Monday, January 28, 2008

Gonna leave this world for a while

Man, I jerked off like my life depended on it this weekend. No, really, it's like my cock was the rip cord on my secondary chute or something. I can't remember the last time that's happened. Weeks at least.

When I wasn't investigating my crime scene, I was at the movies. I've seen all the Best Picture nominees now. Care to hear my capsule reviews? I'll start with the ones I caught this weekend.

There Will Be Blood
Epic in scope and theme, I think this is a movie that will stand the test of time. And Daniel Day Lewis inhabits a character, doesn't he? Like few other actors, for me he just disappears. There are many years this would be Best Picture, but not this year.

Michael Clayton
Wow, this movie is a corker! I loved it, and I think that nobody picks movies better than George Clooney. Granted, he gets all the best scripts, but so does Kevin Costner. Or he did. Michael Clayton has the best acting ensemble of the nominated films. George? Fab. Tilda Swinton? Ohmychrist, you're named after punctuation and you own. Michael O'Keefe? Smarmy goodness. Tom Wilkinson? Hell yes. Sydney Pollack? He can do no wrong in my book. Julie White? OK, you were barely in this, but my love endures from your screamingly funny turn on Broadway in Little Dog Laughed. Oh, and Tony Gilroy, the genius director of the Bourne films, both wrote and directed this one. Whew. Mad talent. The last third of this movie had me riveted.

No Country For Old Men
Best Picture of the Year. Beautifully written, gorgeously shot, wonderfully acted, I think this one stands out in a startlingly good crowd. Javier Bardem sees to it that Anton Chigurh scares the crap out of you. Come to think of it, Chigurh shares a similar moral code to There Will Be Blood's Daniel Plainview. A distorted one, yes, but clearly defined at least. From the opening minutes, NCFOM grabs you by the collar and then never lets go. You know those movies that you stumble upon in the middle of the night or on a Saturday afternoon and then you HAVE to stop and watch? This will be one of those for the next ten or thirty years.

This is the prettiest film of the bunch, and as I've often mentioned, the book is one of my all-time favorites. I was pleasantly surprised how true the film stayed to novel. Some really good acting in this, one of the best tracking shots in, ummmmm, movie history, and that delicious ending. There's a theme that runs through many of McEwan's books and it's hauntingly presented here-- whole lives can hinge on a moment, and often just a few words said (or unsaid) can be all the difference. Yikes! And yum.

So sweet, so funny and suprisingly unsentimental. OK, there were times I felt manipulated (and not in a good way), but mostly I was entertained. They're writing that Juno is this year's Little Miss Sunshine. Huh? Both funny, I guess, and neither lightweight. And I guess I like that the Academy nominated Juno (and Little Miss maybe there's validity in the comparison after all?), but it's nowhere near the best thing I saw last year. I know, I know, people loved it, but I'd even nominate Superbad before this one. I'll be honest. Juno-speak really got on my nerves after a while. I like quirky, but c'mon. Still, very funny and well-done.

So yeah, No Country For Old Men, brotha. If you haven't seen it, why not?

ADDED: They showed a trailer for The Dark Knight before Michael Clayton. It was about 25% Batman and 75% The Joker. I'd seen stills of Heath Ledger as the Joker, but hadn't seen any clips. Startling.


maddie said...

Why haven't I seen NCFOM yet? Because I HAD to see the other Oscar contender, 27 Dresses, first. ;) I'm actually waiting for my dad to visit next week to go because we're total movie freaks and we're going to see that plus about 5 others during the week he's here. Yay!

I am so behind, I've only seen Atonement out of the 5 best picture noms! I have to get moving. Every year I try to see them all before the Oscars, but only once or twice have I got them all.

I just watched 3:10 to Yuma. Holy shit, that was good.

I know what you mean about Daniel Day Lewis disappearing into character. Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton are others that do that well.

Michael said...

Good call, darlin'. A movie like NCFOM is so much better when you can rehash it on the drive home (but not DURING the movie with your 80something mother, and yes I'm talking to you, you Norman Bates looking motherfucker who sat next to me in a nearly empty theater for Michael Clayton).

I'm sensing you didn't love Atonement.

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

This is the first time I've cared about the Oscars since 2001 (when 4 awesome movies were nominated and the other one won). Yet I haven't seen any of them.

There Will Be Blood:
Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors.

Michael Clayton:
Although I love George Clooney, I want to see this for Tilda Swinton. I love Tilda.

No Country For Old Men:
I'm scared to see this. I liked McCarthy's Blood Meridian.

My fondness for the book and desire to see the movie has been documented in the blogosphere.

So many Arrested Development connections. (Okay maybe only 2.5, but still.) But I may have waited too long--too many annoying people have told me they like this movie.

So thanks for the reviews. Good work masturbating.

Michael said...

The Swinton acts her ass off in this one. Why are you afraid to see NCFOM? It's not like Buffalo-Bill-it-puts-the-lotion-on scary. It's very suspenseful in parts, though. As for Juno, I think it fell victim to the hype for me. If I'd just stumbled in, I would have been utterly charmed, but there was too much build-up. Still, I LOVED Cera and Bateman in this. But after a while all of Juno's lingo? Not so fetch.

maddie said...

It's not that I didn't love Atonement at all. There are some movies that I completely love everything about and will watch over and over again but this isn't one. Maybe because I didn't read the book first, I was unprepared for the story - but I found it so unbelievably sad and tragic - I didn't expect it. It stayed with me for days after. There are several movies that I thought were very well done, liked quite a bit, but will never watch again because of the mood. Brokeback Mountain, Children of Men, Life as a House, Philadelphia - I loved them at the time, but just the sad thought of the story keeps me away. It's weird, I can't explain why.

Anyhoo, that was one of those movies for me. I did appreciate the story - how it didn't end happily and perfect, it stayed true to what would really happen instead of fluffing it up for a happy ending, and the acting was fantastic - and I especially loved the sister, and the twist on the ending.

Michael said...

Oh, Maddie, I totally get that. GREAT examples, btw. Although I have watched BBM (surprise!) a few times, I'm ALWAYS wrecked after. Hell, I'm wrecked after listening to the some of those plaintive songs from the soundtrack. Why I do that to myself, I may never know. Sometimes I need a good cry?

maddie said...

Well, sometimes you do need a good cry. :)

I ask the same things sometimes, when I rewatch a good episode of a show I love, and I KNOW that it will be sad or really touching and it will make me cry, but it is so good I can't help it, I wonder why I do that to myself too.

maddie said...

P.S. Almost forgot to mention, I know you watched Torchwood - I still have yet to catch it, but I am intrigued. But, now I have a bigger reason to go watch - did you see James Marsters is going to be on?!

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

P.S. This line makes me want to see Juno: "Hello, I'd like to procure a hasty abortion."

P.P.S. The Dark Knight trailer (which I saw before Heath Leger died) looks amazing.

But I have a Batman complex. Also I think Maggie Gyllenhaal for Katie Holmes is a trade-up.

Michael said...

Maddie, I actually have NOT seen Torchwood, excepting the YouTube clips I've obsessed over. I don't get BBC America here. I JUST ordered the first season on DVD. And I did see that my beloved, James Marsters, will be locking lips with Captain Jack. Hello! It had the gay blog world ABUZZ. ;-)

FP, there's also this regarding boysenberry condoms:

Receptionist: My boyfriend wears them every time we have intercourse. It makes his junk smell like pie.

Speaking of pie, yeah, Maggie, although she doesn't make me cartwheel or anything, is an improvement on La Holmes.

The Other Andrew said...

But after a while all of Juno's lingo? Not so fetch.

Can I just jump in at this point and say that I loved what you did right there. Genius.

Michael said...


Michael said...

Oh, and Maddie, 3:10 to Yuma? That one flew under my radar. Good?

maddie said...

Re: Torchwood - wow, the way you wrote about it, I was sure you've seen it. No BBC America?? That's a crime. With no BBCA, you've probably never seen the soapy goodness that is Hotel Babylon either. First season will be out on dvd 1/26, you may like it.

Re: 3:10 to Yuma - I usually stay clear of westerns for the most part, but I heard really great things about it, and I like Russell Crowe and Christian Bale a lot, so I checked it out. It's apparently a remake of an old western. Talk about actors disappearing into character, Russell and Christian do that perfectly, and they have great chemistry together onscreen. You can't even recognize Bale, you'd swear he was Josh Brolin, he's so beat up and scruffy. It's very well directed, by one of my favorite directors, James Mangold - the shoot out scenes are great. Also, Russell Crowe somehow makes you feel for his character, who is essentially a cold-blooded killing leader of a gang. Another amazing part - Ben Foster, who plays Russell's character's 2nd in command, it's worth watching the movie just to see his creepy sadistic character do his thing.

So, long story short (too late) - I would recommend it.

Michael said...

I've seen a couple episodes of Torchwood in various ways online. Can't wait for the DVD!

3:10 to Yuma is now on my list.

jason said...

and by the way, I went to "Atonement" primarily by your recommendation of that bracelet and green dress.

They were like a big fishing lure, luring me there. I'm glad I did.

Now I have to read the book.

Michael said...

Jason, knowing the twist will change the reading experience but it'll still be wonderful. I feel like McEwan distills words down to the essence. His style is spare, but precise, and there's beauty on practically every page.

Ugh, I gushed again.

Chips O'Toole said...

The way to watch Torchwood isn't on BBCAmerica. Catch it on HDNet, if you get it, or on dvd, I imagine. No commercials, no editing, so the swearing is left in, as is, I imagine, some of the more suggestive sex stuff.

A very entertaining show.

As for me, I too felt manipulated by Juno, although performances were great (including JK Simmons as the father), but Mrs. O'Toole felt like it had a real anti-abortion message, and I didn't care for the whole "your life is over when you have a kid" theme.

Atonement...I felt was bleak and depressing. Yes, I know it's supposed to be, but everything in that film was difficult, from simply talking to each other to finding a place to lie down in France. I felt that the ending - the shot of the couple on the beach, happily prancing in the surf, was a tacked on "in fantasies, it is happy, isn't it?" ending that totally undermined the story.

landis smithers said...

crap. i was so avoiding no country. now i HAVE to go see it.

Michael said...

You must.