Movie 366 – April

April 3, 2012

So we enter April. Oo-er vicar! I’ve fallen quite behind on this. My wife had a baby at the end of January and that turns life upside down. Then there’s the fact that I love film. What’s that you say? How can that be an issue?

Simply put, I find movie to be an art, and my burning out on this project came from the production line like mentality of not savoring a movie. Rather like going to a top restaurant and wolfing down the food rather than eating slowly and savoring every morsel. Once I realised that I found my enthusiasm for the project return. After all the likes of Roger Ebert, a personal hero of mine, have to watch lots of movies. There’s no shame in it, and it’s not like it’s my only chance to watch them. It will just have to wait until next year to watch them again. (Or of course I can watch again, for fun, but take away an opportunity of watching something not viewed this year).

So with that in mind, we continue with Movie 366, quite possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever attempted. I’ve seen other places try and watch X number of movies, but the ones I’ve seen have never given themselves a deadline of when to do it. By making this Movie 366 I have rather made a rod for my own back… Now on with the movies… (He said, heading to Netflix to find the first one of the month).

April 3rd

Godzilla 2000 – In the 50’s, 60’s and most of the 70’s, men in rubber suits were allowable. Godzilla (Gojira) inspired a plethora of men to dress up in rubber monster suits and smash the crap out of scale models of cities. Usually Tokyo. I’ve not watched a good monster movie since Cloverfield and I’ve not seen an actual Godzilla movie in 20+ years. This movie was great fun. No mucking about, the G man appears within the first couple of minutes. Then a big rock is discovered. To go into more detail would spoil it. The effects are woeful in spots, and that adds to the charm of it all, and the big sequences of Godzilla squashing Japanese buildings just wouldn’t be as cool if it were CG. Sadly the version on Netflix here in Canada was dubbed rather than subtitled, but the dub was pretty good barring the occasional hideous acting. I think more monster movies will figure in the next few days. Not just Godzilla but also The Host which I have not seen in several years. 4/5

April 4th

Margin Call – Set over one night, this film follows the crisis management at a financial firm on Wall Street after they realise they are in deep for losses worth more than the entire company. For a movie that is almost entirely dialogue based, the cinematography is superb. Of course with Manhattan as a backdrop it was hard to go wrong, but it really does have exquisite shots for a film that could have been very boring visually. The financial aspect is very complex and, if I’m honest, more than a bit over my head, but it was still very enjoyable and you’ll be able to grasp the basics of it. A great cast including Zachary Quinto, the always awesome Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci (who I am starting to become a huge fan of) made this is a good piece of financial drama, a genre which is sadly underserved. Most likely because it’s hard to make it interesting. Off the top of my head I can only think of Wall Street, Boiler Room and Too Big To Fail. (The latter being an HBO drama.) Worth watching if you don’t want explosions or romance in your diet for a change. 3/5

April 7th

Midnight Run – Never seen this, and a friend recommended it. Really fun film, with Robert De Niro before he stopped caring, and Charles Grodin who has seemingly made one film since the mid 90’s. De Niro is a bounty hunter sent to bring Grodin’s dodgy accountant to Los Angeles. Wacky shenanigans ensue involving the FBI and the mafia. They just don’t make movies like this anymore. That’s a huge shame as they’re a lot of fun, but I guess because there’s no sequel potential, no merchandizing etc… They just won’t bother. Well worth your time. 4/5

April 11th

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop – Right before I got sick in 2010, Conan O’Brien had 2010 go a bit wrong too. After five months hosting The Tonight Show, NBC gave him the shaft and handed the show back to conniving unfunny bastard Jay Leno. (Seriously, read Bill Carter’s books. Leno has a habit of this.) As part of the severing of ties, Conan was legally prohibited from being on television, radio or the internet. So he decided to go on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. This is behind the scenes from conception, until the end of the tour. It’s a fascinating look at what Conan is like. A tremendous performer who really can’t stop. He doesn’t seem to know how. He gets angry at having to do so many meet and greets, but does them with a smile. I find backstage stuff fascinating, and have always been a fan of Conan since I first heard of it in the mid 90’s when I moved this side of the Atlantic. To see him at this level of raw emotion and so unguarded makes compelling viewing. Maybe I’m strange but I’d rather watch 90 minutes of this than the actual show it was about, and that is in no way a comment on his show, which looked hilarious. 5/5

April 14th

Titanic – It’s the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and I thought it was a good time to revisit the highest grossing movie of all time. (It’s higher than Avatar if you remove the 3D “tax”). The movie gets a lot of stick for the love story, but having watched it again I have to say it’s no worse than any other love story I’ve seen. It’s just played out against one of the most historic disasters in maritime history. It’s still a good movie, and the portrayal of the sinking is still heartbreaking. The movie would be improved greatly, and I believe a fan edit of such exists, if all the present day stuff was excised and the Rose/Jack story was left on its own. No Gloria Stuart. (Admittedly that means losing the amazing shots fading from Winslet to her) DEFINITELY no bloody Bill Paxton, who I will never, ever like outside of Aliens and Weird Science. Billy Zane sleepwalks through the film as the malodorous Cal. David Warner plays a dick as he seemingly always does. It’s wallpaper to fill the cracks until we hit the iceberg, an event which is still chilling to watch. One of my favourite shots of any film occurs in this film, when a flare is fired, and we cut to a very far away shot of the stricken vessel alone in the night. Incredible. Cameron needs work on his dialogue, but visually, there are few who can match him. 5/5

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