|DVRfest 2008 (11.08.08 - 11.08.08, 6 movies)|
|11.08.08||Leatherheads||George Clooney||Constant readers (my mom doesn't even read this site. Seriously, who are you people!?) may recall that around this time every year I sequester myself to a weekend of personal movie festivalling in an attempt to a) celebrate the anniversary of this site and b) clear my DVR of recorded movies. I call it DVRfest.|
Constant readers may also know that my cinematic habit has severely lessened this year, well out of the area of fantacism and some say beyond even the most casual viewer's intake. Well, I sort of apologize. It's true that I'm seeing many less movies than previous years, but a substantial increase in Real Life tasks coupled with a natural upswing in my other leisuretime hobby (video games) has given way to less movies, less blog posts, and less postage paid by Netflix. However, one long-term goal of this site from the very beginning was to show trends and periods of my life via the movies I watch, so I never watch a movie just because my ratio's getting too low or see more of something just for the stat here. It's an honest reflection of my habit and, as such, it will have low points as well as high.
So an interesting thing happened this year when I set aside some time for DVRfest: I didn't have any movies on my DVR! So instead, This year will the subtitle of DVRfest 2008 will be:
The Ones That Got Away: Catching Up on Movies That Slipped Through The Cracks (Special Internet EP Edition!)
I've loaded up 6 or 7 movies that've been sitting on my hard drive for an indeterminate amount of time in an effort to see all of them today (yep, chores and errands and everything else comes tomorrow; DVRfest is only one day this year). A lot of them are new, most of them you've probably seen already, but whatever... it's my festival and I do what I want.
First up is this George Clooney movie that I heard was trying to be screwball. His previous attempt, with the help of the Coens, was... OK. Let's see how this one fares.
Yeah... pretty much what I thought. It doesn't really come together for me in anything more than a nice homage to older, better movies. The beginnings of pro football elements were interesting and all but were all pretty cursory. In the end it was OK but pretty forgettable. I hope that isn't a running theme throughout the day/night. We'll see! Up next is a documentary that's supposed to be pretty intense. Well, up next directly is a trip to the grocery store to stock up on things that are bad for me, but after that it's the documentary.
|11.08.08||The Bridge||Eric Steel||The Golden Gate Bridge: World capital of suicide. This documentary... I'm really kind of curious about the method used for this movie. It seems a little morbid to film every pedestrian on the bridge for a year in hopes that they jump, but this guy got some very clear footage of what looks like very real people jumping to their very real deaths.|
But after that, the movie's basically depressing talking heads from people who knew people who "used" the bridge and how sad they were and how sad it makes them that they were so sad. Granted, suicide is a pretty sad affair, but I was really hoping for more from this doc. The most interesting part for me was the interview with the kid who jumped and survived, but that couldn't help but veer into the nature and pathos of mental illness just as much as anything to do with some bridge. Overall, I'd say it's a chilling fact to hear about the Golden Gate and some of the raw imagery is haunting and beautiful, but it's not much of a film. I remember some HBO hourlong America Undercover doc that handled suicide being much more involving. Oh well.
Whew. Next up is hopefully something a bit more upbeat although truth be told I have no idea what it's actually about. All I know is that I'll see an elephant swim in slow motion. Check back!
|11.08.08||The Fall||Tarsem Singh||Well... the swimming elephant was cool. Everything else in this mixture of Princess Bride and Wizard of Oz and whatever you want to call Tarsem's visual and costume design was kind of a mess. I mean, it was pretty to be sure. Locations and sets and costumes were all beautiful, but that was about it. This was my fear. I felt roughly the same way about The Cell except in that film the imagery at least matched the tone of the story. Here, it's supposed to be a child's imagination and... let's just say that she's one messed up little girl if this is the way she sees the world. Or maybe her parents were hippies; who knows. In any case, I couldn't get over the disconnect between the story-in-movie and the story of the movie and found it a good half hour too long. It's a shame too because I think Tarsem is capable of some very striking surreal images. I just hope one of these days he works with an actual story.|
So now for something completely different.
|11.08.08||Redline||Andy Cheng||100% of the credit behind why I saw this movie is owed to Jarrette, who urged me to check it out over and over again when I really wasn't interested. Well, I've finally seen it and hoo doggy am I thankful.|
So, a big part of the reason why I enjoy Weird Wednesdays is that it seemed that, in the 70s, you didn't always need millions and millions of dollars to make a movie. Therefore, every once in a while either a dedicated group of people or some eccentric rich dude or some actor with temporary clout got to make a film so unlike every other film that it came off as completely unique even if it was terrible. Well, those days are gone but what we do have, at least in the case of this movie and another must-see piece of trash called Dangerous Men, is the occasional uber-rich byproduct of the American Dream raised on Cinemax with the resources to go out and make his own version of every other movie. Sure the intentions are pretty much exact opposite from those 70s maverick indies but the result is sort of the same. Glimpses of personality can't help but bleed through.
All that aside, this movie is terrible. TEAR IH BULL. Angus Macfayden... I really haven't seen enough of him to know whether he's pulling off the most phoning-it-in performance of all time (it's not even a phone... he's telegramming it in, complete with "STOP"s after every sentence) or if that's really him making "choices." Either way, it's pretty special to watch. The lead actress as well although I'm more certain with her that she was just a model that the producer liked and traded the lead for her panties. Eddie Griffin, Tim Matheson... I'd start to wonder why in hell they'd take this job but... I quickly come to the conclusion that they took it for the same reason that i'm watching it: yes it's crap but it's awesomely expensive exotic automobiles, oceans of scantily-clad supermodel flesh, and mountains of money. Fuck art, let's have a little fun.
And that's the movie. Terrible, terrible fun. Even though it's trying to be Fast and Furious or whatever, it's stuck in its own little world of 25 million dollar bets and revenging kung-fu brothers and super-hot big-tittied race-car women and booming bass soundtracks. A world without pedestrians, stop lights, police helicopters, or insurance. A world, no matter how much the producer wants it to feel like every other car movie, is so the same that it's different. It's great.
And talk about a punch in the arm after those last two. Whew! Next up is a pinch hitter. I think I'm replacing the last movie on the ticket because it doesn't exactly fit the theme of the festival, so instead I'm catching up on another movie I was mildly curious about when it hit South By this year but not enough to actually see it when it came out in theaters. See you soon!
|11.08.08||Run Fatboy Run||David Schwimmer||I'd heard this was pretty mediocre and for the most part agree although there were certainly a few points where I LOL'd and generally I liked the performances quite a bit. It's not like the plot deviates from your standard My Best Friend's Wedding formula but hey, it's the journey, right?|
I liked how believable Pegg was at being out of shape. As a card-carrying member of the unfit, I appreciated seeing him crumpled on the floor of the locker room after spin class like a pile of sweatsocks, playing his dialogue like normal because he couldn't move. Ya know, it was ok.
So for the last film of the night, I'm veering toward a horror movie that I've heard is good. The rest of these... eh, well, I knew I was taking some chances. The capper should satisfy though. What is it? Well let's see!
|11.08.08||The Strangers||Bryan Bertino||I'd heard this was generally creepy and the first half hour or so really built it up for me. The whole premise is creepy in itself since I never like people knocking on my door to begin with, so to imagine someone intentionally unscrewing the porch light so you can't see them would freak me out right at the beginning. Unfortunately, I would've said "fuck it" and left right then, so the rest of the movie kind of lost me from there.|
While that's not completely fair, I will say I liked the first wave of creepy background home invasion, but as the movie went on I started to wonder exactly what it was these masked "strangers" were after. Increasingly so until the end when I didn't much care. I think maybe they didn't write in enough neighbors or hitch-hikers to kill or something since right up till the end I was wondering if they were even after violence or just going for some scares since the youth of today is definitely capable of anything when they're bored. And I don't know if it was my heavy eyelids or the version i "borrowed from a friend" or what but it seemed like a few shot sequences repeated... like things happened twice in a row for me. It was weird; I'm not alltogether sure it happened, but I think it did.
So anyway, a nice dark creepy movie to end the night on. I liked it, but it could've been better if further developed.
So... that's it for this year's DVRfest. A short one I know; hastily planned and not as eclectic as previous years but oh well. We'll have to see what next year brings. As for the stats, i've seen 1774 movies in 1930 viewings since starting this site (221 in the past year, 10(!) in the past month, 6 in the past week) for a daily average of 1.32 total, 0.61 yearly, 0.33 monthly, 0.86 weekly. Top directors are Oliver Stone and Werner Herzog with 11 each followed by Blake Edwards (10), Hithcock (8) and Spielberg (7). 328 came from Netflix, 212 from the Alamo Downtown, 193 on DVD. 176 Comedies, 173 Dramas, 160 documentaries (159 horrors). It's hard for me to believe that I've been doing this 4 years now; I'm really thrilled by the notion. I've always been someone unable to keep a journal or diary for longer than a week so this has been really fun. Hopefully the next 4 will go just as fast. For now though, it's off to bed.