Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Congrats Marty!

Well, whaddaya know.

Nothing much to say here except...ITS ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME!!!

Click here to see my review of The Departed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Movie Review: "Blood Diamond" (2006)

Edward Zwick is as always, the master of sweeping epics. The commercial appeal of his works is based on his mastery of camerawork and his ability to pull off real characters from drawn aout caricatures like an Irish settler (Far and Away) Civil War soldiers (Glory) Samurai warriors (The Last Samurai) and African revolutionaries in Blood Diamond.

Zwick's film usually demand breathtaking locations and fractured protagonists in a foreign land, as is the case in BD. Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a mercenary turned smuggler trying to make a fast buck in the fast rising yet unstable African diamond trade in Sierra Leone. Meantime, Solomon Vandy(Djimon Hounsou) a native fisherman, gets separated from his village and his family to work as a slave for the rebels in their diamond mines. Solomon stumbles upon a very large pink diamond and hides it near the river where he finds it. This news gets to Archer, now our story begins. In order for them to both get what they want, Archer contacts American journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly). Hungry to expose the truth about the bloody diamond trade, she grants Archer and Vandy access to records that would lead to Vandy's refugee family. The deal is that Vandy would give the diamond he hid to Archer in exchange.

Zwick keeps the story simple but engaging. This year we have seen a lot of movies based on African tyrrany and violence (Last King of Scotland, 3 Needles) BD would probably be the most epic of the lot.
Although the delivery is obviously very hollywood. It doesn't mean that it isn't a really great story told effectively.

Leo never ceases to amaze me. This guy is just an awesome actor. He has proven us that he can play tough guy in The Departed. He is one of the few who can effectively shed his prettyboy image and turn into a man's man in a whim. He got the South African variety of english down. In one scene I find funny, he speaks in some sort of Swahili-inspired english with an african native. It seems that in reality you had to speak like that to them for them to understand you.

Djimon Honsou always gives out a great performance, although it was kind of a cinch for him to play an African peasant.

The pacing is great, except for a few dead spots in the middle, overall it's one of the best movies of the year. Its pretty easy to dismiss this as a 2 and-a-half hour informercial on the African diamond trade. But I have to hand it to the guys, it was a great buddy tale, too.

Rocketboy's Rating: *****(5 out of 5)

Movie Review: 'The Fountain" (2006)

I first heard of The Fountain in one of the many movieblogs I frequently visit. That was almost a year ago. A lot of buzz has been genenrated about this movie that got me curious. It is said to be an entirely new approach to the sci-fi genre. It is also been referred to as a groundbreaking work in drama. It has also been referred to as a stinking piece of crap.

I have been aware of Darren Aronofsky and his work in the cult favorite A Requiem For A Dream, I personally ahve not seen Requiem and yes, I know what I am missing. Aronofsky's movies are not for the average weekend viewer, that's for sure. He is often dismissed as a new generation MTV synaptic 300-cuts-per-minute extended music video director, but he isd much more thatn that.

The Fountain is about...(pause, looking at the keyboard). Its really hard to explain without making it look stupid, which is why not a lot of people went to see it.

Hugh Jackman plays three characters. A Conquistador, a scientist and a man in a floating glass ball in space. Rachel Weisz plays Hugh Jackman's wife Isabel in one story and the Queen of Spain in another. In an intertwining narrative. The film talks about life, love, death and the significance of accepting the future rather than fighting it.

The story unfolds non-sequencially, of course, emphasizing parts of the story wherein one correlates with the other in either theme or significance. At the beginning we are presented with Jackman's conquistador persona ascending the steps of what seems to be a Mayan temple encountering a priest or guardian at the summit, then it cuts into space (reminded me a lot of my favorite film 2001: A Space Oddysey) with Jackman, bald, in a lotus position floating in a glass ball with a very old tree inside with him. He talks to the tree like he would a person. He then sees Weisz's Isabel, camera cuts to her in the ball with him, cuts back to him, with hair, this time in an office.

Honestly, the first two acts of the movie are pretty boring. In fact I was ready to dismiss this as a failed piece of art around 45 minutes into it, then the third act came. It's funny, I usually decide whether I like a movie or not at around the middle of it. A movie usually does not redeem itself as abrubptly as The Fountain did on its last 15 minutes. It finally occured to me that it was Aronofsky's intention to give that effect. He could have made the first and second act more, say, appealing. But no, he didn't, he had other plans. He knew what he was doing.

Seriously, The Fountain helped me look into hw we see life from this side of the fence. And if we did find a way to live forever, is dying really that bad?

Then I went out and bought myself ice cream.

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Movie Review: "Little Children" (2006)

I have seen a good number of the currently nominated films for the upcoming Academy Awards, you know to try and see who really has the handicap for winning. I have realized that. Among the current nominations, great movies as they are (a great crop of movies compared to last year's and the year before that, even), probably one of the best and most affecting movies of the bunch was not even included in the Best Picture roster. Boys and girls, I bring you Little Children.

Little Children ironically a movie about adults. The way they behave, and they way they are supposed to behave. It is clear throughout the movie that every character in the film has a quirk or special something that makes him or her a little less like normal person. All this is captured in an wonderfully crafted piece of atmospheric filmmaking by Todd Field (In The Bedroom). Now I haven't seen In The Bedroom yet, and I'm beginning to regret that I didn't. But if you enjoyed Sam Mendes' American Beauty as I did, or any of Korean filmmaker, Kim Ki Duk's movies, you will definitely enjoy Little Children.

Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) is a bored housewife with a Master's degree with a daughter she constantly ignores and a husband with a penchant for keeping to himself in front of the computer (hmm). Brian Adamson (Patrick Wilson) is married to a busy film documentary maker (Jennifer Connely) and has never passed the bar exam after 2 previous attempts, his third try is just around the corner and he doesn't think he likes to take it anymore. Sarah and Brian meet at the kid's playground one day and begin a mutually beneficial friendship of filling each other's gaps in their lives. At this point, we all know they are gonna get 'bizzay'.

On the other hand, Ronnie McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley) just got out of prison for indecent exposure. A registered sex offender, his return to the neighborhood became a concern for this community of young families.

I can't get over how good Jackie Earle Haley is in this movie. He is currently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and IMHO, deserves to win. What a performance! He got the sex-offender role down to a T, it's scary. He also made Ronnie a real person. All sex offenders are in a way, monsters. But he also makes us feel sorry for him, not in a "he's-gonna-rot-in-hell-I feel-sorry-for-him" way, but in a wounded puppy sort of way. How did he pull this off? Talent, my friend.
Equally compelling to his role is the road he took to get the role. We haven't heard of Jackie Earle Haley before right? Well, it turns out that he used to be a child actor and was in the cast of the original Bad News Bears.

Jackie Earle Haley's history leading up to this role is pretty amazing. He started out as a child star, he was in TV commercials at 6 years old, was in the original Bad News Bears and played side by side with a young Dennis Quaid in Breaking Away. But then like a lot of child stars he lost work as he aged. People in the know in Texas knew where to find him, they would call for pizza, he delivered it for quite a while in that state. He also worked as a security officer, limo driver and a furniture refinisher. Life was starting to take on a different but nicer turn for him when he started to direct commercials and such for a local cable station when someone in Hollywood finally remembered his talent and gave him a call.
When Haley saw the script he knew he had to play the role and he also knew that he was going to have to do something huge to win the producers over. So, he made a 20 minute film focusing on the life of his character. The production value on it was so good that when this story was told at a local SAG screening Q and A, the director joked that he was worried when he watched it that he might be out of a job. Luckily all Haley wanted was to act, so he was cast.

I dont know when they will be showing Little Children here, I just hope they (when I say they I mean the MTRCB) wont be buthcering it like the did Babel.

Rocketboy's Rating ***** (5 stars)

Props to TheMovieblog

Thursday, February 08, 2007


My blogging days had been put to a halt temporarily. You know how companies are. But wait for something good to happen. I'm pretty excited about getting my own hardware. Soon I will rule the internet again!