Monday, January 7, 2008

I Remember It Now

Lifeboat, that was the other movie I rented. It was Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

I've seen a bad Hitchcock movie; this is not it. This one is good. Its one of those movies only Hitchcock would dare make, in which all the action takes place in one confined location - in this case, in a small lifeboat in the middle of the endless Atlantic. It doesn't have much in the way of bells and whistles - no particularly nail-bitey scenes or wild, impossible camera tricks - but it doesn't need them. The action moves along quickly and you're never quite sure where the little boat will end up, or who will still be aboard. A trim, neat suspense classic from the master.

The Libertine was a fun little watch, nothing terribly moving, even with Johnny Depp as the lead. He sort of just Depps his way through the deplorable character John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester. But, you know, deplorable characters are fun, and Johnny Depp is hot, and there are costumes a plenty. Its one of those filthy period pieces, where everyone has a disease and no one bathes and you can almost smell the piss oozing out of the mud. Worth seeing for the wigs.

Hot on the heals of the Libertine was Sweeney Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street. What a bleak story, and talk about deplorable. Here is a man who's so lost faith in humanity, he slits strangers' throats and then eats them (cooked into pies first, naturally). Delightful! But ugh, what a bloodbath! I watched half the film through my fingers. I actually kinda like the non-singer singing, though once the actual musical theater folks start laying it down, its pretty obvious Depp and Helen Bohnam Carter are vocally out of their league. I don't know the musical so well, but was glad the glorious Sondheim soundtrack stays - as far as I could tell - intact. Regardless, the costumes and pissy mud make the movie, so there you go.

Last Saturday, I took in three movies in one day. Let me tell you all about it (I know, I'm breaking the brevity rule... indulge me!) -

No Country For Old Men: Almost as bloody as Sweeney Todd, certainly as bleak, but not tempered by beautiful music and stunning gothery, so I left the theater feeling shocked and amazed. Tommy Lee Jones is absolutely impeccable; in fact, there's not a lick of bad acting in the whole picture, everyone really nails each moving character spot on. An enigmatic, brutal, atmospheric gem. As my friend Tim said, do not hesitate to see this film. Cohen Brothers, FTW.

Labyrinth!: Jesus, what a stupid movie. I love David Bowie, and I love Muppets, so why do I find this movie grating? Even when I was a kid, I found it trite. Its too sentimental, that's what it is. How about a genuine scare next time, Jim Henson? Oh, right, Dark Crystal. Okay, you're excused. (And we miss you!)

Y Tu Mama Tambien: Gael Garcia Bernal is the loveliest human being alive. God damn. Its not natural. And then put him in this smoking hot film about doing it, and forget about it. Okay, considering Greg's the only person who reads this, maybe I shouldn't be so gushy. But really, the guy's wonderful, the film's wonderful, everything and everyone in it is wonderful - which is exactly why, when you get to the end and realized the whole story's about loss, its such a punch in the gut: you can't have a true sense of loss unless you fully realize that everything lost is beautiful. In life, discovering this vicious fact is routine; in film, it takes a bit more effort. This film puts out the effort and the rewards are sorrowfully successful. There's a reason everyone goes on about how good it is.


  1. You're right, though: Bernal's a good looking chap.

  2. david bowie in tights! package practically bouncing off of his knees! wait, *this* is a *children's* movie?

  3. A random list of movies I've watched recently (mostly from cable--DVRs are the greatest thing ever invented):

    Hope & Glory (amazing film--forgot how good it was)
    Twin Peaks--Fire Walk With Me
    Kontroll (Hungarian, very cool)
    The Dreamers (Bertolucci--same guy who did Last Tango in Paris)
    Garden State
    8 1/2 Women (Peter Greenaway!)
    Husbands (Cassavetes)

    next in the queue--Inland Empire (David Lynch's new one)

    ...and yes, I saw Y Tu Tambien, too