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Jan 19, 2011

The State of the Cabins (1/19/11)

Things to Click On
* If you are a LAMB member and have not yet taken the LIONS for LAMBs poll for 2010, DO IT NOW! The link can be found here. (the Large Association of Movie Blogs)

* Hatter and I bicker about the plots of The Social Network and Citizen Kane, even though even if we hadn't seen them, the internet is full of plot summaries. (The Dark of the Matinee)

* Steve counts down his list of the top 10 directors that set the tone for the last decade. Feel free to disagree with some of his choices *coughSamRaimicough*. (The Film Cynics)

* First, Rachel noticed an odd trend in Jennifer Connelly movies; then she did a double-bill I've been meaning to do for years now...I own both DVDs, just never find a reason to. (Rachel's Reel Reviews)

* Kai's gonna become just the second movie blogging buddy that I'll meet in person; but first, he's gonna list his favorite Gary Busey flicks. (The List)

Quick sidenote: speaking of Busey, this Family Guy gag from their Christmas episode had me laughing more than anything from them in two years.

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
* Knowing
If I tell you I was disappointed with a Nic Cage flick, you're likely to roll your eyes and call me Captain Obvious or something. But just wait...

Knowing is actually a pretty good movie. Sure, director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) does his usual "third act gets friggin' loopy" business, but I was okay with that. If you think of the movie as an adult version of The Last Mimzy (I know, you didn't see that one, either), the nuttiness doesn't come across as so nutty. But see, that's just the problem. I had heard a little something about Nic Cage taking whacks at a tree with a baseball bat. Something or someone had me under the impression that he was doing battle against tree people. I knew there was something apocalyptic going down.

And yet, Knowing isn't all that crazy. It's a gloomy sci-fi thriller with some weird elements, but it never feels as though it's going off the rails. Proyas keeps a pretty steady hand and doles out the bizarro stuff just enough - this isn't The Happening, after all. And our buddy Nic - well, he never really does his Cage thing.

So, as you can imagine, I was pretty let down. Here I was looking for more mockery material and I ended up with a worthy viewing. Knowing won't knock your socks off, but it ain't a waste of your time, either.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Large Association of Movie Blogs

* Oldboy
I went into this new classic pretty damn cold, and I'm glad I did. All I really knew was "hammer fight" and the chief image used of Oh Dae-Su cocked and loaded with said hammer.

Admittedly, I'm not much a fan of Asian cinema, so perhaps Oldboy isn't as fresh feeling to others as it was to me, but I got a real sense that, despite having a plot that could be narrowed down to "revenge story," it really felt like I was watching something new and completely original, a la Fight Club or Eternal Sunshine. Like the rules of predictable cinema had flown out the window and all I could do was sit back and enjoy the ride. This is the reason I defend the work of Richard Kelly (and Southland Tales in general) so much - I looooove that feeling of 'anything goes' (so long as it's still somewhat comprehensible; hence my disclaimers about Southland and distaste for the work of someone like David Lynch).

And boy does it ever in Oldboy. This movie's a great mindf*#k of a film.

Choi Min-sik puts on a hell of show - barely recognizable from the opening shots to the next scene to the rest of the film. Thankfully, I wasn't watching this in a theater - I could back up and catch lines of shots multiple times when needed, and it certainly was for a while there. It's funny at all the right and wrong times. And Lee Woo-jin and Mr. Han make for a terrific pair of villains - one stoic and mysterious, the other suave and vulnerable.

Oh, and to the fellas I talked to the other day, where I said I was a tad unimpressed with the hammer fight...my apologies: I did not realize it was a one-taker! Read that there was just a tad of CGI thrown in to perfect it, but for the most part, au naturel! Makes me want to watch it again.

I'll get to the rest of the Vengeance trilogy soon enough. Oh, and Choi Min-sik's hair is awesome. That is all.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You're the best...around!"
"It's in the hole!"
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* Is it possible to be obsessed with a song or album that you've not yet even heard?

I woke up one morning this week with the words "halycon days" on the tip of my tongue. Didn't know why. Guess I just like the word "halycon," even though I have no idea what it is (I do that sometimes). Finally, another Best of 2010 reading brings it all back to me - Halycon Digest is the name of the latest Deerhunter album, and it's at or near the top of just about every indie music fan's list for 2010. I'm still not sure if I've ever even heard any Deerhunter songs, but I'd say that, given the universal love, there's probably an 80% I will dig it. I know I could just go to YouTube and listen to something from the album, but something's telling me to just buy it cold (an extreme rarity for music). Why not? Go crazy...

Book I'm currently reading:
* I'm still not finished with Stone Cold, but after having been away from it for a few weeks, I am back to it. Nearing the climax, and it's getting good - quite possibly my favorite of the three Camel Club books thus far.

Now, for the important question of what to read next. Commenter and goody buddy Buffett35 has lent me his copy of The Green Mile after seeing the film on my Films to Watch in 2011 list, telling me I pretty much "gotta" read the books first. Okie doke. Believe it or not, it'll be the first Stephen King book I've ever read...

11 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (1/19/11)"

CastorTroy said...

Glad you enjoyed Oldboy. That ending is truly one f'ed up twist that I never saw coming.

Madhatter 21 said...

Linkage despite disagreement - that amigo is community. Well done and thank you for the plug.

Fletch said...

I saw half of it coming very early on, but they kind of put the kibosh on your line of thinking going in that way. And then you kind of forget about it, giving power back to the reveal. Man, that was one intricate plan that Lee came up with...

Fletch said...

You can be outrageously frustrating to spar with at times, but I figured the love is the least I owed you for taking over your comments section for the day.

James Blake Ewing said...

Been on the fence over whether or not I should check out "Knowing." Love "Dark City" and like "I, Robot" but haven't had a real desire to watch more Proyas even though I hear some of his other films are really compelling. I might to him sooner than later. Always looking for directors that I think are overlooked or misunderstood because there's already enough people praising the popular guys.

Also, Nick Cage is usually a sign that I will vehemently dislike a movie.

Nick said...

Yeah, Knowing isn't all that bad. Oldboy is like... one of my favorite movies, so I'm still stoked you liked it. And I totally thought you realized it was a one-take fight. That's why I was freakin' out that you weren't impressed.

And halcyon means happy, essentially.

Kaiderman said...

I tried to get involved and just didn't even know where to begin!
Who's the first blogger you met BTW? I don't wanna be your sloppy 2nd's!

Nick said...

Yeah, I actually did. It was the name of a character (shortened to Hal) in my trilogy I wrote.

...that was a really nerdy statement. I apologize.

Fletch said...

Get involved with what?

The first one was a guy named Mike from the blog Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas. I knew him from his movie blog, but then he came out here to the Phoenix Film Festival as he was a producer of a short film that played there.

Fletch said...

Proyas is definitely left of the mainstream...I just think he tries too hard sometimes. I, Robot was his most mainstream and normal, and it just wasn't very good, unfortunately.

Yes, couldn't agree more on the Cage part.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the double link love! And watch the Before double bill when you get a chance. The second one is only 80 minutes and plays out in real time.