Monday, March 29, 2010

Drillbit Taylor, Still Life, Magic and Bird

Short review time of a few films I've watched in the past couple of weeks.

The problem with getting a blu-ray player is you are tempted to watch junk you wouldn't normally watch--just because it's on blu-ray! That's what I found myself thinking as I wasted nearly two hours of my life on the very bad 2008 comedy Drillbit Taylor. Was I being weak or can I blame the fact I watched this on the lack of choices on this DVD format? Either way, the movie is a compete disaster that sees Owen Wilson hiring himself out on the cheap to a trio of high school nerds who need protection from the school bully. The only thing I remotely liked was Adam Baldwin's cameo--and that lasted four seconds. Even Danny McBride can't help this mess. Blu-ray is wonderful, but you get suckered into watching films that aren't worth the time, or the format itself, like Drillbit Taylor.

Now for the first of two recommended films. Still Life is a 2006 Chinese film from director Zhang Ke Jia that is a no nonsense slice of realism set around the massive Three Gorges Dam project. The story follows a man as he looks for his wife and daughter. He hasn't seen them for 16 years and they've moved away due to the flooding of their town due to the dam. Film is very slow and most of the actors don't seem like actors at all. It's as if Zhang has assembled a bunch of people who really live in the Three Gorges area and has put them into the movie. I love it when films feel like that--authentic. Still Life is a somber film that exposes a lot of unglamorous and rarely seen parts of China.

Magic and Bird is a new documentary that I recently watched on HBO about the rivalry and friendship of basketball players Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. It's an energetic, entertaining and stylish look at these two all-time greats at their sport and traces their stories from childhood to present day. I didn't know a lot about Bird's rough upbringing in a rural community in southern Indiana so learning about that made me connect with the type of player he was. I couldn't stand him or the Celtics in the '80s when I was growing up--didn't like the Lakers either actually--but I grew to admire his hard nosed style post-career. Emphasis on team basketball was one of the things that brought this pair together--kind of refreshing in this day and age. Worth watching if you have HBO or when it's out on DVD.


Anonymous said...

Don't you wish they would stop putting expressions like "a human triumph" on movie jackets, like on the Chinese one? That particular phrase, or very slight variations of it, are so trite, so overused by critics (not the movie's fault)it can really put one off.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

anon...I agree with you about the "human triumph" tag. Any film that is sad or has people making do--human triumph!