An okay detective movie involving the opera, an obsessed (yet lovable) fan, a prostitution ring, and two cassette tapes. Timeless in the sense that I watched it not realizing it was made decades ago (1981). But plot holes abounded (e.g., how did the taiwanese find out about the bootleg recording; why was the old white guy so good at spy-type stuff) and these really bothered me.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
An unsatisfying art house film about politics and romance in art school and about a serial killer in the surrounding community. While the commentary on the art world was enjoyable, there were extraneous characters (e.g., an undercover cop)/interactions that didn't go anywhere (e.g., cop tackling someone while filming a movie). Also, some primary characters' motivations were inexplicable (e.g., female lead).
Sunday, May 21, 2006
A brilliant film about racism in Los Angeles. Terrific cinematography: framing, lighting, transitions, everything. Good use of language, direct and with no extraneous words or scenes. Well integrated, haunting soundtrack brings the film together but isn't distracting. A complex tale interweaving many characters that intersect by coincidence. Some critics claim it is too obvious with its themes, but I don't really agree.
A series of touching profiles of a set of elderly persons that all attend the same swim class at a Y in New York City. Explores their perspective on life through questions about their relationships, politics, careers, and thoughts on aging. Wonderful characters. A well done film, though at times I felt it could use a bit more structure so I knew where I was in the narrative. (I mistook a transition for the ending a few times. Simple titles like "Aging" and "Swimming" would probably have sufficed.)
A cute short movie about a (hokey?) roadside attraction in Florida. Mainly focuses on the women that currently swim as mermaids and the women who had the same job decades ago. Nostalgic, both for old (pre-Disney) Florida and for youth.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
A decent documentary that really feels like a comedy, with a series of people (especially the director's friends, some of which are famous) recounting stories about being fired. Inspired by the director being fired by Woody Allen from a play. I got a little bored at the limited cast of characters. Apparently she filmed many more, with many more famous people with good stories, but couldn't fit them in the movie, although they will appear on the DVD. From the ones the director recounted in Q&A, I think she could have made better decisions about what to include. The film was a bit disappointing to me because I'd hoped for a more serious exploration of the social, cultural, and economic consequences of firing and being fired; this film was not very deep or thoughtful, which could be because the director seems a little ditzy. Or it could be because it was a series of humorous anecdotes, with the only deep part -interviews with two economists- lasting less than ten minutes and stuck on at the end. Still, while not bad it could've been a lot better.
Saturday, May 6, 2006
[China / Hong Kong]
Bad. While visually well done (like In the Mood for Love), it's confusing, more like an incomplete sketchbook than a film. It seems thematically deep, but it's hard to determine the theme or the message when the plot really is a series of (nonlinear) vignettes that is unclear how they relate, temporally or otherwise (other than the man in the center of everything). Music is good and haunting. Whole effect was to nearly put me to sleep multiple times. Di Yin describes it as a mood movie.