Saturday, May 26, 2007

What I've Been Watching Lately

Several movies in the last couple weeks:

  • McCabe and Mrs. Miller -- I saw this first about 12-13 years ago, and I was prompted to watch it again as part of my campaign to watch or re-watch all of Robert Altman's films -- a campaign upon which I embarked after his death. It's kind of like an anti-Western -- the hero spends a bunch of time avoiding the showdown and sneaking around in the snow. I watched Altman's Popeye a little while ago, and they both had elaborate, quirky sets that almost acted as characters themselves. On McC&MM, Altman points out in the commentary that the because the story was about people building a town in the old West, that he got the carpenters who were building the actual set to dress in period clothing and do their work, and just incorporated that work into the background of the film itself.
  • Boxcar Bertha -- This was an early Martin Scorcese film. Now I am a huge Scorcese fan, and I certainly will not say that I am dissatisfied with having viewed this film -- It was pretty good. I just don't think it was all that great. Like McC&MM, the railroad was the bad guy.
  • Smokin' Aces -- Kicked fuckin' ass! Kind of Pulp-Fictionish, but not exactly, and this movie just gets started and does not stop! Here are some samples of the Smokin' Aces comic books. Here's the director's blog, and he says there might be some prequels in the works. Can't wait!
  • Superman Returns -- I loved the overall feel of this movie; It was very loyal to the first two films in the Superman franchise of the late 70s and early 80s. I didn't see it until just now, and I kind of wish I had caught it on the big screen. I loved the way they incorporated the original John Williams score so thoroughly, and how they did the retro-futuristic effects on the opening credits. The plot... well, you know -- the villainous Lex Luthor is out to rule the world, kill Superman, etc. But that's what the plot is supposed to be. This is definitely a situation where the form of the film is at least as important as the plot, if not more so, and I think SR realizes that.
  • LBNL, (I haven't watched them all yet) -- We went to Wal-Mart yesterday for kitty litter, and I saw that they were selling all four of the first Star Trek movies for $7.50 each! And I don't mean some bare bones garbage, I mean double-disc, director's version, collectors' editons of each! Boo-yah! I watched ST:TMP late last night (for the first time in many years) and I was struck by how 70s it was. I saw it in the theater when I was about 11, and I remember being like "Huh? When are they going to do something?" Much more abstract than the following installments. (Update, 11:07 PM, Monday 5/28/07 -- I have now watched them all, and over the next couple weeks will go back and catch the extras and commentaries. Keep an eye out for ex-Go-Go Jane Wiedlin in IV!)

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