Hello all, I’m Grant and I’ll be doing occasional reviews on this site. This introduction should let you know what I like, and what you can expect from me.
Favorite Film Genre
From Double Indemnity to Brick I love a good Film Noir. I enjoy the expansive plots and confusing narratives that leave me as lost as the protagonist. I love the ambiguous intentions of the characters (be it the protagonist or one of those dangerous ladies). Also, over the years I may have become so disenchanted with the ‘Hollywood Endings’ that I see a pessimistic film with a downer ending as a breath of fresh air.
Thoughts on Quentin Tarantino
He is a huge dork, but this only enhances his craft. It is nice to have a writer/director who is more obsessed about the film than I am. Tarantino has an amazing ability to let his soundtracks guide his films. His interesting and comedic dialogs are thought provoking and very quotable. Tarantino is amazingly refreshing because he continually provides creative narratives and long tracking shots to improve his story telling. It won’t always be a success (Deathproof) but Tarantino sacrifices nothing during his filmmaking and I will gladly see anything written and directed by him.
The Last Time I was Surprised by a Film
Role Models was much more than the shallow comedy it appeared to be. With lines that left me crying with laughter and a storyline that made me care about the characters I was left completely entertained. Much of the credit goes to Paul Rudd and the other great comedic actors.
The Last Time I was Disappointed by a Film
Public Enemies had such great potential with great actors, a great director, and a stylistic art direction. But I was never invested, and the blame must fall on Mann. Mann attempts to help us better relate to the characters by using ‘personalized’ camera work. Unfortunately, this hinders the narrative and isolates the viewers from the film’s action scenes. Mann also made poor judgment in the screenplay. Instead of allowing great actors to help the audience explore the dichotomy between Depp as a gangster and Bale as an FBI agent, the film provides us with the slow uninteresting fall of Dillinger. Depicting the rise and fall of a criminal is not a new cinematic plotline.
Out on a Limb
I will defend M Night Shyamalan, even after seeing The Happening. His ability to create suspense is second only to Hitchcock. Shyamalan does a fantastic job of adding relationship dilemmas to the larger plot of the movie. Does he occasionally make ridiculous decisions for his movies? Yes, but I have excuses all lined up for him. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you about it.
Movies > Television
Television shows are weakened by the fact that they are splintered. One of the main goals of a television show is to incite you to ‘tune in next week.’ All plot devices and character development are built around this. Having to reestablish the context and relationships at the start of every 22 minute episode is usually redundant and awkward. Obviously not every television program makes these mistakes, but this is a time for generalization and I cannot call television a pure form of entertainment. Films are able to be more creative while presenting an uninterrupted message less tainted by marketing.
Why Sequels are Crap
Remember how I don’t like television shows because they are fragmented? Well the same applies for movies which have unplanned sequels. Filmmakers see this as an opportunity to cut corners and plug those old familiar characters in oddly similar situations. Very rarely does a writer or director use this opportunity to further explore a theme or take the series in a new and interesting direction. Occasionally these filmmakers don’t just go for the quick buck, but their sequel still suffers because their decisions were influenced by the praise of the original. Many sequels are vastly over-appreciated, and I think this happens because audience members are reconnected to movies that they love, by viewing the sequels. Because of the lack of creativity and the cinematic shortcuts in sequels, I can count the number of sequels I love on one hand.