The Movie You've Seen the Most

Slate asked a collection of filmmakers and critics to name the movie they've seen the most. E.g., Spike Lee's is West Side Story, and Neil Labute's is Barry Lyndon. (Excluding movies like It's a Wonderful Life.) Here's my own breakdown:

< age 13: The Goonies (easily over 100 times); Die Hard; Clue

ages 13-18 12 Monkeys; Goodfellas; Fargo; A Clockwork Orange

> age 18: The Big Lebowski; Princess Mononoke; Koyaanisqatsi, Vertigo

in the theater: Lawrence of Arabia (4?); City of Lost Children (3)

Tue, 06/27/2006 - 5:38pm

An Inconvenient Truth

Last night, I was faced with An Inconvenient Truth, mediated by the soothing drawl of Al Gore. Here's why you should see this movie:

  • It's not boring.
  • Seriously, it's quite visceral and compelling.
  • It presents the Global Warming problem using elegant and thorough infographics.
  • It unquestionably settles three issues which have unfairly been considered as in scientific doubt:
    1. This is an alarming problem right now, not just 100 years from now.
    2. There is incredibly strong evidence that not only does Global Warming exist, but that the "nature is cyclical" argument is frighteningly not comforting in our present situation.
    3. Some believe that since the planet has seen extreme temperatures in the past, there's no need for us to change our way of life to avoid what's inevitable. Gore particularly emphasizes that this perspective is both immoral and unethical. By not taking measures now, we will be in effect responsible for future Katrinas, and on a much grander scale.
  • Al Gore is a funny and informative lecturer.

The film could've used 10% fewer shots of Al Gore pondering, contemplating his past, etc., but the point of these scenes got across: Gore has spent a significant part of his life on this issue, he truly cares about it, and he thinks you should, too.

Wed, 06/21/2006 - 9:38am
  • Someone has put up the classic 1977 short Powers of Ten on youtube. Starting with a park in Chicago, the film zooms out 10x every 10 seconds, zooming past such things as Earth, the solar system, the Milky Way, and a large part of the Universe. Then it zooms back into an atom in the hand of a picnicker in the park. (via kottke) (1) #
  • With Pixar releasing a computer animated version of Doc Hollywood this week (thx, LVW for the comparison), it's time for me to reiterate how tired I am of the Pixar formula. I haven't seen Cars yet, but it looks like it has the tame humor, goofy sitcom characters, and too-clever-for-itself attitude that all of their films since Toy Story 2 have suffocated under. This wouldn't be notable except that they're written about, especially within the blogosphere, as if they're the film gods. Plus, I don't find the spare animation as seen in the trailers very inviting. Go watch some Miyazaki. (16) #
  • Trailer for Neil LaBute's remake of The Wicker Man. Hmm, looks like it takes the basic storyline of the fantastic original film and waters it down with the now-conventional look of horror films such as The Ring. If you want to see an oddball religious horror film starring Christopher Lee as the villian and enjoy Scottish pagan music, you should check out the 1973 original. (3) #

Google's Da Vinci Code Quest

So, on a whim, I decided to complete some of the puzzles on Google's movie tie-in, the Da Vinci Code Quest. It consisted of 24 puzzles over 24 days -- I did the first 21 bored on a Sunday and finished the rest right after they were released. The first 10,000 participants to finish all 24 were promised a cryptex in the mail and a chance to win some prizes.

Today, in the mail, I got a mysteriously heavy box in the mail from Inside was one of the 10,000 winning cryptexes. The code to open the cryptex was written on the box: "GRAIL." I entered it in, and the cryptex opened up. (Is there any way for me to change the code?) A rolled parchment was tucked inside, with the words "Congratulations!" and a URL written upon it. Now I get to partake in a time-sensitive puzzle contest this weekend -- if I complete in the shortest time, I win.

Here are some pictures of the cryptex:


A hokey contest when I first started, yes, but getting the cryptex in the mail was pretty neat.

Mon, 05/15/2006 - 8:08pm
  • Egads! Godfrey Reggio, Philip Glass, and Ron Fricke -- i.e., the team behind the amazing Koyaanisqatsi -- are working on a new project: Savage Eden. I can't really figure out what it's about. Update: An interview with Reggio and Glass says it's about "consumerism and fundamentalism" and will be the first Reggio film to use actors. Update 2: And how could I miss this? The fourth collaborator is George Meyer, the most involved Simpsons writer and producer out there. This only makes it stranger. (4) #

More on the Cemetary Man DVD


As I've written, Cemetary Man, which I once raved about as one of my favorite Halloween movies, is finally coming to DVD on June 13th. Some more details of the DVD have come out: it's a new widescreen transfer with 5.1 audio, and comes with an interview-laden featurette and an 8-page booklet. I've also put a banner on the right column, since I love this movie so. Check it out, and learn how one can fall in love with a severed head.

Mon, 05/15/2006 - 10:28am
  • Slate asks: Is J.J. Abrams a hack? Like the article writer, I enjoyed M:I:III on a basic level, finding it to be far superior to M:I:II (but not better than M:I:I). But I see her point: Abrams's techniques are becoming less like a trademark and more of a crutch. (30) #

Summer blues

The Onion AV Club isn't very excited by the movies coming out this summer, and neither am I. I was particularly bored by the recently unveiled Superman Returns trailer. I will likely see Mission Impossible III, but more for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and director JJ Abrams than anything else.

At the moment, I can only think of four movie going experiences that I'm looking forward to in 2006:

  • The Fountain
  • The Borat movie
  • Snakes on a Plane (note that I said "experiences")
  • The Tenacious-D rock-opera

And maybe Fantastic Mr. Fox. (Yes, these aren't all summer films.) As for the summer, I will go see the sequels for X-men and The Pirates of the Caribbean, but I'm not expecting much from either. Admittedly, I'm not familiar with the Fall crop of Oscar-baiting films -- anything else I should be looking forward to?

Update: Ah, two more summer films: I'll go see A Scanner Darkly and Gondry's The Science of Sleep as well.

(via kottke)

Wed, 05/03/2006 - 9:33am