Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Country for Old Men

I didn't know anything about this movie going into it except it was by the Coen brothers. And that kind of tells you something about the movie already. Javier Bardem plays this psychotic killer who is after Josh Brolin for a couple million dollars that Josh Brolin made off with. I was comfortable thinking it would fall neatly into a crime caper thriller kind of plot but it upended my expectations. I can't really say a ton without giving stuff away, but 1) Javier Bardem is crazily freaky - part of it is that pageboy haircut he is sporting and the rest is a menacing face and voice, 2) the movie was relentlessly intense. I think I remained stressed out from the first scene to the last. There wasn't any music that I could really remember and I think that added something to the stress level. It ended kind of abruptly for my taste, but I can't really fault anything specific with the ending, I think it ended right (Ferret disagrees). Rate *****

The Darjeeling Limited

After watching Noein, we decided to take a break from anime for a while and catch up on movies. This was the first one we watched since then. Out of Wes Anderson's movies, I think I still like Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore the best, but this one was still really entertaining. I think most people would agree with me that even the most average Wes Anderson is still leaps and bounds better than the average movie. It's important to watch The Hotel Chevalier first, and it was nicely included in the DVD release. This movie had a lot of style; you couldn't really sympathize so much with anyone's personal pains because everything was so stylized and stylish, but the characters were certainly likable, if not fleshed out. I was happy to see Anjelica Huston near the end because she always brings a little something extra to her scenes I think. Maybe it is just because she has such presence. Anyway, I had a good time. Rate ****


I think out of the anime series I have been watching with Ferret so far, I liked Noein the best. The story was complicated, but not incomprehensible (Ergo Proxy remains my gold standard for gibberish) and the drawing style and music was consistently fantastic. While the scientific explanation for certain phenomena was laughable in the way all science tends to be laughable in pop culture, the fight scenes were very creative and unique. Each fight was spectacular in different ways, and visually stunning. The basic story is kind of hard to explain, but it has to do with some guys from another dimension coming to our dimension to obtain a tool to fight a war and finding that the tool is embodied in the form of a young girl, Haruka. And to add more complications, the people in that other dimension have counterparts in our own. Overall, I look forward to rewatching these episodes sometime in the future. Rate *****

Update (12/30/08): I ended up rewatching several episodes with Bunny when I was home for the holidays.  As usual, she managed to watch all 24 episodes in fewer than 2 days.  INSANE!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Savages

I don't think Ferret really liked this movie but I think it was mainly due to an error of communication. Before watching, I told him I thought it was a black comedy. As everyone except Ferret knows, black comedy means dark humor and does not necessarily mean it is a comedy featuring black people. Anyway, I can see how it might be confusing to watch this movie if you were expecting Martin Lawrence to pop out at any moment. The movie was basically about two adult siblings coming together to care for their demented (literally, a man with dementia) father. It is mostly about their relationship with each other and themselves, with a small peppering of their relationships with other people. Laura Linney reestablishes her place as one of the people I most like to see in movies even though her character was so unsympathetic and ridiculous. I think it is due to her skill as an actress that you actually want to know more about her and what becomes of her. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays her brother and does a great job as her foil. In the end you see there are actually more similarities between them than differences and to get to the point, it ends with a nice happy note so don't worry that it's all depressing or anything like that. Rate: ****

Blood+ (way overdue)

This post has been long overdue. At this point I don't even remember when I finished the series. I do remember watching the prequel, "Blood: The last vampire," on the plane to Florida for ORS. That was back in March and at that point Ferret and I had already watched all of Blood+: Part One. Disgrace disgrace. Sometime after that we finished watching the rest of the Blood+ (50 episodes in all) on youtube since episodes after #25 are not out on disk yet. Overall I found this series very entertaining. The storyline was intriguing and Haji was super great even when he was getting impaled onto a wall for the 100th time. Apparently, Haji could only fight effectively offscreen. That said, he was far better than Saya, who could barely fight at all for a good chunk of the series. Looking back, while no episode matched the quality of the initial opening scene featuring Saya running amok in Vietnam, the gradual unveiling of Saya's past and the development of her character was well done and moved the story along effectively. My favorite character after Haji was probably the Phantom. It was a sad day for everyone when he met his end and he is still missed.

One last observation - the musical score consisted of three tracks: Diva's song (you'd think an international musical star would develop her repertoire over time, but this was not the case), the planning music (usually involved a lot of papers and maybe some computers), emoting music (usually when Haji was promising to stay by Saya's side for ever and ever or at least until THAT DAY) and the action music (introduced with the Phantom, I hummed this tune for weeks I think). Rate ****