Thomas Balkcom’s Movies

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#12 Update

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I hope everyone is doing great, I’ve been lucky and been able to watch a good number of films this week, and as promised, no SHORT reviews.

(revisit) There Will Be Blood – 10+/10 <– There was no way that I was going to not buy it the day it came out, so on Tuesday I went out and bought the collector’s editions, and I have to say, it might be the best packaging of a recent movie that I’ve seen in awhile. I gave a brief review of this film already, but there are a few a points I’d like to bring up. The first of which is something that I realized on my first viewing, but never noticed how profound it is. I am talking of Daniel Plainview’s (D.D. Lewis) sense of competition, and even with it being outright said in the movie, I just never understood how all of his actions were to be better than anyone else, not for money, but for a sense of, well I would say God-like but that’s not true, it’s to be make sure no one is better than him. Plainview wants to remain in complete control, again this is a pretty simple idea within the film, but still it struck me as so much more important the second time around. Just as before, beautiful cinematography and score. And after my mixed feelings about the ending, I think I have come to a conclusion, it’s PERFECT. “I’m finished.”

(revisit) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – 7/10 <– I really do not have much to say about this film, I really do enjoy it, and even with my recent problems with Tim Burton (which is a whole other story), this film is absolutely beautiful. I would like people’s inputs on how they feel about certain sets of people always working together, in this case I am referring to Burton, Depp, and Bonham Carter, I love all three, but I don’t know how I feel about it. I want to see Burton make another original movie, just one then he can go back and keep doing these. This comes from the fact that he is currently working on a real life/CGI version of Alice in Wonderland, which I think will be great personally. I guess we will have to see.

Michael Clayton – 7.5/10 <– Upon a second viewing of this film I might change this rating, but I absolutely loved this film, it was enjoyable from start to finish. There’s not much to it in the end, but there are some definite deeper underlying themes that aren’t easily seen. Typical ideas of brotherhood, fatherhood, and friendship are all called into question throughout the movie, leaving the viewer kind of puzzled about how to feel about it all. I am not one to base any of my opinions on other reviews, but lately I find myself reading more and more reviews of films right after I watch them (NEVER before I watch them), I bring this up because a bunch of reviews called the script mediocre, where I found it to be the best part of the film, well that alongside Tom Wilkinson’s performance, which was just phenomenal. Once I get around to watching Atonement, I will have seen all of last years Best Picture nominees. I recommend this film to absolutely anyone. I would like to add that it’s a bit bizarre for me to enjoy this film, I’m not typically a fan of this genre, it was a nice surprise.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – 4/10 <– I love John C. Reilly and Judd Apatow, so I had high hopes going into this film. Don’t get me wrong, it was hilarious, far from Apatow’s best but definitely worth watching. It was great to see Tim Meadows back on screen (in a bigger film), he was hilarious. “It’s (insert drug here) and you don’t want no part in this shit.” This movie really was great, but I honestly think that it could’ve been better. I recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh at some extremely enjoyable scenes.

Barton Fink – 9/10 <– Prior to seeing this movie there were about three Coen brother films I was missing out on, now there are only two, The Man Who Wasn’t There and The Hudsucker Proxy, and just as all of their other movies, this movie was outstanding. One of my favorite actors, John Turturro is a playwright who apparently doesn’t do very well socially and has a hard time dealing with people within society. This may sound pretty common, but through good writing and Turturro’s great performance, it really comes to life. John Goodman, a person who’s acting talents are greatly under appreciated, was the heavy-set, supposed everyman, and he really made the movie. There is a very strange emphasis on doors and shoes in this movie, be it through the hotel room doors or the constant slamming of doors, or the complimentary shoe shining service and the fact that at many times, scenes are shown at a low angle, and the shoes seem to stick out. I’m not sure the importance of it all, but it was definitely on the stranger side of things. The movie was great, I recommend it to anyone. By the way, the ending was perfect in regards to the rest of the film.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai – 7/10 <– GREAT movie, I completely loved it and it was an extremely quick two hours. This was a very strange role for Forrest Whittaker, but he was great (as normal) in it. If you remember from my last post, this was the first of Jim Jarmusch’s films that I watched, and I have many more to go. I think the fact that I knew Jarmusch wrote this, made me love it even more. It allowed me to appreciate how out of his style it is but how it still managed to feel like another one of his works. I intend on giving like a little spotlight detail on how I feel about Jarmusch collectively after I finish his filmography in the coming weeks. There is some great action, some beautiful writing, and extremely appropriate music throughout the film. My favorite aspect was the fact that he best friend, and potentially only friend, only spoke French, a language that Whittaker’s character couldn’t understand a word of, it was a clear emphasis on how out of place Ghost Dog was in our modern times. I’ll leave with a quote from the movie that really made me think.

” There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue.”

Smart People – 4/10 <– This movie could’ve been so much more than it was, it’s strange how Thomas Haden Church has been type-casted as the “mess-up” brother or close friend in his movies, but he was easily the most enjoyable character of the movies. He provided for almost all of the laughs throughout the movie mainly due to the fact that I found Ellen Page’s character annoying, not funny, and unbelievable to the point where she was even more annoying. The entire movie was formulaic, in the sense that everything that happened was logical in the realm of Hollywood film. I won’t give anything away, but I could see some people enjoying this movie, just not for me I suppose. On a pretentious side note, I am getting fed up with these “indie” films such as Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, not they are necessarily bad movies, but I just don’t think they are true representation of independent films. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the asshole in me.

By the way, I am laptop-less for the next week or so, and it’s kind of upsetting realizing how dependent I was on it, but it’s been a good rude awakening so far.

As always, I thank you for reading, and expect a good deal more postings in the near future, as I should be having more free time to myself in the coming weeks.


Written by thomasbalkcom

April 13, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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