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Monday Movies: Dillinger is dead

A light movie week, as Deadwood and MacGyver occupied much of our staring-at-screens time.

  • Public Enemies — wow, was this movie ever bad. The handheld camera work was awful. None of the shots seemed at all thoughtfully framed, and there were many scenes where we literally could not tell who people were. Characters were introduced for two seconds and then we were supposed to care about them an hour later when they randomly popped up again. It dwelled on unnecessary things (as The Girlfriend said of the first scene, “Why did we just watch a half hour of him walking into the jail?”) and completely omitted anything like a coherent plot or exposition. I don’t understand how Michael Mann is employed.

How about you, my dwindling few readers? Did you watch any movies this week? Please share your thoughts thereon, if so.

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December 6, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies

10 Comments

  1. I watched Eagle Eye. I have to believe that if there were a supercomputer that is basically omniscient, it could do a much more effective – and far less complicated – job of wiping out the executive branch. It seems like the supercomputer was a fan of old heist movies or something. Of course, I’m probably speaking in a familiar way about a movie most other people were wise enough to avoid.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | December 6, 2010

  2. I went to the theater to see Black Swan, but it was sold out so I watched Burlesque instead. It was about as stupid as you’d think. Although, viewed not as a movie but as a series of campy music videos loosely connected by filler dialogue, it was competently entertaining.

    Comment by jms | December 6, 2010

  3. I kind of want to see Black Swan even though I know next to nothing about it.

    I’m pretty sure I watched a movie this past week, but I’m not sure what it was. Maybe I didn’t watch anything after all?

    Comment by ben | December 6, 2010

  4. I enjoyed Public Enemies, although I think to enjoy it requires some enthusiasm for the Mann project overall and viewing it as a variation on themes. I’m very excited about Luck, the horse-racing HBO series directed by Mann, written by David Milch, and starring Nick Nolte and Dustin Hoffman, although it does seem unlikely to withstand collapse from the pendulous tremors of all those big swinging dicks.

    My writing partner and I played hooky Friday afternoon (after our first-ever showrunner meeting, i.e. job interview) and went to see Unstoppable. Goods delivered.

    Comment by k-sky | December 6, 2010

  5. i watched two French movies, La Chamadai think and another one which I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes, there was too much crude physiology in there, even though a young cute girl’s, but i can’t stand watching people vomiting and peeing etc and i can’t get why that would count as art
    Catrin Denev in the first movie were a typical kept girl, and couldn’t even find her that beautiful, she wears a very hideous pink dress for example or her hair done looks just funny and kinda synthetic, so the fashion of the rich is not to my tastes i guess
    but i watched a lot of great Russian/sov multiks, and think sometimes that perhaps should post the best of them over here too cz feel like people could be like kinda deprived without watching them if they never would watch them

    Comment by read | December 6, 2010

  6. Naruse, Each Night I Dream, 1933, silent, starring Tatsuo Saito and Sumiko Kurishima. They were paired were in Ozu’s marriage comedy What Did The Lady Forget 1936, and just saw Tatsuo Saito play a Harold Lloyd type role in Ozu’s college comedy Wakaki Hi 1929.

    This was a depression melodrama in which Saito was unable to support his wife and child, forcing his bar hostess wife to the leering Takashi Sakamoto. Saito plays a part very similar to the failed artist in Shimizu’s Girls at the Harbor:weak, ineffective,even cowardly but kind, gentle, sensitive. He is attractive. Kurishima was the biggest female star of Japan’s silent era. Apparently most of her work is lost. She was terrific.

    Directed with such heavy stylization that Shochiku essentially asked Naruse to leave. I wasn’t impressed, just seemed busy.

    Re:Mann. I have not been able to endure more than 5 minutes of Public Enemies. Extreme closeups.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 7, 2010

  7. I just watched Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice for the first time the other day. It was beautifully done, of course, but I was SO freaking annoyed that the world could only be saved if the old dude stuck his penis in the magical, mystical, irrational woman.

    Comment by ab | December 8, 2010

  8. Two Ozu silent comedies tonight

    Fighting Friends, 1929, 15 minutes

    Very slight. Noted:the American movie poster in all Ozus of this period; the working class milieu; and the ending with newlyweds leaving on a train

    The Lady and the Beard, 1931, 75 min

    Pleasant surprise. Started as an amusing comedy about a young traditionalist kendo master trying to modernize; ended with much poignancy. Upper-middle to students to salaryman class. Young man is romanced by modern young women of three classes. Much that is interesting here, tho not stylistically. Tokihiko Okada, father of Mariko, is the lead. Usual Shochiku support.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 9, 2010

  9. Mizoguchi,Zangiku Monogatari, aka Tale of the Last Chrysanthemums 1939

    A late-Meiji(ca 1900) kabuki star struggles to become an artist, and a woman sacrifices all to help him.

    Mizo’s 1st epic masterpiece? On at least one level, a melodramatic tearjerker. But goldarn, this fucker looks gooood. Some of the longest takes and tracking shots in history I think, and almost nothing but. Deep focus and long shots, as in everything happens as if on a stage, viewed from the 20th row. Yet very dynamic, with both camera and actors moving. Some astonishing tracking shots, as in watching a guy walk down a street through a succession of shop windows at a distance of twenty feet. A lot of shots following people walking all the thru a house. No closeups. A relentless style. Unmerciful. Unbelievable for someone used to a Hollywood style. And oh yeah, filmed at night, or thru a filter, no, in dark, with constant breathtaking chiascuro and lighting effects. A++ cinematography. I can’t believe Ugetsu can be more beautiful.

    8/10

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 10, 2010

  10. Ozu, Kagamijishi, 1935, narrator and musical soundtrack

    Short documentary about one of greatest Kabuki actors of that age, with a feminine role with fans, and a lion role with floor length mane. Swings the mane in a circle while stomping. Apparently one of the most technically demanding roles in kabuki, and the final triumph of the Mizoguchi movie just above.

    I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. I won’t pretend it was oddly compelling. It was just strange. But then I never have been one for dance or musical theater anyway.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 11, 2010


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