Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I've seen lately

I watched The Hulk. It was better than the Ang Lee version, but not by much. It felt like a paint by numbers action film where the plot twists were exactly what and where you thought the plot twists would be. Not terrible, but not particularly original either.

I also watched Mongol. That was really good. What was most interesting about that film is how Turmudgen, the protagonist, spends the first half of the movie running away or in prison. He is constantly attacked and loses. Yet you sense that once he figures it all out he's going to be kind of awesome, and it turns out that all that time spent running is what teaches him how to be a warrior. It breaks so many of the rules we're all taught in those beginner classes but it was miles above most of the movies I've seen lately.

Speaking of other movies I've seen lately, I tried to watch Barton Fink. I kept reading these cinematography and film studies books and they all mentioned Barton Fink like it was a movie I should have seen. And I do like the Coen brothers' work - well, about half of it. I loved O Brother, Where Art Thou? and of course Fargo and Burn After Reading. Some of their other work I never really got into, but I just kept hearing about Barton Fink. And I watched about 45 minutes of it and couldn't watch anymore.

Yeah, I know. I'm not supposed to say stuff like that. The cinematography was lovely and the actors were doing their jobs well, but I just found the whole thing to be so self-indulgent. For me, the vibe was sort of one big inside joke, like in Oceans 12 when the whole troupe thought it was so very clever to have Julia Roberts play herself. Barton Fink felt unrelatable to anyone outside the Hollywood system.

Not that you can never write a movie about making movies. State and Main is a good film because it's about small town politics. Swimming with Sharks is fantastic because it's about an employee snapping under the pressure from his crazy boss. And I guess Barton Fink was supposed to be about a guy... well what exactly is it supposed to be about? All I got is that it's about the Hollywood system. But Barton is already successful when the film starts and he has no trouble breaking into the movies - hell they beg him to come. So it's about a guy who's got a successful career trying to break into another successful career while staying true to himself. Except himself is kind of a pompous ass, just like so many people in Hollywood.

Again, I only watched 45 minutes of it so maybe I'm grossly uninformed. I took the movie out and watched Monster instead.

And whoa. I can see why Charlize Theron won the Oscar for that. Like Sweeney Todd, she a protagonist who starts out as sympathetic and then goes way too far until you know she deserves what's coming to her and all the while you're begging her to stop. That shit is not easy to pull off. And Christina Ricci - what a bitch. I love that the real monster in that film was the one who never lifted a finger to stop the horror from happening.

I also finally watched Rushmore. I love Wes Anderson.

And that is what I watched this week. This weekend I will watch JCVD even if I have to alter time and space. I'll probably just drive to the theater.


  1. Anonymous1:17 PM

    JVCD for me, too! Let's go!


  2. I'm going to avoid commenting on what BARTON FINK is about since it's difficult to talk about that and keep it to just the first 45 minutes. Suffice it to say that after the halfway mark it becomes a somewhat different movie. Maybe I'll write about it sometime. For now, I'll just turn my head and stare at the BARTON FINK poster on my wall.

    I liked JVCD too.

  3. Oh go ahead I don't mind spoilers. I doubt I'll ever finish watching it.


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