…and the quest to see everything

Posts tagged “2010

The All Wet Blog-A-Thon: Inception


It’s super boring to talk about Christopher Nolan‘s Inception, the favourite movie of people born yesterday, but despite of the flaws we know about it’s a movie we like revisiting. Or it likes revisiting us. Like every (lax) fan boy I was obsessed with Hans Zimmer‘s bombastic soundtrack, half of the songs deserving to be a ballet that needs to happen, especially the track “The Dream is Collapsing,” it’s suggestions of violent and volatile movement. I then had to look up and remember which scene it corresponds and it couldn’t have been a better one, starting with the appropriately named Mal (Marion Cotillard) ruining her living husband Dom Cobb’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) extraction. Being in a dream within a dream Dom’s collaborators try to wake up him up to salvage the mission. On the first dream level it just looks like the old architect (Lukas Haas) pushing his boss down a tub and ruining the latter’s not so young face and white suit which, in hindsight looks ridiculously over-played. But we see that the first level infiltrates the second. This isn’t necessarily rain as the blogathon requires but it, like an act of God, comes out of the sky and into the palace’s rooftops. Dom eventually watches this artificial world’s destruction, being brought back to the fiery troubles of the first level and the real world itself. It’s a beautiful event in itself.

This is part of The All Wet Blog-A-Thon via Andrew Kendall.


My Movie Year


Andy Hart from FandangoGroovers sent us an e-mail asking us what our best movie years are and instead just blurting out what years I chose, I opted for introducing my reasoning behind the chosen years.

Because I’m suicidal.

There have been other posts like this obviously, citing the year that saw the height noir as a style in 1941. It’s easy to assume that the year before, 1940, might be a weaker year but I don’t think so (what were you thinking, Paolo?). I already said that 1941 was the year of the noir and it was the beginning of stylistic achievements that will be influential for the next forty years. But no one wants to peak young Those arguments, I admit, are me trying to put both years under investigation before I declare them as banner years).

What 1940 has is diversity. What other year could boast an animated movie that has different yet complementary aesthetics and another movie that successfully convinces us that the all-American Jimmy Stewart is European and/or a man of class? What year will we find such comedy greats like Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell? It was also a great actressing year that followed 1939. Joan Fontaine being the light anchor in only Alfred Hitchcock movie that won an Oscar for Best Picture. Katharine Hepburn returns and makes the studios realize that her sense of comic timing can crowd the movie theatres. And Vivien Leigh simply haunts us. The movies: Fantasia, The Shop Around the Corner, Rebecca, The Philadelphia Story, Waterloo Bridge.

Because it was the year of (forgotten) classics.

1955 saw three movies so breathtaking that it almost makes me want to say ‘Revisionist Western,’ although it would be too anachronistic to use that phrase. But those movies subverts North American ideas of villainy, race and  It was also the year of the blond.

Doing away with her Academy Award-winning de-glam, Grace Kelly has a career-best performance in another Hitchcock movie as a smart golden-locked woman.  Shelley Winters plays victim to Robert Mitchum, too charming to be good, but she might not necessarily be dumb. Marilyn Monroe almost steals Evelyn Keyes’ husband and makes us think differently about the hot air on street vents. Julie Harris, a honey blond, steers the lost James Dean, in his best performance, into sanity and domesticity. But the brunettes represented too, James Dean also finding love in a hopeful teenager Natalie Wood. Jean Simmons making Marlon Brando fly her to Cuba and she still won’t give him the love that he doesn’t deserve yet. And Martine Carol, overshadowed by younger French actresses, gives us a 19th cnetury circus act that we should never forget. The movies: The Night of the Hunter,  East of Eden, Bad Day at Black Rock, To Catch a Thief, Lola Montes.

Because I might be suicidal after all.

1974 saw most movies come back to the streets. Walter Matthau deals with a subway train gets high jacked in Manhattan, New York City by good for nothing British terrorists. Los Angeles saw its share of impersonators, near impossible water shortages and crazy ladies chasing for their children riding in school buses. In San Francisco, Gene Hackman and John Cazale do their job as many lovely yet suspicious conversations under wiretap. And the past catches up with the present as Michael Corleone does his best to escape chaos and brotherly betrayal in Havana, Cuba. But that doesn’t mean that the rural areas didn’t get some love, as a singer travels to find a job and a college student finds a crazy family.

When it comes to the Oscars, Martin Scorsese directs a melodrama (he needs to do another one and if you say Hugo I swear I’ll…). Francis Ford Coppola created a kinetic magnum opus and lost Best Picture against himself. A frazzled married woman played by Gena Rowlands and a tough woman with a tougher lawyer in Faye Dunaway lose to determined single mother brought to life by Ellen Burstyn. The movies: The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, A Woman Under the Influence.

Because I’m a hopeless romantic.

2010 was the year I started blogging, the year culminating the plurality that independent cinema has worked for in the past forty years. Indie masters like David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky and Edgar Wright made movies with actors who will become Hollywood’s future and made hundreds of millions of dollars with them. I’m going to try to stop overusing the word ‘indie’ no, although I used it one last time to a movie so good that it doesn’t even need to be finished.

But in 2010, I surprisingly found sympathy within mopey characters aimlessly wandering the streets of Los Angeles. Or it could be London, where a reluctant king impersonates an Emperor penguin for the young daughters who themselves will make history. Boston also has its share of competitive brothers, both brothers and their entertainingly abrasive mother, sisters and wives. A brother and sister explore what we assume is Lebanon and learn a heart wrenching through, out of all things, mathematics. The fashionable Milan has a shy, Russian housewife learning what love is in its primal states, throwing her life away from him. And I learned how to love an overrated director since he created characters who can make the Parisian streets of their dreams shake and bend. The movies: Greenberg, I am Love, Meek’s Cutoff, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The Fighter.

Other years under further investigation: 1927 – the year when the Academy started getting it wrong (Sunrise, Metropolis), 1939 – the height of the studios (The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind), 1966 – the year when we said terrible things to each other a lot (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Persona), 1988 – when he loved and hated the Germans (Der Himmel Uber Berlin, Die Hard), 1991 – genre versus genre (Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and 2001 – weirdest sexiest year ever (Mulholland Drive, Y Tu Mama Tambien).


Seminal Video: The Evolution of…


…’Movie’ Dance! Michael Mirasol posted this on his Twitter feed.

1. I want to learn to Bande A Part dance because it looks fun and not difficult.

2. I can talk about the video’s omissions all hour, but the biggest is Mao’s Last Dancer, which features Chinese folk, ballet and contemporary.

4. I’d rather the montage also show Nina’s killer pirouettes or something from the fourth act of “Swan Lake.” And reminiscing from my cheerleader days, I tried doing some arabesques and toe touches. I sucked and I didn’t suck.


Random Thoughts: Boxing Gym


Since the titular institution in Frederick Wiseman‘s Boxing Gym runs for 24 hours, it would be right for the film to have, structurally, a cyclical and impressionistic feel instead of having an arc. We see the Austin-based gym owner interviewing new applicants. Yes, the gym has its share of professionals and attractive ones – which might motivate someone like me to keep going to a gym, honestly – but the most captivating ones are the amateurs. The owner talks about how the more braggart newbies are the kind that never stays, tell a young mother that her newborn is safe in his environment and ask a young. He also asks a college age applicant whether the latter is joining just to beat up a man he doesn’t like.

From his applicants we see that the owner is pretty hands on by training some of the members are running some creative strength and cardio classes himself. In one scene, a mother, while binding and gloving her son’s hands before training, shares how the owner has helped her in her boxing stance. Another scene showing one of the cardio classes is the most visual in the film. Start just after sunrise, the yellow-brown bricks making up the buildings of Austin depicted like a de Chirico painting, the class running up and down a grey multi-story parking lot closer to the downtown core.

Wiseman captures these people learn to box on their own. The film closes up on the members’ backs while throwing punches in the air or their feet while a timer intermittently goes off in the background, latently providing the film’s rhythm. Some of these scenes and be considered as endurance tests for say, a five-minute long scene just showing a member’s sneakers. It’s reminiscent of what Jake Cole said in review of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, especially with watching Nina Sayers practice her multiple spins without Tchaikovsky’s piano music nor a partner. It feels awkward watching these boxers in a private dance in their own heads, although most of the time there’s some spiritual and communal connection to the space even when these people are alone.


The Indefensible: MacGruber!


MacGruber! It’s screening at the Underground, the critics are defending it, MacGruber! It’s tonight at seven, they are serious film critics, MacGruber! Ryan Philippe‘s in this movie, MacGruber!

Holy smokes, MacGruber! There’s no way out!”

“That’s not our only problem, MacGruber — your movie’s gonna bomb in fifteen seconds!”

“Alright, everyone keep it together! Okay, if we’re gonna get out of here — and we ARE gonna get out of here — we need to focus up!”

“TEN seconds! What do we do, MacGruber!”


Sasha! Hand me Will Sloan from The Varsity!”

“You got it, MacGruber!”

“Paulette! I need exactly FOUR ounces of  defender Adam Nayman from Eye Weekly!”

“On the way, MacGruber!”

“Sasha! Hand me that Norman Wilner from Bear magazine.”

“Wilner! Check!”

“Okay! Has anybody seen any giveaways for free passes for a secret movie?”

“MacGruber, are those critics drunk?”

MACGRUBER-RRR!!!!!

(Sorry to write this seriouser part, but Criticize this via Andrew Parker tweeted that part of your $10 admission fee  for this screening go to the Red Cross. We were able to raise $500ish dollars (Andrew knows the real numbers) from the (In)Defensible screening this month. I can’t come because I have a shift at the cheese factory but I will be there in spirit and please, if you’re in Toronto, watch this movie, help the Red Cross, have some fun.)


Hat Trick Girls


Doing this post on a whim. Much more actresses have one or two great movies a year, but due to realizing that the great Claudia Cardinale has been in three great movies in 1963, I decided to do some time-wasting and find out which other women have had the same luck.

Yes, I’ll admit that I’ve only seen Cardinale and Williams’ full list while the rest are below because I’ve seen one or two of each actress’ movies. Many of the women on the list are also here because of their supporting roles. It’s hard to carry a great film. Can you imagine trying to do the same for three?

Also, I know nothing about the silent era but I’m sure that I’ll eventually learn that the likes of Lillian Gish and Janet Gaynor have hat tricks under their CV’s, the latter winning the first Best Actress Oscar for three performances. It’s also harder to get names of actresses and movies belonging to world cinema. If I could only double myself and extend the hours of a day.

And yes, Williams is here because as much as I hate parts of Shutter Island, I know a lot of you love it. Although I’m sure her 2011 is looking better than her 2010. Here goes the list.

ph. MGM

Olivia de Haviland – 1939 – (Gone with the Wind, Dodge City, The Private Lives of Elizabeth of Essex)

ph. Universal

Barbara Stanwyck – 1941 – (The Lady Eve, Meet John Doe, Ball of Fire)

Grace Kelly – 1954 – (Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, The Country Girl)

Claudia Cardinale – 1963 – (8 1/2, The Leopard, The Pink Panther)

Faye Dunaway – 1974 – (Chinatown, The Towering Inferno, Four Musketeers)

ph. Miramax

Minnie Driver – 1997 (Princess Mononoke, Good Will Hunting, Grosse Pointe Blank)

Patricia Clarkson – 2003 (Dogville, The Station Agent, All the Real Girls)

ph. TWC

Michelle Williams – 2010 – (Shutter Island, Blue Valentine, Meek’s Cutoff)

A factor in making this list involved representing each decade, one actress per decade to be more frank. I chose de Haviland over Bette Davis’s movies in the same year, Kelly over Marilyn Monroe‘s 1953 (it hurt me to do that), Driver over Kirsten Dunst (Driver might be disqualified since her involvement in Mononoke only came through 1998/1999, when Miramax released the film stateside, but Dunst 1999 films are guilty pleasures that I can’t admit to the public yet) or Clarkson over Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 2002. Besides, this post is a picture overload already, as is most of my posts in this blog.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s no actress in the list that has an 80’s hat trick. Great roles and movie seemed spread out generously among the Meryl Streep generation and the Brat Pack girls.

Lastly, I’ll make a list for the boys and the directors, or make hat trick lists for consecutive years or movies, but only if you ask nicely. Or better yet, if you could do the rest 😛


Tenth second of the twentieth minute


I stole this idea from Nathaniel Rogers. These are screen caps of the twentieth minute and tenth second of movies.

Boring story, the screen caps in this post are from movies from my hard drive. This hard drive used to be in my first laptop until, distracted from Pabst Blue Ribbon, I accidentally poured beer on it. I watched these movies are from my college years, when I learned how much I love movies and that I chose the wrong major. (No not really. Are you kidding? I’d rather have hung out with nerdy English majors and rich Art History majors than snobby film majors.)

Their decontextualized oppression linked to IBM, possible from the World War II era.

After telling someone tha smooking is not Islamic, he looks for someone in a maze.

“Happy.” “So happy.” They open the door, joining the crowd of the upper class, waiting.

“Goodbye, little yellow bird…”

He tries to brush her off. “Alcohol rub. Cologne.”

Clandestine interview.

“You’re lying. I can always tell.”

It’s hard doing damage control for a rogue employee “I don’t have all the information yet.”

After the car explosion. “Go on.” “What do you mean…”

We can hear his wife groan. He reads the book to research his new client, for tourism.

“But I heard him say Maude was with God!” “That’s right. I was at Bible camp.”

After a flashback of bile spreading through a body. “But we’re gonna do this without firin’…”

“They can always get somebody else.” Machines roar.

This series for me turned into a context of which movie collection of mine is cooler. I might have given this post an unfair advantage by being nostalgic, but it’s your call.