20 July 2009

What have I been doing lately??

So I haven't written in a while. Maybe I've been busy, or doing nothing at all. I can't really tell at this point. Either way, I have watched a hell of a lot of movies lately, And I've thought it would be really hard to write a post because it would be hard to narrow down what I want to talk about, but I'll give it a shot.
First, the bad. I had high hopes for In Tranzit. It's the story of Nazi prisoners in a Soviet prison camp run entirely by women. I know, I know, sounds like the setup for some awful Euro-sploitation flick from the 70's, but it starred John Malkovich and Vera Farmiga (more about her later,) and it had great production value: lighting, costumes, acting, location, all superb. It was really trying to be a dark horse Oscar pick, but someone forgot to write the damn thing. It looks like they got through the first draft, which must have been written by ten different writers, and called it a day. Way to waste the Malkovich, guys. Dishonorable mention to Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which I swear I've never seen, just for being so awful that that the 3 seconds I spent looking at the cover seemed to go on for 107 minutes. 107 dreadful minutes.
Eden Lake was good horror; a good example of the new horror where it's not supernatural or spooky or guys in masks, just people being awful to each other. Kelly Reilly, from L'auberge espagnole, stars in that one. You want Zombies? Try The Zombie Diaries. Maybe you don't want a Zombie flick, but you want to see some Zombies? You could see a pair of movies called REC and Quarantine. REC is Spanish, made in 2007, and of course, an American came along and made the damn thing again, as Quarantine. The story is simple: A young, pretty reporter and her camera guy are following a fire crew around for a night, and the first call they respond to is from an apartment building with some very ill, very violent people in. Once the camera is inside, all entrances are blocked; the building is quarantined by some unknown government agency, and we get to watch as each person locked inside gets bitten by an infected and becomes infected themselves. Shot for shot, it's almost exactly the same, except for a bit of misogyny added at the beginning for American audiences, and the end, where we discover the origins of the infection, which is far richer and more satisfying in the Spanish version.
Vera Farmiga, what can I say? The Departed, Dummy, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, each movie vastly different from the next, but she was a bright spot in each one. Surely we can, like a math teacher throwing out your lowest grade, just forget about In Tranzit? Also, she was in Nothing But The Truth, which was a fictionalization of the Valerie Plame affair. (You remember: Ambassador tries to discredit Bush's case for war, Cheney retaliates by outing Mrs. Ambassador as an undercover CIA agent. Scandal ensues.) Farmiga played the CIA agent in question, with a great ensemble of actors: Matt Dillon, Angela Bassett, David Schwimmer, Noah Wyle, ALAN FREAKIN' ALDA, and not one, but two police captains from Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Even with all this talent, it's really Kate Beckinsale's ballgame to lose, and she really knocks it out of the park.
Watchmen. There. I said it. Never read the novel, but the movie blew my mind. It had action, effects, cool costumes, great characters, and the kind of epic story you never see in a big-budget multiplex seat-filler. The story definitely bears discussion on so many levels: personal, political, moral, sociological, historical. I am particularly interested in Rorshach, Dr. Manhattan, and the parallel history of how the American Century would have gone if we'd had costumed heroes flying around (Spoiler: We "win" Vietnam, but it doesn't make a bit of difference.)
The Cinema? Star Trek Good, Half Blood Prince not so much. Anxiously awaiting Inglourious Basterds, GI Joe, and especially H2, aka "Rob Zombie's 4th film". (chills down my spine!)
That is all.

10 July 2009


I know, I know. I haven't posted in a long time. I feel terrible about it. I've been watching dozens of movies and am also one episode away from the end of season 1 of The Wire, which has not disappointed. I have a new job; it's not so awesome, but I do get free movies, and I want to write up reviews of them all, if I can remember them.
Hang in there, loyal readers, I'll be back with a vengeance...
Love, the T.