• Chinese movie update (509/298)

    by  • 10/25/2011 • film • 0 Comments

    During our trip to China (October 12-24) I didn’t really track the when and where of each of these films; many were on the flights, some were during hotel downtime. Most of these 22 films were during the over 40 hours of airport and flight time we had during our travels. Thankfully, Cathay Pacific had a good chunk of films I hadn’t seen yet, including some that I might only watch as a member of a captive audience.

    X-MEN: FIRST CLASS – There’s a whole lot of silly here, but maybe it’s the jet lag speaking… It’s not as bad as I’d imagined based on the geek outrage I’d heard. Sure, it’s confused and doesn’t really provide motivations for a lot of the character decisions, but I still think this was a better choice than the latest in the TRANSFORMERS franchise.

    MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – Paul, his wife, and Gil’s wife need to be beaten. Arguing with the Rodin guide about Rodin’s life, pretending to be an expert on Versailles and wine and art. Fucking dick. Gil, left to his own devices, is dragged off by a car full of historical party people and artists.

    Cole Porter, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Gauguin, Lautrec and many more characters I can only guess at. The running thread is that the characters, all from different time, are all arguing over which is the true age d’or … when would have been the best time in which to live. Gil finally realizes that maybe everyone thinks another time was better, more pure… and maybe paying attention to the here and now is a more noble pursuit.

    SUBMARINE – Jordana was horrible (in teenager ways) and so was he… All things considered, I liked the film, and appreciate the way it ended – on an up note, but without answers.

    LENNONYC – It never really occurred to me that Lennon and Warhol existed in the same time in NYC. I mean, of course they did, but it just seems so bizarre somehow to see them sharing a frame of film. Also odd was Lennon mentioning the song Rock Lobster, and interesting how he favourably compared the lead vocalist in this B52s tune to Yoko’s voice at the time.

    Phil Spector session audio with Spector yelling about ‘all that tweeting’ from ‘some damn bird out there’

    I like that it isn’t just a movie about how Lennon was a misunderstood genius who died before his time. This is a film about a fucked up man who was maybe just as confused about what to do as anyone else.

    HENRY’S CRIME – a Keanu Reeves film? Surprise of surprises, though, the acting was pretty good.
    When the fuck did Keanu Reeves learn to act? He’s playing an actor playing Chekov as cover for a bank heist. Maybe that’s the answer – Keanu needs to pretend to play a better actor. It’s not the best film ever, but I think it’s one of the best

    BATMAN BEGINS and DARK KNIGHT – Bale and Caine are better than I remembered in these first of the Batman reboots.

    BOUNTY HUNTER – Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, who somehow manages to be a worse actor than she is… Horrifyingly bad film.

    SHAKES THE CLOWN – Not Bobcat Goldthwait’s best film, but an interesting alternate universe populated by natural enemies; MIMES vs CLOWNS.

    BLUE VELVET – Not as weird as I remember – I think over the years, TWIN PEAKS has invaded my memory of BLUE VELVET. There’s some odd relationships, and some odd characters, but nothing as off the wall as I

    THE RUNAWAYS – it doesn’t feel ‘real’ somehow… The overly produced sounding covers for the soundtrack, or the poor characterization of Cherie, or the shallow portrayal of Joan…. in a film produced by Joan herself… It’s a nice try, but misses on more cylinders than it fires on.

    SCHOOL TIES – a bit of a glossy ivy league anti-semitism piece. Over acting from Matt and Ben and Brandon… And maybe a bit of a wishful thinking ending…. Standard of the genre of school films, I suppose

    ZERO EFFECT – Daryl Zero would be a much more impressive in the pre-Internet days. In just one hour of desk work, he found the man with the mismatched shoelaces… Now, with Google, maybe Zero could find a dozen of them before breakfast.

    GONE WITH THE WIND – Scarlet O’Hara is a horrible person. She has no idea what compassion or humanity are. She’s selfish and dishonest and cruel to everyone, and when she’s treated the slightest bit cruelly by Rhett Butler we’re supposed to feel for her?

    HALLOWEEN (2007) – It’s a more sensible buildup than the original, as far as I’m concerned, but it does go on quite a bit with the mask making and the psychiatrist in the middle act. More interaction to build the relationship with the orderly would have been nice, maybe show more of a pattern of mistreatment at the hands of the nurse, rather than introduce and kill her in seconds with only one little line in the script.

    BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVIVAL – Telling the story of the series of revolutions following the overthrow of the Ch’ing dynasty … And the eventual rise of Mao’s Communists. I feel like I need to take notes…. Dr. Sun Yet Sen, Ku Hung Ming, etc – there’s a large part of the film that would benefit from prior knowledge of the history. I expected this to be about Mao specifically, but it’s largely a very fast run through the revolutions and schisms that lead up to the formation of the Chinese Communist Party.

    KILLING BONO – I’m sure to be disappointed, as Bono likely doesn’t die at the end of this film. Funny story – has to be a record setter for most bad decisions made by one man in his music career… Though, i do hope that the book this film comes from is based in some way on real events.

    THE TRIP – An odd comedy, mostly improv maybe? Doesn’t feel like a ‘real’ show as some reviews have seemed to imply. Too ‘posed’ to be documentary.

    TRUST – creepy creepy creepy pedophile grooming a young girl over the internet, and how the whole family is affected by events. A bit “movie-of-the-week” but well acted.

    GOING THE DISTANCE – There are a lot of small pieces that are really good, including Kristen Schaal as an unnamed bartender. Christina Applegate and Drew Barrymore are fantastic, and everyone around them plays well off them. TOP GUN themed hookup music from Dan is awesome, Christina Applegate yelling at her kid ‘Maya! Statue!’, and so many other really funny pieces really make a pretty simple plot idea into something much more rewarding than I’d have imagined.

    Besides, any movie which insults Michael Bay and TRANSFORMERS is good in my books…

    I’ll even forgive that the film has a scene with a non-ticketed passenger at a departure gate in post-9/11 world. That’s just CRAZY talk

    THE FIRST GRADER – Excellent film, based on a real MAN’s experience in Kenya; though the school experience is only really a plot point to explore colonial abuses.

    THE GREAT OUTDOORS – Not my favourite John Candy or Dan Ackroyd film, but it retains some of the 80s appeal it had when I first saw it. I had it confused with SUMMER RENTAL in my memory, I think, as nothing was really destroyed in this film.

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