Posts Tagged ‘television film’

Gorgeous Camp, Campy Gore – Three Films By Dario Argento

Posted 14 Oct 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Phantom of the Opera is a film Dario Argento was born to make. The Phantom of the Opera, Italy, 1998

Jenifer, USA, 2005

Pelts, Canada / USA, 2006

Directed by Dario Argento

Italian filmmaker Dario Argento is widely known among horror fans as a distinctive, sadistic auteur, a director who has found beauty in terror and mutilation with films such as Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and Opera (1987). It is often forgotten that he also helped write one of the greatest Westerns of all time, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), but that makes sense, as he has devoted his career as a director to the creepily atmospheric and macabre, delighting in tales of the supernatural and visions of brutal but creative murder. Suspiria is generally considered to be his masterpiece (and it is certainly one of the prettiest horror films I’ve ever seen) and I actually like Opera even more in many ways, but this entry in my ongoing Halloween Movie Month (HMM … yeah, I like that acronym better) series will focus on three newer films with which I recently caught up, including his two contributions to Mick Garris’s always intriguing Masters of Horror series. Read More

The Sleeping Beauty – Better Not Bring Your Kids

Posted 22 Jul 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

The Sleeping Beauty, France, 2010

Written and Directed by Catherine Breillat

Based on the Story “Sleeping Beauty” by Charles Perrault

The Sleeping Beauty is a frustrating, disappointing new film from Catherine Breillat. If ever there was a movie I didn’t get, it is Catherine Breillat’s latest, a bizarre, meandering adaptation of the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty.” Perhaps it is because I have only seen one of Breillat’s previous films, the almost universally reviled but, in my opinion, underrated and fascinating Anatomy of Hell (2004), and I am therefore not entirely familiar with her sensibility, but I just couldn’t get into this one. Though it is pretty and has a distinct air of artistry about it, I found Breillat’s The Sleeping Beauty to be tedious, and somehow both opaque and obvious at the same time. Of course, it didn’t help that I was constantly reminded of similar but better films by the likes of Terry Gilliam and David Lynch, not to mention Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and especially Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992). Though they share themes such as the transcendence of time and gender, one distinct advantage Potter’s film has over Breillat’s is the stellar, engaging central performance by the great Tilda Swinton, of which none of the actors in Beauty seem capable of approaching. Read More

The Sunset Limited

Posted 08 Mar 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

The Sunset Limited, USA, 2011

Directed by Tommy Lee Jones

tommy lee jones and samuel jackson talking about raceIt is always a trick to adapt theater to a feature film. Easier to do so for television, though that’s probably a gross overstatement. HBO might be the best place to do it; they harbor independent film. Even trickier is maintaining a swift and watchable pace with only two actors and heavy religious dialogue. Thankfully, Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, and Cormac McCarthy have no problem with this. The Sunset Limited is engaging, thought-provoking, and sincere.

Of course, being a McCarthy work, there is a sense of boundless eternity that is tinkered with throughout, and the ending is more of a truce than anything else, but this is usually so of his writing. Things happen, we talk about why, and then we go home. It doesn’t matter which side wins, just so long as each side is heard. Read More

127 Hours

Posted 11 Jan 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

127 Hours, USA / UK, 2010

Directed by Danny Boyle

Fifteen minutes of sunlight every day. At 8:30am, a lone raven flies overhead. Almost out of water. No more food. God knows how long is left to go.”

127 hours movie poster of james franco on movies i didnt getI feel more than free to talk about the conclusion of this film, seeing as how it was one of the bigger news stories around five years ago. Aron Ralston, a toned and talented rock climber and athlete, fell into a canyon in the desert and was trapped “between a rock and a hard place” (the name of Ralston’s inspirational memoir), with his arm stuck between a fallen rock and the side of a mountain crevice. Consider the outcome: lose the arm or die. On paper, that choice seems to already be made, and maybe for Aron Ralston it already was. It’s just … getting there. That’s the film, and the difference between films like this and, say, Saw (1 through 18) is that this film isn’t built around the gore of that decision or the horror of that gore. Films like Saw (2004), while it’s an excellent film in its own right, seek to exploit the violent nature of the situation rather than the humanity that can be born from it. Read More

Gulliver’s Travels

Posted 03 Jan 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Member Movie Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Gulliver’s Travels, USA, 2010

Directed by Rob Letterman

Robert Letterman's Gulliver's Travels jack black movies i didnt getIn an effort to update and, in more than one sense of the word, modernize Jonathan Swift’s timeless novel, director Rob Letterman and his screenwriters Nicholas Stoller and Joe Stillman have crafted something unique, though distressingly blank. Here we have not the classic, epic story with which many have grown up, but rather a focus on the themes and ideas portrayed in Swift’s writing, and in a few underrated adaptations from days past. The story has always been a meditation on the measure of a man. The 1996 television version starring Ted Danson seemed to lose a bit of the magic of the novel in its translation from text to screen, but stories like this one are hard to tell; damn near impossible to get exactly right, if you consider the vision of the literature to be “exact.” With this one, though, starring the affable Jack Black, the sincere-beyond-all-reason Jason Segel, and the always wonderful Emily Blunt, we as the audience are treated to what contends to define “family feature.” Read More