completely unedited movie review snippets, either me or things from other people I thought I agreed with when I read it at 3am. OK, so I edited it a little. To add html doohickeys to it. Don't ask me who wrote what, I don't remember. You might see some of your words here!!! Just remember that everything is one person's opinion.
Since my friend and I share a taste for the absolute best in bad movies, we flipped a coin between Double Team (Van Damme and Dennis Rodman team up to fight crime) and Anaconda ("if you can't breathe . . . you can't scream!") and Anaconda won. We'd read some pretty awful reviews of this movie, but nothing prepared us for the reality: Jon Voight, fresh from weight training with Hans and Franz, overacting his way through the Amazon jungle with an outsized nonstop sneer that only got broader as the movie progressed. I tried to imitate it when I went to the restroom, and my face hurt badly after only a few seconds. Eric Stoltz is in the movie too and literally sleeps through most of it (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not), and the actress who played Selena has a chance here to pull a Ripley and doesn't do badly at all for a first outing. And there are assorted other snake-fodder victims who play their parts with verve and gusto and are dispatched accordingly (though without relish or other condiments).
In theory the real star of the movie should be the snake. There are two, actually, and though they're very long, their heads aren't big enough to make the kind of dramatic impression you really expect in a movie like this (I thought he looked kind of cute and well-meaning -- maybe the poor guy was just sadly misunderstood). Even better, when the snake's in motion, for example when it wraps itself several times around someone in a fraction of a second, there's no feeling of mass or momentum. It's like watching a CGI of a phantom from Ghostbusters rerendered with an anaconda, and the effect is just wonderfully fake.
In other words, the movie was all we'd hoped for.
(annoying Mission Impossible-esque game-based so-hip-it's-useless website: http://www.spe.sony.com/Pictures/SonyMovies/movies/Anaconda/entry.html)
(1996, Russia) dir Nikita Mikhalkov w/Anna Mikhalkov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Nadia Mikhalkov Two years ago, Nikita Mikhalkov's poignant Academy Award winning film Burnt By the Sun gave American audiences a widespread glimpse into contemporary Russian cinema as well as personal history and politics. This remarkable documentary, his newest release - at once intensely intimate and sweepingly ambitious - juxtaposes the collapse of the Soviet Union with the growth of his daughter Anna over the course of thirteen years, beginning in 1980. Because of prevailing censorship restrictions, Mikhalkov decided that the best way to express his thoughts on his ailing nation was to make a "home movie," shot in secret at considerable risk. Anna's personal evolution is interwoven with a caustic collage of news footage and propaganda films tracing the Soviet Union from the end of the repressive Brezhnev regime through the brief heyday of Perestroika to the shaky arrival of democracy.
It's the darling of the art cinema set around here. I think Catherine Deneuve is the woman.
The name of the movie comes from one of his high-profile trips he took through the Canadian Rockies.
There's these three guys, one good, one bad, and one ugly. Of course, they're all bad guys. Clint is good because... because he has SOME morals. The ugly guy is ugly because... because he's Mexican. The bad guy is... really bad.
So they go off romping through the southwestern US territories in the sad, waning days of the civil war, in search of a secret stash of gold kept in a grave. To them, the war is an annoyance and they see no problem in diverting the course of history for their own selfish needs.
At one point you get to what is called the Good Band and Ugly paradox: three guys forming the corners of an equilateral triangle, each with a gun, neither one trusting the others. Any one could take out another, but if he did so, the third could take him out.
Ha, you'll have to see the movie.
The movie is all video with no live audio. The audio is the music track.
The music is Philip Glass. Glass has a unique and unusual style, it's "not for everyone". It's called "minimalist" sometimes, because he goes back and breaks fundamental rules, but I find the music to be complex and stimulating. Often it's classified under "new age" but just as often you find it under "classical".
You know almost all of western music follows 4:4 time, there's four beats to a measure. Sometimes he does four beats, but he also plays games with the time, changing it in the middle. For "Einstein on the Beach" (not this movie), in one part, the beat changes on every measure, each one gaining another beat, each one becoming more complex than the last. In another part, at first, it sounds like this awful buzzing, but then you listen and notice that really the singers are saying "one two three four" really really fast, over and over again. Hey, it's Einstein.
Although originally a piano player, a lot of his work uses synthesizer and chorus, except it's nothing like a church. For this movie they used lots of classical brass and string instruments, and The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble.
It starts off and you're looking at this stuff and you have no idea what it is. Really it's a closeup of the side of a Saturn Five moon rocket on the launch pad. One of the arms is holding it down as it's launching. The whole thing is throbbing, and ice condensation from the liquid oxygen tanks is cracking and falling off of the side. But it's just a close up on the arm attached to the side of the rocket, so it's hard to see what's going on. And it's slow motion; in real life it all takes just a few seconds. Then the arm moves up and the rocket moves up and finally you see the engines pass by and it whites out and cuts to another scene.
The beginning of the movie concentrates on landscapes out west. Mesas. Tetons. Mountains. Valleys. Deserts. Rocks. Aerial photos. Waterfalls with huge quantities of water gushing over the ridge. Really beautiful.
Then you start to get into man and technology. The transition shot is amazing. You see the rocks like you saw before, but they're exploding. And collapsing. And you realize that it's strip mining. There's this big swirl of black dust, a big cloud, and as it clears, the devil appears - really a big, huge dump truck. The kind they use for mining, so big it can't go on the highways. But it's like this big devil image, come to rip up the landscape, appearing out of a black cloud.
It's a sortof pro-environment, anti-industry-fucking-up-our-world movie.
Then it has all these scenes from the city. Lots of them are time lapsed. You see a city and the sun comes up and moves across the sky as clouds waft by like they're tumbleweeds in the wind. And you see the streets clog up and people racing about as the shadows race across the other buildings, hours of a day compressed to mere seconds of the movie.
They have these scenes looking down Manhattan streets. The buildings form canyons, with traffic acting as the river rapids at the bottom. You see cars zipping to and fro along the street you're looking down, really fast. Then they stop as the traffic light changes. Then you see cross traffic scurrying by really fast. Then it stops with the traffic light again. Then the forward backward traffic resumes. And it stops.
they have scenes from grand central station where you see these banks of escalators with oceans of people, pouring over them like Niagra Falls, only it's people. All of this is timelapsed so it seems to match the speed of a waterfall. Makes you feel like the people are really insignificant.
Then they have this part towards the end where they set up a camera on the street and wait for people to notice it. Ususally with movies, you know, they cut out the parts where people are waving to the camera, but this time they wanted to capture that. People's reactions to a camera. People waving, they want recognition. The expressions on their faces. There was this one young woman who smiled appreciatively, she thought that maybe this was her big break in movies. But I'll never forget this old homeless guy with white hair. You just see him there. And then he looks at the camera with a look of scorn and anger that just paralyzes you.
At the end of the movie you see this rocket launch, one of Nasa's early tests in the early 1960's. The rocket launches, but at some point something goes wrong and it explodes. Then you follow it, this flaming rocket, as it falls. You know you never see this on TV because they cut to another shot. It's on fire and it's falling. It's tumbling and you can see that it's still a rocket, but it's falling. You see it coming down and you know in just a second it'll hit the ground, you know out in the desert where they do those tests. But it's falling and tumbling, and flames are coming out of certain parts of it. And it tumbles and the flames lick around it, and it's falling. And you know in just a second it'll hit the ground. But it's falling and tumbling and you wonder how far it can go. But it keeps on falling.
It's the dramatized story of E T Lawrence, a British officer in the Great War, stationed in British Palestine. He had gotten his degree in archeology nearby and was fluent in Arabic. He was frustrated that the British hierarchy had no idea what was going on around them because they never read the Arabic language papers, which he read to his friends.
He gets transferred out to an encampment where Prince Faisal (name sound familiar?) is trying to lead an army from yesteryear against Turkish forces with modern weapons like aircraft and machine guns. [If you have turkish sympathies, you might not like this movie.]
He ends up leading them and trying to fight for their own self-determination, which doesn't work out.
Incredible scenery. Don't just pop a VHS in the VCR, go see it on a big screen. The mountains, the desert, it's incredible.
The movie is incredibly long (like four hours or something). If you leave at the intermission, all you're missing is a bunch of political arguing that only a history-f-middle-east buff could appreciate. Don't miss the beginning, though. The motorcycle ride is famous, although a bit hokey.
It is expected that the reader is familiar with the Mike Figgis production.
Abstract: A software engineer from Microsoft develops a coffee addiction, and moves from Redman to Seattle to kill himself by drinking coffee. He is befriended by a Starbuck hostess and cared for by her until his death.
The story begins with Ben going from cafe to cafe, bingeing on coffee. A rush of visual images of cafes and coffee drinking. Double mochas, pints of espresso, drinking large lattes while driving in his car. A cop passes him, and slows to investigate what Ben is doing while driving. Ben hides the coffee and the jelly donut from the cop.
Ben is then called into Bill Gates' office. Bill informs Ben that he has to let him go. His severence pay includes a copy of Windows 95 and coupons for Starbucks.
Ben then decides, in a fit of rage, to destroy all of his computer equipment, his software, everything, and move from Redman to Seattle to kill himself by drinking coffee.
When he arrives in Seattle, he gets a room in a little college-town bed and breakfast, near four different coffeehouses. The reason for the choice of accommodations: the sign on the outside of the inn reads "Gourmet Coffee".
A scene of Ben sitting in his room, eating General Foods International Coffees straight from the can with no water, just the powder, can by can. Ben is watching the scene in Pulp Fiction where Travolta and Jackson are in Tarantino's house, sipping fresh coffee. Ben just loves the line, "Sheeeeeit, Jimmie, this is gourmet coffee. This is the good shit." Ben keeps rewinding it over and over again.
Ben then goes to Starbucks to cash in his coupon from Bill Gates. He meets Sera, a former coffee waitress from the Royal Ground Coffeehouse in San Francisco, but now she is making espresso drinks for Starbucks in Seattle. She has violated the Royal Ground Coffeehouse Coffee Club rule: you can't go into Starbucks. Her manager appears one day to question her about this, and shake her down for some free Starbucks coffee.
"Will you make me a pint of espresso? I will pay you $10, " says Ben.
"That isn't on the menu. I am not supposed to make it," replies Sera.
"Ok then, I will pay you $20. I will go over here and distract everyone while you make it. You can put it in a paper cup so everyone thinks it is a mocha."
"Yeah, ok, shhhhh. Just go wait over there, I will bring it to you."
Ben goes to sit at a counter chair, shaking and sweating. He sees a cute girl. "Want to play a game of chess?" he askes the coffeehouse-fly. Her boyfriend is not pleased with this cafe come-on.
Sera brings the pint of espresso, and Ben drinks it in one gulp. It is love at first sight.
Sera brings Ben back to her apartment. She puts on a pot of coffee. Ben starts chewing on fresh grounds. The love story begins.
Sera buys Ben some presents. A cafe shirt and "Bottomless Cup" plastic coffee mug from a local cafe. "I have met my dream girl," Ben remarks.
The story ends the same way "Leaving Las Vegas" does. Ben does finally die of coffee poisoning. Sera is left alone, and still working at Starbucks making coffee drinks she doesn't believe in.
It starts out, you see him being marched through an Israeli prison, to his prison cell. The door slams behind, kerchung. Later the door opens. Guards bring in a table, with a typewriter, and a box of paper. You are to write your memoirs. You have so many days to do so. Kerchung.
He gets up. He puts a sheet of paper in the typewriter. He's about to start typing, and he looks down at the keyboard. You see, during Nazi times, they made special typewriters with a punctuation mark that was the "SS" lightningbolt symbol. And here he was, typing on one of those typewriters.
He was a playwright, born in America but raised in Germany. He remembers back to the day that the guy from the US War Dept talked to him in the park. He didn't do it because of any political leanings; he did it because it was so dramatic to do it; he was living one of his stories almost. He became a sortof Rush Limbaugh for the Nazis, broadcasting propoganda in English. In his broadcasts were encoded details prepared by someone else, for the Allies.
After the war, he ended up an anonymous person in Manhattan, home of lots of jews of course, many of them with numbers on their wrists. Of course, his name was now one of the most hated among jews.
Well, I'm not going to tell you the rest of the movie.
Things they got right:
Things they maybe didn't:
The monkey spits on the driver. "Hey, you stupid monkey" and he wipes it off. Yuck. Hope I don't catch any diseases, he must have kidded himself.
A guy is coughing in a movie theater. Coughing coughing. You are a particle of liquid wafting through the air, over the crowd, being inhaled by other movie goers. Meanwhile Dustin Hoffman is in washington saying Hey, it's just a matter of time before this thing spreads.
Interesting that you liked "Outbreak". I haven't seen it myself, but I've been reading a lot about it lately. There's this group called bionet.virology that I read, and ever since the movie came out half the posts have been people who wanted to know how realistic it was from real virologists. The consensus seems to be : entertaining but way wrong scientifically. I think you caught most of the flaws in your review. Sort of like a bad Star Trek where everybody is half dead and then McCoy comes up with the magic andidote and they all recover in 5 minutes.
aw, c'mon, that's just the first fifteen minutes of the movie. He goes and has this brilliant scheme, it's really cool. He's a white collar guy in a peasant prison. He becomes the accountant for the warden's illegal profiteering scheme where he sends prisoners out on work projects and pockets big profits. But I'm not going to tell you the rest.
Later on I talked to someone who taught psychpathology, and she used this movie to illustrate the sociopathic personality.
WHats-his-name, he's crazy, they find him and put him in a mental hospital. Has these stories about how he's a time traveler, you know the usual. 'Cept he's really strong and he breaks out and later kidnaps his shrink, and it sortof becomes a patty hearst kindof deal, and she actually starts to believe his bullshit.
WHats-his-name, he's selected to go back to the past to figure out the origins of this terrorist group that sets a virus to kill everyone in the world. Of course, nobody believes him at first, they stick him in a mental hospital, but eventually he gets his shrink to listen.
Head Injury Cases
During World War 1, they found this shell-shocked french soldier. He had completely lost his ability to speak French, but spoke English in an unknown local dialect.
Best to see the movie with a clear mind, it's hard enough to follow all the interlocking details.
You know, seeing a movie multiple times is like going back into the past. Every time you do it, it's a little bit different. But maybe that's because you're a different person each time. And, you want to change things, but you can't; the same thing happens again.
The story centers around thanksgiving dinner one year, as a texas baptist family tries to go through the yearly harvest ritual, in denial about their troubled war hero son.
Emilio directed and starred. A labor of love. I saw it at the film festival, he got up on stage himself. Stunningly good acting, deeply moving film. Somehow you end up feeling for the vet, hating the mom, resenting the dad, being pissed at the sis. just like him. Quite brilliant.