Quick Takes – 02.06.10

Micmacs (2010)

Grade: B | 1st Viewing

Few filmmakers employ as much imagination in their films as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. His latest film Micmacs about an eccentric group of misfits that rails against two famous arms dealers is no different. The influences from Jacques Tati to Marcel Marcieu are clearly present making for a surrealist journey that is endlessly fun to partake of.

However, for all its whimsy it feels less significant than Jeunet’s earlier films. Thematically it is rather simple and it often glosses over the opportunity to make a political statement, opting instead for silly comedic bits. This is the type of subject matter where some sort of politics would have been appropriate.

The Social Network (2010)

Grade: A- | 3rd Viewing

There was nothing revelatory in my third viewing of David Fincher’s critical darling. I still think it is one of the finest movies of 2010, but not THE finest. I still think that Armie Hammer out-performs any of the other supporting actors with his fantastic sense of smugness and his pitch-perfect line-readings that contribute to much of the film’s comedy. Andrew Garfield is fine, but overall his performance is too one-note and he says most of his lines as if masking tears, which gets a little old after a while.

Hammer definitely does not out-perform Jessie Eisenberg, however, who I’m convinced was born to play the Aaron Sorkin version of Mark Zuckerberg. If Sorkin’s rapid dialogue were delivered by just about anybody else it would be badly overplayed, but Eisenberg has such control that it just adds to his characters’ neurosis.

Super Bowl XLV (2011)

Normally I never include anything non-film related on the Quick Takes, but I had to find the appropriate place to give a shout out to my Green Bay Packers. Having supported the team since I was a young boy (including a Packers themed bedroom) I was elated at the result of the Super Bowl last night. Words cannot express the feeling of pure joy that comes when your team wins it all. Go Pack Go!

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  • Andrew R.

    Don’t give a fuck about sports.

    Micmacs is great.

    Hammer is the “worst” part of Social Network, but I agree that Garfield didn’t deserve his expected Oscar nomination. That movie was made for Eisenberg to do awesome in. And he did.

  • Andrew, what was it about Hammer’s performance that you didn’t like?

  • I watched quite a lot this week:

    The Social Network (2nd & 3rd Viewings): I still love it, and Jesse Eisenberg’s performance was even better these 2 times. A.

    Inception (4th Viewing): Still fantastic, although not as incredible as it was in theaters, but that doesn’t take away from the movie. A.

    Exit Through The Gift Shop (1st Viewing): The first half is interesting, but once it starts focusing on Thierry, it became a lot less interesting. Also, Even though it tried to make Banksy seem mysterious, he didn’t come across that way at all. And it didn’t change my feeling about street art at all. B.

    (500) Days of Summer (First Viewing): Wonderful. I loved everything about it. A.

    The Crazies (First Viewing): Extremely, extremely scary in parts and always fascinating. I loved it. A-.

    Four Christmases (Second Viewing): OK, I think this is totally underrated. Its not a masterpiece, but who was expecting it to be? I thought it was laugh-out-loud funny and entertaining. B.

    I also plan on watching “The Runaways” and “The Secret in Their Eyes” soon.

    Also, about (your quick take of) The Social Network, I liked Andrew Garfield’s performance very much, but there were some scenes were it got old. Armie Hammer was great, too. Also, if you said Eisenberg was even better than Hammer, why wasn’t Eisenberg at least nominated for a Film Misery Award, if Hammer won Best Supporting Actor?

  • Hammer was awesome.

    So were the Packers!!! F Pittsburgh.

  • Sad to say I’ve yet to experience the “pure joy” of my team winning it all, since my team happens to be the Northwestern Wildcats (who have never made the NCAA tournament). I saw:

    “Breaking Bad” Season 3 (A): Utterly mind-blowing. That’s all I can say. Best show on TV.

    “Tender Mercies” (A): Just terrific.

    “Brief Encounter” (B+): Too much voice-over and some weak dialogue, but Lean’s direction is superb (as are the actors).

    My slightly more elaborate thoughts on the two films will be up tomorrow. But seriously, “Breaking Bad” tops both of them.

  • Jose

    127 Hours
    1st Viewing.

    Its an allright movie. Ther’s nothing bad about it but its not memorable. Franco was OK.
    B

    Blue Valentine
    1st Viewing
    I LOVED it.
    Could this be my new favorite film of 2010?
    Either way Williams should win the Oscar and Gosling would be an ideal write-in candidate
    A

    Fearless
    3rd Viewing
    This is one of the few Jet Li films I like. After Hero.
    B+

    And for the record, I think I understand why you prefer Armie Hammer, but eh I don’t know. Pretty sure in the future he’ll have something big.

    And will anyone here review The King’s Speech?

  • I’m from Wisconsin, so Packers are a big deal!!!! But I still could care less…

  • Blowup: A
    I now understand why it’s talked about so much.

    Z: A
    The greatest foriegn movie that no one has ever seen.

    The Godfather (6th viewing): There really isn’t much more to say about it.

  • Jose

    Brandon, what the heck is Blowuop and Z?

    And I have never heard of the last film you mentioned either =)

  • Z is a great film, but I don’t consider it to be that unheard of. It won Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Best Picture, was it not?

    You bring up an interesting idea though: great films that no one has ever seen. Potential column idea…

    Blowup and Godfather are classics too.

  • Jose

    Wikipedia says its the first foreign language film to be nominated for both FL film AND Best Picture. It also took home the best editing Oscar.

    I swear I have never heard of it before though.

  • Andrew R.

    I’ve seen Z. It’s not the best foreign film no one has seen because it’s pretty well known.

    As for Hammer, I just didn’t like his performance that much. I don’t know why (see “Dr Fell”), but I preferred Eisenberg, Timberlake, and Garfield. In that order from most to least.

  • Andrew R.

    Oh, and yesterday, I skimmed through the movie Teeth, a horror movie about a girl with teeth…in her vagina.

    Yes, you read that right.

    It’s hysterical even if very gross. It’s a legitimately good film, though.

    (SPOILER ALERT: She ends up amputating three dicks and four fingers. Oh, and it’s hinted that she amputates a guy’s tongue.)

  • ‘Teeth’ may have scarred me for life.

    I have not seen ‘Z’, but it’s on my Netflix queue.

    ‘Blowup’ is one of my favorite movies of all-time and in my opinion it is Antonioni’s best. (Currently 13th on my all-time top 200.)

  • I really liked Teeth. It’s sort of a ridiculous phobia that is actually real and it is fascinating to see it brought to film in a semi-serious fashion. It sounds impossible, but the film cleverly hit the tone dead on.

    I’d have to go with L’Avventura myself, but Blowup is glorious.

  • I meant that Z is almost never mentioned when foriegn films are being discussed. Everybody talks about 8 1/2, Breathless, and films by Kurosawa and Bergman instead.

    Z did win best foriegn film but now nobody really cares about it. I think it’s one of the best politcal movies along with The Battle of Algiers which has also been forgotten.

  • Everybody loved L’Avventura, but Blow-Up was a little more my tastes. Its story was absolutely gripping and I felt like its portrayal of isolation was more inventive. Both are excellent films, though. I rank L’Avventura at about the same spot as Il Grido.

    I should see more Antonioni films. Marathon?

  • That is a great point, Brandon. I agree that a lot of films are remembered more purely based on the name director involved. To me the greatest incident of this was the one-time feature, The Night of the Hunter. It is widely regarded as one of the finest films ever made (and one of my top 10 definately), but it seems oddly unnoticed considering near-universal praise. In that respect, I see your point about Z.

    @Alex, hmmm….. wouldn’t be my first choice, I’m embarrasingly behind on my Kurosawa, that’d be cool. But most people have seen those.

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