i preface that whitty banter tends to take his entries rather seriously. i apologize for him and his snobbery ahead of time. just look at the pictures if the words start to make you vomit.
ah, alas the half way point boys and girls. and in no particular order and with an admittedly unfinished batch of films to see still (because my irish setter, Hank Jr.. has monoploized the viewing in our household this summer, i didn't get out as much as i would have liked - i really would like to set fire to our DVD copy of Gosford Park - Hank is OBSESSED):
PARIS JE T'AIME
these are the types of movies that make college film professors giddy in their tweed blazers. but these are also the types of films that are rare due to their unconventional storytelling. taking the diversity of styles and tones of various directors can be a risky endeavor, but this was the most gratifying viewing experience for me this year - i was enthralled from beginning to end. a small note that nick nolte must have a rotund, divorcee goblin hiding in his throat - those sounds are somethin' else . plus that natalie portman is a delight. like a buncha toffee chips on a non-fat yogurt. yum yum.
David Fincher is one of the few big Hollywood directors that is consistently appealing in his visual aesthetic film to film and never sells out. now i know that's a douchey description, but the man crafts a swell story and paints a pretty picture - which is most uncommon to be found in the same film. a stellar cast (with great turns from everyone like TOP GUN's Goose, to Roger Rabbit, and Norm "sonofa" Gunderson) litters this little number all with top notch performances - especially from Gyllenhaal, Ruffalo and Downey Jr.. a subtle, dialogue-driven thriller that delivers with scene after scene of gut-wrenching anxiety and tension. i also enjoyed the chracter of San Francisco, he did NOT get a credit. but it's the best work he's done, since Joy Luck Club.
the line is drawn in the sand with most people regarding Michael Moore, but i am unafraid to say that NO ONE speaks with such confidence and purpose as a filmmaker. and admist his library of important works, Sicko is evidence that he gets better and better. a window into the U.S. health care system is truthful, humble and strong. if you hate Michael Moore, you hate fat nerds. and that's mean. so stop it. hate dumb people. it's more fun.
my friend Whit said this:
"preach to me until you're blue in the face. i believe British comedy is better crafted, more inventive, and smarter than most American brand comedies. to me the English sensibility brings such impecible timing to comedy which has been exhibated in classics over the years from Monty Python, to Black Adder, to all things Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, to recent spins by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais and the fellas at Little Britain, Matt Lucas & David Walliams. now comes the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost trifecta, after their smash hit Shaun of the Dead, to join the comedy icon ranks."
WHOA! too much gushing from Mr. Anglophile. i mean, Hot Fuzz IS a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining take on the buddy cop genre that is pitch perfect and has fun in it's form and execution, thus inviting the audience to sit back and enjoy themselves....but i'm not going to MARRY England! geez.
a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, always "whitty"(misspelt purely out of ego) script that is superbly written, acted, and directed. every performance down the line makes the most of their screen time in the film and even the one line roles seem to find outstanding memorable moments. SPOILER ALERT: at the end the damsel has her "lady section" shown during the birth, for like a second and a half. it was like Mrs. Lippett's biology class - all the "cool" people in the theatre started snickering. yeah, it looked fake. i could tell it was a "lady section puppet". bummer that i recently heard Frank Oz made that actual "lady section puppet" and that they had to cut out it's other scene, because the voice was too much like Fozzie Bear. oh well, maybe it'll be on the DVD.
hey, Pixar computer guys...stop showing off at how good you are at making smart, fun, quality children's films. it's getting annoying. review = done.
HARRY 5 - the order of the phoenix ( are you happy "booksters"?)
the task of having to cram all the amazing nuiances and rich storylines supplied by Rowling's books into a 2 hour movie and make it understandable and engaging, is almost impossible. thankfully the Potter movies are doing a respectable if not great job of doing just that. with even more fantastic characters brought into the Hogwarts world, Phoenix beautifully depicts a world of change and uncertainty for our beloved heroes. Harry begins to accept his role as a leader and realizes his calling as the only one who can defeat the dreaded Lord Voldemort. Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, and Michael Gambon are all in top form in Phoenix, keeping you wanting more. my one prob, too much magic. mix it up.
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
...or Das Leben der Anderen - my sweetheart pick and hands down early front runner for the coveted top spot at the end of the year. a complex, heartbreaking film about what all-pervasive spying did to people during life behind the Iron Curtain. the jewel of this film is a remarkably understated performance by Ulrich Mühe. tiny fact: my wife is German. so, there's that.
a big suprise. Werner Herzog marvelously directs the story of Vietnam POWs and their efforts to survive in this rich and honest window into the human will to live. Dawn felt like a throw back to the 1970s epic dramas such as The Deer Hunter in it's storytelling integrity. Full of beauty and endless amounts of suspense and action, Rescue Dawn refreshingly is void of pointless flash and commercialism. Christian Bale gives one of the few Oscar worthy performances so far this year, but never overshadowing the equally stellar efforts of Steve Zahn (in a remarkable change of pace) and Jeremy Davies.
with that, i turn the time back to WHIT HERTFORD
thank you Banter. i am highly anticipating these 3 films coming in the near future:
The Coen Brother's NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Wes Anderson's THE DARJEELING LIMITED
and Christopher Nolan's DARK KNIGHT