Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Film Update

It's been a long time since I've posted here about movies.

There are several reasons for this:

I don't watch movies nearly as voraciously as I used to. Updating a handful of films less often, in some ways, is more difficult than updating larger numbers of films more often. In short, I got out of the habit.

My pursuit and appreciation of others' motion photography, has been replaced, to some extent, by a pursuit and appreciation of my own and others' still photography.

Delays lead to more delays -- I got so far behind with the updates that the task became too daunting a task.

Nonetheless, I'm getting this up to date here and now.

Mostly, I'll just be posting titles. If I have a few short thoughts to share, I will. If you have questions about any specific title, just holler. I'll be happy to respond, that is, IF I actually remember enough about it to be able to respond.

For my convenience, I'm just listing these alphabetically. I can't remember which ones were more recent than another.

Films Recently [cough] Watched:

Atonement (2007) dir. by Joe Wright
Babel (2006) dir. by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004) dir. by Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Fascinating. This one brings together my interest in both motion and still photography. Basic premise: give simple cameras to young children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India and document the results. After some success shown with this group of children and possibly some genuine talent shown by individual children, the filmmakers started a non-profit organization, Kids With Cameras, to continue this kind of work elsewhere.
Cars (2006) dir. by John Lasseter, Joe Ranft
Chariots of Fire (1981) dir. by Hugh Hudson
Cinema Paradiso (1988) dir. by Giuseppe Tornatore
Cloverfield (2008) dir. by Matt Reeves
I enjoyed the film. For the most part, they did a good job with using the concept, 'it's what you CAN'T see that's scary.' If anything, I think they may have waited TOO late in the movie for the big reveal.

I find that in varying and diverse artistic mediums, it is the obstacles, and NOT complete artistic and budgetary freedom, that produce compelling art.

The one-take-amateur-handheld-video feel to this solves multiple problems. It lends credibility to the low-budget style -- it attaches the viewer to the main characters in a tangible way -- it emphasizes that the events are occurring in real-time -- it gives reason to why we don't see much of what is happening, but rather we see the reactions of individuals and groups of individuals, which, in many ways, is more frightening and realistic than seeing the scary thing to which those people are responding.

I also liked how they incorporate backstory in the form of a leader and trailer on the video media device which contains the events of the film. Pretty clever.

The Dark Knight (2008) dir. by Christopher Nolan
The Five Obstructions (2003) dir. by Jørgen Leth, Lars von Trier
A fascinating little documentary. The concept: Jørgen Leth is a Danish filmmaker, who, back in 1967, made an art film called, The Perfect Human (which is a bonus feature on the Five Obstructions DVD). Lars von Trier is also a Danish filmmaker who proposes to Leth that he remake The Perfect Human five times with 5 separate groups of obstructions. For example, the first set of obstructions is the film must be made in Cuba, but with no sets. Leth must answer all of the questions posed in the original 1967 film, and -- here's the kicker -- no cut may last longer than 12 frames. So at 24 frames per second, there are at least two cuts during every second of this particular version of this film. You might think, as I did, and Leth, too, that this obstruction would make the film virtually unwatchable. I found quite the opposite to be true. This obstruction quickly became one of my favorites of the five. Lars von Trier was equally impressed with the job that Leth did on the first obstruction, so he heaps on the difficulty of the following obstructions. As interesting as the short sections of each obstructed film are, what I found even more interesting was the banter between Leth and von Trier when the obstructions are being negotiated. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
Death Proof (2007) dir. by Quentin Tarantino
The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003) dir. by Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
A simple and effective documentary.
Evan Almighty (2007) dir. by Tom Shadyac
Even Pigeons Go to Heaven (2007) dir. by Samuel Tourneux
This is a short animated film. It was on my list, but I barely remember watching it.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008) dir. by Nathan Frankowski
Gran Torino (2008) dir. by Clint Eastwood
Heroes (2006)
Finally finished Season 1. I've been watching new episodes here and there of the newest season. Missed Season 2 altogether, though.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) dir. by Steven Spierberg
Iron Man (2008) dir. by Jon Favreau
Juno (2007) dir. by Jason Reitman
King Kong (2005) dir. by Peter Jackson
The Lake House (2006) dir. by Alejandro Agresti
Amélie (2001) dir. by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
The Little Mermaid (1989) dir. by Ron Clements, John Musker
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) dir. by Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) dir. by Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) dir. by Peter Jackson
Miami Vice (2006) dir. by Michael Mann
Mostly unrelated to this movie, but Christy heard about a movie coming out this summer, Public Enemies. She wants to see it because it stars Johnny Depp. She says she "appreciates his acting skills." :-) I was skeptical at first, but then I found out that it is directed by Michael Mann. Might have to give this one a shot...but I have to see Pixar's "Up" first.
Most (2003) dir. by Bobby Garabedian
This is a Czech film that our small group from church watched together. It is well done. What bugs me about it is that I'm sure that I've seen this before, but I'm sure that it was prior to 2003. I'm thinking we watched this, or something extremely similar back when I was probably in 4th or 5th grade at my church. Weird.
Moulin Rouge! (2001) dir. by Baz Luhrmann
At Night (2007) dir. by Christian E. Christiansen
Rambo (2008) dir. by Sylvester Stallone
Ratatouille (2007) dir. by Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
Star Wars (1977) dir. by George Lucas
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) dir. by Tim Burton
Transformers (2007) dir. by Michael Bay
Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993) dir. by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Tropic Thunder (2008) dir. by Ben Stiller
WALL·E (2008) dir. by Andrew Stanton
Wings of Desire (1987) dir. by Wim Wenders
The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. by Victor Fleming
We watched this with Hannah after we finished reading L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." We were a little worried that she would be frightened by portions of it, especially since she tends to be sensitive to portrayals of peril in movies, but she was fine.

No comments: