Posts Tagged ‘film

22
Apr
17

The Man with the Midas Touch (James Bond 3)

Goldfinger was the film that perfected the James Bond formula. The first two films developed it, but there were bits that were rough around the edges and pieces that were missing. It wasn’t until this third film that everything solidified into the quintessential formula. Filmed on a budget of $3 million, and raking in a whopping $125 million, the filmmakers quickly learned that the public loved this latest iteration, and they have rarely strayed from it since.

The behind-the-scenes history of the James Bond franchise is often more interesting than the films themselves. A few years earlier, when the filmmakers wanted to make Dr. No, they had originally attempted to lure Guy Hamilton into the director’s chair. Hamilton declined, and the producers went with Terrence Young instead. This was a huge benefit to the film series, as it was Young who taught Connery how to play Bond. Without that insight, who knows if the series would have been so popular?

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23
Sep
16

Look Who’s Back

Like many people, I have a morbid fascination with World War II and the Third Reich. Seventy years later, we still produce movies and books set in this era. It was a pivotal time, perhaps the most important in human history. And with the Nazi party being so ludicrously evil, well, it’s hard not to be fascinated by them. Fascination is not the same thing as condoning, mind you. They were evil personified, and it’s hard not to examine them. So, when I heard about the 2014 German film, Look Who’s Back, I jumped at the chance to watch it.

Look Who’s Back is simultaneously one of the most hilarious and frightening films I have seen in a very long time. The premise is brilliant: Adolf Hitler wakes up in modern-day Germany, and everyone he encounters thinks he’s a method actor doing performance art. But he isn’t doing anything like that, he’s the Fuhrer, and he wants to seize control again.

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03
Sep
16

Hara-kiri (1962)

Hara-kiri is a 1962 samurai film directed by Masaki Kobayashi and starring Tatsuya Nakadai. Generally speaking, I don’t really like Japanese live action films much. I don’t know why I keep watching them. They are mostly garbage. Fortunately, this one was a lot different.

It’s hard to explain what this movie is about without spoiling everything that happens. So, I’ll just give you the gist of it. During the feudal period in Japan, many samurai were left without masters (ronin). Some would go to the homes of lords and ask for a place where they could commit Hara-kiri to die with honor. Sometimes, though, certain ronin would not kill themselves, and refuse to leave the Lord’s home unless they were paid off.

Nakadai shows up at the home of one such lord. He is a ronin and wants to commit Hara-kiri. The lord is away, so Nakadai speaks with his head counselor. The counselor is uncertain about letting Nakadai commit Hara-kiri, because the last ronin who showed up for this very purpose did so as a bluff to get money.

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21
Dec
14

I Am Santa Claus

I recently watched a documentary that chronicles a year in the life of four professional Santa Clauses. It provides an inside look at what these men go through in an entire year. January through September are lean, boring, lonely months. From October onward, Santa Claus suddenly comes in demand. These men make a lot of money for just two months’ work leading up to the big day.

The four Santas are very different. There is Lonely Santa, Gay Santa, New Jersey Santa, and Swinger Santa. Each has a vastly different lifestyle. What we see is that these are regular guys with the same problems as everyone else. The movie also includes WWE wrestler Mick Foley, who has been obsessed with Christmas since an early age, and documents his first attempt at playing Santa.

Some of the Santas get more screentime than others. Lonely Santa probably gets the most, as he’s got the most sympathetic story. He’s just a single guy, no family or friends to speak of, who toils away in his basement apartment, clinging to the hope that he’ll get hired on for another Christmas. Living paycheck to paycheck is hard on him, and you certainly feel he sadness.

Continue reading ‘I Am Santa Claus’

05
Jul
14

Sandra Bullock in Space Made Me Shit My Pants

Gravity poster

I’m a little slow at getting around to new movies. I just don’t see the point in wasting $10 to see an overwrought, cliche piece of shit at the first-run theater. So, Mrs. Brik and I almost always wait to see stuff in the second-run theater. We spend a hell of a lot less money, and if the movie turns out to be shitty, it doesn’t feel like much of a loss. Gravity, like so many others, was a movie we waited to see in the second-run theater. That was a mistake. It was well worth the full admission price. I wish I had seen it sooner.

Gravity is less of a film and more of an event. It’s a massive spectacle that keeps you glued to the screen. You get completely lost in it. The typical things you expect in a film, like music, sound effects, character development, are thrown out the window. Gravity is like no other film before it. It is so different than other movies, you can’t judge it in the typical fashion. You don’t watch Gravity, you experience it.

Continue reading ‘Sandra Bullock in Space Made Me Shit My Pants’

08
May
14

Classically Shitty: Lawrence of Arabia

Some guys you’ve never heard of present this movie.

Just because a movie has excellent cinematography and a rousing soundtrack, it should not automatically be heralded as a classic. Lawrence of Arabia has been considered a triumph of film-making since its release, and it is still widely regarded as a masterpiece of cinema. Unfortunately, people forget that a movie has to exceed on all levels: acting, storytelling, directing, etc. for it to be a timeless classic. This movie in particular fails hard in several areas, and there is no way in hell it should be considered a masterpiece.
Lawrence of Arabia tells the true story of T.E. Lawrence, a British megalomaniac who tries to single-handedly win independence for the Arab people in World War I. Yeah, that’s right, the main character is one of the most self-centered characters in the history of film. He’s a product of his time, that’s for sure. Being a white, British male, he believes wholeheartedly in the superiority of his race and culture over all others. The British were the masters of colonialism, and Lawrence falls in line with this attitude hook, line, and sinker.
I know what you’re thinking, all three of you who have seen this movie: LOL BUT BRIK IVE SEEN TIHS MOVEE AND LAWRNCE WANTS ARABS TO BE EQUAL TO TEH BRITISH LOL! Well, sure, you’re partially right. Lawrence spends a considerable amount of time helping the Arabs and spouting dialogue proclaiming he wants the Arabs to be independent. He lives with them, dresses like them, eats their food, and they consider him to be one of their own. But that absolutely does not mean he feels like he has become one of them. Oh, no, he still believes, absolutely, in his superiority.
21
Dec
13

Rare Exports – Crappy Christmas to You

This picture is better than the actual movie.

Rare Exports is a 2010 Finnish movie about Santa Claus. Although, it’s not Santa in the big red suit with a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. No, this version of Santa is a lot nastier. The film’s conceit is that Santa is a mythical monster, like something you’d see in an original Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. Santa is a feral creature who lives in the isolated woods of Finland. He ravenously kills and eats anyone who is naughty. Unfortunately, just about everyone is naughty, so no one is safe.
Sounds like a great setup, right? The premise is cool as hell, and certainly wins points for originality. OK, not exactly. The idea of a nearly impossible to please Santa Claus was already done in Futurama. A robotic Santa had such high standards that only Dr. Zoidberg made it to the nice list. Everyone else got a helping of laser blasts and rocket attacks. So, the idea isn’t completely original. But what idea is? The important thing is the execution. As long as they executed it well, everything will be fine.
The execution, however, sucked. The movie’s running time is only 82 minutes. Within such a short time to work, and with a cool premise, the best thing would be to introduce the characters, then jump right into the action. Rare Exports doesn’t do this. It spends the first 60 minutes farting around with boring characters. When shit finally gets going, there are only 20 minutes of film left. To say that the first hour of the movie is squandered would be an understatement.



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