Saturday, May 8, 2010

#110 Amores Perros: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans

2000. dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche. Spanish with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

Starring this guy.

Some have called it the "Mexican Pulp Fiction". It's really three intersecting movies - well, in theory. The three plot lines come together in a violent car crash that is the climax of one plot, the start of another, and is witnessed in passing by the third. All three plots involve dogs in some way.

#1: Octavio y Susana. Octavio (Gael García Bernal) gets involved in the underground dogfighting circuit; makes a lot of money but then gets into trouble. Also he tries to steal his brother's woman Susana (Vanessa Bauche). His brother is a creepy asshole, and a criminal, but so is Octavio, so why should I sympathize with him? Oh, I guess the brother hits her and cheats on her, just as sort of a "kick the dog".

#2: Daniel y Valeria. While escaping from the gang, Octavio smashes into Valeria's (Goya Toledo) car, messing up her leg. Valeria is a model of some sort, having been introduced in an Unmotivated Close-Up on a talk show. Her dog gets stuck under the floorboards of her condo. Her boyfriend (Álvaro Guerrero) seems to take a very laid-back approach to getting it out.

#3: El Chivo y Maru. A craggy hitman known as "El Chivo" (Saddam Hussein) has to carry out a job, but he gets interrupted by the car crash. He steals Octavio's dog, and he has a daughter, and... eh, whatever, I didn't care by this point.

Don't see this movie if you're averse to animal cruelty; dogs suffer in this movie. (it says "no animals harmed", but I don't think I believe them.)

Position on the list: 163
While we're on the subject of Alejandro González Iñárritu: Babel. Saw it 2 years ago and I'm still mad. What did that stupid Japan plot have to do with anything? dammit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#109 The Bourne Ultimatum: You look tired

2007. dir. Paul Greengrass, starring Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Stratharin, Julia Stiles.

Seen it before? Yes.

The third of the Jason Bourne movies, which I think makes this the only movie series with just Part 3 on the list. Hmm, let's see...
  • Parts 1, 2, and 3: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings
  • Just parts 1 and 2: Alien, Terminator, Godfather
  • Just parts 1 and 3: Indiana Jones (no love for Temple of Doom!)
  • Just Part 1: Back to the Future, Rocky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws, Psycho, Exorcist, Die Hard, probably others
    Not sure where Silence of the Lambs fits in.

    Anyway, this is probably the shittiest of the Bourne movies. First of all, it;s directed by Paul Greengrass, who can't show something even as simple as a conversation between two people without the camera wobbling and shaking the whole time. The action scenes are dizzying, and not in a good way. Second, Jason Bourne is just not an interesting character here. He had some humanity in Identity and Supremacy, but here he's just this humorless boring invincible robot who goes from place to place kicking the shit out of people. Third, why so many scenes copied from the first two movies? Yes, yes, you're standing across the street looking right at them as you're talking to them on the phone. You did that in the last movie!

    I thought the whole thing had turned into a farce by the end. Let me describe a scene for you: Noah Vosen (David Stratharin) knows where Jason Bourne is, so he sends a bunch of agents after him. Bourne somehow escapes, and then they cut to Vosen looking frustrated and exasperated. This happens like 8 times! it got to the point that every time it happened I started saying "BOOOOOURNE!" in a Mr. Wilson from "Dennis the Menace" voice. It made the movie much funnier.

    Especially ridiculous is the part when Bourne breaks in to the CIA to steal some files from Vosen's office. He's created a distraction to get everyone out of the office - I mean everyone, because apparently there wasn't any security? How the hell did he do that? But then he's stuck inside the CIA, and the screenwriters don't know how to get him out; Vosen has realized he's been duped, so the building is surrounded by CIA agents and the NYPD. Bourne has to escape with the files, or else the plot is over, so how does he escape? Uh, he steals a police car and drives away. Some guys chase him, but then Bourne crashes the car and, uhh, just walks away. Give me a break!

    Position on the list: 151
    I owned this movie: But somebody stole it. BOOOOOOURNE!!!
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    #108 La Strada: The Fool is hurt

    1954. dir. Frederico Fellini, starring Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina. Italian w/ subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    Anthony Quinn plays Zampano, a traveling performer. His act is to bend a steel ring with his pectoral muscles. Eh, not that impressive. He buys a girl, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), to help him out. Yes, buys. I don't know if that sort of thing was legal back then, but whatever. Gelsomina is kind of slow and useless, which casues Zamapano all sorts of aggravation. She meets a guy she likes, another performer nicknamed "The Fool", whose act seems to involve walking a tightrope and being irritating. Zampano beats him to death, and I can't blame him.

    Let's see, what else happened in this movie? I saw it 2 weeks ago so I'm kind of fuzzy. ... drawing a blank. Oh well, the mind is the first thing to go.

    Position on the list: 224
    The score: Written by Nino Rota... you know, the Godfather guy

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    #107 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Drums in the deep

    2001. dir. Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    Seen all 3 of these already but they just came out on Blu-ray so here we are. I tried reading the books once but I couldn't do it, mostly because Tolkien has this habit of making up words. It's very confusing... yes, I know, he's this genius linguist who invented whole languages, but I just want to be able to follow the story. Also the books went off on these long tangents that had nothing to do with the story, so in my opinion, the movies improved on the books by streamlining them. (Looking at you here, Tom Bombadil. I don't care what color your boots are.)

    The streamlining is needed because these movies are long enough as it is. They would be 5 hours long if they captured everything. Certainly they are great movies, but enough is enough, right?

    Position on the list: 18
    I don't get it: If the elves got rings too, why didn't they turn into Ringwraiths? Don't answer that.