Wow... I haven't posted here (seriously) in a bit. Here's what I've seen over the past few (unemployed) weeks.
Videodrome: One of David Cronenberg's first and best. Starring James Woods, it tells the story of a man who owns a cable network. Not just any cable network, though. A cable network that broadcasts "extreme" content (such as brutal violence and pornography). The man stumbles across a pirated broadcast and begins experiencing hallucinations related to what he sees... and that's just the start. This is a film that takes cultural commentary to the next level. It's intense, frightening, and has more than a bit of gore. But it also makes you think. A
Scanners: Yes... I went on a bit of a Cronenberg kick recently. This is the second of five Cronenberg movies I've seen recently. Amazing, huh? Anyway... Scanners was a bit of a disappointment. It had some amazingly cool ideas involving pregnancies and experimentation... but it was bogged down by the main character being a horrible actor. Great idea, great direction... shoddy acting. Sad but classic. B-
Stephen King's The Dead Zone: Number three of the Cronenberg bunch. This movie was awesome. Christopher Walken obviously needs to act in serious roles more often, because the few (serious) movies that I've seen him in, including this and The Deer Hunter, have blown my mind. Walken becomes lead character Johnny Smith, and he makes the viewer believe in the torment and pain related to his accident, coma and subsequent discovery of his powers. I've seen tons of movies with tons of things that I really wish I hadn't seen in them... and this movie, still, contains one of the most horrifying death scenes I've ever seen. It probably scarred me. A
eXistenZ: Jude Law? Willem Dafoe? Jennifer Jason Leigh (blargh)? Wow, that cast can't get better. Sadly... the movie was terrible. Here's the thing. It attempts to be a commentary on the state of videogames, and the lack of definition between reality and the virtual worlds that gamers spend time in. The problem is that the movie was obviously done by a group of people who really didn't know what they were talking about. And that really ruins the movie. It had some great concepts... some great acting... but when it came down to it, the movie was hokey and the ending was an easy way out. Big disappointment. D
Dead Poets Society: Yeah, the ending is the equivalent of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But the journey... well, that makes the ending bearable. Or something. I saw this movie in high school, and for some reason, felt a major connection with some of the characters. I picked it up recently on a whim, forced my sister to sit through it (she thought it was sad) and then sat through it myself. And I still loved it. Not as good as I remembered, but that's okay. B
Old School: Why oh why did I watch this? F
No Country For Old Men: Saw it again. Still love it. A+
The Ruins: See... I have no idea why I saw this. I was sorta-kinda interested... but the actual, you know, process of going and seeing this movie is still a mystery to me. Anyway.... it was fun. Not great. Story was pretty good, but the end relied too much on gore and not enough on, you know, explanation and examination of the movie's main themes. C+
Chasing Amy: I loved this movie. Totally not appropriate for pretty much anyone, but it was also a great examination of the idea that love is blind. It probably has some of the wittiest writing that Kevin Smith has done to date. And Ben Affleck is half decent in it. Shock of all shocks. A
There's probably quite a few more that I've seen... I've got a lot of time on my hands.