Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekly Round-Up (5/18/14 - 5/24/14)

The Red and The White (Miklos Jansco) **** - This film depicts the Hungarian country-side battle between the Russian Revolutionists (the "Red") and those loyal to the Tsar (the "White"). One of the things that struck me in this film is that though you may sympathize and root for individual characters, it does not generally depict war between the "good guys" or the "bad guys". The film strips off all the glamour of war into just its most basic. It's just a group of people just trying not to get shot. The cause is almost irrelevant. This film is brilliantly directed by Miklos Jansco who uses long takes, making it almost documentary-like. This is my first Jansco film and it certainly won't be the last.

Artists and Models (Frank Tashlin) **** - I saw this film upon the recommendation of a friend and I have to say thank you to him because this is an excellent recommendation. This film marks two firsts for me. It's my first Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis movie and my first live-action film from director Frank Tashlin. Basically, it's about two roommates, one an artist and one an aspiring children's book writer who are unemployed and they meet two ladies and things get crazy from there. The musical numbers are just okay for me and it took me a while to get used to Jerry Lewis' antics but there's so much great things here that I quickly got over any reservations almost immediately. The film is almost consistently funny and also oddly racy in a sneaky manner. It's fluff for sure but very outstanding fluff. I echo my friend's recommendation.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer) ***1/2 - When I first heard of this, the first thought in my mind was, "Another X-Men movie? Really? Okay. Whatever." Even after the trailers came out, I was still fairly indifferent. But after actually seeing it, I must say, THIS is probably my favorite X-Men movie so far. The actors here bring their A-game, clearly playing it straight and taking it seriously but not too seriously. I'm particularly impressed by the fact that despite casting Peter Dinklage, no one ever pointed out he's a little person. It never came up. Though his condition gave his role a somewhat unspoken irony. I'm having superhero comic book movie fatigue yet somehow Bryan Singer miraculously re-invigorated it. The Quicksilver scene alone makes this movie more than worth seeing.

Blast of Silence (Allen Baron) ***1/2 - A hitman goes to the city and is given a assignment. That's it. It's fairly straightforward plot. Classic noir. But what writer-director-star Allen Baron did was strip it down to the bone yet sprinkled it with interesting characters and some cool twists here and there. It's quite pulpy and the independent nature of it gives it a bit of grittiness. Also, beautifully shot and edited and can pretty much can stand head and shoulders among the greatest classic film noirs. I'm glad it somehow got a resurgence in recent years. It's quite a film.

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