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Friday, November 16, 2007

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on November 16 at 16:43 PM

No news today, because I spent most of the day in the Church of Stop Shopping (comes out the 30th) and ’50s Paris (comes out next week). Is The Red Balloon the best kids’ movie ever or what? It gave me a tremendous craving for a Technicolor lollipop.

The Red Balloon

New to theaters this week:

Lindy West reviews the reanimated Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf: “Robert Zemeckis’s retardedly modern, 3-D, motion-capture reworking of Ye Olde English yarn uses technology to murder the shit out of entertainment.”

Grendel's MILF

Andrew Wright on the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men: “The most perfect fusion of literary and filmmaking sensibilities since Polanski’s hallowed Rosemary’s Baby.”

Me on the first Hollywood adaptation of a Gabriel García Márquez novel, Mike Newell’s Love in the Time of Cholera: “There’s nothing less magical—or less realistic, for that matter—than prosthetic sagging breasts.”

And in On Screen this week: Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko follow-up, the insane Southland Tales (Quoth Bradley Stienbacher: “Much like Mulholland Drive (a film it desperately wants to be), Southland Tales refuses to cough up easy answers; unlike Lynch’s film, however, you can’t help but feel that the only journey Kelly is taking you on is one deep inside his own bong.”); the surprisingly elegant and enjoyable food-policy doc King Corn (me: “If you’ve already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, King Corn will be fascinating. If you haven’t read it, the facts will come as a shock.”); and Charles Mudede on a slick piece of dactylic tetrameter, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (“Everything is wrong with this film. In it, zero is new; dead tired are its plot, imagery, themes, and acting. The movie wants to look and feel fresh, but it instead presents us with a series of heavy corpses: the corpse of the music, the corpse of the set design, the corpse of the dialogue. Even the special effects are not special.”).


And hidden away in Limited Runs this week: SIFF Cinema’s 30 Years of Kino, with screenings of Metropolis, Andrei Rublev (warning: this isn’t the complete Criterion version), Wong Kar-wai’s Fallen Angels and Happy Together, Claude Chabrol’s Les Bonnes Femmes, and more; the lukewarm Bruce Lee mockumentary Finishing the Game along with Enter the Dragon at Egyptian midnights; the worthwhile music doc The Holy Modal Rounders; the totally awesome Oliver!; the mostly not-awesome The New World; King Corn, which was good enough to graduate to On Screen; and last, but never least, Surf II: The End of the Trilogy (sic, hic).

For all your movie times needs, Get Out.

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Lindy West's reviews always make my day.

Posted by Darcy | November 16, 2007 4:54 PM

I heard the 3-D IMAX version was a lot better than the 3-D theater version of Beowulf.

Looking forward to Metropolis at SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center on Saturday evening.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 16, 2007 4:57 PM

oh, and Red Balloon was pretty good.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 16, 2007 5:47 PM

Awhile back I made a recommended attempt to read Cormac's (pretty sure I spelled that correctly, but I'm too stoned to check--or, you slow-ass book (a) "No Country for Old Men". It was recommended by a coworker who was slightly retarded, and it was ordinarily hard for me to read. The copy she lent me has collected abhorrent amounts of dust on my bookshelf, and is continuing to do so as I write this. Note: I'm obviously punctual about returning stuff on time...

With the book, I was spending more time re-reading paragraphs and entire pages than I was envisioning the setting/characters/mood/etc. Everything involving Moss felt like a plenary description, and everything involving Bell felt like a series of coma-inducing pages, chronologically punching me in the face. So yeah, I didn't get far in the book as the book certainly wasn't pleasing me to begin with.

Just a few weeks later, everything but my kitchen sink was making me mourn the "announced production" of No Country for Old Men. Well, at least as far as what IMDb was offering for details at that time.

Now I don't remember who, but some teen-dream super-duper douchebag (b) was "announced" as part of the main cast for NCFOM. And although I don't remember which character he was to play, I remember that he was some teen-dream super-duper douchebag that had not only no business showing his teen-dream super-duper douchebag face in the film, but I hated everything about that teen-dream super-duper douchebag. Not to mention I was already in the midst of battle with the Coen Brother's latest [&] shitty additions (c) to their once was awesome filmography*.

a + b + c =
I do not wish to see this fucking cud-splash of a movie.

Jesus...this is taking longer than I expected. Okay, FF mode: A [FMP] friend of mine @ college literally kicked my pre-review e-mail's ass in regards to "what was to come with NCFOM", given he'd recently screened it, which concluded with his basically-making-me-sound-like-an-idiot reply [to all] with a counter-review review that was absolutely fantastic. I then apologized [to all] and waited for the trailer, likely to his counter-review review.

***Months later***

He sent me a promo copy roughly before Halloween, which arrived the day before Halloween. I've watched it six times to date.

NCFOM has since then accomplished much for me. From "[The Coen Brother's] are finally back to their initial Blood Simple style only with Fargo's semi-somewhat realistic-yet intensely-eccentric characters" to "MPAA certificate's are fucking bullshit, but at least some director/studio's still care about releasing a decent trailer" and "how much Howard Shore's movie scores can make or break a film depending on what psychiatric drugs he's currently abusing"...what was I saying? Whatever. "et al."

I'm pressed for time at the moment, but if there is anything I can honestly say about NCFOM, it's that you should probably go see it. If you've read the book and you loved it, you'll love the movie. If you've tried to read the book but you hated it (like me), you'll love the movie. If you didn't read the book, you should go see the movie, because you'll most likely love it. If you could/couldn't read the book, yet you hated it [either way], go see the movie. You'll love it. Finally, if you were never aware of the existence of the book, you'll love the movie. Period.

If you go to NCFOM --regardless of what above action you adhere to--and you hate it,'re a fucking idiot. Have fun with that.

Before I depart to this probably-pregnant hotel bed behind me, I'll note that I need to rediscover that dust-plagued book if only for the ending. I'm surprised it's taken me this long to acknowledge this. For the past two months I've trolled through all the IMDb "ending" message boards--and don't get me wrong, I loved the ending, but it kind of had/has this idiosyncratic feel that's...well, above me. I haven't figured it out yet. For example, in Wright's review:

McCarthy's story eschews his mighty gift for extended biblical metaphor in favor of sheer pedal-to-the-metal storytelling...

I've seen the movie, entirely, six times. If I get anymore stoned, tonight will mark the seventh. Regardless of that, I never picked up on any "Biblical metaphors" during my first viewing, and I haven't (after five more viewings + all the moronic IMDb "discussing"/arguing/ad hominem attacking/"refuting" MBing) all the way up to yesterday, where I deleted an entire post because it went from an honest open-minded question, only to turn into a wannabe-Mudede thread tackling the ever-so important topic of how "money & guns" kill people. I thought it was absolutely hilarious how nobody mentioned the heroin. Huh, right?

Anyway, I scored NCFOM with a 10/10. I highly recommend it. I also would like to hear what Ms. Wagner has to say about it. Seriously, I do. And now I finish with an honorable note:

Southland Tales is fucking terrible. If you loved Donnie Darko, for the love of [imaginary] God, do NOT go see ST. That is all. Word.

Intolerable Cruelty
The Man Who Wasn't There
The Ladykillers
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(Yes, I am one of the few who dislikes "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Even though I didn't care for it, I didn't knock the Coen Brother's for it. I figured it was a pretty solid film fit for most ages...a generous step away from what they were known to do. But I can't give them that anymore, because it obviously did fuck up their shit, because everything they made afterwards up until NCFOM was absolute shit. That is all.)

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 16, 2007 10:50 PM

No Country for Old men s what I imagine it is like to be an old man. A series of disjointed scenes with the important parts mostly absent, connected by a very thin current of substance. In the end the movie, like many old men simply kind of strokes out for a while before finally coming to an all to late end.

All in all the movie appears to be based on the premise that scenes need no particular order, climax is overrated, and actions need no purpose. Hell be the middle we were actively routing for the mass murder to at least bring the cluster fuck to a close.

All in what I took away form the film is to not steal from drug dealers and that cops in Texas are pretty fucking ineffectual.

Posted by Giffy | November 16, 2007 11:24 PM


"I heard the 3-D IMAX version was a lot better than the 3-D theater version of Beowulf."

You. Are. Such. A. Fucking. Idiot.


Oh really, Will? Was "Red Balloon" pretty good? If you can explain why that is, in a completely counter-pretentious way, please. Do.

Oh my! I simply cannot wait for you shitty answer! In other words: I can't wait to tear your dumbass to shreds in the morning.


Dude, seriously. Will. Come out already. You're the posting definition of "in the closet", and from what I've seen, you always have been. Face the facts, yo':

+You love anime.
+You never get laid.
+You make ridiculous assumptions as to what "chicks" are best to fuck (ex. vegan)
+You've never scored with a vegan. Don't lie. Come on. Please. Just...don't.
+You act like you "understand" girls, and yet everything about you screams that you don't.
+You attempt to depict this image that you are totally irresistable to the ladies...hehe. Dude. Fuck.
+You can never shut up about all of the make-believe shit you make-up in pathetic attempts to make [people on Slog?] think you're totally bomb-diggity awesome. You're not. You're a fucking loser, Will. Deal.

Bedtime!!Snuggles&Kisses! Smoooooch!

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 17, 2007 1:15 AM

We watched the Le Ballon Rouge many times during my childhood in private school.

You can film scholar critique it all you want, but as a 6 year old kid I thought it was excellent.

There's no reason to be such a dick, Edgar Allan.

Posted by Damien | November 17, 2007 3:49 AM

And if you haven't seen it yet go see Control. And if you have seen it you know you want to see it again.

Posted by monkey | November 17, 2007 8:31 AM

Actually I kinda liked the Red Balloon too, although the best movie I remember from my high school French class was The Four Hundred Blows (It's not what it sounds like, even though it is French).

Mr Poe, I think you need to find an anger management class.

Posted by RainMan | November 17, 2007 8:57 AM

"Mr Poe, I think you need to find an anger management class."

I honestly do.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 17, 2007 11:06 AM

Man I can't believe I said that. Sorry, Will.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 17, 2007 11:43 AM

I can't believe I agree with Mr. Poe about something. O Brother Where Art Thou sucks. Although I do fault the Coen brothers for it. Just as I fault them for virtually everything they've directed, except Blood Simple, Raising Arizona (mostly), Fargo, and the Big Lebowski.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 17, 2007 12:24 PM

NCFOM was excellent. If anything, the faithfulness to the book's ending wasn't faithful enough, omitting a couple of key notes in the last couple of bars. Still a bold move -- the last fifteen minutes are gonna piss off a lot of viewers.

Posted by Jason Josephes | November 17, 2007 12:54 PM

wow, mr poe is long winded today!

NCFOM is a very good movie, but the ending IS sort of weak. I don't mind that it's a non-happy ending, I just think that the Coen's did a brilliant job directing this movie until about the last 15 minutes when they started to make some odd choices...I sort of dozed off in the tommy lee jones/barry corbin scene.

I saw the advance screening of NCFOM at SIFF a few weeks ago, and yesterday, (Sunday) I saw a screening of Atonement the new Joe Wright movie with Keira Knightly. It's another BRILLIANT adaptation of a tough book, also with a non-traditional ending...and Keira is very good in it and James McAvoy, but the real dynamoes in this movie are the three actresses who play the main character Briony at ages 13, 18, and 80; Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave, respectively. I think film awards are dumb, for the most part, but it's a situation where you wish that you could nominate all three actresses for an award for playing the same role.

Posted by michael strangeways | November 19, 2007 11:03 AM

hmmm...i just realized i probably shouldn't be 'reviewing' a movie that hasn't opened yet, but since i'm raving about it, i don't think Focus is going to be pissed at me...

Posted by michael strangeways | November 19, 2007 11:06 AM

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