…and the quest to see everything

Posts tagged “Redux

Save the Last Dance


ph. MTV Films/Paramount

I first saw this movie on a plane, and not just a plane but on my plane coming to Canada. Save the Last Dance helped shaped my young naive mythology and imagination of this continent and high school. I ate the movie up, I ate the soundtrack up (featuring Method Man and Redman, Fredro Starr, Pharoahe Monch, Pink). When the cool kids in Grade 9 were talking about when they were talking about fake ID’s, this is what they were talking about. But unlike the kids who went to my high school the cast of this film, mostly in their thirties, won’t have a hard time getting into some grubby club that don’t look like the Le Deux copycats in our entertainment districts here. Yes, Fredro Starr, if you threw me to the walls of my high school washroom, I’d just make fun of you for being in high school at 34. So I was a bit elated when this movie came on TV less than a week ago.

I’m trailing. As you know, this movie is about Sara (Shakespearean actor Julia Stiles), who has to move to Chicago and give up ballet because of her mother’s death, insipid enough to wear little hair clips, deny that she accidentally calls Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) an know-it-all asshole in front of his sister Chenille (Kerry Washington) and say ‘Noo’ when Chenille asks her if she likes him. She gets this sibling duo as her Uncle Toms, teaching her the ropes in a cutthroat urban high school milieu, that the correct word for ‘cool’ is ‘slammin,’ that dance is her passion and the way for a white girl in the country to connect with a predominantly black populous. What does she give them in return? She buys Kerry Washington‘s character a rum and coke, no ice, and she gives Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) her body. He’s thirty years old, Julia, don’t ‘git’ with him.

Hey look, it’s that guy from “Oz.” Everyone else from that show got another show, like “Dexter,” “30 Rock,”  “The Wire” but nothing for him. Another casting note is Nikki (Bianca Lawson) who also plays Kendra the Vampayar Slayer, my favourite slayer. That girl fights like girls in my high school used to fight.

A little part of me wishes she was more famous, if her acting and everyone else’s acting for that matter weren’t so bad. There was also a DJ named Snooki, a male character. So I changed the channel.


Best Shot Redux: Bring It On


The follow-up posts are just a product of my indecisiveness. As Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) says in her pep talk, ‘we have to learn and discover new types of dance.’ Form merges with content, as one of the film’s positive points is its snapshots of greatness, alluding to art house directors. Really.

Bring It On, written and directed by Jane Campion. Posted by cheapseats and theonewithmjd.

ph. DVD

Bring It On – Roman Orgy, written by Gore Vidal and directed by Federico Fellini. Posted by season days – el fanatico.

We’ll also look at the unsung heroes, like Torrance’s (Kirsten Dunst) love interest (Jesse Bradford). Glenn Dunks

And this guy, who’s probably a real cheerleader.


Best Shot Redux: Black Narcissus


Still dwelling on last week’s episode of Nathaniel Rogers’ Best Shot series, Black Narcissus. I’m not gonna say disappointed since that makes me sound like a cocky bastard, but nobody caught this?

ph. Archers/Criterion

These two shots show that Sister Clodagh’s (Deborah Kerr) not the humourless nun she’s trying to be. And this is her bonding moment with Mr. Dean (David Farrar). If only there were more coffee cups and the habit would have come off. But alas, the blossoms still win.


Blood, this time around


ph. Paramount Vantage/Miramax

The first thing the movie makes me remember is Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as Daniel Plainview. He’s all you see for the first fifteen minutes, even more. It’s funny that a performance mostly known for Day Lewis speaking through the roof of his mouth begins with silence. When he injures himself falling down his little oil well and has to go to a makeshift smelting office place thingy to give them his chunk of silver. He is lying down on the dusty field and seconds later we cut to the office and he’s still lying down, and the audience believes that he slithered his way there.

He asks about HW’s friend/future wife Mary. He then plays around with Mary and tells her that there will be no more hitting. Yet he can’t get no love from her since she feels so uncomfortable.

Also, is that Daniel’s feeling being hurt? He has feelings? He conveys the feeling knowing how distant he is from his real family without the gaping mouth that any amateur would. This scene also subverts Daniel’s image of a family man, an image that he tries to present in his business dealings and one that his competitors have eventually debunked. Yet he stitches his wounds and moves on.

There is subtlety and naturalism to Day Lewis’ work here. His reading of ‘why don’t I own that,’ for example. He makes business talk within a business themed film to be more interesting than it should. There’s also the first time he talks to the realtor, more hilarious since I know what he’s up to.

The movie frames him as a nicer, insecure yet misunderstood guy this time around, although the denouement makes the audience realize that he unfortunately just doesn’t know how to convey his niceness to other people.

I’ve always contended that Brad Pitt gave the best performance that year. The only other nominees I’ve seen are Depp and Viggo, who are worthy adversaries. I always believe in apples and oranges, but there’s something physical and direct about his Day-Lewis’ role and performance. He had a lot to do, did it, won an Oscar for it.

Speaking of performances, adult HW’s closeups are just as effective.

O hai Ciaran Hinds! In all honesty, I didn’t know who Ciaran Hinds was til last year. Oh, that makes it worse!

The movie operates in large strokes, Instead of plot revelations where one thing happens one minute after another, the film focuses on one main action that percolates within five to ten minutes. We see one thing and we see the consequences for the rest of an allotted time. Sometimes, like Daniels’ scene with adult HW, it develops through dialogue, while in others, when a derrick explodes, the film lets nature take control.

Some of its audience might be reductive their perception of a movie by saying it’s two and a half hours of fields or business talk. But the personalities within the movie, specifically Daniel and Eli (Paul Dano) makes it accessible. They declare instead of whisper. And so quotable!

A movie is funnier if you watch it with more people. ‘Just give me the water, Eli’ and ‘That was a hell of a show’ in that straightforward delivery was funnier, as well as every scene where Eli gets owned. I wasn’t laughing the first time I saw those violent moments, I felt Kubrickian shock. I first saw the movie at the VIP section. One of the employees asked me if what kind of food/drinks I wanted, but it was such an ascetic experience that I had to take seriously. This was in March 2008, or February, before the Oscars. This was the most important movie of all time and I couldn’t laugh at anything. This time, I was starving yet I could laugh.

I remember the blues and the warm colours. I should smack myself for forgetting the foliage depicted within the movie. I also don’t remember the movie being this dark looking. And how menacing the first shot is of the mountains. And the symmetry, of course.

And the music. The only ones I’ve retained are the ones in the beginning and its beehive effect and the Cormac-esque fiddle in the end, the latter I haven’t been able to find. I’ve listened to the soundtrack a lot, it gets me through winter. I tried to keep a mental note on which tracks were playing in which scenes.

I am also one of the few people who will defend Paul Dano’s performance, his Eli building on the foundations that Burt Lancaster has in “Elmer Gantry.” He’s supposed to be annoying and over the top. He’s also the reason we have such a bad impression of Daniel, popping up at the wrong time to ask for the money that Daniel already paid to Eli’s brother Paul (Paul Dano). He sermons like Elvis.

I waited two years to rewatch this movie, and it is the best way to rewatch is to let it gather dust instead of watching it to death. Although the movie still fails the Bechdel test.


Milkshake Time at Underground!


ph. awardsdaily

Bechdel test failure “There Will Be Blood” is gonna be on at the Underground today at 9ish. This will be the second time for me to watch what critics acclaim as the greatest movie of the past decade. And there’s something subtle about that last picture that I can’t believe I forget that for the other things that happened. And honestly, I wasn’t gonna watch this, but Elmer Gantry just inspired me to do so. Besides, unlike movies from that banner year like “No Country for Old Men” (better on TV) and “Zodiac,” it’s never on television. Come if you can, and hope I or we have fun this time around!


It’s Like That Friend Who’s…


ph. MGM/UA

…tha asshole. He’s our asshole.

After “How to Train Your Dragon,” last Friday, the Toronto Underground Cinema played “Hot Tub Time Machine.” And I saw it again. And I paid for it. I just wanna share my favourite moments this second time around, and this time I actually have proper screen caps.

Like When Nick Webber-Agnew (Craig Robinson) just word vomits in Russian.

Or Lou’s (Rob Corddry) calm demeanor when he looks up to the thundering sky, deciding that he’s not gonna go back to 2010. Blink and you miss it.

Jon’s (blogless, as far as I know) favourite moment is when Lou tells his son Jacob those three words he never did. As well as Jacob’s response to that.

Look, the lovable Lizzy Caplan joins the party! She plays the younger voice of sanity in “Mean Girls” and she does that here too. She has great chemistry with Adam (John Cusack) never looks too young nor too old in either parts of the space-time continuum.

And there’s been some talk that iMDb is fanboy centric. If that were true,  “Hot Tub Time Machine” would have a higher mark.

Martina was talking on the phone with her mother. I joked at how her mother might be scared that she’s watching a movie with two boys. She said that her mother trusts her choice of friends, but retracted that statement after watching the movie. I told them that I spent a voucher to watch this movie the first time and they told me that I wasted that voucher. I hope you guys disagree with them. :P


Plugs: Lolita


ph. MGM

This movie’s gonna be on again at the TIFF Cinematheque at 4PM today. I also don’t know why I would tolerate Humbert’s (James Mason) actions, decisions and the ramifications for both. Others would find them out of character for a professor – but then he’s teaching at Bumfuck, Ohio and not Harvard. Either I accepted him as a part of the genre or he’s the kind of character I love to hate and I’ll tolerate his stupidity just to see him suffer. I’ll find more theories when I have the time. The film also suffers from pacing issues, specifically between the hour mark until the last half hour. Sue Lyon as Lolita is amazing until one or two unconvincing line reads at the last exchange of the movie.

Cinematheque’s write-up has an excerpt of what Michel Ciment calling “Lolita” ‘a decisive turning point for Kubrick… one of the keys to his inner universe,’ which is more eloquent than what’s  in my head. I can’t fully love the movie, but with “Lolita” and its humour I understood “The Shining” and “Eyes Wide Shut” better. I always thought that the former was funny yet overrated while I have vague recollections of the latter but it’s obviously divisive. I feel as if my appreciation of Kubrick would be better if I watched his movies chronologically.


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