Monday, August 17, 2009

"I did not care for what you had to say about my movie, Andrei."

Sorry, brah.

I'm in Hawaii!

Here are two reviews that I forgot to post here:

Nollywood Babylon

Lake Tahoe

Monday, July 06, 2009

Two new ones.

Heyo, I've got two new reviews up at Spectrum.

Here's one for The Windmill Movie:

Here's one for The Hurt Locker, which I mentioned in the previous post:

I'm happy to say that both are real positive, The Hurt Locker especially is worthy of just about all the hype it's got. Bonus content for the blog - I mention in the review that the film's a bit pointed at times, but there's one moment that I haven't noticed any comment on that seemed pretty aggressive to me: A bomb goes off in the middle of the night and the EOD squad goes to investigate it. They start trying to figure out if it was a suicide bomber or a timed explosion and so on, and eventually they decide the bomb must have been triggered from nearby, so they walk off to the edge of the blast zone to investigate the surrounding area. While they're standing there they discuss the merits of this new theory, and at one point, all three soldiers flash their lights directly into the camera and keep them there: "It'd be smart for them to do that. They can just sit there at the edge of the blast zone laughing to themselves while they watch us clean up their mess." To say that the movie is entirely free of on-the-nose moments is I think being a little charitable, it's just that the whole thing is so good that it's easily forgivable. There are a couple conversations the soldiers have about how screwed up war is that ring pretty true, I imagine that conversation is one soldiers have occasionally, but the accusatory tone of the blast zone comment struck me especially. Is it just a guilt trip or is it a positioning of moral superiority? Is making a movie about the war a big enough gesture that you can consider yourself a non-spectator? Is it a meta-commentary on the fact that everyone in the audience is watching an entertaining dramatization of the horrors that some people are experiencing at that exact moment? I dunno. Something about it came off a little hollow for me. Even so, the movie has very few missteps, it's really great.

I've got a few more articles in the pipeline right now, starting to build up a little head of steam here. I might try to write a brief thing about Public Enemies on here just to keep makin it happen, but in the meantime check that stuff out.

Starting today I'm a different number, 24, so if you've got any goats go ahead and sacrifice them, thanks.

Watch this video, it's unbelievable:

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

24 City

"Let's hang out, weld things, and read Andrei's review of 24 City over at Spectrum Culture!"

What a great idea, you guys!

Seeing The Hurt Locker tonight for the site, looking forward to that.

Toying with the possibility of turning this into a massive feature, also, I guess I'm posting that here to psyche myself up a little bit.

I saw John Boulting's Brighton Rock the other day at Film Forum, it's a British noir from '47, starring Richard Attenborough. I don't quite have it in me to write a full piece on it, but let me just say that it's well worth seeking out. Really cut-throat and vicious, the way noirs ought to be, and a good bit more unhinged than American ones were allowed to be at the time - not thematically, but:

u kno. And look at Attenborough's face, man! It's wild-looking, kind of mystifying. His performance in this is really out of sight, between seeing this and Jules Dassin's unbelievable Night and the City earlier this year, I'm really into the idea of seeking out more noirs by UK filmmakers or (cause I know Dassin's not a Brit you guys!) at least set out there.

Alright, we'll speak soon.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Read Andrei's Tetro review or I'll punch your fuckin' face off."
- Vincent Gallo

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Away We Go

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Spectrum Culture

I've been writing more lately, but it hasn't been going up here. I'm writing about movies for a site called Spectrum Culture, so if you're reading this you oughta check it out. My latest review for them is up on the front page now, but here's a full list of the articles posted thus far. Maybe I'll throw up a notice on here when more stuff comes up. I still plan to put things up on The Latham Loop as well, but it's gonna be at the same appalling level of frequency that you've come to expect from me. Or maybe I'll change this site's format into bl

The Window -
Viridiana -
The Hangover -
Munyurangabo -

Click on those Digg links, if you will.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Crank: High Voltage

Crank High Voltage, Neveldine/Taylor. [F] april 20th, (lol) 2009.

I was actually looking forward to seeing this. See, Crank was an aggressively stupid movie, but there was something clever about the way it pursued that platform; it was visually inventive, occasionally bold in its provocations, and most importantly it seemed to possess a sense of tongue in cheek self-awareness that diluted its more irredeemably repulsive moments and enhanced its often funny attempts at genuine humor.

The entire movie played out as self-parody, a replica of spastic action movie tropes taken to their grotesque extreme, resulting in a sort of blackly comic reflection of the genre it was trying to embody - and the mindset that sustains it - taking many cues from television commercials and video games as well. A man who can only stay alive by constantly upping his adrenaline – it’s not subtle, but it’s clever, it turned the film into a sort of ironic deconstruction of American machismo. Crank wasn't always consistently smart enough to carry this concept all the way to the end, but I admired its ambition and it had a few surprisingly interesting moments of pure cinema that enhanced its effect as well. Plus it wore its griminess on its sleeve, with Google Maps location transitions and crappy looking DV video that gave the whole film an endearing handmade feel. Having seen the second installment, I'm inclined to believe that it might’ve just been a fluke.

Even the concept of the second one is meaningless in comparison to the first: a plastic, electrically powered heart is placed in protagonist Chev Chelios’ (Jason Statham) chest and he is forced to constantly recharge it by exposing himself to extreme amounts of electricity. Crank High Voltage makes the mistake of assuming that the success of the first film was due to how whoaaaa craaaazy the whole thing was. Interesting, unique camera work and editing becomes incoherently fast and choppy, lazy and uninteresting. Jokes are entirely abandoned for the sake of accommodating unending strings of curse words shouted from the mouths of racial stereotypes in the same way that a ten year old would spit them out: meaninglessly, counting on the words’ inherent offensiveness to do all the legwork. I’m not moralizing here, there are multiple scenes where this literally happens, and it's more or less an embodiment of this film's entire approach. If you thought that the first film’s treatment of its female characters was questionable, prepare yourself for a movie that never passes up an opportunity to show a naked woman riddled with bullets.

This is what it would look like if the Scary Movie people decided to do a feature length parody of Crank. As a blatant cash grab, the film does a really bad job at delivering even more of the same. It’s a complete misreading of all the things that gave the first one merit and a celebration of all the things that weighed it down. As an action movie, it’s boring. As a comedy, it’s not funny. As a reflection of a worldview, it’s cancerous.

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