Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Movies watched last week, from favorite to least.

Yeah, it's hammy and the supporting cast is cliche, but where recent films about addicts use camera effects to suggest the sensual experience of their drug of choice, Billy Wilder focuses solely on the vicious circle, with Ray Milland's desperate and equally vicious drunk almost always on screen. If Milland wasn't so acidic, it's doubtful Wilder would have any sympathy for him.

Man, even if I hadn't read Michael Moriarty's wikipedia page, his performance would be proof enough that D.A. Ben Stone is long gone. But if there's a reason Fairuza Balk hasn't gotten more work, it's not evident here.

Chris Rock has joked that when he and Spike Lee are at the same restaurant, attractive black women stop by Spike's table and white families stop by his. The ambitiousness (Steve Buscemi as the best friend rather than Jay Mohr) and acknowledgement of marital life here is a healthy reaction to that experience, but when Charles Stone III, director of the underrated Mr. 3000, dropped out, Rock should have thought about letting Spike run the camera.

It's depressing to watch old punks indulge in the same self-satisfied nostalgia they hated hippies for, especially when David Crosby at least knows that sex is preferable to violence.

The Devil And Daniel Johnston remains the only indie-rock doc I've seen that doesn't require the viewer to already know why they should give a shit, let alone enjoy listening to the oddballs in question.

Has some observations about the difference between Christians and Christianity, but the pace is too flaccid for it to become memorable observational humor, let alone the kind of slapstick Peter Sellers thrived in.

Pauline Kael called this "one of the most sheerly pleasurable physical comedies ever made," and, rollycoaster sequences aside, I have to assume that she's such a Gunga Din fan that she didn't mind what a ham-fisted rehash this was. Recommended to Kate Capshaw fans and people who wish they could say "me so solly!" in public.


TJ said...

I saw the Chris Rock picture in the theaters. I enjoyed it for its endearing qualities, he's not a gifted actor or director though often I like sloppiness over professionalism. I even enjoyed the viagra gag, but mainly because the punchline wasn't simply his wife getting mad when she found out, but rather her concern in treating it as a medical emergency.

Good call in suggesting Lee should have directed, he's more invigorated these days when projects don't have a 100% overlap with his auteurist bent and he could have amplified the genuine emotion maybe, which is the film's strongest asset.

If you see Rock's other directorial effort, "Head of State" it has a similarly annoying tendency to set up gags with a blunt ironic juxtaposition cutaway. Though its interesting his two films are both extensions of specific political and relationship (respectively) bits from stand-up.

Anthony Miccio said...

I'm way too scared to rent Head Of State, even though I love the idea of Bernie Mac and Chris Rock working together.