Sunday, May 4, 2008


A few movies that I've seen recently that I really, really liked:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Two brothers decide to knock off their parent's jewelry store, and their mom gets killed in the process. The whole "start the movie in the middle then go back to the beginning then go forward then back again" thing is starting to seem tired to me, but I don't see any other way this movie could have worked. I've only seen one other movie by Lumet, "Dog Day Afternoon," but I'm now definitely a fan. Watch how Ethan Hawke's character's life is presented: short and utilitarian. We are introduced immediately to his problems. Juxtapose this with his brother's scenes: Quiet, mysterious, and procedural. The writing in this movie is great, but I was truly amazed at how the director was able to add characterization through simple aesthetic choices, rather than strict dialogue. The violence is handled well, though I wish the movie didn't devolve into rampage-mode. What's up with Ethan Hawke growling and grunting like a cat when he's scared? You'll see what I mean.

The Orphanage - Scary and sad. Extremely tense scene in the middle involving a medium and night vision cameras. Good ending with two extra scenes tacked on that reek of studio tampering and audience pandering. People would have gotten it without being beaten over the head! Too bad. Self-congratulatory side note: I understood about 37% of this movie without having to glance at the subtitles. Go me.

Iron Man - This movie rules. Special effects are phenomenal. A long while back I remember reading an article about how Frank Miller was writing a Batman story in which Bruce Wayne goes to Afghanistan and lays pipe to terrorist anus. I never saw these books, and there seems to be a general fear about sending Superhero-types into real world situations. I can't quite remember who said it, but I seem to recall a director of a recent superhero flick saying that it would be unfair to our soldiers to show his hero going in and cleaning up a mess that they couldn't. Iron Man says fuck that. He fucks up Afghan terrorists. There is a clever way that John Favreau gets around the whole "one-upping the military beef": Tony Stark is a narcissist. He's obsessed with how he's affected the world. He doesn't build the Iron Man suit so he can combat AIDS in Africa. He goes to Afghanistan to destroy his legacy of enabling murderers. It all goes back to cleaning up his own mess. Not the military's. Robert Downey Jr. : fucking great. Gwenyth Paltrow: America-hating, Coldplay fucking, self-serious cow. But she's okay in this. Go see it at Warren! All digital! All THX!

Indiana Jones trailer - Tears of joy, a little bit? Yeah. I choked up when I saw this. There was no boner of joy, because this movie will transcend boners. This is deeper than sex. It moved me.

No comments: