All posts by Greg Bueno

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

This movie is the kind I couldn’t have dragged anyone to see. This movie is the kind to which I wouldn’t have been dragged myself.

So how did I end up spending a July 4 holiday watching The Devil Wears Prada? Blame Meryl Streep.

I’m no Meryl Streep devotee by any leap of the imagination, but the idea of her playing an intimidating, icy power figure seemed too tempting to pass up.

Under less accomplished hands, the character of Miranada Priestly could come off as a flat bogeywoman. But Streep can make even Miranada’s brand of sociopathic leadership feel human. Which she does beautifully.

The rest of the story is pretty predictable to write.

Continue reading »

Mirrormask (2005)

I love the art of Dave McKean. It’s like taking drugs without having to take drugs.

McKean created the bizzare, imaginative covers of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman for its entire 75-issue run. He’s done CD covers, posters and more recently, film.

Mirrormask is McKean’s first feature-length work, and of course, his good friend Gaiman wrote the script.

Although Gaiman scored a homerun with The Sandman, his other works seems to be hit and miss. I wasn’t fond of Stardust, and the novelization of Neverwhere didn’t make me curious about how it turned out as a television series.

And crossover is such tricky terrain. Just because McKean and Gaiman created some incredible comics — go read Violent Cases and Signal to Noise right now — it doesn’t necessarily mean that vision translates in other media.

My fears were pretty much unfounded.

Continue reading »

Casshern (2004)

I guess I’m not getting those 2 hours and 16 minutes of my life back.

I was warned. I read pretty bad reviews about this movie, but I dove in and soldiered through all of it. Curiosity didn’t just kill the cat — it ran it over with a steamroller.

Casshern is the debut feature film from director Kiriya Kazuaki, or Mr. Utada Hikaru. Kiriya directed a number of his pop star wife’s videos, even before they two got married.

Those videos featured incredibly lush, detailed visual effects, and their cinematic appeal is a definite draw. While Kiriya has a terrific eye, his storytelling needs a lot of work.

Continue reading »

The American President (1995)

I watched The American President on regular cable a few years back, after having been indoctrined in The West Wing fandom. Aaron Sorkin wrote The American President before creating The West Wing.

So I felt a sense of deja vu catching up on Sorkin’s previous work.

You can tell he was hashing out ideas which would eventually make it into the series. The presidents of both the film and the TV show at one point pose the question, "What’s the value of a proportional response?"

In essence, The American President is The West Wing as a romantic comedy.

Continue reading »

Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

However much I’m a fan of Miyazaki Hayao, I knew Howl’s Moving Castle wouldn’t win the Academy Award for best animated film in 2006.

I liked Howl’s Moving Castle, but it was not Spirited Away. Never mind the fact Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit was the box office darling of October 2005.

I wanted to see Wallace and Gromit eventually, but I wanted to wait till it became a five-day rental at the video store. My curiosity wasn’t strong enough to view it as a new release.

Blame Chicken Run for that.

Continue reading »

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

I had wanted to catch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in the theatres, but the movie had finished its run by the time I had free time to catch it. So I waited till it was released on DVD.

I was interested by the idea of Val Kilmer playing a gay private investigator. There was a lot of press about how the sexuality of his character, Gay Perry, was treated matter-of-factly. Kilmer himself said in an interview how he wanted to make a series of movies with Robert Downey Jr. along the lines of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Jette certainly likes it. The Advocate warned gays overly sensitive to smart-ass dialogue they may not like it.

I guess that must not make me overly sensitive — I liked it because it’s so smart ass.

Continue reading »

Holiday (1938)

Know Jette for any length of time, and you will eventually learn about Holiday, a 1938 movie starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

Until recently, Holiday was unavailable in the United States in any home video format. An annual summer film series at the Paramount would often schedule a screening of the film, and it would appear on Turner Movie Classics from time to time.

Then in February 2006, Columbia Pictures released The Cary Grant Collection, a DVD boxed set which includes Holiday. Jette was very happy.

I don’t know if anyone has ever gotten curious about Cocco after I’ve written about her a million times on my various sites, but namedrop something enough times, someone just might investigate it.

And so I was at the video store renting Loggerheads when I saw Holiday on the shelf. I figured I’d check it out.

Jette is right — Holiday is a really good film.

Continue reading »

Capote (2005)

In Anne Proulx’s widely-blogged screed against the Academy Awards, she dismissed Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of Truman Capote as imitation. Hoffman had video footage to work with, Proulx maintains, whereas Heath Ledger, who plays Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, had to portray a character who doesn’t exist.

Imitation or not, it’s still a remarkable feat for the burly Hoffman to transform himself into the fey Capote.

But it’s Dan Futterman’s script that gives Hoffman something on which his acting chops could chew.

Continue reading »

V For Vendetta (2006)

It doesn’t seem like the works of comic book writer Alan Moore have survived the leap to celluloid.

From Hell, the first of Moore’s work to be adapted to film, got mixed reviews, while The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was panned for taking an interesting literary premise and turning it into a summer blockbuster movie.

I’ve only ever read Moore’s Watchmen, and I could appreciate how Moore wrote literary themes within a superhero realm. At the same time, I could also see how difficult it would be to interpret his works on the big screen.

Continue reading »

The Dying Gaul (2005)

I originally planned on seeing The Dying Gaul in the same Thanksgiving weekend when I saw Rent and Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t make it, and by the time I could, it had already finished its Austin run.

So I waited for the DVD release instead.

I wanted to see the movie based upon Jette’s recommendation, but my real incentive was to watch Campbell Scott and Peter Sarsgaard — two great and handsome actors — get intimate.

(There wasn’t much of that in the actual film, but check out some of the deleted scenes.)

Continue reading »