Friday, November 6, 2009

Remake and Original: Funny Games

Basically everybody that I know hates these movies. Not only have they seen the American version with stunning Naomi Watts, but also the Austrian version with less-than-stellar Susanne Lothar as the lead female. Now, if you are not already aware, this movie is about two well dressed, well spoken young men who basically kidnap a family on summer vacation in their own home. They play a series of "games" with the family, including the bet that the family will not be alive 12 hours later. Sick and sadistic as this may seem, why is it one of my favorite movies?

I will start by saying that I am a big fan of horror movies (in fact, am even taking a class focusing on them). This one, however, is the only film that I am able to think of that pits you, the audience, as the guiding force for the horrible things these lads do. The two young men, Paul and Peter, are able to wink at the camera, including the viewer in on their little schemes, rewind because the mother decides to cheat, and ultimately include the viewer in their deeds. The question that these films provoke is: Why am I watching such horrible acts for no reason at all? The answer: Because you ARE watching it. The films point out peoples' fascination with seeing other people fall victim to terrible circumstances. The only way to make it end: turn it off. This is a bit much to ask for from an audience, being that the sole purpose of watching a film is to see what happens, but I guarantee that if you turn this film off, you will not see more people die (it even gives you a prime-time to do so, with a 12 or so minute long sequence with no cut...awkward). If you haven't seen either of these films, I recommend it mostly because you more than likely have NEVER seen anything like them. It will make you furious at the inept family with no will to save themselves, and will toy with you constantly. But, the beauty of this is, it's completely intentional.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Funny People

I haven't exactly figured out how I will go about this blog, so I'll just post on the latest film I caught on the big screen for now.

Funny People, the latest from Judd Apatow really let me down. Before you go thinking I didn't like the film, let me say that it let me down because I loved it yet so many people are saying that it was less than great.

I feel that people expected another hilarious movie with a storyline that equaled the amount of comedy, as was the case with 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. However, in this movie, the comedy takes a back seat ride. I must say, however, that the comedic elements dove into the front seat and jerked the wheel frequently. There without a doubt were enough dick jokes to make it an Apatow film, but the story was just great. It took the already adapted notion of "what happens when a man finds out that he has a short time to live?" and puts a new spin on it. What happens when a man finds out that he has a short time to live, then gets better?

The cameos alone in this movie were worth paying to see it. They ranged from comedians such as a very aged Norm Macdonald to an insightful Marshall Mathers. My favorite, though, would have to be James Taylor, mostly because I got to hear him say "Fuck Facebook." The wide array of comedians old and new made the film somewhat of a passing-of-the-torch between generations of Funny People.

My only disappointment with the film is that they should have showed more of Aziz, a.k.a. Randy's stand up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

An evening much like this, a day ago, I had the pleasure of seeing (500) Days of Summer with my girlfriend. While I am possibly THE demographic for seeing this film, mostly for the musical references and partly for my love of the non-happy ending, I obviously could not help myself from loving it. Mostly formulistic, with the out of sequence counting of days in which the two main characters (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt), and the sequences in which Tom (Joseph Gordon Levitt) seemed to control the viewers' experience, this movie left me as a viewer puzzled as to what went wrong. This, to me, was the greatest part of the film. As with relationships, it is always a constant struggle to determine exactly what has gone wrong, and this was imposed on the viewer.

This, however, is not what I choose to write about. The subject happens to be the musical references. I, being one who listens to music that Tom and Summer also listen to in the film, am able to relate to the borderline in your face references. Sure, when Summer says "I love The Smiths," it's a cute little way for them to relate, but as the viewer and fellow Smiths listener, it reveals so much about the characters. The Smiths songs are sad. There is little to be hopeful about when a character admits that they listen to hopeful songs mostly about heartbreak. Oh, and also, Tom frequently wears Joy Division and The Clash shirts. First off, Ian Curtis, the singer of Joy Division, hung himself while watching Werner Herzog's Stroszek, probably one of the most profound films about the lack of a happy ending. The Clash shirt, while perhaps cliché, tells me that he is a punk while not committing to slashing his chest when provided the time(see Iggy Pop.)

While perhaps not so profound to many watchers, his love for such music automatically triggered my "tragic ending" radar. I highly recommend this film, for it is done very well, and could very well be a breakout performance for Joseph Gordon Levitt in regards to a dramatic role.

Oh, and he can move it, as apparent in his hilarious dance sequence.

And another Oh... Zooey Deschanel has to be the cutest actress out there. As Tom was falling for Summer, Geoff was falling for Zooey.

The beginning...

This may or may not be a blog where I, Geoff Storts, talk mostly about movies, partly about goings-on in my movie watching world (perhaps my favorite world.)

Oh, and God bless Netflix.