I really can’t remember the last time I was this geeked for an album.
“Short Song For Justin Bieber and His Paparazzi”
Movie Log 2013
Catching up from like the last month:
21. The Invisible War (dir. Kirby Dick, 2012) (Netflix Instant)
Kirby Dick’s movie about the shocking prevalence of rape in the US Armed Forces is an emotional battering ram, but then again it is a movie about the shocking prevalence of rape in the US Armed Forces; the tears are not undeserved. I’ve recommended this movie unreservedly to people for a few weeks now, and I think it’s totally worth watching, but it will probably leave you a bit of a wreck.
22. Flight (dir. Robert Zemeckis, 2012) (screener)
Watched this on Oscar morning because it was laying around. Matty pointed out at the very beginning the amount of money that Zemeckis must be spending on licensing songs (so much Rolling Stones) and that’s the most interesting thing I remember about it. Denzel is decent. Kelly Reilly with that accent is less decent.
23. Bubble (dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2005) (Netflix Instant)
Somehow, I’d never heard of this Soderbergh. The non-professional actors do decently, though what exactly Soderbergh is doing here was, for me, a but on the inscrutable side. Still, some of the super-modern digital photography of small town bedrooms and factories works looks cool, so at the very least there are some cool tableaus and a sense of boredom leading to darker things. Not a bad quick watch.
24. Side Effects (dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2013) (AMC Loews 34th St)
It’s hard to describe why I loved this movie so much without any spoilers. But it does start out as a very good movie and then develops into a whole different type of movie that is also very good. I haven’t been so excited walking out of a movie since I don’t remember when. I know this is a weak placeholder until I figure out something to say about this movie without spoilers, but if for whatever reason you read this thing, GO SEE IT.
25. Los Cronocrimenes (Timecrimes) (dir. Nacho Vigalondo, 2007) (Netflix Instant)
This kept popping up in my recommendations and, having seen some Vigalondo in the ABCs of Death, and being bored on a Saturday afternoon I gave it a shot. It’s about time travel; it’s cleverly-plotted and tense enough to seem to make sense, though I haven’t been tempted to think very hard about whether it actually does.
26. Nine to Five (dir. Colin Higgins, 1980) (Netflix Instant)
Watching this for the first time in a while, I was basically overwhelmed with joy and wonder for large parts of it. And not only because it’s a great mainstream feminist comedy that actually gives a shit about things like equal pay, though that is amazing in and of itself, but because it’s legit hilarious in so many ways, including a super-long scene of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton getting high. I can’t imagine a friend that I wouldn’t recommend this movie to.
Movie Log 2013
18. How to Survive a Plague (dir. David France, 2012) (Netflix Instant)
There’s certainly a lot of sadness here but, as far as a chronicle of how shit gets done in America, this doc about ACT UP, the group of activists who focused their anger about the lack of support for AIDS victims in America into a thorough, enormously effective movement, is much more inspiring than Lincoln and, somewhat silly comparisons aside, just plain awesome.
19. The ABCs of Death (dir. a whole ton of people, 2012) (VOD)
26 short films about death, from many of the world’s horror directors who you might expect to be involved in this sort of thing and many more you probably haven’t heard of. Jorge Michel Grau’s meditation on the role of the victim in horror movies has proved very memorable for me (in the weeks that I’ve been procrastinating writing this) while Ben Wheatley (whose Kill List was one fo my 2012 faves) has some great vampire fun. There’s some aggressively bizarre stuff here, too, surprise, surprise - Nazi animals and farts and masturbation to the death oh my - but I really enjoyed watching what truly horrifying tropes surprisingly popped up several times. If you like horror, I can’t imagine you won’t have some fun with this one.
20. 5 Broken Cameras (dir. Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi, 2011) (Netflix Instant)
Another Oscar doc: this one consists of 5 years’ worth of footage from Emad Burnat’s cameras, which keep getting broken by smoke grenades and bullets and such from Israeli forces “protecting” the border separating the Israeli settlements encroaching on Burnat’s Palestinian village. It’s not only tremendously moving on an emotional level, but also a very impressive feat of editing.
I can’t help feeling that I’m going to get through these Oscar docs and be very impressed and subsequently bummed when Searching For Sugar Man wins.
Leitch’s very detailed Darren Rovell takedown is maybe gonna be a bit inside if you don’t follow the sports internets, but it is kind of a great article about how money is the worst anyways.
MY GIRL SARAH, EXPLAINING THE INTERNET TO YOU FOOLS RN ON MTV.COM
The lil’ homies Doubting Thomas Cruise Control dropped a video last night. Charles Hailer makes some very good maniacal faces in it.
Movie Log 2013
17. Searching For Sugar Man (dir. Malik Bendjelloul, 2012) (Blu-Ray)
For a while there are some interesting threads here in this doc how fandom could, at one point, exist in a place and be completely cordoned off from the rest of the world in a way that it probably can’t anymore. And that’s somewhat interesting but, despite some animation, it really doesn’t rise above what could be accomplished in a feature article until Rodriguez himself arrives. Rodriguez’ soft-spoken Industrial Midwest cadence reminded me of Michael Jackson, actually, though their lives are pretty damn different. The former had a whole life to (seemingly successfully, as far as that can be measured) apply his humility and almost mystical wisdom to the urban realities of Detroit, and the parts of this doc in which he and his family appear are legitimately moving.
I know we’re all making fun of the Richard III news being “news”, but let’s also take a second to remind everyone how absolutely fantastic of a novel Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time is. Historical mystery y’all!
Movie Log 2013
16. Academy Award-Nominated Live Action Shorts (IFC Center)
16a. Death of a Shadow (dir. Tom Van Avermaet)
Matthias Schoenarts plays a dead soldier who photographs people dying (he only sees them as shadows unless he’s using his magic camera) and then delivering them to a dude who evaluates the deaths aesthetically and posts them on a wall. Yeah. They don’t quite do enough with the concept for my tastes, though, and it kind of boils down to some pretty boring romance.
16b. Henry (dir. Yan England)
A thriller about an aging pianist for about 5 minutes, and then the allegory kicks in heavy. This sits about halfway between genuinely touching and way cloying (the score, as is often the case, doesn’t help).
16c. Curfew (dir. Shawn Christensen)
I’m kinda convinced that this dude is straight doing a Ryan Gosling accent, because the Ryan Gosling accent is, famously, a made up accent, right? I liked Curfew least out of these five; it’s about a suicidal junkie and his chipper niece and the madly-shifting tone doesn’t work for me.
16d. Buzkashi Boys (dir. Sam French)
Gorgeous desaturated photography of Kabul here. The story involves two young boys’ dream (a very local dream, mind you) of being a Buzkashi rider (that’s that sport that was in the news for a while when we invaded Afghanistan; it involves a goat carcass). It balances the sadness of an economic reality in which most young men’s dreams are unrealistic with an acknowledgement of the dignity of labor. This was my fav of the bunch.
16e. Asad (dir. Bryan Buckley)
Asadmanages to balance some slight whimsy with the horrors of war-torn Somalia. It’s good.