Posts Tagged ‘Eli Roth’

“Inglourious Basterds”

September 9, 2009
Steeped in Nazi film ideology, why wouldn't there be a cinea in "Inglorious Basterds"?

Steeped in Nazi film ideology, why wouldn't there be a cinea in "Inglorious Basterds"?

In Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Inglourious Basterds” it’s true that the Basterds are on display, all the billboards, all the movie trailers, every blurb makes it appear that they are the main characters, led by mega star Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, a good old boy with a deep respect for his Native American heritage, as he leads his merry men on a carnage ladden path through occupied France to scalp some “Naazis”. What a great hook for a film, and it’s pretty close to the truth, but only a part of the truth.

Tarantino gets to that, but he’s smart enough to know that it’s merely a hook. For some filmmakers it would be enough to show this intense group of Nazi killers as they roam the country side, but he’s up to more here. Giant robots fight on Earth. It’s a hook, a great logline to get people to come watch the movie, but that’s all Transformers is. Basterds is full of the richness of a filmmaker that has finally tamed his own desire for pulp retreads, and has found his own voice.

(more…)

“I Live in Fear” of “The Happening”: The Art of Boldness, Kurosawa, and Shyamalan

June 23, 2008

I Live in Fear

It would be easy to point out Akira Kurosawa’s great films like Rashomon or Seven Samurai as examples of his work, but there’s something to be said about his lesser known films – films that speak volumes and contain moments that are difficult to find anywhere else. He makes as a director and storyteller and he has his actors make very bold decisions. More often than not these choices will make an otherwise mediocre or common melodramatic film quite remarkable and incredibly memorable.

Take for instance Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear starring Toshiro Mifune. Mifune plays Kiichi Nakajima the elderly owner of a foundry. Wanting to preserve his family’s lives he wishes to move them all, lovers and bastard children included, to South America so as to avoid a Nuclear holocaust in Japan. Needless to say this story takes place post World War II. But his children will have none of it and take him to court, so that they can prove their father incapable of handling the family’s fortune.

It’s an interesting enough idea for a film. Kurosawa introduces us to Nakajima’s family through one of the Domestic Court Counselor’s put on the case, Dr. Harada, a dentist played by another Kurosawa mainstay, Takashi Shimura. We follow Harada as he leaves his family dentist business and goes to the court. Next we’re introduced to the squabbling family members, who seem more concerned about how they’ll continue making money for themselves than they are about the wishes of their Father. They are quick to apologize for belittling Harada before knowing who he is. But you still don’t get a sense of who’s film this is. Harada is shot from behind, a silent observer…very meek, humble.

(more…)

My New Favorite Websites: For the Movie Buff in You

March 25, 2008

My absence from writing blogs will soon be explained along with hopefully some more film reviews and ponderings. Until then I thought I would introduce a few websites to you that are absolutely incredible and perfect for films buffs.

The first feeds two of my fascinations, first with the art form of the movie trailer and second with what has inspired directors to make the movies they do: Trailers from Hell. It’s a website in which filmmakers like Joe Dante, Rick Baker, John Landis, Mick Garris, Edgar Wright and handful more pick the most memorable movie trailers from their past and do a commentary for them. I’m discovering movies that have been lost to the public eye for ages. Some movies I love, like Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, some say more about the director than they could say about themselves (check out both of Eli Roth’s picks from the grindhouse exploitation days), others just leave me dumbfounded and wanting more, like Clint Eastwood’s The Beguiled or Invasion U.S.A in which we see that the three main characters were picked specifically because they resembled Bogart, Bergman and Peter Lorre.

It’s really a fun place to kill a few hours and learn about an era of film that I only get a glimpse of when filmmakers now feel some inspiration. You can see the beginnings of films like Slither, Hostel, slasher films and Hynovista! If this website interests you check out my other article: Sam Raimi “Haunted” by his Past…

The other website contains a short film I viewed some time ago and am just getting around to writing about now. It’s a truly remarkable achievement by filmmaker Martin Scorcese. He recreates three pages of a lost Alfred Hitchcock movie as if Hitchcock himself were directing it. The Key to Reserva.

Enjoy and look for more from me soon.

Movie review from LA June 3 – June 10: “Hostel: Part II”, “Day Watch”, “Ocean’s”, Apatow’s “Knocked Up”

June 12, 2007

Gosh where do I start from this past weekend. I’ve seen 4 very different kinds of films between last Friday and today…Monday. Not only that but I’ve been going through the worst cold I’ve had in 4 years time. My head is swirling with sharply and poorly acted and written characters, dialogue, styles of directing, images of gore, of the fantastical, of 60′s and 70′s throwbacks, of comical and dramatic moments, of brutally hilarious disturbing images, of sexual intercourse (the kind that leads to really bad things). My weekend has been filled with tension and laughs, escapist fun and reality that’s almost too real to want to laugh at, and then reality that’s too real to watch. For one weekend at the movies, that’s a pretty crazy ride. I’m going to start with the most recent seen and perhaps the least favorite moment of the ride.

Being sick there’s that moment when you think you’re done using the bathroom, so you pull away and to your surprise realize that you may not have been done and end up having to wipe off the floor or your leg a little bit. Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II” felt like that dribble to me. Or at least parts of it did. Large parts of it. Only instead of cleaning those parts up and flushing them down the toilet with the other bad ideas, Roth kept it to show the world. Thank you Eli! In keeping some of those ideas there’s a certain kind of inspiration that you find in the Hostel films, one lacking in other films of this recently resurrected genre (Saw and it’s sequels). There’s a joy that Eli Roth takes in the carnage, and in that joy you see moments of someone who has the potential to be a really good filmmaker, which means there are moments of”Hostel II” in which we witness a great film, just as there were in the first “Hostel”.

“Hostel” surprised me. It was in fact a film that I intended not to see. It wasn’t until I was thoroughly creeped-out by the very simple teaser for “Hostel II”…

…that I started jonesing to see the first. That same level of psychological fear that I found in the teaser flowed underneath Roth’s surprise hit. Sure, there was gore to be had, but much of it was hidden in the shadows or cleverly built up to, or used to create emotional gravitas. And this is where Roth excels in part II. (more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.