, but that's a good thing. If the guy was still stuck in a mental ward the book wouldn't exist. It's a double-edged sword.
Though I doubt this forum will help me get to the man, I would really like to have Rabin on the podcast. If you have any idea how to send the man an email, please let me know. Do not tell me to contact the AV Club or his publisher. I've tried that.
96. "Night at the Museum"
Thanks cable, you helped me get through Christmas without drinking too much. This film wasn't bad enough to make me want to drink more, so that was a bit of a surprise. I'm guessing Steve Coogan and a non-annoying Robin Williams helped.
Has Ben Stiller ever been funny? I really like his films ("The Cable Guy", "Zoolander", "Tropic Thunder") but I can't think of one performance where I was glad he's the leading man. I'm sure this really stings the guy. He only has 11 projects currently in development, is a millionaire, had a wife way too attractive to be married to him in 'real' life and a seemingly endless string of luck with kids films. I should really back off on the guy. Comments made by someone closer to 30 than 20 who watched this film on Christmas really sting.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Danny Boyle can do anything. "Trainspotting" still holds up. "Slumdog Millionaire" is ambitious enough to be a poverty drama and a musical. "A Life Less Ordinary" made me want to make films at 14. "Millions" makes me want to try new things with light and camera speed, try to write a film that's family friendly but not a kids film and not be afraid to keep things quiet. Boyle's film making isn't easy to spot and maybe that's what makes him so great. He has no Tarintino schtick, but he can sure tell a story. I will be watching this film again, taking full advantage of the director's commentary.
94. "Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace, Love and Music"
Apparently, I am not a fan of peace, love and music.
When the next Woodstock takes place (there is no way aging, rich hippies that own the rights to the name aren't going to host another Woodstock), a documentary could go on for 60 years and no footage would have to be used again. If 200,000 people attend a show, most will be in possession of a digital camera and/or phone with video capabilities. This is what I thought about during "Woodstock".
This film should be shown with a scratch and sniff card. Maybe patchouli should be piped in.
It's boring. The use of the split screen is the only good aspect of this nostalgia fest.
I had to be there. I was not there. I am glad I was not there.
93. "Happy Endings"
It's an LA film, the same way "The Anniversary Party" is one. Stories that intertwine, shot in LA, talk about the weather, someone in the film industry, blah blah blah. It's much better than "The Anniversary Party" but falls really short of another Don Roos film I really like, "The Opposite of Sex". I probably will never watch it again but I did not leave a bad feeling. I guess that's a compliment.
92. "Advertising Rules"
The film is called "Viktor Vogel" in other countries. That is a better title.
I purchased this used VHS tape roughly seven years ago. I have no idea why I put off watching it. It's not bad. It's far from great but it's definitely watchable. It's pacing is decent, the performances are good and the dialogue, at least what's translated, isn't bad. It was neat to watch something about advertising that isn't "Mad Men".
Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter but it's still good. Ryan Gosling is a great actor that speaks with a random, I think, Southern accent. The score is so bad it almost takes you out of the film completely. It was something to watch on Christmas Eve. If it's on, watch it.
90. "Bigger, Stronger Faster"
A pretty weak documentary on the role steroids play in the life of the 'modern' American man. If you were inspired by Hulk Hogan in the 80s to lift weights, try professional wrestling and take copious amounts of steroids, this movie is for you. If you were not dumb enough to have Hulk Hogan as an idol, this film is watchable.
Buster Keaton is great. If you're impressed by physical comedy you should watch any/all of his films. That being said, "College" is just an excuse to watch the man do amazing feats of random gymnastics. It doesn't matter. It's still a treat to see.
One of the best films of the year and my second favorite zombie film of all time ("Dawn of the Dead" is number one and yes, I've seen "Shaun of the Dead"). The entire cast is perfect. The pacing is ideal. The cameo is brilliant. Even the use of a Metallica song in the opening sequence worked. There is not one way for this film to be better. In a perfect world "Zombieland" would be nominated for Best Picture.
87. "Whip It"
After seeing "Hard Candy" I've been holding Ellen Page to an unrealistic standard. This film lowered that standard.
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut isn't awful. That being said, I doubt anyone will be digging this out of their DVD collections a few years from now. Nothing memorable and a lot of manufactured teen angst played by not teenagers.
The film is set in the present day. Apparently, everyone in Texas wears clothes that look like they were made in 1976 and never worn.
If I was told that there would be a film about women's roller derby when I was in high school I would assume that I would love it, especially if the lead was played by someone like Page. I guess some things just work better on paper and in alternate time realities.
86. "Dear Zachary"
Far from a documentary, this heartfelt film is about a man's murdered friend. Zachary is the friend's unborn child. Zachary will never see this film because he was also murdered. It's a feel good film about the madness of the Canadian government. That last sentence is true.
I liked this film enough. Some of the editing techniques would fit in well for shows like "Dateline" and "Primetime: Live" and that's not a good thing. It's hard to hate this film considering the circumstances.
I would like it a hell of a lot more if the directors next film wasn't titled "Shuffle".
85. "The Anniversary Party"
I owned this on VHS when I went to college. I did not watch it in college. I don't regret my decision.
I wanted to like this film. I like the pseudo-indie feel. (Pseudo because it's written and directed by people that make their living from films and to me that's someone well off and well off people can't be indie because I hold on to dumb ideas about DIY stuff and need to get past it.) I like films that are ambitious enough to try to weave multiple stories into one. I liked a lot of things going into the viewing. I did not like these things once it was over.
Stories about life being hard because of too much success at a young age don't do much for me.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
84. "Hard Candy"
Ellen Page is a good actress and this well acted, perfectly shot and brilliantly paced film is the proof. I've seen it for the first time a few days ago and I'm still thinking about it. It did it's job.
The first twenty minutes or so make you consider walking out. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just there. The dialogue is text-book teen tripe, but it all pays off. I don't want to spoil it even though it was released years ago. I like it that much.
The film is as good as the poster. See this film.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
83. "The Polar Express"
It's not nearly as creepy as the trailer made it seem. In fact, it's nice. The book always gave me a warm feeling, the kind you get after coming in from sledding. This film does the same. It's not perfect. Far from it. Some voices are awful, the songs don't need to be there and, unless you're six to eleven, you're going to get bored. Nonetheless, it's not a bad Christmas film.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Turtle, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, December 4 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
Ok. Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, December 4 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
A very unsafe cemetary, Brooklyn, New York, December 3 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
Not a good sign, JFK Airport, New York, December 3 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
The airport has Christmas songs on. I don't mind. They're nice in moderation and even the bad ones remind me of the good ones. My friend Amy asked me what Christmas song is my favorite. I think the Flaming Lips version of "White Christmas" is mine. The arrangement is basic, stays true to the Crosby version and is not ironic. If you have a few minutes, watch it.
Friday, December 04, 2009
81. "Slap Shot"
My girlfriend did not like the film. I did. The story has gigantic holes. The dialogue is super homophobic. The pacing is atrocious and the film goes on 30 minutes too long. I did like the film.
I learned that the biggest insult in 1976 is to call someone a fag.
I like that it's never quite clear if the Hanson brothers are mentally challenged. They sure as shit ain't no fags.
Paul Newman is great. I would love to drink with the guy, the 1976 version.
I will not see the sequel starting a Baldwin.
80. "Toy Story"
The film is great. It deserves all the acclaim that's been heaped on it. It made me not hate Tim Allen. The jokes Don Rickles delivers are great. The one thing I don't really understand is the moral. What is it? Treat your toys well? I was drinking and came up with a possible moral, but it's a stretch. Buzz represents post World War II America. Woody is 1920s America. Both are thrown into the modern day. Buzz doesn't know he's one of a million, a product of industrialization. Woody is happy to be someone's favorite, taking satisfaction in his small world, not worrying about much of anything outside his room.
I told you I was drinking.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Spooky, scary, North Center, Chicago, November 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
I'm glad I'm not single, Walgreens, Lakeview, Chicago, Il 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
Community is nailing it, Northeastern, Chicago, November 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.