amazingly bad: Nick Cage in “The Wicker Man”

This was just too good not to post. Actually a remake of the 1973 version, a classic in its own right. Anyone else seen any fantastically bad movies lately? I know Acme carries Plan 9 From Outer Space

Without further ado:

also just in: Milk

milk_movie_poster1Just realized we’ve got Gus Van Sant‘s Milk on our shelves. Very much worth your time if you haven’t seen it – a bit mawkish at times, but overall a very well-done telling of the story. And superbly acted on all fronts; the cast is pretty incredible.

n.b.: Gus Van Sant also directed the fairly-recently-released Paranoid Park. That movie didn’t get as much attention as Milk, though in many ways it’s probably a superior piece of filmmaking. Fans of Van Sant’s Elephant, Gerry, or Last Days should definitely take note of this one.

new releases!

2008_rachel_getting_married_001Some pretty big new releases coming in this Tuesday. I haven’t seen any of them, unfortunately, but all are films I’ve been wanting to see since they were first released in theaters. A brief rundown follows; Brigid, Chris, and/or Ralph are encouraged to chime in with their own reviews in the comments.

Rachel Getting Married: A critical darling, this one. Anne Hathaway, all of 26 years old, was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, in a role that — going out on a limb, here — I’m gonna assume is a pretty far cry from some of her more recent work. (She was good in Brokeback Mountain, though). The movie also features Tunde Adebimpe, of TV On The Radio fame, so that alone raises the movie’s stock in my book. He sings a pretty killer a cappella version of Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend”, featured in the movie, which you can listen to here.

Synecdoche, New York: I should let it be known that, generally speaking, I am not a Charlie Kaufman fan. For me, Adaptation is a movie on par with, like, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead – in that it is almost the complete antithesis of its own art form. I am, however, a fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman (which I guess at this point kind of goes without saying). This one received remarkably disparate reviews from critics, so I’ll probably hate it or love it. (I know Charlie Kaufman has his supporters – feel free to make yourself heard.)

Let The Right One In: I know almost nothing about this movie, other than Brigid really liked it, and that it looks kind of like a horror film for people who aren’t fans of horror films. Got great reviews. Looks like the sleeper of the bunch.

Happy-Go-Lucky: A film about what it takes to be happy? From director Mike Leigh? That’s more or less what this one is billed as. Also got very good reviews, and Sally Hawkins garnered major praise for her role as the lead, Poppy.


andrew bujalski

mutalappreciationFinally got around to seeing Funny Ha Ha the other night. It’s the first feature work of director Andrew Bujalski, a Boston-native and Harvard grad whose latest film, Beeswax, will make its U.S. theatrical debut this month (limited release, I’m sure). Bujalski is considered by some to be the leading light of the ‘Mumblecore’ film movement; the term refers the super-low-fi production style of a number of independent films released starting at the beginning of the decade (think: LOL, The Guatemalan Handshake, Hannah Takes The Stairs) many of which were shot with handheld digital video cameras and employed non-professional actors. The term was apparently coined by a friend of Bujalski’s; he himself has said he doesn’t feel the movement ever really even existed.

Bujalski’s two films to see U.S. release thus far, Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation, both highlight the post-collegiate lives of a trio of friends. Neither one sounds particularly interesting on paper: in Funny Ha Ha, a twenty-something woman loses her job, drinks too much, has trouble communicating her feelings, finds another job, and has relationship problems; in Mutual Appreciation, a twenty-something man trying to make it as a musician has trouble communicating his feelings, doesn’t making enough money to support himself, and deals with relationship problems. Malaise, ennui, and snarkiness reign throughout; the characters’ defining trait is their near-total inability to say anything sincerely. And this is really what makes both films so interesting and yet so frustrating at the same time: that the main characters can be so annoying, so pathetic, and yet so dishearteningly familiar. I found both films maddening – I hated how gutless the characters were, but I thought their depiction was fair and true. What I wonder is, even if it’s true that this is what a lot of young people today sound like, does simply portraying that on film make for a good movie?

Worth noting, however, is Kate Dollenmayer’s stellar performance in Funny Ha Ha, and the nicely done black and white cinematography of Mutual Appreciation. I’d be very interested to hear what other people thought of both these films.

sons of lee marvin

lee-marvinThere purportedly exists a “secret” society, founded by the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, called The Sons Of Lee Marvin. Rumors abound as to the club’s official roster and raison d’être. Tom Waits and John Lurie (who currently grace this site’s header) are widely believed to be members, along with (possibly) Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Josh Brolin and Neil Young. The sole criterion for admission is said to be that one must bear some kind of physical resemblance to the actor Lee Marvin himself. For my money, the resemblance is fairly strong for all of the above names, but do a Google image search and judge for yourself.

Of course, several of the club’s members have a professional history with Jarmusch, which can’t have hurt the case for their candidacy. Both John Lurie and Tom Waits have worked on several of Jarmusch’s films, including Stranger Than Paradise (Lurie), Down By Law (Lurie and Waits), Mystery Train (Waits), Night On Earth (Waits), Coffee And Cigarettes (Waits). And Waits acted opposite Iggy Pop in one of Coffee And Cigarettes‘s better segments, (Pop also has an awesomely fucked-up, flippant, cross-dressing turn in Jarmusch’s masterpiece, Dead Man (which Neil Young scored)). Jarmusch’s Year Of The Horse documentary on Neil & Crazy Horse is pretty great, too. Where Nick Cave, Thurston Moore and Josh Brolin fit in to this web isn’t immediately clear, though each of them is certainly familiar with the film industry.

For his part, Marvin acted in dozens of movies and TV shows throughout his career, Gorky Park, Prime Cut and Cat Ballou (for which he won an Oscar) among them. Come by the store and ask Ralph if he can recommend some others.