Totally enjoyed it. Jim compares it to Neil Young: Heart of
Gold
in how the performances look + feel, and that’s about right (except
without the harsh video look of NY:HoG). Lotta performances and backstage
musings about life, death and endings. Except for the Tommy Lee Jones
part, it’s almost done mockumentary-style. If I didn’t know a little bit
about R Altman, I’d think they shot three times as much material and put
the thing together in the editing room. Tricky to make a fully-scripted
movie seem so free, but he always manages.

I don’t listen to the radio show and wouldn’t have recognized Garrison
Keillor’s voice before seeing the movie, so can’t comment on how it treats
the legacy of his show. Very well, I’d imagine, since he wrote it and
co-stars. I’ve read negative comments about Kline, Jones, Lohan and
Madsen’s characters, but I ate it right up… enjoyed all of them. Way to
combine humor with horror. I felt it was worth the ticket price right when
the opening credits started… all those names of some of my favorite
actors together up on screen. I’d happily call it Altman’s best film in a
decade, but I have sort of a soft spot for Cookie’s Fortune.

Not optimal viewing conditions – I wasn’t paying strict attention and the sound on the tape was no good. Anyway, a lot more humorous and lighthearted than I’d expected, until the end when it all turns bad for everybody.

Georgie is a spoiled kid who grows up and thinks he can marry a girl who doesn’t seem to like him too much. Meanwhile, his dad dies and his mom’s ex tries to win her back, which would be extremely easy if not for meddling Georgie who spoils everything for them and for himself. Family fortunes are lost and family names are forgotten.

An easily watchable, entertaining movie, well acted and shot… no reason not to like it. Will have to watch it again sometime for it to stick, I guess. That goes for all the other Welles movies too! Wonder which scenes were cut out.

About what I’d expected, really. Maddin slowed down the pace of his editing to accomodate Isabella’s writing style I guess. Not much to it – She plays herself, her mom (Ingrid Bergman), David Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin. Talks to her dad’s giant belly. Short, good. “My dad was a genius. I think.”

In The Future, political dissidents in the USA are given a choice between long jail sentences or four days at “punishment park”, a desert training ground for law enforcement officials. If they can reach a target before the cops catch them, they’re free… if caught, they go to jail anyway.

Movie has two settings… one group at punishment park, and the tribunal for the next group to be sent… flips back and forth between them. The group in “court” (a tent with card tables) is modeled on Abbie Hoffman and the Chicago Seven, with one member ending up bound and gagged. Someone in the group at the park manages to kill a guard, and after that, it’s vengeance time… the whole group is gunned down as they are caught, with the camera crew first standing by, then trying ineffectively to help.

Punishment Park

Not as interesting as The Gladiators, I think, but a lot more straightforward. Can’t decide if I really liked it. Covers a lot of facets of 60’s radicalism, the straight world’s reaction to it, and the direction the country was going politically. Useful as an alternate-history lesson, maybe.

More likeable than I’d expected. Don’t know why I thought it’d be a boring movie. Maybe just soured on the whole “western” thing after seeing The Wild Bunch and not liking it.

Anyway. Matthew “Willis” McConaughey is an alright thief with his explosives-expert partner, but could use a few more dependable men, so calls in his brothers Skeet “Joe” Ulrich, Ethan “Jess” Hawke, and eventually Vincent “Dock” D’Onofrio. They rob a whole ton of banks successfully, and finally pull off the biggest railroad heist in history, getting away with some millions of dollars and five bullets in Dock, who I couldn’t believe survived it. Eventually all get caught after the railroad job and get off with light sentences and live to a ripe old age.

Newton Boys

Completely fun, convincing movie that just gets better as it goes on. Great court scene, great ending and credits, lovely antiheroes, everything that Ocean’s Twelve wanted to be – a crime movie where the criminals are having such a good time that the audience gets caught up in in too. Don’t know why it’s got such a bad rap on the IMDB (5.7). I’d see it again.

Newton Boys

Not as Altmanesque as I’d first considered… just a lot of easily distinguishable characters in an ensemble piece. Should be easy, but hardly anyone can pull it off.

Dazed and Confused

I was barely two when the seventies ended. Avoided this movie for so long because I thought it was meant only for stoners and/or seventies kids wanting to relive their stoner and/or seventies days. But not having lived through that era myself, I can still tell this is a damned brilliant movie. Captures the high-school experience yes, but captures so MANY experiences, and character types, and so well, it’s almost an unbelievably good movie, one for the ages. Better even than most Linklater movies. I think. Better watch it again before making any sweeping declarations (“best movie of the nineties, better than Dead Man, etc”).

Dazed and Confused

No real point in outlining plot, since story wasn’t the point. No real point in outlining characters… just see it again sometime. Wiley Wiggins was great. Now I feel bad that I’m the last person to see this movie… somehow got it mixed up with Reality Bites or something. Now I wonder if I’d like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Or Rock and Roll High School.

Dazed and Confused

Troublesome movies because it’s the kind you’d want to watch a second time to fully study and understand BUT it’s got so many long shots of the family, their heads severed by the frame, eating breakfast, washing the car… then it gets so heavy at the end, not especially anxious to see it again soon.

Seventh Continent

Family does boring stuff. One day, little girl at school pretends to be blind. Parents talk it over and even consult with the girl (not on camera). Write their parents a letter of explanation, which is the most dialogue in the whole movie. Cash in their car, empty their bank accounts. Flush all money down toilet. Destroy everything in the house. Kill themselves with pills.

Seventh Continent

Adam Bingham says “the film is optimistic in its refusal to console its audience”. Also “one of the purest modernist texts since the height of Resnais and Antonioni, and perhaps the greatest contemporary contribution to what may be termed “the cinema of existentialism”: the focus on the actions and morality of individuals in a seemingly empty universe found in the work of film-makers like Chantal Akerman, Gaspar Noé and the Krzysztof Kieślowski of Dekalog.”

Overall good article at Kinoeye.org. I see his point that Haneke is, against all appearances, an optimist, and that this is an optimistic movie. I feel not only better about myself, but more determined after watching this movie. Mostly just “determined” to watch more movies, but hey it’s a start.

“My films are the expression of a desire for a better world,” Haneke says. In the same interview, he says he regrets once having called this the “glaciation trilogy” because he wants it to be more complex and not so easily labeled.

Old man living alone having trouble communicating with family. Student into ping pong and gambling. Runaway immigrant kid adopted by local family. News reports on global wars and celebrity scandal. A shooting at a bank. Punctuated by sudden silence and black between scenes.

71

A clear predecessor to Code Unknown, but where I didn’t get C.U. at all, this one at least makes sense. Kind of your Amores Perros cross-sections of people united by an incident of violence, but of course far less obviously scripted. Not a causes-and-effects-of-violence sort of thing. The Haneke quote above makes perfect sense. He’s showing a bunch of familiar events, saying “what is wrong with this picture” and daring us to connect the dots. One of the most immediately easy to understand of his films, but still hard to watch.

Well, I don’t know about that, “hard to watch”. With the long static shots and the lack of narrative structure, I think of them as hard to watch. But then, I compulvisely rent them, and I’d watch Time of the Wolf or Cache again right now or anytime. Not unenjoyable, but not exactly a magic-carpet-ride of entertainment. Need to come up with a new term to describe these. How do you recommend a Haneke movie to someone? Obviously I’m not alone, since the thursday afternoon show of Cache was sold-out in new york, and the video releases have been flying off the shelf here for a month now… he’s a popular guy.

72

Written by a woman named Coleman, who unsurprisingly wrote Full Frontal.

Martha and Kyle work at the doll factory. Big order comes in, Rose is hired. Rose has a baby, an angry ex, a tendency to steal, and a thing for Kyle. They go on a date, Martha watches the kid, then kills Rose when she gets home. Martha is easily caught, Kyle’s mom joins the doll factory part time, life goes on.

Shot on HD: big deal. Released on video same time as theaters: big deal. Non-professional actors: sort of a big deal, cuz it’s a small quiet enough story that some bigtime actor might’ve wrecked it with a “performance”.

But that’s also the problem. Not much performance, except by Martha who’s quite good. Nothing to perform to. Short, nothing of a movie. What’s up, Steven? Why was this story begging to be told? It’s not even his usual style-over-substance since there’s little style. And the Bob Pollard acoustic instrumentals are crappy and out of place (as if Steven wanted us to think he hired only non-professional musicians). Why make this? Why call it Bubble? Bring back The Limey, Kafka and Solaris!