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Mindhunters May. 13th, 2005 @ 02:11 am
Another midnight showing at work, only this time it coincided with the showing of Unleashed. Most of the other people employed at arclight not scheduled to work were seeing Unleashed, I was in a theater with only one other employee and less than ten other moviegoers, Unleashed was sort of packed. But I love The Long Kiss Goodnight, and I harbor biased feelings towards Jonny Lee Miller, Val Kilmer, and Christian Slater and am at least a little intrigued by projects that attract them. Rob and I did some research about the writer and director because we thought it had great potential, which in Hollywood always means possibility for squashed expectations. But not in this case. I only wish rob could have seen it with me tonight...
So, as a final test in becoming profilers for the FBI a bunch, i think its 6 or 7, people are left on an island to go through a simulation of finding a murder and deducing what they can about the killer and his next targets. Needless to say plans go awry and people start really dying. I was kept guessing till the very end and I was impressed by the red herrings that were laid out, some very obscure and subtle that probably were laid spefically for people who were taking everything as a clue. I'd love to know whether or not rob could have figured it out, that's how i usually gauge those things, because I often just watch a movie, not try to unravel it.
One of the things I like about Renny Harlin's movies is this quality to the performances that make them realistic, make the characters seem natural somehow. There are always witty parts too and great lines, but they don't seem as much like lines. Its also the delivery and the timing, like in one scene someone shouts out to warn someone else, but their warning comes much too late, its like a delayed reaction, the attack happened before he opened his mouth, but that's how it is, even when you know its too late you'd still shout watch out, because what else can you do?
So far as mysteries go, this is a great movie. So far as a serial killer movies go, this is a great movie. So far as movie's go, this is a great movie. I highly reccommend it. It is really intense, and has some pretty whacked out ways of doing away with a person, but its not exactly slasher movie kinda gore.
how i felt leaving the theater: excitedthrilled

Crash May. 10th, 2005 @ 11:20 pm
at work i hear almost non-stop talk about this movie from co-workers who've seen it, some are going quite a bit overboard. One guy is reportedly forcing/convincing people to see it when he's selling tickets, talking them out of other movies, and saying that he's already started selling them the tickets so they might as well buy them. I guess this is working since management hasn't been called on him yet and we're selling pretty large houses even on weeknights. I suppose it is a good movie. The characters are really vivid and the acting is awesome and taken as sort of invdividual stories they're interesting, but there's a lot them and they're sort of scattered and all put together they don't tell me anything suprising or make me think any different about the world. The theme that holds all these stories together is racism, but the overall messages just don't hit me right. message 1: racism is stupid, wrong, and mostly factually incorrect. this is seen in parts where they mention that just because somebody looks like an iraqi or terrorist to someone, doesn't mean they are, especially when it turns out they're persian, ditto with not all latinos being mexican, not all asians being Chinese, etc... Yeah, I already knew that, racism is stupid, no big eye-opener there. message 2: everyone has racist motives in certain things that they do. while everyone in the movie, with very few exceptions, displayed this, its not something i believe. to me there are people who make good choices and decisions and then there are bad choices and decisions. and that's what i saw in this movie, people making tons of bad choices. this made it really difficult and uncomfortable to watch at times. message 3: la is somehow special in the way all this clashes, i totally disagree with the larger point that the writer/director is trying to make. I thought I'd come out of this movie saying, "yeah, i am so glad i'm gettng out of this town." but instead i was thinking that its true that humanity has the capacity to make good and bad choices. there were bad people in the movie who still did good things in their lives. there really wasn't a lot of LA vibe that I saw, with exception of the mentions made to messed up things in our police force, which are pretty much true and made abundantly more so when you live here and hear the minutae. I think its the way situations are handled and punishment is dealt out to officers that transgress that are the problem, ie there are bad apples, not the whole bushel, but they suck at weeding them out. sorry, just a a little side point there. I have to admit that I did look at what critics said about the movie before I wrote this, and some of them helped me gel my thoughts. when i left i really wasn't sure how i felt about it. so, i recommend it if you're looking for some well written, sorta clever scenes that don't neccessarily add up to a powerhouse of a movie, unless you're a very small minded person and the messages end up hitting you like a ton of bricks. me, i like my messagees subtle, not delivered by a repetitive hammer.
how i felt leaving the theater: confusedconflicted

Hitchhiker's Guide To the Universe May. 4th, 2005 @ 07:24 pm
I read this book a long time ago, like in middle school. I remember reading it at my pediatric dentist's office, because he had met or known Douglas Adams and said he was a really strange guy who did way too much acid. Anyhow, i read the book, i remember liking it, but i don't remember a whole lot about it. It seems that it was mostly full of really great ideas and theories and some fun characters, which is basically what the movie is. Its some intertwined events and people stringing together all these great concepts about the universe and humanity and the like. I enjoyed it a lot, though. It made me laugh, it was gorgeous to see, and it made think about our past election and current president. Really, the president of the universe often had very similar speech patterns to the president of the US. Other than that a lot of the humor was very british, lots of hating the world and ourselves and such. I guess there's a lot of new stuff in the movie that's not in the book, but according to IMDB some of it was in the orginal radio program, and the rest was in the screenplay Douglas Adams wrote, the other writer credited just revamped some of the structure and stuff. I recommend it to just about anyone, but have to admit its not edge-of-your-seat action.
how i felt leaving the theater: contentcontent

Melinda and Melinda Apr. 14th, 2005 @ 06:12 pm
or, Melinda and Me as the truncated title reads on my ticket. Its likely you haven't heard of this. Its the latestet offering by Woody Allen. He's not in it at all. And the characters that are sort of him aren't as much him as him, i think you'll know what i mean. This is the two stories of one girl and the dinner party she crashes. The frame of the movie is two playwrights having dinner with friends, one of them is famous for his tradegies and the other for his comedies, they're having a tiresome and stupid debate over whether life is more tragic or comedic, so one their friends offers the premise of a woman showing up unexpectedly at a dinner party, and each playwright waxes on about all the tragic or comedic elements they can see in that premise, spinning parallel tales of Melinda complete with entirely different dinner party goers, life situations, and endings. It was an entertaining enough movie, but i don't know that all the high concept blah-dee-blah really helped it much. It was just like, sad sad serious scene, comedic scene, repeat. Chloe Sevigny, who i love, was great as both the upbeat and the beaten down Melinda. Will Farrel came the closest to being Woody Allen, but he sort of came off all charm and disarming and a good deal less neurotic. Amanda Peet, Jonny Lee Miller, and some other people I sort of recognized were in it too. The guy who plays Fezzini in Princess Bride ("Inconceivable!") is the comedic playwright. All in all it was sort of just a droll playwrighting exercise. A mediocre Woody Allen movie, which is still better than most movies.
how i felt leaving the theater: blaheh

Kung Fu Hustle Apr. 8th, 2005 @ 02:12 am
So funny. I laughed very out loud many a time. Saw this tonight with Bill, Yoni (which iprobably spelled wrong), and Nick after an OC night. It was a midnight showing in the dome. I think the poster mentions something about this being like a combo of buster keaton, bugs bunny and someone else. Its a spoof on period kung fu movies and its got some really hilarious effects and comedy in it. Its about an axe gang who gets into a tussle with a slum that is run by a crazy landlady. It comes out that a number of the residents of the slum are actually kung fu masters, so the slum has a decent chance. I love the idea that kung fu masters are just normal people and have normal lives and jobs just like everyone else. Its really just a zany comedy. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good laugh every once in awhile.
how i felt leaving the theater: giddygiddy
Other entries
» Sin City
Its kind suprising its been a month since i've seen a movie in the theater. Anyhow, Sin City was long awaited and I wasn't disappointed in it. It gave me all the same feelings of intense wonder and awe and heartbreak that the comics do. It also reminded just how overrated realism is and how nice it is to see a movie that goes for something beyond looking the same as the real world. The performances were perfect, this has to be one of the greatest cast movies i've ever seen. Of course, in its similarity to the comics, its excessively violent and sexy and gorey and anyone in the slightest squeamish or uncomfortable with the female form flaunted about should definetly not see this. For those who don't know, the movie is basically three stories about anti-heroes and crime all taking place in the same city with some overlapping faces and villains. Also, the stories aren't really shown in choronological order, which may confuse some people a little. Its all very gritty and film noir and hardboiled and plays with and in that specific genre. Its a very aggressive movie but there's a lot of fun to be had in there too. I think its fantastic, but still say that I only recommend it to people who like that kind of thing.
» The Jacket
This was seen in a midnight screening last night, with Rob and a theater containing primarily my fellow employees. It's about a Gulf War vet who has some memory problems and is framed for murdering a cop but incapable of really defending himself. He gets put in a mental institution for the criminally insane where a doctor tries a cruel experimental treatment on him that somehow lets him go into the future. Rob said it was so similar to 12 Monkeys he found it really dull. I got into it, I got into the characters and their relationships, even if the romance didn't really touch me that much. So I found it interesting. They did a good job with making it look and sound such a way as to make the audience feel as appropriately uncomfortable as possible. I think the performances were good, especially jennifer jason leigh who gave a lot in just a little role. One thing that Rob and I worked out through discussion is that, knowing that he was originally written as a Vietnam vet instead of a Gulf War vet a lot of the themes of isolation and alienation and all make more sense. They changed it to sort of modernize it, but i don't think they changed enough else to suit the specific issues of the Gulf War vet. If you're into the time travel stuff or a really odd love story, go see it, but I can't necessarily reccommend it. It won't make much a difference to save it for a rental.
» Sideways
Oooh, I liked this one. It was good in that way when a movie completely communicates all its emotions and morals and points without hitting you over the head, without taking the cheap shots. It was a little hard to like Paul Giamatti's character sometimes, but there's just something about him that makes you like him even through the occasional questionable decision. It stayed a movie about the two guys too, even though the women were important, you really experienced them much the way they guys did, as a brief encounter in a particular moment in time. It made me laugh a lot, it made me cringe some (when i was supposed to, not from it being bad or anything like that), and it left me feeling mostly good (which i think was the point). Even the times when someone said something that seemed kind of pretentious and a little too "oh i'm talking about the wine but i really mean me" the acting and the writing blended just well enough that even though you may of begun to roll your eyes, by the time the part was over you completely believed in and felt what they were saying, it didn't seem like a line or like a character device, even though it was, which is certainly the mark of a good film. It perhaps could be percieved as a little slow, but I think it was more the prefect tempo for the subject matter, like a guy driving down the road who's nodding off and starting to lose control of the car and your not quite sure if any second now he'll snap awake or if there's just going to be this slow descent into chaos. You know they have that wedding to get back for, you know they're doing things that could jeopardize it all, but you're not really sure how it'll end up, you just feel the slow and distinct march of the days as the week dwindles. I think everyone should see this movie. one of the best movies i've seen in a long time.
» Million Dollar Baby
Hmm, you ask me, this was a half mill tops. I wasn't as wowed as it was hyped I would be. Yes, it is not your average boxing/sports movie, there's not so much sports and a lot more feelings and other life/drama stuff. Hillary Swank is great, makes it hard to believe she isn't really Maggie Fitzgerald. Morgan Freeman is also wonderful and brings all he can to the relationship we're supposed to see between him and Eastwood, Eastwood is... well... not even giving a half million. I just didn't feel his performance, didn't see it really matching the people he was opposite. I was suprised at the end, just because it's an awfully heavy ending for a sports related movie. I won't give it away, and unless you've told precisely, you won't see it coming. The sound effects were great, making you cringe with every crunching, squishing, popping punch. All I got to say is this better not win best picture. I guess right now my money is behind Aviator, given what I"ve seen, which is everything except Sideways. I don't know, maybe I've just missed the boat on this one, people seem to really think its phenomenal. I guess my dad can see it and tell my i'm just jaded and a movie snob.
» Constantine
first of all, this is not showing at work, instead we got Because of Winndixie, which i probably won't see. I saw a past midnight showing with Rob in Westwood, about twenty minutes from the end there was a power surge in the area which caused the digital projector to shutdown. They took about five minutes to get the movie back up in running, and we got to finish it, and then got readmission tickets because of the problem, so technically it was a free movie.
anyways, I liked it. I like movies about the occult and all that catholic relic mythology stuff. I didn't like Rachel Weisz's character, I found her really annoying and not adding much at all, which was odd because I usually like her in things. While I say I liked it and I distinctly remember enjoying it, I have to admit it was probably pretty bad. It was basically the comic books but heavily americanized and without a lot of them humor, which are some changes that didn't really serve it well. I think part of this was some moralizing, over things such as smoking and all, which is very not Constantine, he knows real evil, he's seen it, he would happily die, he doesn't care about smoking being bad for you It had a really weird pace, like action and suspense and distruction, and then some talking about feelings and the past for a little bit. It was pretty easy to tell when was a good time to get up and use the bathroom.
I'm going to read up on this right now, but from the poster, the fact it was set in Los Angeles and not England, the first twenty minutes of the movie, and the characterization of Constantine as what Rob referred to as "the tired cowboy" kind of hero, I'm almost positive they were going for a heavy Chinatown connection. Oddly enough, that handfull of film noir techniques and elements they threw in there did nothing to create the essential noir mood. Like I said, i'm gonna check out some interviews to see if i'm just seeing things or if its really there.

rob thought it started off kinda bad and then got terribly horribly awful beyond belief by the end. we didn't get to talk too much more about it because it was almost 3am and the drive dropping him off was short.
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