Collected Dailies 3

Whiled away 6 hours at the metroplex. Inception (2010), Salt (2010), half of The Other Guys (2010), the start of The Expendables (2010), and my first look at 3D via part of the climax of Avatar (2009)  (didn’t like it – the 3D or Avatar). Empty theaters on a Friday afternoon playing hooky from work; time well spent.

The name Benjamin Button is odd, but the name that always bothered me a little was Brad Pitt. I would ask myself, why choose a name like Pitt for your screen name? This was before I realized that these days, lots of actors keep their own names, regardless, and that Thomas Bradley Pitt was one of them. It has never bothered me that the two Pitts were Prime Minister. Eartha Kitt is OK. Mitt is OK, though I don’t like his politics. I’ve got nothing against armpits, or fruit pits, or Pittsburgh. Just seemed like a strange name to choose. Now if he ever marries Angelina (whose real name is Angelina Jolie Voight), she can be Angelina Pitt.

There is a scene at the beginning of She’s Out of My League (2010) in which Alice Eve walks through the Pittsburgh airport, stopping all male traffic as she strides along in her red high heels, preceded by her cleavage and posterierceded by her flowing blond hair. We’re required to suspend our disbelief just a tiny bit because, although she is looking mighty fine in the scene, and is backed by a supportive musical soundtrack, maybe she’s not… quite… that fine. But we get the point. The thing is, I was reminded of my first job after college, wherein I sat at a desk in a very large room filled exclusively with men of all ages dressed in short-sleeve white shirts and dark ties. Every afternoon at two, the boss’ daughter pushed a mail cart through the room. We knew that she was coming because there was another room just like ours through the doorway to the south and we could hear the silence fall there at one fifty-five. This young innocent with her cart and Virgin-Mary blank stare and exaggerated secondary characteristics, dressed like a Burger-King hooker, was the prototype, the ur-babe, the apotheosis of show-stoppers. No one, including yours truly, could get enough of her. Then when she had passed on to the next room to the north and the cone of silence moved with her, we all  slumped back in our chairs in unison, shaking our heads, rolling up our fingers in our ties, spent.

Happy Endings (2005) – Someone recommended Short Bus to me as a movie in which many modes of sex are showcased with no ill effects, though other interpersonal behaviors do provide drama in the film. Don’t know if this is accurate, not having seen Short Bus, but it does describe Happy Endings, a movie with a sweet spirit, sex without feathers, and conflict out of bed, if not in.

Why was Charlie Chan more popular than Mr. Moto?

Yes, I too await the arrival of Sharktopus (2010). No more Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (2090), which for me at least, had only one great moment, and that was in the Making Of short. Sharktopus: the head of a shark; the tail of eight tentacles, all presaged so brilliantly by SNL’s land shark.

The Drummer (2007) – “I’m a hoodlum. He’s a hoodlum in a suit.” I’ve got to ask one of my Taiwanese friends how prevalent the indigenous Taiwanese language still is, and who speaks it and who doesn’t, and how far Mandarin has spread on the island, and how many Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents, on fleeing to Taiwan, would be able to understand the language…  Aha, and the answer is, the indigenous Taiwanese language, Fukienese, was in disfavor for some years as Mandarin was imposed on the island, but now is acceptable again. Mandarin is more widespread on the island in the north, Fukienese in the south. And Fukienese is also the language of Fukien Province north of Hong Kong. Cantonese speakers can also often understand and speak Fukienese, as in the movie…  I hope Film Movement is doing well. Once when writing a review, I interviewed the head of the company. I’ve enjoyed so many of their films, it would be a shame if they went belly up…

Virtuality (2009) -The  opening titles kept appearing… one… by… one… for the longest time into a movie that I’ve ever seen… Presented as a Fox reality show. I don’t like reality shows. But it’s a nicely photographed science-fiction movie with a virtual-reality hook. Between my likes and dislikes, I’m watching the movie in bits and pieces, waiting for the payoff… Oops. No payoff. A pilot for a failed series. Didn’t do my homework on this one. No wonder I could never figure out what the f**k was going on. And even if the series eventually materializes, I’ll bet they never explain where the gravity on the ship is coming from.

Reno 911: Miami (2007) – My spouse liked it. Yay. Means I’ll probably get to watch all 5 seasons again.

I wish that in history class I had been shown a few movies like The Age of the Medici (1973). As much as I knew already, or thought I knew, on the subject, the movie added so much texture and color. A toast to Rossellini for doing the right thing late in life.

Moscow, Belgium (2008) reminds me again, as so many European movies do, that if I want something with a soul and a heart, I shouldn’t count on Hollywood to provide it.

Susannah York is filmed with serious gauze or vaseline on the lens in The Silent Partner (1978). We get a closeup of Elliot Gould and then one of York, and the difference in apparent focus is hard to ignore. I assumed while watching the movie that she must have been playing younger than she was, to match up with Gould, but no, she’s a year younger than he is. Better a little gauze than having work done, though. By the time The Silent Partner was shot, she was well into her eclipse as a star, but she’s kept working since then, and she’s still at it… The Silent Partner: lazy plotting (makes you think about the plot while watching, but in a “no… wait…” way)  but a fun movie anyway – strictly a star vehicle for Gould in his heyday.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009) – If you’re in the mood to watch Robin Wright, Winona Ryder, and Maria Bello, with a little Julianne Moore and Monica Bellucci thrown in, acting in each other’s faces and occasionally up against a game Alan Arkin and Keanu Reeves as the men – men! whaddaya gonna do with them? – mother and daughter struggles through two generations – then settle down and enjoy. It’s Wright’s movie and she was still – but only just – Mrs. Penn when she made it; be good to hear her compare the contemporaneous divorces – the one in the movie and her own.

Repo Men (2010) – Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Jude Law. This is not chopped acting chicken liver we’re talking here. How I wish I could have been in the room when the three of them were pitched this movie.

O’Horten (2007) – Quietly reminds us how lousy the U.S. mass transit system is.

2 Responses

  1. you know what? I’ve only seen one of these. Thanks a lot for dipping out of the mainstream!

  2. “No more Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus” — Notwithstanding the hilarious cover art which encouraged my attempted viewing, I somehow couldn’t sit through the entire film… I suspect there is an alcohol quotient required for true enjoyment of this film 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: