Sunday, February 15, 2009


Kind of a slow week...

Movies from February 9th - 16th, 2009

1.  Mildred Pierce (1945) Dir. Michael Curtiz - 4/4
I can't remember the last time I've seen a movie with such despicably interesting characters.  Definitely up there with Casablanca.  

2.  Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997) Dir. Errol Morris - 4/4
A uniquely philosophical documentary revolving around four types of animals - natural, imaginary, produced and trained.  One man makes robots, another is a topiary, the other is a lion tamer, and the final is interested in mole rats.  I'm trying to think of any documentary like it, but even Morris's Vernon, Florida or Gates of Heaven cannot compare since they're still documenting a specific mode of life rather than exploring a very interesting question.  Namely, where do we fit in?

2.  W. (2008) Dir. Oliver Stone - 3.5/4
Another prime example of a film having been built down so much that it inevitably resulted in being a lot better than I thought.  Regardless, I kept thinking if this wasn't a movie about a real person would I even find it realistic?  I see George Bush and never pause to think that he's a real person with history and issues.  Even though he is horrendously stupid it nevertheless is highly impressive that he got to be the most powerful man in the world.

4.  Mr. Death (1999) Dir. Errol Morris - 3.5/4
I LOVE Errol Morris, but sadly only have two films of his left.  This documentary deals with a man who specializes in making execution devices more humane until he gets hired to investigate the truth behind the Nazi Concentration Camps.  He concludes their were never gas chambers, leading to the death of his career.  Come the end, only Errol Morris can you leave on the fence with whether Mr. Leuchter was really THAT bad of a guy.  Awesome movie.

5.  Standard Operating Procedure (2008) Dir. Errol Morris - 3/4
I was originally going to say this was a 3.5/4 but it just didn't have the lingering effect that Taxi to the Dark Side did.  First of all, its a bit too flashy in style, though Errol Morris's recreation of the events is getting to be amazingly beautiful.  Deals with the photographs/torture in Abu Graib.  Pretty good.

6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Dir. Don Siegel - 3/4
My new favorite horror movie is the 1978 remake of this picture and makes me further state that its one of the best remakes of all time.  The interesting thing is whether its an allegory for the threat of Communism or for the monotonous state of American suburban life.  I'll go with the former, but it's pretty awesome that a movie can fluctuate between staunch Right and Left wing agendas.

7.  The Magic Flute (1975) Dir. Ingmar Bergman - 3/4
Only Ingmar Bergman would make a movie about an opera AND have it take place in a theater setting.  I would say he basically filmed a play, buts its slightly different.  The first question to be asked, "Why wouldn't I just want to go see a real opera?"  Well, I don't like opera for one and two this movie was actually pretty fun.  Though I can confidently say I'll probably never see it again.

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