Sunday, September 9, 2007

Today out of all days

Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)

A film about a group of characters living out there lives in the last six hours left until the World ends. Pretty intense stuff right? Well it is, any movie that is about the end of the world gives off some kind of depression afterwards. Just thinking about how our own personal world will end when we die. The World may not go with us but yet the world and everyone leaves when we are the ones pushing up daisies.

Don McKellar gives us a film that seems so real yet very surreal at the same time. Looking at the world in it's final conclusion and the how people are reacting towards it. Mckellar is amazing with the characters he has here, they seem like very real people that are just living life and it happens to be the end of the world which brings me to the most important line in the whole film. The line is towards the beginning of the film and it's said by Patrick Wheeler's father who is played by Robin Gammell. The line goes something like "Today, out of all days". He says this because Patrick doesn't really agree with something his family says. For myself this line is very unsettling and i just couldn't get over it. There are comedic scenes throughout the film but i didn't laugh at all because well, it's the end of the world. It's very dark comedy and I'm a huge fan of it but yet this didn't seem right.

The other thing that i believe is very important to this film is a very specific music cue that comes out when the films title is shown on screen. The 10 second piece of music is completely haunting and gives a huge dark cloud over the film and i can't help but think this is probably the most important thing about the film. Don McKellar knows his music and he put that specific piece of music over the title for a reason. Whatever that reason may be is still a mystery to me and leaves this as probably one of the most hardest write up that I've ever written. After the scene with his family that I've written about in the previous paragraph i was left thinking about the music and it left me very uncomfortable.

Last Night's haunting tone revolves around the somewhat narration of a Radio DJ that plays a countdown list of his favorite songs throughout the film. Every song played by this phantom DJ fits perfectly with whats going on screen. I believe this film would have worked even better if the film would have used the radio Countdown of songs instead of the title cards to show the passing of time.

It might sound like i hated this film but thats far from what i thought about it. This film left me absolutely stunned. So stunned that I'm not sure how much i loved the film. Something entirely original that I'm going to have to watch it several more times. I know my appreciation for this film will grow after repeated viewings but it's just so hard to come to a conclusion right now but yet i have to. A film thats so hard to describe in words but yet so easy. Hey, It's just the end of the world.

Grade A-

Great Directing + Insane story = Cult Classic

Phantom of the Paradise (Brian De Palma, 1974)

Phantom of the paradise is an insane musical ride that leaves you loving it or hating it with a passion. I doubt there is actually a middle ground for the people that have seen this film. It's not really one of those films that you can say it was just mediocre. I happened to find myself loving this insane little gem of a film.

Phantom revolves around Winslow Leach a composer that has written an amazing piece of music that a producer named swan steals from him so he can open his new Paradise palace with. Swan also then kidnaps a woman by the name of Phoenix who is the only person that Winslow will let sing the piece of music he's written. Winslow Leach gets horribly disfigured and takes up revenge upon Swan. If you love what you hear so far then i recommend for you to go check this film out.

This wonderfully weird story is brought to life by De Palma's keen eye for Wonderful choreography and amazing long takes. Towards the middle of the film we get an amazing split screen shot where both shots go on for a long period of time then both meet up at one place.

De Palma fills this surreal world with great characters like "Beef" the flamboyant heavy metal singer which steals absolutely every scene. Also we can't forget the incredible band "The Juicy Fruits" where every member seems to love to put on a dynamic show whenever on stage. Every piece of music is amazing especially the piece written by Winslow Leach. For myself this is on par with Rocky Horror even though it's nothing like it because its not really a musical. It just has music in it. I absolutely loved it.

Grade A+

I know what I want to be for Halloween now.

Show me the way to the next whiskey bar

The Doors (Oliver Stone, 1991)

I'm not going to write that much on this film. I'm a huge Doors fan and have been holding off on this film for the longest due to many people hating this film. Well, i saw the film and all i have to say is that i loved it. It's a really great biopic and Val Kilmer gives us Jim Morrison. My hat has to go off to Oliver Stone as well. He gives us a very great and artistic version of a biopic. Jim Morrison would have been proud. It really is a wonderful film and tribute to the days when The Doors were King.

Grade A

(I guess the reason why people didn't like it so much was because the film isn't just about The Doors. It's about everyone that lived during that time. That specific group that this film revolves around were united as one. I want to thank Oliver Stone for giving us more then just a film about The Doors but a film about a generation)

Eddie Murphy's best film.

Harlem Nights (Eddie Murphy, 1989)

Harlem Nights is written and directed by Eddie Murphy, most people these days would see that and just laugh it off. Well my friends, those people are all wrong. Harlem Nights is one of the funniest films i have ever seen and surprisingly its a really great film. Eddie Murphy captures the early years of Harlem perfectly. If i blind watched this movie not knowing Eddie Murphy was directing then i would have never guessed he was behind the camera. We have some wonderful shots and some fancy well thought out editing tricks that are really enjoyable.

I honestly have to give it up to Eddie for this one. I was pleasantly surprised by how much i loved this picture. Yes, it even has the right to be called a picture not just a movie. This is a picture that is set out to be serious and hilarious at the same time. For most films it would seem to be off balance to have an approach similar to this but Eddie Murphy weaves through comedy and serious scenes perfectly. One scene is comedic and the next is serious and there is some very great editing transitions from such scenes.

With a film like this filled with three generations of comedic talent it's pretty obvious the laughs always hit the mark. Every time Redd Foxx is on screen is a guarantee laugh, same goes with Pryor and Murphy. Most people might not agree with me on this but i honestly do believe that Pryor missed out on a nomination for this one. He is amazing in this film. Nothing falls flat, every second he's on screen you just want him to stay there. Eddie Murphy uses Pryor as the father role in the film and it really shouldn't work at all because Pryor being the foul mouth comedic talent that he is should just bring laughs but yet at times we find ourselves smiling at his kindness. I really really did love this film alot. It showed me how great Eddie Murphy can be when he wants to and also let me remember two of comedies finest contributors. Here's to Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. One last thing, please get back behind the camera Eddie. I would honestly love to see another film with you directing.

Grade A

Eddie Murphy + Ghost = Hilarious

Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003)

This movie is pretty bad...bad ass. I'm not going to say anything except that i was laughing throughout the whole film for all the wrong reasons. Eddie Murphy getting scared by ghost, need i say more?

Grade C

(Yes, a "C" but trust me i love this film to the fullest, just for all the wrong reasons.)