I managed to watch another eight movies this week, but before I get into those, I'll kick this post off with yet another plea to fellow film, television and music bloggers to come forth and let thyself be known! I have so many ideas swirling through my head, as far as what I want MY WEEK IN FILM to become and one of the things I want it to be, is sort of a community bulletin board for fellow bloggers. Feel free to send me an email with a link and a description of what your own blog is all about and I'd be happy to share it with my followers and maybe drive a few extra customers your way.
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MY WEEK IN FILM: NOVEMBER 14 - NOVEMBER 20
PICK OF THE WEEK
SHAME (2011 - Steve McQueen) 8/10
I actually wrote a full blown review of this one, since it was in a previous edition of the 1001 Movies You Must... BOOK, but I post dated it to upload to the blog on Tuesday night, so as not to be pushed immediately down by the MY WEEK IN FILM post. Therefore, you'll have to wait to read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt...
From a technical standpoint, there isn't a lot wrong with Shame. Fassbender is fast becoming a favorite actor of mine, prompting me to add Hunger to my Netflix queue immediately and peruse his filmography to find other gems that have promise. The films main score by Harry Escott is powerful and fits in, calling to mind a desperate man, clutched by something almost demon-like. It calls to mind a group of friends who see a friend drowning, yet just can't save him - except Brandon is a loner, with no real friends, and that makes it even more dire. The main theme (titled "Brandon") makes me feel like there should have been a scene with Brandon just screaming into the heavens, it's that kind of powerful music where you just feel like the pains of the characters need to be exercised to accompany it. Keep your eyes peeled for key scenes, including a beautiful tracking shot of Brandon taking a jog at night, while blaring classical music and another of Carey Mulligan belting out the saddest version of New York, New York you'll ever hear.
JACK (1996 - Francis Ford Coppola) 5.5/10
If you're going to get a grown man to play a child, was there any better choice for the role than Robin Williams? I think not. It's a little bit fun watching Williams onscreen, who looks like he's having a blast up there, joshing with the kids. Is anyone else REALLY shocked to know that Francis Ford Coppola directed this? I kind of was. My wife, Ruth, had been badgering me for MONTHS to watch Jack with her, despite us not having a copy available. It had almost become an inside joke, to the point that I broke down and bought it for her for Christmas. Well...if you know us, then you know we're big on giving early Christmas presents and that's what lead to me seeing this. It's nothing great, really and it's really bittersweet watching Robin Williams and Bill Cosby onscreen and trying to decide whether you should laugh, cry or feel awkward. This one is terribly cliched and Coppola must have been hurtin' for a payday in 1996, to stoop to such mediocrity. Decent movie that provided enough genuine laughs to eek it into average territory, while still being a nothing movie.
Speaking of Coppola, let's take a look at his filmography and see how I stack up against it:
1. The Bellboy and the Playgirls
2. Tonight For Sure
3. Dementia 13
4. You're a Big Boy Now
5. Finnian's Rainbow
6. The Rain People
11. One from the Heart
13. Rumble Fish
14. The Cotton Club
15. Peggy Sue Got Married
16. Gardens of Stone
17. Tucker; The Man and His Dream
18. New York Stories (segment, Life Without Zoe)
22. The Rainmaker
23. Youth Without Youth
**So a total of twenty-five films and I've already seen eight, means this wouldn't be a hard filmography to totally tackle and be able to say I've seen all of Coppola's films. Challenge accepted.
**I didn't include a couple of movies that didn't seem to be full fledged parts of his filmography, including Battle Beyond the Sun (re-edited) and The Terror (uncredited).
STOLEN KISSES (1968 - Francois Truffaut) 5.5/10
Pretty boring stuff here, which hurts to say considering I love French films and I really like Jean-Pierre Leaud. I've yet to be intrigued by the Antoine Doinel character and am starting to wonder what all the fuss is about.
DRACULA (1992 - Francis Ford Coppola) 3.5/10
See review, here
INSIDE OUT (2015 - Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen) 8/10
Pixar is the one place where I can pretty much always count on finding a great movie. Bear in mind, I've yet to see Monsters University or Cars 2, but still...
Inside Out made me wish that this actually wasn't a kids film and that we could've taken some more serious routes. The film takes place inside the head of it's main character, Riley - an adolescent who is beginning to go through the normal changes that all teenagers face. When Joy and Sadness are lost, it is up to Fear, Anger and Disgust to control the psyche of Riley, causing her to make the dreaded transformation to moody teenager. As Joy and Sadness try to find their way back into the "headquarters" of Riley's brain, they watch as her childhood is destructed and memories she once held dear are now fading away. This includes her former imaginary friend, Bing Bong (voiced by Richard Kind), who provides us with the saddest moment of the movie and maybe the saddest moment in Pixar history. You'll know it when you see it...
Great, great stuff here and probably the most well thought out Pixar film ever. It's the animated equivalent to Inception...except it's actually GOOD!! I'm not saying it's the best Pixar film (that still goes to the first Toy Story, as far as I'm concerned), but it's the deepest and another really good one.
SOUTHPAW (2015 - Antoine Fuqua) 6/10
Good enough to sneak into '6' territory, but really, I liked this one a lot less than I expected too. I usually really dig Jake Gyllenhaal and boxing movies are almost always good. However, this one was too cliched to amount to anything worth getting excited about. However, the actual boxing scenes were pretty entertaining and the whole movie plays out like one big professional wrestling angle and of course, that's right up my alley.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014 - Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez) 4.5/10
Someone shoulda' told Miller & Rodriguez that sequels are almost never necessary and usually only help to stink up the aura of a great original. I suffered through this and when it was all said and done, I actually think I liked the first one a little less, as it had the stink of this one swarming around it. It looked the same, that's really about it. Thank you green screen for making that possible, at least. Otherwise, there was almost an entirely different core cast and the faces who did return, weren't needed. I'm a big fan of the Sin City graphic novels, yet I don't remember the one where the ghost of John Hartigan returns. The thing is, is that all three core main characters were killed in the first one, so bringing literally ALL of them back was kind of ridiculous. Hartigan and Marv weren't needed, end of story. I'd have been fine with them adapting A Dame to Kill For, but, from what I remember, they strayed from the source material a bit. I'm almost certain Marv and Manute don't have a brawl and in fact, if I remember correctly, Marv is just a passing character in "Dame". Also, did anyone else burst into laughter when Josh Brolin showed up sporting the same haircut as Clive Owen in the original? It was a laughable moment and silly as hell. In the comic, when Dwight returns, he looks COMPLETELY different. Therefore, why couldn't they have just gotten a completely different actor to finish out the story and spare Brolin that ridiculous wig?
Joseph Gordon Levitt, for his part, was okay I guess, but I'd still have preferred that another one of the source stories been adapted. It really should've been a better, more accurate version of A Dame to Kill For and maybe, Hell and Back. That's it. Forget Bruce Willis, forget Mickey Rourke and forget Josh Brolin. Throw some cash at Clive Owen and wait for his schedule to open up, so that Dwight can, at least, be the same actor. .As it is, I'm surprised Miller signed off on this drivel.
DUTCH (1991 - Peter Faiman) 6.5/10
Guilty pleasure, right here. It's another Thanksgiving film penned by John Hughes (that guy must have LOVED turkey day), except this time he didn't direct. Really, this is just a carbon copy of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, except the leads are played by a man and a kid who don't like each other, instead of two grown men who don't like each other. But hey, I liked it! I'm a fan of Ed O'Neil (despite never having watched Married...with Children) and here, he shows up to work, putting a lot of work into something that flopped big time at the box office. Poor Ed... This is currently streaming on Netflix and is great fodder if you just need something mindless to get you through until the next serious film. Recommended.
AT HOME FROM NETFLIX
Dead Ringers (1988 - David Cronenberg)
Pauline at the Beach (1983 - Eric Rohmer)
Madigan (1968 - Don Siegel)
Sunshine (2007 - Danny Boyle)
Millions (2004 - Danny Boyle)
POLL OF THE WEEK
Last week I asked you guys what your favorite Danny Boyle film was and the answer was Trainspotting, resoundingly, which garnered nearly 50 percent of the votes. Other vote getters included 127 Hours (3), Slumdog Millionaire (2), Shallow Grave (2), 28 Days Later (2) and Steve Jobs (1)
This week's poll is inspired by my watching of Southpaw and I ask you WHAT IS THE BEST BOXING MOVIE OF THE 21st CENTURY. Have fun!
Has anyone seen the new Bond film? Since I am always writing about old films that no one has heard of, I feel like an out of touch parent trying to connect with youngsters. On Sunday I saw Spectre with my two siblings and a cup full of Milk Teeth, which are rather disgustingly delicious British candy.
Possible Spoiler Alert
Is it ever necessary to give a plot summary of a Bond film? I hope not, because there were quite a few confusing points in this movie. I just read an article that says Pierce Brosnan called Spectre “rather weak.” While this could just be a case of our favorite pretty boy being a jelly bean, I can’t help but agree. Our Bond girl, Dr. Madeline Swann has very little personality. I suppose we feminists are intended to cheer because she didn’t immediately fall into Bond’s arms after he saved her. You know, she waited a day or two. And she also knew how to shoot a gun. So, hurray? Our work is pretty much done.
I suppose this film delivers on everything a Bond film should: a beautiful opening song, gorgeous women, and exciting action scenes. Still, just once, I would like to be surprised by something in a Bond movie. I guess the formula makes this an unreasonable request.
At least we are left with a good message. Men will always change for you, even if they are trained assassins. Especially if they have slept with thousands of women before you.
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1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
MARILYN MANSON - ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR (1996) Grade: D
Best Song: The Beautiful People
Just TOO. FUCKING. LOUD. Even at a meager thirty years old, I just can't do this kind of noise anymore. Now GET OFF MY LAWN!! Still though, The Beautiful People is still a bad ass song and enough to get this one to a solid D, along with other bearable tunes like Tourniquet.
PLAYLIST CHOICES: The Beautiful People
Check out all of my 1001 Albums... progress, here
GUY 'N' GAL OF THE WEEK