Monday, July 11, 2005

the data grunt talks movies

a quick break from learning the data and relearning sas stuff like proc tabulate (nested tables...wooohooo).

thanks to my roommate's netflix subscription it's been an orgy of films lately at the casa. the quick rundown...

* godfather, pts I & II -- i've seen both before, many times. but never in the presence of a person who'd never seen them (as well as a person who'd only seen them once). so it was, a bringing to life of the roger ebert quote about the joy of being able to be in the room with someone seeing those films for the first time. they don't lose power for the fan, and you get to think about the films in lots of different ways while tryng to explain the various inter-connections, references, allegories, etc.

* dog day afternoon -- you forget how good this film is, even if a bit dated. al pacino in the first of his manic al pacino roles. it's clearly here where he learned how to totally chew up a scene. the late, great john cazale is his usual understated brilliance. how lucky was this guy, making only 5 films in his career (well, not lucky as he died at a young age of cancer) but every one of them amazing.

* straw dogs -- peckinpah's classic doesn't hold up. sorry, but that's the way it is. dated 1960s camera techniques, inexplicable plot turns, hoffman's character is not believable in how he moves from nice guy to asshole. most noteworthy for the trademark peckinpah-ian violence, exit wounds and all. the rape scene is the one thing worth talking about, as it easily makes for good conversation about what they meant to convey.

* motorcycle diaries -- awesome in its awesomeness. a moving picture about friendship, the awakening of a social conscience in a well-heeled young man, the real meaning of a road trip. gael garcia bernal is quite a gifted actor, as well as (and i say this with full confidence in my sexuality) pretty damn hot. if i were gay or a chick, i'd want to do him. i'm jealous of never having been able to make a trip like this. not that it would have made me into a che-type revolutionary, though.

* napoleon dynamite -- the last 5 minutes were hysterical. the 5 minutes before that mildy funny. the rest of the movie? tedious. overrated. ghost world did it better.

* anchorman -- complete and utter unwatchable shite. will ferrell wastes a good idea that goes nowhere fast. turned it off after 35 minutes. the deleted scenes made me laugh more than the movie.

* beyond the sea -- if you get past the fact that it's a total vanity project for kevin spacey (so that he could sing and dance the songs and moves of his idol bobby darin) and that it's kinda told like a tv movie of the week, it's not half bad. the musical sequences are fun, the production numbers reminiscent of 1940s hollywood. spacey can actually do a damned good darin impersonation. kate bosworth does well as sandra dee. the movie-within-a-movie opening thing takes a minute to sort out, but if you just accept it and move on, it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. plus, if you don't come away with at least half the songs stuck in your head for days after, well, you just don't like melody. the big-band/crooner/nightclub era was pretty cool. us indie hipsters are the logical progeny of the crooner hipsters who begat the beat hispters who begat the beatle-esque hipsters who begat the mods and so forth.

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