Showing posts from January, 2011

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

This was my third time watching TWBB(2007) in roughly as many years and nothing has diminished my opinion of it - I love every single frame of this film.

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

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest (2009) is on par with the second 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!

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

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009) was a lot better than I was expecting. Not as good as the first 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 (2009) with them to appreciate that. 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

Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) is a great little documentary on the subject, if you're into those types of "sick" movies, like myself. But you'll need a player that can handle PAL format, if you decide to purchase theDVD.

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.

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

Finally watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009). And it was really good. If you like investigative/procedural detective/reporter thrillers (think Zodiac(2007)) with nicely developed characters that 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), however I really think that Rooney Mara's version of Lisbeth is going to get toned down (although it isFincher 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) will bring it, but here's hoping Mara will equally rock it (I do have some doubts).

The second film in the original 'Millennium Trilogy' should arrive from Netflix this week, with the third film following shortly, so I'm excited to watch those. I'd like to get around to reading the novels as well…

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

Ironically only two songs on this Iron & Wine 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 either really knock it out the ballpark on the next one or continue to make merely "good", or even mediocre, albums from here on out.

Caddyshack (1980) ***1/2

This was only my second viewing of Caddyshack (1980), believe it or not. The 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 second 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 (1992).

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.

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

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

True Romance (1993) hasn't aged well. I feel as if I 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 of it 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 mishmash 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 averysimilar and far better film made 3 years previous to this one; it's called Wild At Heart (1990) (how about a Blu-ray of that film??).

Desperado (1995) ***1/2

I never get sick of Desperado(1995)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.

El Mariachi (1992) ***1/2

I have no idea how many times I've seen El Mariachi (1992) (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. Consuelo Gómez has got nothing onSalma Hayekthough.

Piranha (2010) ***1/2

On a second viewing Piranha(2010) 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".

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

I wasn't sure if I'd like The Social Network(2010) as much on the second viewing, but I can attest that my first impression hasn't changed - I love it. This movie moves at breakneck speed, but never feels rushed. It's a 2 hour movie that feels like an hour. I love the dialogue, the performances, the look, the soundtrack, the Blu-ray packaging. It's no wonderFincher has so many fanboys - I will watch anything by him; he has yet to let me down.

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

Another great William Klein film. The Model Couple (1977) is not as zany as Mr. Freedom(1969), 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.

Battle Royale (2000) ***1/2


The Town - Extended Cut (2010) ***

The Town(2010) is decent and entertaining, if not overhyped. The heist scenes were good. A bit too much of a cross between Heat (1995) (Affleck's character even watches a scene from that film in this film) and The Departed(2006) though, and not in the same league as either of those greats. Titus Welliverhas the best Boston accent. Nice to see Jon Hamm in something other than Mad Men(2007-2015). And it's a bit surreal to see a shoot-out filmed outside the McDonald's on Boylston St.

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

Good tunes, but I likedCake 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.

Danman's Top Albums Of 2010

Spoon TransferenceMassive Attack HeligolandGoldfrapp Head FirstThe Black Keys BrothersThe Sword Warp RidersMaserati Pyramid Of The SunGorillaz Plastic BeachThe Chemical Brothers FurtherTrent Reznor & Atticus Ross The Social Network (Soundtrack)Nigel Godrich Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Score) Honorable Mentions: Six Finger Satellite A Good Year For Hardness Clint Mansell Black Swan(Soundtrack)Trans Am ThingUNKLE Where Did The Night FallPeter Gabriel Scratch My BackElectric Six ZodiacVampire Weekend Contra Blonde Redhead Penny SparkleEels Tomorrow MorningEels End TimesI would have included Devo'sSomething 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 Films Of 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe Social NetworkShutter IslandInceptionBlack SwanTrue GritFrozenIron Man 2MachetePiranha 3D Honorable Mention:

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

This was my secnd time viewing Mr. Freedom (1969), an over the top comic book extravaganza that lampoons American politics featuring outrageous costumes and a great lead performance. The soundtrack was co-written by and the film also stars 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.

The Ghost Writer (2010) ***

The Ghost Writer(2010) is a well shot, nicely paced Polanski thriller on par with his previous The Ninth Gate and featuring a great small cast.

The Hitchcockian-like plot revolves around a 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(1976).


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.