Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

In 1964, with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in viewers' minds, the Cold War at its frostiest, and the hydrogen bomb relatively new and frightening, Stanley Kubrick dared to make a film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and played the situation for laughs. Dr. Strangelove's jet-black satire (from a script by director Stanley Kubrick, Peter George, and Terry Southern) and a host of superb comic performances (including three from Peter Sellers) have kept the film fresh and entertaining, even as its issues have become (slightly) less timely. Loaded with thermonuclear weapons, a U.S. bomber piloted by Maj. T.J. "King" Kong (Slim Pickens) is on a routine flight pattern near the Soviet Union when they receive orders to commence Wing Attack Plan R, best summarized by Maj. Kong as "Nuclear combat! Toe to toe with the Russkies!" On the ground at Burpleson Air Force Base, Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) notices nothing on the news about America being at war. Gen. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) calmly informs him that he gave the command to attack the Soviet Union because it was high time someone did something about fluoridation, which is sapping Americans' bodily fluids (and apparently has something to do with Ripper's sexual dysfunction). Meanwhile, President Merkin Muffley (Sellers again) meets with his top Pentagon advisors, including super-hawk Gen. Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), who sees this as an opportunity to do something about Communism in general and Russians in particular. However, the ante is upped considerably when Soviet ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull) informs Muffley and his staff of the latest innovation in Soviet weapons technology: a "Doomsday Machine" that will destroy the entire world if the Russians are attacked. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 93 mins
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fritz Lang Epic Collection|Disk 3|Metropolis

Well, as the title link shows, this is a repeat viewing of Metropolis for myself. In the collection you can de-select certain disks in the collection but the individual titles are not spelled out.
Fritz Lang Epic Collection

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rendition (2007)

The director of the Academy Award-winning 2006 crime drama Tsotsi returns to the helm with this tale of a Middle East CIA operative who begins to have doubts about his latest assignment after witnessing the interrogation of a suspected suicide bomber by secret police. When Egyptian-born chemical engineer Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwalli) mysteriously vanishes on a routine flight from South Africa to Washington, his wife Isabella (Reece Witherspoon) embarks on a frantic international search for her missing husband. At the same time, a CIA analyst (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives at a clandestine detention facility outside of United States. As the interrogation of El-Ibrahimi gets underway, the CIA analyst is profoundly shaken by the unorthodox methods used by the man's captors, and quickly begins to reevaluate his assignment. Peter Sarsgaard, Meryl Streep, and Alan Arkin co-star in a topical political thriller penned by Kelley Sane and produced by Steve Golin. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 122 mins
Rendition (2007)
Just a poor quality drama-IMO. Nothing sticks out as really earthshaking revelations. One person got caught up in the GWOT, and suffered. Yes that was a tragedy but compared to millions dieing all over the world, I can find other tragedies to mourn more important than US bashing. I see why it was quickly released to video as the acting and the dramatic effects were non-plus in this film.

Maybe I had already read enough about it ahead of time, but it did not even provoke an emotional response. The use of real life and documentary styles in this film failed miserably. It would have been better to make it one or the other.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

The third film from pop-music-obsessed director Baz Luhrmann tweaks the conventions of the musical genre by mixing a period romance with anachronistic dialogue and songs in the style of his previous Romeo+Juliet (1996). Ewan McGregor stars as Christian, who leaves behind his bourgeois father during the French belle époque of the late 1890s to seek his fortunes in the bohemian underworld of Montmartre, Paris. Christian meets the absinthe- and alcohol-addicted artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who introduces him to a world of sex, drugs, music, theater, and the scandalous dance known as the cancan, all at the Moulin Rouge, a decadent dance hall, brothel, and theater that's the brainchild of Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent). Christian also meets and falls into a tragically doomed romance with the courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman), who becomes the star of the play he's writing, which parallels the couple's romance and utilizes rock music from a century later, including songs by Nirvana, Madonna, the Beatles, and Queen, among others. Loosely based on the opera Orpheus in the Underworld, Moulin Rouge was shown in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 128 mins
Moulin Rouge (2001)
An enjoyable musical that had plenty of funny parts. Nicole Kidman again shows that she loves neuvo-artistic films that stretch the boundaries.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Night and Fog (1955)

Sometimes classified under the decree known as "Nacht und Nebel," "night and fog"
Marked with two large Capital Ns.
Political prisoners wearing the red triangle meet those wearing the green triangle: common criminals, masters in the ranks.
At the top, the Kapo, almost always a common criminal.
Higher up yet: the SS, the untouchables, to be addressed from ten feet away.
At the top, the Commandant, who oversees the camp routine. He pretends to know nothing of the camp.
Night and Fog represents the peak of director Alain Resnais' activities as a short-subject filmmaker. Framed as a documentary, the film is an unsettling view of life inside the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. As he would in his later features (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad et. al.) Resnais toys with chronology, with memory becoming present reality and vice versa at several critical junctures. Jean Cayrol, later responsible for the script of Resnais' Muriel (1962), wrote the narration for Night and Fog. The film was originally released in France as Nuit et Brouillard. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 31 mins
Night and Fog (1955)
As this review show, it is a short documentary film. In addition to filming the empty concentration camps there was a lot of use of archived film the Nazis had filmed and notably some shots of the Nazis in parade from the film Triumph of the Will. And a short interview with Alain Resnais of about 5 minutes long.
This film does a good job describing the Kapos and the privileges they get.

Cleanliness is health.
Work is freedom.
To each his due.
A louse means death.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Soylent Green (1973)

Richard Fleischer directed this nightmarish science fiction vision of an over-populated world, based on the novel by Harry Harrison. In 2022, New York City is a town bursting at the seams with a 40-million-plus population. Food is in short supply, and most of the population's food source comes from synthetics manufactured in local factories -- the dinner selections being a choice between Soylent Blue, Soylent Yellow, or Soylent Green. When William Simonson (Joseph Cotten), an upper-echelon executive in the Soylent Company, is found murdered, police detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is sent in to investigate the case. Helping him out researching the case is Thorn's old friend Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his final film role). As they investigate the environs of a succession of mad-from-hunger New Yorkers and the luxuriously rich digs of the lucky few, Thorn uncovers the terrible truth about the real ingredients of Soylent Green. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 97 mins
Soylent Green (1973)
The additional features were nice including: A Look at the World of Soylent Green. In a way it is so funny the dichotomy of orderly life for the rich and the presumed anarchy of the streets and the poor Father that has no "space" for his wards. People sleeping in hallways and stairs not even space to step between them without stepping on at least someone. The cops live by a different code (above the law) and even the rich are not immune to their blackmail and bribery.

Ultimately, it is a gloom and doom movie based on the idea of global warming. But no matter how barbaric it matters, does it really matter what happens to the dead once they die. Of course when they use dump trucks to scoop up more victims then there is some really bad things going on.

Overall well worth watching the movie.

They do seem to be promoting death with dignity as people get to choose lethal drugs to pass on while getting to see what the world was before the tragedies. But the film never addresses how to solve those problems about destruction of the world and only the cannibalism aspects.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Secrets of the Golden Compass

Literary critic Nick Tucker pays tribute to author Philip Pullman in this documentary comprised of extensive interviews with Pullman about the "His Dark Materials" trilogy among other works. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 173 mins
Secrets of the Golden Compass
Well, I got this video out of order without seeing the film first. But I am intrigued by the portrayal of Adam and Eve as some glorious heroes that reject God and want evil instead. But it is not bold and daring for Pullman to create this story. Hell for something daring you need to criticize, condemn or complain about something in the Quran. And I would ask him to do it in a Islamic country like Iran.

I guess he does not say he believes in parallel universes but then why rely so heavily on his writings on this concept that can be nothing more than a fable that he criticizes Christianity about. Yes, you can not disprove that in some "universe" things are different including dropping a glass and a pink elephant will form. But then why so eager to reject Christianity when he has no proof that it did not happen also???

When he talks about all the different paths, then how can he explain that nothing is random in the universe? If we have no free will then the universe is set to do exactly what is preordained by basic chemistry and physics. We (the universe) have one path and one path only. Even me writing this passage was preordained by the cosmos. While an omnipotent God gives free choice but knows all the possibilities that could exist.

Well, I knew I would have to find something I could agree with. Theocracies are not a very good idea of running a government. He then describes how the Soviet experiment in Communism was a theocracy with the only difference being believing in "a" supernatural god.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Sure enough I even decided to watch this crap. LOL. You know it is bad when my wife refused to watch it. After nearly hog-tying Dina to watch the first 1/2 hour she flatly refused anymore and switched the TV back to Seinfield.
Directed by Michael Moore, whose aura of controversy only grew after his Oscar acceptance speech at the 2003 Academy Awards, Fahrenheit 9/11, like Moore's Bowling For Columbine and Roger & Me, promises to expose the corporate wrongdoings and big-money scandals perpetrated by America's financial elite. This movie, however, looks beyond the inner echelons of General Motors and Lockheed Martin in hopes of outing the evildoers in the White House, particularly in regards to the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. In addition to criticizing the administration's handling of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Moore digs deep into the surprising relationship with the Bin Laden family held by both Bush administrations, and questions whether or not potential Saudi involvement with the attacks has been ignored. As Fahrenheit 9/11's Cannes Film Festival debut approached, marking only the second time in 48 years that a documentary has been included among the festival's main competition, Miramax's parent company Disney announced it would not be distributing the film due to its partisan nature, and, according to Moore, out of trepidation that the Florida-based Goliath's multi-million-dollar tax breaks might be negatively affected by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose review within Fahrenheit 9/11 is less than favorable. ~ Tracie Cooper, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 122 mins
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
There is so many lies and half truths most have already been explored on blogs and TV and radio. So not sure I need to add anything.

I do like the "something called Fox News" announced Bush as the winner. Maybe as it turned out they were right and everyone else was wrong no matter how many times the votes were recounted. Maybe we should give them credit for going against the established "consensus". It was not like it would have actually had any effect on the actual counts to give the win toward any candidate and maybe they all should have held their mouth when the end results were less than a thousand votes difference for most of the recount process... How does someone like Bush get away with NOTHING you moronic fat pig (Micheal Moore).

Amazing that no Senators supported all the wing-nut Representatives in the House. I believe there was 5 black Senators at the time and some of the representatives mentioned about disenfranchisement of black voters. I guess those Senators or the many Democratic Senators at the time also did not buy this.

In hindsight, I love when people have a great conspiracy theory and even when nothing is stopping the agreements since all the characters have been in place. The pipeline through Afghanistan is another great conspiracy. While people easily forget the details or even what was suppose to happen, it allowed people to form a biased opinion that is not based on reality. More Paranoid Logic...
Well it does not look like the evil American Corporations are pushing the plan forward. Turkmenistan, partners to revive Afghan gas project

I like the subtly use of contradicting the speaker with captions.
Congressman Porter Goss (R-FL) Chair, House Intelligence Committee, Not really true,
But here's his private office line...
Yes, Michael Moore you should be considered a terrorist. Since you push WMD, that is LIES, INNUENDOS, DISTORTIONS and everything FALSE.

Sorry, what a fucking lier. Now he talks about how many State Troopers along the Oregon Coast. What a moron, complain to the state and they have been having a hell of a lot of problems with their state Troopers for a while. And who the hell cuts the budgets in OREGON. Yes that is right, OREGON decides the trooper level and where located at.

He sure is obsessed with Bush and et al being groomed for the cameras. I am sure that the fascist Michael Moore will have this clip in his next movie: John Edwards Feeling Pretty

Well 2 hours was not enough for our fascist pig Michael Moore, so he did provide a lot of extra propaganda for all the wing nuts out their. But the Arab stand up comedians were funny. I can always laugh at a good joke...

Yes for lies and just poor techniques of the art form film, I give this a one (1) rating...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. When the best friend of hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) is killed, the deed seems to be the outgrowth of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane (Lil Dagover). Francis suspects Caligari, but he is ignored by the police. Investigating on his own, Francis seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders, but the story eventually takes a more surprising direction. Caligari's Expressionist style ultimately led to the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Running Time: 70 mins
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
This film also had the following special features:
1. Genuine: the Tale of the Vampire (1920)
2. Gallery of photos, posters and designs. Good since much of the movie was not in good shape and the pictures showed the whole scene design without all the distractions.
3. Two soundtrack options.
4. Excerpt with original German intertitles.

I had already watched the remake of this film Cabinent of Dr. Caligari (2006), so the plot was not new in my mind. It was unusual that this was such a short film at only 70 minutes-especially for the time and place in film history.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bordertown (2007)

The celebrated Latino director Gregory Nava (American Family) helmed, scripted, and co-produced (with star Jennifer Lopez) Bordertown - a suspense thriller with an A-list Hispanic cast. Lopez portrays Lauren Adrian, an American correspondent from a Chicago newspaper, who longs to cover the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Instead, Lauren's mentor at the paper, George Morgan (Martin Sheen) reassigns her to Mexico. She is promptly shuttled off to Juarez, a troubled community on the Texas-Mexico border rattled by a series of brutal, unsolved homicides. The victims - all young women, employed in the maquilla plants that manufacture electrical components for exportation to the U.S. - are uniformly found raped and strangled to death. One of those women, Eva, manages to escape her captors (who believe her dead) and flees not to the corrupt police, but to the local newspaper. There, her life intersects with those of Lauren and Lauren's former boyfriend and lover, the reporter Alfonso Diaz (Antonio Banderas). Suddenly, Lauren foresees, in the prospect of reporting Eva's story, an assignment that could bring her closer to Iraq than she ever dreamed possible. Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Maya Zapata and Juan Diego Botto co-star. ~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 114 mins
Bordertown (2007)
A gripping story about the tragedy of the situation for women in Mexico. My wife was drawn into the story but she did understand that NAFTA has nearly zero to do with the situation for those women.

It clearly is a lack of "rule of law" and not secure Democratic institutions. If we really wanted to look at the history of Mexico then we would look at the grave and horrendous conditions that have and continue to manifest in Mexico City. I am sure similar types of abuses happened in their thousands of shanty towns also.

Just look at the buses themselves, no one is forcing those women on that bus. They are all choosing to board that bus to work. Thus there are no other alternative that is better even if just marginally.

Why pick women? I am sure that yes women may not complain as much and will accept more authoritarianism over their lives. But factories always consider hiring women since their is less alternatives for them to do. Thus this is actually providing these women a choice, no matter how unbecoming the choice is for us. Their choices for many Low Income Countries is getting married or prostitution. We should at least appreciate that now they have an opportunity that is one step above their present situation.

Pure propaganda about NAFTA but a nice story. Give that a 3.5/5