14 films in 7 days: Part II

Posted by Bel. The time is 3:36pm here in Wellington, NZ.

Welcome back! Are you ready to get continue on my epic saga of movies consumed over the last week?

  1. Ok. Go!

  2. The King of Kong

    After the first few minutes of this, Mark turned and asked, “Is this for real…?” Sadly, yes, yes it is.

    The quirky, nerdy, obsessive and – as said by the mother of someone in the documentary, so I’ll repeat it – possibly autistic people in this film seem so out of whack with reality that they must be works of fiction. But of course, it is all true. People really do care this much about “competitive arcade gaming”.

    There was drama in this film, caused by the decades-held records of Billy Mitchell being threatened by upstart outsider Steve Wiebe. But that was pretty much it.

    Just the one storyline, not much attempt to put it in a wider context of the gaming world, and when it came down to it, much of the footage was of someone’s shoulder and some bright lights pinging around on the screen in front of them. It is a bit simplistic, with the underdog portrayed in a glowing family man light, as he battles the evil entrenched boy wonder gone to seed.

  3. The Valet

    From the same director as The Dinner Game and Tais-toi!, I knew this was going to be that special brand of stupid slapstick that only the French can do. Okay, and the Italians. Sometimes I'd rather poke out my own eyes, other nights (when befuddled by flu, par example) I'm in just the right mood.

    This starred Daniel Auteuil and Kristen Scott Thomas, so seemed a safe bet. It must have been fun for these two (known for rather more serious fare) to have spent some time on this fluff piece, which involved a working class type having to let a supermodel move in with him because she is the mistress of a wealthy businessman who just can't face divorcing his wife but must avoid a paparazzi frenzy. THOSE FRENCHIES!!

    Filming was also no doubt fun for this dude

    It pretty much contributed nothing to my life but at least I got to reinforce some vocab and see some nice shots of Paris in there.

  4. Ferpect Crime

    This was a completely random choice. I would describe it as an episode of The Office directed by Almodovar, crossed with Are You Being Served?.

    Rafael is a born salesman, the debonair king of the department store and a dab hand at wooing all those who stray into his Ladies' Wear zone. But he is as of yet uncrowned - awaiting his promotion to floor manager. But fate plays a cruel trick when everything hinges on the one woman he cannot stand: the obsessive and equally determined Lourdes. She can help him fulfill his ambitions, but at a price... (Whooo! You're totally dying to see this now, huh??)

    You know how sometimes you watch a film, where a hapless crime has been committed, and they then do something really stupid and illogical, instead of just panicking and coming clean, like you assume most people do? Well this film had just the perfect (ferpect) balance of absolute lunacy that we were willing to go along with whatever mad plot twist happened next - it did all seem 'realistic' within the characters' world. (The Coens are masters of this.)

    This was a very entertaining, sexy and funny black comedy - and would translate very well to an English language Western setting. I'm surprised it hasn't been remade already!

    *Quakes in fear that Cameron Crowe will do it the way that he butchered Open Your Eyes *

  5. Lost In La Mancha

    It's fairly widely recognised that Terry Gilliam is a genius. However he also has the reputation that he cannot hold his shit together. Although other projects have been costly and ran over schedule, this is mostly due to the attention this film drew to the disaster that became of his production of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

    It is a fascinating documentary, both for the insight it gives to big budget filmmaking and for the calamitous series of events which unfold. As a fictional film, it just wouldn't be believable and as it plays out in real life, you just don't want it to be true.

    Gilliam comes across as very, um, focussed. Getting film in the can is his only goal and he is caught up in his excitement about having a camera in his hand. If it wasn't for Australian 1st AD Phil Patterson, who knows how long the shoot would have dragged on for, hemorrhaging money and losing cast members like flies due to scheduling and illness.

    The terrible thing is that things went even worse on his latest project, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, with the untimely death of its star, Heath Ledger. But Gilliam remains undaunted, with reports claiming that he is in the process of buying back the rights to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (from the financiers who laid claim to anything they could when it all went pear-shaped) aiming to commence production in 2010...

  6. Below

    We got halfway through this and then the next evening weren't motivated enough to put it on again and finish it. Not a good sign. (It was about a haunted WWII submarine and there are no relevant google-images. Again, not a good sign.)

    It's by the same guy who directed Pitch Black which is a surprisingly good sci-fi action film starring Vin Diesel, bless his heart. My only problem with it is that around the same time we watched a Dogme 95 film which had a similar desert-like setting and now I have the two confused - or rather, fused.

    In my head, a fractious bunch of weirdos attempt to re-enact King Lear to deal with their isolation and then take off across the planet/desert, having to battle aliens along the way. (That would actually be quite a cool movie.)

    'The Pitch Black King Is Alive' has a record-breaking $200 billion opening weekend

    (This is the same thing that happened when John Hughes died. I realised that I had John Hughes and John Waters mixed up/combined! I'd been thinking pretty much all my life that the guy who directed The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, etc had also made Cry Baby, Hairspray, etc. At first I did indeed mourn that Hollywood had suffered the loss of one its most prolific and diverse protégées and then I WISED UP. (Please don't speak of this to anyone. Kthnxbai.))

  7. Mad Max

    Another one from the 'To Watch' shelf of our DVD cabinet. This was so not what I expected it to be like. So much of this film is devoted to boring character development. It should take half a scene to establish that your lead is a happily married family man, NOT AN HOUR. Cut the crap and get back to the exploding cars please.

    I was appalled at how badly written and poorly structured this film was. One of the great things about most action films is that they have this nice basic three-act arc and you bang through it quickly and everything is punctuated by a fuck off explosion. For the first third of Mad Max I couldn't figure out who the protagonist was!!

    It's the gormless looking teenager to the left, btw

    Another thing about this film. HOMOEROTIC MUCH?! Well, that's when it's not being incredibly homophobic that is. And women all get the punnies. I just googled and this guy has written about it much more concisely than I ever bloody will - check it out.

    Very strange to see such a baby-faced Mel Gibson and to remember that he was just an Australian lad at one point, many years ago. This film doesn't have much to say for itself, I'm assuming it's the later ones in the trilogy that have had the aesthetic impacts and so on.

  8. The Abyss

  9. We were 5 minutes into this when I realised it was a submarine movie and started getting a sinking feeling, based on our previous bad experience (no pun intended). I began needling Mark about it, concerned about the potential negligible quality and he said, "Who do you think the director is?". After a few more shots (on screen, not liquid, I wish), it struck me: James Cameron. And I was right. (This is like psychically guessing the lottery numbers in our household. I was so proud of myself.)

    This does start out as a submarine movie, but it is so much more. Cameron is willing to push the storyline to the very edge - and then out beyond where you would expect. (Haha another borderline pun: like, the edge of the underwater reef? Geddit?? ...sorry, my mum raised me a punner.)

    The Abyss has the close-knit crew camaraderie of Alien (without quite the-edge-of-your-seat horror aspect), combined with the romantic pairing angle of Titanic (steering clear of the all encompassing plot of that love). Through in a heap of sci-fi intrigue from his up-coming venture Avatar and you have a classic combo. I quite enjoyed this film and it has aged well.

Dammit I know my keys are round here somewhere...

    Hear ye! SPOILERS ahoy!

    Okay, now here are some things that I must say, but am loathe to because chances are I am not actually the final person on earth to see this film - and a wonderful part of watching it was really just not knowing what was coming next.

    That said, for those of you who have seen the film:
    1) I kind of wanted Lindsay to actually be dead. When Ed Harris (totes didn't recognise him! To the extent that I said "huh that guy could be Ed Harris' younger brother." and Mark checked the case and was like "that IS Ed Harris" and then I was like "SHAME". But I did last see him in multiple viewing of A History Of Violence when he is looking a bit worse for wear.) Where was I? Oh yeah.
    When young, handsome Ed Harris is desperately trying against all hope to revive her, it wasn't until he really lost the plot that I got EMOTIONAL and then I was like, no, she has to be dead now - but instead she came to and there was a cheesy reunion. But then the tables turn again when you think HE's dead, so I suppose the film still has a bit to go at that point.
    2) Did the guy who made Donnie Darko just totally rip that whole thing off this movie?? You know - this thing.

    Okay, that covers it. END SPOILERS.

End everything in fact.

I think I am going to get back into watching telly seriesesesesss now! I am movied out.

2 thoughts on “14 films in 7 days: Part II”

  1. I so want to see Lost in La Mancha - it's been in my mind for forever ... perhaps I'll add it to my amazon shopping cart for the day it gets bunged in a £3 dvd sale.

    Kong - meh.
    Valet - meh.
    Ferpect Crime - sounds great, but due to reasons in previous comment, I'll prob never see it.
    Below - meh.

    Mad Max - I saw this many, many years ago and just remember it being a jumble of him driving around the desert. Will avoid ever seeing it as an adult with those misogynist overtones (perhaps it is a precursor to Wolf Creek).

    The Abyss - I remember loving this back when I was in High School and it was on during the era of big Sunday night movie premieres on TV2. I do believe that there is an alternate ending...? In fact, I think the main known version is actually a Director's Cut...? On the Donnie Darko front, it is so long since I saw it that I hadn't made the connection, but by joves you're right!

  2. Dang it!! Just looked t our The Abyss DVD, and it says it has BOTH versions, and that the 'special edition' has 24 mins of extra footage. I have no idea which one I watched.

    Try and see Lost In La Mancha. As someone with producing experience, it will be a delicious kind of hell.

    I think the Mad Max you're thinking of is "Thunderdome" - the last one, the one with Tina Turner in. Apparently that one is quite good - has a different director and, notably, doesn't feature a gang of homosexual bikies as the adversaries...!