Archive

MEDIOCRE

1900 (Italian: Novecento). Bernardo Bertolucci. This is a difficult movie to rate. I think you should see it simply because there are pieces of brilliance in it. Overall the movie does not rate well compared to other masterpieces. But this movie is an epic masterpiece in my youth alone. The reason is that I was forced to watch it for History lessons in high school and it made my love for movies even bigger. The movie may not be good, but imagine the impact of a 5 hour movie marathon during history lessons…. EPIC. Whatever you do, watch the 317 minute version so you get the full monty. Some classical actors have their young careers started here. (1976)

Convoy. Sam Peckinpah. This movie is amongst the most quoted movies in my life. Standing in line at a grocery store, driving in slow traffic or a large truck, this movie is quoted. Anyway, the movie is based on a song and the director was the hardest ass in showbizz. He made much more notable movies than this one, but this was the highest grossing one. I rewatched it for the midlife crisis I should be in and it was mildly amusing. I suggest to watch it just for reference on the director but avoid it if you want to have genuine entertainment. Forgettable unless you saw it back in the 70’s. (1978)

Joe Kidd. John Sturges. There is something about this movie that attracted me. I had to watch it since I was and am a John Sturges fan. He made plenty movies that I loved to watch. However the movie is a disappointment unless you see the beauty of the characters developing which would later come to full grown complexity. Eastwoood is grooming and training his piece-du-resistance character acting and Duvall is clearly on the road of becoming one of the great actors. The movie Joe Kidd is agreeable but easy forgettable against the much better westerns that Eastwood would make in his life. (1972)

The machinist. Brad Anderson. This is an interesting movie but a tough one to watch to the end. The only thing that can grab you in this movie is the method acting Bale does. He is the character in body and soul. Michael Ironside, a personal favorite, supports his acting well but the director misses a chance to have them confront each other more. In the end, the movie is just not interesting enough besides these two actors, the insomnia Bale suffers was completely idiotic to me, since I fell asleep twice watching him being an insomniac. I did enjoy the fact that it was shot in Barcelona which you can barely notice as most people would say its a west coast USA town. (2003)

The lady from Shanghai. Orson Welles. I admire Orson Welles but this movie is not that good. Well, allow me to be correct, if someone else directed this movie, nobody would care. But Welles directed it so it must live up to his reputation and it doesn’t. The story behind the movie is far more interesting, Orson having married Rita Hayworth, shot the movie for no fee, to pay for a bill for another production he was doing, Orson being blacklisted. etc. The whole murderplot in this movie comes directly (seriously) from a pocketbook and that could be the problem. Nobody actually gets the plot which could be actually the supreme goal of a proper film noir, but the audience demands some logic. Of course, acting, shots, editing etc is brilliant since it is Orson but the blueprint or plot for what he was trying to do was just not good enough to be Orson-ified. Imagine this movie with a great plot… (1947)

Hesher. Spencer Susser. This could be a far better movie than it turned out to be. The acting is very good and this is the essence of the movie. Every actor in the movie made sure it did what it needed to do and even Rainn Wilson managed to get outside his usual comfort zone. Gordon-Levitt outdoes himself and most likely took another step in a great career. What the movie lacks is cohesiveness and a clear story to go with that. It is clear what the director wants to say, but perhaps he lacks the depth of experience/writing/age (just guessing here…) to put this into a correct form. Time will tell when Spencer directs his next movie. (personal note: that Metallica song remains a potential movie essential). (2010)

Redbelt. David Mamet. It is the same mistake as before. I think Mamet is a good writer but a shitty director. As a director House of Games remains his best. His unique method of writing is always direct, to the point and mesmerizing even if you have no idea what it is about. But his directorial skills remain to be meager. I think Redbelt could have been a good movie if the script was given to either an action or drama director with flair. But not to Mamet who clearly lacks the skills to shoot a good fight and looses his whole plot in the final minutes. The attempt at a warrior movie in the style of the Japanese was commendable but a failure in the end. All in all, as a Mamet fan you have to watch it, but otherwise you may just avoid it. (2008)