Posts Tagged ‘Bob Balaban’

Capote – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Mai 20th, 2010

Review:

Despite the title, this is not your regular biopic, instead just telling the story of how Truman Capote become involved in the murder story in Kansas that served as the basis for his extraordinary true crime fiction book In Cold Blood. The film is a bleak retelling of history, somewhat elevated by the interesting subject and a superb performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead role, who has no qualms about depicting the vile nastiness and arrogant narcissism of Capote – a portrayal that garnered him a (arguably long overdue) Best Actor Oscar. This awesome performance also is the film’s biggest weakness, for together with the brutal killers it takes centre stage, meaning that no character the viewer could identify with is left. More sympathetic figures like Harper Lee (the always reliable Catherine Keener), Capote’s boyfriend Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood) or police investigator Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) are reduced to little more than cameo appearances.

Random Observations:

Capote at the IMDb

You know how all famous people know each other? Watching this film, you could almost believe that is true.

I always knew Capote was a nasty piece of work, but if his depiction in this film is correct, he hardly qualified as a human being. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a great writer, but still.

I like the story Capote tells about shooting a film with Humphrey Bogart and John Huston. Those two men are as close to being my idols as anyone.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, April 30th, 2010

Review:

Curious incidents like missing planes turning up 30 years later and sunken ships being discovered in the middle of a desert lead to a government investigation. Meanwhile, regular people sight UFOs and are changed by it. This goes on for a good two hours before the stories somewhat merge and all is ready for the big letdown. Or is that showdown? I can never tell those two things apart… The film is competently made, features good special effects that don’t distract from the non-existing story and has become iconic. Why I do not know.

Random Observations:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the IMDb

For a while I couldn’t believe I was watching a Steven Spielberg film. Then, as expected, all subtlety went out the window.

Interesting bit of stunt casting: French nouvelle vague auteur François Truffaut as the UFO expert.

The best actor in the film – by a wide margin – is Cary Guffey, who played the little boy who is abducted.

A Mighty Wind – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, August 13th, 2009

Review:

Completing the trifecta of Christopher Guest mockumentaries, this film tells the story of a folk music reunion concert after a producing legend dies. The film follows three fictional bands as they re-unite and prepare for their big revival. As usual, this creates many funny scenes and couple with the satirical songs, I actually enjoyed this film the most. It’s a light and easy comedy that is just good fun.

Random Observations:

A Mighty Wind at the IMDb

Apparently, a lot of the dialogue on this film was improvised, leading to Michael Hitchcock (awesome as always) actually hitting Bob Balaban (equally awesome) – and a direct cut, because the whole crew started laughing.

I guess I should now obtain and watch For Your Consideration. Or maybe even This Is Spinal Tap, even if Guest didn’t direct that.

Best in Show – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, August 11th, 2009

Review:

Christopher Guest is at it again with another mockumentary (Did I mention how much I like that word previously? Yes, I did.), this time poking gentle fun at dog lovers – or at least those insane enough to compete in dog shows. Almost all the characters in this film are completely crazy, but considering that they specialize in breeding and grooming dogs to win prizes, they all seem rather realistic. They ensemble cast does a fine job of outlining that craziness while still managing to make at least some of the characters likeable enough to stop the whole film from becoming completely unwatchable. There is some fine satire here, but ultimately the subject matter is just a little too outlandish to allow the film to ring as true as the earlier Waiting for Guffman.

Random Observations:

Best in Show at the IMDb

I’m really enjoying Michael Hitchcock in these films, an actor I have (to contrast what I wrote in my earlier review) very rarely seen before and didn’t recognize from his previous work at all.

It’s always interesting to see how well animals can be trained for film roles.

Waiting for Guffman – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, August 6th, 2009

Review:

In this mockumentary – a clever word I intensely like describing a fictional film that is styled like a documentary – a local theatre group in Blaine, Missouri, puts on a show for the town’s 150th anniversary. The group is lead by a Broadway veteran who informs important people of their show – and one of them, Mr. Guffman, even promises to come – hence the film’s title. What ensues is a clever parody of small-town life and show-business at the same time, with some really funny scenes that only cause slight exasperation at the silliness of it all.

Random Observations:

Waiting for Guffman at the IMDb

Director Christopher Guest specializes in mockumentaries – his best known is This Is Spinal Tap, which he co-wrote.

The movie is a treasure trove for people who love recognizing second fiddle actors and actresses. Sure, you may not know the names of, for example, Larry Miller, Catherine O’Hara or Fred Willard, but you definitely remember their faces.

Sadly, the end of the film is completely predictable. Otherwise, I might have enjoyed it even more.

One of the highlights of the film is the actual performance, crappy theatricals included.

Comic Book Movie July – Ghost World

Dienstag, Juli 8th, 2008

So, Ghost World. Another slightly misleading title. There’s nothing ghostly about this film – except for maybe how mundane everything is. Ghost World is based on Daniel Clowes graphic novel of the same name, which he adapted for the big screen with director Terry Zwigoff (the two also later collaborated in the same way on Art School Confidential). Ghost World tells the story of two teenagers fresh out of high school. Far removed from the usual look at preppy cheerleaders and sport jocks that dominates popular entertainment, the film shows two outsiders trying to make their way in a world they can’t quite understand.

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Ghost World

Montag, März 3rd, 2008

Review:

Ghost World shows two girls that have just finished high school and are happy to escape the ordinary teenage world of America. Instead of going to college, they want to get jobs and move in together. But of course nothing ever works out the way it is planned and when Enid meets Seymour, a record-obsessed outsider, she realizes that the loser is in fact the only one who doesn’t fit into normal society. Ghost World is not a typical coming-of-age story, but rather a portrait of the outsiders of society and why they also or especially deserve a chance.

Random Observations:

Ghost World at imdb.com

Ghost World is actually a comic book adaptation. Which just proves that you don’t need a $300 million budget to make a comic book movie.

Seymour is played by one of my favourite actors, the always great Steve Buscemi. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the role was written especially for him.