Archive for the ‘NWI’ Category

SURROGATES (2009)

Posted: May 12, 2011 in 2009, 5.0, Home, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/18/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

SURROGATES avoids most of the interesting questions in exchange for shoddy action sequences.  And Bruce is wasted — they could’ve plugged anyone into this role.

Rating:  5.0

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Date viewed:  2/18/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

Mostly a Tarantino riff by Carnahan, but that’s OK, everybody has to start somewhere.  The characters were entertaining enough, and the story was somewhat original, but still, it isn’t much more than a curiosity for people like me who’ve become fans of the director (A-TEAM notwithstanding).

Rating:  5.5

THE PARKING LOT MOVIE (2010)

Posted: May 11, 2011 in 2010, 6.5, Home, New, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/14/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

A funny little documentary filled with people (both the parking lot attendees and their customers) I would probably dislike if I met them in person.  The guy in the hat above — yeah, he’s one of the “good” guys.

Rating:  6.5

THE WAR GAME (1965)

Posted: March 8, 2011 in 1960s, 7.0, Home, New, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/12/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

Somebody on Twitter mentioned being an admirer of Peter Watkins, who directed THE WAR GAME and several historical docs.  The name was new to me, but I was glad to find this on NWI.  THE WAR GAME is a fairly shocking pseudo documentary about the potential nuclear fallout in Britain after WWIII.  Of course I have no technical knowledge of such things, but THE WAR GAME feels entirely authentic and believable.  Scary shit.

Rating:  7.0

LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

Posted: February 21, 2011 in 1940s, 7.0, Home, New, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/10/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

Easily my least favorite Orson Welles movie (but I still haven’t seen them all), LFS looks like it was pieced together from a variety of sources.  The studio clearly had it’s way and the end result is disjointed and sloppy at times.  It’s the rest of the movie — when Welles is nearly firing on all cylinders (like the final “funhouse” showdown) — that makes LFS a worthy watch.

And I love Welles as an actor, but man alive, that Irish accent…

Rating:  7.0

NAKED CITY (1948)

Posted: February 15, 2011 in 1940s, 6.5, Home, New, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/3/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

Evidently, it was quite the novelty to shoot a movie on location in the 1940s.  The first five minutes of NAKED CITY are spent showing rather mundane (but pretty) shots of NYC with the producer narrating about what a big deal it is that the movie wasn’t shot on a sound stage.  Obviously, this is commonplace in modern-day filmmaking, and attempting to retroactively appreciate the grandeur of actors talking on a sidewalk is a losing battle, but NAKED CITY still has its successes.  Namely the performance of Barry Fitzgerald and the finale foot chase.

I’m sure books could be (already have been?) written about how Jules Dassin’s writing and directing were affected by his blacklisting and exile, but it’s hard to believe NAKED CITY and RIFIFI are directed by the same person.  Dassin is clearly well on his way to developing his Mannish eye for action in NAKED CITY (though the jump he makes two years later, with NIGHT AND THE CITY, is remarkable), but otherwise you would never guess these movies were directed by the same person.  NAKED CITY is stilted, talky, traditional, even wholesome.  RIFIFI is one of the coldest and meanest movies I’ve seen.

I can’t wait to check out the rest of Dassin’s filmography.

Rating:  6.5

THE RUNAWAYS (2010)

Posted: February 9, 2011 in 2010, 7.0, Home, New, NWI, Tally

Date viewed:  2/3/11

Venue:  Home (NWI)

Having heard mixed reviews of THE RUNAWAYS, I didn’t have any expectations to speak of, and I’m glad I didn’t.  It was much darker and “edgier” than I would’ve guessed, with some truly shocking stuff from Dakota Fanning, considering her age.

Like most people, I’m more familiar with Joan Jett than the rest of the band, and I would’ve preferred a movie more about her than her band mates, but this is a first rate rock ‘n’ roll movie, complete with the necessary sex, drugs, and great music.  A re-watch on Blu-Ray is called for.

Rating:  7.0