jon favreau (my birthday buddy) knows as well as i do that iron man 2’s success (or lack thereof) has not a mite to do with the fact that it could challenge the record for biggest opening weekend ever, but instead is solely dependent upon my opinion. so let’s do this.
things i liked:
- scarlett johansson’s hair. i wanted to dream in it.
- there was both a Gallagher reference and a Ulysses reference. i’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that it was the first superhero film to feature either. while both added enormously to my enjoyment of the film, given the context i would have found it quite amateurish had there not been a Gallagher reference, particularly as every socially adroit member of the audience should be thinking of nothing but Gallagher during the scene in question.
- scarlett johansson’s suit. it looked kinda like denim, but i’d like to double-check.
- jon favreau’s self-depricating fight scene. he just seems like a really great dude. remember Dinner for Five? that seemed like the greatest job in the world. but the dude’s a better dinner host than he is a filmmaker. them’s just be the facts.
- scarlett johansson’s business suit. definitely not denim.
- the general feel of the movie. iron man’s world understands its hero very well. this should ensure that every entry in this franchise is at least moderately fun. and with one glaring exception, the relationships are of the same endearing ilk as those in Spider-man 2… to a certain degree i actually cared about these folks, and was a bit bummed by something pepper potts (the usually icky gwyneth paltrow, who is great here) does at the end, which i feel cheats and betrays both the audience and the character.
- RDJ is obviously perfect for the role, and balances stark’s fun, smug arrogance with a tender side as well as the script allows him to… the same can be said for mickey rourke, who whips up (GET IT???) reserves and pathos for Ivan Vanko out of nowhere.
things i didn’t like:
- i thought the wide array of characters were actually juggled nicely. but vanko needed more screen time… there needed to be a lot more meat to his antagonistic relationship with tony stark.
- there are scenes in which scarlett johansson does not appear.
- the rhodes character is just THE WORST. he was the worst in the original iron man when he was played by the always icky Terrence Howard, and he is the worst here, despite being played by the usually great Don Cheadle. his character is stupid and boring and i don’t believe for a second that he and T. Stark have any affection for one another… this makes a big scene in the middle of the movie a total chore. rhodes sucks, and the script has nothing to do for him but suck. even in the end, when he shows up for a few seconds to suck with guns.
- if SHIELD is so great and on top of their shit, why don’t they just help tony stark along? this is a pretty practical world… not a “he must find his own path” sorta thing. totally kills a solid 20 minutes in the middle of the movie. we get it, there will be an Avengers movie. i don’t really know what that is, but i get that it’s a thing, and that geekier people than i get all clammy whenever you make reference to it. Marvel - relax - i’ll see it. but then again, i see pretty much every non-baby themed movie there is, so i guess i’m not much of a yardstick.
- seriously, i’m not going anywhere NEAR Babies. if i want to see babies doing cute stuff, there’s a youtube for that. and i almost never want to see babies doing cute stuff. or anything, really. i just want to see them grow up and learn how to dispose of their bodily waste properly.
- the action. it’s not quite as weak as it was the first time around, and it’s nicely character-motivated, but it’s weak. and there isn’t enough of it. and the final battle is SERIOUSLY anti-climactic. AGAIN. come on, favs! that “evil central park horses” scene in Elf was THE BOMB.
- the script is too busy whipping up smiles to cut to the heart of the story… or have much of a heart to cut to. this means that i pretty have zero interest in ever seeing this movie again.
today’s a great day to sit outside. and then to wish that instead of sitting outside a coffee shop on 2nd avenue, you were cruising along a coast of some kind. and then realize that most coasts (especially in this country) < listening to an animated cow with four stomachs rap about chicks.
okay, so another update to the whole Panahi arrest thingy.
here’s the actual petition, along with the list of initial co-signers (which includes names from the Coen brothers to Frederick Wiseman).
Here’s the full petition:
PETITION: Free Jafar Panahi
Jafar Panahi, the internationally acclaimed Iranian director of such award-winning films as The White Balloon, The Circle, Crimson Gold and Offside, was arrested at his home on March 1st in a raid by plain-clothed security forces. He has been held since then in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
A recent letter from Mr. Panahi’s wife expressed her deep concerns about her husband’s heart condition, and about his having been moved to a smaller cell. Mr. Panahi’s films have been banned from screening in Iran for the past ten years and he has effectively been kept from working for the past four years. Last October, his passport was confiscated and he was banned from leaving the country. Upon his arrest, Islamic Republic officials initially charged Mr. Panahi with “unspecified crimes.” They have since reversed themselves, and the charges are now specifically related to his work as a filmmaker.
We (the undersigned) stand in solidarity with a fellow filmmaker, condemn this detention, and strongly urge the Iranian government to release Mr. Panahi immediately.
Iran’s contributions to international cinema have been rightfully heralded, and encouraged those of us outside the country to respect and cherish its people and their stories. Like artists everywhere, Iran’s filmmakers should be celebrated, not censored, repressed, and imprisoned.
Paul Thomas Anderson Joel & Ethan Coen Francis Ford Coppola Jonathan Demme Robert De Niro Curtis Hanson Jim Jarmusch Ang Lee Richard Linklater Terrence Malick Michael Moore Robert Redford Martin Scorsese James Schamus Paul Schrader Steven Soderbergh Steven Spielberg Oliver Stone Frederick Wiseman
you think today is Cinco de Mayo, but no, it’s actually my blog’s first birthday! (okay, it’s also cinco de mayo).
a year ago you were children, but now you are men, women, or people who don’t fit neatly into a binary gender construct! once you were slaves to a cleaner, less erratic, more capitalized world of tyrannical blogging, and now you are free!
it’s been a hilarious, touching, shameful, embarrassing, criterion-filled year of shame and embarrassment, but we’re all better for it, are we not?? rhetorical question, people. and the answer is “yes.”
so celebrate this great day by re-tweeting / re-blogging this endlessly! if everyone who reads this gets one new person to read this today, then… one of my mom’s friends will discover my blog! this day will one day be a holiday, and you can celebrate by telling your boss you have to go to Vegas. spread the gospel!
alright, now hum the song they play at the end of Leno and let’s take a trip down memory lane… by yelling these Ecstatic Truth catchphrases at one another.
ISOPODS! POLANSKI! JAPAN! VAMPIRE’S KISS! MASON RAYMOND! FAKE CRITERIONS! LISTS! GABORIK! THE RAPE TUNNEL! CHRIS HANSEN! SELLECK! OTHER STUFF!
ya know… i don’t think i’ve ever stuck with something for so long, before. i’ve started journals and blogs before, but usually a squirrel runs into my field of vision as i’m composing the first entry and… well, that’s pretty much the end of that. but here we are 1,245 posts later and… um, here we are. being unemployed for 9 of those months probably helped. it’s kind of sad, really. if i could have all the hours back that i’ve devoted to this blog, i can’t begin to imagine what i’d do with them. probably play a lot of NHL 10.
anyhoo (sorry, dad), thanks for reading. over the next year i promise to pretend to make this blog more focused and about something, but also to never really live up to that promise. i’d like to write a bit more… maybe post some fiction stuff, or dare to write seriously about a topic or film in long-form without sinking into a lazy patter of flippant sarcasm. but probably not. cause i require money to attempt the former, and you’re not paying me. yet.
the most incredible thing about this poster is that the film it sells is perhaps even more interesting than the one-sheet. this is for Nagisa Oshima’s Band of Ninja (1967). now, i’m a bit of an Oshima nut, but i’d never even heard of this film, which isn’t a film in the traditional sense so much as a slowly unfurling collage of close-up photographs of pre-existing drawings. sounds like the kinda thing i might slap together… but probably a lot more subversive and formally interesting.
also, how did the technique of plopping the director’s face in the middle of the poster not catch on? you’d think M. Night Shyamalan would have brought this back at some point.
Funeral Parade of Roses. know nothing about this one.
dynamic and appropriately eccentric design for Kazuo Hara’s incredible documentary, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On. Errol Morris’ favorite film of all time, this rambling 1987 classic is immaculately captured by this busy one-sheet.
so last month i posted about how iranian filmmaker and advocate for social justice Jafar Panahi had been wrongfully imprisoned by his government without explanation (as if one were necessary). i lamented the fact that the western world seemed to be looking the other way, even as a good an absolutely essential artist and force for change was being incapacitated by the iranian regime.
well, it might be too late and it’s definitely too little, but Spielberg, Coppola and the rest have finally turned their eye to Panahi’s situation. this is a massively serious clusterfuck, and i don’t imagine that the hollywood cadre’s rumblings are going to do much direct good. a petition is a good start, of course, but they have the platform to make this more of a cause… Panahi is an immensely likable (and immensely innocent) figure whose films are accessible, endearing, and tragic, and his predicament is emblematic in broad strokes as to what’s happening in Iran these days. i’d love for Spielberg and co. to make this an issue which transcends the upper crust niche of liberal filmmakers… the potential is there and the charges are not.
ever wanted to play Mario… AS MEGA MAN!?!?!? what about as LINK or SIMON from castlevania or SAMUS or the beefy dude from Contra?!?!
… no, you haven’t. i mean, you’ve WANTED to, but you probably haven’t been made aware of your desire to do so, because if you had, you probably would have made this. or tried to make this and failed. you would have at least have tried. and failed.
anyhoo, this is pretty incredible. you can play all of Mario as any of the above mentioned characters, switching between them after every level. and it’s not simply a matter of aesthetics… each character is imbued with their own unique elements… Mega Man has his blaster, Samus can turn into a ball… etc.
so now there’s a device that allows dogs to tweet? you know what i say? BIG WHOOP. my dog (@zoeehrlich) has been tweeting for MONTHS. i know she’s a poodle, and therefore smarter than the vast majority of the world’s canines, but them’s just be the facts. she’s provided sage bits of puppy wisdom such as “woof! my breath smells like dog food” and “Lamb and cow for dinner - I am Zoe, queen of the food chain! I mean… Woof!”
so… ya know… this thing is totally passe.
in other news, i have already pre-ordered mine. in pink, of course.
so remember that time i went to japan with elena and i fashioned a weird, quasi fairy tale of a short film out of the pictures i took? well… it sort of lives a hermit’s life on my hard drive. but my dear friend @loquaciousmuse was kind enough to submit it to the No-Budget Film Festival in L.A. and it was accepted and will be playing there tomorrow night.
so… that’s exciting. my first film festival. yay. next stop - probably the bodega for some granola. but then Cannes. if you happen to live in L.A. and have nothing doing tomorrow night… feel free to go, i guess? you can event vote for the movie if you like it, i suppose. i won’t be there, cause i’m scruff-deep in my follow-up film (which unfortunately won’t be eligible for this fest).
no great shakes, but this was a nice way of breaking up another crazed day of pre-pro. so thanks, @loquaciousmuse. and also i guess the people at this film festival i didn’t know about until yesterday. thanks to you, too.
this is the thom yorkiest thom yorke collaboration to have ever thom yorked its way across my face. skittering beats… sort, murmuring vocals. this is very expected, and yet still miles better than the usual remix garbage in which he gets involved.
hooray! happy birthday, sister… i’m off to have dinner with you, now.
There is nothing more horrific in our vast oceans than the giant isopod. But even isopods have self-esteem! Declare your support of creepy deep-sea critters with this lovely design, in hot pink ink on black shirts.
i don’t mean to be a stickler, but i’m pretty sure isopods don’t have self-esteemed. if they were evolved enough to have self-esteem, they would be our carcass-eating overlords by now. making kitsch out of isopods… an isopod tote bag (or t-shirt!)… it’s like a Pog with the Challenger explosion on it, or something. this is not funny. this is not cute. this is MY NIGHTMARE. and we are all doomed.
and shockingly useful. and your votes seem to actually have value, as opposed to just trolling around and assigning everyone’s physical appearance a 0 for hours on end because you’re a terrible person who likes to crush the self-esteem of already sad strangers.
except for most people just publish the titles of their thesis papers, which in and of themselves in no way constitute a thesis. total bummer. and please take it easy on these theses… not everyone’s thesis sentence can involve hardcore porn, werner herzog, and the name of this blog.