a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stuff that I did once

My Weekly junk: an Editor's Pick on a two-fer of Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip and Eddie Murphy Delirious (last one down); a review of the hilarious Stealth (numereux deux); Rep.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Brothers Grimm (2005, Terry Gilliam) [B]

[Now with spoilers!]
The key line, of course, is “All I wanted was a little order.” A mess but not at all a disaster, with a hodgepodge of themes -- most effectively, Heath Ledger as a bookish type who sees his imaginative ideas come violently to life - vying for space alongside Gilliam’s usual torrent of images, ideas, and general whirligig-ness. More than any other film - except for maybe Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, though my memory’s hazy on that one - it confirms Gilliam as the most ADD-addled director; he’s constantly throwing stuff at the screen and/or getting lost in minutiae, creating his own pace in the process. Richard Lester-style slapstick and high mugging (warning: Peter Stormare plays Italian) are the order of the day, while whole sequences go by without the plot advancing much or at all (the most glaring being the first trip to Monica Bellucci’s tree fortress, which appears to have been shot in real time). It’d behoove him to say he’s the Fellini of our day, only not irritating: he has none of il maestro’s closeted puritanism, but his films are still pure experiences -- bumpy rides with a neverending supply of stuff to gawk at. There’s little to no shape and few of the gimmicky ideas ever resonate amongst the madness - maybe a good thing, since it could have very easily turned into Van Helsing, or even a live-action Shrek - but individual moments stick out, and a tic-heavy Ledger surprisingly mops the floor with Matt Damon. It’s telling, surely, that the most memorable scene (a kid eerily turning into the Gingerbread Man) barely has anything to do with the plot. Basically, imagine a much-longer, more-aggressive Adventures of Baron Munchausen pared down to pure mania and you have the gyst. Great sfx, too, with a floating scene that doesn’t try to hide its blue-screen origins a retro treat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Who in the name of hell is John Roberts?

Once again, my sincerest apologies that this blog has devolved into a place for me to shamelessly plug my work. To wit, today's Weekly includes such by-me stuff as an A-list on a Susan Sontag film series, a review of the dim Italian lib-con satire Catarina in the Big City (fourth down), and, as ever, Rep. Typo of the week: that should be a "B" for Wait Until Dark. What is this, a Hitchcock film?

To cut-and-paste your own assessment of Roberts, jump here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A flimsy little exposé on J.K. Rowling

Last month, certain people cited Britain's Diana Wynne Jones, the author of Howl's Moving Castle, as a clear, almost libelous, inspiration for Rowling's neverending procession of blockbusters. To them, I ask: what about Troll? A modestly budgeted cheapie from the Corman-esque Empire Pictures, this 1986 cable classic features a character named Harry Potter going up against wizards, witches, magic, and, of course, trolls. Maybe the opus doesn't feature a sorting hat. But it does feature Sonny Bono slowly, slowly, slowly turning into a forest. No quidditch, maybe, but who needs an impenetrable game when you have a frügging Michael Moriarty? Not to mention that Hermione Granger has nothing on a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus prancing about in nothing but strategically placed leaves. Throw in flailing tentacles, a pathos-ridden midget, and June Lockhart as a modern day witch living in a roach motel apartment with a talking mushroom, and reappraisal is the only word I can think of.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

While awaiting excuses on behalf of Karl Rove

My Weekly stuff goes thusly: this (11 or so sprinkled throughout), this (right at the bottom), this (fourth down), and, as ever, this. Meanwhile, I will never, ever understand this. Kudos on the if-brief nod to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, which seems to be unainmously agreed upon as the real deal, albet only from those who've actually read the series.

Those doubtless breathlessly awaiting posts of substance, actual or attempted, will, alas, have to wait a hair longer.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Get off my back

Deepest apologies for the lack of updates recently. Been busy, y'know? On the other hand, my absence has meant decidedly less shameless plugs. Over the last three weeks, I've been remiss in bragging about this and this, but am just in time to shoot you here (second down), here (nine scattered about), and here (the whole dang thing). That's a lot of words, eh?

Picture of me vacating a port-o-san here. Note: haircut and posture and attire very regrettable and not, I believe, terribly representational. I believe.