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Up in the Air

25 Dec, 2009

Xmas day in Indiana, what a better way to spend it than a movie that glorifies airline travel. This movie is total Oscar bait. Clooney does an amazing job, and the rest of the cast are are also excellent, but no names as not to distract from the Clooney brand. Anyone who works in modern America will immediately recognize so much from this movie, which itself is sad.

Pirate Radio

12 Dec, 2009

Back to the rocking days of the late 60's in the UK, the soundtrack alone is well worth it. The movie on a whole is basically Empire Records all over again for the previous generation, a fluffy movie of strong actors being friends, being cool, being crazy, and having the time of their lives. Nothing gets to heavy to bog down what is essentially the pop movie equivalent of a good rock song. There are some gem moments with Emma Thompson.

Towering Inferno

07 Nov, 2009

Man, OJ was the man for a disaster flick. Maybe Hollywood was onto something. As the second half of a double seemed better, but that is a low bar.


07 Nov, 2009

Wow! There is bad, and then there is baaaad! This movie didn't portray a disaster, it was one. I won't even explain, it makes me to upset to remember it.

This Is It

31 Oct, 2009

What a better way to kick off Halloween than to see the posthumous movie of the guy who made Thriller.

The movie does not stand as a concert replacement, but if you have enough imagination; you can get an idea of what he was doing. The most interesting aspect of the film to me was seeing how MJ actually worked. After seeing the behind the scenes, it is hard to dismiss his genius. 


24 Oct, 2009

This is the grand-daddy of all disaster movies...and several airplane movies too. Watching it was almost an archeological endeavor, the whole movie was so dated. It was exciting and fun. Being so old, I didn't know the ending so it was like seeing it fresh in the theater with everyone else.


03 Oct, 2009

Remember that AWESOME movie of the 80's that made everyone want to move to NYC, get a pair of leg-warmers, and become the next starving artists? Well this wasn't it. Not even related. This was an abomination or teen fluffery.

At least my dates were hot!


02 Oct, 2009

One of this year's German Currents film festival. This movie was a challenge. It was subtitled and in a world so remote that you were already at a disadvantage. Unlike most American movies that have the same common plot devices/structure (boy loves girl, etc), this was off on its own culturally. 

So I spent the first half being annoyed and bewildered. Only after the movie did I start to reflect on how clever it was. It is a fantasy movie with a good dash of noir mystery to it. It was well shot and acted. 

It was like Harry Potter, if the Grimm Bros. had written it. Everyone was dirty, death was grisly, and life was, well, grim.

The Baader Meinhof Complex

27 Sep, 2009

The movie was intense and long, a rather exhausting viewing. I traveled down to a rickety old theater in Culver City to watch it in a lonely theater that just had me and two other of which who giggled at all the scenes of police brutality. CREEPY.

The movie was very good. The acting, directing, costumes, everything. I felt very immersed in a scary Germany of the past. What amazed me, is how well this movie connected the other country of another time to my here and now in America.

It showed views sympathetic to both the terrorists and the cat and mouse director who eventually caught them. There is a great scene were a stoic girl with a snappy camera documents a gun fight and capture of Baader. The little girl unflinchingly snaps away at what she recognizes as important. She watches the sniper position himself, she watch the shot fired, she clicks. That scene was the entire movie in a reflection.

Without moralizing, it spoke to where terrorism comes from. It showed that a group of students felt that there only way to make the apathetic Germans take notice of wars abroad and oppression at home was to bring the war to the home front. The RAF was horrified by what they saw as a relapse in the fascism of a previous generation. If the German people didn't rise up to stop Hitler, how could they be trusted now.

But the college drop outs were protesting wars in worlds they didn't understand. There are some great scenes where while hanging out at a PLO camp, the sunbathing women cannot understand how their nudity bothers "their Arab brothers," or in the same scene were Baader initiates a member by making him rob a women, he goes ape when someone steals his car.

For all the idealism of the RAF, you cannot help get the idea that there is a strong streak of thrill seeking youth just rebelling against the rules, whatever they are. 

You also see some great flashbacks to a historic information age where Germany tracks the suspects through the "grid." 

All of these events are brought into a wider context of other terror groups, student uprisings, and general world wide counter culture. Disaffected youth were waking up to question the conformity demanded by their governments and the wars in far off places. In the same time, Governments were stating to develop more nuanced world views, starting to see the long term repercussions of short sighted policies.

District 9

13 Sep, 2009

So well done and so annoying. I is rare to enjoy a movie so much but just hold all of the people in it in such contempt. It was such a fully realized vision of a world though. It reminded me of the orginal Dracula novel, so much of the story was fleshed out in news clips, interviews, etc. It created this world that seems much more dense than a 2hr movie.

The September Issue

12 Sep, 2009

I love documentaries, and this won was great. It certainly had a certain slant that seemed less about bias than about access. At the center of the story is Vouge's high profile, circumspect, and private Anna. Around her is Grace, Vouge's creative voice. Grace is schlumpy and warm and open while Anna is slick, cold, and distant. 

Watch these two stars orbit each other in a universe of their own making. The documentarians get captured by Grace and orbit her. In a great twist of an ending, we almost forget about Anna as the camera crew and us all go land on Planet Grace.

9 - The Movie

12 Sep, 2009

It was so amazing to watch, but it just seemed to fizzle out in the last 1/4 of the movie. It is hard to put your finger on it, but it seemed like you were holding your breath and then just kind of gave up in the last 15 or so minutes.

The visuals were well worth it though. The plot and characters were comic bookish, but sufficient for the story. Some of the visuals, such as the tank like things seems almost cheap compared to how glorious other things looked. So it was a mixed bag, one of my solid B's whose biggest disappointment was how close they were to A+.


29 Aug, 2009

Duh Duh, Duh Duh. I know it is hard to believe, but I had never seen this movie before. It was a triple feature at the Aero (Jaws 1, 2 & 3), but I had to do an early morning flight so I only stayed for Jaws 1. I screamed like a bikini clad little girl in the clutches of a great white. Fun and Scary!


22 Aug, 2009

Hmmm, I was really excited to see this movie. I even went to see in Westwood after going to Red Mango for the full far east experience. This was probably my least favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie. The animations were amazing and in a style that wavered between lucid and fantastic. Any child could be lost in the visuals and amazing dreamlike visions. But that also describes the plot, it was like listening to a breathless 5 year old boy trying to describe a dream. And then, and then, and then. For the first time, I was not able to get lost in Hayao Miyazaki's world.

Julie and Julia

08 Aug, 2009

Could I leave a movie theater more hungry? One could gush about either leading women and still not say enough. I loved watching how Meryl Streep always towered above everyone. The plot was mercifully straight forward. Instead of optioning for manufactured drama, they let a simple story about cooking and eating as social and personal endeavors carry the charming and appetizing film.

Indiana Jones: 1,2,&3

25 Jul, 2009

Wow, a triple feature at the Aero. It took all three movies to wash away the Crystal Skull. Okay, I skipped most of 2 to hang out at the bar across the street, but who liked Temple of Doom anyhow?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

18 Jul, 2009

Hey, these are getting better. That is a low bar though from the last one. After watching this, I finally realized that you are essentially seeing the same story over and over again, but they are telling it to an audience that is growing up. So the first movie is a story about a kid who goes to a new school that you would tell an 11 year old, this was what you would tell to someone who is old enough to realize that Twilight was crap! It was effectively creepy and thankfully much less whiny teen angst than that last Potter outing.


06 Jul, 2009

We went to Houston's, where they did the original moon launch started; then, off to see Moon. I had guessed the plot from the trailer, so it was less exciting. The acting an all was solid, which it had to be for what is essentially a one man show. All in all though, it was a let down.

The Proposal

19 Jun, 2009

Why not. Off with Shelli and Keith on bad movie date night. After enough wine, this movie turned out to be cute. It was totally predictable, but that is required for these formula plots, but really no different than classic versions like "The Awful Truth." So we are not here to be surprised, we want to see how well they pull off the conceit. Both Renolds and Bullock make a convincing change of character to make it all swallowable. Betty White is an 11 on the hoot-meter.

Flash Gordon

18 Jun, 2009

Nothing, but nothing is more awesome than this movie! Behold it at the amazing Aero with follow up commentary by the producer. Liberal arts ladies fell another notch in my mind when the first question came from a lady who started her question with "I am getting my PhD in pop culture." Really?!? You can do that? Here I wasted my time with Nuclear Chemistry and Computer Science. Pop culture you say, and a doctorate program at that! Holy shit, that explains what happened to our economy! So, at least she must be knowledgeable about popular culture. So her question is actually a monologue in which she rants that she understands that "they" are making a remake of Flash Gordon and this is terrible, because no one will be able to appreciate the original. We are ruining it for the kids. Why do we have to keep making updates of classics that were already so original and so good? Then the producer explained that Flash Gordon was actually a remake of an early movie, which was a adaptation of an earlier series, which was based on a comic. Suffice it to say, the bad lines and weirdos extended way past the screen that night.

Terminator 4: Salvation

07 Jun, 2009

Meh. You would think that Christian Bale plus Robots would really turn out pretty awesome. It was okay. I think I missed out on why it was so revolutionary for a terminator to be made from a human. The first one looked human, the second was living, liquid metal, the third had adjustable breasts. This was kind of a let down. It was okay for a Sunday matinee, but I wouldn't invest more than a couple hours on TBS to see it. The ending was so horribly schlocky that it killed anything redeeming about it.

2001: A Space Odyssey

30 May, 2009

Another revival at the Arclight. This was my first time on the big screen, and I am not sure that it held up. For the first time, I noticed a lot of little flaws. Why are they pouring coffee in space?

UP - The Movie

30 May, 2009

Not my favorite from Pixar. The story was an inventive buddy movie with some great visuals. It fails in the first 10 minutes, when it drops most of its emotional ammo. The rest of the story arch never matches, so any subtle story telling they have left is wasted on a numbed audience.


23 May, 2009

Wow! It was a nice old timey martini dinner followed by Hitchcock. I had never seen it before and the Aero makes everything look great. It seemed like there was an extra movie attached to the end, but totally worth it. Who doesn't love Jimmy Stewart?

Howl's Moving Castle - English

22 May, 2009

I had seen it before at the American opening at the El Capitan. It was great to see it again, and again in Japanese. Finally a midnight movie worth seeing at the NuArt again. They have had a long bleak season of blech. nice to see that Movie Geek is still just as bitter.

Angels & Demons

16 May, 2009

Finally, I got into the Westside Tavern. It was okay, but I am not waiting for another chance to go again. I cannot pin point anything that was bad, the food, service, drinks and layout were all pleasant. It might just be the fact that getting in before a movie requires full on storming Normandy style logistics. The movie was a decent enough commercial thriller. It spared you a lot of the impossible history that the Da Vinci code had. Tom Hanks manages to congenially cruise through ancient feuds and Goonies style clues. Nothing is great, nothing is too bad.

Star Trek

08 May, 2009

Star Trek + Ctrl + Alt + Delete? I was surprised by all the people who wanted to see this with me. I have seen all of Star Trek in movie theaters, yes even V. So I was here out of loyalty more than hope. Turns out it was pretty good. Some scenes were direct rip offs from other block busters (Jurassic Park anyone) and there were a fair share of flaws, but it was a wonderful summer movie.


02 May, 2009

A lot of this was great. But a lot of the CGI was bad. There were scenes where you totally popped out of being in the movie and started thinking, man that looks cheesy. They would have been a lot better off if they stuck to props and good photography in some places. Also, drop a couple characters. I really didn't care about Gambit, Bolt, and a few others. Make room to explain the relationship between Wolverine and his brother, his girlfriend. It was a great watch and lived up to the better moments of the franchise.

17 Again

25 Apr, 2009

Hmmm, it was fluff. I saw it with Shelli and Keith, thus qualifying it as teen angst. The true shocker is that Shelli wants to see Star Trek. The movie was unassuming to say the least, but they did have some good talent. Zack surprised me. He was able to pull of a world weary 40 year old transported back to youth. His wife has me in stitches.

Monsters Vs. Aliens

28 Mar, 2009

It was cute and inoffensive. Lady get's engaged, lady becomes super powered freak, lady looses old friends, makes new ones, saves earth, learns value of self-worth. Like the previous Dreamworks animation, it has unchallenging humor that keeps it humming at a good clip. It was a fun afternoon matinee.

Sunshine Cleaning

21 Mar, 2009

Saw this with Shelli and Keith at the Landmark. I loved it. It was defiantly a dark comedy. Amy Adams was so wonderful, and Emily Blunt was so far removed from her Prada ways. You could almost say it was a retelling of the American dream.

Race to Witch Mountain

14 Mar, 2009

I was a huge fan of the original two theatrical releases...of course I was also 8 and Benji was cinema gold in my eyes. The orginal Tia and Tony make cameos, and thus so did the theater. Unlike the original, this was more about the rock and less about the kids. It was a fun Saturday matinee...but not as fun as I had hoped. It was more flawed than good.

The Watchmen

06 Mar, 2009

Saw the midnight showing at the Landmark with Joe, Laura, Elissa, and Keith. It was a mixed bag. The movie is butt-numbingly long, and it was already late. It was, as expected, very visual and very true to the comic's style. They monkeyed with the ending so it would work as a movie. The B-List stars did a good job and gave it an almost indy feel. It would be hard for this movie to translate to mainstream sucess though. It was brutal in some of its noir and unflinchingly rated R. I found it a compelling story though and well worth it.

Adam's Rib

15 Feb, 2009

The latest at the Aero revivals, billed as the funniest pairing of Spencer and Hepburn; I left a little disappointed. It had its movements of charm and Hepburn was great; but, the movie certainly showed its age and the chemistry that the two certainly had was squandered on some of the "gotcha" moments. All in all, it would have been a better matinee.

Moulin Rouge!

13 Feb, 2009

The Arclight had a revival complete with the dress up set. What can you do with this movie other than love it?


07 Feb, 2009

Saw this with Joe, Elissa, and Keith in 3D. The 3D effects were kind of a waste and detracted from the color of the movie. Also, the new 3D uses polarization, so any head tilting and it goes away. Posture people! Neil Gaiman's graphic novel comes to life with Tim Burton's creepy puppets. I thought it was great. It was one of the unsettling movies where the parents and adults fade into the background and the twisted dream world of adolescent becomes exciting and terrible...and real. Totally worth the watch. It was darker than Nightmare Before Christmas, but also more provocative.


24 Jan, 2009

One of my all time favorite Hitchcock's, and a great movie in itself. Tried out the K+D kitchen across the street from the Aero then caught this first of a double feature.

To Catch a Thief

23 Jan, 2009

Dinner at El Cholo then walked down the street to the Aero for the second of a double feature. Cary looked a little old for young Grace, but the movie was a great frolic in sunny south France with sexy innuendo and double-crossing action.


09 Jan, 2009

Wow! You can see why there was so much buzz. It took a while to see it. The acting, directing, everything were great. The movie is well paced and takes a moment of history and makes it fresh and engaging. Saw it at the landmark with Joe, Elissa, and Keith.

Last Chance Harvey

03 Jan, 2009

Seemed like it would be an inoffensive enough movie. Turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Dustin and Thompson had olf hollywood chemistry. I am not going to call it must see, but it it a great fluffy treat. It was nice to see a relationship that was silly, awkward, but more intelligent than a teen drama.

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