Friday, November 20, 2009

Ivanlandia Goes to the Movies

Going crazy apartment hunting
Got a baaaaaaaaad hangover
the pen in my shirt pocket has leaked/nice black stain on my fave green shirt:

Here are some short write-ups of some of the flicks I’ve gotten to see lately:

The Lineup (1958)
Directed by Don Siegel
Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant

An awesome and twisted police procedural from the late-1950s that all fans of noir (and fans of Don Siegel) should check out.

Sure, if you pick apart the film, you’ll find lots of flaws--but it’s technically perfect, and The Lineup’s overall energy, pace and sociopathic tendencies (which makes the movie much more contemporary than most films of that time) totally makes up for it.

And the commentary by crime novelist James Ellroy? Hoo-hah! What a profane masterpiece: funny as heck, but it’ll burn the ears of the more sensitive viewers.

Zathura (2005)
Directed by Jon Favreau
Screenplay by David Koepp and John Kamps
Based on the book by Chris Van Allburg

While the SPFX were adequate, and the production design had a nice retro-1920s look, it was not enough to save Zathura.

Not being a parent, I cannot say whether I think kids will like this flick. But as a nerd-boy and geek, let me tell you: This movie is dreadful! The protagonist children are rotten brats that needed to be thrown out the airlock, and the shrieking little monsters completely emphasize the script’s very weak points.

A train-wreck of a movie that often approximates the feeling of listening to supersonic nails on a blackboard. Horrible, horrible stuff.

Chato’s Land (1972)
Directed by Michael Winner
Screenplay by Gerald Wilson

Bronson’s almost a cameo in this flick, but he’s perfect as the Apache tricking a posse into its own destruction.

Chato’s Land is a unique western, spending more time examining the sociology and character of the people who were willing, or crazy enough, to settle the land, instead of focusing only on the action.

The flick treats the Native Americans with respect, without resorting to mythologizing or “nicing” them up.

Gosh, there was a time when Michael Winner was a really good director, and this flick shows it. (And it’s surprising how much the introductory Rambo movie, First Blood, owes to this film.)

Whisky Romeo Zulu (2004)
Directed by Enrique Piñeyro
Screenplay by Enrique Piñeyro and Emiliano Torres

Yes, the whistle-blowing and the airplane footage are fascinating, but the rest, like the “old flame” subplot, could have been ditched: That stuff is paced like molasses, and ruins any tension or momentum the film has picked up. Overall, Whisky Romeo Zulu is dull.

Trick ’r Treat (2008)
Screenplay and directed by Michael Dougherty

Like an old pre-code E.C. horror comic book structured like the improvisational comedy forms “The Harold” or “The Evente,” stories that intersect, loop around, and then go back on themselves, Trick ’r Treat is an awesome horror anthology that deserves to be seen and experienced by all fans of twisted horror movies.

But I can see why lunkheaded studio execs would try and dump it: they just couldn’t “get” the flick. 'Cause they're stupid.

BTW, the holidays and the military-industrial complex will be keeping me from the shores of Ivanlandia for a while—please go through the archives and enjoy.

And no, most of these photos have nothing to do with the movies I've reviewed/talked about. Except in my mind...

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