Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Top 5 Films of 2007... Thus Far

5. THE LOOKOUT (Scott Frank)-- Intricately plotted little noir with an
expert performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who's getting really good after Brick and Mysterious Skin; can't wait of Kimberly Pierce's Stop Loss).

4. WAITRESS (Adrienne Shelly)-- Sunny and sweet little screwball comedy. This is not normally the kind of movie I'd normally seek or rave about, but the writing and acting is so superior here, I found it difficult to resist. Keri Russell plays a pregnant waitress in a dirt Southern town and finds love in the arms of a doctor (Nathan Fillion) and redemption in her superior baking abilities.

3. GRINDHOUSE (Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino)-- It really makes me sad that this didn't really make any money-- it's possibly the most fun I've had in a movie theater all year. Rodriguez's Planet Terror is cheesy and winningly spirited in a grindy, bad movie sort of way, and Tarantino's Death Proof is the most articulate roadster movie ever made.

2. YEAR OF THE DOG (Mike White)-- A sublime dark tragicomedy with the best Molly Shannon performance of all time. It's hard to read this movie, but I like that, I think it should be seen because it's so divisive.

1. ONCE (John Carney)-- I previously gushed about this, so for more words,
click down.

I apologize already because I have a fondness for lists.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Alright, I realize by now everyone has lost interest in this silly sequel, but thought I'd add my take before I completely forgot. The second film, as directed by Tim Story (the ultra-qualified comic book franchise filmmaker, who previous tackled the action-packed Barbershop) is yet another clunky, clumsy, not even really unintentionally silly movie. This adventure starts with Susan Storm (Jessica Alba, as vacant as ever) and Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffodd) planning their media circus wedding and battling the titular Silver Surfer, then spawns into other tandems, neither of which rational or interesting. I will agree the effects of the Silver Surfer are pretty impressive, yeah crafty technicians and the chase between him and Johnny Storm (the mildly amusing Chris Evans) is pretty cool, but since that chase sequence was pretty much played in entirety and at nauseaum in the preview, it can only be so exciting. And the arc of the Silver Surfer is lame-- won't spoil for anybody who want be a fan-- but eh. But, this film and the whole franchise reeks of half assed effort, lazily constructing a movie out of a bare-boned idea that's not even that good. GRADE: C-

"The Brave One" poster

Just found this while pursing online, thought I'd share because I'm somewhat looking forward to this movie. Hopefully it will break the recent spell of Jodie Foster crap. Neil Jordan directing gives me hope. Thanks to

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Adventures of Badaccoon and Bingaroo: Prolouge

How do these stories usually go-- oh yes-- Once upon a time, there lived your standard everyday short haired cat. She was a smallish, black and white cat, with the subtlest shade of brown on her back. She led a somewhat impoverished life, begging for food on the street, trying desperately to hold her own against the fiercer, more aggressive of her species. As she approached her third year of struggling on drab streets and alleys she called home, she met a male companion. Since her eyesight and sense of smell were on the decline, she didn't notice it was actually a raccoon.
She and the raccoon scurried together, searched for food, and foraged a had a somewhat happy rapport with one another. They were both outsiders and had the keen awareness of it in their heads. One night she and raccoon surrendered to their lone passions and made love, or whatever love a cat and a raccoon could possibly consist of. The night after, the raccoon left in a panic, leaving the feline wounded and pregnant!
She somehow fended for herself for months, constructing a makeshift fort of trash and dirty linens thrown out by a neighboring restaurant. She struggled and survived with the thought of carrying her young, thinking that they will have a shot a happy, normal, well fed life. This was the only thought that comforted her.
Finally in what seemed like an eternity, the day arrived and she gave birth to four kitten-raccoon hybrids. Unfortunately, only one survived. She nursed the lone survivor as best she could. Keeping the male she named Babaccoon warm and nursed, reassuring the young lad and herself that he will go on and live a happy life, even without her. As the months went on, she decided to take her young to more suitable grounds, the nearby woodlands would provide and optimal place to secure food and warmth, thought the new mother. With Badaccoon in toe, they ventured into the wild.
Chasing squirrels and munching on plants kept the two going for a while, but soon the young mother realized this was only a temporary plan, she needed more for her growing son. Luckily for her, she met another friendly companion-- this one was a kangaroo. Even though she was frightened, she saw a good soul in the gentle kangaroo, who had been surviving by eating out of trashcans on hillside residences. Though skeptical and still burned from the raccoon betrayal, they became a odd family of sorts. One night, after tucking Badaccoon to a deep slumber, the kangaroo and the mother cuddled and made love, in a way only a cat and a kangaroo can I suppose. The next day, the kangaroo was captured by animal control vets, after multiple complaints of kangaroo sightings in nearby houses. Again, she was left and again, she was pregnant!
Saddened, but determined, she prepared herself for her second unplanned pregnancy, while keeping Badaccoon at close range. The delivery this time was a bit more arduous. She delivered just one offspring. This one-- a cat-kangaroo hybrid-- was promptly named Bingaroo. She struggled to summon strength, resorting even to prayer to muster enough courage to stay around at least until her children could live on their own. This continued for about a month, until she finally succumbed, the lone hope that her two children will go on. Her last words, "Stay together and survive," stung in both Badaccoon and Bingaroo, both, while young, knowing this the end for their mother.

to be continued....

origin story by C.T.


Finally saw Once today, and it didn't disappoint. Directed by John Carney and starring Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once is a passionate ode to song and chance encounters. The film reminded me simultaneously of David Lean's Brief Encounter, Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise/Before Sunset, and Rohmer's New Wave ramblings. Simply designed and elegantly mounted, Once is dreamlike in its tale of a chance meeting of musical minds. Hansard and Irglova are simply known as He and She. He is a poor Irish street musician with a old and rusty guitar who also repairs broken vacuum cleaners with his Pa. She is an even poorer piano prodigy from the Czech Republic. They meet cute, play and compose music. That's the story. It's a rich and romantic film because all the regular cliches are taken away. He and She's love comes from the music and not from drippy, overly analytical Hollywood dialog. The film is about how a chance encounter, however brief can be life changing or at the very least, life evolving. And the music rocks. The film has every bit as much feeling as say, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge but possibly as directed by Ken Loach, which means instead of striking photography of a fantastically decadent Paris, it's a fly on the wall view of poverty and dingy Irish settings. If given the chance check out this small scaled little gem. After just watching it, I feel like I don't quite want to come back to reality. GRADE: A-

"Trigger Man"

The LA Film Festival is currently going on and tonight I viewed the film, "Trigger Man," directed by Ti West. As an amateur film buff I love the experience of going of attending a film festival; they idea of watching a movie that possibly may never by seen or heard from again is exhilarating. However this film to my great dismay was a total bust. I deeply apologize to the suddenly hot Mr. West (Mister directing the Cabin Fever sequel), but what was on display for the torturous 90 minutes or so made me so angry and tired and completely apathetic about what else you may have to offer to the film community at large.

The plot is simple-- three friends journey into the woods on a hunting trip. All three are eager to hunt some deer in dire efforts to define their respective manhoods and in the midst of the interminable shots of walking in the woods, sitting in the woods, they suddenly become the hunted. No character in this film is defined or characterized in any way, hell, none of them speak really, expect to quote a few lines from "Predator." The camera work is wavy and obnoxious ready to spawn a headache from the opening shot, ironically the only one that's still.

I'm all for independent film. I'm all for filmmakers ready to show their aueteurish skills, even if a little bit messy, but this was a constant bore. You have to have something to keep a film going, not just a sudden burst of a music cord to wake people up. I'm sure when all is said and done, "Trigger Man," will stand or not stand as a lone festival has been, a film that never to be seen or heard from again. And Mr. West, my friends wants her ten bucks back.


Welcome all:

My name is James. I'm 22 years old residing in Los Angeles. I've created this in an effort to share my writings (or musings) with the world.
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