Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The last couple weeks

I'm going too see The Wrestler tomorrow, but I don't see how Mickey Rourke can have a better comeback performance than Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD. It's an incredibly honest performance that doesn't shy away from the embarassing nature of the work he's been doing for the past ten years.

Speaking of great performances, Michael Shannon is finally getting recognition for an incredibly intense short role in Revolutionary Road. Shannon is the new master of the intense scary role after similar turns in Bug and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

There's something a little too simple about Ron Howard's films that makes me dislike most of them, and this is definitely on display in Frost/Nixon. I did love Frank Langella though.

The Reader
is very solid and very professional, but doesn't make me feel much of anything at the end.

Savage Grace has a dreamlike quality that reminds me a lot of early Todd Haynes films like Poison and Safe. I love the way the ending makes you question a lot of the earlier scenes in the film as you wonder how reliable the narrator has been.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not the revenge you thought you were getting

After the first hour of Revanche I thought I could tell where everything was headed, but it undermined my expectations, leaving me awestruck by the honesty of its performances.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Godfather minus all the bits that made you like The Godfather

Gomorrah fails as drama because evil, especially systematic evil, is terribly undramatic.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh No! Tom Cruise

Valkyrie is is a collection of many of my favorite character actors given far too little to do, oh and Tom Cruise is in it too.

Instead of the movie diary this year I am going to try to make one sentence reviews of everything I see in 2009. This idea will probably be abandoned as soon as I get bored of it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

#6 - Seven Samurai

I crossed some sort of invisible line when I was 16. I had moved to a new town about two weeks before school started and didn't really know anyone, so I had to wait a little while before I really made new friends. High school was kind of a joke, so I had a ton of time after school to kill. I spent that first winter clearing out the local video store 3 tapes at a time. You know that person in your building that has too many cats and wears cat sweaters that you see lugging 50 pound bags of meow mix into the elevator. Well I was that person except, you know, movies instead of cats. Things turned around for me of course, even though I had shoulder length hair that flipped out like Judy Jetson, but the video store in town was always a comfortable place for me. And it was there, when I was feeling a little adventurous, that I picked up Seven Samurai. 3.5 hours long, in Japanese with English subtitles. I was skeptical. I just figured that movies made in different countries would be unintelligible, that there would be other barriers besides language. I was wrong. I was also lucky. I imagine if I had picked up Solaris I wouldn't have fallen in love with foreign films so quickly. Sometimes the right film comes to you at the right time.

This was the perfect gateway drug for sixteen year old Don Jacobson. I loved how it took its time to introduce me to the characters. I laughed my ass off at Kikuchiyo's introduction and the way he was slowly introduced into the group. I marveled at the way the action and the tension built once we finally came to the village the samurai were sent to protect. I was blown away.

The twenty-nine year old Don Jacobson is still blown away. Film classes and books have allowed me to further appreciate how carefully constructed it is, and how different it is from other Japanese features at the same time. How the action is all about precise camera movement and editing. At the same time it transports me back to being that sixteen year old in the basement, smiling and marveling at something he'd never seen before. From that day on, it was rare to see me leave the video store without some kind of foreign film under my arm. Many of them were as stupid as their American counterparts, but they laid the groundwork for my discovery of countless others, three of which are on this list.

I have a sixteen year old brother now. I think I'll bring Seven Samurai next time I see him.

Monday, September 15, 2008


A friend of mine jokes occasionally that I only really like 5 novels. If that were really true, it would only be because Infinite Jest ruined my expectations forever. It taught me that I didn't need to fully understand a novel to engage with it. It challenged me to become smarter, it made me look up words and re-read sentences. I feel like to some degree the experience taught me how to read. His other novel, his short fiction, and his journalistic work are all similarly rewarding.

A great loss.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Also available in Blu-Ray

Ugh I've been lazy about this blog, expect more soon.