Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Threefer and More Criticism

The following are my reviews of the three most recent movies I have watched. Enjoy.

The Ladykillers- A Coen Brothers, not quite classic but still dark, fun filled, yarn.

If you enjoy Tom Hanks as a southern gentleman criminal reading the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, then you will enjoy this movie. Meaning? You'd be hard pressed to find any by the end of this film, but the simple story fills the movie's time surprisingly well and I was never caught wondering how much longer I had to go. I must say though, that the only thing that allows it to carry itself so well is the characters and their quarks.

Cassandra's Dream- A Woody Allen thriller/brothers film, weird.

Alright, let's try and look at this movie objectively. It's a hard thing, for me at least, to do with any Woody Allen film. The plot is basically a character study of two brothers who get themselves into a dark and messy situation and how they separately react to the events that follow.

The best thing to be said of the film is that it builds tension throughout the first half better than almost any movie I've seen, but about two-thirds the way into the film I was beginning to wonder when it was all going to end--at this point the film had reached an odd sort of "dragging tension." Also, it lacked much insight into the relationship between brothers, which was disappointing because his insights into different relationships is  Woody Allen's foremost quality (in my opinion).

in all, worth watching if you love seeing Woody Allen movies for the sake of seeing Woody Allen movies.

The Fountain- A humorless quasi-meta triptych of a movie.
 This film is notorious for lacking any sort of middle ground for critics. They either love it or hate it. Oddly, I find myself able to see the movie from both points of view, which is a bit crippling.
Anyways, the general idea of the film consists of a mish-mash of Christian/Mayan/Taoist myth and ideology that interweaves itself throughout three separate story-lines going on, which all (it could be argued) consist of the same two characters, but never quite "touch."

It is--like it sounds--a pretty precariously balanced story, fraught with all sorts of potential pitfalls. However, is this not always the case when a movie enters new territory? And, for all that could have gone so horribly wrong, they maneuver the film with excellence through the dark clouds.

One thing you may notice in the movie is that it is completely humorless. Not a single funny moment story-wise, not even one joke that breaks the seriousness of the mood for even a moment. Now, usually I would hate this in a film, but here it works well. In fact, had they tried some comic relief it would have just been awful. All this isn't to say there isn't happy moments in the movie, certainly much of it is touching and here in it lies the films secret strength: it moves you emotionally, in many directions.

So, overall I give this film the thumbs-up. Not because it was flawless, but because it ventured into new territory which is something that so few films do today. Along with that, Hugh Jackman doesn't hurt anything either.

Well, kids! That was fun, so until next time, I bid you farewell,

Film Critic #1313

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To You, Mr. Man With a Spray-Paint Can

Near the vicinity of my home there have been a few works of "graffiti" recently added to the shopping carts and cigarette butts which decorate the streets. Now, I have no qualms with those who consider the world their art gallery, but--as it is with any artist who displays his or her work--they open themselves up to criticism, which is now being passed, by me.
This graffiti artist has left two of his or her musings along the sidewalk. One reads, "All is one..." and with this one I have no quarrel. The other reads, "When all is said and done, have you said and done enough?" and it is with this one that I have the proverbial "bone to pick."
Number one: Did you get this phrase from someone's Facebook status? Because that's the impression that I'm getting.
Number two: The only time when all is said and done is when your dead, and then it doesn't really matter how much you said or did, does it?
Number three: I remain a firm believer in quality over quantity (except where American currency is concerned).
In summation, I suggest to you Graffiti Artist, that you spend a little more time at WikiQuote before again venturing forth to desecrate public property.

Sincerely yours,

Public Art Critic #1313

Fargo and the Need to Categorize Everything, Even Art

A word to the wise about the debate--one of the favorites among film dilettante --as to who the protagonist is in the film Fargo: if you're having a hard time fitting something into your structure it might be because your structure isn't as universal as it is conveniently believed to be.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shameless Promotion

Hey, peoples. My wife has an awesome online store for to sell her projects and artwork. Everyone who hasn't should check it out! It's mostly geared toward the lady-types and I'm almost positive that most everyone who reads this blog is a dude, so a reminder that nothing wooes the ladies like buying them stuff.