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February 24th, 2009

06:44 pm - the plaster stapler
I wrote this as a comment somewhere else, but I decided to call it a post. It explains what I thought of all the movies in 2008.

It does contain SPOILERS. But most of those are for Slumdog Millionaire so they are plot points you could just have guessed.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:
The two meaningful parts were when he was the same age as his girlfriend: with Tilda Swinton at sixty and with Cate Blanchett at thirty. Both times through the women's eyes you got to feel the whole sadness of growing old. Otherwise it was just an adventure movie.

The Dark Knight:
I don't think I would get along with Batman. But everyone else is so awful that I still have to cheer for him. The characters are a little bit weak, but the characters are also kind of weak on a roller coaster, which is to say the movie doesn't always need characters. Joker burning "only his half of the money" was so inspired.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
My favourite Judd Apatow movie. They make a movie where everyone is an airhead, and then they make you love all the airheads, one-by-one. Some of the jokes are ordinary jokes like you could see in the Love Guru, but other times they make you really feel the world of the man who stays in and eats cereal.

Rachel Getting Married:
The whole awkwardness of having people in your house, the way beautiful rich beautiful people could feel judged and ignored, the way no argument ever goes anywhere. They show everything that is wrong about having family and then everything that is right about having family.

Slumdog Millionaire:
I got into it while I was watching, but the really left me with nothing at the end. Someone pointed out that the better ending would be if he lost the money but he still walked off happy with the girl. The best part was when he figured out not to trust the bathroom mirror. But still it could easily have been made for children.

Synecdoche New York:
A lot of my favourite movies get called self-indulgent. What are people hoping for? Are they hoping that the movies get watered down, that they be less like themselves? The indulgences are what makes the movie good.

Charlie Kaufman says the same thing twenty times in the movie, yes, but he says it a different way each time. The movie is too alive not to be a home run.

I like this one the same way everyone else does. Adventure story in the second half? Why not. I actually care how the adventure will go this time.

The Wrestler:
I think this one is obvious to everyone who has seen it. It was too real. I love the Fountain for being crazy and I love The Wrestler for being real. The Dardenne brothers could have made this movie.

For fun, a re-post of my Oscar ballot. The lists are ranked in order.

Best Film:
Synecdoche New York, The Wrestler, Wall-E, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, Be Kind Rewind, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best performance:
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Sean Penn (Milk), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Synecdoche, New York), Amy Adams (Doubt)

Best supporting performance:
Tilda Swinton (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Rosemary DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

Best director:
Andrew Stanton (Wall-E)

Best screenplay:
Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York)

Best cinematographer:
Roger Deakins (Doubt and Wall-E)
Current Music: School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep

[7 comments | what do you think?]

November 16th, 2008

07:53 pm - the story about the capon
Who would be make the better speed-skaters: professional sprinters, or professional hockey players?
Current Music: The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations

[11 comments | what do you think?]

April 27th, 2008

12:45 am - there lurks psychological equivalent of lobotomy
- Mrs. Dalloway is a terrific book. It hides the most fantastic secrets in plain sight in people's thoughts. Stream of consciousness means it was a good choice to listen to on tape. I wrote most of the Wikipedia page I just linked.

- Heart of Darkness was better the second time than the first time. Blah blah deep questions of psychology. The sailing filler is a necessary build-up to the fun parts, but it drags on whenever it gets technical.

- Sandwiches and Cats is funny because Michael Showalter is funny, but it never builds momentum or goes in a direction. He has a different voice every joke. These interviews set the bar really high with him.
Current Music: The Rolling Stones - Rocks Off

[10 comments | what do you think?]

April 21st, 2008

03:54 pm - bury me in a treasure trough
- Be Kind Rewind was very sweet; I don't want to see it again but I loved it the first time. The word "quirky" sort of just means a movie is full of gimmicks, but Michel Gondry's gimmicks are all scene-stealers.

- Slow songs don't mix great with fuzz-pedals, and most of them are boring in the first place. Sorry, Distortion. Stephin Merritt drops to a 16-1 record.

- I downloaded The Blueprint hoping for more "99 Problems"; for the most part I was disappointed. The worst song got a reprise at the end of the album; the best song was the one with another rapper.
Current Music: Miley Cyrus - See You Again

[13 comments | what do you think?]

April 11th, 2008

01:46 pm - the sharpest knife in the west
- The Magnificent Ambersons is exciting but ultimately a let down. You can tell just from watching the release version what other things must have been in the one that got burned. Sometimes it gets really majestic and you think, "If only this were a real movie."

- There Will Be Blood is exciting but ultimately a let-down. Paul Dano was of course hard to believe as a priest, and even Daniel Plainview lacked the humanity of a CF Kane or a Duddy Kravitz. In its defence, though, the movie looks nice and it ends with a bowling-fight. My least-favourite of the P.T. Anderson movies.

- The Cool is exciting but ultimately a letdown. The rapping is fluid and thoughtful ("Gotta Eat"), but the choruses ("Superstar") are more boring than I expected from a friend of Kanye's. The fun songs ("Go Baby") and the serious songs ("Little Weapon") are both good, but they don't fit on an album together.
Current Music: Joanna Newsom - Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie

[14 comments | what do you think?]

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