Amoeblog

Juno: Ghost World + Little Miss Sunshine x Wes Anderson divided by Welcome To the Dollhouse

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 8, 2008 10:14am | Post a Comment
Oh my blog, so, I like totally watched Juno the other night, Lite Brite, and now I totally can’t stop, you know, parlaying this guey. “Por k, Macy Gray?” you query. Welp, homeslice, it’s B-cuz I have had mine eyes opened when to the real deal Holyfield about how to rap like the post-tweens of today, OKizzle? Now normally I avoid quirk ‘n’ smirk like a bubble boy does a peanut butter factory; especially when it's strained, smug, masturbatory, self-worshipping and as heavy handed as Fisto holding a purse full of lead weights. Homie don’t play that, Krazy Kat. And from the trailers alone I was scared merdeless. A familiarly precocious kid has it all figured out like a pint-size Paul Haggis on shrooms. But then she finds out, in a major league curve ball, she’s still got more growin’ up to do, Mr. Magoo.

Cue an annoying Kimya Dawson (Moldy Peaches) song where she busts out with her urban-outfitted, practiced and studied amateurism. OK, we know it’s Indie Anna Jones when we’re confronted, finalmente gente, with the smiling visages of big Hollywood actors, since Indie film is like, totally like “alternative” was when that term went from meaning anything not on commercial radio from Husker Du to Husker Don't to specifically proto-Creed band whose singers yarl and show off their abs-of-steel whilst a creepy, masked, old geezer lurches around in a red and green-lit video that’s played in heavy rotation on empMTyV. Indie is now actually slightly more formulaic than Bollywood, nay, Nollywood.


”Lieben meine Affe-monkey!”

The story is about a 16-year-old Canuck who gets pregnant by her Canuck friend and then finds a couple to adopt her baby after a Canuck at the abortion clinic tells her in thickly-accented Canadian, “All babies want to be born.” Their Canada talk is never explained, I’m guessing because the actors had to devote most of their ability to contorting their brains around the graceless and over-written dialog. It kind of gives it a Degrassi High on Growth-Hormones feel -- only 1000 times more annoying. Only Juno’s dad seems passably Minnesotan. It’s also obviously filmed nowhere near Minnesota but that sort of authenticity rides Miss Daisy-style to the chauffeur/plot that's too busy stroking its "beef sword" (to borrow another barf-inducing Juno-ism) to deal with such obvious details.

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Control

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 29, 2007 11:21am | Post a Comment
    

I saw Control with Morten. It's the movie about Joy Division and more specifically Ian Curtis. It's funny because the first I heard of it was critics tripping over themselves to point out that they liked it though they'd never heard of the band. The point is always pretty much, "I'm a square. I'd never heard of these guys but I liked the movie, although for a rock band, they sure weren't that much fun." I wonder what those critics were listening to back then. To me, Joy Division is one of those bands that, if you have taste, you should've at least heard during their existence if you were teenage or older. I mean, how separate are the worlds of music and movies that you'd have us believe you've got great taste and an ear to the underground if you still haven't heard of Joy Division? What bigger independent bands were there in the late '70s? And didn't you review 24 Hour Party People not five years ago?

Back to the 24 Hour Party People then. When that came out I saw a lot of dour Raincoats leaving the theater expressing their wish that whole film had been about Ian Curtis and not those awful acid house Blue Tuesdays or whatever was going on after Ian Curtis' death, at which point their lot zoned out 'til the credits. Pity them. And I thought of how awful that would be -- a film about Joy Division. Biopics are so suspect. Made For Cable movies that sit in the wings like vultures to be released in theaters only in the event of the subject's death because what is an awful film will likely reap the awful rewards at the Oscars.

Control is directed by Anton Corbijn, which I didn't know till the end. Whatever you think of the guy, and I love his videos, you've got to admit that his images always have to easy to appreciate visuals. I mean, Bryan Adams got him to direct "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," after all. He's f---ing Dutch, for Christ's sake.

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Sea Monsters -- A Prehistoric Adventure -- 3-D at the California Science Center

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 23, 2007 01:08pm | Post a Comment
The lovely and amazing Ngoc em accompanied me for a viewing of Sea Monsters at the California Science Center, a fact which you probably already gathered from the title and not from hours of watching Forensic Files. The film is structured like a lot of the (superior) BBC Walking With series that focuses on all those crazy monsters that didn't fit on Noah's Ark. Like the Allosaurus episode, Sea Monsters focuses on an slightly anthropomorphic female Dolichorhynchops and her search for a man amidst danger on all sides.


If you're a fan of magic lantern shows, or view masters, then you probably love 3-D. Well, really 4-D, because don't all movies have duration/time, width and height already? Why didn't William Castle think of that?


                     View Master!                                         Magic Lantern!                                 William Castle!

Lars and the Real Girl -- Finally an Idiot Man-Child Film I Wasn't Crazy About

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 22, 2007 01:02pm | Post a Comment
                 Lars... whoops- David Arquette                                                               The real Lars

In Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling plays a shy loner who is henpecked by nagging family and friends determined to engage him. He reacts to their attempts to set him up on dates and hang out in familiar and realistic shy guy fashion. Then he buys a sex doll which he falls in love with and all at once we're transported to a world I could only recognize as the familiarly formulaic "quirky indie film." Of course it's in the Middle West (Ontario in real life), the last bastion of quirky, lovable, soft-headed townsfolk with hearts of gold and fresh-baked good intentions.

What I had hoped was going to be a semi-comic observation along the lines of Punch Drunk Love or Chuck & Buck in one contrived bit plunged straight into the territory of an SNL sketch-cum-movie or an Improv skit that goes on for way too long (i.e. over 3 seconds). OK, it's not as bad as those examples, mostly because of the casting and because you don't have Horatio Sanz cracking up at the hilarity of it all. Ryan Gosling goes a long way in making Lars a character we care about even while the script or direction provide almost no insight into what's going on in his head aside from contrived instances with a psychiatrist. We never know if he really thinks the doll is real; does he ever have moments of clarity? What made him change from a believable loner into a delusional cinematic joke? We never know much of anything that goes on inside. You won't laugh, you won't cry, even though it's calculated to make you do just that. Ultimately Lars is just an icon with funny hair, funny clothes, a funny name and a funny relationship with others a la Napoleon Dynamite. Here's hoping he doesn't similarly inspire a legion of "hipster" imitators or else I'm going to have to make a lot more calls to the Redneck Squad.

New to DVD - The Lookout - spoiler warning - in which the glaringly obvious glares... obviously

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 21, 2007 04:15pm | Post a Comment










The Lookout
was written and directed by Scott Frank. It took ten years to get made and is a labor of love... and a big piece of crap. Two thumbs down from Ngoc and me.

It's set in Kansas City. Why? Scott Frank says, "I spent time there, but mostly what I loved was that there was an urban environment right next to a rural environment and they're very close together. He can live downtown but work two hours away in the middle of nowhere and I really liked that." That is true, if you drive two hours outside Kansas City you're in the sticks, or another city. So, the setting is very important obviously. Kansas City is like a character in the film, you might say. Of course, his observation applies to nearly every city in the country between the east and west coasts. Obviously Frank had a window seat on a cross country flight or maybe a just layover at Kansas City International. And the in-flight entertainment, I'm guessing, was Memento.
 
"I really didn't know why, but I just loved where it was. I loved that the mob was no longer there, that it was sort of a dying mob city and more of a "sons and sons of" place now. I just thought it was kind of interesting. I ended up doing a lot of research." Apparently meaning he watched lots of old movies with Kansas City in the title because Kansas City has a very high crime rate and most gangs there don't look much like the Lookout's.


Note to Frank: If you'd googled "Kansas City" and "mafia," you'd have learned this:

Despite being in prison in 1995, Anthony “Tony Ripes” Civella was seen as the new crime boss. In 1992 he had been convicted of a scheme to divert pharmaceutical drugs from traditional sellers on to the gray market. He was convicted and sentenced to 4 years. Since 1996 he has been free and very active. The remaining Las Vegas interests fall under power of Kansas City LCN Family member Peter Ribaste. His underboss is William Cammisano, Jr. In 1997 all three were placed in Las Vegas’s Black Book and are barred from casinos in that area. Today the Kansas City LCN [la Cosa Nostra] Family is reported to have 20-30 “made” members and is a very tight knit group controlling many street-level rackets.

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