Archive for August, 2008

2008

August 24, 2008
Camera Cinema Club
USA
English / Mandarin
96 Minutes — September 5, 2008
Comedy
Jessica Yu [The West Wing; In The Realms Of The Unreal]

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Don’t Just Win. Destroy.

Light, but highly enjoyable story of an Asian-American layabout, who must train for and enter the big ping pong tournament because his overachieving brother has suffered an injury. What makes it different from other films of this type is that it pinpoints exactly the cross-over of cultures in young America. Christopher Wang prefers to be called “C-Dub” by his friends and the young kids he schools on the basketball court. He speaks in a non-threatening gangsta fashion. He wears jerseys and chains and protests against his parents’ old Chinese ways. This film has nothing threatening to families in it. There are cute kids, a tame love interest, and all the swear words are “dribbled” or “bounced” out.

5.4 Metacritic
7.7 IMDB

PING PONG PLAYA

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After 1,017 postings, I’ve decided to begin using WordPress. All of these pages should stay the way they are.

All updates from now on (including podcasts that can be listened to from the webpages) will be posted here:

MichaelVox

Comments are welcome.

Michael.

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TOKYO STORY
1953

August 15, 2008
Netflix Criterion DVD
Japan
Japanese
136 Minutes — March 13, 1972
Drama
Yasujiro Ozu
#10 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They Top 1000 Films Of All Time

“Solo Filmschool” movies are those on the big list of the 1000 best films of all time, which the crew over at TSPDT keeps track of and updates from time to time. The version of the list I used is from January 2010. My plan is to work my way down the list, watching all of them on DVD (if available), regardless of how slow-moving, or out of date they might appear at first. If a highly-regarded and serious film class is not available where you live, you could do a lot worse than using this list as a jumping off point.

An elderly couple, who travel to Tokyo to visit their married son and daughter, discover that their children have little time for them.

TOKYO STORY was the subject of Cinebanter #58 From The Queue section which is available here.

“Ozu made one of the greatest films of all time. It lacks sentimental triggers and contrived emotion; it looks away from moments a lesser movie would have exploited. It wants not to force our emotions but to share its understanding. It does this so well that I am near tears in the last thirty minutes. It ennobles the cinema. It says, yes, a movie can help us make small steps against our imperfections.” — Roger Ebert The Great Movies II

“In this understated, beautifully composed classic of domestic disillusionment, the editing is unobtrusive and the camera’s gaze is steady; it moves only three times during the film and is kept at a low angle, looking up at the characters. In his formal concentration on everyday family life, Ozu discovers universal truths about the human condition. Here, an elderly couple face the painful fact that they are a burden to their children and grandchildren. But the most devastating comment comes at the end of the film, from their daughter; ‘Isn’t life disappointing’ — Halliwell’s Top 1000

“Bleak, austere and moving family drama of life’s disappointments” — Halliwell’s Film DVD & Video Guide 2007

“Ozu’s vision, almost entirely un-inflected by tics and tropes of ‘style’ by this stage in his career, is emotionally overwhelming, and arguably profound for any engaged viewer; it is also formally unmatched in Western popular cinema” — Time Out Film Guide 2007

“Powerfully quiet story of old age, the disappointments parents experience with their children, and the fears the young have of time passing. A masterpiece.” — Leonard Maltin’s 2005 Movie Guide

The Best Film Of All Time — Halliwell’s
**** Halliwell’s
**** Ebert
**** Maltin

TOKYO STORY

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2008

August 13, 2008
Reno NV — Century Riverside
USA / Germany
English
107 Minutes — August 13, 2008
Action / Comedy
Ben Stiller [Empire Of The Sun; Fresh Horses; Next Of Kin; The Ben Stiller Show; Reality Bites; If Lucy Fell; Flirting With Disaster; The Cable Guy; There’s Something About Mary; Your Friends & Neighbors; Permanent Midnight; Keeping The Faith; Meet The Parents; Zoolander; The Royal Tenenbaums; Along Came Polly; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny]

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TROPIC THUNDER is the subject of Cinebanter Podcast Number 58. After you’ve seen the movie, listen to the spoiler-filled review by Tassoula and I by clicking the play button right here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Show Description:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 TROPIC THUNDER DISCUSSION
• Break
• 14:21 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 14:46 The Last Five®
• Break
• 24:20 Listener Last Five® (Michelle in Sydney)
• Break
• 30:48 From the Queue: TOKYO STORY
• Break
• 36:11 Tassoula’s interview with ALAN BALL
• 55:33 Credits and Outtakes

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Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black.

Not as good as the non-stop hype would suggest. The trailers at the beginning are by far the funniest moments. Nothing satirized here hasn’t been the target of a better film or skit before. Downey better than the rest.

7.1 Metacritic
7.7 40 Critic Consensus
8.2 IMDB

TROPIC THUNDER

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2008

August 7, 2008
San Jose CA — Camera 12
USA
English / Cantonese
111 Minutes — August 6, 2008
Comedy / Crime / Thriller
David Gordon Green [George Washington; All The Real Girls; Snow Angels]

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PINEAPPLE EXPRESS is the subject of Cinebanter Podcast Number 57. After you’ve seen the movie, listen to the spoiler-filled review by Tassoula and I by clicking the play button right here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Show Description:
• 00:00 Intro
• 00:30 THE LAST MISTRESS Discussion
• Break
• 14:35 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 15:20 PINEAPPLE EXPRESS Discussion
• Break
• 34:35 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 35:15 The Last Five®
• Break
• 1:01:10 Show Notes/Credits and Outtakes

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Put This In Your Pipe And Smoke It.

Absolutely hilarious. The pop culture non-sequitors that the great James Franco throws out, almost like he’s whispering, are spot-on. The Seth Rogen character gets a bit tiring, and the ending with the seemingly endless shootout belongs in another movie, but whenever the two bro’s are together, everything clicks. And the ending at the diner has dialogue that is exactly what those characters would say. Exactly. Very funny.

6.4 Metacritic
8.3 IMDB
*** Berardinelli

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS

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2005

August 6, 2008
Netflix DVD
Canada / India
Hindi
117 Minutes – April 28, 2006
Drama / Romance
Deepa Mehta

In 1938 an 8-year-old girl is sent to live for the rest of her life in an ashram for widows when her elderly husband dies; there she witnesses the doomed love affair of a young widow who is forced into prostitution to earn money for the others.

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Lisa Ray & John Abraham

ON: Foreign

*** Halliwell’s
7.7 Metacritic
7.7 IMDB

WATER

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LAST TANGO IN PARIS
1972

August 4, 2008
Netflix DVD
Italy / France
French / English
129 Minutes — February 7, 1973
Drama / Romance
Bernardo Bertolucci [The Last Emperor; The Sheltering Sky; Little Buddha; Stealing Beauty; The Dreamers]
#222 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They Top 1000 Films Of All Time

Marlon Brando [A Streetcar Named Desire; The Wild One; On The Waterfront; Guys And Dolls; Mutiny On The Bounty; The Godfather; Superman; Apocalypse Now; A Dry White Season; The Freshman; Don Juan DeMarco]

A middle-aged man and a young French girl have a doomed love affair.

ON: Brando, Bertolucci

7.7 Metacritic
7.0 IMDB
*** Halliwell’s
**** Ebert
***^ Maltin

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2008

August 2, 2008
DVD (Thank You, Paul)
UK / Belgium
English / German
107 Minutes — February 8, 2008
Comedy / Crime / Drama
Martin McDonagh

Shoot First. Sightsee Later.

6.7 Metacritic
8.1 IMDB

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Written by Michael W. Cummins