Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Films Viewed (May 2010)

Phantom Lady was another workaday Noir, replete with plot convolutions, frame-ups, tough dames, cartoon psychopaths... a good time if you take comfort in the sturdy frame of an old Hollywood picture.

Exit Through the Gift Shop was a fun-house mirror ride through the modern world of art and celebrity, London and LA, Banksy and OBEY.... a brilliant movie by an intelligent media player.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been making the Boomers at work really excited. This film and the book upon which it is based are quite a phenomenon despite the "graphic" parts that are spoken about in hushed tones. I was on the fence until I heard it was Swedish. No regrets.

Nights and Weekends is part of my apology to the Mumblecore movement. Sorry I kinda dabbled in you until just recently! Clearly I needed to pay closer attention to all this business.

Dogtooth came into the 2010 Maryland Film Festival with a lot of "buzz." Joe Audience Member appeared to find it a "buzzkill," but I enjoyed it, taking away a commentary on parent's desire to "protect" their children from the outside world. What will you take away?

We Don't Care About Music Music Anyway... is an impressionistic take on Japanese noise music that I found just wonderful, filled with orchestrated smash-sessions and live-show theatrics.

Gabbi on the Roof in July is a movie I must recuse myself from reviewing since I helped to host the film for the Maryland Film festival. More information can be found here.

Tiny Furniture is another movie I must recuse myself from reviewing since I helped to host the film for the Maryland Film festival. More information can be found here.

Cold Weather is the final movie I must recuse myself from reviewing since I helped to host the film for the Maryland Film festival. More information can be found here.

Liverpool is why I go to the festival. A challenging film where we follow a man on a journey. We are given little, becoming detectives, reading into each small moment, each reaction to the man. I enjoy this type of exercise very much.

Total Recall was a whole bunch of smart fun. Always worth the time to take the trip. Hosted by Dan Deacon.

Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, a silent film, was accompanied live by the Alloy Orchestra. This is an MFF tradition that makes for a pleasant Sunday morning. I hope it continues.

Until the Light Takes Us was perfect for a Black Metal dilettante like myself, giving an overview of an interesting/disturbing moment in recent music history.

Putty Hill was just a fine time, the second sold-out 2010 MFF screening for this local filmmaker. As someone from these types of neighborhoods who has lost people to similar circumstances, I applaud this film for its sensitivity and nuance. For more information, go here.

Iron Man 2 was a big dumb thrill-ride, nowhere near as refreshing as the first, but still full of all the little touches I enjoy about this director's films. The purists seemed upset, but I had no qualms.

Late Spring was yet another shot at getting into Ozu's most critically acclaimed films. I confirmed once again that I don't like them, preferring his Noir one-offs or films like Good Morning to this sort of stately, static drama. The ending was fairly devastating and understated. I will give it that.

Babies was a fine piece of observational documentary. A way to watch babies explore their environments without having some concerned mother snatch them away. The women cooing in the audience were annoying but served as a fascinating study in people's involuntary reactions to stimuli.

Kick Ass was a smart, geeky "hell yes / high five" sort of a film. I had a good time but I don't think I gained anything from the experience. A Kevin Smith-like journey through the annals of geekdom.

Magruber (cue theme) MAGRUBER was a movie that maybe only I saw in the theaters MAGRUBER didn't need to exist but Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig are always funny MAGRUBER one day I'll learn my lesson about SNL spin-off films MAGRUBER! (explosions)

A Colt is My Passport shows that Japan also was busy making work-a-day Noirs, a bit later than in America but just as enjoyable. An anti-Ozu to remind me of what I love about Japanese film.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High retains it's charm, perhaps, because it is based on an actual sociological study of 80s Cali teens. It is not shallow and it is not simple. Note-perfect.

In the Realm of my Senses was another anti-Ozu that is still unable to be seen uncensored in Japan. I am assuming that one day all film will be like this, but maybe I assume too much.

Hannah Takes the Stairs was another entry in my Mumblecore fest. Better than trying to tune in Digital TV in my new apartment, that's for sure.

The Secret of Kells was just ravishing, sumptuous film-making about the value of knowledge and books. I am glad to have seen this animated visual feast, and recommend it when it comes out on DVD.

A Day at the Races was lesser Marx brothers in totality but classic in certain parts. I can see why this one does not get revived as often. Made right after my favorite, A Night at the Opera.

The Puffy Chair, unfortunately named, is another Mumblecore film that eventually won me over. Headed up by the Duplass brothers, who are about to unleash Cyrus on us.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Landmark Harbor East
The 2010 Maryland Film Festival
Other (Video Americain, suburban multiplex)
Total: 26 films (20 in theaters)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Film Exhibition in Baltimore (May 2010)

Well, I think this is my last monthly update on Film Exhibition in Baltimore. There just isn't anything going on, really.

The film exhibition landscape has seemingly settled. No word on the Charles theater's owner taking over the Senator theater officially, just the possibility. Oh, to gain privileged access to those smoke-filled back rooms in city hall where these deals are struck! Meanwhile, the Senator keeps on keeping on in its patchouli-scented current incarnation, with maybe Hausu coming back again, (which I would enjoy seeing greatly). I am also seeing that The Complete Metropolis is scheduled for a run beginning Friday, June 11th, which I will enjoy if I can catch it (showtimes for any film are limited by the other events the theater tends to schedule these days, leaving potential patrons with 8PM or Midnight screenings to choose from most of the time).

The Charles is the Charles, a bit spiffier and pricier but essentially the same. The Landmark Harbor East and the Rotunda provide mainstream commercial American film with a place to be seen (it is so hard to get to see these films otherwise). A recent screening of Iron Man 2 at the Rotunda was relatively glitch-free, so I hope I won't get fooled again if I begin to consider it a screening option once more. I would just advise getting there with plenty of time to spare.

Well, that is that. I retire this column and will continue to update when news breaks, which is not very often on this front these days. The war is over, for now. Up next, a whopping Films Viewed (May 2010), including films screened as part of the 2010 Maryland Film Festival.