Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quick movie thoughts

Back in college I used to write a column for The California Tech called "Adam Villani: Media Guy" where I wrote short reviews and commentaries on movies, plays, etc. I think that somehow my ability to write reviews has declined since then, but maybe if I start more consistently writing reviews on my blog I'll improve. The notes on movies below are really short and don't really bear mentioning unless you're really interested in whether or not I liked these. I'll try writing longer pieces in the future.

I should note that the tallies after the movies reflect the settings and the number of feature films I've seen starring the given actor or by the given director. This is a thing I started keeping track of several years ago just as a little OCD-type thing. It is of no importance unless you want to compare for yourself.

1. Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou at the Nuart. This was definitely one of the good Godards. I think a lot of pretentious French filmmakers *cough* Bruno Dumont *cough* Catherine Breillat *cough* Godard himself these days *cough* make movies that imitate only the most annoying aspects of his 60s films (the preachiness, the nihilism, etc.) without any of the joie de vivre. I liked how the actors were almost never holding still on screen. Check out the scenes by the beach where Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina seem to be in constant motion, balancing on downed trees, sliding off of the roof of a house, or otherwise exploring their surroundings.

Paris, FRA; Nice, FRA; points between
Jean-Luc Godard (d) 7
Jean-Paul Belmondo 3
Anna Karina 3

2. The Bourne Ultimatum. Pretty damn good. Still no ultimata being issued in this one, just as The Bourne Supremacy didn't involve Bourne being supreme. At least the first one did, in fact, involve his identity. Lots of suspense, lots of the guy using his wits, etc. Watch this if you want to see a guy kick ass all over the world and have it not be stupid.

Moscow, RUS; Paris, FRA; London, GBR; Madrid, ESP; Tangiers, MOR; Langley, VA; New York, NY
Paul Greengrass (d) 3
Matt Damon 19
Julia Stiles 5
David Strathairn 6
Scott Glenn 11
Paddy Considine 5
Albert Finney 7
Joan Allen 7

3. Bad Santa (via cable) - pretty amusing to my inner misanthrope, and lots of funny lines, but not really as funny as I was expecting. More alcohol abuse than perhaps any movie I'd seen since Leaving Las Vegas. Maybe The Real Cancun is up there, too.

Milwaukee, WI; Miami Beach, FL; Phoenix, AZ
Terry Zwigoff (d) 4
Billy Bob Thornton 9
Tony Cox 9 + short Captain Eo
Lauren Tom 3
Bernie Mac 7
John Ritter 2 (Sling Blade)
Cloris Leachman 4

4. To Kill a Mockingbird (Netflix) - I'd never actually seen this, though I'd half-assedly read the book in high school. It was pretty fascinating the way they presented the adult world through the kids' points of view. Definitely earns its status as a classic. Wears its nobility on its sleeve, and bravo for that.

Macomb, The South
Gregory Peck 2 (How the West was Won)
John Megna 2 (The Godfather Part II) [I mention this only because it seems strange that the kid who played Dill later played "Young Hyman Roth"]
Brock Peters 4 (incl. two Star Trek movies)
Robert "Boo Radley" Duvall 14

5. The Blues Brothers (extended cut - Netflix) - Jen had never seen this; I hadn't seen it in 20 years, and we'd recently returned from Chicago. It still holds up. Great music, great car chases, and great comedy, but it's more than just that; it's the sort of movie that elevates its protagonists to the status of heroes I want to cheer for, not just chuckle at.

Joliet, IL; Calumet City, IL; Chicago, IL; elsewhere around Chicagoland; Kokomo, IN
John Landis (d) 7 + short Thriller
John Belushi 3
Dan Aykroyd 13
James Brown 4
Cab Calloway 1
Ray Charles 2 (Spy Hard) [I think I saw Spy Hard. It was pretty forgettable.]
Aretha Franklin 1
Carrie Fisher 17 + I once saw her in the audience with her mother at a show
Henry Gibson 7
John Candy 9
Kathleen Freeman 6
Steve Lawrence 3
Frank Oz 13 + shorts Time Piece and Muppetvision: 3D
Charles Napier 8
Chaka Khan 1
Paul Reubens 8 + short Star Tours
John Lee Hooker 1
Steven Spielberg (as an actor) 5

6. Superbad - I like this trend of R-rated Judd Apatow-involved comedies that side with the goofy, sensitive guys. Gut-bustingly funny and an After Hours-style picaresque storyline. Not really believable that the hot chicks would go out with our trio of nerdy protagonists, though.

A mysterious "Clark County" in an unnamed state with fictional license plates
Jonah Hill 4
Michael Cera 2 (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind)
Bill Hader 2 (Knocked Up)
Seth Rogen 5
Kevin Corrigan 7


At Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Joshua said...

Unless they deliberately obscured the state like with Springfield on The Simpsons, To Kill a Mockingbird should be listed as taking place in Alabama.

At Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 12:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

OK, I wasn't positive about that, but I listened to the V.O. at the beginning and didn't hear it, and didn't see any state flags in the courtroom. But I could have just missed it, or it could have been in the book (which I recalled only dimly) and they just didn't bother to mention it in the movie.


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