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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Haiku Review: ‘Midnight in Paris’

August 16, 2011

 Blonde-haired, broken-nosed
Alter-ego loves his jazz
And we smile, cry

I should say right off the bat that I’m not nearly as familiar with Woody Allen’s films as I’d like to be. Like everyone, I’ve seen the staples — Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters — but not much beyond that, certainly not enough to make any claim toward “Woody literacy.” In this case I am practically Woody illiterate! More than a few podcasts and articles I’ve caught in the last few months have seemed to go to great pains trying to place his latest, Midnight in Paris, in the filmmaker’s overall creative spectrum. Better than Vicky Cristina Barcelona? Not quite Zelig? (The guy’s made something like three movies a year for the last four decades, so the rearranging here is obviously hard.) I’m not the person to tell you, the Woody expert, where this one fits. But what I CAN tell you is that short of re-watching Toy Story 3, it’s probably the most satisfying movie you’ll see this summer.

Allons-y!

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Growing up Muggle: The ‘Harry Potter’ Years (Part One)

July 28, 2011

For lots of 20-somethings who speak different dialects of English, this summer marks something like the final death blow to our childhood: the official, no-effing-around end of the Harry Potter book and film series. Those unhinged among us will always have their Quidditch matches to attend and Dobby/Aragog slash fiction to write, but for the purposes of CANON — of JK Rowling’s pure, un-besmirched vision — well, we’re done.

(Moment of silence)

The last written page was published four years ago, so it’s really just the movies now — pushed past the financial collapse and Betty White reanimation — whose ending we come to mourn. But considering how closely the movies have mirrored both the literary evolution of the book series (improving with each new entry) and the none-too-significant “waiting game” that played out between releases, the cut feels somehow deeper. More significant. It’s not just the story that’s come to an end, but the enveloping Harry Potter experience: ten years of reading, waiting, predicting, discussing, watching, and analyzing that occupied a unique time in a lot of our lives…a time that, let’s be real, can’t and won’t happen again.

If you’re up for it, please…keep reading.

Haiku Review: ‘Win Win’

July 8, 2011

‘Bridesmaids’ you may still be able to catch in theaters; ‘Win Win’ DEFINITELY not. So…

Giamatti and
Verisimilitude and
Cannavale. …Sold!

Making good slice-of-life movies these days has to be difficult. On one side of the business you’ve got the Academy reiterating how important it is for your movie to be British (and about the trouble expressing emotions when you’re British); on the other side, nerds — so many goddamn nerds! — dictating creative policy from their parents’ basements and/or Gamestop. “I get that the character’s an accountant, but wouldn’t it be more captivating and, like, post-modern if he were an accountant…to superheroes?” Irony of ironies considering the film on the board today, it’s generally a LOSE LOSE scenario out there for any movie without a glossy hook.

More TBS Very Funny riffs on the title after the jump!

Haiku Review: ‘Bridesmaids’

July 5, 2011

Six funny ladies
Struggle against Apatow
Women be poopin’

I really, really liked Bridesmaids. Who wouldn’t? There’s practically nothing to dislike! It features 1) probably the most number of funny women ever on screen at the same time (two of whom are SNL hall-of-famers), 2) a rich, emotionally resonant story about friendship and self-worth and 3) an Irish cop, drinking. But there’s a weird sort of bipolarity lurking beneath the film’s surface, vacillating for two hours between the “female Hangover” proclamations of the marketing campaign (at right: “these ladies just don’t give a fuuuuu–“) and a quieter, maybe even melancholy story buried under scenes of women shitting in sinks. Not that those two tastes (??) can’t coexist — producer Judd Apatow has built an entire career on their combination — but that in Bridesmaids, it never feels all that harmonious. There’s the movie this was sold as (and pushed toward)…and the movie it seems afraid to be.

Intrigued? Keep reading!

Checking In on the Very Real ‘Candyland’ Movie

May 24, 2011

There was a time not long ago, say 2008, when despite the continued existence of goodness assassin Michael Bay, jokes about Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy were still sort of funny. I mean, they wouldn’t really make a Candyland movie. No way! Even the least artistically-minded schlock-king in Hollywood (read: whoever made Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a name I refuse to look up) would turn up his nose at the prospect of “adapting” a board game designed for three- and four-year-olds, with characters like “Lord Licorice,” into a movie of ANY stripe. It’s too dumb; spits on the graves of cinema’s pioneers with maybe too much malice. Three years ago, we could still laugh at the utter ridiculousness of the possibility. Hahahahaha!

The time for laughter is OVER. Candyland is now a very real movie, being written with very real words. Rapture false alarms be damned, we are clearly in for a very real End of Days.

The Apocalypse illuminated, after the jump!

Haiku Review: ‘Inglourious Basterds’

April 3, 2011

I promised myself that I’d one day get around to reviewing this movie (for whose benefit I DON’T KNOW) and now, nearly two years worth of days later, that time has come. My parents could have had no idea how much I’d take the term “late bloomer” to heart.

Mature filmmaking
In just 9-10 perfect scenes.
(With room for scalping!)

Way back in 2009 I said, when it might have been a timely claim, that Up was the best movie of the summer. This was before I caught Inglourious Basterds, which turned out in fact to be the best movie…wait for it…of the YEAR. I’d by lying to say that I was eagerly awaiting this one’s release. Based on the trailer — which heavily emphasizes the QUENTIN TARANTINO-NESS of it all — and also the simple fact that this was a revenge movie about scalping Nazis, I thought it might be at most fun, and at worst Kill Bill with swastikas. Suffice it to say Basterds turned out to be a wildly different movie than the one I (and probably a lot of people) was expecting, and definitely for the better. In place of what most of us assumed would be a patchwork homage to old war movies and spaghetti westerns was instead a deeply original, thoughtful film. One that, while still embracing QT’s beloved hyper-violence, transcends its premise — and maybe its promise — to become a genuine classic.

Keep reading!

Haiku Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1’

March 31, 2011

Four months. Sue me.

Running, tears, Nick Drake.
Magical teens meet Zach Braff?
I mean, it’s still good.

With very nearly the same beat-for-beat literary evolution of the books, the Harry Potter film series has grown from mildly diverting popular entertainment in its earlier entries to thoughtful, sometimes challenging CINEMA as we near the end. The acting improvements alone are worth a full navel-gazing essay, but the changing color palettes, source material revisions, butterbeer references — it’s a series that’s come into its own in all the right ways, and ten years from the starting line is no longer that far from Lord of the Rings in quality. #5, Order of the Phoenix, remains unquestionably (unquestionably means “this is the right answer,” Alfonso Cuaron fans) the best of the bunch but with the release of Deathly Hallows, Part 1…it may have found some competition.

Accio Review or whatever!

Pop Culture Nostalgia: A National Concern

October 29, 2010

I’m gonna strap on this guitar here and just JAM for a second. Feel free to pick up that bass and join in!

Leafing through my “Junk” feed on Google Reader this morning, as I do every morning, I clicked on a post featuring fan-made Star Wars posters. This is pretty standard — the sites I subscribe to means new Star Wars posters pretty much every day — and in most cases, something I look forward to. The Internet has only democratized creativity, to the point where anyone, anywhere can share their work and expect some kind of feedback (even if it’s from a family member). A good thing! But then Glass-Half-Empty Henning perked up, remembered some questionable developments of the past few months, and considered the posters in another context. An ALARMING context. The bullet points came all too quickly:

– Back to the Future celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release, videogame, and…Playboy spread.
– The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 35 years old, recreated for no real reason on Glee. (Editor’s note: …And it is — shockingly! — still NOT VERY GOOD.)
– The Sound of Music (45!) cast reunited on Oprah. Because that’s just something the people want? Okay.

It only gets worse after the jump!

BDA: The Alamo Drafthouse Rules (10/6/10)

October 7, 2010

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS is lighting up my next three days like an alternative music Christmas tree, so I figured I’d bang out 1-2 “Barfoed Does America” posts today before going Internet-silent (dubious claim!). The catch? An emphasis on documentation over quality and polish; reportage over…good writing. (Read: fast and loose typing.) Why you’re still reading is anyone’s guess, as I’ve basically just told you that what follows is subpar Lifting Fog…but that’s on you, pal. Thanks for your support!

We are all humans here, and therefore have all been to the movies. That’s EVERYONE — even jerkbags who say “I don’t go to the movies.” Even poor people who really cannot afford to go to the movies. We all go! And we all love it!

But for as long as movie theaters have been in existence, so too have complaints about the movie-going experience. From the old standbys (ceaseless chatter; crying babies) to the new standards (“Love in this Club” ringtones), the drawbacks have become as much a (begrudgingly) accepted part of going to the movies as pre-show trailers. We deal, because we have to.

There is a theater deep in the heart of Texas that says NO WE DON’T.

(Which you can read about by clicking this link!)

Haiku Review: ‘Toy Story 3’

August 31, 2010

In one week we’ve managed to cut our lag time from three down to TWO MONTHS. Imagine what we might do next week!

You’ll love this movie
Unless you’re, like, a Nazi
…You’re not a Nazi?

Rotten Tomatoes may be to Metacritic what MySpace is to Facebook (does an analogy still work when none of the items is tangible and all are pointless?), but it’s worth noting when a movie has achieved 99% “Freshness” and certified crazypants Armond White is the only one offering a bad review. If you can’t tell by the title of this post (or the picture to the left with the toys and the giant yellow “3”), Toy Story 3 is that movie. Fifteen years after the release of the first Toy Story and the dawn, really, of the CG animation era, Pixar has once again created a film that manages to be both technically impressive and emotionally satisfying at the same time. In about five minutes it puts to shame every animated (and most non-animated) sequels ever made. It’s a part three that was never really called for but perhaps most remarkably…makes you feel it needed to be made.

To infinity and beyond (the jump for the rest of the review)!