I'm not sure "Little Miss Sunshine" will take the Oscar. It doesn't have a ton of nominations, and most of the ones it does have are ones it's favored to lose. That usually doesn't bode well.
I have a couple quick reviews:
"Night Watch" - This is a Russian action/fantasy about the struggle between supernatural humans (the Others) both good (Light) and evil (Dark). The Light Others have a Night Watch patrol to make sure the Dark Others are sticking to the truce that they called back in the Middle Ages; the Dark Others also have a Day Watch to do likewise....but that's a whole other movie (no, really - "Day Watch" is the second film in this trilogy). Anyway, "Night Watch" mostly centers on Anton, a pissed-off, alcoholic Light Other with clairvoyant tendencies. He notices that two Dark Others (who are basically vampires) are after a 12 year old boy, and spends all his time trying to defend said boy from them. Meanwhile, a virgin with the Midas touch of death is inadvertently creating a vortex of disaster that threatens to crash a plane.
Believe me, I'm simplifying and probably making some of this up, as it's not a terribly coherent plot...and yet it can also be said that this movie is pretty predictable. I definitely enjoyed it - and I'm really not that much of a fantasy fan, especially when it comes to vampire movies - but the more I think about it, the more I've decided that it's a movie that ultimately shoots itself in the foot with poor storytelling. The film is a bit thin in terms of characterization, the climax/third act/resolution/whathaveyou is extremely rushed, and I'm not sure why either is the case; if you're going to make three movies to tell this story, why try to keep each picture to two hours? This one could easily have been 20-30 minutes longer, with a lot more character work as well as an extended/enhanced finale. That said, it's a cool premise, with a strong (if, again, undernourished) lead character and a head-spinning cache of visual tricks that would make Tony Scott feel like watching a sitcom; often enough, those traits are enough to keep "Night Watch" watchable.
"Smokin' Aces" is another film with style to burn and a storyline that crosses over into chaos. The plot has been accurately described as a clothesline on which to hang as many sadistic criminals as possible, and it is that: Vegas mafioso Primo Sparazza puts a $1 million bounty on the head (and heart) of magician-turned-criminal-turned-snitch Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven), unleashing a half-dozen teams of savage assassins to descend upon his Lake Tahoe hotel suite, while the F.B.I. strives to keep him alive until the trial and a trio of bail bondsman attempt to bring him back to jail.
If you've seen the trailers, your impression of the film is pretty close to what you're going to get: it's fast-paced, convoluted, sadistically violent, and darkly funny. What the trailers won't tell you is that this film is delivered with a bit more skill and substance than required, and for that indicator, you need only look to the director's chair. Joe Carnahan's last film, "Narc", was a brilliant, searing police procedural that you could easily pair with "Mean Streets" as a both-sides-of-the-battle double bill akin to what Eastwood tried to accomplish with his two Iwo Jima films. It was that good. "Smokin' Aces" isn't the most satisfying follow-up Carnahan could have concocted, but it's a change of pace that takes the dialogue and attitude that made "Narc" so great and puts them to use in a different kind of film. He gets strong work out of most of his cast of familiar faces - Jeremy Piven (as the guilt-ridden Israel), Ryan Reynolds (as one of the Feds), and beyond all comprehension, Alicia Keys (as one of the assassins) deliver the strongest performances - and while the ending is a disbelief suspension and then some, it still managed to feel satisfying and strangely meaningful. Carnahan will make films far better than this in his life, but this time out he's delivered an early-year surprise that rates as one of the best pure action movies in quite some time.
Last night I made Gabe watch "The Ninth Gate" - which is a movie I've always loved. He didn't include it on his review slate from the weekend, so I'm going to review it instead. Because I have the time.
The Ninth Gate
The whole movie has this old, elegant quality - the scenes are shot simply and most are devoid of color - a lot of deep brown and grey. This works well, however, since the premise of the movie is one man's funded search for an authenticated book to contact Satan. A rich book collector hires a "book detective" to find the secret of the book to contact the devil - and report the details back.
Johnny Depp is the lead asshole book detective - he's rude, a mercenary, and "thoroughly unscrupulous." Needless to say, he's easy to like in this movie. He smokes Lucky Strikes and blows the smoke out of his nose. He knows all about old books and can rattle off publication dates and current owners of all antique books in the world. He knows his business and nothing seems to surprise him. He doesn't have any friends.
So, the devil gets a crush on him. The devil follows him around through his search disguised as a green-eyed, blonde chick. At first we think she's working for his client (to track Depp's progress) - but then we notice that she can fly and her eyes glow and we think, "oh, sh1t. That's fukking Satan, isn't it?" Yes. Yes it is. It's fukking Satan.
Depp eventually becomes as obsessed with contacting the devil as his client - and realizes that the correct ritual is hidden in three (rather than one) books. His client eventually catches up to him and steals all three books along the way. He attempts to perform the ritual and succeeds only in lighting himself on fire (bummer). Because the devil doesn't want his old, wrinkly balls - he/she wants Johnny Depp. So - the devil has sex with Johnny Depp in a key, evil scene that's also graphically disturbing. Then Johnny Depp walks down the red carpet straight into hell. To be the devil's bitch, we can only imagine.
Gabe told me this movie was directed by Roman Polanski. I've never seen any other movie that he directed - but I'm guessing that's why this movie is shot in such a stylized, simply elegant-type way.
In reference to "Night Watch"...
I've only seen the Russian release of this film and from what I understand they cut out a major character out of the American release. That character is a gentleman called Ignat whom tries to woo said "Virgin" in order to help stop the imminent disaster. Is this correct? if not, I believe there are some plot points with his character that are taken out.
Also, I've heard there is a Director's cut with an additional fight scene at the climax of the film, which I have yet to see.
With that said, your review is pretty spot on. This is one of my favorite fantasy to be released over the past decade. It's shares familiar story elements with films like The Matrix, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Underworld etc. However, the visual style is much like that of "Delicattesen" and that is what I loved most about the film. On such a low budget, by our standards, the film maker managed to pull off a visually stunning spectacle the likes of which I've never seen before (at that time)
As far as your thoughts about taking more time to tell this story I have one piece of advice for you. DO NOT see DAY WATCH. Well, I guess at this point you must, but you will be thouroughly disappointed, as I was.
Being that Fox Searchlight helped fund the sequel and picked up distribution rights to it they decided to wrap up the whole story in the second film. Thus, they are planning (or were planning) to create a whole new story for the third installment, which will take place in the U.S.A. (Leave it to Americans to ruin a foreign film franchise)
"Day Watch" does has it's moments, but it's a mess of a film and the climax is one of the biggest let downs ever. You want to talk about a "rushed" film? blink and you'l miss this one.
I've heard they finally translated and released the books the story was based of off, but had not researched that yet. I, for one, would be more interested in reading the original material than watching any future installments.
All in all though, I would personally reccomend "Night Watch" to anyone that loves fantasy films or vampire movies, but would not push the sequel.
i'll be back with some reviews of mine own, which include the "should be straight to TNT" movie "D.O.A: Dead or Alive"
JENNIE AND TESSA LOOK HERE:
The damn YouTube of the trailer wouldn't load. But you can see it on this website.
Last edited by schoolofruckus; 02-01-2007 at 09:00 AM.
last november, a little before thanksgiving i think, goldenvoice and coachella founder paul tollett had an interesting meeting with a prospective agent.
agent: i have an act, but its not musical.
tollett: thats okay were looking to branch out a little this year anyways. what do you got?
agent: its a family act. it involves a mother, grandmother, father, twelve year old son, toddler son, and two twin eight year old daughters (both lesbian). the father and mother enter first stage right, both immaculately dressed. after introducing the wife, the father exits stage right momentarily to return with grandmother in wheelchair and sets her stage left. following behind the father is the rest of the family (son w/ lesbians). the rest of the family stops at the middle of the stage next to the mother. the father again momentarily exits stage right again to return with the toddler in a crib. he sets the crib stage right, symetrical with the grandmother. the mother gets the ball rolling by going down on the father while the children watch. as dad is getting his dick sucked, the son moves around behind the mother and starts to undress her. he then proceeds to fuck her. while the son and father are both inside their momwife, the two little girls also start to undress and diddle each other (remember, its okay - theyre lesbian). after a while, the father and son switch positions so that now mom is sucking off son. dad however, decides to put it in moms ass instead. the mom gags and actually throws up a little over her son. but just a little. meanwhile, the twins are in full sixty-nine mode by now. as the dad starts ramming his wife harder and harder, she starts bleeding and puking even more. the son starts puking after her. dad follows suit immediately after the son. after the dad is done, he and the rest of the family pull down their pants and start to crap and piss all over the the puke, blood, and cum all in the middle of the floor. all of this while the grandmother and toddler look on eagerly from wheelchair and crib. after the father finishes, he pulls up his pants, runs stage left to the grandmother, dumps the parapalygic grandmother onto the floor. the father then runs stage right to the toddler, dumps out toddler onto the stage. the father then rushes back to the center and starts eating out his sons asshole while the son eats out his mom, who does same to one twin who does the same to the other while also tongueing her father (even though shes gay!). all in one tight, family cirlcle. the grandmother and toddler are meanwhile army crawling towards the center at symmetrical speed. when they all get to the middle, everybody has a thunderous orgasm. then they all finish up by licking the stage clean.
tollett: my god, man. what do you call them?
agent: !THE ARISTOCRATS!
gabe, that gave me chills and made me tear up. i can't fucking wait. AND they used my favorite swell season song for the second half of the trailer. AND its a new fleshed out version which sounds SO FUCKING AWESOME. i need to calm down. i need to calm down.
jesus camp made guys like me look bad...
didnt that premire at sundance? I heard they came out and preformed after the showing.
Nice one, chunk.....that was possibly the least-funny movie ever made.
Tessa, that trailer is awesome. I will have no choice but to join you and Jennie on opening night. And I loved the song that was used in there as well.
i lost my breath in laughter during the saget scene. and pollack doing walken doing the aristocrats? just reading that sentence should make you want to watch the movie.
(edited to try to be nice today)
Last edited by chunk; 02-01-2007 at 11:17 AM.
yeah the aristocrats pissed me off except for carlin and saget. i heard the director is making a movie adaptation of everybody poops...yes the fucking childrens book.
classic saget anecdote as told by cathy ladman (i think):
for hannukah, he bought me a pack of slim tampons. he said, "leave em out so guys will think youre tight."
Last edited by chunk; 02-01-2007 at 11:35 AM.
Don't bother trying to be nice, dipshit.
"The Aristocrats" was the most god-awful excuse for both a documentary and a comedy that I've ever seen. Did I really waste an hour and a half to watch all these supposedly talented comedians say "fucking" and "sucking" and "fisting" ad-nauseum? The only halfway-watchable segment is Gilbert Gottfried's telling at the post-9/11 roast, and even then, the only funny thing were his jokes about the 9/11 attacks themselves.
The "Aristocrats" joke is fucking stupid. The movie is stupider (particularly the decision to cut the hell out of almost every telling of the joke, so that not one of them plays the way the comedian intended). And anyone who thinks it's good is stupider still.
you were apparently angered by the movie. i wasnt. i laughed my ass off.
i like it much better over here.
and theres no arguing comedy. either youre you or me.
Last edited by chunk; 02-01-2007 at 11:47 AM.
Great. Have fun on Planet You Don't Know Jack Shit.
are you the king of planet funny? because youre not coming across that way.
Last edited by chunk; 02-01-2007 at 11:58 AM.
There is also no arguing stupidity.
I'm not the king of planet anything, Chunk. I just think you're a cocksucker and I have no reservations about telling you so.
cocksucker who knows funny.
(you can have the last word. i was just posting opinions in the appropriate movie thread, btw.)
read the thread. thats for schoolboy today, poo.
Your thread-relevant participation is appreciated; your douchery is not. One can invoke scorn without the other being involved.
Are you arguing my right to dislike you for A) being an ass to my girlfriend in the past, and B) for insulting me with absolutely NO provocation a week or two ago when I mentioned that there was one movie thread and therefore ones dedicated individually to Pan's Labyrinth and the Oscars were not necessary? That shit's all on record too, bub.