Far From Heaven
A quiet and beautifully constructed film about hidden homosexuality and not-so-hidden racism in America in the 50s may be my favorite art-house flick of the year. Todd Haynes (who directed another of my favorites, Safe, which you should all see) takes such care with both the look and the acting, that his movies are like cut diamonds. I doubt this will make it to Golden, so it is a must-rent for next year. It will help to make you appreciate the social freedoms we have now and also that the 50s were a bummer, man!
4 out of 5 yams
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
I enjoyed this much more than the first one (seeing it with a certain Canadian girl helped. sigh, Canadian girls.), though I still had similar complaints. The battles and the special effects were awesome, especially the Ents and Gollum. But why the constant interruptions for characters to have doubts (doubts that are not in the books)? Look, if youre being attacked by a massive orc army, theres no room for doubt. You go kick ass or you die. Stop talking about it! And whats with all the dwarf jokes? I know that it was made in New Zealand and they are into stuff like that down there, but its not appropriate and wasnt funny. Gimli would kick their ass! Also, as usual, way too much swelling music.
2.5 out of 5 yams
I doubt anyone in Canada saw this movie, because it featured an african-american cast and theme. The CRTC probably didnt allow it to come across the border. Its the classic rebel talent who comes into the uptight program, gets in trouble, matures and helps save the day. But the contest is not sports but the halftime drum show and basically Drumline is a kung fu movie. It has the training scenes, the rival, the unscrupulous opponent and long, beautifully choreographed battles scenes. Thoroughly entertaining. It was directed by Chuck Stone who did all those whassup? budweiser ads and Im waiting for him to make a straight-out action movie.
3.5 out of 5 yams
Kind Hearts and Coronets
A classic from 1949, this is filled with the kind of dark British humour that Canadians can appreciate. A young man who is distantly related to an aristocratic family, decides to murder them one by one until he becomes the Duke. The gimmick is that Alec Guiness plays each of the family members. That is enjoyable, but what is really fun is how you cant help but hope that each of the murders turn out succesful. Dennis Price is perfect as the well-mannered and snobby heir and protagonist. Though hes a pretentious prig, the family is even worse and he just works so hard that you have to root for him!
4 out of 5 yams
Im going to share this little secret with you because I know you are an intelligent and discerning audience. But please dont go spreading it all over the place. Robbery is one of the coolest heist movies. It was made in 1967 and is about efficiency and procedure, which is what a heist movie should be about. There is no bullshit. The whole movie concerns the planning and the execution of a hold-up of a money train. There are scenes of the perpetrators meeting at soccer matches, making plans out of the side of their mouths while they all face forward. The boss screams Gloves on! at one of the lower operatives during a run-through of the job. If you understand what Im talking about here, then your appreciation of this great genre is subtle enough for me to recommend this gem to you.
4 out of 5 stars
It had its moments, but Narc was basically a tired re-working of the corrupt older cop movie. The plot twists in the end were clever and kept me engaged, but other than that Ive been down this road many times before. Why do undercover cops always have to have young wives and a baby? Ray Liotta is decent, but his hyped role as the corrupt partner cant compare with Denzel in Training Day or Richard Gere in Internal Affairs. Im beginning to suspect that Ray Liotta just doesnt have all that much range as an actor. Its too bad, because he was so awesome in Something Wild.
2 out of 5 stars
The Big Lebowski
Dude. I had never seen this movie before, dude. And though it was a bit too sentimental overall for me, I had to rewatch it two more times just to see John Goodman. Hes amazing. And the Dude really is a classic character out of time, reminding me of some of my values before this whole dotcom america success thing ran wildly out of control. Its basically a classic detective story, but the hard-boiled detective is a bowling hippy who just wants to chill out. This movie will definitely provide an evening of yam-worthy entertainment.
4 out of 5 yams
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
It was purely accidental that I watched this movie right after the Big Lebowski. They both explore a similar theme, the death of the 60s, though in very different ways. Really, before you see this movie, you must read the book (more about that below). The movie adaptation is pretty faithful. Benicio del Toro is perfect as the Attorney, and though a bit too twitchy, Johnny Depp becomes Hunter S. Thompson by the end of the movie. The movie does a decent job of capturing the drug-frenzied minds struggle to interpret and perform the most mundane tasks. Its real strength, though, is in its portrayal of the crash of the optimism of the 60s.
3.5 out of 5 yams
Thats all folks. Make an effort to find these movies so you can enjoy yourself and expand your minds. We laugh at the fat loser who is suing McDonalds for his heart condition. But most of the movies that are coming out of Hollywood are doing the same thing for our brains and well be too numbed and stupid to do anything about it if we keep watching them. Be strong.
In thinking about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I realze its absolutely mandatory that all of you read it. It contains some crucial guidelines of how we should be living our lives, guidelines that I fear we are straying from in these times of greed and stupidity. If you havent read it already, go to the used bookstore across from the Sev and pick it up. Its short and hilarious, but very important.