Sunday, November 29, 2009

Herzog quote

There's lots of reasons I like German director Werner Herzog. This quote from his 2008 documentary Encounters at the End of the World is just another reason:
"I loathe the sun both on my celluloid and my skin."

Amen brother! Sunlight is evil.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Life of Brian, Budapest, 1995

In 1995 I spent some time in Budapest, Hungary. I saw a bunch of films there, usually on the very cheap, in tiny or makeshift theatres that weren't traditional movie theatres. There were dozens of small theatres all over the city and you never really new what was going to happen until you found your seat. One of my favorites, Blue Box, was a square room that utilized park benches as seats. The strangest screening I had in Budapest was for Monty Python's Life of Brian.

It started as it usually did when I'd see a film in Budapest--I'd make sure it was indeed in English with Hungarian subtitles and not dubbed. It was. I was told to sit near the front of the stage for the screening as I got my ticket. "Okay," I thought, odd request but I was fine with it as I entered the little room that had a screen towards the back of the theatre stage.

Seven or eight others were already in their seats and all were sitting in the first couple of rows. My Hungarian was extremely poor (it's a very hard language to pick up) so I can only guess that the others were as befuddled as I was about the directive to sit near the front. Maybe they knew what I didn't know but I don't think so based on their immediate reaction regarding what was about to come our way.

When it was time for the film to start, we found out why we were told to sit where we were sitting. A moveable cart with TV and VCR was wheeled onto the middle of the stage directly in front of us. They were plugged into an extension cord and turned on. I couldn't believe my eyes! "Surely not," I thought as I watched the two guys in their 20s on the stage fiddle with knobs. But it was true, one pressed play, lights dimmed and the film started.

This was incredible to me. This group of strangers were going to watch Life of Brian together IN a movie theatre but ON a portable TV and VHS tape! And, you know what? We laughed like crazy and had a terrific time. I may have enjoyed it more due to the unexpected way it was screened. If I had one story to sum up my time in Budapest, it just might be the night I watched Life of Brian.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UTW review of The Damned United

Go here if you want to read my review of The Damned United. It's an English film set in the world of 1970s soccer. Based on a real story and a novel by David Peace, Michael Sheen delivers a wonderful performance as Brian Clough.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blu ray

I've taken the next step when it comes to film watching pleasure--blu ray! Got it on Thursday and have already watched two films.

Total Recall looked pretty good but some of the 1990 effects were rendered a bit dated (it's a fun film but it has a lot of issues!). Werner Herzog's documentary set in Antarctica,  Encounters at the End of the World, was absolutely stunning visually. Wow.

I've already reorganized my queue on Netflix with a lot of things I want to re-watch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UTW review of Pirate Radio

Go here if you want to read my review of Pirate Radio in Urban Tulsa Weekly. It is a comedy set among a motley crew of DJs who broadcast rock music into England in 1966 despite not having a license to do such a thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Movie tickets #12

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poll results

Based on the very spartan number of votes on the latest poll--romantic comedy picked up three votes as favorite film genre.

New poll question on CineRobot: what is your favorite decade for films? 1970s? 1980s? 1990s? 2000s?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

UTW review of The Fourth Kind

Go here if you want to read my sort of scathing review of the newly released alien abduction thriller The Fourth Kind.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I Heart Sam Rockwell

As I was writing the review of Moon (August '09 archives) I was struck at how much I liked the lead actor Sam Rockwell. He carries Moon and is in practically every second of the film. Without Rockwell's performance, the film loses its center and who knows how it might have turned out with a different actor. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been as good. Rockwell has been adding quality to films for nearly fifteen years so I'm hoping he gets some award recognition for how great he is in Moon.

Rockwell isn't more known because he's chosen a career path of quirky indie films or supporting roles (my favorite but less appreciated by the mainstream) in larger movies. He's a young actor with the mindset of a veteran character actor in that regard. He also isn't bashful about changing his appearance dramatically for a role by growing beards or mustaches (check out his great 'stache in the photo!). Rockwell is kind of old school you might say. Because of these things, Rockwell is going to be acting in films for decades.

I first noticed Rockwell in the oddball 1996 Tom DiCillo film Box of Moonlight. Rockwell plays an eccentric (the first of many eccentrics Rockwell has played) dressed in buckskins, who lives in a half-trailer in the woods, that befriends a stuffy man with no imagination. I liked this little film when I saw it but was struck by the energetic young actor perfectly trading dialogue with the excellent John Turturro.

Other Rockwell films or performances I've liked are Lawn Dogs (1997), Galaxy Quest (1999), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008) and the previously mentioned Moon.

(scroll down a little to see Rockwell's screen test for Confessions...)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sam Rockwell (as Chuck Barris) dancing

I'm about to post an "I Heart Sam Rockwell"...thought this clip of his screen test for CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND shows why I like the guy. If you've seen THE GONG SHOW, you can see how he nails Chuck Barris in this audition. George Clooney shows up near the end.

Friday, November 06, 2009

UTW review of More Than A Game

Go here if you want to read my review of the documentary More Than A Game. It's a basketball documentary that follows the early days of LeBron James in Akron, Ohio.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Poll results

What is your favorite John Carpenter movie?

Big Trouble In Little China: 9
The Thing: 7
Halloween: 5
Escape From New York: 1
They Live: 0

New poll question is on CineRobot home page.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

October movies

Didn't see a ton of movies in October. I actually saw the terrible Quarantine a month or two ago but forgot to write it down. That is a sign a film is not worth remembering. It was a good month anyway as I saw six films that I got paid to write about! I got to see one of my all time favorites that had a part of the first ever poll on CineRobot (The Thing) and SJ and I watched Pretty In Pink as part two in her Molly Ringwald trilogy. We've actually got a John Hughes education/appreciation rally at my house every so often.

Capitalism: A Love Story---2009---usa   ***
The Invention of Lying---2009---usa   **1/2
Zombieland---2009---usa   ***
American Harmony---2009---usa   ***
Bright Star---2009---australia   ****
Meet Bill---2007---usa   **
Sugar Hill---1973---usa   *1/2
Quarantine---2008---usa   *1/2
Pretty In Pink---1986---usa   ****
Paranormal Activity---2009---usa   ***1/2
The Thing---1982---usa   *****!
Good Hair---2009---usa   ***
Near Dark---1987---usa  ****