3D is back once more to highlight a movie that you may not have see. This week’s recommendation is the 2005 film “Brick.” If you are like me, then you missed this when it first came out a few years ago, and that is a shame because this movie is fascinating.
Along with fresh new director Rian Johnson (“The Brothers Bloom”), the movie had several young stars such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“500 Days of Summer”), Emilie de Ravin (“Lost”), Nora Zehetner (“Everwood”), and Lucas Haas (“Witness”). Trust me when I tell you, it is unlike anything you’ve seen.
It is a Dashiell Hammett type mystery story of a loner investigating the disappearance of his ex and discovering a seedy underworld of murder and drugs. In short, it is a noir movie. The twist is that it is played out with teenagers in a high school setting, except they talk as if they just stepped out of an old-fashioned noir film. This is never explained and can be difficult to decipher, but if you can keep up, it makes the movie very interesting.
The acting, especially by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is excellent and the mystery isn’t bad. But it’s the juxtaposition of youthful faces in sunny places reciting noir type slang that makes this movie truly strange and wonderful. So, if you’re in the mood for something challenging, you need to see “Brick.”
Hey guys, 3D is celebrating the recent return of Rooster Teeth programing with a double DVD recommendation of their related series. For anyone interested in their new series “Revelation,” you really need to see the “Recreation” DVD. They are both part of the continuing Red vs Blue adventures. For those that do not know, Red vs Blue is a machinima series set in the Halo universe that follows two groups of completely incompetent soldiers and their wacky shenanigans. It is very funny, but don’t watch it with the kids because it has some serious language.
The live action “RT Shorts” series has also returned this week, so I’m spotlighting the “Volume 1″ DVD that came out last year. This series follows the Rooster Teeth staff as they go about the business of producing their web series, but let’s just say their office hi-jinks are a little different than those of other companies. The shorts vary in quality, but the DVD is worth getting just for “Saving Face,” “Random, Mandatory,” and “Pongo.”
So, if you’re a Rooster Teeth fan or are just interested in a laugh, you need to see “Red vs Blue: Recreation” and “RT Shorts: Vol. 1.”
To wrap up my month of Western movie recommendations, I decided to suggest one of BAM’s favorites: the 1968 film “The Scalphunters.” Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Ossie Davis, Shelley Winters, and Dabney Coleman star in this movie, which was directed by Sydney Pollack. Maybe that’s why this film is so different.
The film is about a white trapper (Lancaster) who is forced by a group of crafty Indians to swap his whole winter’s worth of trapped furs for an escaped slave (Davis). The two of them spend the rest of the movie attempting to get the furs back, first from the Indians and then from the murderous band of “Scalphunters” that gain them through despicable means.
The movie is part comedy and part social commentary. The discussions between Davis and Lancaster are a fascinating example. Contrary to the viewer’s expectations, it is the slave who is educated and refined and the trapper who is illiterate and uncouth. The uneasy bond that forms between them is fun to watch.
It’s an unusual Western, but if you like a movie that make you think, then you need to see “The Scalphunters.”
3D is back to continue a month of Western movie recommendations. As promised, this week’s suggestion is just a little more serious than the comedies I’ve been featuring. It is the 1966 Western with a Mexican flair, “The Professionals.”
First of all, let’s look at the cast list: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode are the titular “Professionals,” but there is also Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale, and Ralph Bellamy. The plot involves “The Professionals” being hired by a millionaire to rescue his wife from a Mexian bandit.
Of course, it turns out not to be so simple. For one thing, Lancaster and Marvin were involved in the Revolution in Mexico, so they are friends with the people they are going after. While they have become cynical, disillusioned “Professionals”, their old friends are still idealistic revolutionaries.
I like this film for many reasons (hello, Burt Lancaster!), not the least of which is the fact that they featured Mexico in a Western. That gave things a different flair. All the discussion of the revolutionary fire and how it goes out was also pretty interesting for a Western. So, if you like serious Westerns about tough guys, you need to see “The Professionals.”
Hey loyal readers, it’s week two of my month of Western movie recommendations. This week’s movie is the 1965 comedy Western “Hallelujah Trail.” (Yes, I know I recommended an older Western comedy last week as well. I promise next week’s suggestion will be more serious.)
For this week’s film, half the recommendation is done for me just by listing the cast: Burt Lancaster, Lee Remick, Donald Pleasance, Brian Keith, and Martin Landau are just some of the stars in this. The whole movie concerns a huge wagon train full of whiskey that is bound for Denver. It is both helped and hindered along its way by Indians, miners, Temperance followers, and the cavalry.
The best part of the film, in my humble opinion, is the increasing aggravation of Burt Lancaster’s character, who has to try and control the entire circus surrounding the wagon train. It is a masterful comedic performance. (If you don’t like Burt Lancaster, don’t bother reading any of the rest of my recommendations this month because he’s in all of them. Yes, he was that awesome.)
So, if you’re a Burt Lancaster fan, if you like silly Westerns, or if you just want to watch a comedy tonight, you need to see “Hallelujah Trail.”
3D back once more for your weekly movie recommendation. For the month of March, I’ve chosen to feature all Westerns. To kick things off, I thought I’d start with a movie staring a wonderful Oklahoma-born actor, James Garner. (If you don’t like James Garner, you should just stop reading now because we have nothing in common!)
The 1969 film “Support Your Local Sheriff” is a wonderful example of the comedic Westerns that were common in the 60′s. (All the Westerns in recent history have been so dark and serious…) I love this kind of funny take of the genre, and James Garner has incredible comedic timing.
The movie is the story of a lawless Western town and how a man who is “just passing through on his way to Australia” ends up taming it. He also manages to tame a wild, rich girl (played by Joan Hackett) and defeat a murderous band of outlaws led by Walter Brennan and Bruce Dern.
The story is really irrelevant, however, as the real draw of the movie is a series of wacky shenanigans and incredibly deadpan jokes delivered by James Garner. This movie is an old family favorite that I’ve probably seen a hundred times, and it is still funny every time. So, if you like funny Westerns or if you are a fan of Garner’s cool charm, then you need to see “Support Your Local Sheriff.”
Once again, 3D is here with your movie recommendation for the week. This week’s film is a wonderful little gem from 1961 called “One, Two, Three.” It’s a Billy Wilder picture with a tour de force performance by James Cagney. Unfortunately for fans of great acting, Cagney had such a bad time making this movie that he retired from acting for 20 years.
The movie is set in Germany right after the Berlin Wall was built. It concerns a Coca-Cola executive (Cagney) and his attempts to open the Russian market in East Berlin so that he will be promoted. His plans are spoiled when he is entrusted with the supervision of the teenage daughter of the Coca-Cola president. Her exploits lead to political and legal complications, and Cagney is forced to pull off some rather elaborate shenanigans to get out of the mess she’s created.
This is a movie that is greatly improved by the viewer’s knowledge of the policital situation of the time. Which is not to say that it takes itself at all seriously. This is a comedy and the jokes fly fast and furious. If you like fast paced, witty films or you’re a Billy Wilder fan, you need to see “One, Two, Three.”
For those of you who follow this feature, you should know that next week I will begin my March month of Western movie recommendations. So, keep reading!
3D here with your movie recommendation for the week. This week I’ve gone old school with master of cool Steve McQueen’s 1968 detective drama “Bullitt.” Now everyone knows this movie for the car chase naturally, and it is one cool chase. McQueen actually driving his mustang makes for a realism you just don’t get from movies anymore. (However, the continuity errors make it a little unbelievable. Just for fun, play an old family game and count how many times the two main cars in the chase pass the same VW bug.)
Since everyone knows about the car chase, my purpose here is to let you know how great the rest of this movie is. For one thing, it was ground breaking in its depiction of the tedious nature of police work and the graphic operating room scenes. It also deals subtly with race issues with the various characters reactions to a black doctor (keep in mind this was 1968, a very volite year for this topic).
And if that is not enough, then perhaps knowing that Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, and Robert Duvall also make appearances in the film will help. The soundtrack music is also pretty cool too. So, if you’re a McQueen fan, a car chase fan, or just a fan of gritty detective stories, then you need to see “Bullitt”
3D is back again to give you movie recommendations. As before, they may be popular movies you might not have seen in some time or they might be something you’ve never even heard of. For many people, I’m guessing my recommendations for today fall into that second category. After all, movies that consist almost entirely of one man at a desk talking are not the usual Saturday night entertainment.
Spalding Gray was a noted monologist whose witty, acerbic, and sometimes melancholy style was so appreciated that some of his performances were turned into films, which were helmed by noted directors such as Soderbergh.
I’ve highlighted two of these films here. The first is Monster in a Box, in which Gray tells the story of his attempts to get his extraordinarily long novel Impossible Vacation published, but it also includes discussion of many topics including his trip to a film festival in the Soviet Union, his undercover mission to Nicaragua, and his stint in Our Town at the Lincoln Center.
Gray’s Anatomy, on the other hand, focuses almost exclusively on Spalding’s travails attempting to avoid having surgery for an eye condition. (I will include a warning here that he includes interviews with people who have had incidents involving their eyes and these can become quite graphic. I found myself blinking a lot during this part of the film.)
If you think you can’t possibly be entertained watching some guy talk for an hour, I’d just like to say that I found these films when I was a teenager. Even at that age, Gray managed to capture my attention. So, if you’re looking for something different this weekend (and feel like using your brain), you need to see Monster in a Box and Gray’s Anatomy.
Hello loyal readers. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m back to finish off our month of heist movie recommendations with an unusual choice. It’s “The Thomas Crown Affair,” but instead of the original I think you need to see the 1999 remake starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo and Denis Leary. (I’m assuming you’ve already seen the classic 1968 Steve McQueen/ Faye Dunaway film, and if you haven’t, you definitely should.)
However, I’m recommending the remake here because I know many people don’t give remakes a chance (admittedly, they are often awful). This one is very well done. It uses the main idea of the first film: a wealthy, but bored playboy commits heists to liven up his life and then romances the woman who is trying to catch him. But where the original focused on bank robberies, this film has art heists.
Maybe I just have a preference for art theft, maybe it’s the excellent supporting work done by Denis Leary, or maybe it’s the sense of fun that the newer version has, but I find myself preferring the remake in this instance. If you haven’t already, you need to see “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Since your preference may be different than mine, either version will do. But if you like the original and have never given the new version a chance, you might be surprised.