Posts Tagged “6.4”


July 10, 2009
Netflix DVD
USA / Canada / Netherlands
84 Minutes — July 13, 2007
Steve Buscemi [Trees Lounge; Homicide: Life On The Street; Oz; The Sopranos; 30 Rock; Nurse Jackie]

Buscemi is a journalist who feels he’s slumming by being assigned to interview starlet Sienna Miller instead of attending some kind of important press conference in Washington DC. Miller would like any interviewer to at least have a cursory knowledge of her career. He’s stubborn and cocky. She’s bratty and conceited. She’s also beautiful and “always on”, even in the restaurant where the interview begins. Within minutes she storms out of the eatery to face the photogs while he gets a cab back home. A plot device keeps them together for the next 80 minutes. We learn about both of them and whether or not they are really speaking to each other or “acting” like they are.

Miller is someone I’ve never seen before and I know nothing of her background. She impressed me by being both brash and self-assured, but then frail. She is sexy, then despicable. Buscemi is someone we all know can do this kind of role in his sleep, but in this case there is something from his own life that keeps intruding into his interaction with Miller.

The film is basically the two of them talking to each other. The film claims that one of them has to “win” the conversation by exposing less of themselves while learning the most about the other one. I’m not sure we learn about either of them. But I wasn’t bored at any point and Miller’s loft is one of those dream places everyone wishes they had.

I feel like this story will evaporate from my mind any minute.

6.4 Metacritic
6.9 IMDB

Interview @ Amazon


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June 20, 2009
Netflix DVD
French / English
100 Minutes — February 16, 2007
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Daniele Thompson

I still don’t know why this film showed up in my mailbox. I obviously added it to my Netflix Queue, but for the first time, I have no idea why. It didn’t star anyone I’ve seen anything else from. The director was new to me. I don’t love Paris-based films. I don’t add things because Netflix says “I also might enjoy…” So I’m not sure what happened, it may have even been a mistake. Having said that, it was an enjoyable story about a single block on a street and the stories behind a play, a piano recital, and an auction all taking place on the same night. One spunky “amelie-esque” waitress is the connection to all three stories. All of the characters are wealthy and attractive, but even rich people have a hard time being happy all the time.

The actress in the play, feels like she’s slumming by appearing on a soap opera when all she really wants is to be cast in the newest Sydney Pollack film. The pianist would rather play in shorts and flip flops to a group of children or hospital patients than tour nonstop for rich audiences. The old man who is auctioning off his priceless art collection is trying to stay young in the arms of a beautiful woman who is open about only loving his money.

It’s good, it’s french, and the main waitress character is adorable. What’s not to like?

6.4 Metacritic
6.9 IMDB


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May 26, 2009
May 31, 2007
June 20, 2003
May 27, 2001
October 18, 2000
June 12, 2000
No Dialogue
45 Minutes
Drama / Romance / Short
Farhad Yawari

Lara…..Julia Brendler
Jakob…..Marco Hofschneider [Immortal Beloved]

At least the sixth time I’ve seen this short film about a girl in a mental institution who only feels free when she dreams she’s swimming with dolphins. Though a German production, there is no dialogue. This fact shocks my high school students to whom I give extra credit if they stay awake for its entire 45 minute running time. The music is sweet and complimentary, often providing a form of dialogue which may be more hardwired than spoken language. The colors are bright and important–the girl’s room is white, except for the blue (water) dress she wears and her beloved gold goldfish. I’m probably too close to this movie to objectively grade it. I fall for it hook, line, and sinker every time I see it. I love the girl dancing with the single drop of rain on her arm, I love the tender way the boy holds the shell up to her ear so she can hear the ocean, I love the drawing of the sea he gives her, I love how when she dances, the whole world dances along with her.

Who wouldn’t want to swim with the dolphins like Lara does?

Still the greatest 45 minute film I’ve ever seen.

Previously Written:
I swear I have to watch this every year or so just to remember what can be done with sound and images. This film fills me up with happiness. Still touching and beautiful.

Previously written:
Surely the greatest 40 minute film in history. No dialogue. Beautiful music. Spectacular cinematography. This is not a nature film, but the story of a young woman in a mental institution who can only feel free when she dreams of swimming with dolphins. It is pure magic from start to finish. It is never slow. This was my fourth time watching and it effects me the same way each time. The colors are fabulous, the young woman (Julia Brendler) an absolute doll, and the feelings this film expresses do not require any character to speak. It’s on a Film Fest DVD which is well worth the price for this short alone.

6.4 IMDB

Film-Fest DVD – Issue 3 – Toronto @ Amazon


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April 17, 2009
DVD — Thanks, Nazhat S.
90 Minutes — October 3, 2008
Comedy / Drama / Music / Romance
Peter Sollett [Raising Victor Vargas]

6.4 Metacritic
6.9 IMDB

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist @ Amazon


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December 24, 2008
English / Dari / Arabic / Russian
102 Minutes — December 21, 2007
Biography / Drama
Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin [A Few Good Men; Malice; The American President; Sports Night; The West Wing; Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip]
Mike Nichols [The Graduate; Catch-22; Silkwood; Biloxi Blues; Working Girl; Postcards From The Edge; Regarding Henry; Wolf; The Birdcage; Primary Colors; Wit; Angels In America; Closer]

Story of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. A trifecta of acting royalty play the main parts. Tom Hanks is Charlie Wilson, a real-life congressman from Texas. Julia Roberts plays a weathly socialite, also from Texas. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a CIA guy who lacks a single diplomatic bone in his body. He is barely hanging on to his job. Wilson is in position to pass almost any funding through his several House committees. Because he deals in covert operations, his committee never has to tell the rest of the House what they’re voting on. That means that as the amounts get higher, the votes continue to pass.

Wilson is a playboy, coke user, drunkard Congressman who sees a report by Dan Rather (while in a hot tub with a bevy of naked beauties) on the Soviet invasion. The cold war is in full effect and Wilson is inspired by the goat herders who are providing quite a fight to the mighty Soviet army. He is encouraged by Roberts to visit a refugee camp which causes him to take up the fight on behalf of the Afghanis in ernest.

This all sounds pretty boring and politically wonky, but due to the screenplay, written by uber dialogue king Aaron Sorkin, the story never wavers. I’m sure they’ve made the story a bit more positive than real life, but it sure seemed like fun to covertly kick Russian ass. I’ve done some research and it is pretty true-to-life. Wilson’s office is staffed by a collection of assistants and secretaries who wouldn’t be out of place in a 1970s soft-porn movie. But he is impossible not to like.

He charms Israeli Jews and Egyptian Muslims with equal aplomb, sometimes using the charms of a “non-traditional” belly dancer to encourage the two enemies to join together against the evil communists.

It is impossible to watch this without thinking about modern-day Afghanistan. Much like the US cut-and-run first gulf war where we kicked Iraq out of Kuwait but then didn’t support the Iraqis who wanted to overthrow Saddam, we helped kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan, but then left a power vacuum that a man named Osama bin Laden took advantage of.

The scenes between Hoffman and Hanks rival the best give-and-take conversations that Sports Night or The West Wing had. I was smiling in amazement and recognition of Sorkin’s hand.

If there’s a major problem with the film, it’s that the story is so simplified–it seems so easy for an inspired congressman to change history–that it doesn’t ring particularly true. Like West Wing depicted a Washington DC where people were mostly good, this film shows everyone working together in service to beat the Russians. Which happened, but it must have been messier.

ON: Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman

6.9 Metacritic
7.4 IMDB

Charlie Wilson’s War @ Amazon


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


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:

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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


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


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Written by Michael W. Cummins