Tyrone Power (very normal looking white guy who wouldn’t live another decade, also starred in Nightmare Alley) stars as the only American who can save the Philippines from the Japanese. Along with his loyal troops (buncha white guys) and a cute French girl whose father was killed by the dirty Japs (Micheline Presle, still alive, later in Sacha Guitry’s Napoleon, Rivette’s The Nun, Demy’s Donkey Skin and Fuller’s Thieves After Dark), Tyrone stays hidden long enough to set up communication lines, kill off some Jap soldiers and local traitors, and help out the good guys until General MacArthur arrives.

Fritz Lang directs, with no particular style or interest. Crazy-eyed actor Jack Elam was supposed to be in there, but I didn’t see him.

Movie had a story to tell and a side to take, and it set right to work telling that story and taking that side. Nothing more to tell. Glad I was able to tape it off cable and didn’t have to spend $20 hunting it down.

Count with me: thirty-three Fritz Lang movies down, four Fritz Lang movies to go.

Would Katy have liked it? One day I hope to find out.

Kid has divorced parents, is picked Kirin Rider at an annual festival. Meets a red-faced guy, a cute gerbil muppet, and a hot naked girl:

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Kid must wield the legendary goblin sword and defeat the big evil guy (actor from Loft) and his hot girl assistant:

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Once we have our two opposing hot girls in place, the movie just cuts loose with nutty imagery:

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Awesomely disturbing children’s movie on the level of Neverending Story. Want to some day show this movie to actual children to warp them forever. Will have to narrate the japanese subtitles live, I guess, but it will be worth it. Me, I enjoyed every minute of this cruelly twisted flick.

First good Julianne Moore movie since 2002. Has it been that long?

Apolitical gov’t flunkie Clive Owen is recruited by ex-flame Moore to help her gang of revolutionaries deliver the only known pregnant woman to a secretive humanitarian scientist group in a devastated and infertile future. The government is against him after he’s targeted as a terrorist, the revolutionary group is against him thinking the woman is better used to serve their own cause, even the undercover prison guard acting as his inside man turns against him. Clive’s only true friend is his old pot-smoking pull-my-finger hippie friend Michael Caine with a post-gov’t-torture braindead wife living out in the country.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Denzel’s partner in Inside Man) is the revolutionary leader after Julianne is killed, Claire-Hope Ashitey is Kee the pregnant woman, and actor/director Peter Mullan is Syd the prison guard.

The whole thing is extremely real. This future has so many intricate ties to our present, politically and socially, in little details scattered among the ruins. It’s all carefully drawn out to seem so real… then there’s the camerawork. Extremely long takes with an amazing amount of stuff going on during each one… stunts and effects and running steadicams, all shot by the guy who did The New World. As someone or other mentioned, the long shots help show you what’s at stake… no cuts to relieve the action, just follow Clive in his panic, showing us how much is at stake, how one slip will blow the whole game. So the movie sets up this real world, then plunks us in the middle of it.

And it’s grim, relentlessly hopelessly grim, dark and dreary, everyone against everyone else, no reason to keep living so they’re all out for their own self interest. It brings us down, down, down, leading up to this very hopeful Dead Man-reminiscent ending but with a great ray of hope, and since we’re so down, that ray of hope is brighter than I can remember seeing in any movie before. It’s Eternal Sunshine + Before Sunset caliber hope. The most positive and negative movie at once… completely thrilling and gorgeous and makes me cry just thinking about it. As someone else said, it’s scary how far ahead this film is over everything else I saw this year.

A couple of weeks later, I still can’t stop thinking about this one. Saw it again with Katy in the new year. It will probably end up as my favorite movie of 2007 as well as 2006.

Arrrrgh, I should’ve known better than to trust this movie. A remake with insufficient imagination to justify its existence. A simple thriller with a lot of very good performances, that’s all. I’m probably wrong and it’s probably a Great Film, but I’m gonna go with my gut until proven wrong.

Let’s go: Martin Sheen is the police chief and Leo DiCaprio is his mole. Jack Nicholson is the ganglord and Matt Damon is his mole. Vera Farmiga is the psychiatrist girlfriend. Alec Baldwin is another police guy, and Marky Mark is Sheen’s assistant, one of Scorsese’s new characters.

So what’s different? The relationships with Vera are more developed – she’s marrying Matt and having an affair with Leo. Marky speaks for Sheen, spitting a stream of profanities at anyone in front of him. He kills Matt in the final scene as revenge for Sheen’s death. Most importantly, little things like taking the cellphone out of the evidence bag when Matt first calls Leo and having no recording gear in Leo’s arm cast when the gangsters bust it. Changes for the sake of changing things, removing memorable details that worked well in the original. I like the bit with the psychiatrist and the Marky Mark character – both help justify the longer running time of the remake – but they’ve stripped Leo’s close relationship with the cop boss, making the falling death from the building a lot less meaningful (except through Marky’s revenge bit). I especially don’t get that. I missed Chris Doyle’s cinematography and didn’t appreciate much of the music (especially the Comfortably Numb remake). The move to Boston worked well at least. A perfectly fine movie as long as I hadn’t loved the original. It’s my own fault that I did, I guess.

Katy would not have liked it. Or would she?

Tristana’s (uncle?) guardian decides to start sleeping with her. She has an artist boyfriend. When she gets sick, the uncle has her leg cut off to save her, but when he gets sick, she opens the windows to the cold air and he dies. Also she has dreams where his head is a bell clapper.

Catherine Deneuve is very good as Tristana, and Fernando Rey is good as Don Lope. The movie is dreamlike and slow in that special late-period-Bunuel style that I’ve never appreciated. Pretty okay overall.

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Katy would not have liked it. An open-road hitchhiking serial killer movie. The trucker (“wheeler”) and the cowboy (“walker”) vie for the same victim. Mean, violent fun. No eye gouging that I can remember, but it has the MOH trademark naked woman (being tortured to death).

Interesting thing about it, really the only thing that sets it apart from your standard trucker serial killer movie is that every single character is either killer or victim. No bystanders here… if we see someone, they’re kill-or-be-killed. A familiar-looking Fairuza Balk stars (ed norton’s excitable gf in American History X) with Michael Moriarty, a Cohen regular.




The “worst movie of 2006” label affixed to this is one of the most kneejerk backlashes I’ve seen. And people are attacking M. Night for his acting, but I think they meant to say his casting, putting himself in the martyred messiah role. Whatever.

Paul Giamatti is a superintendent with a tragic past who thinks he has no purpose in life. Bryce Dallas Howard (Ivy in The Village) is a fairy come to earth to do… something. Paul has to send her back to her homeland by keeping the evil grass wolf away long enough that the giant eagle can pick her up. To do this, he has to find some key people who live in the building. He gathers them all together, finds out he’s done it wrong, and gathers a different group instead. Meanwhile they throw a building party and a pessimistic film critic gets taken out by the wolf. Jeffrey Wright from Broken Flowers is in there as a crossword puzzler, and the kid from Heroes is his son. And Bryce tells M Night that he’ll write a book that will inspire a great leader to change the world.

Moving story about finding your purpose, about helping others find theirs, about hope for the future. A fairy tale. I loved it, especially towards the end. The eagle pickup shot from inside the pool is terrific. Amazing looking movie, bizarre/cool compositions confused me at first but turns out it was shot by Christopher Doyle so that explains everything. Katy thought it was okay, but lacked in execution in a few places, “some of the dialogue was terrible” and she “totally disagrees” with me for thinking it was awesome.

Katy thought Belle was dumb and the final scene looked crappy/fake and bits were stolen from Cinderella, but even she was impressed by the handheld candelabras.

One of the most beautiful movies ever, of course. Lighting, set design and costumes are completely perfect, acting and story and effects are all great. Probably not much needed to say since I’ve seen this a bunch of times now.

Learned from commentary: actor Jean Marais (Avenant, The Beast, The Prince) was Cocteau’s lover and suggested he make this film. René Clément (Forbidden Games, Purple Noon) co-directed. Beauty Josette Day starred in Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles, which I barely remember. Given the post-WWII shortages, Cocteau’s illnesses and all the other problems involved in making this, it must be one of the biggest film triumphs in history.

Katy watched with me! Unfortunately we agreed that it was not too great a movie. Jet Li spends far too long being an unlikeable jerk, and only after his behavior leads to the death of his wife and kid does he shape up. Then after spending years in exile farming with a blind girl, Jet comes back to town just in time to defend China’s honor in a symbolic match against four foreign competitors, during which he is poisoned to death. Good sportsmanship beats personal triumph, and China is respected in the world again. This all ends one year before the 1911 Revolution which ended the last imperial dynasty.

Anyway yeah, your standard action movie with the quick cuts and the pretty pictures and the fast fights and the tragic deaths and the not worth watching again.