Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Last Few Films I've Seen: Soggy Texas edition

1. Tomorrowland (2015)- Take a spoonful of "The Matrix's" well-tread ideas of a 'chosen one', cartoon action sequences and George Clooney doing his best Disney-dad superhero figure, and one gets Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland". It's a good film, just ordinary and non adventurous fun for the whole family. If that's your thing....

2. Aloha (2015)- Filmmaker Cameron Crowe has some genuine things to say about the messy and intricate crashes of affection between people, they just can't be found here. Reviewed at Dallas Film Now.

3. Police Python 357 (1976)- Doesn't quite rise above its implausible French 'policier' instincts, but filmmaker Alaine Corneau manages to shroud most of the film in his dour, harsh vision, such as the central murder scene and cop Yves Montand disfiguring himself.

4. Two In the Wave (2010)- Hum drum documentary about the budding relationship and career trajectories of Godard and Truffaut. The problem is, it never tells us anything new about the duo or their circumstances that hasn't already been written about or discussed at length over the past two decades. Or at least for us nouvelle vague affecionados.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)- Holy hell, what a ride. I'm usually highly averse to the split second style of cutting in modern action films, but director Miller not only manages to create a cohesive vision of amplified violence and insane creativity, but the continuity of the action is splendid. See a body being thrown from a rolling vehicle one shot and there's the body falling in the background of the next. One of the great pleasures of the year so far.

6. Maggie (2015)- Slow burn and contemplative, and a film whose intimate drama is just as compelling as the melee on "The Walking Dead". Full review at Dallas Film Now.

7. On the Edge (1985)- Bruce Dern as a banned athlete bucking the system and running in a California race anyway. Director Rob Nilsson may be a far left-wing nut in his beliefs, but the few films of his I've seen respectfully and dutifully evoke a very specific time and place (Northern California) like the best indie filmmakers.

8. The Seventh Companion (1968)- Finally tracking down the first film of Alexie German's career (and completing my retrospective of him here and also here), I have to admit disappointment with his debut. The oblique nationalist references are there, but it plods along without the same caustic energy of his later efforts.

9. Kid Blue (1973)- Another long time track down, James Frawley's western starring Dennis Hopper as the title character easily takes the prize for most hippie western ever. Sure, lots of filmmakers "claim" to have made a hippie western (Monte Hellman and any number of z-grade Italians) but this one-featuring "The Man" constantly trying to halt Kid Blue's reformed status and a possible "free love" relationship between Hopper, buddy warren Oates and his wife Lee Purcell, sidesteps the veiled references and settles into 'hippiedom' pretty readily.

10. We Are What We Are (2013)- Devastating. Director Jim Mickle is the absolute best guy working the horror genre today. Not only is this remake better than the original film it's based upon, but it's a unique, measured pressure-cooker of a film that would be remarkable even without its gory accentuates.

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