Friday, October 29, 2010

UTW review of Hereafter

My latest review in Urban Tulsa is the Clint Eastwood helmed drama about the mysteriousness of what comes after we die called Hereafter. Hardly scientific and thankfully free of religion, this is a Euro-tinged, ensemble casted, slow-burning drama that I liked despite it having some issues. Go here to read it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dead Alive trailer

Before Peter Jackson made films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he made horror films such as Dead Alive (aka Braindead). We're screening a film print of it this Friday and Saturday at Circle Cinema at midnight. I've seen this a few times and one of them was pretty memorable as I watched it with my Grandma Gertrude when she was in her mid-70s. She just giggled and giggled at all the over the top gore that Jackson unleashes. This trailer is rather free of the bloodletting though. Come watch it on the big screen this weekend if you are in Tulsa!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

UTW review of Red

This week I reviewed Red for Urban Tulsa. Go here if you want to read it. Kind of an action/comedy hybrid, it's a familiar story yet still kind of fun. Especially if you like John Malkovich. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Movie tickets #20

Monday, October 18, 2010

UTW review of A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is a nice title, not so great movie. This is actually a Chinese remake of the 1984 Coen Brothers movie Blood Simple. It's also my review this past week in Urban Tulsa. Go here to read it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Movies in Manhattan

I just got back from a brief trip to the Hudson Valley to attend SJ's twin sister's wedding and spend a few days in NYC post-wedding. Of course, films were on the docket. Even though we were only there for two full days and three nights, got to see four films. It helped that we were staying in  a borrowed apartment at Macdougal and Bleeker--within walking distance of lots of good theatres. I am highly envious of the location of that apartment!

First up was Inside Job at the Angelika. We actually bought tickets to see the new Woody Allen film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, but as we went down stairs a quick decision to switch it up was made. Inside Job is about the 2008 global economic crisis and is so chock-full of business talk, I felt like I needed a MBA just to figure out what in the world was going on. Too many talking heads, acronyms, complicated business talk for me I guess. Also, I am not sure why I keep watching these docs about how corrupt a society we live in. All it does is infuriate and get my blood pressure up about issues I have absolutely no impact on. No regular person does. Inside Job is another of those kinds of docs, when you can understand what these sleazy, greedy banking bastards are doing.

Waiting for a "Superman" was our second documentary and this time we were at Sunshine on Houston Street. Over earnest and a bit disappointing, this attempts to tell how our public school system is screwed up in America. You don't say? Well, it is if you weren't aware of that fact. Seems the kids can't read, write or do math (or comprehend business talk either based on my fogginess during Inside Job) and this is especially true in the inner city where schools are dropout wastelands. The problem here is it should have focused more on the desperation of the kids and their families that they get into one of the charter schools profiled, rather than going dry and telling the viewer repeatedly how messed up things are. We already know that. Connect us emotionally to more kids and I'll remember that long after some of the statistics are cited. Maybe I didn't like this that much because as soon as it ended I was heading down the street to Katz's Deli for some pastrami?

One of my favorite things about being in New York City is the endless opportunity to watch old films in a theatre with other people. Film Forum is currently having a great two-week festival of heist related movies and we caught A Fish Called Wanda, a peerless 1988 heist/comedy that stars Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin. I hadn't seen this in over a decade and sure forgot just how unrelentingly funny this movie is. Kline just goes for it from beginning to end and Cleese does a couple of psuedo double-takes that might be in the running for best double-takes in film history. He holds his bafflement for so long it's not really a double-take, it's way more than that.

Our last film was another documentary, Marwencol, at the IFC. This was an odd one. Very low budget look at this guy who is viciously attacked in Kingston, NY and left for dead. Brain-damaged after the attack, he begins to build a fantasy world around his house that involves WW2 and a fictional story set in Belgium all done in 1/6 scale. He's completely lost in this world of alter-egos, battles, good vs. bad and dolls. Probably a little too long, Marwencol is still an interesting look at the lengths one man goes to keep his mind and body busy whilst it can do little else after an act of brutality.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

UTW review of The Social Network

Go here if you want to read my review of David Fincher's latest The Social Network in Urban Tulsa. It's about the birth of Facebook. I liked it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Showing The Outsiders in an alley

Recently I was involved in helping with a screening of The Outsiders in a unique Tulsa location: a downtown alley. A screen was hung off a brick building, a DVD/projector was placed on top of a truck, a PA system was hooked up and presto, it's movie time. The neat thing about this particular alley was that a scene from The Outsiders was actually filmed in it.

The Outsiders is a special novel and movie to a lot of Tulsans, myself included. Written by S.E. Hinton when she was a Tulsa teenager, the book was a favorite of mine growing up. The film version from 1983 and director Francis Ford Coppola has a legendary who is who of young Hollywood types. Here's the list: Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane and Leif Garrett. Tom Waits even has a small role.

These two images were taken the night of the screening--one of the film itself and the other a view of downtown Tulsa from one of the seats.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Valhalla Rising, Room In Rome + Cell 211

Valhalla Rising. This was an interesting Danish film set around 1000 AD as the great Mads Mikkelsen plays "One Eye," a violent Viking type forced to live in a cage and fight other men to the death while attached to a pole. Mikkelsen, wordless the entire film, is not someone I'd ever imagined in such a brutal role where he's destroying skulls with rocks or ripping out hunks of flesh while in battle, but he's terrific as usual. Do not mess with One Eye! The film also goes on a few tripped out, Werner Herzog-esque madness feeling scenes as One Eye gets entangled with a group of Christian crusaders. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson), Valhalla Rising is beautiful throughout, no matter how barbaric or unhinged what we witness becomes. The film is full of atmospheric dread and as much 1000 AD dirt, doom and gloom than you may want. Valhalla Rising is hard to stop once it begins and while it has some flaws, the sudden, over the top violence combined with the gonzo visuals make it one of the year's more intriguing releases.

Room In Rome. I'm a long-time fan of Spanish (or Basque) director Julio Medem but his newest, Room In Rome, is a complete and utter disaster! It is going to be in the running for one of the worst of 2010 for me as it is a shallow, poorly written, horribly acted bit of Euro-sleaze and an awful release from Medem. To get a film from Medem with lots of sex in it is no surprise, after all, he directed such pulse-racers with flesh-a-plenty like Sex y Lucia and Lovers of the Arctic Circle (a film of his I really love). Room In Rome's story is so flimsy orchestrated it feels as if Medem thought to himself, "How can I get a couple of hot actresses in a hotel and convince them to take their clothes off for 93% of the movie?" However he pitched it, that's what occurs. The only thing going for this is the fact that Elen Anaya and Natsha Yarovenko are very attractive women. Anaya is the much better actor but who is going to remember that after watching this? It's hard to tell the difference between Room In Rome and the soft-core Euro films shown on late night cable in the 1970s and 1980s--same bad stories, same bad acting, plethora of nudity as two women spend a long night nakedly entwined in each other's arms in Rome.

Cell 211. Here's another film from Spain but I actually really liked Cell 211. It's a very gritty prison drama that offers up enough suspense, twists and turns to overcome some really poor decisions near the end of the film (I won't spoil it so don't worry). A newly hired prison guard is getting a tour of the facility when a riot breaks out. He finds himself alone behind the bars, mixed in with the inmates he does what he can to survive--pretends to be a criminal too. He comes under the wing of the prison leader, the vicious Malamadre (Luis Tosar) and events become more complicated as he gets more intwined with their riot while also trying to stay alive. As I said, some of the twists toward the end just didn't work for me and that's too bad as Cell 211 was really enjoyable up to that point. Still solid and very watchable, if you like films set in prisons--add Cell 211 to the list as a good one.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

UTW review of You Again

Go here if you want to read my review of You Again in a recent Urban Tulsa. File it under the scathing category as I didn't like this comedy at all. I didn't come close to cracking a grin.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Blevins Fotografic

Not satisfied with the time I invest to keep up with writing about film for CineRobot, I've decided to end the secrecy of my interest in photography. That's right, I've started a second blog called Blevins Fotografic!

I'll try to post images that I like that I've taken every 2/3 days. There will be no images from digital cameras--real film, real film cameras! You can find Blevins Fotografic on the links to the right or click one of the links on this post. Better yet, go to it and fill out the proper blanks that will allow you to be notified of each image that is posted.

Don't you want to see more images like "Hay Field 2" that I took while in Le Flore County, Oklahoma?

Friday, October 01, 2010

September movies

It wasn't a huge month for film watching. I did get to see one of my all-time favorites (Fast Times...) in a theatre on a very scratchy print. I watched a couple of really crappy films too--Room In Rome and You Again (review soon).

The American---2010---usa   ***1/2
Basquiat: The Radiant Child---2010---usa   ***
Piranha 3D---2010---usa   ***
Winnebago Man---2010---usa   ***1/2
Blast from the Past---1999---usa   ***1/2
The Switch---2010---usa   **
Flipped---2010---usa   **1/2
Easy A---2010---usa   ***1/2
Valhalla Rising---2009---denmark   ***1/2
Room In Rome---2009---spain   *1/2
Love on the Run---1979---france   ***
Trafic---1971---france   ***1/2
Cell 211---2009---spain   ***1/2
You Again---2010---usa   *1/2
Fast Times at Ridgemont High---1982---usa   *****!
When You're Strange---2009---usa   **