Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Random Movie Report #100: Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters Blu Ray Cover and Amazon Link

This is what I've been building up to. Though I've long since stopped numbering features, I figured the 100th installment of Random Movie Report ought to be something especially neat, hence, the Godzilla film to end all Godzilla films. (Granted, this undermines the concept of randomness, but never mind.) Destroy All Monsters took forever to get a proper DVD release in this country, but though I've had the DVD since Christmas, I decided I had to build up to it. It deserves it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Oscar Roundup!

I have some thoughts on the Oscars, as many people do. It was a solid ceremony, predictable but decently presented, with the exception of the piercing electronic scream of a thousand uncalibrated hearing aids that wove its way into the soundtrack just subtly enough to make the viewers at home wonder if their house was about to explode. The Artist was a really good movie, and while there were better I can't really object to its victory.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Random Movie Report #99: Son of Godzilla

The second of Godzilla's tropical adventures ends up being one of the series' weirdest installments. Son of Godzilla, as the title implies, is a continuation of the great monster movie tradition of having inexplicable offspring, a tradition going back to Kong himself (though maybe it started with the Grendel family.) As a result this was the most kid-friendly monster epic Toho had produced up to that point, and so an omen of things to come. It's a fun, loosely put together affair which has a few obvious weak points- including the worst Godzilla suit in the series- but is cute and playful enough to make up for them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Frasierquest 4.20: Daphne Hates Sherry

Daphne: I mean I have been keeping myself on the shelf lately. I'm feeling a little like the good china.

Niles: Someone should be eating off you every day.

The Niles and Daphne romance is mostly a classy affair. Oh, Niles may leer at his beloved and notice when she bends over, but until he's ready to actually make a move he's resigned to appreciating her like a rare and delicate flower, while she remains mostly innocent of the whole thing. But she's not really a delicate flower, and "Daphne Hates Sherry" takes their non-relationship into some tantalizing territory. If a cold winter's night in Season 1 inspired feelings of gooey sentiment between the two, a heat wave and some snappy fighting is sure to lead to hot times indeed.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Top 10 Films of 2011 and Assorted Miscellany

After a weak 2010, 2011 proved to be a surprisingly good year for movies. To be sure, most of the problems that bedeviled Hollywood at the start of the teens are still there; studios are panicky and greenlighting properties that aren't really movies, distribution for indies is all out of whack, and the MPAA is still taking the bazooka-as-flyswatter approach to internet piracy. But actual filmmakers have risen to the challenge of an increasingly timid industry and turned out entertaining, smart, and sometimes even original films in a number of genres and on scales from the intimate to the epic. Sure, a lot of the good stuff was backwards-looking and nostalgic, but that doesn't mean it doesn't move the medium forwards at the same time. It felt to me that there were more surprises, and while there was surely a lot of crap, I found it easier to avoid.

I was encouraged to see a bit more variety of style. Action movies are apparently allowed to have legible action sequences again, though the Michael Bay approach is by no means dead. The "teal and orange" thing seems to have calmed down a bit. Directors are finding actual uses for 3-D. And the neglected opening credits sequence made a very nice comeback at the end of the year.

The film industry will always have problems and things may get worse instead of better, but at the end of the day, I had a hard time narrowing this list down to 10.

So, in ascending order:

Monday, February 06, 2012

In Theaters: A Dangerous Method

Some people have called A Dangerous Method a change of pace for director David Cronenberg, but I'm not sure that's true. He's a director who's done a lot with Freudian imagery, psychological themes, and sexual "abnormality", so a picture about Freud and Jung is, as far as I can see, right in his wheelhouse. Partly adapted by Christopher Hampton from his play "The Talking Cure" (which was going to be the title but just wasn't sexy enough), A Dangerous Method looks at the interactions and thoughts of the two greats as well as a third, largely unsung figure, patient-turned-psychologist Sabrina Spielrein. Though a bit too unfocused to be as successful as it could be, the film does justice to the intellectual struggles of a young discipline, and is one of those films about smart people doing smart things that's becoming pleasantly more common these days.