Dear Students and Faculty of [Retracted] High School

Thursday, September 30, 2010 4:40 PM By Simon

Books have not gone out of print. You shouldn't drink and drive. 'Text Speak' is does not count as a second language. Alaska is not an island. USA means United States of America. Other countries do, indeed, make movies. Ladies, 'that's disgusting' is not a proper mantra. Gentlemen, I remain unimpressed with your flexing. Teachers, I know how to follow logic. You need not put it on midterms. Yes, I am reading this for fun. Unless there's a teacher somewhere assigning students CD Payne books, in which case, rock n' roll. Me and my sister do not switch places, so stop asking. I don't care if you saw her in the hall. She doesn't either. Stop hugging in the hallway. Don't complain about how cold it is when you're wearing shorts in January. Hawaii is a state. Stop assigning homework online, it's annoying. Linkin Park sucks.

I can't believe I have to explain this to you.

Fuck you, internet (or: the 30 Sentence Story)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:45 PM By Simon

Because she's obviously a future sadist of Marquis de Sade calibre, Sugary Cynic has tagged me for the 30 Sentence Story, as hosted by Da Kid. Now, while I am quite...used to these two delinquents, I don't condone their behavior.

Robert, I choose you!

(Pokemon...)

Anyway.

The Story So Far:

1. Jane never expected to visit Belarus, but it was the only possibly solution after what had happened.

2. Her lonely planet guide had advised her that it was a great place for birdwatching- so she packed her binoculars- Todd would have been proud, had he not been lying in a coma.

3. Poor Todd; Jane remembered the incident so well: he had spotted a rare long-whiskered owlet, had ran out into the street to snap a photo, and had thusly been hit by an ice cream truck.

4. Except the ice cream truck was actually a roasted salmon!

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30. The three of them left as quickly as they could and vowed never to return again, especially if Jane was in town.

Thoughts on Assassination of a High School President

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 7:28 PM By Simon

(Russian posters are so much cooler)

-Bobby Funke (pronounced either Funk by himself or Funky by everyone else, at one point he corrects a guy on the pronunciation, and the guy just says 'No it isn't'. And that was that) is an ambitious wannabe journalist, with dreams of getting into a prestigious journalism program, despite having never finished an article for his paper. Editor-in-chief Clara (Melonie Diaz, who keeps popping up as second banana in these quasi-independent comedies, and frankly deserves a vehicle) gives him an assignement: an article on Paul Moore, student body president (as opposed to class president, which means exactly jack shit). After it is revealed that Paul apparently stole the SATs, Bobby finds himself in the noir his inner monolgue would suggest.

-It's like Brick with Rushmore and some Chinatown, if we must play that game.

-Mischa Barton is surprisingly tolerable as femme fatale Francesca, former girlfriend of Paul, love interest of Bobby (oh, yawn), and step-sister of new SBP Marlon Piazza, who Bobby keeps trying to talk to, only to be rebuffed by him and his little posse. Somewhat captivating, sometimes stilted, but overall, not bad at all.

-Reece Thompsan is convincing as the nerd with delusions of grandeur, making some of the contrived, hardboiled analogies work. He doesn't get beat up nearly enough, though.

-Like I said, Melonie Diaz is the unsung hero of many an indie. Zoe Kravitz gets in a decent turn in one scene, as the secret girlfriend of Paul, from a *horror!* public school. Kathryn Morris, who's on some show my mom digs, is kind of brilliant as a spacey school nurse.

-And, of course, Bruce Willis. The movie's fine until he shows up. Then it reaches a scale of awesome not seen since, I don't know, the moon landing. Or whatever. As the Desert Storm-veteran Principal Kirkpatrick, who will absolutely not tolerate any gum-related activities, guys, he is so bloody intense it's not even funny. Except it is. Wait.

-The plot could use some work. They take characters set up as Very Important, then drop them somewhere else so they can silently be a plot device, some of the dialogue is painful, some of the performances ridiculous. But most of the acting it spot-on brilliant, especially from bit players, and for the most part, the script will soldier on, and even if it's not the next great high school comedy, it gets the job done.

-Right. I love it when people call other people vaginas. Cutting the bullshit, slang, and innuendo, and you'll know they're serious. You must, indeed, be a vagina.

Because if it were real...

Monday, September 27, 2010 8:10 PM By Simon

Than that would imply reality is real, which it most certainly is not. As a general rule. Therefore, reality is fake, but alternate reality is real, and articifical reality is the most real of all, because it is composed of pure pixel and matter, with no thoughts, feelings, and only the most absolute of logic.

Then again, why do we care if we exist? The only use we'd make of the information is to continue existing, except significantly more depressed about the whole effort. Existence is relative to the diseased mind, to which we are all the proud owners, therefore, we chare the same mind, or else, we're all projections of someone else, or they are projections of you, or you all are the projections of mine, but maybe, you all react as you should be, amid the reality set for you, you all act as if you were real, and put on quite a good show, but in the end, you have no minds but what I put in your mouths and your eyes and maybe even your brains. Maybe I'm the master of the universe.

Or maybe I'm a projection of some other dude, one I've never met and will never hear of and will never speak to. As I type this, this person is doing all the thinking. I'm not really typing it, it will just appear on the internet for this fellow to happen upon, thereby changing his own life, questioning his existence until he writes a contemplative book that never gets published, composes letters to Ray Bradbury and the remaining Beats that will never be put to paper. Life will collapse for this poor guy, and therefore, society will collapse. The water wars will escalate until we all die of thirst and neglect and war, all because this man is too damned depressed to take a piss.

So goodbye, my noble host. Try to cheer up, for the sake of your Sims game. The new one doesn't come out in awhile, and it can be quite tiresome to create a new one. Especially when you don't know it.

Thoughts on House of Fools

12:05 PM By Simon

-During the First Chechen War, a psychiatric hospital on the border between the Russian republic of Ingushetia and Chechnya, which is already war-torn, is abandoned by its staff, either for buses to transport the patients, or just to escape the approaching Chechen army, the residents of the hospital are left to fend for themselves, frequently visited by groups from both sides.

-Protagonist-by-proxy is Zhanna (Yuliya Vysotskaya), a schizophrenic with the firm belief that popstar Bryan Adams (cameoing frequently in her daydreams), falls in love with a Chechen soldier (or bandit, depending on who's inhabiting the hospital at the time), played by Sultan Islamov.

-Good lord, this movie's good. The performances--anyway, because about half the cast are actors and half are real psychtiatric patients, and you can't really tell with some of them--are amazing, especially Vysotskaya, who's very sweet.

-The screenplay has some flaws, yes, and a lot of the stuff doing on is like an inside joke for Russians and Russian speakers, both culturally and otherwise.

-Fun fact: the song Bryan Adams sings in Shanna's fantasties is 'Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman' from Don Juan DeMarco.

-Also: there's a smallish character, an unnamed female Lithuanian sniper with the Chechens, who gets shot in the leg. She's played by Cecilie Thomsen, who was/is Bryan Adams's girlfriend, and starred in the video for the above song. Anyway, she and the guys are sitting having dinner, when they start having this really ridiculous argument that's kind of spoilerish, and she has the best 'fucking idiots' look on her face the whole time.

-Right. Anyway. A black comedy more than anything...

-Everyone go watch it.

-Also, fuck you, Rotten Tomatoes.

Thoughts on Father and Son (Otets i syn)

Sunday, September 26, 2010 11:20 AM By Simon

(again, Blogger is a filthy whore, here's a link to the poster: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1555733760/tt0363249)

-A father (Andrej Shetinin) and his son Alexei (Alexei Nejmyshev) live together on a rooftop apartment. Alexei attends military school in his father's footsteps, about to leave for training, while the father is offered a job in another city. Both inhabit a private world, full of memories and rituals, and both emotionally attached to each other.

-It seems the main talking point of this movie is the perceived homoeroticism between the two characters. So going in, I expected nakid wrestling or something. But no. I can see how the relationship between father and son could be seen as incestual, but it never really struck me as such. They both are topless most of the time, yes, but it looks more like they're trying to one-up eachother. They hug a lot, whisper to one another, but it never felt sexual, to me, anyway, more like a very strong familial love. And, besides, Russian people could just be very touchey. I don't know.

-The plot, you understand, is nearly non-existent. Besides the loose time frame of the son preparing to ship off to training, nothing goes on. Some fighting, some...what appears to be negotiating, of whether they really do love each other, something like that. Dreams and flashbacks intermingle, until you can't tell them apart. References to the son and the father's role in crucifixtion are scattered throughout. The intensity of the core relationship either stays the same, or quietly elevates. But there really is nothing going on.

-Maybe if I had seen Mother and Son, I'd be able to appreciate this more. Alas.

http://grunes.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/father-and-son-aleksandr-sokurov-2003/

My sister saw Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps

9:26 AM By Simon

(terribly sorry, Blogger is being a bitch right now and won't let me upload the poster)

---As an avid fan of Shia Lebeouf and Carey Mulligan, I felt morally obligated to see this sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1980’s drama.

---That poster is so Godfather.

---Look, its virtually impossible to understand what everyone’s saying 100% of the time. At best, you can maybe catch a familiar word of phrase, but probably only if you saw the original Wall Street. Or, you know, work on Wall Street.

---Rather boring, since Shia is kind of ignoring his scruffy charm, but Douglas is sufficiently a creep and Mulligan is one of those rare, rare, actresses who can still be gorgeous when they cry.

---Performances were all good, notably Frank Langella as Lebouf’s protegee who offs himself pretty early in the movie after being forced to sell…something. (oh, was that a spoiler?)

---I don’t understand how anyone could find this line of work so fascinating.


She's here, if you care.

Thoughts on Bande à part (Band of Outsiders)

Saturday, September 25, 2010 2:55 PM By Simon

-The naive Odile (Anna Karina) gets caught up with two would-be criminals, the lovestruck Franz (Sami Frey) and the nasty, but charming, Arthur (Claude Brasseur), and the three begin plotting to rob Odile's aunt of her millions.

-A clever twist on the gangster film, anyway.

-Anna Karina is lovely. I mean, she can play innocent, and calculating, and MPDG, and all that.

-The Madison scene is so awesome.

-Easily Godard's most accessible movie, if it's not his best. Only hints of his usual abuse of the fourth wall.

-That's it, really. Very clean-cut.

Experimental Film

2:03 PM By Simon

What makes a movie experimental, anyway? There are many reasons something can be so...is it experimental in relation to film as a whole, to the director, to the actor, to the cinematographer?

Le jetee is experimental because it toys with our ideas of film, sound, and image. Man With a Movie Camera does the same. Passion of the Christ is in three dead languages. The Straight Story is David Lynch's only straight story. Donnie Darko looks genre convetion in the face and laughs. Gerry is silence and shooting the shit, without hinting at a plot until it's too late. United 93 dares you to be offended. Ed Wood asks what it really is to be a bad director. Brick makes us sleuths. Dancer in the Dark offers the hopelessness of existence without one zombie or plague. The Boss of it All is Lars von Trier's only romantic comedy. The Lady from Shanghai is the only movie Rita Hayworth was ever blonde. In Limits of Control, so was Tilda Swinton. Salo gives political meaning to degradation. Pierrot le fou can't be bothered with that pesky fourth wall. Neither can Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Waking Life challenges dreams. A Scanner Darkly challenges hallucinations.

Horror movies make nightmares. Inception makes them sharp. Eraserhead makes them terrifying. A Nightmare on Elm Street makes them combative. Monsters Inc. makes them real.

The Jazz Singer was the first big sound film. Louis was the last big silent film. Citizen Kane gave us non-linear, but then, so did Reservoir Dogs.

Scent of Mystery gave us smell-o-vision. Earthquake sensursound. The Power of Love, 3-D. Hypnovision probably exists somewhere. Sebastiane was in Latin.

Was that enough pretensiousness for one day?

Thoughts on I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Friday, September 24, 2010 8:48 PM By Simon

-After his little brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) kills himself, former London crime boss Will Graham (Clive Owen) returns from his self-imposed exile to find out why.

-See, Simon Fisher-Turner's score, as lovely as it is, implies a neo-noir film, yet it never feels like one. We already know what happened and why, and there's hardly any detective work in between all the angst.

-Now, either the characters were meant to be drawn as by the actors, you have to read their expressions and body languages to really get them, these ambiguously moral guys. Or they were just really poorly characterized.

-Clive Owen has crazy eyes. Jamie Foreman's Mickster is bug eyed. Charlotte Rampling's Helen has sad eyes. These are not generalisations. In this movie, they appear to be permanent.

The entire damn movie.

-Okay, so aside from all that, and some cliched dialogue, the movie goes along at a generally fine pace, with bits of greatness speckled in. And then, with maybe twenty minutes left, Mike Hodges goes off the rail, trying to fit another hour's worth of conflict into that time. The big confrontation between Will and Malcolm McDowell's Boad is so lamely written, the revelatory explanation almost grotesquely stupid. The buildup to said confrontation fairs no better, random shaving and be-suiting occurs.

-And then there's the end. The end that puts ends to shame, my dears. So very half-assed an ending, it insults and nulifies everything that previously occurs. How I hate that ending.

-Clive Owen, while serviceable, never really sold the 'hard man' that people bragged him as. None of that just-under-the-surface rage. Nothing there at all, really. His face is so stony, even for the character, you can't trace his line of thought. Therefore, nothing he does makes sense.

-Everyone else is fine. Found Jamie Foreman a bit hammy, but in a good way. Charlotte Rampling, an ex-girlfriend of Will's, is there to warmly sput character flaws and wrongdoings, then disappear.

-Basically, and I'll never say this again ever, in my life, because everybody gets one, Jonathan Rhys Meyers gets the most entertaining bits that don't involve the landlady. When he is around is the only time in the entire movie that someone smiles. He is quite good here, actually, in his douchey way.

-Did I mention that the ending has its own speciall ring in Hell? I'm working on it, at least. Posted Dante and everything.

Thoughts on Storytelling

3:01 PM By Simon

-Two unrelated stories--"Fiction" in which Selma Blair plays a student in a creative writing class, taught by an intimidating black writer (Robert Wisdom), and the much longer "Non-Fiction", where Mark Webber (you know, that guy from Scott Pilgrim is a disaffected teen with vague dreams of having a talk show, a shoe salesman who wants to make a documentary about him and his family (rather grotesque parents John Goodman and Julie Hagerty, obnoxiously awful fifth-grader Jonathan Osser, and relatively normal middle child Noah Fleiss)--share common themes of what makes something fictional.

-Many layers of the question, that I won't get into right now.

-I won't lie: much of the metaness in this movie comes off as Solondz beating his critics to the punch, both as a ploy to come off as self-aware and an attempt to write off his own shock-value (especially evidenced in the first segment).

-This depressed me. I can't go on.

Um

Thursday, September 23, 2010 4:03 PM By Simon

I dig this

2:30 PM By Simon

So, you know Stacie at Final Girl, right? The Big Cheese of horror bloggers? She made a fake trailer, which features people from her other videos, plus, like, half the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Which is the best show ever. Also, maybe Daniel Bruhl. I can't tell.

Splendiferous News from the High Holy Gate

12:40 PM By Simon

Who says nobody runs to fancy titles? Anyway. Today's movie news has been so collectively splendid I must share with you, my humble audience.

-Kim Jee-Woon, director of The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Tale of Two Sisters, and the recent I Saw the Devil, is soldiering into Hollywood with 'Last Stand', based on the buzzed-about Blacklist script by Andrew Knauer. The leader of a drug cartel breaks out of a courthouse, speeding to the Mexican border in a 200mph Gumpert Apollo, pursued by a small-town cop and his rookie crew.

So, yes, this sounds like the single most boring idea to hit 21st century action movies since, I don't know, that one with that guy. But if you've seen TGTBTW, you know this dude can inject more manic energy into an action scene, and beautifully shoot them, and besides that, make things awesome.

-Roman Polanski is developing his new project, 'Gods of Carnage', based off the play that NBC keeps running commercials for. The single most Oscary, yet not baity, cast to ever attack my fragile eyeballs has been assembled, in the forms of Kate Winslet, Jody Foster, Matt Dillon, and Christoph Waltz. About two sets of parents who meet after their boys get into a schoolyard fight, and begin to turn on each other.

-Teenage assassin movies are the new frontier, my sources tell me. My sources, of course, being resident Voices in My Head Pablo and Skeet. Details.

Alexis Bledel has joined the cast of 'Violet and Daisy', teaming up with Saoirse Ronan (also of the probably-more-sober flick 'Hanna') as (ahem) teenage assassins who discover the man they're sent to kill is more than expected.

So, Bledel is, like, 29. Carey Mulligan had been up for this. Fuck the movie-making cycle and how it denies me my dream cast. Fuck them to the holy pits from wence they came.

I kid. This could be cool. Not as cool as it woul've been with Mulligan. But I can cope. Totally.

Danny Trejo or Bruce Willis are also up for roles, in what has been described as Superbad meets Kick-Ass meets Pulp Fiction. Or something like that.

-Joaquin Phoenix might play J Edgar Hoover's lova in an upcoming biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Huh.

-And, of course, lots of other things I remain, as always, ungenerously neutral about. G'day.

Thoughts on Son of Rambow

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:34 PM By Simon

-Two little boys make a sequel to Rambo.

-Oh-me-god this movie is absolutely adorable.

-Like, the kid actors--Bill Milner as the shy Will, reluctant member of the Plymouth Brethren religion, Will Poulter as troublemaker Lee Carter, slave to his older brother Ed Westwick, French exchange student Jules Sitruk--are all so great.

-The pacing could be tightened, you know, but overall, a delightful movie. Okay?

A book review, because I've gotta culture you chumps up: John Dies at the End

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 5:16 PM By Simon

-Yes, I know, a book by the editor of Cracked.com isn't exactly the epitome of class, but fuck you.

-Anyway, this book kind of rules. Tis funny and scary (oh-so-scary), and everly quotable and there's all these places--Cracked forums, the website--where David Wong and John give concealed background information on what the fuck was going on, man, this shit was weird.

-And it has three distinct plots with one overarching one. And the characters are so funny, even if they do border on two-dimensional (it is first person, after all), and damn.

-Alright, book review over. Let's never do that again.

AW SHIT!

4:01 PM By Simon

Thoughts on The Hunger

2:36 PM By Simon

(may be spoilers)

-Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) is creature from Egyptian times, taking on numerous companions of any gender (I suspect she has seen the third one) to get her through lonely immortality. Her most recent one is John (David Bowie), a cellist she met in the 18th century. The two now live in a swanky New York apartment, posing as a Goth Rock couple to lure leathered-up chumps to their dooms. But when John begins to circle his proverbial drain (see, he is promised every-lasting youth, but really, it's only a couple centuries), Miriam sets her eyes on one Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandan), whom John had tried to meet with in an attempt to cure his sudden ailment.

-I'm reluctant to call this a vampire movie. I don't really consider it that. I mean, yes, they live off blood (the eponymous 'hunger'), and live forever (or at least a long time), and brood something fierce, but I present to you: they do not have fangs. This is why they aren't vampires. Vampires have fangs. Vampires don't rely on tiny knives in Ye Olde pendents that look suspiciously like the cult symbol in Tommy. They kill people any which damn way they feel like. Because they're vampires.

-This a fascinating movie. Not good, maybe not even okay, but it's fascinating, just on the pure watchability of its stars. Catherine Deneuve (which I will probably never spell right twice in a row) exudes sophistication and otherworldly grace, good ol' European style. Susan Sarandan can easily be the adjusted, normal scientist and the mysterious, half-mad conversion. And David Bowie is David Bowie.

-No joke, I thought the lead singer of Bauhaus, Peter Murphy, who shows up in the beginning nightclub scene and opening credits, singing 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' was David Bowie. Their voices are a bit similar when you're not directly comparing them (which I wasn't), the lighting and frequent cuts made me think Tony Scott was being weird and intercutting an old Bowie performance of a song I've never heard before. Then I realised it was stupid, because, y'know, Bowie don't do goth, and while superficially, this Bauhaus guy and Bowie may be kind of similar, there is only one of them that is Bowie, and it is not Bauhaus, and yeah....

-Right. This film's fatal flaw, you ask? Making Catherine Deneuve crawl around on her knees, drinking blood. She's classy, okay?

-Also, putting Bowie in decrepit makeup for a long while. Come on, guys. Know where your audience's at.

-Visually gorgeous, though. Not just the cinematography, the mise-en-scene, every moment set up like an individual photograph. Beautiful.

Monday, September 20, 2010 2:59 PM By Simon

http://io9.com/5643132/the-10-best-foreign-language-science-fiction-movies

I love my job

12:41 PM By Simon

Thoughts on La jetee

Sunday, September 19, 2010 1:28 PM By Simon

(please forgive lack of accents)

-One of these days I'm going to write an essay on experimental film. One of these days.

-Told almost entirely through still photographs, dialogueless but for the narrator and some other voices muttering in German, Le jetee plays more like a slide show than a movie, yet at 28 minutes, it never gets dull or grows old. Easily could've been a short story, a radio play (they still have those, right?), something, the images are almost not necessary, but they make the whole thing somehow richer. Visual homages to Hitchcock, getting to see Paris is ruins, the face that stays with the narrator and encourages this little tale, I can't imagine the story without them.

-Right. A man (Davos Hanich) is living in a post-nuclear Paris Underground--literally, a series of connected underground galleries, where survivors of WW3 are divided into Victors and Prisoners, he of the latter. The Victors have been experimenting with time travel, hoping to warn the past and/or raid the future for supplies, but have had little luck, either driving the human guinea pigs mad or killing them. They conclude that they need someone who is mentally sound enough to withstand the shock of time travel, ie someone with a single image from the past burnt into his memory. The man, as luck would have it, has a childhood memory, just before the bombings that destroyed the city, of a woman standing on a pier (Helene Chatelain). This memory is vague but obsessive, making him the perfect candidate. Going back, he finds the woman at various times, a constantly disappearing presence she welcomes.

-It really is a beautiful little film.

Thoughts on Man With A Movie Camera

10:56 AM By Simon

-An avant-garde meta-documentary with no intertitles, no actors, sets, or premise, and no apparent narrative. I, my friends, have gone as far into the depths of arthouse as I could possibly go.

-Director Vertov, a fervent believer in the 'kino eye' style of filmmaking, obliterating all none-documentary cinema, made this, I think, in response to criticism of his use of intertitles in a previous film.

-Wild juxtapositions (blinking eyes with shutter blinds, etc.), nine compositional pieces for a score (at least in the one I saw), dozens of editing techniques (double-exposure, close ups, stop motion), vaguely related topics intercut with each other (scenes of marriage and divorce filings, a wedding, a funeral, and a woman giving birth all together in a rabidly edited five minutes). Frequently, the cameraman of the title shows up, walking around, setting up shots, sometimes putting himself in dangerous situations to get them. Also, the editor, wife of Vertov, will be seen in the editing room, piecing together scenes that haven't appeared yet.

-This is a weird movie. Mesmerizing, but weird. This essay explains it better.

Thoughts on Film Geek

Saturday, September 18, 2010 10:41 PM By Simon

-Scotty is a (ahem) film geek, with an encyclopedic knowledge on anything of the subject, repelling those around him. Things change when he meets this chick, blah, blah.

-This movie is really cheap looking. I'm just going to get that out of the way.

-Scotty was obnoxious rather than endearing. He rattles off trivia in a robotic voice, walks about stiffly, going about his business with random interjections of him jacking off.

-Love interest, Whasserface, was a snob.

-And yet I loved this, people. I mean, one of the few things I can boast is that I'm not as singularly obsessed with film as this guy, but, like, I got it. Frustration over others' movie knowledge, the compulsory need to spout out all your knowledge of any actor given, being, like, really into film scores. This shit spoke to me. Yo.

-Near the end, the film got ridiculously preposterous, but then director James Westby explains it in a pretty clever way (for all I know about cleverness).

-Is it wrong that I like movies looking professional? I mean, this was very funny in places, but I was so distracted by the cheap lighting and sets and camera. I just...I can't stand it. If it looks like it was shot in a ninth grade film class, I get flashbacks.

Thoughts on The Anderson Tapes

7:45 PM By Simon

-Sean Connery plays a recently released con who gathers up a gang to rob his girlfriend's apartment building, followed by a shitload of both private and police wires, hence the title.

-What's interesting about this movie is that it's all about the pervasiveness of surveillence, both blatant and inconspicuous, but it was filmed years before Watergate.

-Also, Christopher Walken is, like, twenty here, and he looks all pretty and shit, but when he talks, he still sounds like Christopher Walken. Taking orders from Connery, you wonder when he's gonna go all Headless Horeman on the fool.

-Seriously, this is what he looks like:



-Quincy Jones's score is terrible. Just terrible. All keyboard-induced cartoon bleeps.

-These guys, this ragtag bunch of criminals--The Kid (Walken), a safecracker released at the same time as Duke Anderson (Connery), Pop, also at the same time, but after some decades, getaway driver Spencer (Dick Anthony Williams), and gay antiques dealer Tommy (Martin Balsam, playing flamboyant up to eleven, who I guess is there to judge what goods are worth stealing), would all probably be the best team ever if they all weren't hilariously incompetent with then-recent technology. If they were, they'd have realised, for one, that they were being watched by dozens of teams for dozens of seperate, unrelated reasons, not to mention crack a safe clean. Each has either spent years in jail, or is just not up to date.

-There's the girlfriend, Connery's, who's name I can't remember, who seems to only be there as the gateway plot device and required love interest. She gets some fine lines, I guess, and was played a bit less one dimensional than she could've been. The hostages for the eventual heist are given bits of backstory and development, and some are quite funny.

-Right. Anyway. Is dull for its first hour, then grows into an enticing caper. Yeah.

-It's also really, really homoerotic.

Thoughts on Easy A

5:45 PM By Simon

-Oh my lord, Emma Stone should be in everything. She's so awesome.

-I want Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson for my parents.

-People I didn't expect to be very good, but actually were: Aly Michalka and Penn Badgley. I mean, the advertising sold this movie all wrong, but especially these two, giving the latter two stereotypically boring-love interest lines and the former little to none, depending on the trailer. I mean, Badgley's character was pretty boring, but at least he had some good lines and, hey, he was the school mascot. And Michalka, for the first ten minutes where she's very prominent, gets some fucking funny lines.

-This movie is funny. I excuse all it's flaws, because it made me laugh out loud. Sure, nobody looks like they're anywhere near high school age (lampshaded in Cam Gigandet, who is a twenty-year-old on his fourth senior year), and the characterization is uneven (first Emma Stone's Olive goes from confidentally game towards the whole slut situation, then she's completely overwhelmed, although this might be more truthful to people than we give the movies credit for), there's some really groan-worthy jokes (Tom Cruise), and some grating performances (Amanda Bynes was supposed to be annoying, but I like her being Nickelodean-lite weird, not all shrill puritan annoying), but overall, an actually honest, funny, likable comedy that, at worst, serves as a vehical for Emma Stone. Who should be in everything. Like I said.

-I've got 'Pocketful of Sunshine' stuck in my head.

Dear AFP

Friday, September 17, 2010 8:47 PM By Simon

This is a letter-song to Amanda Palmer from this Greek chick, and I kind of love it.



Blog directory

Thoughts on Tommy

7:37 PM By Simon

-Tina Turner is a prostitute dealing in LSD (but she was going to be played by David Bowie), Elton John is the Pinball Champ, Eric Clapton is The Preacher, Jack Nicholsan is the singing Dr. Quacker, and everything, literally everything, is sung from the Who concept album. This movie is fucking weird, my friends.

-Please excuse this so-dated language, that might not even match up with that of 1969, but it describes it so well: this shit is kind of rad.

-And of course, for the folks of corresponding sexual preference out there, Roger Dalton spends the majority of his time being shirtless.

California on England

1:22 PM By Simon

What's wrong yet oh-so-right about this picture?

1:14 PM By Simon

More.

I haven't done the news lately, have I?

Thursday, September 16, 2010 7:06 PM By Simon

I keep forgetting, alas...

But hey! The whole Juaquin Phoenix thing is entirely scripted! Hazzah!

A Conversation

1:38 PM By Simon

That went on in my English class. Transcribed to the best of my ability.

(talking about the excellent Ray Bradbury story 'There Will Come Soft Rains', which led to the dangers of technology)

Teacher: Has anyone seen Fern Gully?

Nobody: *has*

Teacher: *describes, in case we saw it when we were too young to bother with the title*

Nobody: *persists*

Teacher: It's like Avatar.

Kid: I love Avatar!

Other Kid: Avatar sucks!

*incomprehensible jargon*

Teacher: It's basically Avatar, but animated. Now, 'There Will Come Soft Rains' has been adapted to a Disney movie, I think it's popular.

Some Kid: Shaggy Dog?

Teacher: What? No, Smart House.

Class: *oh!*

Teacher: Of course, they put it into modern day, but the house is still a main character. Except now she's a mom.

Class: *what?*

Teacher: And the house is played by a TV actress.

Me: *knows*

Everyone else: *doesn't*

Me: *smug*

Teacher: She's on Sons of Anercki (how she pronounces it)?

Class: *?*

Teacher: Has anyone heard of Futurama? She's the voice of Futurama?

Kid: Who on Futurama?

Me: Leela.

Kid: Oh! I love Futurama!

Everyone else: *confused*

Teacher: She was the mom? Who got attacked by this other gang? But didn't tell her husband? On the season finale?

Me: *sigh*

Teacher: Right. Anyway *talks of similar themes, why we are doomed if we let technology do all the work for us, etc*

Scene.

Thought I'd share.

Speaking of bullshit

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:53 PM By Simon

I love putting off homework.

DisorderRating
Paranoid Personality Disorder:High
Schizoid Personality Disorder:Moderate
Schizotypal Personality Disorder:High
Antisocial Personality Disorder:Low
Borderline Personality Disorder:Very High
Histrionic Personality Disorder:Moderate
Narcissistic Personality Disorder:Moderate
Avoidant Personality Disorder:High
Dependent Personality Disorder:Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:High

-- Take the Personality Disorder Test --
-- Personality Disorder Info --

Thoughts on Chaplin

Monday, September 13, 2010 4:26 PM By Simon

-Now, Charlie Chaplin movies make me sad. The Tramp, specifically, is such an innocently tragic character, and Chaplin's scores are always so melancholy, his films make me cry even at their cheeriest. This just made the whole thing all the more depressing.

-Not to say it wasn't good. Robert Downey Jr. certainly earns his nomination, as the single actor who gets enough screen time to warrant such. Kevin Kline plays best friend and pirate of many orders Douglas Fairbanks with his usual zeal, Marisa Tomei gets a bit part as Mabel Normand, star of many a Fatty Arbuckle short, director, and apparently, a bitch, rivaled only by Mary Pickford (Maria Pitillo). Milla Jovovich shows up for a bit as the Lolita first wife of Chaplin, Dan Aykroyd is the notoriously undersold Mack Sennett, who gave Chaplin his shot, I guess. Paul Rhys is Chaplin's older brother Sidney, a rather thankless, but nonetheless well-played, role, and in some bizarre twist of fate, Geraldine Chaplin plays her own grandmother.

-Moira Kelly plays the dual roles of Hetty Kelly, Chaplin's first love, a dancer who married and died of influenza at 25 (after he left for America), for which she puts on the most dreadful accent. Like, ever. Her parents are Irish immigrants, she should be able to put on a goddamn convincing accent. Anyways. And then she plays Chaplin's final and longest wife, the ever-faithful Oona O'Neill, in a not-so-subtle juxtaposition with the many women in his life. So, uh, if you see Moira Kelly walking around, she's probably your soulmate. Or something.

-There's this really funny scene, where Charlie and Sid and Sid's wife (girlfriend?) and Charlie's cameraman Roland Totheroh (David Duchovny) are alluding the cops with the still-uncut print of some film, I forget which one, that Mildred Harris (Jovovich) was after for the divorce settlement, and they start running around like in a Chaplin film, super-fast movements and slapstick diversions and whatnot.

-The end. Is so. Sad.

-Good day.
The Temptation Of St Tony

According to Dante

2:40 PM By Simon

I'm doom'd.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Fifth Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Thoughts on Tempest

Sunday, September 12, 2010 8:06 PM By Simon

-Okay, so John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands and Susan Sarandon in an adaption of The Tempest should be good.

-It isn't.

-See, it tries to balance midlife crisis, coming of age, and Shakespearean adaption into an eighties movie, and none of it works.

-Molly Ringwald, in her first movie role, plays Miranda, putting in that signature teen angst. So there's that.

-Raul Julia plays Kalibanos, the benevolent equivalent of Caliban. He dances with some goats, and it's kind of awesome.

-Sarandon plays Aretha, who I guess is supposed to be Ariel, if he were female (which he arguably is, but shut up) and/or shacking up with Prospero.

-Cassavetes is good as Phillip Dimitrius, the mid-life-crisis-suffering architect who might control the weather, but then again, he's good in anything.

-Gena Rowlands always seems to forever exist in a Cassavetes movie, doesn't she? That's how I always see her, anyway. She plays his wife Antonia.

-There's Alonso and the whole entourage, but they show up at the end, with such tiny parts it hardly even matters. Ferdinand, Freddy, gets some face time though, in one of the more amusing scenes with Molly Ringwald.

-Terribly uneven, boring film, but you might stick around for the delightful cast.

Thoughts on Paper Heart

Saturday, September 11, 2010 12:03 PM By Simon

-In a half-documentary, half-mockumentary, Charlyne Yi is on quest to find the definition of love.

-Michael Cera is in it. As humself. Dating Charlyne. Yeah.

-And Jake Johnson playing director Nick Jasenovec.

-The only way I can describe this movie is the same as how I describe Yi: precious. Not cute, or adorable, or quirky, but precious. She's like a little kid, so much so, she fits right into a group of gradeschoolers on a playground. Which is the best part, by the way.

-If you reject the allure of Michael Cera, self-aware hipsters, conversations about love from people married for fifty years, and the like, then you'll hate this. All I can say.

Thoughts on The Good Heart

8:44 AM By Simon

-A curmudgeonly bartender named Jacques (Brian Cox), while in the hospital for his fifth heart attack, meets homeless almost-suicide victim Lucas (Paul Dano), and adopts him as his protege.

-I'll say it right now: you can see the twist coming a mile away. There's so much blatant foreshadowing in the first half hour, it's inevitable.

-And yet, I stuck around, because Brian Cox and Paul Dano play their respective roles--Shakespearean-level asshole and awkward young manchild--so well, their chemistry so solid, it keeps the plot, which involves a shitload of nothing, from sagging. The script, when it's not busy sucking, is actually quite funny in the quieter, introspective moments. Like one scene, in which the classiest fart joke ever conceived.

-Beautifully dark, moody cinematography.

-This is the second movie of the year where a sweet ingenue played by Paul Dano falls victim to the sexist, loud, rude, grand-scale old man of odd job-holding. There.

Shut the fuck up

Friday, September 10, 2010 3:04 PM By Simon



Shut the fuck up.

Thought I was done with Inception?

Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:44 AM By Simon

Not even close.

Not to get political or anything...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 4:07 PM By Simon

But I honestly think Obama might be losing his shit.



Poor bastard...

As I Sat Writing

3:50 PM By Simon

This shit is funny.

Thoughts on Teorema

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 6:10 PM By Simon

-A young man (Terence Stamp) visits a bourgeois (or however you spell middle-class) Italian family, seducing and comforting the religious maid, the sensitive son, the repressed mother, the quiet daughter, and the tortured father, in that order, before leaving them, to fall apart in his absence.

-Alright, Pasolini. I get it. Capitalism sucks, abolish the middle class, orgies for everyone. That, sir, is how I'd sum up the great body of your work. Normally, this would be all well and good, because more often then not, your movies are fairly watchable with or without the political subtext. But here? The family disintegrates slowly, yet obviously. Events happen in bursts, with tons of filler space. Yet, for the majority, literally nothing happens.

-Terrence Stamp is dapper, isn't he?

Thoughts on Queen Christina

Monday, September 6, 2010 1:55 PM By Simon

-Greta Garbo stars as the 'girl king' Christina of Sweden, loosely based on her life leading up to her abdicating the throne.

-Holy shit, Christina is badass. She walks around in men's clothes, she don't take shit from no lowly Parliament, when a bunch of peasents want to storm the castle, she lets them in and berets them for acting the fool, meeting them at the top of the staircase with a hand on her hip, all 'nuh-uh'.

-Right. Garbo is magnificently hammy as the only Swedish person in this entire movie. Did I mention I love her?

-Seriously, Swedish people had the best mustaches.

-The movie itself, for a period piece, was fairly entertaining, mostly due to Garbo's magnetic presence and the aforementioned mustaches, which are positively hypnotic.

Thoughts on Machete

4:34 AM By Simon

-This is beyond criticism, okay? Something that so heavily relies of the Rule of Cool, it'd be ridiculous to entrap it in anything approaching pretension.

-The interwebs is positively abuzz with the news that Lindsay Lohan goes all topless and junk. But, see, this scene (in which she and her mother make out with Machete in a pool, because he's kind of a pimp), it is obviously a body double. Different hair, different face (for the brief second said double faces the camera a bit). There's a scene soon after where she really is naked, but covered with her own hair. So everyone calm down.

-Kill Bill reference! Kill Bill reference!

-Michelle Rodriguez is badass. And, sure, her survival is spoiled by the trailer and, fuck, the opening credits, but still. It's pretty triumphant.

-Danny Trejo should star in more things. Seriously, who gave Ryan Reynolds permission to be the next action hero?

-Goddammit, Jessica Alba.

-I was promised awesome fake trailers starring Tim Roth as Ringo Orange. I did not get them. You can understand.

-SEQUELS!

-...

-Don't you just get lost in Jeff Fahey's eyes?

Blue Velvet (or, The Conflicted Existence of Suburbia)

Saturday, September 4, 2010 9:03 AM By Simon

-Why the added paranethesis in the title? Because, like The Saddest Music in the World (which, coincedentally, shares many elements. Isabella Rosselini...the color blue...), giving it a mere 'Thoughts on' headline won't give it justice. This could be argued for many of the films I've seen, but this one specifically, it just feels so...inappropriate.

-Surprisingly, this is maybe David Lynch's most straightforward movie (aside from the aptly named The Straight Story). Symbolism abound, yes, but there is a narrative, with a coherent story and almost no homeless monsters living behind fast food restaurants.

-A young man named Jeffrey (Kyle Maclachlan, before he got all Desperate Housewives-y) home from college after his father suffers a stroke. On his way home from the hospital, he happens upon a severed ear in a field, and...uh, yeah. Weird shit happens.

-Has anyone ever noticed that Lynch always seems to be making fun of dialogue among sububurbanites or otherwise well-adjusted people? In Mulholland Dr., for example, Betty (Naomi Watts, duh) is an exaggerated innocent of middle American, spouting her corny phrases with such unironic conviction it's almost unsettling. Same for the hitman and his target in the beginning, such forced normalcy. That's what it's like in this movie, Jeffrey especially. His interactions with his neighbor, Detective Williams (George Dickerson), and his daughter Sandy (Laura Dern) is so intentionally off, enthusiastic small talk.

-Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper. I'll just say it, they transcend criticism. So thoroughly do they immerse themselves in these fucked-up characters, I'd almost feel bad not lauding them.

-Frank Booth is the best villain ever.

-Still. I'll never listen to 'In Dreams' the same, man.

Thoughts on Medicine for Melancholy

3:14 AM By Simon

-After a one night stand, two twenty-somethings (Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins) spend the day together, awkwardly discussing race, gentrification, and the racial hypocrisies or being 'indie'.

-I'm mixed. On the one hand, Wyatt Cenac is adorable, and he and Higgins have good chemistry, even though she spends half the movie berating, insulting, or otherwise treating him like shit. They are what I'd call casual hipsters, as in, he installs aquariums, she makes T-shirts with women directors' names on them (these are extremely hipster jobs). What differentiates them from other movies amid the mumblecore movement (as best as I can describe it, really) is that they actually talk about things that don't always involve the dynamics of their relationship. I mean, certainly relationships are the main focus, just not always their own specifically.

-The first twenty minutes are torture. While capturing the awkwardness of going to breakfast with your one night stand for lack of anything better to do, the main characters (Micah and Jo) literally shift weight from one foot to the other, Micah trying to pry some conversation out of Jo, her coldly shrugging them off. Why would anyone be mean to Wyatt Cenac? If he can get away with a beard, he can get away with anything, is what I'm saying. I love that guy.

-Right. My point. Half the movie is a diatribe about the evils of gentrification (which I won't argue with, but I don't want to hear people argue over its merits for 80-some off minutes), how the (ugh) indie scene boasts racial blindness, but really, it's always just 'a black person hanging onto a white person', never an Asian or an Indian or a Latino in the mix. This eventually crosses the line from natural conversation to dropping an anvil on the whole thing.

-Still, this is a case where shaky cam actually makes it better. The cinematography can either be described as black and white but for reds, greens, and yellows, or regular color, just very, very muted. The mike, for what it's worth, captures every sound, really putting you into San Francisco. The characters pause to choose their next words, have to piss, argue and debate without either being seen through the lens of 'blatantly wrong'. These characters aren't the smug assholes I've grown accustomed to in such films, but intelligent, complicated people who evolve organically (or not at all).

-Right. I never really laughed out loud, but I chuckled quite a bit (because, yeah, Wyatt Cenac). The script it clever and funny, the performances pretty incredible.

-Myspace? Really? I imagine, at this point, that Myspace is something akin to a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with people cautiously wandering out to their profiles, lest they be seen. Raiding abandoned pages for swag, scrounging for an applicable button. Tragic, really.

Movies there should be support group for

Friday, September 3, 2010 7:55 AM By Simon

You know the ones I'm talking about. The movies so tragic, so dreary, so emotionally devastating you feel compelled to make your friends watch it, just so you have someone to be miserable with. These are to varying degrees misery, see.

The Red Riding Trilogy
Three movies, each taking place in a different year, with the same general story arch. That story? The rape, torture, and murder of children and women. As our heroes dig deeper into what comes into a police conspiracy (everybody now: "This is the North, where we do what we want"). These movies have characters to represent different types of grief, misery, and emotional turmoil, but none more tragic oir devastating than Paula (Rebecca Hall), or the first film, who's ultimate outcome sums it up well: no matter how sad your story, how sympathetic you are, you'll get an unceremonious offscreen death. Or something like that.

The last film offers the tiniest ray of hope, but it is thin, and this paltry example only serves to further depress you.

Funny Games (original and US)
The merit of this movie(s) is especially debateable, but you can't argue the overwhelming cyncicism. Michael Hanake makes no secret of his disdain for you, the viewers who liked it, and you, the viewer who didn't. A family is tormented by two psychotic young men, and Hanake doesn't flinch in making you accomplice to each and every one of their sufferings, by simply sitting down and demanding it. When their eventual deaths arrive, it finally hits you that, yes, they are fictional, and yes, they are actors, but for one moment, you truly believed they were real, and that you killed them with your thirst for entertainment. Way to go.

Dancer in the Dark
Oh my god, Dancer in the Dark. A person who says they didn't burst into tears by the halfway mark is dishonest and unworthy of your love. Oh my god.

That one scene from Click
Everyone shut up.

Is there a movie out there that makes you suicidal?

Thoughts on The Night Porter

5:11 AM By Simon

-A former Gestapo officer (Dirk Bogarde), 12 years after the war, is working as a night porter for a hotel, where he again meets Lucia (Charlotte Rampling), a former concentration camp inmate with whom he led a sado-masochistic relationship.

-It's interesting how general they made the character of Lucia. She is passively referred to as 'the daughter of a socialist', so I'll assume she was a political prisoner. Her name suggests some sort of Christianity. All this, I guess, was to make her more relevant to all women, and, if you want to get even vaguer, victims of Stockholm Syndrome, or of two people in a bound, mutually dependent relationship against a politically fucked-up backdrop. Or something.

-Dirk Bogarde, as Maximillion, who might be the most repentant of his circle of blame-dodging former officers (and one gay Nazi balletist), just wants to live as a 'churchmouse', that is, quiet and unthought of, as opposed to their (the other officers') thirst for their former ranks. Yeah, he may be a Nazi bastard, but he's still Dirk Bogarde, and Dirk Bogarde is a suave motherfucker.

-The ending is weird.

Thoughts on Celebrity

4:55 AM By Simon

-I won't lie to you, folks. I don't like Woody Allen movies. At the best of times, they're tolerable, but I find the atypical Allen persona--stuttering, over/psuedo-intellectual neurotic--to be obnoxious. The general situations, of vague love and creative problems in the wealthy side of Manhatten, are unrelatable. The way characters go on about how criticism is dead, music sucks these days, how difficult it is to get a screenplay bought, all that shit, makes me want to strangle something sentient.

-So, yeah. I didn't like this movie. Because it featured the worst aspects of Woody Allen movies, and turned them up to eleven. We get not one, but two neurotic main characters, Kenneth Branaugh (who does a pretty great Allen impression) and Judy Davis, as a long-married couple who separate and go on to various amount of success, one hindered by his fame seeking, the other rewarded for her modesty. The actors do nothing wrong, you understand.

-A bevy of supporting characters--Charlize Theron as an impulsive supermodel, Melanie Griffith as a starlet, Leonardo DiCaprio as a parody of himself, with Adrian Grenier and Sam Rockwell as some tagalongs, Fat Tony (fine, Joe Mantegna) as a TV producer and Davis's eventual husband, Winona Ryder as a wish-washy actress, Bebe Neuwirth gets a funny scene as a prostitute. They all add to the ridiculousness of celebrity.

-Didn't like it. The actors did what they could, but overall, it was just too Woody Allen, like a parody of his typical stuff.

Thoughts on Lucky Number Slevin

Thursday, September 2, 2010 5:16 AM By Simon

-An affable young man (Josh Hartnett) gets embroiled in a gang conflict.

-I must say, I never much cared for Hartnett before, but here, he's so charming and nails the dialogue (the whip-fast witty brand of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). But, see, his character, Slevin, or Nick, or whatever you want to call him, has a condition called Ataraxia, which isn't even a medical condition, but a theoretical, philisophical one that supposedly frees an individual from worry or stress. This is used more as a plot device than anything, way too conveniant an excuse. Unless it was intended that way, in-story.

-The twist was so obvious. Damn.

-You know what? I've never thought of Lucy Liu as a comedic actress, despite the fact that the bulk of her work has been comedy or action comedy (or Kill Bill). It's this preconceived notion that I can't quite shake, no matter how many times I see the trailer for Watching the Detectives.

-Okay. So. Sir Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman face/off (let's just spell it like that from now on), and it is glorious. Kingsley has this really Jewish voice on, Freeman is all out for justice, neither one can leave their swankay digs for fear of the other assassinating them (they leave across the street from each other, by the way).

-Bruce Willis is really good, this meancing, silent, intense figure with a really bad hairpiece.

-You know what I love? Mathematicians' Answers. Here's a page.

-This might've been better had the screenplay or director got more involved in what the characters were doing. I mean *spoiler* you've got a protaganist who's not who he says at all, but the audience doesn't know this, therefore they must hide it from us. It's impossible to relate with this Slevin dude, who's so nonchalant about a situation(s, if you count his supposed reason for being there) that most people would be freaking the fuck out in. You know there's going to be a big reveal, because otherwise this guy is just the product of shitty writing, which can't be true, because at least the dialogue is catchy.

-And this is the problem with protaganists pretending to be someone else for the entire movie.

-But, for all you ladies and gents (admit it), he does spend the first third of the movie in a towel. I'm really not kidding.

Indecision 2008

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 7:39 AM By Simon

It's fun being nostalgic.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2008: Post-Election Fears
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Guys, I'm, like, so politically aware

4:38 AM By Simon