11/26/2014

Rushmore (1998) *****

 Angelic.

 Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: We're putting you on what we call sudden death academic probation.
Max Fischer: And what does that entail?
Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: It entails that if you fail another class, you'll be asked to leave Rushmore.
Max Fischer: In other words, I'll be expelled.
Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: That's correct.
Max Fischer: Can I see some documentation on that, please? 

Max Fischer: Sic transit gloria. Glory fades. I'm Max Fischer.
Rosemary Cross: Hi.
Max Fischer: Hi. 

 Max Fischer: So you were in Vietnam?
Herman Blume: Yeah.
Max Fischer: Were you in the shit?
Herman Blume: Yeah, I was in the shit.

 Max Fischer: I like your nurse's uniform, guy. 
Dr. Peter Flynn: These are O.R. scrubs. 
Max Fischer: O, R they?

 "UNLOCK IT!!"

Max Fischer: The killing's gotta stop, esse. It's getting too loco. No more gats.
40 Ounce: Nigga, you the crazy one. People be tryin' to kill you and you talkin' about you're gonna get rid of your gun?
Max Fischer: It's time, homey.
 Margaret Yang: Kiss me, Little Juan.
  
 "You're a real jerk to me, you know that?"

 Coach Beck: What did you think, Mr. Littlejeans?
Mr. Littlejeans: Best play ever, man.

11/21/2014

Life Of Crime (2013) ***

Based on Elmore Leonard's novel 'The Switch', LIFE OF CRIME (which is a dumb title) starts out with a lot of Leonard flavor (although derivative of Soderbergh's superior OUT OF SIGHT), but loses steam pretty quickly. The tone is all off overall, particularly the score a good deal of the time (which also seems derivative of David Holmes' score from OUT OF SIGHT

Jennifer Aniston is serviceable but not as good as Jennifer Lopez in OUT OF SIGHT (both seemed like odd choices for Leonard adaptations). But it is nice to see Mos Def and John Hawkes (who deserved to be billed higher and whom I love - he never seems like he's acting in any movie he's in) portray Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara respectively, characters that originally appeared in Leonard's book 'Rum Punch' and were portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro in Tarantino's adaptation JACKIE BROWN. And the ending is great.

Enemy (2013) ****

An eerie, unsettling film that is equal parts Lynch, Kubrick, Fincher, Cronenberg and Kafka. Both films that I've seen by director Denis Villeneuve (this and PRISONERS) have been excellent.

11/15/2014

David Cronenberg 'Consumed' (2014) ***

An interesting and unique story involving insects, hearing aids, 3D printing, STDs, cannibalism, and more, which is very much a product of its maker. Mostly engaging, but I can't help but thinking with all its excruciatingly detailed descriptions of technology that it would make a better film.


11/07/2014

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) ****1/2 [Freddython Pt. 8]

Interstellar (2014) ***

Whew. What a lofty film. And what a love/hate relationship I have with it after my first viewing. First let me get it out of the way that I think Christopher Nolan is a "good" filmmaker. I happen to love MEMENTO and THE PRESTIGE and I'm apt to classify both films as masterpieces. I happen to  think INSOMNIA and INCEPTION are "good" films. In the case of INSOMNIA the original film is better, but Nolan's version benefits from some great lead performances. And I happen to think his Batman films are overrated and actually don't hold up all that well on repeat viewings. What I admire about Nolan is his willingness to take chances and craft interesting and beautiful-looking films that can equally entertain and frustrate. I'll always go see his films because he's definitely not a "boring" filmmaker. Now on to INTERSTELLAR...

**SPOILERS**

Essentially it's a modern version of ARMAGEDDON. It even includes a lot of cringe-inducing, eye-rolling, "heartfelt"/"important-sounding"/"heavy gravitas"/"action movie" dialogue. It has some typically tense time-dependent scenes (some of which are excellent and some of which are dumb). It is reminiscent of 2001, but it definitely does its own thing. It's just that it's "own thing" is a gorgeous-to-look-at but incredibly generic "love is the answer" plot. The biggest link I could find to 2001 was actually that I felt Matt Damon's character was sort of the human equivalent of HAL. But I have to say when he showed up I laughed out loud (I wasn't the only one) and all I could think was "Matt Damon." It would have been interesting to see Steven Soderbergh, who frequently (and successfully) collaborates with Damon, tackle this film. Though he already made an excellent remake of SOLARIS (with a gorgeous score by Cliff Martinez), as far as sci-fi "love" stories go, his take would have been decidedly more "cold" and Kubrickian, I'm sure.

INTERSTELLAR features a great score by Hans Zimmer, which evokes Philip Glass' score for KOYAANISQATSI and Clint Mansell's score for MOON (which is a far better sci-fi space movie, if you ask me). The score really is the film's strongest point, to my mind. It's unusual and sounds nothing like Zimmer's previous work. The special f/x are also absolutely seamless and top-notch. The acting is also fine from pretty much everyone, even though I can't understand what McConaughey is saying half the time. As if his southern-accent mumbling wasn't hard enough to understand, a lot of the sound mix is so brick-walled that it makes it near impossible to decipher. 

Ultimately, there's just not enough positives I can find with this film to balance out the terrible ham-fisted storyline and running time. Nolan feels the need to tie up EVERYTHING (which I felt was incredibly unnecessary), in typical Spielberg fashion. In fact, Spielberg was originally attached to direct this film - his take would have been intriguing, as his output is certainly mixed (though much more consistently great IMO and the man has made MANY flat-out classics). I wanted to like INTERSTELLAR so much more, but it's definitely not a bad film at all. It's just destined to be an overrated blockbuster that probably won't age well, in my opinion.