THE AMERICAN (2010)

Posted: March 8, 2011 in 2010, 7.5, Blu-Ray, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/11/11

Venue:  Home (Blu-Ray)

I heard this was more meditative than high-octane, and that definitely is the case.  There are maybe 2 or 3 actions scenes, and the rest is straight character study, but it’s good character study.  Clooney is one of those rare actors who can entertain without doing much of anything, and even though the script tests that theory (externally), THE AMERICAN is still beautiful to look at and extremely satisfying.

Rating:  7.5

EASY A (2010)

Posted: March 8, 2011 in 2010, Blu-Ray, Home, Previously seen, Tally

Date viewed:  2/10/11

Venue:  Home (Blu-Ray)

2nd viewing within a couple weeks b/c my wife hadn’t seen it.  She liked it, but strangely enough I think I like it more.  The John Hughes shout-out gets me every time.

 

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

SUGAR (2008)

Posted: February 21, 2011 in 2000s, 8.0, Blu-Ray, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/9/11

Venue:  Home (Blu-Ray)

A great sports movie that is about much more than baseball.  The performances, which appear to be mostly from nonactors, are about as real as they get, and it manages to be uplifting in a realistic way.

Rating:  8.0

CALVAIRE (2004)

Posted: February 17, 2011 in 2000s, 7.5, DVD, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/9/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

Belgian horror, it turns out, is very similar to French horror (surprise!) — evidently all French-speakers are just as terrified of the countryside as Americans.  But CALVAIRE is better than most domestic movies of the same ilk.  Somehow, director Fabrice Du Welz manages a comedic undercurrent that pulls at the viewer during even the most horrific scenes.  The humor helps to give the movie a sense of purpose that is lost in most bumpkin horror I’ve seen.

Rating:  7.5

RED (2010)

Posted: February 17, 2011 in 2010, 7.0, Blu-Ray, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/7/11

Venue:  Home (Blu-Ray)

A fun action-comedy that with a little more action and a sharper wit could have been great.  As it is, it’s exactly what I expected.

Rating:  7.0

Date viewed:  2/6/11

Venue:  Home (DVD)

As a life-long fan of the Clash (well, since I bought London Calling when I was 16 anyways), I was not expecting to not like JS:TFIU, and I definitely did not not like it.  I was surprised how honestly it portrayed Joe Strummer, by not only praising his genius and political awareness, but also coloring him as a bit of a fame whore who wouldn’t hesitate to sell out his bandmates if it meant a better chance of success.  Still, by the end you can’t help but feel a profound sense of loss that Strummer was only 50 when he died in 2002 (from a congenital heart defect).

Oh, the sound mix on the DVD is wonderful and the songs sound better than ever.

Rating:  8.0

BAD BOYS (1983)

Posted: February 15, 2011 in 7.0, Blu-Ray, Home, New, Tally

Date viewed:  2/6/11

Venue:  Home (Blu-Ray)

I’m struggling to have much to say about BAD BOYS.  Good performances all around, but believable it is not.  Sean Penn is a serious actor!

Rating:  7.0

THE MECHANIC (2011)

Posted: February 15, 2011 in 2011, 6.0, CGI BLOOD MUST DIE, New, Tally, Theater

Date viewed:  2/4/11

Venue:  Theater

I haven’t seen the original, but Statham’s THE MECHANIC was a completely passable slightly-above-DTV-quality action flick.  The bad CGI blood was made somewhat more palatable because it wasn’t bright red, so that’s one way these idiot filmmakers can improve on this sham of a special effect.  The action was bad — everything was shot in extreme close up and I could never figure out how anybody got where they were.

I won’t be buying it on Blu-Ray, but you could do worse if you need to waste 90 minutes, while say, sobering up after a Jimmy Eat World/David Bazan concert.

Rating:  6.0

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