movies this week: ode to parkbench

I must say it has been difficult to follow in the footsteps of the creator of this type of entry. I feel rather like Dorothy Parker as she filled in temporarily as The New Yorker drama critic for Robert Benchley, while he was off in Hollywood for a few months. It seemed as though the minute he left town, the quality of plays plummeted, only to rise again when he returned. However, Ms. Parker at least knew that Mr. Benchley would eventually return and free her from her difficult task. And while we might reasonably debate the merits of Mr. Gallaga versus Mr. Benchley, Dorothy Parker could write me under the table, even when hungover and disappointed in love. Maybe especially then.
So I lag behind, intimidated by a standard of The Funny that I cannot quite reach, gathering up little bits and scraps of hints about movies that I have not yet seen, trying to form them into a brilliant pastiche, bursting with wit and cleverness and stylishness.

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Out of Sight (1998)

Out of Sight: 1998, dir. Steven Soderbergh. Seen on DVD (July 18).
I rented Out of Sight because I read the Elmore Leonard book while I was in Vegas and I wanted to see how well it was adapted. Would it be as good as Get Shorty? Or would I be terribly disappointed?
I was hoping I would like the movie because it had George Clooney in it, who is consistently entertaining, particularly when working with Steven Soderbergh (we won’t mention Solaris). I love Ocean’s Eleven. And Scott Frank, who adapted Get Shorty, also adapted this one.

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Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 2: 2004, dir. Sam Raimi. Seen at Gateway (July 17).
It’s hard for me to start writing about Spider-Man 2 because I’m not sure what to say. It’s a summer blockbuster. It busted its blocks, or at least a couple of box-office records, quite capably. It was entertaining, occasionally clever and amusing, and didn’t treat the audience with contempt. I had a good time and if Sam Raimi directed a third Spider-Man movie, I’d be there.
Isn’t that enough of a review?

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she needs it to stop

Here is a little story with a moral afterwards, a moral that you might not expect from the subject matter.
A song got stuck in my head at work today. Not one of the usual songs, but a woman singing “he needs me, he needs me, he needs me, he needs meee” over and over. She sounded a little like Shirley MacLaine.
Oh, yeah. I remembered that sometime in the previous week, my boyfriend and I had heard that song while watching something-or-other, and we both thought it sounded familiar, but we couldn’t place the song. We agreed it sounded like a show tune, so it was odd that my boyfriend would find it familiar because he avoids musicals like the plague.
And I’d meant to find out more about the song, and had forgotten until it got stuck in my head. I decided to run some searches while on my lunch break.

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movies this week: cats and Matts and cigarettes, dude

I’ve been way too busy watching two of the Season Four DVDs from The Simpsons to think about movies very much. Are there movies opening this weekend? Oh, yeah, we saw that trailer with Halle Berry in the leather catsuit, and everyone’s been swooning over Matt Damon. How could I forget?
I started having dreams in Simpsons-like animation so we had to take the DVDs back to the rental store. We still have three movies out from the mail-order rental service, though: Alice Adams (for me), On the Waterfront (for my boyfriend), and Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control (to watch together this weekend).

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Giant (1956)

Giant: 1956, dir. George Stevens. Seen at Paramount (July 18).
I don’t generally like Fifties drama films, and I saw entirely too many in a grad school class on melodrama in film and TV. I had the sneaking suspicion Giant fell into that category of film. But my boyfriend wanted to see it, and I figured it would be Good For Me, so I went along.
My boyfriend did not realize how long the film would be, long enough for an intermission. At the intermission, I turned to him and said, “You wanted to see this movie, but you refuse to see Gone with the Wind? Because …” and he shrugged, understanding me. Both movies have that same kind of epic storytelling tone. He doesn’t mind watching epics, he just doesn’t want to see a movie glamorizing the antebellum South, and I can’t blame him for that. (I’m rather burned out on GWTW myself.)

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movies this week: robots vs. camels

The movies opening in Austin this week are at extremes. At one end of the spectrum, we have a typical summer blockbuster film, complete with Will Smith and explosions and maybe even plummeting, and a twee bit of fluff aimed solely at giggly teen girls. At the other end, we have obscure art films that sound like they can transform 90 minutes into days. Days without end. Days populated with heartrending children and animals. I suppose I should like one type or the other, but instead I’ll probably stay home and watch early Katharine Hepburn films. Or early George Clooney films.

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Brother Bear (2003) (moose commentary)

Brother Bear: 2003: dir. Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker. Seen on DVD (July 11).
Let me explain. It would never have occurred to me in a million years to rent Brother Bear, which looked like a pretty mediocre Disney offering. But then my boyfriend put it in the rental queue after reading about the special commentary track performed by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis, reprising their moose characters from the movie. The moose sound a whole lot like certain other characters for which Thomas and Moranis are well-known: Bob and Doug McKenzie. I am not a huge McKenzie brothers fan, although my brothers did subject me to repeated viewings of Strange Brew. I also am not a huge Disney fan these days. However, I was curious about the commentary track, which some articles described as rather surprising in contrast to the movie itself.

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movies this week: a new hope

Since Omar has stopped writing his “Movies This Week” entries, I am shamelessly stealing the concept. (Sorry, Omar. If you start writing them again, I’ll stop.)
Mine aren’t going to be nearly as funny, though, because I’m not automatically funny the way Omar is. Also, I am including movies that will be shown in Austin—not just new movies, but revival/retrospective stuff that I think is noteworthy.
And I don’t get to see any of these movies in advance like Omar did, so I have to write about stuff I haven’t seen, which is tricky. We’ll see how well this works.

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one month, 13 movies

I like to write a summary of every new movie I see, so that I’ll have a record of it later on. I want to be able to recall what I thought about it, when I saw it, and so on. If you’ve been reading my stuff for awhile, you’ve probably noticed these summaries/reviews.
I am way behind on these, so I have decided to catch up all in one entry here. That’s 13 movies, a couple of paragraphs each, just to jog my memory. It’s a pretty interesting collection. These are the movies I’ve seen for the first time in the past month.

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