Friday, January 18, 2008

Random thoughts on random films

28 Weeks Later

One of the better films of last year and a genuinely scary horror film. It's also a sad meditation (when it actually slows down for you to meditate on things) on the secrets a father keeps and the feeling of loss and isolation. The scene in the subway is one of the scariest I have seen. Great horror film.

The Lookout

Scott Frank is one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood (Out of Sight, Minority Report) and with his first time directing, The Lookout is one of the better thrillers of recent memory. Interested more in the psyche of its characters rather than on bank heists, shootouts, and car chases, it was one of the biggest surprises of last year. It reminded me just how talented he is, as it ranks among his best film and is an intelligent thriller with a tremendous eye and feel for pacing and a great ear for dialogue (just like Out of Sight and Minority Report.) Check it out.

Talk to Me
and The Hoax

I love biopics. Especially ones about people I didn't know much about. These two films are flawed, but have great performances surrounding them and offered insight into two lives of people I knew nothing about. Petey Green and Clifford Irving are extraordinary characters who talk fast and have to think fast. In Kasi Lemmons' Talk to Me Petey is one of the first FM morning DJ's and it is apparent that he paved the way for such shock jocks as Howard Stern and the countless morning shows now found on the FM dial. Also, the scene where the radio station learns of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination is both touching and a pitch perfect delivery by Don Cheadle in one of his best performances. The Hoax is a flawed film, but Richard Gere is so good and the material so intriguing that you forgive its shortcomings. Clifford Irving lied to everyone (even himself) in order to convince people that he was the main man behind the definitive Howard Hughes biography. The ending veers off into A Beautiful Mind territory, and that's too bad, because the film is at its best when it Irving is thinking on his feet and just barely being able to convince his publishers and himself that he is a successful writer, writing the book of the century.

The Simpson's Movie

My favorite show and the greatest show of all time hits the big screen in what is essentially an hour and twenty minute episode. Although the technique and the jokes play much bigger. Beautiful animation by the entire crew (most likely headed up by David Silverman and Jim Reardon) as they are able to do things they just don't have time for on television: Long shots, tracking shots, longer reveals leading to better pay offs for the jokes, etc. Is it worth 15 years plus of waiting? I don't know, sure. It's not as if it's as disappointing as say X-Files: The Movie. I mean I am not that big of a nerd right, I have only watched it three times (with commentary.) Now maybe Al Jean can get back to making the show consistently funny.

---- Movies I still haven't seen that I need to in the next couple of weeks: There Will Be Blood, Breach, and yes...Pathfinder (see post below.) Also, I want to check out the new Director's Cut of Zodiac (my pick for the best film of the year, again, see posts below.)


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