Sunday, September 30, 2007

Takes A Crane to Pick Me Up

I have vague ideas of getting myself back on a semi-normal schedule sometime soon, and writing on a more frequent basis (and on subjects more diverse than "boy, I'm busy" and "I read a book" and "Tomas Kloucek - how about that guy?"). But I'm not quite there yet. In the meantime, I've seen several movies semi-recently. Perhaps you'd be interested in what I thought about them?

* "The Asphalt Jungle" -- watched this during my first period of noir fascination, back in college, but it didn't make much of an impact on me. This time around, it did. Sympathetic characters and broodingly shot; I'd always questioned "Asphalt Jungle's" inclusion in the noir pantheon, but don't any more.

* "Out of the Past" -- This one, though, I'm skeptical about. Maybe I just watched it too close to AJ. Good performances, but the plot's kind of nonsensical, and as cool as Robert Mitchum is, his character just seems way too apathetic to actually be motivated as he is.

* "Hero" -- Asian sword flicks aren't really my thing, but this was fun. Silly, but gorgeous -- fun to watch. Speaking of this -- I thought this was the movie I've occasionally seen in bars, where two guys continue fighting as the seasons change around them, some dead girl comes back to life, etc. Anyone know what that is?

* "Where the Buffalo Roam" -- I'd always wanted to see this, because of a youthful fascination with Hunter S. Thompson, and hell, Bill Murray's in it -- despite a gazillion bad reviews, how could it go wrong?

The answer: it's the worst goddamn movie of all time. "1941" was leagues above this. Maybe the second half turns amazing; I sent that sucker back to Netflix as soon as I could.

* "The Conformist" -- Oh, now, this was a treat. For some reason I didn't expect much from this, but it's one of the most visually compelling movies I've seen. The use of color ... shadows and light ... Paris and Rome cityscapes ... all are just stunning and inventive. Everything down to the way the characters move seems extremely well-thought out, and it's almost hypnotic. I don't know much about film as an art (and I'm not about to start learning -- I have enough things that I've half-assedly taught myself a little about), but I can pretty securely proclaim this as a stunner. A couple scenes, one minor (Giulia and Anna window-shopping as Clerici trails along behind) and one major (Anna at the car window) were sufficiently affecting to stay with me since I saw them.

Ok, that's all I've seen lately (oh, and several "Arrested Development" DVDs -- apparently I'm the last person on earth to discover that show is great). Join us next time for "Greg at the movies"!


The Roughnecks Guild said...

Oh man, The Conformist--I waited years for that sucker to come out on DVD (all you could get before was a catastrophically dubbed version on VHS) and snapped it up the day of release. Beautiful, witty, menacing, visually opulent, it's still the best thing Bertolucci ever did. The long sequence in the dance hall, with its overlapping layers of mendacity and desire, still takes my breath away. One caveat: you should see this on the big screen. It loses something, though certainly not everything, when the picture is scaled down to the size of a throw pillow.

The Roughnecks Guild said...

As for that other movie, where the two guys keep fighting as the seasons pass--was it House of Flying Daggers?

gsdgsd13 said...

Believe me, if I ever get to see "The Conformist" in the theater, I'll leap at the chance -- as amazed as I was by seeing it on my television, I'd imagine some of those scenes would be breathtaking on the large screen.

And yep, it appears that the other movie was House of Flying Daggers. Somehow, I've seen that particular bit multiple times on different bar stools, but not any of the rest of the movie.