The personal site of Grahame Murray

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May 2018
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Snakes on a Plane [Journal,Movies]
Or more informally, Mothaf*ckin snakes on the Mothaf*ckin plane! Last night I saw the much over-hyped flick at a drive-in theatre in Durham. I haven’t been to one of those things in a long time, since I lived in Burlingame, CA I think (7 or so years ago). It was strange little venue, country gals running the grill and fryalator in the combination burger shack, ticket booth, projection room, flea market, and gun store, complete with owner wearing a sidearm and smokin a stogie. But it was cool — lots of people arrived hours ahead of the film to tailgate and be social. Some people had very elaborate rigs setup: aero beds in the bed of a pickup truck, reclining ontop of an SUV, charcoal grill cookouts, lawn chairs, etc. Anyway, it is a ridiculous movie. I went to see it with Ian and a bunch of his Pinehaus friends, plus Julie and Matt. As we speculated before, during, and after, the movie is destined to quickly become a cult classic. Implausible, improbable, illogical, insane, and inane yet completely enjoyable. I was feeling decidedly subpar, largely do to the previous evening out. But had I felt up for imbibing I’m sure I would have been shrieking and cackling at the hilarity of it all, instead of just quietly giggling and groaning.
Melvin Goes to Dinner [Movies]
I rented [[imdb:0323633 Melvin Goes to Dinner]] on a lark, as it was mentioned on Bob Odenkirk’s website, which I was viewing becuase I was reading up on Mr Show. There was a funny clip on the website that I actually thought was part of the movie. Woops, it was not, but what I found instead was a real treat. It turns out that the movie is an adaptation of Michael Blieden’s play Phyro-Giants. He wrote and starred in his own play, along with several other actors, the most well-known being Anabelle Gurwitch. Bob Odenkirk and his wife decided to turn Michael’s play into a movie, and admirably decided to keep the original cast, rather than turning to big names. The result is a dinner table discussion that goes from hilarious to disturbing and playful to serious. The writing is really good, and the cast’s timing is impeccable due to their year and a half’s practice in front of a live audience. Bob’s choice of using multiple cameras was still fairly unconventional, but I think paid off. The result almost invites you sit at the table, feeling like you’re a part of the dialogue. Blieden also edited the film together simply using Final Cut Pro, and the result really works. Using different film stock and media during the flash back sequences wasn’t totally original, but it was effective. It was a real bonus on the DVD of having two commentaries, one with the cast regarding the acting/writing/adaptation aspects, and the other of the technical crew discussing the challenges of multiple cameras/budget/production. Also check out the amusing Frank’s Film Festival vignette.
L’Auberge Espagnole [Movies]
[[imdb:0283900 L’Auberge Espagnole]] is a French expression meaning melting pot, or “Euro Pudding”, depending on who you ask. Literally translated it means Spanish Inn. In this case it is a nice pun, as both apply very well to this enchanting movie about seven very different, young europeans living together in an apartment in Barcelona. This is not your typical movie. Its almost an ensemble cast, there is a main character but you grow to love his flatmates equally. There’s not much of a plot, its more of a slice of life movie. Mostly being character driven, I think either you connect with the people and their situations or your don’t. I did, and absolutely love this movie. Its a fairly lengthy, running 2+ hours, but I was sorely disappointed when it ended. I really recommend this movie, I’ll be thinking about adding it to my collection.
The Italian Job [Movies]
[[imdb:0317740 The Italian Job]] is a reworking of a late sixties film of the same name. Plot elements are shared, but these are two very different movies. It was a fun movie, not very deep or original, but the fast pace and action keeps it going. Charlize Theron is gorgeous as ever as the ethical safe cracker, and Mark Whalberg, Jason Stratham, Mos Def, and Seth Green all make up the gang of “criminals with heart”. Edward Norton pulls off a pretty good bad guy, similar to his role in The Score. The driving is top notch, especially considering that much of it is done by the real actors, not stunt drivers. I find that very impressive, Charlize Theron did her own reverse 180 in a small warehouse. Badass.
The Quiet American [Movies]
[[imdb:0258068 The Quiet American]] is the second movie adaptation of the Graham Greene novel about an older English journalist living in Vietnam in the early 1950s with his young Vietnamese lover. A love trinagle ensues with a visiting american, described as quiet at one point, as well as the beginnings of war between the communists and French. Somehow this movie reminds me heavily of [[imdb:0104507 Indochine]], mostly in its atmospshere (probably not surprising, both were filmed in Vietnam). Phillip Noyce did a great job with this film. And it seems really well written, you keep vascillating in how you feel about the characters and their motives. Michael Caine does a superb job as Tom Fowler, the transformation we seem him going from austere to vulnerable is moving. Do Hai Yen is gorgeous, intriguing, and wistful. I’ve never been able to get a good lock on Brendan Frasier, is he a good actor or not. I bought his performance in this movie, that’s for sure. The score was really terrific, I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist. Composer Craig Armstrong wrote some truly haunting melodies, I’m going to have to keep my eye on him. After a little digging I discovered he also did the Molin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet soundtracks, and also collaborated with Massive Attack, all soundtracks and CDs that I really liked.

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