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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sometimes they kick ass

I've seen quite a few movies recently. Good ones, mostly. Good acting, solid story-telling, and even a suprise or two. Here's a quick rundown of the most recent ones:

The Host photoThe Host: Despite the rave reviews from the majors, this one did very little for me. I guess the reviewers didn't see "Tremors". Not recommended.

The QueenThe Queen: The decision to keep P Diana's kids out of the picture was noble, but ultimately, misguided. Recommended.

The Last King of ScotlandThe Last King of Scotland: As disturbing as it should be. While not exactly suprising, and saddled with an ending that's a little too drama-packed and convenient, the film does have stellar performances and a whiff of originality. Events, up to the final act, play out with more honesty and integrity than expected. Recommended.

Notes on a ScandalNotes on a Scandal: Darker and stranger and more creative than expected. Not a lot of suprises once it gets going--there's a sickening surety to the events. Highly recommended.

Grindhouse photoAnd then there's Grindhouse. 3+ hours of right on targetness. It's hard to compare "worthy" films with "fun" films, but sometimes, you have to. When a film is as well-executed, as gleefully twisted, as suprisingly sprite, and as sure as this picture (pictures?) is, well, you just have to shake your head and acknowledge. I walked out of this one grinning. No, fuck that, I was grinning all the way home! Sometime the tumblers align, the script is worth shooting, the actors act, and the audience gets more than it bargined for. This is one such film. People can debate all they want about which film is the better of the two, but it really doesn't matter, because both of them work, and work well. Yeah, this is the kind of film that sends me scurrying back to the theaters like a bulemic after a healthy purge. Man, I want some more. I demand you go see this one. Soon.


Kate S said...

Thanks for the reviews, Cliff. Glad to see you're back!

Thomas M. Sipos said...

Grindhouse was over 3 hours? I liked Pulp Fiction, but Tarentino (and Rodriguez) are getting a little tiresome as they replay the same old "crazy-violent & cool camerawork" schtick.

I didn't much care for either Kill Bill or Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I was bored more than anything else. Didn't care for any of the characters; and while some of the violence was tasteless, it was neither scarey (as in a horror film) or suspenseful. Just tasteless and dull.

Jeff R. said...


Yes, Rodriguez was born to make his over-the-top, sloppy-insane film. And it was fun, as were the previews (didn't we see most of those movies?). Tarantino's film should have gone first and should have been 20 minutes shorter, because it was a let down. His dialogue is not nearly as clever/engaging as he thinks it is. Too much yackin', not enough smackin'!

Clifford said...

Thanks guys for the comments...and Jeff, yeah, we saw many of those films!

Thomas, I'm usually with you on the dull front, but this one, not so much. I can't quite figure out why this one struck me as gleefully as it did...but I guess it's because it represents what all those grindhouse movie makers WOULD have done if they had the talent and the money. These are the movies that never were, except in the minds of the film makers, and those of us who seek out these things, hoping against hope, that one of them will pay off. Kind of like vindication for all those hours I spent watching stuff like "The Corpse Grinders", hoping to get scared and grossed out and see something no human has a right to see.

Kate -- I'm trying to update this site more regularly...but it's become hard of late. I'm now getting distrated from my distractions.

Sidney said...

I kind of liked the "Grindhouse" experience even at 3 hours. All of the wrap arounds and the "tone" I guess I'd call it just felt right. When they cut or jump cut to the scenes with Josh Brolin in the ER with the soundtrack music buzzing along it seemed like dozens of movies of the '70s. We had drive-ins instead of grindhouses in the South but it was the same kind of double bill. Loved the "Machete" trailer too, complete with the announcer who sounded like a 1971 announcer.

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