The Ladder Theory

I already brought up that I’ve been watching Wes Anderson in my post about “Zooey”, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums which are both exquisite, Rushmore maybe more so but watching Anderson films close together, you get the techniques really fast, and it takes away from each film as its own unit which I think may be the way you have to look at it as opposed to an oeuvre OR not what the hell do I know, I’m not Robert Ebert.

Scream

Wes Craven, 1997

This is a film made for re-watching for all the references to other films all throughout, a fun game for filmbuffs who like that sort of easy to spot referencing. However the most subversive aspect of Scream is that it does have personal gravitas that slasher flicks usually don’t.  The most literal description of the events of Scream is that it is the story of Sidney Prescott who in a few days time learns the following: that her Mother was…really, really promiscuous, that she put the wrong guy in jail for the rape and murder of her Mother (on the anniversary of said rape and murder),   almost gets murdered multiple times, her best friend does get murdered, and then loses her virginity to her boyfriend who as it turns out was actually the person(s) who raped and murdered his Mother. It all gets wrapped up in a text of the slasher movie and then with an extra coating of meta-text about the slasher movie.  But the literal text of Sidney’s experiences, the worst week for a lady in America 1996.

The Terminator

James Cameron, 1984

This is the purest thing James Cameron will ever make.  It’s 100% tight plot wise, incredibly propulsive.  Events in the movie never become clear till a third of the way through during a car chase, satisfying payoff to waiting for these three characters to finally meet in the middle.  Born of a nightmarish fever dream and made by way of pure drive to get the story the fuck out of him and fortunately hamstrung by a small budget it forced this movies tight focus and rough physicality.  Body damage is huge in this movie and the gunfights are in that realm of reality that I like.

Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

A lot of critics claim that after Janet Leigh gets murdered view sympathy switches to Norman.  Not for this guy though.  He’s creepy and weird and the other characters are bores and I don’t care.

Thor

Kenneth Brannaugh, 2011

This was cheesy and good-hearted.  It doesn’t gel in terms of plot momentum and events just kind of happen without a real good reason.  As always with these Marvel Studio movies the never-ending surprise is that the acting is good.  Hemsworth’s Thor is charming and arrogant and does the fish out of water stuff much better than what is in the script. Odin is Welsh because Anthony Hopkins knows why the fuck he is there.  So, a so-so script with some wild-out Flash Gordan spectacle and all in acting.

The thing that got me though is Loki. This the comic book loving part of me cancelling out the movie critiquing part (which I admit when it comes to these movies consider that compartmentalization already compromised.) Loki sucked.  And he sucked because they gave him a motivation and his motivation was lame.  You know what Loki’s motivation is in The Mighty Thor comic book that has worked bang on for 40 + years?  He’s a little bastard. Sometimes people are just little bastards and do messed up shit because of it and that’s more interesting in this instance than “Daddy Lied”.

About a Boy
Chris & Paul Weitz, 2002
A friend of mine was reading the book and I had remembered seeing this movie years ago and that it was good and got good reviews.  Yeah its pretty good.  The kid in this can really act and is not that traditional kind of precocious because the British can be smarter than that.  His troubles with his terminally depressed and suicidal mother has made him older than his years but not so much so that he is just an adult in a kids body.  Hugh Grant is doing more with his role than it seems on the surface.  He doesn’t play it befuddled as he does and he is an asshole but never to the point where the audience would be against him, its a different sort of charm on display and just so in that  his change never seems inauthentic.  The only aspect of the movie that never clicks is his romance with Rachel Weisz  because she just shows up halfway through and Grant explains why she is great but her greatness is never shown because he’s narrating over the top of it.  She is gorgeous thats good reason and I suspect that I’m missing the meaning of tell not show in this instance.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011
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