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An Early End: Coen Week

This first “episode” of a directors week acted as a sort of test run that would either continue, or end, this series. Unfortunately it has ended it.

The reason for my inability to continue this series is due to the fact that there is a lot that I want to watch and to write about, and I can’t do that when I am restricted to just one type of film. For example today I picked up Cache, The White Ribbon, and Boardwalk Empire Season One. All of which I will be writing about. I can’t do that if I’m forced to watch Burn Ater Reading.

I hope you understand and I apologize. I also hope that this will allow me to bring you content that I am more driven to produce. Thanks.

-Ethan

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Barton Fink

 

Short side note: This can be attributed to either my general lack of time to write this or my discovery of the undy-a-hundy blog but I have decided that every review for these directors weeks will be under 250 words. Starting now. Go!

The first thing that I will say about Barton Fink is that I won’t be as quick to label this as a black comedy compared to others. Although I will admit that this film has its funny moments I would never describe it as any type of “comedy”. If anything I would call this a dark drama telling the tale of a playwright from New York who found success and was immediately sold out to a life in Hollywood writing the “pictures”. This is also about his change as a character, from someone who cared about the art to an eccentric and arrogant writer who no longer cares and ends up failing because of it.

If I were to compliment two aspects of the film it would be the performances displayed by John Turturo and John Goodman. They were both excellent in their portrayals and they brought a strong realism to the screen. The other thing that I would compliment would be the set design, and that is because you truly feel as if you are in a 40’s version of Hollywood. Feel is everything in this film.

Overall, very, very good. An excellent early work of the Coen Brothers who truly show their talent as directors in this piece,

9/10

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Intro to: Coen Week

Hey everyone!

This is just a post informing you of the theme that each of my posts for this week will be about Coen Brothers films.

I will be watching the following:

-Barton Fink

-The Big Lebowski

-No Country for Old Men

-Fargo

Although these will fall into different categories they will all also fall under the umbrella of Coen Week.

See ya out there!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Childhood Classic #1: The Master of Disguise

Welcome to a new bimonthly series called Childhood Classics where I will be posting reviews of movies that I watched when I was younger and that I will be re-watching now.

I am starting this series with the fantastically ridiculous The Master of Disguise.

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I first watched this when I was around seven years old and it was the most incredibly hilarious thing that I had ever seen. The Master of Disguise stars Dana Carvey as,wait for it, Pistachio Disguisly. Pistachio comes from a long line of Disguisly’s who all acted as Masters of Disguise. Masters of Disguise have the ability to become another person by putting on a disguise and repeating the mantra “Become another person”. This allows them to embody the personality, the voice, and the abilities of said person, and this is utilized to help prevent evil.

The plot of this movie revolves around Pistachio’s parents being kidnapped by Damion Bowman who uses his fathers abilities as a master of disguise to steal priceless artifacts to sell on the black market. These artifacts include the Apollo space module which is stolen by Pistachio’s father dressed up as Jessica Simpson. After Pistachio’s parents are taken, his grandfather arrives to teach him the ways of the masters of disguise. And shenanigans commence…

This movie is rediculous, this movie is funny. This movie is funny because it’s ridiculous. Everything from the characters and the costumes to the voices is just so absurd that it is funny.

Who can forget Dana Carvey’s impression as essentially Tony Montana when he says, “Do you got a little wiener and some tiny nuts?”

As much as I will compliment this movie, it is only as good as I am describing because it has a special place in my heart from my childhood.

In all actuality this is a poorly acted, poorly written, occasionally offensive kids movie. But I love it anyway. In my personal opinion, none of the things that make it a bad movie make it any less funny and that is because you can laugh at how ridiculous it really is.

So Overall:

My rating: 7.5/10

What is deserves: 5/10

Should you watch it? Depends if you can laugh at just plain absurd things or not.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Magnolia

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Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 tale of nine peoples lives and how they intersect on one day in the San Fernando Valley. Similar to his pornographic epic Boogie Nights Magnolia is an expertly made group character study that follows a fantastic cast of unique and interesting characters. Allow me to run down the characters that this movie has.

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Frank T.J. Mackey: A sort-of motivational speaker that teaches men how to get women to sleep with them. Frank is played by Tom Cruise in what I would call his best performance. Cruise’s eccentricity that is shown through his character is fantastic and at some times hilarious. This role requires cruise to take on the full range of emotions from weeping over his past, to a still hostility when being questioned, to a rapidly energetic and charismatic speaker when on stage, and he manages to do all of this expertly.
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Quiz Kid Donny Smith: A successful kid who won 100,000 dollars on a quiz show in the sixties has amounted to a failing electronics salesman who was only hired for his celebrity. With a life that is going nowhere and a failed career Donnie Smith doesn’t know where to go. His section of the story consists of him being fired, him talking to an older man at a bar, and him trying to steal money from the people who fired him. William H. Macy is excellent in his portrayal of this just defeated, depressed and frustrated man.
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Earl Partridge: Earl Partridge played by Jason Robards is a wise old man with a regret-filled life. While dying of lung cancer Earl is taken care of by his nurse Phil and his trophy wife Linda. As an abandoning father and an unfaithful husband Earl has learned his share of lessons that are shown through this film. His movements and his overall demeanor are perfect for a dying man and Jason Robards plays the part perfectly.
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Linda Partridge: Julianne Moores performance as Linda Partridge may be described as over-the-top by some, but to me it was necessary to show the anguish her character was going through. As the trophy wife of a dying man Linda is a bad place which is made worse by her growing love for a man whom she originally married for the money. This progressive breakdown makes for some of the greatest scenes of the film.
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Stanley Spector: Kind of like the quiz kid in his prime Stanley is the smartest of three kids who are close to breaking a record on the game show “What Do Kids Know?”. The majority of this performance takes place on the set of the show where he answers the few questions immediately and correctly until he has to go to the bathroom. After the supposed stage manager refuses to let him go he is silent for the entirety of the show until an epic speech. This means his performance is mainly in his expressions. He is excellent in his role and creates a very memorable final exchange with his father.
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Phil Parma: Philip Seymour Hoffman is always excellent. In this role he plays a young nurse who desperately attempts to fulfill Earl’s dying wish. Philip’s performance is fantastic especially his emotion in the final few scenes that have him.
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I would just like to say that I am refraining from saying much about the story-line so I don’t give anything away.
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Jimmy Gator: Jimmy Gator is the host of “What Do Kids Know?” and he is dying of cancer. His physical degradation is witnessed as his time on screen progresses. Philip Baker Hall is spectacular as a man who has learned a lot through is life and is just trying to get everything to work before he dies.
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Claudia Gator: The daughter of Jimmy, Claudia hates her father and refuses to be a part of his life. Her life is pretty awful since most of her time you see her as an emotional wreck with a cocaine addiction. Melora Walters takes this insanity, you could say, and turns it into a fantastic character and an excellent performance.
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Officer Jim Kurring: Ah, remember when John C Reilly was still an actor? I sure do. Johns performance is fantastic as an awkward police officer who is the most straight shooting character in the movie. He hates bad language, he is a devout christian, and he is just like the most “good guy” good guy that there has ever been, if that makes any sense.
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There you go. All of the real main characters. Hopefully thats acts as I hoped and is a sort of summary and as an explanation of how fantastic the characters and the performances are, as well as showing just how interesting the whole thing is.
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The writing and the direction is supplied by a modern-day master, Paul Thomas Anderson who creates a flowing portrait of interesting lives and how not everything is just “a matter of chance”
10/10
 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Reviews

 

American Beauty

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American Beauty is a familial character study that acts as a fantastic representation of the duality of modern suburban life. This duality is contrasted between the lives of the two neighboring families. You have the two extremes in this situation.
 
You have the “American life” where the father is in charge, the mother is loyal, and everything is disciplined. It’s like life in the 50’s. The father was in the marines, takes charge of his families life which end up debilitating them at times, and hates homosexuals. The mother who is barely in the film is just a figure that really seems to be there for the sole purpose of completing their “American” image. Their son, Ricky, is the exact opposite of what his family represents and what his father wants him to be. He is a pot-dealing pacifist who is able to see all of the beauty in the world. He also has made a habit of filming all of this “beauty” which includes a plastic bag in the wind, a dead bird, and his neighbor Jane Burnham.
 
Then you have the opposite extreme which is the Burnhams. They fully recognize that the act that they put on for the rest of the world is just that, an act. Throughout the film the two parents drift further and further away as they each begin to embody the lifestyle that they see best. This continues to the point where the father, Lester, who is brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey, has quit his job after blackmailing his boss and is focusing on a happy life which includes smoking weed, listening to pink floyd, and remaining infatuated with a friend of his daughters. On the other side of that family you have Caroline, played by Annette Benning who is also brilliant in this film. Caroline lives an unfulfilled life that is focused on her going-nowhere career as a real-estate agent. Caroline also has a hand in ruining their family from being the “typical American family” by having an affair with another real estate agent Buddy king. Their daughter, Jane, hates her suburban life because of its synthetic nature and its overall odd nature.
 
Why is this film fantastic? That comes from the performances by Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, and Wes Bently who plays Ricky. Kevin Spacey is a god of acting who embodies his role of Lester to the point of perfection. His droll monologues and his progressing oddity is fascinating to behold. Then there is Annette Benning whose frustrations and pain are shown so well that they make you feel for her horrible character. Finally there is Wes Bently who gets absolutely no praise for his fantastic role. His character is easily the most fascinating in the film just because of how unique he is. He makes you sense that his character is kind of broken yet has made the most of it by allowing himself not to conform to his fathers life, and to enjoy and take in everything.
 
This excellent directorial debut from Sam Mendes is engaging and masterfully executed.
 
10/10
 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Remember Me?

Hiya!

I’m Ethan and I run this site.

I apologize for the month-long break that I took for christmas and such.

Hopefully i’ll be getting back on track and bringing you more content.

This weekend I will be starting two different series and next will I will be renewing an old one.

Hopefully two of these series will be weekly while another will be whenever I watch a film that fits.

How vague am I?

Very.

I’ll see ya soon.

-Ethan

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized