Thomas Balkcom’s Movies

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Hello all, this should be a fairly dense entry, enjoy.

First Impression – Fringe <- – I am really not sure how to feel about this show as it was just the pilot, I have to say it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t expecting such cheesy dialogue but I guess I give Abrams and crew too much credit. There is some definite promise and I am excited to see the way in which they develop the show, I just hope they can keep others and me interested. The promise lies within the bigger picture scenario a la the line “it’s like we are all one scientist’s giant experiment.” We will see how they play off of that, and hopefully they succeed.

(lab screening/ revisit) Punch Drunk Love – 9/10 <- – I firmly believe that everyone has a handful of films that they absolute adore and appreciate whereas the majority hates the very same film, for me those are Hulk (Ang Lee’s), Con-Air (as mentioned in my previous posting), and Punch Drunk Love which also happens to me one of my three favorite films. When I say favorite I am not referring to its overall value as a film but more as my own personal ability to enjoy the film over and over again or better what the film actually means to me as an individual. With that in mind the other two are Dead Man and Taxi Driver (for the sole fact that Taxi Driver is the main reason I love movies as much as I do). I would even consider Punch Drunk Love PT Anderson’s weakest film (yes even over Hard Eight), but it is artistically beautiful and audibly remarkable. Does anyone else find it strange that PT Anderson has yet to make a bad film? This is my opinion of course but if you just give it some serious thought, you may not like his other films but they are outstanding nonetheless. Studying this in a class for the first time was a great experience, to see other people’s reactions, to hear their thoughts, and to have people point out things that I never noticed before was just great. I would definitely not recommend this movie to everyone, but I truly do love it. Take a look at a much better review.

“In Punch-Drunk Love, all those qualities that comprise the Sandler persona—the simpleton’s innocence, the pained inarticulateness, the propensity for violence—have been sharpened and magnified.”

(revisit) Mission Impossible III (Blu-Ray) – 6.5/10 <- – I had not seen this since its theatrical release and thought I would watch it again due to the fact that I recently had heard that it is a toss-up between this and Casino Royale as the most beautiful Blu-Ray DVDs. The hype is just about true (although I have only seen about seven or eight films on BD), it was just a bit above Golden Compass for quality. Very cool movie, Hoffman plays a fantastic villain, which is good news in regards to his recently stated interest in playing the Penguin in a potential third Nolan Batman film, there is reason to believe this is just speculation but I think it’d be a near-perfect fit.

Baby Momma – 5/10 <- – This was a very funny film, nothing too special here but definitely provided a good, laugh-filled hour and a half. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are absolutely hysterical together.

(lab screening) Viaggo in Italia – 5.5/10 <- – The fourth film for my Italian Neorealism class, and to be completely honest, it was rather boring. They were some great shots of Italian landscapes, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, but that’s about it for me, I found the story to be extremely uninteresting.

(lab screening/ revisit) Forrest Gump – 7/10 <- – This is just one of those movies I feel as if one can watch over and over again and still like it as much as the last time. What can I possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said? Oh, weird thing I noticed this time around, probably of no significance but Forrest never once in the movie enters a car, for neither driving nor riding, I thought that was of some interest although it makes sense.

The Fall (Blu-Ray) – 7.5/10 <- – As an exercise in visual genius, this film is quite the experience, but I have to say that I believe my rating is a bit high. If I were to watch this again I am almost positive I’d rate it lower due to the lack of strength of the overall story, I just wanted to see so much more. But maybe that’s what makes it so great, a film that entices one for more due to its interest and allure is a true treasure. I loved this movie and would easily recommend it to anyone.

Burn After Reading – 5/10 <- – I expect way too much from the Coen brothers, and I foresaw this problem in regards to this film. This movie made me laugh for pretty much its entirety, and what a cast. John Malkovich is a truly amazing actor, both he and Tilda Swinton were astounding (especially together). I won’t say much about this film as it comes out today, but to be entirely honest, even with preconceived notions that I will be expecting too much, it still fails to execute in my opinion. I will say that I did enjoy it, and I am positive it is worth at least one viewing.

I wanted to add another little tidbit, there was a brilliant article in The AV Club this Thursday in place of the normal New Cult Canon (which I reference several times in this blog), it’s entitled The Old Cult Canon, a sort of primer into cult films. Here is an excellent excerpt:

4. Eraserhead (1977)

David Lynch’s first feature film is an exercise in endurance, a deeply creepy, barely narrative experience in surrealism. The star, Jack Nance, is informed that his girlfriend has had a mutant child after a weirdly short pregnancy, and that he must marry her. Abruptly trapped in an unwanted, hellishly oppressive domestic life as a husband and a father, he winds up caring for the hideous “child” on his own, then having the nightmare that gives the film its title. More a series of eerie encounters and off-putting moments than anything else, Eraserhead seems like a dream, and the fact that the story includes a dream just makes it all seem more disjointed and unreal. So does Lynch’s terrifying soundtrack, which emphasizes grating noises like the “baby”‘s horribly labored breathing. Eraserhead isn’t for the impatient or the faint of heart, but its profound extremity, its strangely quoteable non-sequitur dialogue, and its striking, almost Georges Méliès-like black-and-white images make it stick in people’s haunted minds. It also feels like an early warning about Lynch’s bent toward unsettling surrealism.

Does it work at noon as well as it does at midnight? No nightmare does.

Films that couldn’t exist without it: Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr., The Shining (Stanley Kubrick reportedly screened Eraserhead for his crew before filming started, to give them a sense of the tone he wanted), the films of Crispin Glover, Darren Aronofsky’s Pi”

That’s about it, I should be finishing up the second part of my other project in the next few days so go ahead and look out for that. Oh, and The Wrestler is being raved about since its debut at the Toronto Film Festival which does not surprise me at all (as a huge Aronofsky fanboy) but it is still great news. On the topic of upcoming fall/winter films that I am excited for, I will list the ones I am anxiously waiting for: Synedoche, New York, The Road, Choke, Max Payne (I have to admit, it looks pretty cool), RocknRolla, and The Wrestler (which should be coming out early next year). I will leave you with the new Quantum of Solace trailer, thank you for reading.

After seeing this trailer, I really want to see Man on Wire, let’s hope it eventually comes to Atlanta.

Currently Listening to: Brand New – “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me” (the song You Won’t Know to be specific – easily one of my favorite songs that has come out in the past couple years)
Currently Reading: finishing up The Quiet American (heavy school reading this week so I am falling behind)


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Written by thomasbalkcom

September 12, 2008 at 6:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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