tongue-tied lightning

2010 Viewing Log #6

Yeah, it’s been awhile,  my time for viewing films was usurped by the Winter Olympics.  Non-stop Curling and Hockey is not good for me.  My productivity was basically nil for two weeks.  The US teams disappointed me, but how about that Sidney Crosby eh?

On Dangerous Ground As far as Ray goes I prefer In a Lonely Place.   This was good, and I enjoyed it, but I don’t know, something about it felt a bit lacking.  Ida Lupino was good, his classical shot composition is as astute as ever.  I just never got really engaged in the story. :\ **1/2

Crazy Heart This one is just bad.  There is nothing of note to say about the direction, and the screenplay reads like they had a checklist of cliches on hand to make sure they fit them all in the film.  Car accident triggers reappraisal of life?  Check.  He loses his kid in the mall?  Check.  I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.  It’s a shame too cause the opening is pretty solid and if we just followed Bad Blake around on tour it may have been more exciting than what is more or less a by the numbers biopic.  *1/2

The Conformist My spreadsheet says I rated this one ***, but I saw it two weeks ago and aside from a few memorable shots I remember very little of it.  Never a good sign.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action I really enjoyed this.  It has the rambunctious nature of early Looney Tunes shorts.  Dante does fun things like ripping on the studio financing the film (juxtaposed posters of The Maltese Falcon and Lethal Weapon Babies, the Batmobile crashing into the Warner water tower) and it has a real sense of life.  The meta-nature is off the charts and occasionally it goes overboard “I was Brendan Fraser’s stunt double in those Mummy movies.”  But, it’s mostly a fun, enjoyable film that upholds the spirit of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery.  A shame they couldn’t find actors better than Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman to star in it.  It’s cast is it’s biggest weakness.  ***

Contempt Revisiting and loving Pierrot Le Fou inspired me to give this one another chance.  I love Godard, but Contempt just doesn’t do it to me.  Where this film really loses me is the 30 minute scene consisting mostly of Michael Piccoli following Brigette Bardot around their apartment asking her what he’s done wrong.  There’s no real development here and it feels like the film is just following its characters around in circles, frustrating.  I do enjoy the bits with Lang and there are some inspired bits in the opening and closing of the film, but, yeah.  **

Dogville I really love the set (or lack thereof) used in this film, and the cast is fantastic, but the screenplay doesn’t do a thing for me.  I really don’t think Von Trier is for me.  I just see this as an uninspired biblical allegory with some obvious and uninteresting commentary on xenophobia in small town America.  Surely you can do better Lars.  **

The Battleship Potemkin Well, the Odessa Steps sequence is as advertised.  Bravura filmmaking that still packs a punch 85 years removed from it’s creation.  I can only imagine what seeing that on the big screen in 1925 would’ve been like.  However, the rest of the film seems more or less like a throwaway bit of propaganda.  Which, you know, is what it is.  **1/2


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