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Film Commentary, Film Reviews

Five thoughts about Fast Five

June 27, 2012

Once upon a time, Morpiedra promised the editor a brief write-up about Fast5. A million years later, the article still hasn’t happened. Having recently gained access to HBO, I stumbled on this movie among the OnDemand choices and finally got a chance to watch it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve seen all of the films in this franchise. Also, I’m unashamed to say that I like most of them. Maybe it’s because the films are popcorn fare, so they get a pass. Maybe it’s because I’ve always liked cars. I was never a tuner, but anyone else frequent New Carrolton Metro in the early 2000s? Maybe it’s because, as an Asian American man, I’m always hoping for more POC (people of color) on the silver screen. So while Morpie (pronounced more-pee) roams the great yonder doing his hermit thing, I’m taking the reins of this write up as well as stealing a page from his book (with his blessing) to scribble five thoughts on Fast5 (Justin Lin, 2011). Enjoy.

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Film, Film Reviews

Prometheus: Like Watching a Huge Bonfire

June 8, 2012

An hour  before midnight last night, I stepped in to a 505 person capacity IMAX theater to watch the premiere of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Although I was an hour early, the theater was already about 60% full, and by the time the movie started, there were nary, if any seats open.

So as the lights dimmed and film rolled, it felt as if we had all just strapped in to a journey far away from this little rock called earth.

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Film Commentary, Film Reviews

Five Thoughts About Drive

February 4, 2012

Drive Yourself Morose with Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn

After writing that Kentucky Fried Christianity piece, I told IHL Editor Richie that my next review/commentary would be for Justin Lin’s Fast Five (2011). Said piece has yet to be written. This is, in part, because I recently encountered and became enamored with another Lin film: Finishing the Game (2007). An article that addresses both will come eventually.

In the meanwhile, lest I become known as the dude who only likes to talk about old-ass films, here are my thoughts about a slightly more-recent film: Drive (2011).

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Film, Film Reviews

Film Review // Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

December 20, 2011

Directed by Brad Bird / Release (Wide): Dec 21, 2011 / R, 2 hr. 13 min.

Ratatouille and The Incredibles may not be my favorite Pixar films, but they are great nonetheless. I thought Warner Bros. Animation’s Iron Giant (released 1999) to be on par with these, if not better. These films are each tender in their presentation, but exciting to watch. The characters are full of whimsical personality, and still manage to carry dramatic weight under difficult circumstances. Those films have heart.

Why am I talking about those films? Because they are the three films that director Brad Bird took on prior to helming current blockbuster Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Say what?

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Film, Film Reviews

Film Review // The Descendants

December 14, 2011
The Descendants

Directed by Alexander Payne / Release (Limited): Nov 18, 2011 / R, 1 hr. 50 min.

Alexander Payne is probably best currently known for his work on 2004’s surprise hit, Sideways, which won several nods and awards, including an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hopefully, his recognition is eclipsed by his latest effort, The Descendants, which stars George Clooney as a man whose wife is in a coma, who’s in the middle of a huge real estate deal, and who must now care for his 10 and 17-year-old daughters.

Except, that’s not really what the movie is about.

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Film Reviews

DVD Review // American Splendor

December 9, 2011

Directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini / Release: Aug 15, 2003 / Fine Line Features / R, 1 hr. 40 min.

Now that I’m all about streaming movies from Netflix and buying those fancy Blu-ray discs for choice collectibles, what should I do with all of these old, dusty DVDs?”  I asked the blind man.  “Review them, grasshopper,” he replied. “Review them.”

American Splendor, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, is a sour puss’ wet dream.  A striking collage of documentation, clever comedy, and dramatic breakthroughs, the film is explicitly “self-aware” (the best kind, right?).  I’m recalling the ouroboros dynamic seen in Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation (2002), in which the actual script is about a screenplay about a writer writing himself into a screenplay about a real book. Is anyone following (’cause I’m not sure I am)? Continue Reading…

Film Commentary, Film Reviews

"You make me laugh, but it's not funny" A NON-REVIEW // BEGINNERS

November 28, 2011

Written & Directed by Mike Mills / Release: June 3, 2011 / R, 105 min

When Richard Sánchez, a.k.a. the Creator of this space, asked me offered me the chance to drop my artsy-ricardsy critiques and impressions in a corner of his site – more exactly, where any dog would kindly pee — I said, “Ok. But no smartass reviews.”

I’ve known Richard for at least five years, quite indirectly, just a computerized and highly caffeinated version – or else where does he get all his acid humor? I met him through another Verbose Alchemist who also marks his territory in the corners of this page, the Muñoz Melancholia – much more apocalyptic than Lars Von Trier’s (do call on Mario whenever you find yourself too annoyingly cheerful).

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Film Reviews

Review – Melancholia

November 26, 2011

Written & Directed by Lars von Trier / Release (Limited): Nov 11, 2011 / Magnolia Pictures / R, 2 hr. 15 min

For those of you that struggle with chronic anxiety and depression, please remain calm.  Lars von Trier — the Danish auteur mastermind (and former Dogme 95 co-founder) behind such Sartre-approved existential morsels as Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, and the life-altering Antichrist — is at it again in Melancholia.  Only this time it’s about a more archetypal, timeless dread:  The end of the world. Continue Reading…

Film Reviews

Old Review // The Hours

November 22, 2011

Directed by Stephen Daldry / Release (Wide): Dec 27, 2002 / Miramax Films / PG-13, 1 hr. 54 min

I recently caught this film on HBO a couple nights ago.  Nostalgic, I dug up an old review I wrote of it on December 20, 2002, for a defunct fiction/arts website known as Under Obstruction. Continue Reading…