Im going to post this early as if I do end up seeing any more films this week, it'll be a second viewing of Coraline, this time in 3D. Since Coraline's the newest film I saw this week, I'll place it conveniently at top. If you'e wondering what else I saw this week, I have it down lower. Also, I usually write these for a column I do on IMDB so I use numerical ratings instead of the spill one we usually use. So... here goes:
Friday: Coraline (2009)
Ok, forget what I said about Taken last week. THIS, is the best film of 2009 (so far). This surpasses The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and The Giant Peach as Henry Selick's best film. If you're going back and forth on whether or not to pay extortion prices to get into the theater this week(end), let me try convincing you. The plot is rather simple: Coraline, a 12 year old girl, has recently moved into her new home which is sort of a triplex. She is rambunctous (sp?) and loves playing around but unfortunatly, her parents spend too much of their time working at home to pay her any attention. One day, she discovers a door in her home which leads to an alternate reality like hers where her parents (who have buttons for eyes) love her and pay loads of attention to her. However, the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
If that didn't to the trick, then how's this: the entire film is shot in stop motion. It's so beautifully done that I actually feel sorry for the makers of this film. Based on personal experience, I can personally confirm that stop motio is the most tedious method of filming there is and to build an 100 minute film around that takes years and a whole lot of patience. They did some camera methods done in live action films that perplexes me such as the "dazed" feeling. Now if you're a parent debating whether or not to take your kids to see this (yeah, because we have a lot of THOSE round here), keep this in mind: it's a horror film for kids. It takes things that are supposed to be safe like your home and your parents and twists them around. Unless you have real wimpy kids, I don't see why any kid 7+ can't see it.
As far as Coraline herself, I really felt a lot for this kid because I can really relate. Up until I was 12, my parents worked most of the time and I rarely got to see them, much less talk and have conversations with them. Coraline's plight with her recieving a lack of attention from her parents really touched me on a personal level and anyone else who's ever felt that way can relate. I really hope I've convinced you to watch this film because it's one of the best animated films I've seen this decade. It all but deserves a:
#1 of 2009
#33 all time
Monday: The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
A letter to Natalie Portman: I've loved you. I've always
loved you. However, I've never thought that you were a good actress. Maybe it was the writing but alongside Hayden Bitchensson, you weren't good. IM SORRY.
Folks, in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, Im talking about the period piece with Henry the 8th and two of his mistresses called The Other Boleyn Girl
. The film is about how, through manipulation from their families, the two Boleyn Sisters, Mary (Scarlett Johansson) and Anne (Natalie Portman), start to fight for the king's affection as Henry the 8th (Eric Bana...?) starts to lose his control of his mind. As I mentioned before, Natalie Portman was superb with her potrayal as Anne, a coniving little bitch who tries to manipulate herself to the throne. Scarlett Johansson is... well... I guess ok. She wasn't given all that much to do other than being a patron saint for most of the film. She did what she could with her character. As for Eric Bana, I have a question: Wasn't Henry the 8th this fat bastard with orange hair? While his casting took me out of the film a little, he was still excellent here.
Now keep in mind, this film is not for everyone, least of all 97% of all the guys here. This is a melodramatic period piece that deals with royalty and stuff. If you can get past that, this is actually a great, rather underrated film. I think the story was interesting and even though I already knew how it was going to end based on a documentary I saw a while back, it was still a powerful ending. If I could think of a problem with the film however, it feels rushed. I know I always say a film could/should be longer, but this film felt like an editted version of a 3 hour long romantic epic even at 115 mins. The aforementioned documentary I saw about Henry VIII was longer than this films running time. In any case, I loved the technical aspects, I loved the score, and I loved the acting. It deserves a good:
Tuesday: American History X (1998)
In my rather short 16 year long life, I've seen around 600 films. Out of those, this is one of the few films that actually disturbed me with their violence. When you got people getting raped and others getting molested/beaten, it starts to get a little disturbing. As far as the actual film goes, DAMN. This was a very powerful film. The ending where [spoiler]Danny gets shot down and killed[/spoiler] left me speechless. Edward Norton gives a very underrated performance as Derek Vinyard, an insane and violent white supremacist released from prison after a 3 year stint. Now out, he tries to stop his little brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from going down the same path as he starts to show he same behaviors Derek did.
As I said before, Edward Norton gives a once or twice in a career performance. As much as I love the guy, he's got this kinda high, boyish voice. In this film, there's a certain sequence (those who have seen it know what I mean) where I was actually scared
of him. When he needed to be violent and formidable, he was incredible. When he needed to be soft spoken or sad, he was ncredible. I can't praise his performance enough. I liked the film's message about racism and about how hate is a luggage, a weight. If you're wondering whether you should see it or not, it's got a definite thumbs up from me.
#3 of 1998
#38 all time
Thursday: The Wild Bunch (1969)
Sam Peckinpah; a pioneer in exit wounds since 1969. Damn, I wouldn't be surprised if blood squibs made up half of the film's budget. If you're unfamiliar about the plot, it plays out like this: A few months before World War I, an aging band of outlaws led by Pike Bishop rob a Texas bank intent on using the money to retire. When the robbery goes wrong, the gang is forced to flee to Mexico with Bishop's reformed ex-partner, Deke Thornton, in hot pursuit. With nothing to show for the failed robbery, Bishop's gang agrees to steal a shipment of guns for General "Mapache" Juerta, to restore their fortunes. With Thornton closing in, and their association with the evil Juerta trying their conscience, Bishop and co. prepare for their lawless past to catch up with them. The film is a mixture of violent and awesome coming together to form one of the better westerns I've seen.
While it drags a little (I saw the director's cut), the story is vary vary gooduh. As far as the whole "The west is disappearing around us" western, I prefer Once Upon A Time In The West filmwise but as far as showing the sadness and inability these men have to adapt, The Wild Bunch is better. They're all old outlaws who should have retired years ago but only know one way to live. If I had to site any flaws, there was a lot of unnessecary things. It's like they decided to just randomly throw nudity into the film at the strangest moments. Also, while a sharp contrast to other westerns of the time, the splatter was a bit gratuitos to the point of looking unrealistic. I never need
to see a close up of a guy getting his throat slit.
Despite that, it's a definite reccomendation to any western buffs out there.
#1 of 1969
Friday: Coraline (2009)
Friday Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
That's it! That is it! I am off these pompous, "auteur" films for good. I can't take it! My friends, Aguirre is a film that only the most elite of film snobs pretend to love. For those of who don't know, this film is about how a few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of El Dorado. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction? Aint no way you could screw that up right?
This film is devoid of any character development whatsoever. Aguirre stays a crazy bastard, Don Juan de Guzman stays a pampered nobleman on the expedition for God knows what reason, etc. The way they kill off important characters so casually without any music or drama is idiotic. Is their budget SO low that they can't even afford a score other than Sounds of The Wilderness? There are so many ridiculously unnessecary scenes in this film it's not even funny. How long; HOW LONG do I need to see the fat nobleman come out of the makeshift bathroom and pull his pants up? How long do I really need to see thse guys struggle with a horse?
As if that wasn't bad enough, there are some moments that even come off as campy. There's a certain scene where this one guy is plotting against Aguirre (right next to him to less). Out of nowhere, while he's counting, "6... 7... 8... 9..." he gets his head chopped off and while it's laying there on the floor, it moves and says "10...". You see where I'm getting at here? This entire film felt like Apocalypze Now for pompous retards. If I had to say ONE good thing about this film, it's that Klaus Kinsi who played Aguirre, while lacking any character development gave a good performance and the scenery was kinda beautiful. However, it's not enough to save this pile of crap that deserves a: