Comments on watching and making films.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kill List

Kill List has been blowing up the blogosphere, and I finally got a chance to see it. The film centers around two friends, Jay and Gal, who are partners in the assassination business. Ex soldiers who know how to do little but kill, Gal brings a job opportunity to Jay, who has fallen on hard times since an injury has forced a prolonged break from their work. The job isn't as cut and dry as the two think, though, and some pretty heady stuff happens to them on their journey.

I don't want to give anything away, because it might ruin the experience of watching the film, so I'll just say that the direction it takes is completely out of left field, and was a surprise considering the trailer, which would leave you to believe this is a pretty standard assassin film. The acting is amazing in it, and director Ben Wheatley is a master at building an odd and uncomfortable tension as the film moves forward. While I do HIGHLY recommend this film, it is not for those who are averse to onscreen violence. One particular sequence had me covering my eyes because of it graphic violence, and at least one person in the theater I was in got up and left.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Room

Tommy Wiseau's The Room is legendary. I remember when I first moved out to LA, there was a billboard for the movie on Highland, near where I lived. I always meant to go see it at the Sunset 5, where they had monthly midnight screenings, but, unfortunately, took it for granted and now Sunset 5 is no more. Well, I got the chance to see it at the Belcourt theater in Nashville, and, while the film lives up to its atrocious pedigree, the experience of see it with an audience is what truly made the whole thing worth it. I definitely do not recommend renting this movie and watching it by yourself. Wait for a screening and go to that. It seems like every screening I've ever heard of has people in attendance who are well aware of all of the standard Room jokes, and the audience participation is what will take this film into the "bearable" territory.

If you do plan to go to a screening, The Onion's AV Club has put together this handy guide to all of the crowd participation stuff.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hollis Frampton's "Critical Mass"

Just watched this (available below in three segments), and it is intense, and, I really like it. It's almost hypnotizing, in a way.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Artist

Hollywood has a way of patting itself on the back with films, which is why it seems odd that a French filmmaker would pull together two French leads to make a film that comes off as another Hollywood mirror gazer.

The Artist stars Jean DuJardin as George Valentin, a prototypical silent film era star, who, upon the invention of sound, is forced out of the studio he has made countless dollars for. When he mounts his own production, he sticks with the same type of silent movies that made him famous, and tanks, costing him everything. Berenice Bejo, who plays Peppy Miller, an actress discovered and made famous by Valentin, feels bad for the star, who has fallen into a self destructive cycle, culminating with him lighting his apartment and belongings on fire, in hopes that he will also be consumed by the flames. When his dog manages to get him rescued, and Valentin is taken to the hospital, Miller visits and opens her world to him, letting him get back up on his feet, and even bringing him back into the fold of the studio that had tossed him aside.

This film is pretty much drivel. I don't recommend it at all. The only redeeming aspect of it is Miller's obvious love for Valentin. She seems to genuinely care about the man, but The Artist's hit you over the head, and then beat you while you're down message of pride coming before the fall is just Hollywood giving itself a pass to push aside the very people that made it what it is today. So many stars, talented people, were simply tossed aside when sound came in to play. A whole generation of potential was thrown in the trash, almost overnight. Sorry Hollywood, but The Artist won't convince me you were in the right, and considering how people have rediscovered some of the awesome talent of the silent era through home video, I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who's calling shenanigan's on this one.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Lynne Ramsay has only released three feature's in the last ten+ years, but her debut, Ratcatcher, is one of the most solid first outings I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and her newest, We Need To Talk About Kevin, is a smack in the face to remind you of how amazing indie filmmaking can be.

Tilda Swinton plays Eva, the wife to John C. Reilly's Franklin, and Ezra Miller's Kevin. Eva and Kevin, from the moment he is out of the womb, have a contentious relationship, one that grows more frightening all the time. They are like to rooster's in a cage, fighting to the death all the time. Franklin never seems to notice Kevin's awkward and disturbing behavior, seeing as how it is always directed towards Eva, and almost always happens when he is not around. But is it just a matter of Eva's perspective, or is there something genuinely wrong with Kevin.

Ramsay really creates an amazing and skin crawling dynamic between Eva and Kevin, and, in fact, Eva and the whole world. One wonders how much of this is real, and how much of this is going on her head. Well placed clues along the way, though, allow you to put together an informed concept of who this woman is, and I can't think of ANYONE more suited to bring out the subtleties and mannerisms of Eva than Tilda Swinton. This really is one of her best roles.

We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of my favorites of the year, and Ramsay packs a lot of punch into it. I highly recommend seeing it.