29 March 2006

OLR: Demented Death Farm Massacre (1971)

Pretty much identical to Hamlet, except with 200% more pitchfork murder. (6/10)

d. Donn Davison & Fred Olen Ray

Trailer (NSFW):

26 March 2006

OLR: Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

Anarchic and humanistic, far better than anything Hollywood ever made about the mentally challenged. (8/10)

d. Rolf de Heer

25 March 2006

OLR: The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

Standard romcom; one extra point for the geek, though. (6/10)

d. Judd Apatow

16 March 2006

OLR: Wolves of Wall Street (2002)

Sadly, far too boring to fall into a so-bad-it's-good groove. (3/10)

d. David DeCoteau

[thanks Bill Shatner]

14 March 2006

OLR: Fando y Lis (1968)

While dozing in the middle I had some fascinating thoughts, so it must be OK. (6/10)

d. Alejandro Jodorowsky

OLR: Network (1976)

Amusingly/horrifyingly prescient, but hampered a bit by that yappy Chayefsky-style dialogue. (7/10)

d. Sidney Lumet

One Line Reviews

Since the end of 2003, I've been keeping track of every movie I watch and writing one line reviews for them. Why one line only? Anything more than that would be a pain in the ass, plus it's a challenge to try to sum up a film in one little sentence. The single line reviews also fit nicely with Netflix's "Add Your $.02" feature. I use 'em to annoy people on my Netflix friends list.

Now that I've set myself up with a movie-related blog, I might as well post them here as well. I'll include "OLR" in the subject header for them to separate them out from the larger chronocinethon posts.

12 March 2006

Coen (closing thoughts)

And with The Ladykillers, that brings me up-to-date in my Coen Bros. Chronocinethon. If forced, I'd probably rank their films in three groups:

Excellent Bros.

  • Blood Simple.
  • Raising Arizona
  • Fargo
  • The Big Lebowski
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Still Good Stuff Bros.
  • Miller's Crossing
  • Barton Fink
  • The Man Who Wasn't There
  • The Ladykillers

What the? Bros.
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • Intolerable Cruelty

Two misses out of eleven ain't bad at all. Also interesting: seven out of eleven were period pieces. It looks like the Bros. next major movie, Hail Caesar, will be another period film. I'm looking forward to their take on 1920s theater. Not doubt it'll have some interesting characters speaking in amusing dialects. Good enough for me already.

Coen (2003-2004)

2003 - Intolerable Cruelty - What the hell? A standard issue Hollywood romantic comedy from the Bros.? After hearing nothing but negative things about this film, I was hoping there was at least something Coenesque to chew on in it. There was. Rex Rexroth's train obsession, Wheezy Joe and Senior Partner Herb's medical conditions, and Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy were distinctive Coen Bros. touches that were fun to watch. Unfortunately, these characters were only a small part of the film. The rest of the film is dedicated to a vaguely screwballish romcom involving an utterly predictable mating dance between two strong-willed characters. This film is solid evidence that the Bros. should stick to directing their own stories.

2004 - The Ladykillers - I've never seen the original film from 1955, but I did enjoy this version. Tom Hanks absolutely disappears into his role as the Professor, the uber-Southern Gentleman with an Edgar Allen Poe fetish. One subtly that interested me was the Bob Jones University angle. For anyone familiar with this institution in the real world, Marva's donations to this institution make this a darker film that one would initially suspect. BJU did not allow Blacks to attend until 1971 and, until the uproar surrounding President Bush's 2000 campaign visit caused them to change, interracial dating was grounds for expulsion for students there. Marva, of course, only knew that the school was a "good Christian" institution. It's a sly bit of social commentary to bury in this comedy remake. While Marva may have defeated the small-time crooks who invaded her house, the big-time religious hucksters have invaded her mind and aren't as easily knocked down staircases by cats. Grim, but true-to-life.

05 March 2006

Coen (2000-2001)

2000 - O Brother, Where Art Thou? - The Bros. tackle 1937. A feast for eye and ear, and funny as hell to boot. Perhaps second to Carnivàle, this is my favorite depiction of Depression-era America. Though not from the South, I can see stories my grandparents used to tell me about that time in this film.

I meant to re-read The Odyssey before watching this film, but didn't get around to it. I do think translating stories from classic literature into more familiar settings is an excellent way to keep these tales vital in our society. The only reason I've already read The Odyssey was because I happened to get into honors English in college. Then again, I am also a fan of Tromeo & Juliet.

2001 - The Man Who Wasn't There - The Bros. tackle 1949. I loved Billy Bob Thornton as Ed Crane. As an introvert myself, I understand Crane. I know why he silently observes the world and only speaks when he really has something worth saying; I understand how he just lets life happen to him. Other people complain about the pacing of the film, but I enjoyed Thornton's character so much that I didn't notice. The hyper-noir cinematography -- it's hardly necessary to mention -- is breathtakingly beautiful. I found the setting of a suburb, rather than a dark metropolis, for this noir film a classic Coen touch and amusing in its own right. Outside of the setting and the main character (and three UFO references), the adultery-murder-chain-smoking-wrong-man plot was standard for the genre. The suicide of Crane's wife bordered on melodrama, but Ed Crane's non-reaction helped to avoid that. Not as easy to like as Raising Arizona or Fargo, but an interesting film from the Bros.