1/31/2011

There Will Be Blood (2007) *****

Watched this with Dean while he was up from FL (after we hiked both Sat & Sun for over 5 and 1/2 hours each day).
No point in writing about the content of the film, as it's been done to death.
This was my 3rd time watching TWBB in roughly as many years and nothing has diminished my opinion of it - I love every single frame of this film.
Dean wasn't so into it...oh well.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest (2009) ***

This one is on par with the 2nd film.
I can't quite decide which one I like better; I think I'd need to see them both again.
The third film in the "Millennium Trilogy" has the least "action", as it's more of a courtroom drama, but I found it quite engaging.
The conclusion was slightly less satisfying than I'd hoped for, but then again I'm not exactly sure what I'd hoped for.
The novels will be read soon!

1/27/2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009) ***

This was a lot better than I was expecting.
Not as good as the 1st film, but an engaging, competent thriller nonetheless.
I'm almost tempted to give it another 1/2 *, simply because what makes this film better than average are the characters, and you have to have gone through the events of Dragon Tattoo with them to appreciate it.
I like that Lisbeth's past is weaved into the story, even more so than in Tattoo.
What prevents me from giving the extra 1/2 * is that I feel the familial elements could have been explored more interestingly.

Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) ***1/2

Great little documentary on the subject, if you're into those types of "sick" movies, like myself.
But you'll need a DVD player that can handle PAL format, if you decide to purchase the DVD.
Here's a little history lesson, if you don't know what a "Nasty" is.
Ironic that the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984.
My only complaint is that I wish this doc was a 1/2 hour to an hour longer.
I've yet to delve into the gajillion hours of bonus features.

1/26/2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) ****

Finally watched this.
And it was really good, and plenty of people have written about it, so I won't bother.
If you like investigative/procedural detective/reporter thrillers (think Zodiac) with nicely developed characters and don't shy away from a few brutal scenes, you will dig it.

Speaking of Fincher, I am now looking forward to his version this year (and the soundtrack by Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross), even moreso, however I really think that Rooney Mara's version of Lisbeth is going to get toned down (although it is Fincher directing).
Is she going to appear nude? Will the rape scene be as disturbing? I have no doubt that Finch & Rez/Ross (my newly coined phrase for this director/composer team, which I really do hope will reach Hitchcock/Hermann heights) will bring it, but here's hoping Mara will equally rock it (I do have some doubts).

The 2nd film in the original trilogy should arrive from Netflix this week, with the 3rd film following shortly (I may have to stream or find a torrent as the Blu-ray is not available at the moment even though it was released in the States yesterday), so I'm excited to watch those.

I'd like to get around to reading the novels as well.*

*Edit - I ordered the Stieg Larsson Millenium Trilogy novels set from Amazon.

1/25/2011

Iron & Wine 'Kiss Each Other Clean' (2011) ***

Ironically only two songs on this album feature acoustic guitar (typically Sam Beam's bread & butter).
Two of the songs also feature saxophone, which I like.

I understand that Beam is trying something different (for him) in making a more accessible, upbeat "Pop" album, but it didn't grab me on first listen.

Tracks 9 & 10, "Glad Man Singing" & "Your Fake Name Is Good Enough" respectively, are my two favorites.

Some of the drums sound processed, but not in a dancy kind of way, more in the way that Cake uses them, which I'm not crazy about.

Overall, a good album, but it feels like Beam has it in him to really knock it out the ballpark on the next one or continue to make just "good", or even mediocre, albums from here on out.

Caddyshack (1980) ***1/2

"I've often thought about becoming a golf club."

This was only my 2nd viewing, believe it or not.
Blu-ray looks decent and has a decent, feature-length documentary (sadly, absent of any of the four main actors, save O'Keefe).

This movie really is pretty stupid and really has no plot, but I actually found it funnier the 2nd time around.
Chase, Knight, Murray & Dangerfield are what make the film. Well, Cindy Morgan helps too, but let's not kid ourselves as to why that is...

For some reason, I never realized until now that Brian Doyle-Murray (co-writer of this film) is Bill's brother. Having grown up after Caddyshack was released (the year I was born actually), I associate Doyle-Murray moreso as Noah from Wayne's World.

Classic (and mostly improvised) dialogue and budding comic geniuses save this film from becoming a forgotten dud and elevating it to a raunchy comedy classic.

1/21/2011

True Romance - Director's Cut (1993) ***

Something about this film hasn't aged well.
I feel as if should like this way more than I do now.
Upon previous viewings I have rated this movie a 1/2 to a whole * higher.
Now it seems *** is pushing it.
This movie has a ridiculously good cast, and some great moments, but the whole leaves me feeling a bit empty.
This film doesn't know what it wants to be - a romantic "comedy", a "serious" drama, a "mob" movie - and I suppose the mish-mash is probably why some people like it or what they feel sets it apart from other films.
But the jumble, along with the almost "heart warming", "feel good" score just doesn't grab me.
There was a very similar and far better film made 3 years previous to this one; it's called Wild At Heart (how about a Blu-ray?).

1/20/2011

Desperado (1995) ***1/2

I never get sick of this film.
Banderas really does lay it on thick, but it works.
Buscemi's facial expressions are what make the opening scene classic.
I forgot how strange and somewhat anti-climactic the "ending" is though.

1/18/2011

El Mariachi (1992) ***1/2

No idea how many times I've seen this film (maybe 4?).
I forgot how great it is.
I love the dream sequences; they remind me of early 70s Romero or Italian horror.
Carlos Gallardo is a bit like a Spanish Ricky Nelson.
He really carries the film in the acting department though; Consuelo Gómez has got nothing on Salma Hayek.

1/16/2011

Piranha (2010) ***1/2

2nd viewing.
Holds up just as well in 2D.
This is a great film that knows its genre (blood 'n' boobs).
It gets the extra 1/2 * for "Extra Stupid Fun".

1/14/2011

The Social Network (2010) ****1/2

I wasn't sure if I'd like this film quite as much on the 2nd viewing, but I can attest that my amazement has not been deterred one iota.
This movie moves at breakneck speed, but never feels rushed.
It's a 2 hour movie that feels like an hour.
Love the dialogue, the performances, the look, the soundtrack, the Blu-ray packaging.
It's no wonder Fincher has so many fanboys - I will watch anything by him; he has yet to let me down.

1/12/2011

The Model Couple (1977) ***1/2

Another great William Klein film.
Not as zany as Mr. Freedom, but just as entertaining.
Another awesome soundtrack, as well, one for which I can't seem to even find a listing for on Google!
I want MP3s, maaaan.

I seem to be giving a lot of ***1/2 star ratings...

Battle Royale (2000) ***1/2

Awesome box set from Arrow.
I guess it's already OOP!
PQ is serviceable; AQ is good, but a little boomy. 
Glad I ordered mine back in November, I believe.
Finally arrived today from the UK!
I watched the theatrical cut, as I'd only watched the DC previously on my bootleg DVD.

1/11/2011

The Town - Extended Cut (2010) ***

Decent.
Entertaining.
A bit over hyped.
Heist scenes were good.
A bit too much of a cross between Heat (Affleck's character even watches a scene from it in this film) and The Departed though, and not in the same league as either of those great films.
This guy had the best Boston accent.
Nice to see Jon Hamm in something other than Mad Men.
And it's a bit surreal to see a shoot-out filmed outside the McDonald's on Bolyston St.

Cake 'Showroom Of Compassion' (2011) ***1/2

Good tunes, but I liked Cake better before they decided to employ a drum machine for 75% of their songs.
There is definitely something missing.
Is it that hard to find a permanent drummer?
That said, "Mustache Man (Wasted)" is classic Cake.
"Bound Away" is another standout.

1/10/2011

Danman's Top 10 Albums Of 2010

  1. Spoon – Transference
  2. Massive Attack – Heligoland
  3. Goldfrapp – Head First
  4. The Black Keys – Brothers
  5. The Sword – Warp Riders
  6. Maserati – Pyramid Of The Sun
  7. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
  8. The Chemical Brothers – Further
  9. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Social Network (Soundtrack)
  10. Nigel Godrich – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Score)
Honorable Mentions:

  1. Six Finger Satellite – A Good Year For Hardness
  2. Clint Mansell – Black Swan (Soundtrack)
  3. Trans Am – Thing
  4. UNKLE – Where Did The Night Fall
  5. Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back
  6. Electric Six – Zodiac
  7. Vampire Weekend – Contra
  8. Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle
  9. Eels – Tomorrow Morning
  10. Eels – End Times
I would have included Devo - Something For Everybody in my Top 10 or Runners-Up, but I only just heard it a few days ago. It's awesome.

Danman's Top 10 Films Of 2010

  1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  2. The Social Network
  3. Shutter Island
  4. Inception
  5. Black Swan
  6. True Grit
  7. Frozen
  8. Iron Man 2
  9. Machete
  10. Piranha 3D
Honorable Mention:

Predators

Mr. Freedom (1969) ***1/2

2nd time viewing.

Over the top comic-book extravaganza that lampoons American politics featuring outrageous costumes and a great lead performance.
Soundtrack co-written by and starring Serge Gainsbourg (if anyone can find me MP3s of the soundtrack online, I would be grateful).

This movie earns the extra 1/2 * because it's so ludicrous.

1/09/2011

The Ghost Writer (2010) ***

Quick synopsis:

Well shot, nicely paced Polanski thriller on par with (and likely better than) his previous The Ninth Gate and featuring a great small cast.
Hitchcockian-like plot involves a writer dropped into a political shitstorm involving alleged military torture, with the events playing out surrounding the film's MacGuffin, a manuscript of a prime minister's memoirs.
There's only really a tiny bit of action and heightened suspense in the last 10 minutes, but overall this a recommendable film.

For fans of slow burners like Michael Clayton, but not up to par with All The President's Men.

1/08/2011

1st!

Since I'm an OCD geek, I've been keeping a log (an Excel spreadsheet) of all the films that I've watched since 2005.
Well, this year I'm going to start blogging about it.
It may just be a post with a title and my rating, it may be a few words about the film and a recommendation or it may be a full-blown review.
I may also use this blog for commentary on music, books, comics, art, my band, random stuff and life in general.
We'll see what happens.