Friday, April 29, 2011

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

A man heads deep into the hills to become a mountain-man and tangles with nature and hostile Crow Indians.
Wow.  Magnificently filmed, with a great story, and directed by Sydney Pollack, so there is no way yer going wrong with this one. 

Robert Redford makes the handsomest mountain man you'll ever see.  Will Geer and Stefan Gierash are 2 very memorable fur-clad pals.  These are men that have chosen the life of hunting, bushcraft, and trapping in solitude; in one of the most glorious and dangerous places on the planet.

It's not about sitting cross-legged around a fire and singing Kumbaya.  Johnson must deal smartly with various tribes of local Indians, the US Government, dangerous animals, the harshness of nature, and people he meets along the way. You get the very real sense of constant urgency, danger, and beauty.  From the seemingly small act of making a fire, to making life and death decisions--it's constant.  He's surviving.

Forget garbage like Bear Gryllis climbing a rock wall behind a McDonalds in Aspen.  This movie puts you right up in the Rockie mountains close up, and it's fantastic all the way around.

Quickie Synopsis

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Kings Speech (2010)

Wow what a beautiful film about King George VI and his speech therapist helping him with an awful stammer. The added weight of impending war with Germany gives the needed urgency. I liked this facet of it, and it worked flawlessly, much as it did in Remains of the Day.

Now I am a boorish American, I'll admit that. But I love British films that deal with the throne, great wealth, aristocracy, butlers, fox hunting, and "you may have some more port if you desire, but do not come into the drawing room"-type stuff (maybe cause my name is Earl, maybe cause its SOOO different than my experience.

Great emotional impact in this film thanks to Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. This is a solid, quiet story about self worth and redemption done up without all the Hollywood hoopla, rising cheesy music, overdone reaction shots, etc. If anything could be called "lovely", this movie would be it.

I could watch Firth stutter all day, have Rush benignly stare at me for months, and hell, I'd even curtsy and gush repeatedly for Helena Bonham Carter.

Quickie Synopsis

I Have

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Strange Days (1995)

A charismatic hustler and intense limo driver attempt to solve nasty murders against the backdrop of a chaotic, riot-filled city as an apocalyptic New Year of 2000 approaches.

Ex-cop Lenny Nero is a purveyor of black-market tapes that you can play directly into your cerebral cortex and fully experience moments recorded from other peoples lives--Lenny deals in these tapes--having sex, skiing in the alps, robbing a bank, whatever you desire he can get it for you. But when Lenny comes across a tape with some hardcore nastiness on it, all hell breaks loose and he's in the middle of it.

Holy cow, what a great cast. Ralph Fiennes is Lenny; fast-talking, charismatic--offering up fake Rolexes whenever cornered. Angela Basset, intense and beautiful and cutting some serious muscles yum yum yum. Delicious heavies; Michael Wincott with that gravelly voice of death, Vincent D, Onofrio, and William Fichtner as the evil partner cops (duh, of course!). Nice selection of groovy punk thugs as well. Juliette Lewis shines as the ultimate steamy rock n' roll slut and misplaced object of Lenny's affections.

Tom Sizemore- the only thing to say is, what's not to like? He's cool as a greased cucumber in this movie. (did I just type that?) If you're one of the poor bastards who doesn't know who Tom Sizemore is, watch this movie--then you'll get it. I think Sizemore should be a new verb.

Set in the near future beneath a backdrop of deteriorating cities, martial law, rioting in the streets, hookers mugging Santa Clause right out in the street :( , and the apocalyptic New Years Eve of 2000 ominously approaching, this plays out something like a Humphrey Bogart movie on acid. The good solid characters keep it on track though.

I know it's 16 years old, but I just saw it last night, and I swear to god, every time I watch this movie, it gets better. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by James Cameron....they must have been schtupping during the production of this movie, cause it's so damn GOOD!

Quickie Synopsis
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