…and the quest to see everything

Archive for May 5, 2010

Pre-Thoughts: Harry Brown


(ph markgorman)

My friend Matt once talked to me about this cinematic trend of old people beating the shit out of everyone. Awesome.

But the critics are supposed to our older brothers, holding our hands through contemporary culture and tell us that “Harry Brown” is either an accurate portrayal of the changing social mores of Britain/the West. Or talk to us like A.O. ‘Call Me’ Scott and Michael Philips in “At The Movies,” who threw around the words ‘gratuitous’ and ‘dumb’ in describing the movie. I’ll respect that. “Harry Brown” continues to be a divisive film for the critics from its festival runs last year until its theatrical release last week/today.

The two camps of opinions about this movie and the two ways of seeing it make me ambivalent. These days I just wanna sit back and let the movie happen, but at the same time I don’t wanna be manipulated.

It made the trailer rounds last week, and it looks decent. It shows Michael Caine talking to people who sound like grime rappers. ‘Bout time.

Speaking of Michael Caine, he’s made crap after making masterpieces, but he’s been the go-to British guy since “The Quiet American,” well, at least for those actors who had their first outing in the 60’s/70’s. He can pull of looking upper class but has a little Cockney tinge making him versatile. His status will probably stay with him no matter how this movie turns out. It’s the last round for the ‘go-to British guy’ battle to be honest, and I don’t know what the likes of Ian McKellen or Michael Gambon can do to surge ahead.

So I’m probably gonna get paid by the time this post goes on the interwebs but I do have bills. So will I see this? Sure.


WE DIDN’T CROSS THE BORDER


(ph shockya)

THE BORDER CROSSED US!

I haven’t gone to AICN in a while, but this is just too good not to share.


And this is the reason why I can’t hate on Jessica Alba anymore. Happy Cinco de Mayo. You have one more hour to celebrate!


Requiem for a Dream


(ph. secret)

My first encounter with this movie was in my college years. I thought it unwatchable, seeing all those slouchy junkies dancing and reveling in intoxication, wanting neither pause nor redemption. It’s something, at that time, that touched a dark, personal part of me from which I wanted to distance myself, so I had to change the channel. But this is the kind of movie you get if you wanted realism, and there’s a demand for that.

The time that I finally saw this movie was a televised edited version, and no, I didn’t get to see more of Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) naked with his girlfriend. Nor did I see what Marion (Jennifer Connelly) did with that dildo, and though I have the full version with me I don’t plan on seeing that scene.

And that relentless soundtrack. I’m pretty sure there’s only one or two-minute intervals of dialogue or silence between pieces of powerful music. Ironically enough, I’m sure that a track called ‘Marion Barfs’ (under other names in the soundtrack) is now being used to promote televised sporting events.

I do find the rapid cuts and extreme close-ups and split screens gratuitous in other examples. It almost was here. The shots of eyeballs and syringes bored you until another season/act comes and we find the characters deeper into a more interesting section of the rabbit hole. Also, my pet peeve that there are windows with no views here too, noting that this is still cheaper, independent film making despite of its achievements in other areas. But the characters and tragedy, reaching their inevitable ends, are effective enough to overshadow the flaws.

I cheated on a Sidney Lumet double bill to watch this. Had I seen this in its entirety a few years ago, I would have dismissed it as a jewel of turn of the twenty-first century film making like “American History X.” And “Requiem” is still that – I never thought to call a movie made ten years ago would be slightly dated. Last Saturday I was ready, and in doing so I treat it neither with love nor hate but respect.

(klassy)

I’ve always seen movies where Jennifer Connelly was the damsel in quasi-distress (“Little Children,”). I know that there are movies where she plays the unconventional reincarnation of the femme fatale (“House of Sand and Fog”). In this movie she refreshingly plays both. There’s also Nick’s argument that Jennifer Connelly did subtler and thus better work than the Oscar nominated Ellen Burstyn, which I respect and kinda agree with. Nonetheless, Darren Aronofsky works his players like athletes.

This movie is the middle ground between Aronofsky’s grit and trashy (“The Wrestler”) and the fantasy (“The Fountain”). So far, it’s the movie that best embodies what the rest of his work is like, although his best is yet to come.

This movie can also arguably be the gateway to the boyish Kubrickian surrealism that embodies the movies of the past decade (Mexican New Wave etc.). But then “Memento” apparently came out three weeks before this movie. Apples and oranges. I haven’t seen “Memento” in so long so I can’t choose which one’s my favourite.

Lastly, cannot wait for Black Swan.