Friday, November 30, 2007
DOYLE’S LAW by A. Gates
Black and white and red and all sorts of sores.
The poor dog chewed up from the fight,
Tired and dying on the bridge,
Whimpering and scared,
Angry and fed up.
So much hurt for the ol’ boy,
But they couldn’t take his bite.
He still wanted blood.
Not knowing love.
Learning to fight less than before.
The trunk the best place he had ever been.
DEAR BIANCA by A. Gates
I lose touch with reality
I long to
It’s not so great lonely in winter
I see you come to life
You stay with me
What did I do to deserve wonderful you?
You’re making friends
I don’t mind,
No, I mind
I don’t want to lose time with you
It seems you’re really harder to be with
Than I believed you would be
But I love you
God help me
You are good people
Many people know this to be true
And though you are leaving us
I don’t want to be sad
I see good things ahead
Like you wanted me to
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I enjoyed this movie but could not help but notice that it is not as consistently funny as Waiting for Guffman. It isn't until Fred Willard is introduced as the dog show's clueless TV commentator that the movie finds any sort of rhythm. Still, there are wondeful scenes strewn about the films first act.
Christopher Guest has some priceless moments with his bloodhound, and his transformation into a Southern fishing store owner is quite amazing.
Sadly, the other characters never really completely gel in their storylines. Parker Posey and her husband in the film are one-note funnies.
The gay couple is pretty straight forward, easy laughs. Still, the more flamboyant guy gets in some zingers every now and then.
I do enjoy Eugene Levy and see him playing within his own little niche in pretty much every movie. He's kind of a lovable amusement, but his storyline with Catherine O'Hara is not the stuff of comedic gold.
Give the kudos to Willard for his comedic panache and for again bein the shoe-in for well-earned laughs.
I guess my chief complaint is that Guest allowed for an interesting, funny character like his to be relegated to the background after some promising moments.
Monday, November 12, 2007
This film has been built up over the years into some kind of legend. It couldn't possibly live up to expectations. But it did. It's the funniest movie that I've seen in years. What's sad is I would have been impressed by the fictional play in real life if I had seen it if the zany actors hadn't performed it. Instead, I guffawed heartily. What will stick with me the most is how spellbound by the play the fictional audience was. I've also got lines of songs stuck in my head. Comedic genius.
Lars and the Real Girl is the biggest surprise of the year so far. It somehow manages to take what on the surface seems like a "frat pack" movie (man falls in love with a sex doll) and turns it into something tender, heartbreaking and emotionally resonating.
I am positive that the movie takes mental illness and skews it to its own benefit, but using the doll as a extension of Lars problems proves to be a convincing ploy. By all logic and expectations, I should have no connection to this inanimate hunk of plastic; but I grew attached to her so much, I think, because I knew as the townspoeple did that Bianca was so important to Lars who was important to them.
The film also portrayed the townspeople and Christians as caring, helpful, and decent people. I want to move to that town. It doesn't exist, but write me into a town where people care that much about their neighbors.
The second best film of the year so far behind Zodiac.
I was drawn into the movie through its characters, distinct from each other in mannerisms, speech, and habits, but connected in a storied relationship crafted with a history that is revealed naturally instead of overtly. The characters' bond with each other becomes all the more clear when a tragic event takes us back into their last shared tragic event so that the audience can see that although these people are tied together chiefly by blood, their love becomes apparent when something hard, sad, and quieting happens.
I also believed that traveling on a train with my two brothers across a foreign country could alternately be the greatest and worst times I've ever had.
Monday, November 5, 2007
DON'S AWAKENING by A. Gates
Women in bed.
I am wit and empty.
They’ve all seen my end.
It came on the trip when I saw again
I can not be enough for anyone.
A father to a letter in pink,
A color shading the earth in front of me.
Comes to nothing in the end
But a man standing in the middle of the road
Looking to find his kin in every kid.
Broken Flowers is easily the best Jim Jarmusch film I have seen, even surpassing the excellent Dead Man. It's sublte humor and sadness always drew me in even in slow parts (which I have learned to live with throughout my Jarmusch experience). It seemed to me that more than anything else he has done, Broken Flowers was not only trying to say something, but also actually saying it. It was also the most visually stimulating of his work that I have seen.
The ending was fascinating as it became clear that Don was going to see his hypothetical son in every young man he came across. The sadness and nervous excitement that comes along with that was palpable. The swirl and subsequent quiet around Don at the end was breathtaking.
I don't get too into traditional love stories told in periods I can hardly relate to, but the one presented in The Painted Veil was certainly engaging enough to warrant my attention and admiration. I enjoyed the performances and the refreshingly slow way the romance developed even as I knew all the while that it would. China makes a great backdrop for this piece of historical romance.
The clash of cultures was one of the more interesting issues in the film. China was understandably resistant to Britain's presence in their culture even when some of the English were trying to save them.
Some beautiful things about romance and relationships were said, especially about the expectations we have of others.
I think I am able to see now that I am in awe of Naomi Watts' beauty rather than her acting talent, but neither is in question.
Even though I haven't seen too many films like this, I was able to predict its moves at almost every turn.
I've grown to really appreciate this film for its odd sense of humor and unique way of placing a Dateline-ready plot in the snowy podunks of North Dakota. The film both recognizes the quaint nature Midwest and the unsuspecting intelligence of its wonderful heroine. How the film manages to walk the fine line between the parody and love of these people is beyond me, but it does so wonderfully throughout. Characters remain watersheds of modern cinema.
I really enjoyed The Passenger because it took what could have been a Hitchcock thriller and made it a thoughtful character piece. Impulse leads a reporter to leave his life and take the identity of a dead arms dealer. He runs from his old life and chases after his new one at the behest of curiosity and a young woman. It took me a while to get used to the slow pace and long silences, but I soon grew to love the way the director allowed the actors to act without forcing anything in their scenes. The characters simply exist. We just spend a short span of time with them.
Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington play characters living separate lives, and each is interesting in their right. When their two stories start to converge, the movie only gets more interesting than it already was. When they finally came face to face, I felt a bit disappointed. All the action built up to that moment, but somehow the camaraderie that the two characters found felt false in light of their characters motivations and histories.
What led up to that point truly was an epic tale of two flawed men with principles in divergent worlds that were quickly moving away from those values.
Washington is getting all the press, but Crowe is just as good or better as the cop after Washington's gangster of the title. The gangster doesn't require Denzel to do much different from what he has already done in past roles (but really, does anyway do it better?) except with more brutality, but Crowe's role is unique to the actor. He displayed similar qualities before, but he made his character feel completely new to me. He's no Serpico, but he's a cop for the books.
I marveled at how the movie vilified and honored Washington's gangster. His rise was glorious. He picked his family up by his bootstraps. They finally got a piece of the pie. He also dragged them down with him and took away any promise for a long, happy life that any of them had.
He was also a dealer of death whose handiwork led to the death of thousands. Even though that gets mentioned both in sight and sound, I thought the film was less concerned with that than it should have been.
Perhaps the best thing the movie can say is how the world is changin' and leaving the old guard, villains and heroes, behind.