Movie of the Day – Synecdoche, New York

Often times during my quest to take in all that is cinema, there are a few times in which I find myself have to retread over previously seen territory.  It’s usually for a number of reason that I re-watch movies, the most obvious is just because I rather enjoy a particular film.  Sometimes it is because a certain film just picks me up after a long day at work or when I need to hear something rather humorous in the background.  Then there are the films that I re-watch because I have to, not because I wasn’t attentive enough the first time around, but for the sole reason that it demands a second watch.

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Movie of the Day – Life in a Day

Have a good day folks 🙂

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The 24th July 2010…. 80,000 Lives…. 4,500 Hours of Footage… 2 Award winning Filmmakers….. Now one incredible motion picture event. What began life as a startling cinematic experiment becomes the must see movie experience of the Summer. Created entirely from footage uploaded by YouTube users, Life in a Day is a film first: exhilarating, moving and very, very funny… it is the story of our world. Told by us. — (C) National Geographic

Movie of the Day – It’s a Wonderful Life

Well folks, I realize my post this evening is a bit later than usual, but I just came back from my side job at the Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Kansas City.  This evening was a special one as tonight we were showing It’s a Wonderful Life on two screens.  I lobbied to have the hosting duties for the evening as it has been a movie I have grown up with, mostly due to my father’s love of the film.  So I got the gig to host both showings and was absolutely floored that we sold out both showings.  As a film fan, it made my heart swell that a movie made in 1946 is still touching generations of movie watchers and getting them out to the theaters to experience this unintentional Christmas classic.

Now I have grown up a lot since my first viewing of the film.  I always thought Pottersville was pretty fucking sweet with booze, burlesque and fights on Wednesday nights.  It seemed like a great town to me at a young age.  Over the years though, I understand what makes this movie timeless and why it ended up becoming this holiday classic despite the directors insistence that it was never intended to be a Christmas movie.  It’s the message at heart, one that James Stewart learns over the course of the movie that your worth in life isn’t measure by material or even monetary possession, it’s the people that are in your life and the lives of those that you have touched.  That is what you need to take stock in and that is what life means.

It’s a movie that was panned upon its release, lapsed into copyright default to the public domain, and then found its home amongst the Christmas special rotation.  A movie that over the years since the 70s, has touched the lives of those that have seen it.  Capra and Stewart created a movie that has lived on through the years and to see all those people out at the two sold out shows tonight was amazing.

So today, I present the movie in its entirety for those that have not seen it.  Enjoy!

Its a wonderful life 1a

Movie of the Day – The Hustler

I am sure that everyone at some time or another have fancied themselves a fine pool player.  You go to bars, have a few drinks, and then “hey there’s a pool table.  Let’s play a few breaks”.  It happens a lot, more so to me, but you start playing and then you think you’re hot shit and a general pool shark of the sorts who thinks they can hustle people.  Well after watching The Hustler with Paul Newman being the ultimate man, I realized that I am woefully under prepared for a life of pool hustling and I fucking suck compared to what is shown in this movie.  Also the pool hustlers life isn’t that glamorous as  it turns out.  Regardless, if you are an avid pool player or some guy who just has a pool table for aesthetic purposes, then you have at least seen The Hustler once in your life.

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Movie of the Day – Biutiful

At some point in time, I need to compile a list that has my top directors of all time.  I usually find myself saying, “this” director or “that” director as being on the best or favorites of mine, and it happens a lot.  While this list and rambling might be better suited for that actual post, whenever it gets made, this leads me into one of my favorite directors.  No doubt about it, this is top ten quality here folks.  Alejandro González Iñárritu, a Mexican director (VIVA MEXICO!) has only four feature films to his filmography, but every single one of the is truly beautiful and moving in every way possible.  It is kind of fitting that I use that term “beautiful” as today’s film is titled after the Spanish orthographical spelling of the English word “beautiful”.  Like most of his movies, there is a grimmy, dark feeling that showcases the depths of humanity in its darkest times, but ultimately are some of the most gorgeous and heartfelt films around.

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Movie of the Day – Sunshine Cleaning

I often don’t review or see “chick flicks” during my ongoing movie consumption.  The genre that is defined by girl power moments of clarity through the lens of some failed relationship, family issues, or generally dealing with overly heavy emotional sequences designed to cleanse the soul.  I sometimes view them as formulaic and going through the motions of a drama.  The woman falls out of a relationship, does some individual soul searching, has a moment of clarity with her best gal friend and then falls back into the arms of the relationship or forges on with her as a strong woman.  There are films that make this work and end up being good, but a lot of times it seems shallow and satiates the base part of our enjoyment.  It is supposed to build you up and pat you on the back, telling you it all works out with a little crying and comfort.  The struggles are internal and doesn’t feel worldly, just superficial.  I guess what I am getting at is that today’s film is a different sort of film altogether.  Emily Blunt and Amy Adams struggle with what they view as a fractured and failed past, all the while trying hard to forge their future for the better.  All this is done from the perspective as a pair of crime scene cleaners.  It’s like CSI for Lifetime.

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Movie of the Day – Greenberg

If you have never seen a Noam Baumbach film before, you might be a bit off put by the subject matter.  There is a certain nuance to films and the fact that he capture the little complications of life that plague us in the back of our mind.  Where we are in life, what we see ourselves doing, and coming to terms with the our place in life, whether good or bad.  His writing is snarky, often dark in terms of humor, but there is a sort of catch that their characters have that draw you into the story, even if it is more or less about pretty white people with pretty white problems.  Hey, he writes what he knows and what he is comfortable with, I can’t fault him for that.  But Greenberg is one of the more mature films he has done in a while, one that evolves into a film that tries to find a resolution between what we project about ourselves to people and what we feel about ourselves inside.

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Movie of the Day – Field of Dreams

I don’t do enough sports movies on the blog here, not because of the lack of quality films, but rather my ambivalence towards the common tropes and thematic elements common in a lot of sports movies.  To be fair, how many times can one watch a story about some down on their luck school going up against the big collegiate sports team and make it to the finals as the underdog?  Or perhaps you want a veteran sports player trying to compete one last time to go out on a high note?  Maybe something in tune of a ragtag group of misfits (young or old) seemingly putting aside their differences and coming together to work as a team?  A lot of sports movies all follow this particular arch, but don’t really develop into something more than the underdog story or redemption film.  On the rare occasion you get a film that captures the essence of the sport at the most base level.  It isn’t about winning or losing, but the effect that the game has on the people who experience.  Sports have a certain way to bring about the bonding experience, either socially or on a personal level.

I remember my time playing little league and some competitive teen baseball games.  I was never really one for the athletics, probably explaining my “meh” attitude towards sports involvement, but I understood the nature and meaning behind taking part in sports.  One is that I experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, something that kids these days won’t experience since we don’t want kids to have hurt feelings.  The other memories is with playing catch with my dad, the almost Norman Rockwellian past time of America and bonding experience.  Every child at one point or another has played catch with their dad, an experience that is cemented in your mind as it conjures up summer days in the backyard throwing a ball around.  A simple act of throwing and catching a ball has a profound effect, enough to illicit a strong emotional connection towards a game that is apart of our lives as it is apart of everyone’s pastime.  This long intro now leads me into the reason for today’s pick, Field of Dreams.

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Movie of the Day – Stay

With a 26% rating on RottenTomatoes.com, Stay is really an enigma of a film.  On the outset, I should be hating a film that is flat on the story even when it tries and fails spectacularly to be deep and mind bending.  I should know better not to get tripped up in a film that relies on its laurels of visuals and trippy, factured narrative.  Maybe I enjoy the film for the cast of incredible talent and Mr. Baby Goose himself, Ryan Gosling.  The more I reflect on the film and the more I watch it, I find myself being sucked into the film itself, almost too David Lynchian in it’s appearance and structure.  Damn my love of David Lynch.

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Movie Review – The Waiting Room

Finally finding a bit of time in my hectic life to start fully reviewing the films of the True/False Fest, I decided to start with the social documentary called The Waiting Room.  Also I was spurred on to do this review after being contact through twitter by the official Waiting Room handle, which promptly corrected me on the misspelling of the directors name Pete Nicks.  So embarrassment aside, I wanted to actually give this a full review instead of the small snippet of coverage.

To be frank and continue my traditional insight before diving into the film, healthcare in this country is one of the most heated topics of debate in this country.  I am of the notion that a country as prosperous and great as we are, it is a shame that we cannot provide healthcare to everyone in America.  It says something about a country and the way they treat their citizens when getting ill is the difference between life and death.  Sometimes it isn’t even about that, sometimes it is just about trying to get healthcare and choosing between paying for food or paying for medicine.  There have been many films in the past, one I will bring up is John Q since most people love Denzel Washington and will remember his spirited portrayal of a father going to extreme lengths to save his son.  The film was an extreme, not unlikely though, case of healthcare putting a price on life and how absurd it is to even be healthy in this world.  While the sensational nature of the film will rally those who need a new cause to take up, it is sensational to begin and end with.

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