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Blue Car (2002)
thoughtful and mature debut
"blue car" is yet another example of miramax's blundering. i simply cannot understand why they are so quick to throw money at financing or purchasing a property, only to sheepishly release it to a few select theaters, in hopes that no one notices. this was a great film, which unfortunately will never be seen by a large audience thanks to the weinstein ways. "the dangerous lives of altar boys" was very similar in scope, and went out nationwide to the tune of about $1.5 million. "blue car" will be lucky to get $200,000. not that box office recipts are what's important, but they do measure how many people are actually seeing the film. i had read about this movie in newsweek's sundance wrap-up back in january of 2002... i'm sure many others did as well. it's a shame that by the time miramax finally got around to releasing it, most of them forgot about it. luckily i was able to see it though, and it was wonderful. the acting, especially by the young girl who plays lilly, was superb. some parts of the film almost seemed inspired by jim jarmusch, maybe because of the moving shots, or because every detail isn't explained to us. the film can be quite harsh, and that's one of it's best qualities. i'm sure some people will be turned off by that, which is fine... i'm sure that "daddy day care" is playing somewhere nearby.
All the Real Girls (2003)
green delivers on the promise of "george washington"
roger ebert recently compared the work of david gordon green to that of terrence malick, and after seeing "all the real girls", i have to agree. this movie is so assured, not bothering to explain what doesn't need to be explained, and getting right to the feeling and soul of it's characters and setting. scenes start in the middle of a conversation, where the important things are said. most screen writers seem to think that every conversation starts with some important, profound statement, where these guys know that this isn't how it works. wonderful acting from zooey deschanel, who plays her second souther character in a row, after "the good girl". unlike "the good girl", "all the real girls" doesn't seek to indict the south, or it's inhabitants. it simply places you into the lives of the residents for a short period. and it does so perfectly. i can't wait to see what green does next.
Before Sunrise (1995)
the most wonderful film
i almost didn't bother watching this film. while i like richard linklater, i certainly did not like "the newton boys", and i was sure that this was another studio produced clunker. but i gave it a shot for the heck of it. i am so glad i did. this is the most perfect movie i have ever seen. by far my favourite. it holds up even after about fifty viewings. it hits every single not exactly right. a few of my favourite scenes are the scene in the listening booth with the kath bloom song, the poet scene and his poem, and scene where they pretend to talk to their friends on the telephone. the ending is so wonderful and anti hollywood that i cannot believe they let rick get away with it. depending on your point of view, check out "waking life" to find out what happens to the couple after the movie. it could be real, or it could be a dream though, you'll never know... i wish more people knew about this flick!
A Better Place (1997)
a wonderful first feature.
i really cannot understand why this film is so poorly rated. upon first viewing it, i was totally blown away. further examination proves that a few things here and there could have been improved, but that takes a back seat to the fact that this is a movie with a clear vision, and a look into a very realistic situation. with such a low shooting budget, and an inexperienced director, cast, and crew, this could have easily devolved into a production similar to other view askew misfires, such as "vulgar" and "drawing flies". if you bought this hoping it would be "mallrats 2", then you missed the point, and i feel sorry for you missing out on what is hopefully the first (and not only) great thing this director does.
Donnie Darko (2001)
all over the place
this movie has become harder to appreciate, what with jake's rising status as the new heart-throb, which has resulted in this movie's post theatrical boom. i personally can't stand him, and i think that he is a one-dimensional actor, but this was the first time i had seen his only act, so i appreciated it at the moment. as for the film itself, it is all over the map, not sure what it wants to be, possibly trying to play itself off as a movie that is above the average viewers intelligence. it's funny that most people who really enjoy this film are under the age of 18. one of the most unnecessary elements is the setting, which is the late 1980's. apart from a few bush/dukakis remarks, and a reference to "married, with children", nothing is 80's about the look of the characters (especially gyllenhall). with that out of the way, some of the issues tackled in this film are well thought out, and you'll find that to be even more true if you watch the deleted scenes. truthfully, this should have been re-edited into a directors cut for dvd, because no one saw this in the theaters anyway. at some point i started to notice a similarity to "the last temptation of christ", and much to my surprise, the director put that title on the marquee of the theater that they watch "evil dead" in. since it is supposed to be some sort of fright night double feature, it is obvious that the director is showing us that he was influenced by this picture. the ending is very similar, but comparing this nobody loser of a kid to jesus christ might seem a bit of a stretch. this brings me to my final point. while this movie has many many high points, and i do give it a nine out of ten, no one cares AT ALL about any of the characters in it, ESPECIALLY donnie. here is the director's true downfall, and it is what he will need to improve upon with further pictures. otherwise, he'll have just been a flash in the pan, much like our good mr. gyllenhall is turning out to be.
a nice little peek at the clash
although it somewhat skirts around the truth of the matter, "westway to the world" is a must have for clash fans. it's not nearly as good as other punk rock docs like julien temple's brilliant "the filth and the fury", or jem cohen's "instrument", but worthwhile, nonetheless. my major point of contention is the fact that the movie just kind of wraps with the clash "breaking up" in 1982, when in fact mick jones was kicked out, and the clash went on to release their most horrible album, a "back to basics punk record", in 1985. the early years are well documented, and the stories of life on the road with the sex pistols are great. of course the music is top notch. the dvd also includes a short film called "clash on broadway", which includes a lot of footage also in the feature.
not as bad as i thought it would be.
having been a huge askew fan in the past, i found both "dogma" and "jay & silent bob" to be simply "okay", but nowhere near the brilliant "chasing amy". so i was interested when the first of the four lost askew movies, "a better place" came out on dvd. i got it for my birthday last year an i love it. then along comes the second of the bunch, the awful, horrible, insipid, "drawing flies". i had a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth after this film, and was unsure about "vulgar". i finally came upon a copy of the unrated version, and much to my surprise, it was pretty good. nothing amazing here, but a good watch nonetheless. johnson makes a good case that directors shouldn't act, while kevin smith makes a good case that they should, with his smallish part. after all i heard about how sickening this film is, all i can figure is that the rest of the world must be much much more homophobic than i am, because nothing even happened on screen. howard stern led me to believe that this film was some sort of gay porno (note: i don't listen to stern, i read about it at newsaskew).
ps- the "judge not: in defense of dogma" thing is pretty much pointless, if you know anything about view askew. and who is buying this dvd that doesn't already know the whole story?
Drawing Flies (1996)
there's a reason this was "lost"
and the reason? it's not very good. the story is somewhat interesting, and yet somewhat lacking. the acting, save above average turns from jason lee and renée humphrey, is piss poor. okay guys, we get it. carmen lee is your pal... it's just a shame she can't act to save her life. well there is some real quality here and there, and even some decent camera work, most of the audio is terrible, and the video is hardly better. this is one of those kinds of movies that should only be dubbed, and given out to the cast, crew, and a few friends. but since it a view askew release, produced by kevin smith (as the cover will insist you are aware), it's on dvd at the local best buy. recommended only for the die hard va fans who need to have the complete collection.
this movie is terrible
absolutely nothing about this movie is funny, interesting, or relevant. besides two characters getting together at the end, nothing is ever resolved, and there is no plot. and by the way, what is the deal with the cover of the dvd? it has a female ass in daisy duke shorts... where was that scene in the movie? no one ever wore daisy dukes in this film! surprisingly enough, almost all of the acting in this film is good, and jack black plays a full song (could be a tenacious d track... don't know though)... those are the only redeeming values, though. overall, it's just a waste of time.
Just Deal (2000)
this show is great.
actually, i haven't really seen it this season, but it was great for the first season. i pretty much watched every episode. it's kind of like "saved by the bell", but it's a "drama", no comedy, and they play bad punk music like mxpx that doesn't really fit in the background. i really need to check the show out again, cause i don't even know what happened with ash and dylan! did they hook up? i'll have to stop sleeping in til noon so i can find out i guess.