Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekly Round-Up (2/9/14 - 2/15/14)

The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord/Christopher Miller) **** - I absolutely loved this movie. It's kind of amazing, really. A movie based on LEGO's? That sounds like a groan-inducing shamelessly commercial product-placement laden soul-crushing mistake. But it's quite the opposite! They managed to take what's great about the LEGO toys (I've played them when I was kid, FYI) and expound on it. And all the while making a sharp, witty film that will delight people of all ages. The pop culture references are organic and not forced or snarky (unlike a lot of early Dreamworks). The film also has a twist that makes everything deeper, richer and even moving. It's kind of incredible that this didn't turn out into to be a cynical cash grab but a celebration of....everything that's awesome. Everyone should see it!

My Darling Clementine (John Ford) **** - This film is a sort of re-imagining of the Gunfight at the OK Corral incident. Although it's not historically accurate, the film gives the story more complex emotional heft. It features stunning black and white cinematography, probably one of the best in a black and white Western. Correct me somebody if I'm wrong but this must have influenced Sergio Leone and spaghetti Westerns quite a bit since it almost feels like one. It is not my most favorite John Ford film but it's in the upper-tier for sure.

Repo Man (Alex Cox) ***1/2 - Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton are two men working as, well, repo men, specializing in cars. When a Chevy Malibu worth $20,000 with a weird, mysterious and deadly cargo pops up, things get complicated. At first I thought this is one of those '80s buddy action-comedies but it turns out to be so much more than that. It's often wickedly funny and has an actual satirical edge which was pleasantly surprising. This is actually my first venture into the films of Alex Cox. I think I'm gonna see more of him.

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