Draft two of this week’s Sunday Nightcap is partly what I was going to run last weekend. It's also partly something else.
At this point Japan Cuts is all done and we are looking forward to some quiet time before the fall and crazy time. Yes we are going to be bringing you coverage of Latin Beat at Lincoln Center, perhaps some of The New York City International Film Festival (plans will depend on modifying my schedule to fit the film list) and many upcoming films. I told you that we’ve taken steps to bring you more timely film coverage and it’s happening. This past week’s review of Klown was the tip of that.
Speaking of newer films while I’ve been hip deep in the hoopla of Japan Cuts and NYAFF I’ve been trying to cleanse the palate by seeing some new Hollywood films. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a few:
Beasts of the Southern Wild is easily one of the most over-rated films I’ve seen this year. The story of the inhabitants of a small island below New Orleans is a messy movie. Magical realism or no the film feels like it was stitched together from various clips and sequences the director had. Its all tied together by the narration of Hushpuppie, a young girl living with her dad. I completely failed to see the wonder of the film and much of the apocalyptic end of the world scenario that was promised in the reviews isn’t there.
Project X- A bunch of loser kids throw the most over the top party imaginable managing to cement their reputation and trash the neighborhood in the process. This was lost on me. While I found it funny in spots, I found much of it uncomfortable since the kid at the center of it was more pathetic than likable, with the dorky kid not revealing an inner good person, rather just a sad fellow who’d do anything to fit in.
Not a new one but I did see Undercover Man- George Raft stars a bad guy who joins up with the police to get the goods on a man who killed his friend. A solid little thriller from 1934 (I have other oldies coming in full reviews)
Another not new one was Persona. This is Ingmar Bergman's "masterpiece" about a nurse and her patient who begin to meld together. It helps a bit of you consider it a cinematic poem, it helps but it doesn't make it actually better. This is everything that made most people I knew growing up hate foreign films. Pretentious twaddle is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm seriously thinking of taking it apart in a On Further review post.
Brave- Pixar’s latest was a mixed bag for me and I reserve the right to change my mind. A great cast and a mostly excellent script are weakened by too much silliness, is this a “real” story or a Looney Tunes cartoon? The film also has some moments that seemed to have had back story cut away
Big Miracle- True story of what happens when three whales get trapped in the ice in Alaska. Pretty good family film hits all the cliche points so cleanly you really don't care you know where it's going to go. (I've actually written a full review for a few weeks from now)
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was a visually good looking film but little else. I’m guessing the compression of the plot to 90 minute of good set pieces left little room for emotional connection to the story. Looks good but I didn’t care.
Ted is a profanity filled episode of the Family Guy stretched to 90 plus minutes. If you like Family Guy you're going to love this if not, I doubt you will.
The Amazing Spider-Man manages to restart the franchise and not annoy the living piss out of you by going through the spider bite yet again. The film works because of the characters which occasionally allow for sequences that are amongst the most perfect in comic book movie history (Spidey saving the kid in the dangling car? As perfect as these things get). Sure there is too much CGI and rubber, and the whole father quest thing sputters here and there, but its a damn good film and way better than it has any right to be.
That's My Boy is a bad movie. Yea I know Adam Sandler movies are an acquired taste, but at the same time even his worst films have something, some spark. This starts with Sandler's awful Boston accent and gets worse from there.
Ice Age 4...I got tricked into this one. A trusted friend said this was really good. Better than the last one. I walked out about 25 minutes in, I didn't know they were letting non-writers near feature films.
Oliver Stone's Savages is good little crime film. Completely unremarkable but solidly good in a programmed sort of way.
We Have a Pope has a wonderful first half, then the Pope goes walkabout and so does the film. Maybe if they grafted on Saving Grace (a movie with Tom Conti about a Pope locked out of the Vatican) I would have liked it more.
(I have not see Dark Knight Rises, I will not see it for a while, if ever. Why? Because based on what I've read the film has little connection to the character I was raised on. Add in gaping plot holes and WTF aspects of some of the twists I'm guessing I;ll be screaming at the movie. No one needs to hear me go apoplectic)
There are a few others (like Avengers) and lots of Criterion releases, but I’m saving those for proper reviews.
And Randi has sent me some links for inclusion:
Terry Gilliam's daughter is raiding her dad's archive
Yowa Yowa Camera
Stuff you Otter Know