Quick Takes – 06.12.11

Due to packing for my trip, a wedding that I was involved in, and a massive amount of errands I did not fit in any movies this week besides those that I already gave a full review. I don’t want to miss this column, however, so share yours!

  • “Election” – A

    Hilarious, somehow profound, but mostly just plain entertaining. I really need to see Payne’s “Sideways” now.

    “Alien” – A

    First 90 minutes are incredible and basicallly perfect. The final half hour isn’t quite as original or tense, but it’s still very well-done.

  • Odd week and weekend in general. Didn’t see anything in theaters but I managed to catch a menagerie of movies at home. Some I recommend, some I don’t.

    “Repo Man” (1984) D, 1st Viewing

    This one came up in recommendation, and I’ve got to say – I didn’t like it very much. It is a movie soaked in the 80’s, with an attitude and style that seems to fit the decade perfectly. Beyond that, however, this story of a punk teen (played by Emilio Estevez) becoming a repo man under the guidance of dried beef jerky-looking Harry Dean Stanton jumps around in terms of plot and developments, with characters introduced and dropped out seemingly on a whim. The story has something to do with four dead aliens in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu, which has a repossession commission of $20 grand attached to it, but saying it like that gives the movie too much credit. It is muddled, confusing, and filled with simply strange circumstances and situations. I simply cannot recommend this movie to most people, but if you’re in the mood for 90 minutes of confusing 80’s rich cinema … nope, still can’t recommend it.

    “The Gate” (1987) C, 1st Viewing

    I am a fan of horror movies, and even schlocky ones from the 80’s, but the inspiration to see 1987’s “The Gate” starring a ridiculously young Stephen Dorff came from a behind the scenes photo found here (http://www.angusrshamal.com/best-of-bts/). The photo was amazing, and shows a ginormous movie set constructed to look like a bedroom scaled so that the actors and director were about as tall as a dresser drawer. The picture was amazing, and so I hunted down a copy of the movie and watched it. It was OK, as far as these types of movies go, and went pretty far in its psychological horror aspects, but the rest was just kind of silly. And that set that grabbed my attention? Yeah, only used for about 12 seconds. Such a waste.

    “Following” (1998) A-, 1st Viewing

    Christopher Nolan’s first feature film (though at 70 minutes it barely qualifies) shows the film maker’s talents that would eventually morph into “Memento”, “Insomnia”, and “Inception”. The film follows a young writer who becomes obsessed with following people, innocently at first, but eventually he hooks up with a burglar and together they violate houses. Violate in the sense that they steal very little, but rummage through personal objects and generally invade the person’s personal life. It’s a very interesting look at the subject of materialism and how we define our lives through the stuff we have, but it slowly pulls back to reveal a deeper mystery between these two characters and a third woman. Some of the scenes are shown out of order, a la “Memento”, but the short length and interesting setups keep things moving at a good pace, with an ending that left with me with more questions than answers. But they were very interesting questions, so I think the film succeeded at its goal.

    “Monsters” (2010) B+, 1st Viewing

    Released last year, this one completely flew under my radar, which is too bad because it is quite enjoyable (and on Netflix Watch Instantly now). In a nutshell the movie is a combination of “District 9” and “It Happened One Night” without the humor of the latter or the social relevancy of the former. A photojournalist must escort the daughter of his boss’ boss out of the Mexico-US border, which has become quarantined after a satellite from space crashed six years ago and let loose titanic alien creatures. As presented for most of the movie the eponymous monsters were tentacled, shadowed, and very effective, and were not seen fully until the last few minutes of the movie where the movie reached an emotional crescendo. I would recommend this movie if only for the two leads who deliver strong performances and the journey they take through hostile alien territory.

  • X-Men: B+

    X2: A-

    X-Men: First Class: B-
    The acting was good, but the screenplay needed some work.

    The Producers: B
    It was funny at times but I had trouble taking it seriously.

    The Hustler: A-

  • Asif Khan

    1. Pearl Harbor – 2nd watch- C+

    2. The Reader – 4th watch- A-

    3. Enid (Tv Movie) – B

    4. Kung Fu Panda 2 – B

    5. Synecdoche, New York – B-

    6. Win Win – A

    7. X Men : First Class – 2nd watch – A-

  • @Brandon Cooley… which “Producers” are you talking about? I haven’t seen the remake, but the original is in my opinion one of the funniest films of all-time.

  • @Greg – Absolutely agree with that. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously because it is satire in its purest form.

    @Weird Dave – Following is the only Christopher Nolan film that I have yet to see. I should get on that. Thanks for sharing your lengthy reviews!

  • @Alex – It’s 70 minutes and on Netflix Watch Instantly … you know you want to … you can fit it in between packing before you leave!

  • @Greg I saw the original. It just wasn’t my kind of comedy.

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