Monday, October 16, 2006

I've been working my way through a fair number of Netflix recently; here are the last several:

  • Secretary. What I really like about this movie is that you feel as though everything you know about movie history tells you that these people cannot have a happy ending, cannot fail to be punished for everything that goes on in the first 90 minutes, and yet it turns out this movie has a different sensibility. Also, Maggie Gyllenhall is hot. I generally don't like Spader, but he's fine here.
  • The King of Marvin Gardens. The first half of the '70s gave us some of the finest movies of all time. It also gave us a whole lot of semi-incomprehensible weirdness. This is much closer to the latter. With Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, and Ellen Burstyn you'd expect a whole lot more; instead, you get a general sense that life is one big scam, especially if you live in Atlantic City, and that some chicks are just crazy. Not recommended.
  • Match Point. I suspect that the people who say this is the best Woody Allen movie in years are right, though I haven't seen many of his movies over the last 7-8 years, so I couldn't say. But everything is good here--the story, the little details, the music, etc. And though I'd never think it possible, the Woody Allen imprint is strong even without an on-screen appearance and without a New York setting.
  • sex, lies, and videotape. This is one of those movies that has become better known for puns based on its title than for the content. It's a shame, because there are four really well-written characters here--none of them totally likable, none of them totally villainous, all of them certainly damaged. Personally, I especially liked underrated late '80s/early '90s hottie Laura San Giacomo as the little sister who seems like the loser in life, but she is actually the one her older sister defines herself against. Again, likable movie despite the Spader; maybe I'm coming around on him.
  • I Heart Huckabees. Indeed I do--I reveled in the weirdness here. This seems odd to me, because there's a very Wes Anderson-ish tone here, and I generally dislike his movies--and further because my deep-seated hatred for Jason Schwartzmann generally goes way beyond anything I've ever thought about Spader. On the other hand, it's not Anderson but David O. Russell, who I generally do like. Go figure.
  • Silent Running. More with the early '70s weirdness. I really enjoy the pre-Star Wars scifi, but this one is simply a steaming pile of crap. It's not even a fun pile of crap. There's some sort of eco-friendly hippie message, but one that you can't really get behind unless you think it's ok to kill innocents in its name. Plus the plot doesn't even make sense. I can't think of any reason to recommend this at all.

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