Come on, you'd use that as a headline too, if you could. Anyway. Over at MSN Entertainment, in commemoration of his upcoming feting at the Golden Globes, I give the once-over to Morgan Freeman and his screen career, citing ten of his best pieces of work in chronological order. Remember when he was a real badass bad guy instead of a kind of lordly suave bad guy, as in more recent work such as Wanted or (God spare you) Lucky Number Slevin? If you don't, you really need to check the man out in Street Smart, from back in 1987, in which he costarred with Christopher Reeve. Damn.
Due to circumstances that at the time were beyond my control I have been compelled to remove the entire recent post pertaining to Carnage. In order to place circumstances back in my control, I have decided that from hereon in all comments will be moderated, and that this will be the case indefinitely. As most of the longtime readers here know, I prefer this not to be the case, and, well, I'm in too crappy a mood right now to say much more about it at this point. I'll be posting announcements of my remaining MSN Movies reviews over the next week and hope to finish the promised second installment of the Holiday Blu-ray "gift guide," but that's likely to be all until the New year. Thanks for your consideration.
So guess which movie DIDN'T make it on to the "50 Scariest Movies of All Time" feature I compiled and write up for MSN Movies' Parallel Universe? Yup, that's right, Island of Lost Souls. It had to be that one. Because I'm a fucking idiot. In my defense, I've long held that it's not a REAL "greatest" list unless it complains at least one completely bone-headed and inexcusable omission, and the omission of Souls, I would say, constitutes a particularly distinguished instance of such. FML, as the kids say. But hey, you know what DID make the list—the movie featuring the image above, which is silent, for heaven's sake! So I've still got some integrity left. Or something. Oh well. Again, FML, but try to enjoy the list, if you will, and yes, I know, these galleries are a real computer pain-in-the-ass.
So I was thinking of composing a post entitled " 'Theres' to which one really ought not go" in which I would take friendly but firm issue with Andrew O'Hehir's rather feckless speculation that maybe RKO had a point in mutilating The Magnificent Ambersons (a notion that one could say is almost too easy to disprove), and then pick apart certain points in Matt Singer's proposal concerning a critical parlor game for albums and its potential adaptation for films (extremely problematic in both cases, plus which, and this really can't be overstated, anyone who continues to promulgate the notion that "indie-minded filmmakers ike Steven Soderbergh take high profile gigs like Ocean's Eleven to off-set the costs of more personal projects like" blah-blah-blah literally does not know what he or she is talking about), but then I thought, hell, I'm still on ostensible vacation, I shouldn't even be reading this stuff let alone starting debates/fights over it, and so back to Catch-22 it is. (Can you believe I've never read it in its entirety before? Weird, right?) In the meantime, my review of Sarah's Key, which is really not bad as Holocaust-themed-pictures-with-Harvey-Weinstein's-name-attached-to-them go, is up at MSN Movies, and the wi-fi at my undisclosed location is such that I'm not gonna risk trying to put up a post as big as my July Blu-ray Consumer Guide, so see you some time Friday at the earliest...
Posting's going to be a bit infrequent over the next week or so, as I'm off doing...stuff. Actually, a July Blu-ray Consumer Guide is tantalizingly close to completion (and a good thing, too, because my fucking TV just blew up again), and if I have the wherewithal/time it might go up after the weekend, and that should hold you for the better part of the week...and I'll have some reviews going up that I'll let you know about...but in the meantime I'll be a bit on the less active side. If only the timing had been better, I would have taken up Lawrence Block's offer (proffered on his Twitter feed a little while back) to guest-blog for any one smart enough to take him up on it until he got his own joint going. But he does, now, have his own joint going, which you ought to check out. Have a delightful weekend!
The color turns up with practically you-can-set-your-watch-by-it regularity in simulated lens flares throughout J.J. Abrams' Super 8, and this annoyed several of my colleagues at a recent screening, and while I can understand their objection, I wasn't all that bothered by it, in part because I do find it such a strangely soothing hue. In any event, I didn't have the opportunity to comment on it in my review of the film for MSN Movies, so I thought I'd bring it up here. Also this week at MSNM, my review of The Trip, and, not quite a month short of July, a gallery of iconic American movie characters, for which, in the end, there was no room for either Norman Bates or Harry Callahan. Which state of affairs I discuss in a "related video" with "Film Fan" host Sami Jarroush, whilst trying not to actually melt, myself. Enjoy.
So. To return to my problems: how fucking busy I am? Pretty fucking busy. This morning I was thinking, "I've gotta do more with the blog, maybe I should go back to my last batch of notes for a Blu-ray disc Consumer Guide, see if I can spruce 'em up a little, run with that, and then really buckle down and put together a FRESH guide." So I got home and looked at my last batch of notes and discovered that A) they really were very sketchy notes, and while I understood exactly what was required to make them into actual "entries," I absolutely did not have the time to expand/refine/distill them into such and B) the discs in question are pretty, well, out of date.
And, BUT. This is, after all, a blog, not a professional endeavor, which means I can do pretty much whatever the hell I want, and as I'm kind of neurotic (not cripplingly, but kind of) about starting up one particular task without having completed a related prior particular task, I thought, maybe I'll just put up the notes, sketchy as they are, because they might amuse some readers who are interested in my "process" such as it is. So that's what I'm gonna do. These are the notes, exactly as I left them, only with a little formatting and the names of the discs' labels added. An further explanatory note is at bottom.
Fall Blu-ray CG Notes
Alien BOX (Fox): Alien, really fabulous…
Space is boring/2001
Good work with the nuances of lighting, blue and purple flashlights and emergency lights…
Antichrist (Criterion) More impressionistic, less “sharp” than I remember it. A very burnished look that’s kind of video looking any way. B-
Beauty and the Beast (Disney): Not as revelatory as, say, Sleeping Beauty, but damn fine looking in any case.
Black Orpheus (Criterion):Once the sine qua non of color! Looks lovely! Not garish! Very strong. The settings..mountains, beauty, etc. A
Chloe (Sony):Man, Julianne Moore has a lot of freckles. And you can count them. B
Cronos: Very clean and detailed. Beautiful.
Date Night (Sony):Looks good, fakey sets/Kind of painful/dopey
A Fistful of Dollars (Italian) (Ripley's Home Video) Superb! A+
Grindhouse (Vivendi):Great looking scratches! "If he’s so in love with me, why did he fuck Darryl Hannah’s stand-in?"
Humanoids From The Deep (Shout! Factory): Looks EXACTLY like it did at the Plaza! Better, even! Awesome Alien ripoff ending! A-
Inception (Warner): A
Night of the Hunter (Criterion): Really beautiful, every shot counts and is gorgeous/Cortez’s slowness cost him Chinatown!
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Kino Lorber): A fucking gem! Just beautiful, not overdone.Great production design.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Universal):Nifty
Seven Samurai (Criterion): Nifty
Sex and Lucia (Palm) Looks like…it was shot on video! Yes! It was! Looks good, but still…looks like it was shot…on video!
The Sound of Music (Fox): Beautiful! Lovely throughout!
Vigilante (Blue Underground):Icky!
"I’ve never been through anything like this before, so you’ll just have to tell me what to do."
Make stuff up in terms of procedure.
Looks nifty though.
"At this point in Joe’s life, he began to…put it this way…drink too much"
Notes on Notes: Yes, I know I used the term "sine qua non" incorrectly. Sorry about that. "The Plaza" was the actual grindhouse theater where I first saw Humanoids From The Deep. It was the first and only time I brought my then-girlfriend to the venue. A curse-filled knife-fight broke out a few rows in front of us, and was interrupted when one of the participants paused and looked at my then-girlfriend and said, "'Scuse the language, miss." I am not making this up. Overall this was a pretty good-looking batch of discs, the notable exception being the too-boosted Date Night, which had other problems as well. Blu-ray mavens ought to be well-pleased with the remainder. Absolute musts, as in no-"taste"-exceptions-allowed, are the Italian Fistful, Night of the Hunter, Seven Samurai, and Videodrome, for which my notes are admittedly VERY sketchy. Musts in the "if you like the genre" category are the Alien box, Beauty/Beast, Cronos, Grindhouse, Humanoids, Inception, Pandora, Scott Pilgrim, Sex, Sound, Vigilante. The rest is elective.
There. Now I can maybe put together a "proper" Guide before June. Lemme pull out that Criterion Blow Out...
My pals at MSN Movies had an amusing notion for a Tax Day special feature—a roundup on those whom several critics and zeitgeist observers consider "The Most Taxing People In Movies." I gave myself a particular challenge here, choosing a figure I am instinctively sympathetic to, but have been disappointed by during the past, um, decade. My selection/justification is here. Others surround my entry. Enjoy! Agree or disagree! Get angry! Or not! And so on.