Saturday, October 30, 2010

L.A. Confidential (* * * .5)

There is so much going on here that I was captivated by what I saw.  The LA-is-corrupt-and-so-are-the-cops plot is too convoluted to explain.  Here is one review that I liked.  I also recommend reading Roger Ebert's review.

This movie is a well done period piece that presents itself as modern film noir and has an all star cast.  With all that going for it, the film naturally has an attitude about itself:   This movie wants you to believe that it is great film.  In some ways it is, but most of the movie is dialog, sometimes corny, punctuated by  frequent moments of extreme violence.  There are a large number of speaking parts, and a high body count.  The action scenes are certainly intense.  There is a gritty realism to the movie.  When it was over, I was thinking that the movie is good, and technically excellent, but I wasn't sure if it was great.  My problem is that I don't totally believe it.  Parts of the movie are based on real events, but the story as a whole is a little too far out there.  This is not good for a movie that is supposedly a  period piece about 1950's Los Angeles.  Now if I could just think of the movie in the same way as "Pulp Fiction" then I would feel differently about it, but I don't think that "Pulp Fiction" was trying to be a realistic period piece.  Maybe that is the point; the movie is not trying to be realistic, but a more modern and intense version of classic film noir.

In places this movie is pretty gory..  This is not the kind of movie that I would want to watch over and over.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stuart Little 2 (* * 3/4)

Stuart Little 2 deserves some credit for being cute and fun to look at, if you can stand an overdose of cuteness.  The problem is the movie loses what little believability it had from the first film as it puts Stuart through one situation after another too dangerous for a 2 inch tall mouse.  The first film made me believe that this unusual family situation could work out somehow, but the second film had me saying, "Oh come on!"  as Stuart is in danger of being crushed at every turn.  This movie raised all sorts of questions in my mind, like how long does it take a mouse to grow up, and what will Stuart do when he grows up, and what will he do for a girlfriend? 

I know.  I think too hard.  The first movie allowed me to turn off my brain and just enjoy the ride.  Here, the story is just not strong enough.

The animation of Stuart did impress me.  I could see every hair on his tiny fury face.

I also liked seeing Hugh Laurie just before he became House M.D.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Theme Song (click here!)

One of the greatest spaghetti westerns ever ...  there is something addicting about this song.  I can't get it out of my head.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Triumph of the Will.

I have a slight fascination with Adolf Hitler, only because I want to understand how such a evil man could come to power.   I am convinced Hitler was a psychopath, or at least seriously mentally ill.  I happened to see Roger Ebert's review of Triumph of the Will, the 1935 Nazi Party propaganda film, where he describes it as a terrible film, but historically significant.  I started watching Triumph of the Will on YouTube,  and the first ten minutes I thought was fascinating.  Hitler in these scenes is almost comical, since he seems to struggle to keep his armed raised through a vast parade, and his slight plumpness makes him look clownish as he smiles at his success.  In these scenes it is hard to take him seriously.

I found the first 50 minutes to be pretty interesting from a historical perspective, but the last 50 minutes is almost nothing but repetitious marching and parading.

From the video I think I understand better how such an evil man can come to power.  About 25 minutes into the video, the Reich Party Congress promises people the world.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Canadian Bacon - In French, please!

It was not a great movie, but I thought that this scene was funny.
The idea is that a bunch of U.S. rednecks decide to go declare war on
Canada after someone they know is presumably arrested in Canada.
Oddly enough, it was written by Michael Moore, who is Canadian, and
all the actors are Canadian, but the movie never hesitates to make fun
of Canada. It is funny that Dan Aykroyd shows up just after they
mention "Driving Miss Daisy".