Thursday, October 14, 2010

The only movie I've walked out of (well, sort of) in ... well, it seems like forever

Before I get into any of that today, there's some rather amazing news about Luc Besson out there today, especially since the man very rarely bothers to direct movies these days that ever see their way into American movie theaters.

Even so, I'm sure just about everyone remembers the weird, wild and mostly wonderful "The Fifth Element." Sure, there are better sci-fi movies, but there aren't many that are more fun.

So, it's rather amazingly good news, courtesy of the froggy site, that Besson has been quietly plotting a return to that kind of big sci-fi epic. He told Europe 1 he's currently designing the creatures for a flick he would shoot in 2012 or 2013 for release in 2013 or 2014 (a ways out, I know, but since the man rarely deigns to step behind the camera any more, I guess we shouldn't be surprised.) Here's a bit more of what he had to say about it to Europe 1:

"When I did 'The Fifth Element,' I already had the technological tools that were a little outdated. With the advent of digital technology, it is amazing what you can do. The technique has caught the imagination. One can imagine anything, there will always be technicians to follow you in your delusion."

This could, of course, all fizzle out, but it sounds like nothing but cool so far, so stay tuned.

OK, after that today, I'm rarely in the business of telling people to not go see movies, but I'm gonna come fairly close today. I usually like to let people make up their own minds on just about anything, but I had a viewing experience the other day that just left my brain scarred, and unfortunately I'm still thinking about it five days later.

Allow me to explain. Though I still don't own a cell phone (and never will), I decided to update my viewing to at least the late 20th century by buying a flat TV that doesn't weigh 100 pounds and a blu-ray disc player. It's been great discovering this "new" technology (at least to a Luddite like me), and especially enjoying the Netflix watch instantly content streamed onto my TV (just watched the first season of "Veronica Mars" again, and indeed, TV just doesn't get much better than that.)

And last Saturday, I finally decided I should at least rent a blu-ray disc to see what all this picture quality was about. After a quick trip to the Redbox, I was rather happy to be coming home with Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me," which I had wanted to see for a long time now.

Well, I never thought I would ever be a prude when it comes to movie violence, and I still really don't think I am, but be warned if you haven't seen it: This movie is thoroughly disgusting, and I couldn't bring myself to watch enough of it to find out if it eventually has any redeeming value.

I don't want to spoil too much of this in case anyone out there hasn't seen this and still wants to, but I'll tell you exactly how far I made it into Winterbottom's movie starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. About 15 minutes in or so, there's a scene in which Affleck's character, a small-town sheriff of some sort, slowly and methodically beats to death a prostitute he's taken up with, played by Alba.

Now, I suppose there's some merit in the realism of this shot, but it nearly made me vomit, and frankly just kind of left me dazed. I made it through a few more minutes of the movie, which indeed looked amazing, before I had to just turn it off, the first time in as long as I can remember that I started a movie and simply couldn't finish it (hence the walked out of ... sort of, since I didn't actually walk out of my own house.)

I normally love Winterbottom's movies, in particular "24-Hour Party People" and "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story," and one of the things I respect about him as a filmmaker is that he dives into all kinds of genres, so I'll definitely come back to him, but this was one time that I simply couldn't take it.

Please, if you've seen this movie, do let me know if it gets any better, because I really can't imagine any scenario in which I'll be able to bring myself to try and watch it again.

OK, after that rather rambling diatribe, all I have left today is a quartet or so of videos, and they're all pretty good. First up comes, finally, a promo for Conan O'Brien's new TBS show, premiering (I believe) Nov. 8, that fits his comedic skills. Those "Missing You" promos we're OK, but this one, complete with a car filled with "illegal fireworks from New Hampshire" and unpopped popcorn, is much, much better. Enjoy, and certainly tune in for whatever Conan's got cooked up when he finally returns to late night.

I definitely plan to go see "Red" this weekend, because from what I've read and seen so far it seems to be nothing but a big ball of goofy fun. There's plenty of viral marketing out there for the flick starring Bruce Willis, Dame Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Mary Louse Parker and others, but surely none of it as funny as this latest installment of Zach Galifianakis' "Between Two Ferns" bits, this time with Willis. As usual, the interview flames out rather spectacularly, but not before Galifianakis manages to get in some choice zingers such as "Were you ever afraid 'The Whole Ten Yards' might be too good"? Enjoy the clip.

Is it me, or does just about every new show outside of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and FX's "Terriers" just kind of suck this year? The only other one I've tuned in for so far is "Raising Hope" on Fox, with the recommendation of a co-worker, and that's kind of amusing, but otherwise, not a single show has managed to capture my attention. Am I missing anything good? I really doubt it, but please let me know if so. Thankfully, with one of my favorite shows from last year returning early (in February), relief is in sight. The first season of FX's "Justified," starring "Deadwood" lawman Timothy Oliphant, got off to a slow start, but eventually developed into a nearly first-rate drama. The finale was fantastic, so I can't wait to see where it picks up for take two. Enjoy the trailer for the show's return.

And finally today, I can't imagine I'll ever get to see this movie in any kind of theater, but I love Serge Gainsbourg, so I'll definitely watch it on my spiffy new blu-ray player someday. The rather long clip below is the only trailer I know of for the documentary about the late French pop star by Pascal Forneri. The title, "Gainsbourg, l'homme qui aimait les femmes" ("Gainsbourg, the man who loved women"), is certainly appropriate for the man who somehow romanced Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and many other beautiful women, and thankfully, also fathered the great Charlotte Gainsbourg, a definite reel fanatic fave. Enjoy the trailer, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

Gainsbourg, l'homme qui aimait les femmes : la bande annonce
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M. Dean said...

I'm not sure if you remember this or not, but I actually recommended killer back when I caught it on cox ondemand here in middle ga so I kind of feel bad you didn't like it.

The movie is not an enjoyable ride. It's dark, depressing, and, as you mentioned, brutally violent. It's a great movie though. The acting is terrific. I wouldn't suggest trying to re-watch it though as there are numerous more beatings that are equally as unsettling.

For me, I enjoy movies that make me appreciative of the life I have and this certainly did it for me.

Reel Fanatic said...

I do remember you recommending it, M. Dean, and several other people I know like it as much as you do ... I suppose maybe I just have too weak a stomach, especially when it comes to violence on women that's so graphic, and with your warning that there's more to come, I think I'll give up on ever trying to watch this again and wait for Mr. Winterbottom's next great movie

Bob said...

I've been really wanting to see "The Killer Inside Me." I may still check it out but I'm glad I'll know a little bit about what to expect. Like you I love Winterbottom.

Oh Conan. November 8 cannot come soon enough.

daphne said...

The Killer in side me, What’s usually so refreshing about Winterbottom’s films — his refusal to traffic in easy emotion, his lack of interest in individual psychology — works against him in a story of this kind. He’s never made a movie in America before, and struggles to make its landscapes prickly or visceral, or to get his actors to be as improvisatory or free-ranging as he normally does. The result is — body-pummelling aside — minor and distinctly unchilling fare.

Reel Fanatic said...

Glad to hear from someone who, unlike me, had a strong enough stomach to sit through all of this mess, Daphne ... And with that assessment from you, I'm now certain to never try watching this again .. thanks!

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