Sunday, February 28, 2010


Just when you think Meryl Streep has done it all, she comes up with a hardass Jersey nun. With zero irony.

The only irony was in the splash ad for Miramax Films at the start of the DVD. RIP, Miramax. We'll always have "Cinema Paradiso."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Wrestler

Some Saturday night rasslin'! Who needs Netflix when the Seattle Public Library (with a 50-items-at-once limit which I may never get close to reaching) is right down the street?

I like that the very first scene of this film is captioned, "20 Years Later." Tells us everything we need to know right there.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Criterion's edition of this Kurosawa epic went out of print a while back, and I found one still for sale at Scarecrow Video, so I picked it up (thanks for the gift certificate, mom! :). I still haven't opened the shrink-wrap, and why should I when Scarecrow also has the discs for rent?

So I also rented it, to make sure of what's on the DVDs I may never open. There are a bunch more Criterion titles going out-of-print in the near future, some of which are now headed my way, and most of which I will probably just rent from Scarecrow while I decide which vault to stick the DVD boxes into.

FWIW, Lionsgate (which is getting the lion's share of these titles Criterion is losing the rights to) just released their Blu-Ray of "Ran," to what could kindly be described as "mixed reviews."

Oh, the movie, yeah right. Here's a trailer, synopsis and essay which with one link saves me the trouble of transcribing it all, even though you can't buy it anymore. But maybe you have a cool video rental store where you live?

And I know exactly how this guy feels.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Hit

Lotsa fun seeing Terence Stamp, aka General Zod, here portraying a character as two different types: first he's Willie the meek mob squealer, then he's Willie the John Donne-quoting philosopher who, when handed the chance to escape his fate, would rather contemplate a waterfall.

It figures that his mind games could work on a novice like Tim Roth, but an old-pro enforcer like John Hurt? Uh-uh.

“We’re here, then we’re not here. We’re somewhere else. Maybe. And it’s as natural as breathing. Why should we be scared?”

Oh, you were scared, Willie. Plenty scared. We should have known from the first time we saw you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In The Mood For Love

Bought me a bottle of red wine and a bar of Theo Chocolate, put this title in the player, and gave myself one of the Best. Valentine's Days. Ever!

Lots of quick glances, short brushes, and brief encounters. Lots of vowels hanging at the end of sentences. But not a lot of chick-flick rom-com clich├ęs. When there's an awkward moment, it's left as awkward, and it doesn't get better just to relieve the awkwardness. Sometimes it doesn't get better at all. Sometimes, the off-balance surprise encounters that go nowhere are all that we have, and all our efforts to make them into something else is the only story we know.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monty Python And The Holy Grail

You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cos some watery tart threw a sword at you!

Unfaithfully Yours

Rapid-fire wit. Tarantino and Mamet grew up on this stuff. There's an orchestra at work. Somebody turn off that lousy music. Youth belongs to youth. Msgr. Hulot would love watching this. The phonograph recorder, the chair, the extension cord, the box of card games. The knife, the gun ...

and all it took to clear it up was a little bit of talking.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mamma Roma

A former prostitute tries to make a better life for her son, but her pimp still comes around ... and does that better life include relationship advice from one of her former colleagues?

And this one of Pasolini's gentler, more accessible creations!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gorillas In The Mist

A love story ... no less than a love triangle. Michael Apted directed. Damn good run he had: 21 Up, Agatha, Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorky Park, 28 Up. And that was just eight years out of more than 45.

Dian Fossey loves this big ape, see? And he works for National Geographic magazine, and is already married. So she's SOL there.

But, she is in love with a local ape. She acts submissive with the natives for survival purposes, but she knows she doesn't need to put on that sort of show for her own kind. So, she doesn't. The big ape soon realizes his fate. Both of them, that is.

A freebie commercial-free Friday night flick on KCTS, with the bad words blanked out. C'mon Congress -- we're all adults here! Also, KCTS unfailingly presents their Friday night movies in 16x9 widescreen. I love that. Except when the original film is in some other aspect ratio, like, say, 1.85:1. You thought we didn't notice?

"Her death remains a mystery." Really, it says that in the end credits. Which I guess is credit-speak for: "Her murder remains unsolved."

Rest in peace, Dian.