Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bijou Ruminations

Easily the best film I've seen at the movies lately is Sin Nombre.

Saddled with the tag, "The greatest sin of all is risking nothing,", which is a big, fat. vomit-inducing cliche, it is most worthy of your patronage.

Imagine Once Were Warriors as a road movie, then add Emperor of the North, the great Ernest Borgine train flick, and elements of El Norte and Pixote. That's Sin Nombre.

It's not the bag of cliches the advertising suggests. It's gritty, violent, grim and authentic.

Nice job from director Cary Fukunaga.

I thought Little Miss Sunshine was a bit overrated. It wasn't a bad movie, but it wrote checks it couldn't cash, as many movies do.

Sunshine Cleaning, from the same producers, is a very decent drama about two sisters who suffer a bunch of personal tragedies before dipping their pinkies into the crime scene clean-up business. That entails mopping up blood, shit, assorted fluids, and colorful viscera.

It finds some comedy in this, but it's mostly serious. And what's wrong with that?

Some reviewers have complained that it doesn't know what it wants to be. I don't know what they're talking about. It knows what it wants to be. Its about life, for Chrissakes. Life IS funny and tragic and gross and sweet -- all on the same day sometimes. Why's that so hard to accept?

Amy Adams, who plays one of the sisters, is a really lickable actress; she's likable and super talented, too. She reminds me of a young Julie Hagerty, who was so great in Airplane! ('80)

Definitely worth catching.

Cliched retread of The Amityville Horror. I forgot about it ten seconds after I left the theatre.

I find the poster (especially as newspaper black and white) kind of sick and funny.

"Some things cannot be explained" the tag line says.

It's true. How does this guy explain why there is a giant turd monster attacking his mouth? Is this the next big thing after "Torture Porn"? Scat Horror?

The only thing worth knowing about Knowing is you don't want to know it.

It rewrites the book on contrived.

Considering all the money and trust director Alex Proyas has had thrown at him over the years, he should know when he's directing a piece of shit disguised as a script.


  1. Thanks for mentioning Sin Nombre. This looks to be exactly the type of thing I'm looking for lately...

  2. d -- Glad to recommend it. I have no problem PR'ing excellence.

  3. felt the same way about little miss sunshine. the over-the-top hype pissed me off.

    as for proyas...why does he keep getting jobs directing monster sized blockbusters? it's been over 10 years since he's made anything worth watching and yet here he is again. cimino spent less on heaven's gate than proyas last two films spent on catering and cimino (academy award and all) remains a pariah.

  4. Mark, your description of SIN NOMBRE as part "Once Were Warriors as a road movie..." that alone makes me wanna watch the film.

    I remember having seen ONCE WERE WARRIORS at the cinema in Melbourne and visiting a friend the next day and saying "I NEVER wanna go to New Zealand", haha.

    - Plus I watched the trailer for SIN on YouTube and now I wanna see it even more! Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. Kotto -- personally, I don't like any of Proyas's movies. He's an ad director who is focused entirely on visuals. His judgment re: characterization, story logic, drama arcs sucks.


    Jack J -- "Once Were Warriors" is one of my favorite films. Glad you're keen to see "Sin Nombre" now.

    The trailer is good, too, except for the crappy, OTT voice-over.

    The images speak for themselves.

  6. If you get a chance, you should see OBSERVE & REPORT. The trailers for this film radically undersell how dark a comedy it is. The story is modeled on TAXI DRIVER in a very deliberate and careful fashion and it also contains references to OLDBOY and MILLER'S CROSSING. Unlike most modern comedies, it is shot and edited with great precision and makes inspired use of music (a mix of rock-style scoring with Spaghetti Western undertones and well-chosen tracks by everyone from Queen to The Pixies).

    I'm amazed that this actually got a wide release - it's got real bite to it. See it soon because it's pissed off a lot of people (*) and will likely disappear soon.

    (*) - just go to Jezebel.com and search for this title - they've done three stories about how vile they think the movie is. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.

  7. CVK -- I did see OBSERVE AND REPORT on its opening weekend. I was also surprised by how violent it was for a studio pic.

    However, I don't really buy the TAXI DRIVER connection. It's barely TAXI DRIVER. I agree that the music choices were good.

    Unfortunately, I found Rogen's character to be obnoxious. I wanted him to fade away from the world in a cloud of steam. See, I liked Travis in TAXI DRIVER. I understood where he was coming from. Rogen's character was just a spoilt, juvenile, fat retard with grand delusions. Travis had a point and was determined to do "good".

    Thanks for your message.