Saturday Cinema ~ Tales from the Queue, pt. 2

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Five movies that I recently watched:

Nick and Nora PosterNick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) – Directed by Peter Sollett, Starring Michael Cera & Kat Dennings. Not really on my TBW list, but I saw that it was on Crackle and hadn’t seen it, so I watched it. It was sweet and predictable in that teen comedy kind of way. Happily, not overly crude. Occasionally, I felt my age and thought, “That is not a safe situation.” Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are excellent. I worried that the soundtrack, full of bands I don’t care for a lot, would bug me but it worked very well.

Collector posterThe Collector (1965) – Directed by William Wyler, Starring Terence Stamp & Samantha Eggar. Not the 2009 horror film, but a 1965 suspense drama based on a novel by John Fowles. It is a 1960s movie, which means it moves at a certain pace and requires patience. Terrance Stamp is handsome and awkwardly charming and down right creepy in the role as a collector of many things. Samantha Eggar definitely holds her own in this basically two character film. Truly, I did not expect this film to end the way it did.

Flight posterFlight (2012) – Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Starring Denzel Washington. The plane crash is one of the most tense action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike some big summer flicks I could name, the characters are actually in peril. Oh, I’ve seen the trailer; I know that the outcome is relatively good, but I don’t know the specifics and that is…uncomfortable. I’d say that Washington was robbed of an Oscar, but he *is* upstaged by a plane, bottles, and John Goodman.

Django Unchained posterDjango Unchained (2012) – Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio. I had been looking forward to this movie, mostly because I wanted to see Leonardo DiCaprio be mustache-twirlingly evil. He doesn’t do enough villain roles, if you ask me. What I did not expect was how great Christoph Waltz’s performance is. I was not a fan of his character in Inglorious Basterds so I had kind of shrugged off his winning a second Oscar for Dr. King Schultz. Shame on me. Unfortunately when given the budget, Tarantino is unrestrained with his gore and violence, and I don’t think he’s particularly good at it. The artfulness of Reservoir Dog or Pulp Fiction feels like it was born from a need to be judicious with the squibs and fake blood.

Total Recall posterTotal Recall(2012) – Directed by Len Wiseman, Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel. I liked the nods to the original, especially the traveling women who will be gone for two weeks and the very insistent, helpful computer voices (though I did miss the Johnny cabs). It’s not a bad movie, really, but it sort of made me want to go pull half a dozen other movies off my shelves:

  • Blade Runner (1982) – Thirty years later and there still aren’t many films that can do a crumbling futuristic city better.
  • Total Recall (1990) – Obviously.
  • Strange Days (1995) – There’s kind of a swarmy below-boards aspect to Rekall in this version that reminds me of Strange Days. Plus, Strange Days has the single most successful incident of a character info-dumping ever.
  • The Fifth Element (1997) – Flying cars! Milla Jovovich! (Btw, I had a tough time telling Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel apart…)
  • The Bourne Identity (2002) – If you’re going to have an uber-trained super-spy with memory loss, these are the cinematic shoes you’re going to have to fill.
  • Phone Booth (2002) – Colin Farrel in a better role. (Although the hand phone in Total Recall is a nice effect.)
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4 thoughts on “Saturday Cinema ~ Tales from the Queue, pt. 2

  1. Total Recall is one of those films that I suspect will continue to grow on me over the years. I thought the cast were all good choices and the sets and effects are gorgeous. Artist Stephan Martiniere, a long time favorite of mine, was one of the set designers and you can see his influence in the way the city looks. Very cool. I too liked the nods to the original. My only real complaint with the film was that I didn’t feel like it made enough of an effort to make you wonder if what he was experiencing was real or part of his visit to Rekall. I thought the Arnie S. version was great in doing that and expected more from the remake. Still, I found it a passable SF action film and when I viewed it again with friends just after it came out on bluray I was as entertained as before.

    I remember being slightly disappointed with Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, I think in large part because I saw it on the heels of the rather excellent film Juno and everything about that film made Nick and Nora pale, for me, by comparison. The soundtrack is good but Juno’s was amazing and I didn’t find this one as quirky/cute as Juno. I need to watch it again now that so much time has passed to see if I feel differently about it.

    1. I still haven’t seen Juno. Both movies are of a certain type (teen comedy? teen drama? teen-shouldn’t-even-be-in-this-sentence romace-comedy-drama?) that I don’t watch often. Watched Nick & Nora on a whim, but I’ll add Juno to my queue.

  2. Luckily I’ll get to see Django Unchained soon. I thought Waltz was one of two watchable elements in Inglorious Basterds, so if you disliked that, I’m very curious what he did in this movie that struck you as so positive. What did it for you?

    1. I will admit that I didn’t care too much for Inglorious Basterds and that probably colored my opinion of Waltz’s performance. In Django Unchained, I was surprised at how different Dr. Schultz is from Hans Landa. I shouldn’t be surprised; this is what actors should do. But I’ve become used to seeing certain actors playing very similar characters. I kinda want to track down everything Waltz has been in to see just how good he is. (I also wonder if Tarantino’s greatest talent is getting great performances from his actors.)

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