Saturday, September 30, 2006


"So many social engagements, so little time."
- Gale (John Goodman) RAISING ARIZONA (Dir. Joel Coen 1987)

Yeah - lots going on. Recent theatrical releases, new releases on video, and some notable music DVDs need to be blogged 'bout but this time out I'll just deal with the last few movies I saw at the theater :

(Dir. Michael Gondry) Many many movies have been about earnest yet clumsily romantic young artists who live fuller in their dreams than in reality. Gael Garcia Bernal fills the part with wide eyed likeability though unfortunately the flimsy sitcom premise doesn't sustain the big picture. The wonderfully fluid dream sequences will no doubt make this a cult favorite in years to come but it feels like a rough draft. The relationship between Stephane (Bernal) and Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsburg) doesn't sparkle and the uneven narrative doesn't help - I feel like a good 20-30 minutes could be edited out and the flow would improve greatly. Still, with the amount of unadventurous crap out there, THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP shouldn't be ignored or dismissed by film babblers like me - visually it is a beautiful film, so I'll conclude : flawed but worthwhile.

(Dir. Neil Burger) Based on the short story Eisenheim the Illusionist. However, I heard Eisenheim (played by Edward Norton) through the accents sound like 'Asinine' as if thats what the characters name would be in a crude Mad magazine satire. Not that this flick is asinine - no its a fairly entertaining period piece mildly marred from unecessary and purposely unexplained special effects and a twist ending right out of THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Norton puts in a stoic and strangely unenergetic performance and Paul Giamatti chews scenery as a Chief Inspector intent on figuring out Eisenheim's tricks while Jessica Biel provides the elusive love interest. Maybe the real illusion the movie pulls off is that it is better than mediocre - it's not but at times you'll think it is.

(Dir. Allen Coulter) If I were still in quick quotable blurb mode like in my last post I might be tempted to just write "Hollywoodbland!" but that, like the Asinine the Illusionist in the review above is just silly non-criticism and definitively inaccurate. While I agree with the Onion AV Club that this feels like an HBO original movie and concur with the New York Times that it "tells several stories, one of them reasonably well", I enjoyed the performances and bought into the boulevard of broken dreams pathos. Having watched the reruns of '50's TV Superman starring George Reeves as a kid I appreciated that they nailed the look and style in the recreations. Adrian Brody does solid work as the gumshoe hired to solve the mystery of Reeves headline making suicide and we switch back and forth in time from him to Ben Affleck's surprisingly note-perfect portrayal of Reeves in the events leading up to his death. If not remarkable HOLLYWOODLAND is a decent pointed period piece, I'm not sure if I'm on board with the film's implications in it's conclusion - involving mistress Diane Lane and her jealous studio boss husband Bob Hoskins but that doesn't make it ring hollow.

Hmmm, I'm sensing a trend here - I mean I just babbled 'bout 3 movies that were neither great nor awful just decent. I hope we're just in summer to fall transition and the movies will get much better or at least more interesting. We've got some possibilities coming with THE DEPARTED, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, STRANGER THAN FICTION, and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, but no breath holding here.

Some more babble 'bout some concert films and a notable documentary when film babble returns...

More later...

Monday, September 4, 2006

If I Was A Flashy Quotable Critic...

Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) : "It's getting hot in here..."
Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) : "I'm from Tennessee, I didn't notice!"
(Dir. David R. Ellis)

Well now that the country has gotten over SNAKES ON A PLANE (pretty much on its opening weekend a few weeks back) and the summer movie season is over we can do a little summing up. I sure don't want to work up a full review post of SOAP so I thought I'd pretend to be a flashy quotable critic and go with a 2 word review :

"Entertaining Crap!"

says Daniel C. Johnson
(Chapel Hill, NC)

Hey I like that - I'll try that brief snappy approach with a few other summer flicks :

WORLD TRADE CENTER (Dir. Oliver Stone)

"Earnest effort but unabashedly undercooked"

of the #1 internet site for aimless movie chit-chat -
FILM BABBLE BLOG August 30th, 2006

(Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris)


"Finely tuned fun for lovers of the predictably quirky"

- so sez the most trusted influential babblin' blogger on the web today - Danny J of
FILM BABBLE BLOG August 25th, 2006

More later...