Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Most everyone has seen The Bourne Identity. It’s pretty much required viewing. Still, the action-heavy studio-mandated reshoots are worth a quick mention.

“Additional photography” is a euphemism for some slob at the studio deciding a movie isn’t dumb enough. This could have been a near-perfect film, but there is so much indulgence in unrealistic situations that the movie must be appreciated piecemeal. Hopefully, the audience watches the good parts and forgets about the parts that drag.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Love & Pop (1998)

Love & Pop is a film about how a few aimless schoolgirls respond to escort clients. Contrary to certain beliefs, it’s not really about anything else.

Anno Hideaki’s first live-action feature, the film echoes the director’s prior experience with animated productions. The style is so striking that it almost prompts criticism for its frenetic editing and postmodernist shot-on-MiniDV camerawork. However, over the course of the film, the frenzy subsides into calm. It has the same emotional arc as most other Anno productions, something that feels authentic.

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Solaris (1972)

This 2-hour 40-minute Soviet sci-fi art film is one of the slowest movies ever made. I know people say that about 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) but Solaris really takes the cake.

Is it better than the George Clooney version? Yes. Is it a fun watch for a modern audience? Well… It’s not until the second act that we go to space, we learn that the protagonist is a psychologist, and the camera starts moving a bit. The first 45 minutes or so are a waste of time, and it never really ramps up. So is it a fun watch? No.

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Strange Days (1995)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by James Cameron, Strange Days is a mashup of Christopher Walken’s Brainstorm (1983) and the LA riots. It’s not The Matrix (1999), it’s not Escape from New York (1981), it’s a mix of different things that starts strong but fizzles out in the end.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The King of Comedy (1982)

The film opens with an insane crowd flocking around a Jerry Lewis-like character (played by Jerry Lewis). It’s intentionally nauseating. The movie knows more than the audience at this point, presenting an alien world of televised comedy and the surrounding fandom. This is Scorsese’s world, a world of extreme characters in the American excess of the last century.

Scorsese presents a century unburdened by soulless tech giants, fraud, deception, and insincerity. A century in which you can either talk to Jerry Lewis’s secretary over the telephone or go in person. A wonderful century. The century presented is one in which the protagonist, an aspiring comedian played by Robert De Niro, is free to approach the business however he wants, and he carves his path right through the man who he thinks is his friend.

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