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Explanation of This Page

 The Latest Fourteen

 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
 Valhalla Rising
 No Country For Old Men
 3:10 To Yuma
 Pan's Labyrinth
 Tristram Shandy
 Broken Flowers
 Hitchhiker’s Guide
 Old Boy
 The World

Out tomorrow on DVD!


and Shit.


Now Playing

Swedes Again - everywhere! They're taking over.

Norwegians - everywhere! They're taking over.

Swedes - everywhere! They're taking over.

Koreans - everywhere! They're taking over.

Paprika – coming to a spice rack near you. May 25th?

Hoax – not a huge fan of richard gere but i know and like the story from Welles' F is Fake. plus lasse hallstrom is a good director. so...i might, rent this when it comes out. i have to stay inside. you know. the whole going outside thing...

Incredibles 2 – hasn’t come out. But I’m sure it will some day. And I’m here to tell you now–not to bother. Unless you really liked the first one that much. Then I guess you can, huh?

Get An LCD? - look. movies suck nowadays. let’s face it. they just do. get a damn video projector and stick with the good films.

Ink Stream - A small stream of ink comes out of the screen and douses the viewer.

Note to Publishers or Agents (in Algiers and other)

What would I tell them?

Q: if you were going to give some advice to a young person who is just starting to get into watching film seriously, what would you tell them?

A: Try to know as little as possible about each film before you see it. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid reading about certain films—and reviews can help us decide whether we want to see a film or not—but you must be extremely vigilant—that when you’re reading a review—and they start to talk about what happens and say too much—you have to stop reading right away—like a match about to burn your finger.

A: Knowing about the director is okay.

Movie reviews is so stupid

There is no good reason why anyone should read a review before they see a movie. They give away too much and add little. Professionally rendered blurbs can be helpful in deciding if you want to see a movie or not. Film criticism can be good if it doesn’t suck. But movie reviews? Please. Can’t live with them, can’t stop them being printed.

To Say No: Somebody Has To Do It

From what I can see, most critics are all too in love with _______ . These critics are either stupid (Leonard Maltin) or too sobered up (Roger Ebert). The only valid argument I’ve heard in support of _______ is from _______ who admittedly just wants to see _______. But no serious critic can give this film anything more than a B+ rating. This review is not to help you decide if you should go see _______. You shouldn’t. Nor is it for those who have already seen the film and wish to be reminded of what they’ve just seen. Certainly not. It is to provide comfort and succor to those unfortunate people who are are pathologically obsessed with great filmmaking, extremely judgmental, generally bile-filled, cynical, pompous, occasionally giving way to fits of self-righteous gesticulation and essentially uninterested in anything but the pursuit of genius in art (and just how all around wonderful people like us are).

New Movies

Below are the movies I have had the privilege of seeing upon initial release in theaters. Listed in reverse chronological order. You can see it’s not very frequent. I look forward to a day when I am able to see more new films. And I will do so just as soon as they stop making so many great old ones.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)  


Okay I saw the original Swedish film because everyone is talking about the remake with Daniel Craig, which I will not see, of course, because that would be stupid. So. This movie, the original, is good. But it's way too long. I suspect the novel is better. I think what happened here is the filmmakers tried to incorporate too much of the novel into the movie, and it just makes it too long. I don't have a problem with the style of filmmaking. It just needs to be shorter. To be a better film. It needs to be edited better. Bergman for example could have achieved all these emotions in ninety minutes or less. And that is the context by which I am being such a bitch here. The Lives of Others, I suspect, is a better film. And even it could have been a little shorter. It's okay to have a two hour film. Don't get me wrong. This film was way longer than that. So basically, what I'm saying is: don't bother. Just make an effort to see other better, older Swedish films, which are certainly out there. This film adds little to the canon. Just a decent overly under-edited mashup of things we've seen before. My review is starting to get long winded. This is how I felt at 4 in the fucking morning last night as I had to finish this film. I used to think if I could turn a film off and come back to it later, that was a sign of something. I still do, think it says something. Probably more about the viewer.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011)   

Not Important

Sigh. I was expecting much more. You've seen this so who cares what I think. Let me just say that it's so sad to me they couldn't do what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings. Looking back, the only two Harry Potter movies which stood out (as movies) were the third (best, Cuaron) and the fourth (not Cuaron, not as good, but better than the others, and yes, partly because of dragons). So the point here, is that a good story still needs a good filmmaker to become a good movie. That's actually not news. But it's just the cumulative sorrow that we as a society absorb as we continue to condone this illegitimate procession.


Not Important

I suppose I have only myself to blame for watching this. And everyone else who kept talking about it. Which was really nobody. I just saw too many ads on TV. And that works. I'm human. Really. Okay, so there is nothing new here. There is one thing I took away from this film, which lasted about two days. A very serious, two-day long fetish for intergalactic interspecies romance. And not just any IIR. One with glowing neon blue skin. Angry eyes, probably yellow. It was all so fast. Who is twice my height. And--well you can see I've already put way too much thought into this. Film sucked.

The Lives Of Others ()  

Insert Later

More review soon. Good film. Not bad.

Valhalla Rising (2009)      

Nicolas Winding Refn: Pusher, Bronson, Drive

More review soon. This film is long and slow but good. This director is self-important, but he should be paid attention to because he might make some great films. He may already have right here with this one. Like anything serious. It takes time. It's open to interpretation. I will try to not speak to soon. But I am excited. I admit. About this film. I'm also mad for Mads. Oh my god. Mads Mikelsson. Fucking great.

No Country For Old Men (?)   

Not Important

Clearly the Cohen Brothers have, in their own inimitable way, managed to make a decent film out of a great book. The novel by Cormac McCarthy is brilliant I am told. The screenplay has a ton of really great lines, which I am going to assume were lifted from the novel and nothing to do with the directors. Likewise, the story itself is just a good story. Very interesting. Compelling. As to the Cohens. I will give them credit for two things before blasting them. The atmosphere. Is great. I grew up in Texas and I can say they have the rural Texas atmosphere nail gunned down. It's not totally exact, not being any one time, but rather an amalgum of various times throughout the history of the place. Nothing wrong with that I guess. Probably a good atmosphere trick. Terra-forming Dreams. This is film doing what it can do so well. Like Sergio Leone in his later works. The point is not to be a documentary, but to present a vision or essence of something. And all we can ask is that it be effective. That it move us. And this does that. Second thing the Cohens get right. The Spanish actor cast as the main baddie psychopath. Awesome x 3. Great casting. Wonderful. There were some other great moments too. Woody Harrelson sitting casually in the face of death. That haunts me still. Somehow though, in spite of all this, well, because I am determined to say it no matter what are the facts, this novel must have been tremendously good. And the film cannot possibly do it justice. No way. No how. I just know it. Perhaps one too many of the supporting characters were not cast well enough. Perhaps one too many things was done in such a way as to feel heavy handed. Not sure. Not exactly sure. I just feel like here we have a film that could have been great, but is just very very good. And this is so typical of the Cohens. It's getting to be ridiculous. How almost great they are becoming.

3:10 To Yuma (2007)  

some guy

not bad. not great either. i liked the look of it. the tone seemed appropriate. the acting was all-around good (particularly the villain's right hand man). the action was gripping and enjoyable. unfortunately, there were too many throwaway lines and plot elements which were too predictable, cliche or extraneous to be forgiven. i'm beginning to think that at this point in the game there are only a few winning hands left.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)  

Guillermo del Toro

The two things this movie has left me with are the specific imagery of the second challenge and the overall meaning of the story as allowed by a good, uncompromising ending. But contrary to the prevailing sentiments by film critics (who have apparently been watching Pirates of the Caribbean instead of honing their critical faculties, by which I mean reading Borges and not going to a lot of bad movies), the film was good but not great. There are two different films here, the fantasy and "the other one." The problem is, however, that "the other one" really isn't all that compelling, and in fact, we care even less about it than we otherwise might if we weren't so eager to get back to the fantasy film the whole time. So what you have is half of a really neat movie inside of half of a solid movie. What is that? And when I say the "non-fantasy film" was only solid, not great, I am right. Don't argue with me. We don't have time.

I basically feel that del Toro is gifted in many ways, especially visually, but also in a more general sense, his imagination is very free from constraints and unbounded. Perhaps it is this very “carefree” quality which is also his weakness, at least for my taste. He doesn’t follow the rules quite enough regarding cohesion, tightness, realism. When not engaging in fantasy, at which del Toro clearly excels, his narration becomes clumsy at times falling back on cliché, predictability and formalism. And most sadly, simple heavy-handedness or repetition, particularly in the domestic scenes (the film continued to make the same one-dimensional point about the “evil” captain over and over almost to my bored despair; wouldn't it have been much better for example if you really weren't totally sure whether he would ______ in the end?) Perhaps del Toro should be made to work either with great actors (Ron Perlman) or in collaboration with other writers in order to provide us with what really is his great talent but to a more artistically perfect end result. Like Miyazaki.

“This is a metaphysical vision, shot through with poetry, and unlike the visions in Babel and Children of Men, it doesn't predetermine anything.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum
Yes, as I say, watch better films. Cuarón and Iñárritu have lost their way. Del Toro still has a chance. The only person who seems to have any clue, among all the reviewers I’ve surveyed, is, ironically, for me, Anthony Lane:
“The question is, do the two halves of the movie fit together? What does Vidal’s attempt to suppress the freedom fighters have to do with fauns and giant toads? There is, thank heavens, no neat allegorical match. Take the long-fingered, hairless figure whom Ofelia finds in her nightmare, and who, as if in homage to Buñuel, screws his eyeballs into his palms and holds up his hands in order to see and pursue her. He does not represent a historical person, or embody a single threat; he simply conjures an atmosphere of cannibalistic fear, and thus feels gruesomely right for an age of schism and feud. The odd thing is that, for all this adhesive detail, del Toro lets the fantasy slip slightly from his grasp, preferring to focus on the brutalities of fact. By the end, the three tasks seem of limited consequence, whereas the fate of Vidal—and of the steel-willed housekeeper, Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), who has taken Ofelia to her bosom—tightens to a merciless climax. So smartly has del Toro thought his fable through, and so graceful is his grasp of visual rhyme, that to pick holes in it seems mean; yet “Pan’s Labyrinth” is perhaps more dazzling than involving—I was too busy reading its runes and clues, as it were, to be swept away. It is, I suspect, a film to return to, like a country waiting to be explored: a maze of dead ends and new life.”
But I am mean, so:

[spoiler] The best thing is obviously the second challenge with the eating-monster guy-thing. But even that was diminished by the girl’s too last-minute decision (about the grapes). The real story (as it would really have been or as I wanted it to be) would not have happened that way. Something “better” would have happened. Something which was more consistent with the girl’s character to that point. Of course, you can argue in the context of the entire sequence being merely her “fantasy” or “dream” even that her actions merely played out her own internal guilt and misgivings about her own “claim to the thrown.” In other words, she is unsure of herself, so she imagines herself taking a misstep. I accept this interpretation, but only in retrospect, once having digested the larger meaning (that it really was all just “in her mind”), which we only learn at the end, and then going back and re-playing the film again, in my mind. Thus, we have a film which works better after you’ve watched it than while you are watching it for the first time. Curious. However, I believe the suddenness and randomness of her actions did (at the time) seem to take away from the seriousness of the fantasy plotline. In other words, they sort of made a farce of what was up to then much more serious and compelling. When Orpheus turns to look back at Eurydice, there is some deeply rooted instinctual reason for this. But here, it just seems tacked on. There needs to be more justification. Perhaps he should have built more of the girl’s “guilt” or “insecurity” into her plotline before and after that scene so as to better integrate that element into her story. This is just a question. I don’t have a complete answer here. In any case, I will stick with Miyazaki for now. [/spoiler]

Or Spirit of the Beehive (1973), which is also a much more sophisticated film. Or for more on the pre-Spanish Civil War aristrocratic themes as well as issues of women, little girls and big ones, and men (who are essentially all the same at any age, in Spain), dare to see Viridiana.

Tristram Shandy (2006)            

Michael Winterbottom

Okay, of course I saw this film. And of course, it was really good. But fuck you Steve Coogan. [sample]

Broken Flowers (2005)             Carmen San Diego style

Jim Jarmusch: The guy who made one of the silliest 80’s movies of all times that may not actually been made in the 80’s, Ghost Dog (are you serious? The same man who was just arrested last week at a republican funraiser for streaking across the ballroom with little american flag tassled to his buttocks while shouting the stars and bars through a megaphone? That guy? And now he turns around and comes up with this—clearly one of the least horrible films of the year? are you serious? wow. I guess times have changed. People change. I don’t but I guess some other people do. Live in the now, I always say.

dear phillip,

saw ‘broken flowers’ yesterday. not that bad actually. not perfect (useless flashbacks showing same footage twice, some of the jokes verging on patently stupid, bill murray almost playing it too cool). but by and large not that bad. worth the 90 mins. sort of a straightforward, minimally-offensive representation of one kind of reality. It’s sort of what todd solondz and rebecca miller both tried to achieve (‘happiness,’ ‘personal pee pee’), but couldn’t because they were too forceful. jarmusch (and i hated his only other film i’ve seen, ‘ghost dog’) is too forceful too, but for some reason I feel more lenient toward him. my only other complaint is that there just wasn’t enough pedophilia. there was some, but surely there could have been much more.

read more of your book recently. enjoying it terribly. my only complaint is that there just isn’t enough pedophilia in it. surely you could have included more? hope all is well.

love anyways,


Hitchhiker’s Guide to Your Galaxy (2005)  

“Shouldn’t we, uh, lay down on the ground and put bags over our heads or something.”
“You could.”
“Will it help?”

I don’t get bent out of shape over whether a movie does justice to the book or not. And I think people who do should have their insides carved out with a spoon. Anyway, I liked it. It certainly seems to have, at least captured the spirit of the book as I remember it from so many years ago. The voice over narrative is in the same dry, playful style of the Gods Must Be Crazy. And it works. The characters were all compelling. I got a little bored with the female lead Trillion. From a 21c realpsychology point of view, her motivation struck me as somewhat arbitrary and boring. Plus she reminded me of a younger Meg Ryan (or even a prime Sean Young), which did nothing to add. But that could just be casting. Or that could be because that’s how Douglas Adams’ female roles are supposed to be. Not being an expert on casting, females or Douglas Adams, I am reluctant to comment. (Even though I kind of just did.)

I found the humor to be ample and consistently light-hearted. I was very surprised to learn that Marvin was not voiced by Alan Richman. Some other British guy, apparently. Sounds like Alan Richman. To be honest, if I had known it wasn’t Alan Richman all along, I probably would have gotten bored with that character. Okay I’m totally full of shit. It was Alan Richman. The guy who played Zaphod Beeblebrox was all energy and for the most part entirely entertaining. John Malkovich was great in his brief part, although that was a plotline which seemed to have gotten shortchanged. But I think there was definitely a flavor of Being John Malkovich throughout, so his influence was there (even when it wasn’t). Wait, what?

The visual stylings were sort of like an odd marriage of Dune and Brazil meets Red Dwarf (the female lead in Red Dwarf is where they wanted to have gone with Trillion; maybe.) All in all I thought it was solid, light-entertainment, which was fairly consistently funny without trying too too hard. It didn’t change my life. And I won’t go out of my way to see it again, but I don’t regret seeing it. Which is more than I can say for a lot of you turd directors. Yeah, you. Chris Columbus, I’m talkin’ to you.

Old Boy (2005)  

Chanwook Park

Peeter Greenaway directs a Seijun Suzuki film in Korean under the pseudonym Chanwook Park. All torture scenes had the Peter Greenaway stamp of dark approval, built on weird lighting and oddly peculiar music. Another Greenaway tactic was the heavily crafted repetition of certain elements. The final scene kind of reminded me of Blade Runner actually in a sort of an “all is already lost so my goal is really just to show you this one thing before I self-destruct” way. Mr Han even looked a little like Rutger Hauer with his bleach blonde hair, and physical presence. Or maybe I’m thinking of Takeshi Kitano. Pacemaker thing = heart plugs in Dune. Sewage system running through floor in penthouse? You guessed it, Baron Harkonnen’s digs in Dune. Boiee.

Saraband (2005)

Ingmar Bergman

The long awaited sequel to Scenes from a Marriage. It’s good. It’s standard Bergman stuff. No pain, no gain. And let me assure you there is both here.

Kinsey (2004)  

Some guy, who cares

Kinsey would have been really fresh twenty years ago. But not not now. The film couldn’t decide if it was Far From Heaven or a PBS documentary. Solid acting all around. Believable atmosphere. Lots of tweed. But the film was aimless and got more and more boring as it began to drag on. Instead of this film, you should try Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch. You’ll love it.

The World (2004)  

Latest film by Jia Zhangke. Talk to your local art house theatre today. Demand playage. Sadly though, I fear this one may not be quite as good as his last one, Unkown Pleasures. It’s because Jia was on crack. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe. No, this is a very good film. The meaning is all there—the depth, the thought, the pause. But there are certain elements in the film, which I bristled at on purely aesthetic grounds. The cell phone interludes. And it just seemed like maybe the film was trying too hard (to be all things to some people). Wait, actually, I’ve been thinking about this lately, and maybe it is better than I first thought. My new theory is that the fact that the characters are all pre-occupied wholly with their own (and some Russians’) personal lives, and don’t seem to give a fig for the globalization and "progress" happening in modern China around them. And that this is a gently subversive (and humanistic) statement on the part of the director. Yes, that is my new approach to this film (two years after I saw it).
Jia talks about his crack addiction: “Unknown Pleasures was the ending of my previous phase,’’ he says. “I’ll restart from scratch to make my next movie, with new methods and production modes. But I shall stick to the same theme and same people. I am excited about it and will try my best to make it accessible to domestic audiences.’’

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2004)  

Please. This is just a great film.

Hellboy (2004)  

Is an amalgamation of all the best aspects of Lethal Weapon, Raiders, X-Men and Hellraiser all fused into one very active little genre film. It goes way beyond expectations with the immensely charismatic performance of Ron Perlman as Hellboy, or H.B. as he is affectionately referred to by his ex-girlfriend.

Hellboy delves sensibly into the inner psychology of its red hero and in doing so acquires a real human interest angle. Whereas Wolverine’s past is about as intriguing as it gets, his present is fairly straightforward. Watching Wolverine cut people is exhilerating. Watching him brood is filler. But when Hellboy broods, we brood with him. And we really don’t know which way he’s going to go ultimately, and that makes all the difference.

Hellboy’s attempt to rekindle his relationship with his former girlfriend is a wonderful Mathew Broderick-esque sidestory. And the Nazi villain who seems to be kept alive in part by a mechanical device derives from an very odd Mexican film called Cronos, whose cast included, you guessed it, Ron Perlman. Good ideas don’t die easy.

Dogville (2004)  

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)  

Jared Hess

This film is truer than true. Jared Hess is picking up the ball that Wes Anderson dropped. [timeout]

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2003)  

Even worse than I expected.

Lost In Translation (2003)  

Lost In La Mancha (2003)  

Terry Gilliam’s documentary on the non-making of Don Quixote. Very interesting if you like Terry Gilliam, documentaries, Johnny Depp, or if you think about making movies.

X2 (2003)  

Not as good as the first one. But not as bad as Matrix Reloaded.

Master and Commander (2003)

Beautiful film, but rushed. Weir tries to make a two hour film out of what should have been a ten-hour Mobile Masterpiece Theatre. Never quite fully engages. Couldn’t not think of it as Russell Crowe (as opposed to the character he was playing). Peter Weir’s Fisher King? Robin Williams? Hmm… Glad I saw it...
at home (though)
(but) on a projector.

Better Luck Tomorrow (2003) *

Justin Lee attempts to transpose Tarantino-esque juxtapositions onto suburban Orange county, and the results are uneven. The dialogue is extra uneven. The film has the same look and burdensome first-person narrative as Rebecca Miller’s recent Personal Velocity. The thoughts and actions of the characters often are implausible. Don’t argue with me. The real story (as I read about it) actually makes a lot more sense than Justin Lee’s artistic version. Either Lee has a loose grasp on reality, or he thinks we do.

* Neutral rating. No thumbs given.

Personal Veloceraptor (2002)  

Adaptation (2002)  

Spike Jonze: Being John Malkovich

Clearly, the best film of 2002 and probably the best I’ve seen since WKW’s In The Mood For Love (2000). More later.

Lord of the Rings II (Two Towers) (2002)  

Far From Heaven (2002)  
Dottie Gets Spanked?

Very good, but over-rated. Dennis Quaid should get Russell Crowe’s Oscar for ‘best looking constipated for an entire film.’ The other leads should definitely get awards too. Dennis Haysbert, best ‘makes everything seem in slow motion,’ and Julie Ann-Moore best ‘white lady who falls in love with black gardener because that’s what the script says.’ But seriously, Todd Haynes can be proud—of Dennis Quaid. But seriously, the film is very well made, very smooth. I never object to consistent and thick stylization. The film’s atmosphere, I hope, is what critics are responding to, and a large part of it has to do with the successful use of tension. Always there, like a suffocated blackhead on your face. 1 Haynes lets it come to the surface and exude a little pus now and then, but it never pops. Even as people are blowing up at each other, attempting to share, and saying good-bye for good, the thick membrane is never actually broken. The pace, restraint, forbidden love and unresolved tension in Far From Heaven is not unlike Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood for Love. But other than Dennis Quaid’s character, everyone was too predictable. Cliché is fine, predicatable is not. Dennis Haysbert’s character was awfully nice and perfectly boring. I would love to have him as a neighbor. Half way through the film, I started thinking about my job, how I’ve been slacking off too much. What should I do with my career? Marriage? Kids? A Dog? Then I got bored with that and returned my attentions once again to the film, just in time for the big understated finale.

1 Rebecca Miller tribute.

Eight Mile (2002)

When your car won’t start at all, you must Xzibit. When you’re feeling kinda small, you must Xzibit. Xzibit good. Back to the trailer, it’s not too late. To not see this film. [Note: There is some guy named Xzibit in the credits]

Bowling for Columbine (2002)  

And the award for best documentary film in 2002 goes to [pause] Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore. That does it. The Academy is now officially brain dead.

Spirited Away (2002)  

Oh my god. Review in progress. (Help shape it)

The Fast Runner Atanarjuat (2002)  
Inuit Indian Director: once directed a sea lion to ‘park it over there

Finally, the Inuit Indians have gotten off their asses and given us the great film we deserve. It’s definitely worth seeing. It’s epic for the most part, but with a sense of intimacy, which is no doubt helped along by the up-close, hand-held filming methods. It’s compelling, and if you take a big wizz before starting, you won’t even notice that it’s roughly—it’s three frigging hours long! This movie boasts a number of items not commonly seen in Los Angeles including seal oil, genuine walrus tusks, and people snarfing raw caribou meat. Well, I said commonly.

Editor’s Note: He obviously saw the movie, but I don’t think he understood any of it.

Minority Report (2002)
Trailer not so bad
I almost want to see this.
More like HBO

Mystic Masseur (2002)

It’s a nice little story.

Parrot: That’s it? That’s your review?


Parrot: Come on. you’ve got to be kidding. I mean you must have something more than that?

Nice colors.

Parrot: Oh, please.

Well shot?

Parrot: I’m outta here.

In all seriousness, if you like this picture, you will like this movie. It’s as simple as that. Okay, it’s not as simple as that. This film is like the Disney version of The Harder They Come only with a bit of Being John Malkovich quirkiness thrown in. It’s odd. It’s nice, but it’s inevitably light weight.

Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

Apparently, George Lucas phoned in his movie, so I’ll phone in my review. In fact, I’m finished with Lucas. That’s right. I’m not even going to see this one. In fact, I will solemly pledge to never see this film. The temptation is strong. But the hatred is stronger. The force, meanwhile, can be found on a VHS copy of the original ’pre-touch up’ Star Wars. But here’s a review from Movies 101 that seems to be appropriately bitter. And I must give credit to the Self-Made Critic for his wonderful open threat to Lucas “If you do that, we promise to go see it. And we will not burn you in effigy.” I love burning people in effigy, or anything in effigy. I just love effigy. Is that so wrong?

Okay, I saw it. The best part about watching this film on DVD is not having to rewind it afterwards. You can just get up and do something else, like you never saw it. It’s a lot like the Harry Potter film in that there is some prepubescent exilheration and a somewhat interesting fantasy world, but when it’s over, you’re sort of left thinking, ‘yeah, and?’ The other reason to watch this on DVD is you can fast forward over any scene with just Annikan and Natalie Portman. To not do so will take several years off your life, which, if you’re old enough, may spare you from still being alive for the third one. - 12/02

The most interesting thing in the film is Lucas’ silly attempt to legitimize the name Jar Jar Binks by having a character called Jar Jar Fett, which only backfires bringing us all down a level.

Gosford Park (2001)  

Lord of the Rings (2001)  

The best part of the film is when they come out of the dark cave place, and it seems like everything is going in slow motion, and the embers are falling around them like snow, and there’s this sort of quasi-Jesus non-demoninational religious undertone happening. And with the music playing too, this scene becomes very powerful. I think it’s probably the best moment in the film.

Harry Potter (2001)  

The best part of this movie was when it was over. And I could go back to hanging upside down by a rope while neighborhood kids swing at me with baseball bats.

Together (2001)     

Swedish Guy:<moviefone>Sorry, a biography is not available for this person.< /moviefone>

Okay, very busy, so this is just a preliminary review. Very thoughtful and interesting film. Story about a group of people living in a commune (I think in the seventies in Sweden). All of the ten or so characters are very three dimensional. I found myself quite sympathetic to the sub-plot of the small children in particular. I think that’s what he wanted. The film can be contrasted with an earlier film called Happiness, which was infinitely less enjoyable. Together has several moments of clever and amusing dialogue, and there was plenty of genuine insight along with intense, dramatic flurries. The director has also interjected a fair chunk of musical enhancement. Moments combining good music with visually pleasing sequences, be they plot-advancing or just character portraying, are the little orgasms of film. In keeping with today’s Norse theme, I refer you to the many scenes in which Conan simply plays with his sword and flexes his muscle to a nice soundtrack by Basil Poledouris or the highly charged scene in Wong Kar-Wai’s Fallen Angels where the guy walks away from the girl, and she collapses in the stairwell to a crescendo of held power notes.1 Don’t even get me started on Kubrick. Anyway, these are the nicotine moments that make susceptible people like me watch certain movies ten or twenty times. Together has a few of these moments, but probably not enough to make me buy it on DVD. It can be accused of contrivance, not in a sense that its characters were not believable and consistent, but simply that they would all be under one roof at the same time, in the same film. It’s a stretch, but one that is necessary to make this kind of movie. Overall, I think it was a very solid film, and it should be seen.

1 Well it’s a noun now.

Mulholland Driveway (2001)    

David Lynch: Wild At Heart, Blueish Velvet, Dune, other stuff

I walked out of Mulholland Drive, and some big fat guy said to his medium-sized friend, “I’m glad we don’t have to do a term paper on this”, and I thought:
a) Me too
b) I’m glad I don’t have to read your term paper on this.
c) Brilliant fat guy, brilliant fat guy.
d) Nothing, my brain was already done for the day.
e) Short Cuts, Pulp Friction, Been John Malkovich, Hellraiser, Debbie Does L.A.

Ghost World (2001)      

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Me, You, Them (2001)  

Andrucha Waddington [timeout]

Want to see a movie with a prominent female lead?
Want to see a movie with a husband that has the coolest voice ever?
Want to see a movie with terrific acting all around?
Want to see a movie that gives you a palpable impression of rural Brazilian life?
Want to see a movie with an intriguing, original screenplay?
Want to see a movie with dancing and Brazilian music?
Want to see a movie that’s better than Like Water for Chocolate any day.

[Me, You, Them and gauguin]

In The Mood For Love (2000)    

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)  

Chicken Run (2000)  

Great film for both chickens and adults. Similar to Toy Story in its rescue hero theme, which by the way is a very popular theme among children I’m led to understand, but it’s more raw art and style and less Disney bull crappie. But let’s be realistic. It’s not THAT raw or art. It’s sort of a compromise between Nik Park’s original ways and something that will appeal more broadly to kids, otherwise known as ‘making some money for a change’. If you want your babies to grow up smart like European children, you better take them to this movie. It won’t work, of course, but at least no one can say you didn’t try.

8 ½ Women (2000)  

Peter Greenaway

This film has totally caught me with my pants down.* At times amusing, at times a little slow, always thought provoking (and not all of them of the wholesome variety), and often visually stunning. The Academy should, in addition to renouncing all prior decisions and dismembering itself immediately, do away with cinematography and replace it with a category called visual splendor. 8 ½ women would definitely be a frontrunner. It won’t appeal to everyone. In fact, it will only appeal to about four hundred people. I myself didn’t think I would want to see it again right away. But now I do. As for the themes and what the movie is trying to say and whether I should call it profound or pretentious, I have no idea. I just need the colors, the costumes, the absurdity, and I need it on DVD. Although I do wonder if it wouldn’t have been better for her to just see all those milkshakes and never actually let us see them being consumed. And I know I would have preferred just one “Jesus, the Son of God”, which was terribly funny the first time but then become repetitious.

If you want to read what somebody much fatter than me has to say about Greenaway, you should read Roger Ebert’s review of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, but not until after you’ve seen it, of course. And if Blockbuster is out, you can also look for the twenty percent more perverted European version, the The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Brother. I think Roger Ebert is probably the only person out there who really gets Greenaway.**

* My first Greenaway film, and I was so much younger then.
** Mr. Ebert was not available for comment..

Gladiator (2000)     or was it    

Being John Malkovich (1999)  

Spike Jonze

This is a strange movie. But funny. And intelligent. The two funniest parts I remember are the towel ordering scene and that long sequence of John Cusack becoming the combination puppeteer/media darling in John Malkovich’s body. Did I not say it was strange? As expected, Malkovich was brilliant throughout, and the plot is completely off the wall. In fact, it may not have ever been on the wall to begin with. The film is definitely worth seeing even if it is like your older-brother Ned’s undisciplined step child. There are some extra silly parts in which I begin praying that any film students out there are not taking any notes. For example, the whole monkey thing was just stupid. Monkeys are never funny in movies and should only be used to annoy people like Darren in Bewitched. Fantastic plot elements and even loose ends are totally acceptable to this reviewer, but the movie has another, more serious problem. It becomes a bit of a tug of war between different themes that don’t exactly work in the same film. There’s the Chasing Amy three way thing, the John Malkovich thing, the first puppeteering thing where we respect the sensitive/misunderstood/artist played by John Cusack and then throw in ten minutes of Cocoon at the end for good measure. The only thing this movie didn’t have was John Cleese as a last minute villain-tourist-tightrope walker. And although Maxine was a passable if ultimately less than inspiring femme noire, I’m not sure her behavior is consistently in character. But maybe this doesn’t matter? Maybe this movie should get an additional thumb up just for the “It’s MY HEAD...It’s MY HEAD...” line, which is possibly the funniest line in any film since Renoir’s Grand Illusion when Maréchal puts on that dress and the soldier gives him that ‘you actually look pretty good look’ and he just gives him that sort of ‘quickly raised eyebrow’ look, which is not technically a line, but it’s damn funny. And I know John Malkovich, of all people, loves that scene.

At this point I would like to, for no reason, insert my favorite line and the only one I remember from Soul Man. “Get me more watermelon, bitch. And where’s my heroin needle while you’re at it white fat-ass slut.”

Dogma (1999)

This little film defines mediocrity. I only review it because you liked it. Chris Rock and Jay and Silent Bob are entertaining as usual, but they are better appreciated in their own context (e.g. Clerks, or in the case of Mr. Rock, standup comedy). Alan Richtman is always good, but his part is minimal. Linda Fiorentino is hot, but this isn’t porn, so who cares. Matt Damon has an abundance of boyish charm, but his screen presence is consistently marred by Ben Affleck, who cannot even be discussed seriously as a person, let alone an actor.

Ghost Dog (The Way of the Samurai) (1999)

Jim Jarmusch

Wow. I had heard Jim Jarmusch’s name tossed about so much over the years. I was definitely expecting more than this. It’s substantially worse than Lars Von Trier’s Dogville and may even be encroaching on territory I had once thought could only be occupied by Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional. Imagine a Chuck Norris film without the karate action or a completely serious Kurt Russell flick. Because that’s exactly how out-of-sync this movie is. As with Dark City, anyone who wants a once-viewed copy of Ghost Dog should give me their mailing address and wait approximately three days.

The Sixth Sense (1999) I see dead movie revievers

M. Knight Sha Na Na

Good movie to rent. Quite compelling. Ending has quite a little twist like The Usual Suspects light. It’s also strangely similar to a film called Angel Heart with Mickey Rourke, whom ironically, I used to confuse with Bruce Willis. You should probably not rent Angel Heart, unless you read about it on Amazon and it seems like something you might like.

Autumn Tale (1999)  

Eric Rohmer

Yes. Yes. Yes. The nose is simple and unassuming, but the mid to late palate is as compelling and seductive as grenache can be without overwhelming. This film is a Gigondas that walks among Chateauneuf’s. Whereas Life is Beautiful is big, Autumn Tale is small in scope. It’s a tale about meeting people, falling in love or trying to fall in love, and making wine in the Rhone Valley. The dialogue is dry, understated and credible. Or perhaps that’s just the way French people are. What? The translated subtitles are fairly good with a tolerable amount of simplification (filtration). The characters are well-developed and interesting to the point you’ll feel like you’ve made several new friends [similar to Rushmore]. If you passed on this year’s Richard Gere, Julia Roberts flick, this is the movie you were saving yourself for. Fabulous QPR (quality-price-ratio) at $7.

Recommended drink: Gigondas from a good producer

The Phantom Menace (1999)

Rushmore (1999)  

Wes Anderson

Everyone I ask about this film says, “If I could make a movie, this is exactly the movie I would make.” But I learned more from this movie than the fact that my friends are all latent film makers. Rushmore brilliantly captures what high school was like for a lot of us (rich kids). This is not to say the story is very realistic, but the atmosphere is one we (formerly overprivileged children) can easily understand and enjoy. Unpredictable, interesting and very three dimensional characters abound. As for the humor, it coats the palate with amusement that goes well beyond the parking lot. In addition to clever and quotable dialogue (see below), Rushmore has another kind of humor, which plays off the viewer’s own interpretations and expections. The film takes realistic situations and moves them inconspicuously to the absurd so that you realize it too late and can only be amused and impressed.1 The attractive teacher represents the mysterious, romantic, and let’s not forget entirely doable type of woman that obsessive, sensitive boys are always wanting (not me, of course—give me Pam Anderson and her silicon valley every time). Thus, the movie is double secret effective in that you (male viewers) fall for her as well only to have healthy disillusionment when you realize, some time after you get back to your car, that these ‘beautiful, romantic’ women with deep blue eyes and British accents don’t really exist. Or if they do, you can’t have them. Nevermind that my review makes a big deal of this one aspect of the film. There are several other equally axiomatic relationships between other characters. Finally, Bill Murray does a fine job in his supporting role, and Max is played well by a talented young actor, who’s actually a real person off-screen. You don’t need to read Roger Ebert’s review except that he makes an interesting comparison between Max and Charles Foster Kane. And that’s why he gets the big bucks and a syndicated column, whereas I get to pay an internet service provider, so I can publish these reviews. It’s not that I can’t afford it, but the shame, the shame. [probation] [the shit] [bag of cocaine]

1 Needs example.

2 Need examples.

Wing Commander (1999)


Dark City (1998) 

Alex Proyas

Fuck Roger Ebert. He was never going to acknowledge my site anyway, so I have no reason to kiss up. This is the first DVD I regret buying. I don’t buy a lot of films sight unseen unless they’re on the Criterion Collection (not counting ‘Chasing Amy’ ‘Armageddon’ or ‘Traffic’). But I made an exception for Dark City because I had heard Roger Ebert talk it up like it was the coolest thing since Metropolis. It was not the coolest thing since Metropolis. It started off promisingly, but ended up a combination of Batman, The Truman Show and Flatliners all trying to be Hellraiser. It was moderately entertaining, but less than the sum of its parts, especially Hellraiser. It’s a rental all the way. Fuck Roger Ebert. I think Gene Siskel could do a better job from his grave, although I’ve heard otherwise. If anyone wants a Dark City DVD, you can send me email from the contact page.

Life Is Beautiful, Really (1998) 

This film really loved me. It reminds me of Cinema Paradiso with the two themes of paternal sacrifice and massive viewer crying. It’s a bit more conventional or straightforward in terms of plot, but both movies leave you with deep feelings of joy and sadness and a desire to go forth and appreciate your own life more. Don’t let the film’s commercial success take away from your enjoyment of Brittney Spears’ or her nipple. One thumb up. Rest in peace.

Fallen Angels (1998)

Wong Kar-Wai

Alas, what can I say about Fallen Angels? One sub-plot is about a callous young assassin who is constantly being followed around by really cool music. The other is a perfectly/overly sentimental story about a guy who is energetic, likeable and mute. Both he, the assassin and their women are troubled. Come to think of it, everyone in this film is troubled and with them do we sympathize. If you have a problem with having your strings pulled or sympathizing in general, then you might not like this film. But if you don’t mind that, you’re in luck, because this is artful sentimentality at its finest. Each sub-plot will appeal to the ostensibly disparate sides of your personality. It’s like having a beef and vegetarian taco on the same platter or making love to your wife and mistress at the same time. Chinese reggae. I for one love dining out with Hong Kong Wong. At first I was attracted to the sultry women and violence, but later I came to think more about the mushy stuff. Sex, violence, mushy stuff—what’s the connection?

Your Friends and Neighbors (1997)  

Why are the worst directors always the most prolific? The opening credits roll by to a wonderful Metallica song rendered in classical style (a la Kronos Quartet). Luckily, I was munching on puffed corn kernels in a boerre blanc sauce, so everything was okay. The film is downhill from there. You can substitute the review for Happiness minus the pedophilia, not that there isn’t plenty of shock for shock’s sake here too. It’s also not quite as annoying as Happiness and has a more straightforward plot. Complicated plots are the sheep’s milk of cinema. They can result in some of the most wonderful (The Usual Suspects) and hideous products. Actually, the complexity of Happiness leaves the door open for people to call it art. Nobody in their right mind can call Your Friends and Neighbors art. The characters are all annoyingly neurotic with few redeeming qualities. So by the end of the movie, one just doesn’t care what happens. In fact, I can’t even remember what happened. Anyway, don’t bother with this movie.

Movies You Should Rent                 Cereals You Should Eat                 People You Should
Free Advice: Take that movie review and-

Below are a list of films I have seen and can vouch for their greatness. They can be flawed, even heavily, but still they must have enough greatness in them either in part or in whole in order to make this list. When it says “Try one film by Director X,” that means this is a director with a very peculiar (often disturbing) style which will appeal to some and not others. I can accept someone saying, “I just don’t like Peter Greenaway.” That’s okay. If you were to say, “I just don’t like Renoir.” Then I would say you need medication. So I say “Try one” and see if you like it. You will definitely have a reaction. Finally, please come back now and then as the list is always growing. I am always searching for new films, new directors and newer ways of “organizing” the list. Oh, and please don’t hesitate to write me with suggestions, arguments, laments, questions, or just to tell me nice things. This way of “discussing” will hopeful help us toward greater understanding of both the films and each other.

[D] means link to Amazon so you can get technical specs on it, etc. I may at some point make little [N]’s for Netflix, but we’ll see. [cb] are my little comments. [essays] are essays which I think are not bad, although they are really meant to be read after you’ve seen a film, not before. [other] could be a sound clip, still, or video clip from the film or some extra from a disc or some other little flash thing I may have made from the source material (because I could not prevent myself from doing so; believe me, I wish I could). These are again generally for after you’ve seen a film to help further your enjoyment. If you do not see a film which surely should be on here, do not despair. That simply means either I (or Criterion) just haven’t gotten to it yet (alors). In time. Everything in time.

Three Kinds Of Movies

1) First, there is plain and simple exposition. These are the films where the story basically tells itself. Many documentaries fall into this category as well as films like The Harder They Come. A great film, but who made it? I don’t know either. This type of film is like good journalism. The stories you remember, not who writes them.

2) Then, there is the heavy-handed, flagrantly crafted film. This is Kubrick and Godard and company. It’s all about the style. These are the visual artists for whom composition is king. These are the guys who made films in black and white long after there was color. They don’t make music, but they know how to use it. They can take some good visuals, and mix them with bits of themes and dialogue, drama and movement, and put it in your brain like an addiction. Wong Kar-Wai is kind of one of these.

3) The third type of film is the combination of the first two, mixing selfless exposition with visual splendor. They are some of the best films of all, and yet oddly, rarely seem to emerge outside of serious film circles. These are films which contain both stylistic genius as well as solid fundamental truth. Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu comes to mind. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror is equal part truth and pure visual poetry. And it’s barely available on DVD from Kino. Andrei Rublev is one of the greatest film ever made. It’s unassailable. It’s available on Criterion. But have you seen it? Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game breaks all the rules without breaking any. That one you’ve heard of? Come on? Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story only just came out on DVD. This world is a joke. I was born, but...

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) [D]

Films by Jean Renoir

Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932) [D] [simon]
La Grand Illusion (1938) [D]
Rules of the Game (1939) [D] [cb] [mekas]
Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) [V] [timeout]
The River (1951) [D]
French Cancan (1955) [D] [cb] [interview]
Elena and Her Men (1956) [D]
Films by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Le Corbeau (1943) [D] [timeout]
Quai Des Orfèvres (1948) [D] [tostitos lime]
Wages of Fear (1953) [D] [cb] [criterion] [timeout]
Diaboliques, Les (1954) [D] [cb] [criterion] [timeout] [scoopy]
The Mystery of Picasso (1956) [D] [timeout] [trailer]
Films by Jacques Becker
Casque d’Or (1952) [D] [cb] [timeout]
Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (1960) [D] [ebert] [title] [timeout]
Le Trou (1960) [D]
Films by Robert Bresson [creeley] [gorlitz]
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) [D] [timeout]
Diary of a Country Priest (1954) [D]
A Man Escaped (1957) [D] [cb]
Pickpocket (1959) [D] [cb] [ebert] [interview]
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) [D]
Mouchette (1967) [D] [interview]

A Gentle Woman (1969) [D]
Lancelot of the Lake (1974) [D] [cb] [courtly love]
L’Argent (1983) [D] [cb]
Films by Jean-Luc Godard
Breathless (1961) [D]
A Woman Is A Woman (1961) [D] [criterion] [tim's blog] [timeout] [that book scene]
My Life To Live (1962) [D]
Band of Outsiders (1964) [D] [criterion] [the madison]
Contempt (1964) [D] [cb] [trailer] [criterion] [flash]
Alphaville (1965) [D] [cb] [criterion] [sarris] [todd] [natasha] [natasha]
Masculin, Feminin (1966) [D] [timeout]
Pierre Le Fou (1969) [D]
In Praise of Love [at the bookshop]
Films by François Truffaut [book]
The 400 Blows (1959) [D]
Shoot the Piano Player (1960) [D]
Jules et Jim (1962) [D]
Stolen Kisses (1969) [D]
Bed and Board (1970) [D]
Love on the Run (1979) [D]
Jules Dassin Films
Thieve’s Highway (1946) [D] [cb]
Night and the City (1950) [D]
Rififi (1955) [D]
Films by Luis Buñuel [interview]
Un Chien Andalou (1928) [D] [ubu]
L'Âge d'Or (1930) [D]
Diary of a Chambermaid (1965) [D] [timeout]
Belle De Jour (1968) [D] [ebert]
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) [D] [cb] [criterion] [the Buñuel martini] [i shit on your entire army]
Phantom Of Liberty (1974) [D] [cb]
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) [D] [essay]
Films by Bertrand Tavernier
The Clockmaker (1976) [D] [cb] [shake my hand] [burning car]
Coup de Torchon (1981) [D] [criterion]
A Sunday in the Country (1984) [D] [cb] [ebert] [painting]
Films by Louis Malle
Murmur of the Heart (1971) [D]
Lacombe, Lucien (1974) [D]
Aur Revoir Les Enfants (1987) [D]
Other French Films
L’Atalante (1934) [D] [papa jules] [timeout] [rosenbaum] [ebert]
Port of Shadows (1939) [D] [cb]
Children of Paradise (1946) [D] [cb] [criterion]
Orpheus (1950) [D] [cocteau] [senses]
Bob Le Flambeur (1955) [D] [cb] [timeout]
Black Orpheus (1958) [D] [cb] [essay] [timeout] [trailer]
Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962) [D]
Le Cercle Rouge (1970) [cb] [D]
Try one Jacques Tati: Mr Hulot’s Holiday (1953) [D], Playtime (1973) [D] [cb] [timeout]
Try one Eric Rohmer: My Night At Maud’s (1970) [D] [cb] [in the street], Claire’s Knee (1971) [D], Chloe in the Afternoon (1972) [D], Autumn Tale (1998) [D] [cb] [kent jones on rohmer]
De Sica Films
Shoeshine (1947)
The Bicycle Thief (1949) [D] [cb] [ebert] [timeout]
Umberto D (1955) [D] [timeout]
Antonioni Films
L’Avventura (1961) [D] [cb] [criterion] [timeout] [essay] [sweet site]
La Notte (1961) [D] [long pauses]
Il Grido (1962) [D]
Eclipse (1962) [D]
Red Desert (1965) [D]
Blow Up (1966) [D] [timeout] [Blow Up Your .AVI]
Fellini Films
Top 10 Films of All Time
The Rules Of The Game * 2001: A Space Oddysey * Stalker * Contempt * My Life to Live * 8 ½ * Kwaidan * Wild Strawberries * The Magnificent Ambersons * Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie * The Wild Bunch
La Strada (1954) [D]
I Vitelloni (1956) [D]
Nights of Cabiria (1957) [D] [ebert]
La Dolce Vita (1959) [D] [ebert]
Eight and a Half (1962) [D] [cb] [books] [comments] [saraghina] [in the bathroom] [in the bathroom]
Juliet of the Spirits (1965) [D] [criterion]
Amarcord (1974) [D] [criterion] [puffballs]
Try One Pasolini Film: Accattone (1961) [D], The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) [D], Mamma Roma (1962) [D], ?Salo (1975)

Other Italian Films
Il Posto (1961) [D]
I Fidanzati (1963) [D]
Cinema Paradiso (1989) [D] [explain]
Il Postino (1995) [D]
Big Night (1996) [D] [soundtrack] [silly]
Most Hitchock Movies [hitchbooks]
The 39 Steps (1935) [D]
The Lady Vanishes (1938) [D] [cb]
Rebecca (1940) [D]
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) [D]
Notorious (1946) [D]
Rope (1948) [D]
Rear Window (1954) [D] [poster]
The Trouble With Harry (1955) [D] [pretty mother]
To Catch A Thief (1955) [D]
Vertigo (1958) [D]
North by Northwest (1959) [D]
Psycho (1960) [D]
The Birds (1963) [D]

Other Hitchcock’s: Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), Rich and Strange (1932), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), Jamaica Inn (1939), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), Suspicion (1941), Saboteur (1942), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Under Capricorn (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951), I Confess (1953), Dial M for Murder (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976).
Powell and Pressburger Films
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1945) [D] [cb]
Black Narcissus (1947) [D] [cb]
The Red Shoes (1948) [D]
The Tales of Hoffmann (1952) [D] [timeout]
Films by or containing Orson Welles
Citizen Kane (1941) [D] [poster]
The Magnificent Amberson’s (1942) [V]
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
The Third Man (1950) [D] [cb]
Touch of Evil (1958) [D] [touch of prufrock] [ebert] [opening shot] [i am the one talking behind the camera]
The Trial (1963) [D] [cb]
F for Fake (1974) [D] [cb]
Top 10 Films of All Time
Andrei Rublev * The Mirror * Tokyo Story * Boudu Saved from Drowning * L’Avventura * La Grand Illusion * Children of Paradise * Seven Samurai * Citizen Kane * Monty Python’s Life of Brian * Once Upon a Time in the West
Stanley Kubrick Films [collection] [1] [2] [3]
Day of the Fight (1951)
Fear and Desire (1953)
Killer’s Kiss (1955)
The Killing (1956) [D]
Paths of Glory (1957) [D]
Spartacus (1960) [D] [timeout]
Lolita (1962) [D]
Dr. Strangelove (1964) [D] [cb] [war room] [war room] [yahoo]
2001: A Space Oddysey (1968) [website] [mind is going] [daisy]
A Clockwork Orange (1971) [D] [sounds] [the post-corrective school]
Barry Lyndon (1975) [D] [cb]
The Shining (1980) [D] [VW Fox] [cb] [timeout] [very definite ideas] [i think] [trailer] [the gold room]
Full Metal Jacket (1987) [D] [cb]

Yasujiro Ozu [more]
I Was Born, But... (1932) [V]
A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) [V]
Tokyo Story (1953) [D] [kevin lee]
Floating Weeds (1959) [V]
Good Morning (1962) [D] [cb] [rosenbaum] [screw that] [charles moore]
Akira Kurosawa

Top 10 Films of All Time
A Man Escaped * Wages of Fear * Kwaidan * La Dolce Vita * Solaris * The Good, The Bad, The Ugly * The Godfather * Fitzcarraldo * That Obscure Object of Desire * M
Seven Samurai (1956) [D] [essay]
Rashomon (1958) [D] [discuss]
The Hidden Fortress (1958) [D] [cb]
Throne Of Blood (1961) [D]
Yojimbo (1961) [D]
Sanjuro (1962) [D] [trailer]
Dersu Uzala (1974) [D] [filmref]
Kagemusha (1980) [D]
Ran (1985) [cb] [D] [filmref]
Seijun Suzuki [senses of cinema] [deep focus]
Tokyo Drifter (1966) [D]
Branded To Kill (1967) [D] [cb] [slap1] [slap2]
Other Suzuki Films: Youth of the Beast (1963) [D], Gate of Flesh (1964) [D], Story of a Prostitute (1965) [D], Fighting Elegy (1966) [D]

Other Japanese Films
How anyone could see the body of Japanese films, and not fall in love with this country is...well anyway, in order to get the most out of the body of "samurai" films, I think it might help to contextualize yourself by concomintantly watching some of the many wonderful documentaries available on the topic. [D] [D]

Ugetsu (1954) [D] [cb]
Harakiri (1963) [D]
Kwaidan (1965) [D] [trailer] [the earless]
Samurai Spy (1965) [D]
Sword of the Beast (1965) [D] [macias] [share my hatred]
Sword of Doom (1965) [D] [cb]
Samurai Rebellion (1967) [D]
Kill! (1968) [D] [cb]
Tampopo (1986) [D] [cb]
Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2004) [D] [cb]
Werner Herzog Films
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1973) [D]
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) [D] [cb] [cambodia]
Stroszek (1977) [D] [the banker] [a bird] [quiet bird]
Fitzcarraldo (1982) [D] [cb] [an email] [a bird] [a dilemma]
Other Herzog Films: Woyzek (1976)
Try one Fassbinder film: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) [D], Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) [D], The Stationmaster’s Wife (1977) [D], Lola (1981) [D], The Marriage of Maria Braun (1982) [D] [cb], Veronika Voss (1982) [D], more

Other German Films
M (1933) [D] [cb] [ebert]
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975) [D] [cb]
Some British Films
Withnail and I (1987) [D] [cb] [timeout]

Try one of the following (these are dramas; they are about acting, emotion, to be subconsciously consumed): Mona Lisa (1986) [D], Naked (1994) [D] [cb]
Peter Weir Films
Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975) [D] [trailer]
The Last Wave (1979) [D] [timeout] [parking] [parking]
The Year of Living Dangerously (1983) [D] [timeout]
Nicolas Roeg Films
Walkabout (1971) [D]
The Man Who Fell To Earth (1977) [D] [timeout]
Bad Timing (1980) [D]
John Cassavetes Films
Shadows (1959) [D]
Faces (1968) [D]
Woman Under the Influence (1974) [D]
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) [D]
Try one Sam Fuller: Shock Corridor (1963) [D], The Naked Kiss (1964) [D] [cb]
Try one Robert Altman: M.A.S.H. (1970), McCabe and Ms. Miller (1971), Nashville (1975)
Try one Krzysztof Kieslowski: The Double Life of Véronique (1991) [D], Blind Chance (1987) [D]
Try one Roman Polanski: Knife in the Water (1962) [cb] [D]
Try one Peter Greenaway: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1990) [D]
Try one David Lynch: Eraserhead (1976) [D], Blue Velvet (1986) [D]

Films by Lynne Ramsay
Ratcatcher (2000) [D] [music] [music]
Morvern Callar (2002) [D]
My People Have Suffered Now So Will You

Andrei Tarkovsky Films [more]
The Steamroller and the Violin (1962) [D]
My Name Is Ivan (1963) [D]
Andrei Rublev (1966) [D] [j hoberman] [scoopy] [jester] [sack of vladimir] [skinflint]
The Mirror (1974) [D] [cb] [cb] [filmref] [timeout] [speak loudly and clearly]
Solaris (1979) [D] [stanislaw lem]
Stalker (1979) [D] [car scene] [beach with telephone]
Nostalghia (1983) [D] [tim (i think)] [nostalgia]
The Sacrifice (1986) [D] [cb]
Top 10 Films of All Time
M * The 7th Seal * Lancelot of the Lake * Ran * Ugetsu * The Shining * Amarcord * Blade Runner * The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser * L’Atalante
I Have Suffered Now So Will You

Ingmar Bergman Films

He knows I’m only kidding. Ingmar Bergman is the only known film director to have punched a critic for giving him a bad review.
Wild Strawberries (1957) [D] [criterion]
The Seventh Seal (1958) [D] [cb]
Through A Glass Darkly (1961) [D] [cb]
Winter Light (1962) [D]
The Silence (1962) [D] [cb]
Persona (1967) [D]
Cries And Whispers (1972) [D] [cb] [long pauses] [1] [2] [3]
The Magic Flute (1975) [D]
Autumn Sonata (1978) [D]
You Have Suffered Enough, Now Just Relax And Soak In These Music Videos

Wong Kar-Wai Films
Days of Being Wild (1991) [D] [cb] [water train: fyi, this is it, this is one of THE moments in cinema]
Ashes of Time (1994) [D] [intro] [i’ll kill you just for that video] [i wanted to save your arm] [jealous] [peach blossoms]
Chunking Express (1995) [D] [stomptokyo review]
Happy Together (1997) [D] [start over]
Fallen Angels (1998) [D] [pillion]
In The Mood For Love (2001) [D] [cb] [cannes site] [official site ] [soundtrack]
2046 (2004) [D]
Films by Jia Zhangke [more] [kevin lee]
Xiao Wu (1997) [D]
Platform (2000) (a film about architecture) [D]
Unknown Pleasures (2002) [D] [cb] [drink up] [red flag] [bustop] [cellphone]
The World (2004) [D]
Try One Ming-liang Tsai: The River (1997) [D] [cb], What Time Is It There? (2001) [D] [timeout], Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003) [D]

Films by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Flowers of Shanghai (1998) [D] [cb]
Films by Theo Angelopoulos
Landscape in the Mist (1988) [D] [cb]
Cultural Experiences
The Harder They Come (1973) [D] [timeout] [seduction] [sound + vision] [jimmy cliff] [criterion] [sf chronicle]
The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) [cb] [N/A][timeout]
The Buena Vista Social Club (1998) [D]
Selected Westerns [images journal]

In this category, it is very important that you watch these films in chronological order, a very underrated practice. The idea is that you will better appreciate the development of the genre or something to that effect. If you don’t like that explanation, than just do it because it seems like the right thing to do. Also, you will not fully appreciate how much of a departure is Unforgiven unless you’ve already seen Eastwood’s earlier films. Note To Aspiring Critics: ‘For a Few Dollars More’ is substantially better than ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and although you can (and should) buy the entire triology for like ten dollars on the non-criterion MGM Walmart special, you really only NEED to watch ‘FFDM’ and ‘GBU’ but you may as well watch them all, if only to agree with me, and then love me.
High Noon (1952) [D]
For A Few Dollars More (1965) [D] [well, well, if it isn’t the smoker] [you shouldn’t have shot those apples off that tree] [any trouble boy] [carpenter’s story]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) [D] [you bastard] [...shoot don’t talk] [your mother] [bastard] [collect] [aim] [bridge] [spurs] [you dig] [idiots]
Once Upon A Time In The West (1968) [D] [cb] [claudia] [but they were his men] [just a man] [just a man] [something to do with death]
The Wild Bunch (1969) [D] [cb] [my silver] [any other way] [why not] [let’s go]
Unforgiven (1992) (see above note) [D] [decent review]


Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars (1967) [D]
Clint Eastwood: Hang ’Em High (1968) [D], Joe Kidd (1972) [D], High Plains Drifter (1973) [D], Outlaw Josie Wales (1976) [D], Pale Rider (1985) [D]. Two Mules For Sister Sara [D] is not quite as good, but it has its moments. [take off your hat]
Peckinpah: Pat Garret & Billy the Kid (1973) [T.S.] [ho, now] [god damn him too] [so am i] [link] [are they asking me?] [my friend] [dog] [fabulous melancholy] [eno] [black harris]
Truth of Steel Films
The Road Warrior (1981) [D] [cb] [we go in] [violence] [dogs]
Conan the Barbarian (1982) [D] [soundtrack] [cb] [he won’t cry] [what is best] [high adventure] [riddle of steel] [riddle of steel] [riddle of steel] [drown] [my snake] [flesh] [compare] [theme one] [theme two] [success] [my own daughter]
The Terminator (1984) [D]
Die Hard (1988) [D]
Also see at least:
One Hong Kong-made Bruce Lee film (Fists of Fury, The Chinese Connection, Return of the Dragon)
One Dirty Harry film

Made in America
Top 10 Lists (What They’re Good 4)
Top 10 Lists are important because they help us to decide whether things we’re not sure about are okay or not. Then if it appears in a Top 10 list, we know it’s okay. For example, I was wondering if it’s okay for the story to be about just yourself and it still be a great film, or whether it has to be about something more epic, historical, Virgil. Then I decided this was a dumb question.

But what about babies? Is it okay to use babies in a film? A quick look over my own Top 10 reveals no films in which babies play a key role. Well, there is that scene in Mirror when they look at that baby and he is all smiling and plump. I guess he does play a pretty key role in that scene. But it’s not like he sings a song or anything. So the answer is yes, you can use babies, but only in one scene.

Monkeys are right out.

My Man Godfrey (1936) [D] [cb]
Sullivan’s Travels (1941) [D]
The Palm Beach Story (1942) [D]
On the Waterfront (1954) [actually, it was you charlie...]
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) [D]
The Graduate (1967) [D]
Harold and Maude (1971) [D]
The Godfather (1972) [D]
The Godfather II (1974) [vendetta] [D]
Badlands (1973) [D] [timeout]
Chinatown (1974)
Jaws (1975) [D] [VW Fox]
Rocky (1976) [D] [face knife]
Pulp Fiction (1994) [D] [VW Fox]

Downward Spiral

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) [D]
Taxi Driver (1976) [D]
Raging Bull (1980) [D] [small hands] [opening] [opening] [opening]
First Blood (1982) [D]
Scarface (1983) [D]
Once Upon A Time In America (1984) [D]
Teenage Classics: Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) [D], Sixteen Candles (1984) [D], The Breakfast Club (1985) [D], Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) [D]

Woody Allen Films
Annie Hall (1977) [D]
Manhattan (1979) [D] [cb]
Sleeper (1973) [D]
Made in Mexico
Amores Perros (2000) [D] [soundtrack] [cb] [car chase]
Science Fiction/Fantasy Films
Star Wars (1977) [original version only] [light saber] [how are you?]
Empire Strikes Back (1980) [V]
Alien (1979) [VW Fox]
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) [V] [why on earth is this not available on D?] [making this up] [rosenbaum]
Blade Runner (1982) [D] [cb] [timeout] [my mother] [lesbian] [time to die] [we’re stupid] [more life] [where are you going] [i’ve seen things] [too bad]
Tron (1982) [cb]
Dune (1984) [D] [cb] [navigator] [spice] [spittle] [homeworld] [my name] [water of life] [father] [send them back] [inevitable] [reed]
Aliens (1986)
Brazil (1986) [D] [cb]
Predator (1987) [D]
Robocop (1987) [D]
Starship Troopers (1997) [D] [cb]
Lord of the Rings (2001) [D]
Hellboy (2004) [D] [cb]

Listed Elsewhere: If it’s good, and it’s not here, it’s probably listed somewhere else (like by director or something).
Horror Films
Psycho (1960) [D]
The Exorcist (1973) [D] [VW Fox]
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) [D]
Carrie (1976) [D]
Halloween (1978) [D]
Friday the 13th (1980) [D]
Poltergeist (1982) [D]
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) [D]
Hellraiser (1987) [D] [cb]
Scream (1996) [D]
Ringu (1998) [D]
Ju-On (2
All of Chuck Jones’ Cartoons
Alice in Wonderland (1951) [D] [cb] [who r u?] [more sounds]
Akira (1988) [D] [cb]
Ghost in the Shell (1996) [D] [cb]

Films by Hayao Miyazaki
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) [into the cave] [D]
Porco Rosso (1992) [D]
Princess Mononoke (1999) [D]
Spirited Away (2002) [D] [cb]
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) [D] [cb]

Classic Comedies (I can’t believe you haven’t seen...)
The Bank Dick (1940) [D] [ebert]
Jacques Tati’s Mr Hulot’s Holiday (1953) [D]
Monty Python’s Holy Grail (1975) [D] [flying circus?]
Animal House (1978) [D] [sounds] [harold ramis]
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) [D]
Caddyshack (1980) [D] [sounds]
Airplane (1980) [D] [sounds] [black] [shirley] [jive ass turkey]
Flying Ingot (1982)
Strange Brew (1983) [D]
Spinal Tap (1984) [D]
Top Secret (1984) [D] [melted aligot]
Real Genius (1985) [D]
Fletch (1985) [D] [sounds]

Movies I Almost Saw But Didn’t

Grindhouse - I want to see this. But I will be satisfied with the trailer. And just leave it at that. It's an exciting trailer though, my lord.

Babel - I just cannot bring myself to see another I... film. Ever since he started using big name actors. I enjoyed Amores Perros (2000) so much. And I just don't want to do something that may tarnish that memory. Am I wrong?

Little Miss Sunshine - Little Miss I Don't Have Time. I thought I wanted to see this. But thank the gods a friend told me it sucked. Then another friend wrote a review which also said it sucked. Now there can be no more doubt.

Me, You and Everyone We Know - will probably see, because how can you not see a film by someone named Miranda July? Except if you’ve read fluxblog’s unfavorable ratings of it.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped – would see, but probably won’t because of Roger Ebert.

Penguins - Yes, I’m sure it’s great. But I already watch more nature shows on PBS than I care to admit. I think I’ll be okay.

Batman Begins - I was not going to see this until I saw that people seem to be genuinely pissed off at each other about whether this film is good or not. This made me start thinking about actually seeing this. And then I noticed it was 140 minutes long. Umm, let me think about it no.

Kill Bill 2 - eh, saw the first one. was okay, not worth seeing a repeat of the same. of course, that’s not true. i will see the second one (on video, someday) and forget this pledge she was ever made. [stephen himes] [deep focus] [review and discussion]

Coffee and Cigarettes - I might see this on video. Wait. Wait a minute. Isn’t this by that same guy that did Ghost Dog? Because oh my god, that movie was embarassing--to film. God it was horrible. I mean horrible. I mean, I can’t believe how bad it was? I had to purge. Yea, so, okay, now I’m curious. Now maybe I should see this film.

Master and Commander - Almost: Peter Weir. Didn’t: Russel Crowe.

Mystic River
Guest Comments:

My thoughts upon seeing Mystic River—as billed, there was superb acting by both Tim Robbins and Sean Penn. Sean Penn played to type, Tim Robbins did not (unless you think it was in the vein of Shawshank Redemption) so more kudos to Tim Robbins. I thought the best scene was one in which Sean Penn’s father in law forgoes consoling Sean in order to lecture him on his familial responsibilities. The moment when Sean Penn explains how his daughter has a “look like she’s never going to see you again” is also superb. Yet, this wasn’t a great movie. Kevin Bacon was leaden and his subplot was absurd. There is no explanation of why we should care about his troubled mute wife or why he went to college and abandoned the neighborhood. Laura Linney’s ode de Macbeth at the end was out of nowhere and totally misplaced.

City of God

The blonde ex-pat says:

please watch city of god, if you havn’t already. probably been out since jan 2002 in usa. i loved it so much. read many reviews that compared it to amores peros. have no goddam idea why. just because it’s south american probably. which is retarded. it’s like saying withnail and i and four weddings and a funeral are similar. ok, obviously not the same thing, but you know what i mean.

Eight Mile: Okay, I actually never considered seeing this.

Eight Women: I might have been tempted to see this.

Eight Miles of Women: Okay, I totally have to see this if they make it.

Naqoyqatsi: I can’t even say it.

Secretary: This might not be bad. I like James Spader. Wait, no. I definitely am not going to see this.

Mostly Martha: Probably would like this. I might see this someday. They say it’s like Big Night. I liked Big Night, but I haven’t watched it in a while.

Road to Perdition: I don’t even know what perdition means, but we don’t have to get into that. Maybe they’re trying to say road to nutrition? I don’t know. The comments on the ad say the film will be a classic, just like they said about his previous film. Sam Mendes is the name of the director, which you can find using a magnifying lens over the region of the credits at the bottom of the ad. A good movie, people remember the name of the movie. A great movie, people remember the name of the director. The only way I am going to see this movie is if people start saying how great it is like they did American Beauty, and I have to come out of retirement and start kicking some ass. Tom Hanks is a solid actor as is Paul Newman. And Jude Law was cool in A.I., so for that reason alone, this movie is probably going to be worth seeing for the rest of you.

The Other Inuit Movie: Can’t remember the exact title. It’s like, The Fast Runner Atunafish, or something, but God dammit if it hasn’t been out in Boston and New York for like 2 weeks already, and my town still doesn’t have it. Please call your local independent theatre and ask them, ‘why the hell aren’t you showing this film?’ Ask them just like that, and they will surely show it right away. [saw it: see review]

Minority Report: My friend said there was too much footage of Tom Cruise playing around with wiring, and it got boring. The key point here is that I have a friend. [Note: have now seen it. Sucked.]

Dog Town and Z-boys: I totally would have seen this, but I didn’t for reasons now forgotten.

Nine Queens: I totally would see this, but it’s not playing in my town. Piece of shit town. [Note: I have since moved to another town, but have still not seen this film]

Y Tu Mama Tambien: And I thought it was tan bien all this time. You know, like tan buena. How dumb am I? Pretty dumb. I just need to see more Spanish written. And what better way than to see this film, which probably has like one or two lines of dialogue. Anyway, I totally almost saw this film. Maybe I’ll rent it. And not tell.

The Royal Tennenbaums - Would have seen this one if everyone and their reptile hadn’t said Rushmore was better. I mean, it’s not like a director has to always outdo himself or anything. That would certainly be an unfair expectation, and I would certainly never heap it. But then again, my time is precious, obviously.

Lantana - I definitely would have seen this film.

Mulholland Drive - Again, the two-hour rule, and what’s more, how many surrealist directors can one get to know in one movie-watching career. The last thing I remember from David Lynch was some scene from a movie called “Wild At Heart” with Laura Dern and Nicholas Cage. I remember it was powerful, but it could have also been because I was so much younger then. I think when you’re young, everything just seems like a bigger deal, or maybe I just remember it that way. And now I will show you a very bad bit of movie review, a bad bit of any writing for that matter. I was exposed to this on a web site, the name of which I won’t bother to mention as it would serve no useful end:

I don’t mean to gloat. But I’ve been feeling a lot smarter ever since I polled all my David Lynch-loving friends and found out that I’m the only one even hazarding a claim to having figured out the director’s latest puzzle, ‘‘Mulholland Drive,'' from top to bottom. So maybe I’m the Einstein of the Peakies crowd (that would be us unrepentant ‘‘Twin Peaks'' buffs to you) or maybe I’m just delusional. I should tell you that I did figure out the big secret of ‘‘The Sixth Sense'' about 20 minutes in—but like I said, I’m not here to brag.

I now know more than one red-headed female who would respond to this by smugly asking if I would like a dollar. So I finally did see Mulholland Drive. I figured our local art house was just going to keep showing it until I went. [saw it: see review]

Lost and Delerious - The New York Times says “ often has a camp ludicrousness, evoking an “Afterschool Special” inspired by the pages of Penthouse Forum.” I think they are trying to say it’s not a good movie, but all I’m hearing is afterschool special and penthouse. Why am I not seeing this film, again?

Le Placard (The Closet) - This looks like a pretty good one and it’s only eighty-four minutes. The only thing I think whenever someone mentions Gerard Depardieu is this time I was in French Class in grade school, and our teacher, whose progressive qualities we, in hindsight, took very much for granted, had us watching a Depardieu film called (in translation) The Return of Martin Guerre. This is the classic story of the guy who goes off to fight a war and gets killed, but his war-buddy decides to come back home and impersonate him. Happens all the time. And this leads to many awkward, but strangely titillating scenes, particularly those involving his wife. The film was remade as a stupid Richard Gere, Jody Foster flop called Summersby, which was neither strange nor titillating, but which I saw in high-school when I was impersonating someone who sees dumb movies. Anyway, there’s a part in the French film where M. Depardieu returns to the village of his war-killed buddy and someone says, quite astutely I might add, ‘Hey, you look so different. You’re such a big man now, and you have a nice beard.’ And M. Depardieu says smartly, ‘C’est la guerre’, which either means ‘It’s war’ or ‘they didn’t have any shaving cream.’ I’m not exactly sure, but either way, who would disagree with anything Gerard Depardieu says.

Amores Perrier-something - Okay, I was sorry that I couldn’t see this movie by first time director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu because it violated my two hour rule that I had just implemented after seeing Traffic and Crouching Tiger back to back. However, that little picture just looks great, doesn’t it? And moreover, someone I know and could love has told me the film is really high quality. And so too say most of the Amazon reviewers, amateurs to be sure, but honest and committed are they. And so I inch ever closer to seeing the film, but still I am unable to get past the thought of dog violence. Perhaps some day I will feel less for dogs, or perhaps someone will convince me to see it regardless. Perhaps I will see it with someone who can tell me when not to look. I realize this goes against most of what I preach, but I know the meaning of indelible. [saw it: see review]

Yi-Yi (A One and A Two) - I bet this would have been great. This nice girl of seemingly abundant intelligence has written urging me to see this film. I think women are smarter than men. [saw it: every day is a first time]

Memento - Did I see this? I can’t seem to remember now? Huh.

You Can Count On Me - A trusted friend says this film was really good. Trusted friend? Who says that? God I hate myself.

Waking Life - Rented it. Sucked. I can totally explain why to anyone who is interested.

Billy Elliot - Would have seen this if I hadn’t already been Brassed Off. Pete Postlethwaite works for Kaiser Sose, you know. That’s cool.

Forgot the title? - Same guy as Cinema Paradiso: How could it be bad? I heard it was bad.

Chocolat - Looks like Water for Chocolat without the, like, water. [Discuss]

Chunhyang - I heard this was a classic story. I have this Korean friend who said it would be boring, but she didn’t like In The Mood For Love, so her opinion is essentially worth zero bok choi stalks.

Others I wanted to see but you wouldn’t let me: Elling, Bartleby, Goya, Solas, Place Vendôme, Titan A.E., Blood Simple (Director’s Cut), Croupier, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Intacto, Talk To Her, Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony, The Station Agent

Movies I Didn’t See But Someone Else Did

Sideways - I’m already into wine and Eric Rohmer. Do I really need to see this?

Farenheit 911 - not art. not news. not seeing it.

The Hours: I will not watch The Hours I won’t. I will not watch it on a boat. I will not watch it on a tram. I will not watch it in a van. I will not watch it when I’m cold. I will not watch it when I’m old. I’m sick of films on books I am.

Pearl Harbor

Reign of Fire: I was recently dining with friends at an upscale Transylvanian restaurant, and they were talking about this ridiculous movie called Reign of Fire, in which these conspicuously small dragons take over the world. The conversation shifted to some bad Richard Gere movie that had also just come out, and someone facetiously commented that it might have been better with a couple more dragons. And then someone said, “What movie wouldn’t be better with a couple of extra dragons? And everyone giggled, and then came the beautiful moment when all of the sudden the giggling stopped and their was this unspoken, shared realization that this was probably true. Something said facetiously turns out to be the truth. Now that doesn’t happen every time I go out for dinner, and I’m so glad I was there.

Titanic: Most recently, Jim Shepard has edited the book Writers at the Movies: 26 Authors Celebrate 26 Memorable Movies, which was been named a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice. Literary editor Elizabeth Taylor writes that, “As a fan of Jim Shepard’s fiction, I picked up this anthology of essays by fiction writers and poets with enthusiasm and was not disappointed . . . I had no interest in seeing Titanic, but after Lorrie Moore described it as ‘part Wild Kingdom, part Lady Chatterley’s Lover,’ I succumbed.”

Loyal fans, I promise you - I will not succumb.

Miscellaneous Video Productions I Can Recommend

PBS Mystery

Full Circle with Michael Palin (1998) [U.K.]
Not Rick Steves. Say no more, squire!

Ken Burns’ Jazz Series
Worth every minute of it, and brother that’s a lot of minutes.

Anything by Ken Burns
Ken Burns taking a dump, would probably be great. And plus, my god, he’s soo young. Have you seen how young he is? He looks like, thirty-five tops. Jesus Christ such talent!

The Rotten Fruit [samps]
Think of it as Ken Burns with a twist—of arsenic.

Chihuly Over Venice (Neo-documentary, 1998) [OOP]
Documents the work of the great glassmaker Dale Chihuly. Inspiring and educational to see the artistic process in terms of both the individual and the teamwork involved in glassmaking. A pearl is when Chihuly takes time out to enjoy some prosciutto in Venice.

Fellini - I’m a Born Liar (2003) [D]
Really nice feature-film quality documentary about the technique of maestro Fellini. Great stuff here.

Frank Lloyd Wright Documentary [D]
I’ll talk about this more later, but there are two advantages to seeing Lloyd Wright’s work on video. First, you would never be able to pilgrimage your way to all of them in person in one lifetime. Second, you would never see the aerial shots and other odd angles afforded by the small cranes of a documentary film. And these angles compliment and add to the experience of actually seeing them in person. They really do. The question is, 'Which method should you choose if you could only have one?’

Nostromo (Conrad story, Mobile Masterpiece Theatre, 1996) [OOP]
This guy’s accent is so damn cool—it alone is worth your time. Even better than Christopher Lambert in Highlander!

Great Trailers Worth Mention

Great trailers have a pace and a life of their own. They not only make you yearn to see a film, but they also provide a unique form of satisfaction, which can scarcely be overstated. Here are some of the great trailers available to man: