Summer of Film ‘05 (recap)

My project that was Summer of Film 2005, where I had set out to watch 100 films in less than 100 days never fully materialized. Life intervened. This is not to say that I did not perform well; quite the contrary. Over and above the 29 films I “partially reviewed”: I watched the following:

Continue reading

Wonder Boys (2000)

“Summer of Film #29 of 100”:
Wonder Boys is a screenplay written to convince the writer that being a writer is actually a very cool thing. And while this is noble enough- the mistake it makes is in what it defines as coolness. I can the writer’s thought process now… Continue reading

Raging Bull (1980)

“Summer of Film #28 of 100”:
But for the machismo, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull could be described as a ballet or an opera. It is a strange dance all men dance to a certain extent; one that we don’t like to talk about and would rather that it stay hidden behind the facade of who can grunt louder or spit farther or generally be more macho than his pears. Continue reading

Stardust Memories (1980)

“Summer of Film #27 of 100”:
Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories is the film equivalent of a mid-life crisis; I guess the appropriate description would be a mid-career crisis. However, instead of the flashy extravagance, Allen opts for moody introspection as a character not unlike himself- a director who is trying to look for deeper meaning in his career. Why does he make films? Why does it matter that he does? Will it matter more if he make serious ones? Continue reading

The Deer Hunter (1978)

“Summer of Film #26 of 100”:
The Deer Hunter, starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Savage and John Cazale, uses “Russian roulete”: as an allegory for the war in Vietnam. While this is an engaging and harrowing ploy that makes for an engrossing second act, the crutches that it rests on- i.e. act one and three- do not provide adequate support. We do not know the characters well enough and when we do, their actions contradict what we would expect them to do. Considering the fact that it is a 3 hour film, this is a significant inadequacy. Continue reading

Before Night Falls (2000)

“Summer of Film #25 of 100”:
Before Night Falls reminds me of the “old Einstein line”:

“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

The gay community all over the world have been subjected to the same brand of hypocrisy in modern times. In Before Night Falls, the Cuban poet “Reynaldo Arenas”: (played by Javier Bardem) goes from a wide-eyed, young artist to a decaying middle-aged man before our eyes. We sense that but for a different sexual predilection he would have been a national hero. Continue reading

The Jacket (2005)

“Summer of Film #24 of 100”:
The Jacket, starring Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley, suffers from two problems: First, it had a trailer that gave too much up. If you’ve seen the main trailer for this one then you know what happens well into the second act. For many films this may not be a problem, but for a deliberate movie like The Jacket that revels in its mysteries, it is fatal. There were no mysteries for me. Second, it is a movie in the category of already well-made, iconic films such as 12 Monkeys, Frequency and Dead Again, assuming you’ve seen those. And even if you haven’t seen them, I would recommend them before I would this one. And once you’ve seen them, The Jacket wouldn’t seem all that special anyways since it adds nothing new.

The story involves a Gulf War vet (Brody) who suffers from amnesia and is falsely accused of murder. He is pronounced insane and is placed in a asylum where Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), who must be a close relative of “Dr. Crane of Arkham asylum”: , conducts dubious research on inmates. Inexplicably, this experimentation (which involves the titular jacket) allows Brody to see his own future- of course, leaving out the parts that would render the rest of the film pointless. He meets a girl in his future who has a link to his past- and in the tradition of the great movies mentioned before, they solve a mystery of the past through the future, and yet making sure that the future remains inevitable.

Like I said before- 12 Monkeys, Frequency and Dead Again.