Archive for January, 2012

Wet Socks and an Iron Lady

Posted in Guest Spot, Review with tags , , on January 24, 2012 by illwatchanything

Thanks to some rain and a bad pair of shoes, I was pretty cold throughout The Iron Lady. That seemed appropriate, though, at least at first, given the dreary British landscape and political history I thought I was going to witness. Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher! Dowdy British men fighting against women in power! Continue reading

Putting Up Bricks: Contraband

Posted in Review with tags , , , on January 16, 2012 by Timothy Parfitt


I expended a lot of friend-capital convincing my companions to go see this movie. This involved doing impressions of Mark Wahlberg saying “No es bueno” in his tough-guy doofus voice, as shown in the preview. Unfortunately, this was all for naught, since the movie is totally mediocre. Not good enough to be enjoyable on its own merits, not quite bad enough to laugh at.

Turns out the movie is a remake of an Icelandic film,  Reykjavík-Rotterdam. I’m guessing the original is better. Or at least I hope it is. Anyways, the plot of the Marky Mark version centers around Chris Farraday, a home-security installer who used to be really good at hiding contraband while working on massive freight ships. He’s worked his way out, but due to his stone-cold stupid brother-in-law, he comes to owe money to Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), a local gangster. Ribisi is truly, startlingly bad. Worst of all, you can tell he thinks he’s doing a good job.

Other things that keep Contraband from being good, believable, or bearable Continue reading

Catch-Up: Pickpocket (1959)

Posted in Catch-up with tags , , , on January 16, 2012 by Timothy Parfitt

I was in New York this past weekend, and had the good fortune to catch the Bresson retrospective at the Film Forum. The movie I saw was Pickpocket, a tale of crime, sin and sexual longing. Being such a full-fledged film dork, I’m slightly ashamed to admit this was the first Bresson film I’ve seen. But if I understand his legacy correctly, Pickpocket was in line with his other great works: deliberately paced,  layered of morality, beautiful and slightly mysterious.

In the film, Michel (Martin LaSalle) starts stealing wallets and purses to support his existential lifestyle, which features lots of diary keeping and sick-mother-ignoring. Continue reading

Catch-Up: Hopscotch (1980)

Posted in Catch-up, Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , , on January 16, 2012 by sdoob

There is a pattern in movies that disappoints me every time, something I’m still trying to get used to: the bad second half.

Hopscotch is a good example.  I had never heard of this movie: directed by Ronald Neame, released in 1980.  My friend bought it for me because of the cover: Walter Matthau at a typewriter, looking disheveled with a cup of coffee.  

It turned out to be a spy movie.  Now I’ve always had problems with James Bond.  Mostly because I don’t identify with the man.  Does he have B.M.s?  Probably, but they look and smell like ice cubes.  Does he have emotions?  Sort of, sometimes he does.  Does he drink beer with a straw?  Definitely not, what a stupid question.  James Bond’s just not my type of man then.  But a spy like James Bond played by Walter Matthau?  Amazing. 

I was so excited at the beginning of the movie.  Matthau’s Miles Kendig is irresistible; he is in love with a beautiful Austrian woman with a dry sense of humor (Glenda Jackson); he never carries a gun; and he is very, very smart.  After Kendig loses his position as an international spy, he decides to write a memoir, a tell-all, mostly to torment his old boss (Ned Beatty).  Kendig sends it, chapter by chapter, to all the people all over the world who should not be reading it.  So, as a result, he’s on the lam. 

At every turn for the first half of the movie, I was charmed, surprised, and laughing out loud.  Then came the second half: predictable, unending, spotted with scenes that flat-out didn’t work. 

Why does this happen so often?  Continue reading

Horses! Horses! Horses!

Posted in Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , , on January 10, 2012 by sdoob

Basically, it’s a mess that’s never boring, but the director is Steven Spielberg and he gets to do whatever he wants like have WWI stop and both sides ignore their differences to save the war horse and then the owner of the horse – temporarily blind – does his special hand whistle to get the horse to come to him, and guess what? the British army parts like the red sea to let the horse come back to his man.  A little bit later an old man who has lost everything – including all his money – shows up with a unexplained shit load of money; he’s traveled to England from Germany, and he buys the war horse in an auction because it meant everything to his deceased granddaughter.  But then he gives it to the blind homo-erotic guy because, why not? it’s only all his money and the horse that his dead granddaughter loved.  And that’s going to be the end of the movie, wait almost, there’s going to be a long shot of the horse with a pink sunset behind him.  That’s not even good Spielberg.  That’s bullshit. 
Oh and it’s one of those movies that the whole time it felt like a book.  It was adapted into a play, which my mother thought was magic.  I told her, “Don’t see the movie.”

Introducing the new guy: My Week with Marilyn, review by Daniel Picker

Posted in Review with tags , , on January 10, 2012 by illwatchanything

In “My Week with Marilyn” actress Michelle Williams delivers a revelatory performance as Marilyn Monroe.  Of course portraying Miss Monroe, a 20th century icon presents a unique challenge.  This film, “My Week with Marilyn” is based on the “Diaries” of Colin Clark, a British filmmaker who at 23 served as 3rd Assistant Director on the film “The Prince and the Showgirl” of 1957.  That film starred Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier.  The film of Clark’s “Week with Marilyn” takes place in 1956, and the period detail of this picture is spot on.

            Colin Clark was the son of the eminent art historian Sir Kenneth Clark; Colin, the younger of two sons was educated at Eton College and Christ Church Oxford.  In the film “My Week with Marilyn” Clark, as portrayed by another Etonian, Eddie Redmayne serves as a sort of go–between for Olivier who is portrayed by Kenneth Branagh. Continue reading

Adam Sandler, Method Actor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 7, 2012 by sdoob

Okay.  I liked this movie.  Is that such a crime?  Is my opinion no longer valid?  Maybe.  Maybe you liked The Descendants.  A lot of people did.  Including the founder of this website.  And now I’m basically telling you I liked Jack and Jill

“Which one is Jack and Jill?”

“Oh, it’s the one where Adam Sandler has a twin sister and she’s played by Adam Sandler?”

“You saw that?”

“Yeah.  On a date.”

You know why I liked this movie?  I’ll tell you.  Because Adam Sandler played Jill, the twin sister, so well, so thoroughly, I thought of her as a woman.  I was not taken out of scenes because I was thinking it was Adam Sandler in a dress and a wig.  Even in scenes featuring her muscular thighs: I believed the character, full on.  And I believed in her, too.  I liked her, and I would have liked to talk to her.  My friend (who despises the movie though he has never seen it) said it was supposed to be mean spirited towards Jill.  I didn’t feel that way.  I thought it was an affectionate and, more importantly, an honest portrayal of a funny, lonely, adorable woman from the nice part of the Bronx.  

By the way, everything else in the movie – the male Adam Sandler character, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, other side characters – is bad and not worth talking about. 

Finally, the movie begins and ends with supposed real twins talking about what it’s like being twins.  This did not sit well because a) all those couples in When Harry Met Sally… are actors, and b) because we know the whole movie is using green screens constantly, so how do we know it’s not one person multiplied?