Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Great Moments In... Realized Threats and Sincere Apologies

There was no way that I wouldn't post this whole sequence from A Fish Called Wanda, but it's in two parts - and, I must say, I prefer what I was forced to do by the lack of one unified clip, because both halves of the scene really are great.

Honestly, I can still remember the first time I watched this movie, and I recall howling with laughter throughout, especially this moment. Bless Cleese, Kline, and director Charles Crichton - I really need a good laugh today, they delivered beautifully, and I'm happy to share this clip, on the off chance that you need a good laugh, too:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Great Moments In... Personal Offense

I love A Fish Called Wanda. 1988's madcap crime film was dead-funny and had a superb cast. Cleese and Palin operating at full Monty Python levels of humor, Jamie Lee Curtis was great, and Kevin Kline... I'm not sure whether the Academy was voting for his character (Otto) or Kline's performance, but that is one Oscar win that I would never argue against. He's one of my favorite film roles ever, and the curse-riddled diatribe here is just one of the minor comedic miracles that Otto pulls off.

If you haven't seen the film, you should be slightly ashamed of yourself, and you should skip this entry and rent Wanda asap. I'm going to watch the movie some time this week, so the following scene has been on my mind:

to those of you who have seen AFCW, just know that I will post the continuation of that scene in a future GMI entry. A Fish Called Wanda kind of has a lot of great cinematic moments.

I have a little free time coming up, so expect Selma, The Lego Movie, Whiplash, Birdman, and several other reviews or double dips to pop up. I'll continue to go through some of 2014's high-profile films, as well as Carrie and a couple of others. I'm not sure whether I'll do all those and then start the TV reviews that I mentioned a few updates ago, or whether I'll alternate.

Just finishing up my 2014 overview, let alone those TV recommendations, will take this blog into April, which will be this site's 6th anniversary. I'll provide an update for when I think I'll actually quit writing here. In any case, I will - as usual - try to make it fun for all of us.

Half a Film Student

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It Follows Review

We open on a quiet suburban street. As a frantic, piercing music cue plays, a young woman bursts through a home’s front door, wearing only modest lingerie and shoes. She races up the road, and suddenly stops 40 feet away, looking back. A neighbor, unpacking groceries, asks if she needs help; the younger woman waves the neighbor off – before running in a full circle back towards the house, where her dad is now on the lawn, asking what’s wrong. Both figures disappear into the dark doorway and whatever lies beyond.

And then the young woman runs right the hell back out, gets into the car parked in the driveway, and burns rubber.

The opening to It Follows hooks you in the space of several rapid heartbeats, and the conclusion of the opener is equally engaging. As the story slowly unspools, the audience finds itself sinking into the tale, as slowly and inexorably as a person struggling in quicksand. Although it’s not a perfect horror film, writer/director David Robert Mitchell has crafted a legitimately scary, fun ride.

It seems like throwback cinema is all the rage these days. Guardians of the Galaxy had an Indiana Jones vibe throughout its opening sequence. Predestination felt like a callback to many stripped-down, no-frills sci-fi films, like Gattaca or 12 Monkeys. And The Guest hearkened back to 1980’s and 90’s stories about psychotic strangers who become tragically attached to normal people or families. That last film probably shares the most similarities with It Follows - and only in part because both possess a synth-heavy score that makes you think of John Carpenter’s highlight reel.

In fact, It Follows is so steeped in the work of yesteryear that it confused one of the friends who saw it with me. She arrived 10 minutes late, and so she didn’t see the woman at the beginning use a cell phone to make one frightened, desperate call. We had a long talk about the picture afterwards, and I had to reassure her that it was set in the present day. But my friend had a point: everyone’s clothing style seems pulled from the 70’s/80’s, the cars are almost all older models, and we don’t see another cell phone for the rest of IF’s running time. All I could think was “maybe Detroit’s suburban kids are behind in fashion, and can’t afford cell phones until they move out.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett is Gone

I would like to ask 2015 to stop killing people that I care for deeply. This is just terrible news. Terry Pratchett was a skilled writer with an incomparable wit, a vast imagination, and a work ethic that was superlative. And the world is surely less bright for his no longer being in it.

I haven't had time to write here (even to give Leonard Nimoy a proper send off), as I continue to watch one of my relatives die slowly and badly. I will try to take time soon to do some of the writing that I haven't been able to attend to.

But I should add that I am extra upset, as Terry was a brilliant person and he had been diagnosed a while back with premature Alzheimer's, which had an impact on his ability to physically write as well. As I now well know, there's nothing worse than when a person's mind is taken away from them. And, when his problem was first diagnosed, Terry had the style and good humor to break the news in a post that he titled "An Embuggerance." (I can't link to the original post, as Paul Kidby's site has likely crashed)

I love you, Terry, and I already miss you. Rest well.