I write about movies here and maybe sometimes some other stuff but mostly just movies. If you are looking for the old Cineblog postings because you are compiling a book or whatever, you can find them here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Another Year, Another Blog

Yes, Cineblog is moving again. Feel free to visit us at our new location until I get the domain name changed over. I guarantee at least ten posts before disappearing again.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Man enters, moves to video rental section. Picks up Spiderman 2, closup on FULL SCREEN SPECIAL EDITION title on DVD box. Cut to look of disgust on man's face. Man picks up Mystic River, repeat. Man picks up Friday Night Lights, repeat. Man disgustedly mvoes towards a rack of "classic" VHS tapes. Male 14, and female 10 approach on rack opposite. Female is clutching a DVD of Anchorman.

Male: How about this? The Man Who Knew Too Much? You remember that movie we watched last week by Alfred Hitchcock? You liked it right? I bet you will like this too.

Female: I want to watch Anchorman.

Male: Come on, this will be fun, Jimmy Stewart!

Female: Anchorman!

Male 14 sighs and looks up, facing Man from initial scene. Man smiles and shakes his head.

Man: Hey man, you tried. What can you do?

Male 14 heaves a heavy sigh, takes the Anchorman DVD from female 10, and trudges to checkout counter where he meets his family. Man leaves supermarket happier than when he came in. Goes home and watches Angel Season 3 DVDs all night.


Friday, June 17, 2005

The SIFF Failures

I have been attempting to put down some thoughts about all the films I saw at SIFF, but there are a small pile that I just didn't like, and in addition have little to say about why I disliked them. Just trust me, there's nothing going on in these.

Pizza (2004, Mark Christopher) - If Welcome To The Dollhouse had been made by a Hollywood studio committe, it might have been this lame. A totally forced feelgood comedy/drama about a fat teenager whose life intersects on her 18th birthday with a moody left-wing pizza delivery guy. This was completely unbelievable from the word go, and it didn't get any better, although a couple of the actors do their best. There is one honestly painful scene involving a party and cocaine, but everything else just feels way too fuzzy and dishonest. Its a long way from 54 that is for damn sure.

The Writer Of O (2004, Pola Rapaport) - If you were making a documentary about the discovery of the author of the notorious French erotic novel The Story Of O copmplete with re-enactmens of some of the novel's most erotic scenes, you would think you could find a way to make it not be boring. Sadly Pola Rapaport could not, and even Zalman King would have made the sex scenes more interesting.

Max And Grace (2005, Michael Parness) - Almost completely without merit, totally plastic comedythat I would have walked from if I was alone.

Police Beat (2005, Robinson Devor) - This film is very pretty, and has lots of fun local color, but the story never engaged me much beyond being half-interested. The ending felt completely false and out of synch with everything we had learned about the character prior. Great use of Kinski's "Schedule for Using Pillows and Beanbags."

The World (2004, Jia Zhangke)

Dug this a little better than Jia's last feature (the interminable Unkown Pleasures) but not by a lot. It is helped immensely by its setting, The World Park, which contains small-scale restagings of various landmarks (The Great Pyramids, Manhattan with the twin towers, etc.) See the world without ever leaving Beijing! Still it was generally aimless, following a group of Chinese youth for 2.5 hours into a odd depressing finish with not a great deal of thematic binding of any type that I could see. There are entire subplots I could see done away with that you would never notice. I found the relationship between the main female protagonist and her Russian co-worker interesting and touching, but I couldn't say how it related to the rest of the movie at all. I'd still like to see Platform, but I'm thinking at this point that Jia is just not my thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Lizard (2004, Kamal Tabrizi)

This Iranian film was the country's highest all-time box-office earner until it was banned by the government for its blasphemous nature. A thief escapes from jail disguised as a holy man, and takes on that role in a small border village while trying to figure out a way to flee the country. The thing that stood out for me over all the other Iranian films I've seen is that The Lizard is really funny. It also has a strong heart and a great message at its core about who is really "good" and the place of religion in people's lives. My only problem with it was a shift in the character towards the end I didn't buy. Still a very enjoyable movie, and well worth seeking out. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more press or a distributor, as it seems like it would play well with the Landmark crowd and the "BANNED IN ITS HOME COUNTRY" tag would probably draw people in.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire (2004, Peter Raymont)

I am not at all happy with my writeup on Yes below and may be redoing it soon. I did not capture my feelings about the film well at all, partly because I was trying too hard to avoid spoilers.

Another thing I'm not happy with is this documentary about Romeo Dallaire (how's that for a segue, its a good thing I don't do this for a living.) The story is interesting and harrowing, but the film does not tell it well. I was somewhat familiar with the situation from seeing Hotel Rwanda last year, but I can't imagine anyone going into this blind coming out with any really understanding of what led up to the situation there. Thats just pure bad storytelling. The bigger problem is that the film never offered anything surprising or noteworthy about Dallaire. I don't need to watch 8 segments of Dallaire visiting his old haunts feeling bad and saying "our hands were tied." I already know he feels bad, and I already know his hands were tied. Give me something new or surprising or insightful about this man. Dallaire is not a particularly articulate speaker, which doesn't help matters any. This works better as a condemnation of the international community and the UN as they stood by and put Dallaire in the situation he found himself in. Unfortunately this isn't a movie about the international community, its a movie about Dallaire and apart from a few bits and pieces it just doesn't work very well.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Yes (2004, Sally Potter)

A lot of people seem to actively dislike this film, a relationship drama recited entirely in iambic pentameter, and for the first hour or so I was right behind them. The text sounded terribly forced, and despite good performances, the story wasn't really going anywhere for me. I actually pondered a walkout, because my next film was right after this and I hadn't had dinner. The main thread of the story involves an rich American woman getting into a relationship with a Lebanese chef, and about an hour in they have a conflict which is pretty predictable and kind of comes off like something off the op/ed pages. However it is at this point that the film really started to come together for me. Soon thereafter the movie takes off in an amazing way, and by the time it was over I was filled with relief that I chose to stick with it. A great surprise, thus far my second of third favorite movie of the fest. I could not believe that this was not sold out considering that Joan Allen was in attendance. She looks far younger in person than she does on the screen, and she was also starving-African-child skinny.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

3-Iron (2004, Kim Ki-Duk)

I liked this a lot but don't have a lot to say about it, in part because I think this is a film where going in blank is best. It has a very mystical quality to it which is really nice, and the protaganists are interesting and a bit off but in a good way. The closing scenes are absolutely amazing. Now I'm even more bummed I missed out on seeing Spring Summer Fall etc last year. Highly recommended, this is probably my second favorite film from the festival to this point.