Daily notes 2010-12

Currently watching: Internal Affairs (1990)
Not bad, I’m into it. Gere is good at being unscrupulous, Garcia is good at being one of those “too-straight” men.

Currently watching: Women in Love
Oh, lovely sequence!

Currently watching: Jagged Edge
And here I am, thoroughly enjoying an Esterhaz film.

Currently watching: Alexander
Haha. Definitely better than Troy. If you’re going to indulge in pointless violence, who better than Oliver Stone?

Currently watching: Flags of Our Fathers
Jon Polito, right where he belongs.

Currently watching: A Night to Remember
Titanic took 95% of this film, scene for scene. I find it hard to believe this was made in 1958, I feel like it should be older.

God, the story itself is just so terrifying – particularly the doomed remainder of time noted upon assessment of the accident. “An hour and a half.” Chilling! I will say that this film feels almost identical to Cameron’s… it’s pretty much just as sentimental as the time period would allow, and Cameron’s nonsense does feel like a natural progression of collective audience lameness. God, Cameron took so much it’s impressive.

OK. Cameron’s Titanic is literally nothing more than a remake of this film. The immigrant side story, the argument between the petulant mustachioed twerp and the lifeboat-managing-dood, the writes-itself-comic-relief of Molly Brown, Mr. Andrews’ perch and final advice to ‘lovers’… I suppose this is what happens when different filmmakers do the same research.

Ah I see. Remake of the same book, Walter Lord’s “A Night to Remember.”

Re-watching: Hannibal
I’m a fan of the Pazzi subplot.

Currently watching: Summertime

Just started: Moon
And already hate it. And who the hell let the team of graphic designers in here?

Currently watching: Winter’s Bone
The Ozark twang that’s on the tip of everybody’s tongues. Figured it would be wise to pick up what I could of the language. YIKES.

The T-shirts, the music, they got it all right. A community of ignorance and destitution one hair away from chaos. Excellent setting for drama.

Currently watching: Trouble in Paradise
I am actually laughing out loud. Rapture!

Currently watching: Hamlet (1948)

Re-watching: Caught
I could highlight every gorgeous frame of this film…

Watched: The Spirit of the Beehive
Have you ever seen this classic Spanish film called The Spirit of the Beehive? For years I was my usually skeptical “oh its a child’s perspective and I don’t need to watch that” self. But I watched it, and, well… perfect? Five stars. Genuinely disturbing, and even genuinely magical. Very singular… and according to Criterion, widely regarded as the best Spanish film of the 1970’s. Incidentally, the film’s incredible six year old star, Ana Torrent, gave a very similar performance in a similar film three years later, Criterion’s (and of course Saura’s) Cria Cuervos, for which I have an inexplicable soft spot. I need to go get somebody pregnant – – – – – RIGHT NOW.

Currently watching: Beau Travail
Without wanting to imply that I do not appreciate Claire Denis, I think everybody likes her work more than I do (this is my third Denis film). She has talent but I always feel like the images we see in her films exist in vacuums, and it makes the films quite slow… and without cohesion. Like any extrapolated value will be based solely on the incidental circumstances of each particular viewer. Maybe that’s a good thing… maybe not. The narrator’s resigned apathy is partially responsible in this case.

Well as usual my initial prejudices are assuaged and the second half is a noted improvement – but still is not quite satisfying. 75% of the film, after all, is composed of watching legionnaire training, artistically.

Currently watching: L’enfant

Re-watching: White Hunter, Black Heart

Re-watching: You Can Count on Me
It may be slightly overrated, but I still think it’s a great film. Love the Bach. It’s pretty much what a straightly conventional independent film should be.

Believe it or not, this is the funniest moment in the entire film (I mean that in a nice way).

Currently watching: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
I prefer the first Trek film, 2nd less though its fine – but this third one is dismantling all momentum built thus far, and simply invalidating the last film’s heavy melodramatic conclusion – in addition to being purely terrible. James Horner’s score has quite a few motifs found in the Aliens score (I used to be a fan) and I’m now wondering just how often this happens. I am, at least, quite surprised to discover the film’s villain will be a Klingon Christopher Lloyd. Hey! Miguel Ferrer!

Re-watching: The Ice Storm
It’s hard not to fall in love with Joan Allen.

When I drink straight vodka I think of the Ice Storm, and when I watch The Ice Storm I think of straight vodka.

And something about seeing Kevin Kline bound in his business attire makes me feel warm. He really wears it.

Currently watching: Extreme Measures
Danny Elfman’s typically overbearing score, a mirror of every other piece he’s ever written… Michael Apted’s uninspired direction… and Tony Gilroy’s script… all led to this by-the-numbers movie movie, failed attempt at genre-soaked thriller. Grant was 36, popular for the wrong reason. I never disliked him.

Though they could not have chosen a better hospital authority figure.

Just watched: Religulous
I like Bill Maher, but this plays like an episode of Bullshit! Chris Hitchens’s “god is not Great” covered the same issue with much more substance, citation and wit (Hitchens may be an arrogant bastard, but I like him). The filmmaker’s constant cutting to old film clips and Michael Moore-level bias really hurt the overall effect – not to mention Maher’s consistent smugness, which he seems to feel is equally as important as the message he’d like to get across. Hitchens, at least, saves the self-congratulation for asides to the atrocities he highlights.

Just started: Bad Influence
More Hanson. Could be good. I like James Spader, I saw Lisa Zane perform once, Rob Lowe was, at least, quite popular when this came out, and—– oh no!

Hm. This already is resembling Apartment Zero (weak man/strong man). I wonder if Koepp has issues with compromise..