Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A few recommendations...

A few movies you should check out if you have the chance...most of them are pretty old, but they are the only "new" movies I've seen since The Skeleton Key (a waste of time) on August 12.

Strangers On A Train

This is only the third Alfred Hitchcock movie I've seen (the others being The Birds and Psycho). I am instantly interested in buying the new 14-disc box set that includes some of Hitch's work (but not this one, unfortunately...). It's a story about a madman who tries to convince a tennis pro to commit a murder for him. It ends with one of the best action sequences I think I've ever seen on film, and I've seen a lot.

Robot Stories

This movie is a series of four vignettes taking place in the near future dealing, loosely, with robots. The first one, and the least interesting, is about a couple who need to care for a robot baby for a week before the adoption agency gives them a child. The second vignette is a story about a woman who tries to save her son from a coma by fixing and completing his robot toy collection, and I'll admit it made me tear up a bit. The third piece is about a new breed of robot worker that uses artificial intelligence to build a base of knowledge, but he eventually falls in love with a neighboring robot worker. The fourth, final, and best piece is about an age of immortality, where, even after you die, you retain sentience by uploading your brain to a computer. The tale is about a man who doesn't want to upload his brain for some falsified post-life happiness. It was amazing, and really cemented this movie in my mind.

Big Night

Big Night is about two brothers who own a failing Italian restaurant. Primo, the chef, refuses to give up his art for financial gain. Secondo is the business brains, and he is torn between his big brother's aesthetic values and the American, money-grubbing values set forth by Bilbo Baggins himself, Ian Holm. Funded by Ian Holm, Secondo decides to throw a last-ditch effort to keep the restaurant open, a huge dinner for jazz star Louis Primo. The movie narrowly avoids all types of cliches, declining the typical "Restaurant becomes famous, everyone is happy" ending and instead finishing with the big dinner itself and a denouement of a three minute scene of virtual silence. Amazing.

Glengarry Glenn Ross

Glengarry Glenn Ross is a film based on a play by David Mamet, who is genius by the way. Starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacy, and Ed Harris, it's about the cut-throat world of the real-estate business (but really about manhood and business in general). To say any more would ruin the plot, but check it out. Mamet's dialogue is so natural and flowing that I look at my dialogue and just shake my head (although there's good reason for that...I suck at dialogue. I'd love to write a silent movie).

So there are four great ones. I've watched some not-so-great ones too, but these are worth at least a rental.

I'll be seeing a lot more in the next few months--My Summer Of Love, The Merchant Of Venice, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, Broken Flowers, Casablanca, Tampopo, Citizen Kane, Rebel Without A Cause, Blowup, and Living In Oblivion. I'll let people know if anything good comes out of it.

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