Monday, February 20, 2012

Blog News 2/20/12 & Blogging Around

The Oscars are finally coming and well, I don't think there's a lot of excitement happening. Let's be honest, the lack of really surprising and eclectic nominees don't make it very much fun. No Drive, no Melancholia, no We Need to Talk About Kevin, no Shame just makes it dull. I just hope there's some live Oscar-chat thing happening that I can attend with the rest of the blogosphere.

The one thing that might prevent me from attending is the fact that I've been dealing with Internet connection issues for the past few weeks. After having to get a new router from AT&T (scumbags) and learning that I'm on an outdated system for hi-speed wireless Internet (as I'm now connected to Ethernet). It's been a downer-of-sorts for me as I'm unable to download films that I want to see and such that I can't find on DVD, TV, or anywhere. Even films that aren't playing at my local theater that I want to see as I'm trying to find screeners. Fortunately, I've been spending a lot of time just writing and working to just to have something to do as I'm currently starting work on the next essays for my Auteurs and Favorite Film series.

Speaking of the latter, what happened to the essay on Secretary? Long story short, I fucked up. I spent more than a month writing the damn thing and just as I felt it was in near completion. I looked at it and I didn't like what I was writing. I admit to over-writing and writing very long pieces. With that essay, it went way over what I've expected as I felt there was too much about the film's plot and analysis that got over-explained. It got to the point where it wasn't going anywhere as I'm abandoning it till later in the year. That's when I chose to move forward and do the essay on Chungking Express which surprisingly took about a week to do.

That shocked me as I learned what to do and what not to do. I don't have to explain too many things and don't have to reveal a lot about plot points. I just go with the flow and see what I can do. I guess reading all of those essays on those Criterion Collection DVDs have helped me out. I've found an angle where I can write about a film and simplify what I want to say without being overly-pretentious and drawn-out. This new approach is something I'm going to do with my essay on Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom which I will still write for next month as well as Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

The Auteurs essays are an entirely different beast where I can take my time on each film but also try to find various projects these directors have done outside of the medium. They usually take a few weeks to a month for me to do depending on the filmmaker and the films that person has made. As I'm going to do the Coen Brothers for March, there's only three films I haven't reviewed from them. Intolerable Cruelty is a film I've seen but don't really remember as I'm going to revisit it while The Hudsucker Proxy and The Ladykillers are the only ones I haven't seen. Everything else is pretty much covered as I will hope to have it late in March. Well, that is all for what's going on in my two blogs.

There's a lot that's going around in the blogosphere that I've been happy to read. First is James @ Cinema Sights who has been watching a couple of films by Vincent Gallo in Bufallo '66 (love that film) and The Brown Bunny (it was OK but I want my money back after discovering that Gallo's cock was a fake).

There's a couple of great reviews of Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin that I think people should read. One from Courtney @ Big Thoughts from a Small Mind and Ryan @ The Matinee.

Dan @ Dan the Man's Movie Reviews presents his Top 10 Films of 2011 which is actually impressive.

Bonjour @ Bonjour Tristesse has been watching a few Dario Argento films that has me interested in the Italian horror filmmaker as it includes a great review of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. I'm not familiar with Argento's work other than his contributions to Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West as well as the films that starred his daughter Asia. Where should I start with Argento?

Andy @ Andy Buckle's Film Emporium has a great piece on an amazing scene in the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man which I think is one of their best films.

Stevee @ Cinematic Paradox has this great conversation with Jodie Foster's The Beaver pondering what worked and what didn't as it's a fun read.

Jessica @ The Velvet Cafe finally sees a film I'm waiting to see in Yorgos Lanthimos' Alps and... I guess I'll have to wait when it comes on the TV.

Corey @ justAtad is doing a 50 book pledge as he reads the much lauded Peter Biskind book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls about New Hollywood. I don't recommend that book at all since I felt it didn't tell more about the movies of that period. I also don't recommend watching the documentary of the same name. Watch A Decade Under the Influence by Richard LaGravenese and Ted Demme.

Sati @ cinematic corner has divulged the secrets of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan which is making want to revisit the film over and over again.

David @ Taste of Cinema has listed his 10 Favorite Romance Films which is fun to see and who can argue with these choices?

Alex of And So it Begins... gives a great tribute to the late, great Ben Gazzara who will be missed.

Finally, there's a couple of reviews of a film I refuse to see for Oscar season in Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close as Phil @ Phil on Film & John @ John Likes Movies reveals more reasons not to see and confirm my belief that Stephen Daldry is among one of the worst filmmakers working today.

Well, that is it for now. Expect for me to hash out my old Coen Brothers reviews (in revised and re-edited forms) in the coming weeks as well as watch some 2011 and 2010 films that I've been needing to catch up on. I will close this piece with a video that I think is very adorable and I showed it to my mother who loves it. If any of you doesn't think this video is cool, I will fight you.

And Depeche Mode is awesome!


Andy Buckle said...

Cheers for the link dude. It is a great scene.

s. said...

I can't wait for the Coen brothers articles. I loved their films, although I still have "A Serious man" to see and I heard it's one of their best. Thanks for the link!

David said...

I have not been interested in Oscars for years,the last time is when Kate Winslet and Sean Penn won.

Those Criterion Collection articles are just awesome,they are professional just as their dvds and blu-rays.I still need to learn a lot from them.

Finally,thanks for the linkage,I will be watching you on those Coen articles,how about starting with Blood Simple?

Courtney Small said...

Thanks for the link love, Steven!

I finally caught up with The Brown Bunny for the first time this past year and wished I had not bothered at all. The film was painfully dull, and the story only got interesting in the last twenty minutes. My main issue with the film is that it felt like Gallo did not have any real sense of where he wanted the film to go. He seemed to have conceived the ending first but did not know how to match up the rest of the film.

thevoid99 said...

@Andy-You're welcome. I love that scene as well.

@Sati-I should note that if you had an increase of readers. I posted your link to a Natalie Portman fan forum and it went to a Portman fansite so all the Portmaniacs can read that blog of yours.

@David-That was a lame Oscars. I'm only interested in watching just to see The Tree of Life pull off some kind of upset. One of the reasons I write those film essays is because I want to contribute to the Criterion DVD essays and get paid for it. As for Blood Simple, it'll probably come in a few weeks as I'm only posting material related to George Clooney for the LAMB Acting School 101 thing.

@CS-My issues with The Brown Bunny wasn't the weak plot but how serious it tried to be. It had some moments although I wondered what did Gallo cut from the original 120-minute Cannes cut to the 90-minute theatrical version. I went to see it because I wanted to see an actual oral sex performance on a movie screen. I was 23 when it was out. I wish I had my money back after learning that it was a fake.

Stevee Taylor said...

Cheers for the link! I'm not excited for the Oscars this year like I usually is more that I'm excited for the sake of having something to talk about with my friends.

Anonymous said...

Heyheyhey! Thanks for the linkage my main mans!

thevoid99 said...

@Dan-you're welcome.

Chip Lary said...

I once described Brown Bunny as "Vincent Gallo drives around for an hour, often in out of focus camera shots, then he gets a blowjob." I couldn't think of anything that that left out. As you can tell, I wasn't impressed by it.

I'm looking forward to the rest of your Coen Brothers posts. I've seen all of their films except A Serious Man, which I've owned on DVD since it came out, but have never gotten around to seeing.

For what it's worth, I consider The Ladykillers the low point in the Coen's career. On the other hand, I liked The Hudsucker Proxy quite a bit, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh's character, although I seem to be in the minority on the movie.

thevoid99 said...

@Chip-That's pretty much what The Brown Bunny is.

As for those Coen Brothers films I haven't really seen and reviewed, I'm keeping low expectations on them though I did see some of The Ladykillers some years ago and wasn't impressed.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link!

If you are new to Argento, I'd say definitely start with Bird. That's as good an introduction as any.

Alex Withrow said...

Thanks for the link! Yeah, I think this year's Oscars are going to blow, almost as bad as last year's.

thevoid99 said...

@Bonjour-Thanks. I'll do that once I get the urge to watch some Dario Argento films.

@Alex-I agree. I'm underwhelmed about it. It feels a bit too safe and safe is not a good word for me.