Saturday, February 3, 2007

February 3rd Log

2006, Vondie Curtis Hall, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Waist Deep is a film flawed by a messy script that is full of contradictions, and cliches. However, keeping the film from disaster is an effective setting of mood and place. Director Vondie Curtis Hall effectively establishes the gangster violence amongst a neighbor that is fighting against it with anti-violence protests. When establishing this contrast the film is at it's best, but all gets lost over the final act which becomes a ridiculous action-filled car chase, capped off by a seemingly forced epilogue on a tropical beach. Hall does use throwback of genre and of visual style (including the use of urban noir techniques) and it is aided by decent performances. Meagan Good is always a beautiful screen presence and here she seductively captures a goodhearted femme fatale. Waist Deep is a watchable film because of the mood it establishes. There are one too many music video montage scenes and certainly some absurd contrivances with the script, but overall this is not that bad of a film.

>>> See all the Films of 2006 HERE

2005, Malcolm D Lee, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

After watching Waist Deep, I wanted to see more of Meagan Good so I re-watched her supporting performance in Malcolm D Lee’s charming 2005 film Roll Bounce. Roll Bounce is the third film from Spike Lee's cousin. I really enjoyed his previous two films (The Best Man and Undercover Brother) and he once again won me over here. While Roll Bounce is not quite as creative or well made as Lee's previous films, the overall pleasant and nostalgic feeling makes it a wonderful comedy. There are flaws and the material of the story is not exactly original, yet the film still has a fresh and exciting feeling to it. It's a very likable film with very likable characters and the young cast proves to be quite talented (including Bow Wow, Khleo Thomas, Rick Gonzalez and the lovely young stars from Eve's Bayou- Jurnee Smollett and of course the gorgeous Meagan Good). The more the film progresses, the more you like these characters and that is because of strong writing, compassionate direction, and well-rounded ensemble performances. Roll Bounce is a good time. There is some real, genuine charm to go along with the excitement and humor…. and also, Meagan Good is beautiful!

1965, Sergio Leone, Italy / Spain / Mexico / Monaco

Repeat Viewing, DVD

Ennio Morricone, one of the greatest composer is film history, will be receiving a honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar. This is a well deserved award and selection by the Academy. This month, I plan of re-watching some of Morricone’s most memorable work in film. Of course among that is the film I started with: Sergio Leone’s classic “spaghetti western” For a Few Dollars More. Morricone was the perfect fit for Leone’s filmmaking and his music help define the essence of their work. For a Few Dollars More is the second film of Leone's (loose) trilogy ("The Dollars Trilogy" or "The Man With No Name Trilogy"), which impacted the western genre forever. Leone truly was a master filmmaker, and his influence in cinema is landmark. Few a Few Dollars More features all Leone's brilliant skills: stylistic techniques, atmosphere, landscapes, irony, extreme close-ups, flashbacks, and of course alot of excitement. Of the three films, this may be the most violent and most character driven. As usual, the 'Man with No Name' (one of cinema's all-time memorable characters) remains mysterious, but we see a fascinating examination or those mysterious. Clint Eastwood is wonderful and gives perhaps his finest performance of the three films. But it's the performance of Lee Van Cleef that's most notable. Van Cleef follows up his brilliant performance here, as "The Bad" in the final film of the trilogy. He would then forever be known among cinema's all-time greatest villains. For A Few Dollars More is an unforgettable masterpiece from one of cinema's greatest innovators.

2002, Pedro Almodovar, Spain
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Talk To Her's greatness lies in filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's brilliance in creativity, storytelling, colorful characters, and wonderful originality. It's an emotionally moving and touching film, also full of heart and humor. The perfect use of flashbacks set the tone, and highlight some of the film's finest scenes. Almodovar's cinematic style and symbolic creativity also brings out the films memorable moments (dream & dance sequences; and of course the hilarious silent-film which almost had me in tears with laughter). To me, the strength of Talk To Her doesn't lie in its ability to make you forgive the characters and their actions, but rather in Almodovar's humanity for people most would consider disgraceful. Also, the film raises some thought-provoking questions: Does the sound of a caring human voice benefit someone who is brain-dead? If we talk to our pets, or plants, why not someone in a coma? There are so many elements and themes to this film, from loneliness to sexuality, but I think it's ultimately about how a man learns to communicate with a women: by getting inside her. This is a wonderful film, that I must be see several times, as the first viewing is more about emotional impact. There still much more about the characters you'll want to see and learn!


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