I've seen Redbelt three times now and conclude that it's probably my favourite of David Mamet films. That's not to say it's his best because there are some major flaws to the final act, but over all it's quite a unique film which in the way of formula is very standard of it's genre. It's a martial art film and one of the best I know of... you have the lone fighter upholding respect and all that he believes to be honour. Just about every martial arts movie uses a similar structure but Redbelt differs because the sincerity and modesty keep it firmly grounded. There's actually little fighting throughout the film but when it happens, its skilful and precise. The performances are amazing and as a breath of fresh air, Tim Allen is pretty damn good in a welcome straight role.
I really enjoyed The Switch. Its a nicely understated rom com about a girl who turns to a sperm donor to get pregnant and her best friend who drunkenly switches the deposit. 6 years later he remembers what he did. It doesn't go for any cheap laughs and relies more on interactions between the 6 year old boy and his biological father, Jason Bateman. It could have easily been an overly sentimental hallmark movie but its plays out as a smart little flick which teeters into that indie market the way Juno did.
Sean's almost 10 years old and he's really starting to get a taste for all sorts of movies spanning every genre. Being a boy he's particularly keen on action movies... mostly sci/fi like Terminator. And so I thought I'd introduce him to Westerns. What better way to start than with Young Guns?? Yeah its not the greatest western ever made but rather a watered down MTV style movie but its not overly violent, no sex and still plenty of shoot-em-up action. And he LOVED IT!! I also grew up with this movie and watched it on loop when I was his age. It lead me to other (better) films like Unforgiven, Once Upon A Time In The West and Rio Bravo amongst others. Now that Sean has a taste for it, we might tackle some of Howard Hawks' flicks and work our way up from there. Young Guns might be bubblegum, but at least its flavoured. A super fun movie in my books!
Brian Trenchard-Smith... once a legendary Aussie director making classic cult picks like Dead End Drive In, Frog Dreaming, BMX Bandits and The Man From Hong Kong... he's now relegated to the Hollywood TV B-list as a gun for hire, pumping out whichever shithouse movie he's paid to (Leprechaun 4, Omega Code 2). In 2000 be made Britannic, an obvious cash in on the heels of Titanic. I've known about the movie for years but recently came across a free copy on dvd and I just watched it. If there's little else to watch on a boring night and its screening freely on tv, then yeah, its not a total waste of time. Its hokey and kitschy but strangely entertaining. Bad dialogue, poor acting & budgetary minimalism photography. If its free of charge, give it 15 minutes to see what ya think. Don't pay for it tho.
Anticipating a Coen Brothers film has almost become an anual event. They're pumping them out with great gusto these days and the good news is that the quality rarely faulters (Intolerable & Ladykillers being the only two duds). True Grit brings them to a genre for which they seem suited and comfortable. Many of their films over the years have been westerns in round about ways but True Grit is a celebration of the classic western formula. It's a remake of the John Wayne classic which (from what I've read) holds truer to the book. The Coens have packed a lot of their trademark humour and an exaggerated aesthetic into a basic premise of retribution. The performances are great and the cinematography & score are brilliant as always. I had forgotten that Steven Spielberg was on board as producer and to see his name alongside the Coen Brothers was both surreal and welcome. Oh and much kudos to Josh Brolin & Barry Pepper's small roles.
Two questions struck me when I first heard about The Green Hornet film adaptation. 1) What the hell is Michel Gondry doing with a movie like that? and 2) Why the fuck would they cast Seth Rogan in the lead? These were two factors I had trouble wrapping my mind around. So now I have just watched the movie and it is awesome! It all makes sense now... Gondry's flavour is stamped right across this thing in big bold letters and Seth Rogan (who also co-wrote it) is actually perfect in the role. I laughed myself stupid watching The Green Hornet and I reckon its done the tv series justice while delivering a refreshing perspective on what is becoming a tiresome formula. All of the gags hit their mark and it just works for some reason. My only criticism is that it runs too long by about 10 minutes or so. Very funny though!
Tonight we busted out the VCR and watched Walk Like A Man on VHS. Talk about a blast from the past... a guy who is raised by wolves thinks he's a dog... take it out of the wilderness and stick him in suburbia.... what more do you need?? Before Encino Man, this movie played all the right gags and is a genuinely funny movie. Teddy Ruxpin & buckets of slime.... total 80s flashback! Love it!
When you compile a list of Robert Altman films you get some incredible ones at the top of the list. Movies like Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts & MASH. And then scroll right down to the bottom and you will find Beyond Therapy. Its based on a play which tells of two neurotic people meeting up on a blind date. Throw in both of their therapists, a jealous gay lover and an unstable waiter... what you end up with is a shamble of a movie. Its strung together with almost no structure at all and it plays out like a series of sporadic conversations, rants and irrational tirades. Its full of incredible actors and yet Jeff Goldblum does the same boring thing as always and there isn't a good performance in sight from any of the others. Boring, pretentious & poorly envisioned.
This movie copped a lot of crap when it was first released. The critics shat all over it and the general consensus amongst audiences was the same. The reaction to it on dvd has also been mostly negative. I watched it last night and don't understand why. I thought it to be a nice sappy yet understated comedy which kind of blends Three Men & A Baby with Mostly Martha. With drama in equal measures and a romantic twang, its a really nice feel good movie. It doesn't go for cheap laughs and perhaps thats where the negative reactions have come from... maybe audiences are too accustomed to dumbed down toilet humour? Anyhow, well acted, well written & well cast (imo) ... check it out on my recommendation and let me know what you think.