Friday, June 01, 2007

Films I watched this week, from favorite to least.

A trio of juvenile delinquents try to steal the wrong family's car, their misadventure climaxing in one hell of a Rammstein concert (a second climax, involving the angry and wounded rather than fire, is less dramatic). Bruce Willis does great "haunted cop." Surprisingly grand opening credits.

An FBI agent living on a houseboat is forced out of retirement by a serial killer who feels a "connection" to him. The obviousness doesn't become offensive until the dimly lit shoot-out, because director Clint Eastwood is old school. Don Siegel old school. While only one woman in the film has a sexual relationship with actor Clint Eastwood, all appear to love him. Jeff Daniels plays the harmonica.

Faye Dunaway successfully makes herself ugly, an impressive feat for the star of Bonnie & Clyde and The Thomas Crown Affair. Leaving an adult out of a will is treated as a more unforgivable crime than beating the shit out of a child. It's possible the frustrated, mentally ill single mother would be less sympathetic than her victims if anyone else in the film could act. I'd recommend watching the film with John Waters' commentary track whether or not you've seen it beforehand. You won't miss much dialogue.

The film proposes that, in dreams, each image is a cryptic clue related to a specific event (i.e. a wheel represents a "revolver," an angel means the incident occured at "Gabriel Valley"). We see Gregory Peck's dream, designed by Salvador Dali, for significantly less time than it is discussed by two Eastern European analysts. Ingrid Bergman is repeatedly chastised by her elders for either being frigid or possessed by lust, but her feminine intuition about Peck's basic goodness is proved correct. Bergman and Peck crouching anxiously in front of a backdrop fails to pass for a nerve-wracking ski sequence. The camera shoots itself between the eyes at one point, and I'm surprised I've never seen that in a film before.

A poorly kept nuclear plant owned by homicidal sociopaths turns Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda into nervous wrecks while Michael Douglas fumes and slap his hands against surfaces. I know Wilford Brimley gets emotional at the end, but I can't remember seeing his mouth appear from under his moustache. There are several races against time.

Nothing like a Scandanavian film about a crisis of faith.

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