Friday, June 19, 2009

Unfortunately, Steve Guttenberg does not appear in any of these

Scratch the life thing. Agoraphobia is less stressful. Odds, ends, and Woody Allen:

Crimes and Misdemeanors: Martin Landau acts the heck out of his role in this Allen movie mostly about a guy who slips further and further down the moral scales as he lets himself be convinced into offing his mistress. Meanwhile, Woody Allen plays the same guy he always plays-- he's the misdemeanor here. Eventually, the two converge, sorta. I guess it's not a bad film, but it's not my favorite.

James Bond, Sabretooth, and Billy Elliot play Jewish brothers who end up forming a community of Jewish refugees somewhere in Belarus, and have to deal with Russian partisans, harsh weather, and dwindling food reserves, not to mention Nazis. The performances are all pretty damn solid, and the whole thing is just shot beautifully. I quite enjoyed this one. Seems it's truer than most based-on-a-true-story stories.

Definitely, Maybe:
I will watch Ryan Reynolds in anything, even chick flicks. This one's got a pretty decent structure, at least, as future Reynolds regales his daughter with his romantic past, and she has to figure out which lady in the story is her mom. There were really only two ways to take the plot-- the obviously obvious way, and the obviously "twisty" way, and they went for the latter, but there's some decent writing along the way, and some very pretty girls. Also, Elizabeth Banks is becoming the white female Samuel L. Jackson-- she's in everything.

Apparently Woody hates this one, which is odd, as it's one of his most beloved. A black-and-white tale of a nebbish (guess who) unable to choose between his jailbait girlfriend or his best friend's mistress, and-- hilarity ensues!-- as well as truths about the human condition, as always. Um, I liked it. 'Nuff said. Moving on.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man:
Despite the title, it's not a Woody Allen movie, but a John Carpenter one! Sort of noir, almost a comedy, but not really, it's Chevy Chase's middlin' period, in which he plays a guy who gets turned invisible and runs away from Sam Neill. It's fairly good, rather than terrible! Hurray!

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist:
I only rented this because the title had a Thin Man reference, but that's about all I liked. Michael Cera's basically me if I was an actor instead of a recluse, but I can't see his career lasting past 25 if he only accepts "awkward teenager" roles. C'mon, kid!

Shadows and Fog:
This is Woody's Kafka tribute, or possibly Threepenny Opera homage, or both. Black and white, filled with... well, shadows and fog, it seems to be primarily about illusions in one form or another. Nothing quite makes sense by the end, but there's a veritable parade of famous people in bit parts throughout.

Sukiyaki Western Django:
A Japanese Spaghetti Western, and sort of remake of like three other movies. Shot in English, apparently, and featuring a gratuitous Quentin Tarantino cameo. Uh... Yeah. I didn't quite get what was happening in most of it, due partially to the dialogue being so quiet and everything else being SO LOUD, but the action was pretty badass.

Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat:
On its way in the mail seconds after David Carradine's death was announced, this forgotten imitation gem from the late 80s features the man himself as a powerful vampire who had formed a sort of vampire retirement community, feeding off fake blood, but naturally everything goes wrong when a human family moves to town and a vampire faction decides to go back to eating people. The real reason I watched it is because Bruce Campbell plays a Van Helsing. It is by far his campiest performance, but he at least provides some much-needed mirth. The lunacy of this film is brewing under the surface, usually going unacknowledged, but very much there the whole time.

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