The Roaming Gnome

Amelie (2002)

…and now I know where Travelocity got the idea from.

alodia84Amelie – gnome (인형) cut – Feb 7, 2010


I really loved this weird little film. It was only available with subtitles when I caught it on Netflix. If reading your movies is something you don’t mind doing, give this one a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix (1999)

Rewatching this with my son. Such a great intense psychological mind trip. I first saw this with friends from Graeber, Simmons & Cowan, the architecture firm where I worked back when the movie premiered. The same crew that insisted I had to watch Fight Club before I panned it.

They were right about Fight Club and they were right to insist we see this film together as a team. The movie blew my mind. So many tropes were introduced in the movie that have been overused since that time; but when bullet time was first rolled out in this movie, it was something that had never been seen before. So too with other filming techniques that the brothers Wachowski invented while making this movie.

I was most reminded of James Cameron’s ability to recreate the art of filmmaking every time he rolls out a new film while watching the Matrix for the first time. I walked out of that theater a different person than when I went in, something that is only true of the best (or worst) films made. Your run of the mill three star film will not make you look at your batteries in a different light.


The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

I loved the architects speech, towards the end of the film. How he mechanically runs through the predictions of what Neo’s next word, next move will be. His willingness to break the mold and do something different than has been done previously before. Like most middle films, I can’t remember much about this movie aside from that one part that sticks out, and I’m afraid of reminiscing about the other little things that I remember for fear that I am misremembering which movie the scene in question happened in. I liked this movie, but I didn’t like it as much as the average viewer did, given it’s comparative rating on the various websites that rate movies. I also didn’t hate it the third movie as much as the average viewer did.

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

I was psyched to see this, the last installment of the Matrix Trilogy, and I was not disappointed. I’m sure there will be many who will feel it is fashionable to pan this film with ever more clever zingers, but I am more than happy to accept this film for what it is. The concluding episode in a series of action flicks that happen to contain a message as well.

Revolution, as the word is used in the title of the film, was first used as a defense against charges of insurrection during the war for American independence. We were engaged in a turning or tuning of the rules between those who govern and the governed. A throwing off of an unwanted outside control in favor of self determination, not a simple rebellion. So too do these movies explore (albeit lightly) the nature of control, the meaning of reality, and the purpose of existence, within an action setting. They are not just action movies, mayhem for its own sake.

As action movies with a message, they fulfill their purpose wonderfully.


The Inventor of Keys?

Cosmos (1980)

Every house with a key rack has a unknown shrine to Theodorus of Samos.

…a 6th-century BC ancient Greek sculptor and architect from the Greek island of Samos. Along with Rhoecus, he was often credited with the invention of ore smelting and, according to Pausanias, the craft of casting. He is also credited with inventing a water level, a carpenter’s square, and, according to Pliny, a lock and key and the turning lathe. According to Vitruvius (vii, introduction), Theodorus is the architect of the Doric Order temple Heraion of Samos temple. In some texts he is described, above all, as a great artist and in some statues he is depicted as a great inventor.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The things you learn when you watch the real Cosmos instead of the fake Cosmos that Christianists want to sell you.


Writers That Can’t Sell Their Work

Adult World (2013)

If you were curious about this film, but were worried about the label of comedy on it, you were correct. On the other hand, if you are a John Cusack fan and are prepared for some very dry humor, this film is for you.

Adult World Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Emma Roberts, John Cusack 


The Duellists

The Duellists (1978)

I just finished watching the Duellists for the second time, this time with secondary audio track playing. When I like a film, I frequently check to see if there is a secondary audio track, and if there is I generally queue the film back up and listen to the audio play over the film that I just watched. I just want to get an impression of what the director or actors or writers have to say about their experiences in making the film.

The comment that caught my ear for this film was from the director. He said that it had never made it’s money back. That is a shame and a terrible fate for such an impressive work as the Duellists is. The beauty of the cinematography alone should have netted this film recognition, if not box office success. I’m beginning to think I watch movies for different reasons than other people do.


Now You See Me

Now You See Me (2013)

YouTube MoviesNow You See Me – Trailer – Jul 30, 2013

Don’t believe the naysayers. This is a great film. I’m not sure why they deride this film so hard. It is exactly what the trailer makes it out to be. It’s not secretly some other kind of film that the marketers are trying to sell you into seeing. It is a movie about magicians who pull off a heist. Or do they?


Oliver Stone’s Nixon

Nixon (1995)

I watched Oliver Stone’s Nixon last night. I like Anthony Hopkins and I’m a history buff, so this film should have been a cakewalk for me to watch. But then we are talking about Oliver Stone, one of the worst historical filmmakers in the business. His interpretation of the Zapruder film and the theme for the JFK movie have done more harm to people’s sense of real history than most of the other hucksters selling conspiracy fantasy snake oil on the subject could ever do. It is the nature of the entertainment beast that is filmmaking.

Consequently this film was no cakewalk to get through, but rather a slow crawl naked through broken glass. I never did figure out if Stone wanted us to feel sorry for the poor bastard or to hate him.


State of Play

State of Play (2009)

State of Play – Trailer

State of Play, A drama as convoluted and dirty as real life. It’s a dirty little secret that privatization of government functions is actually more expensive, and that the corporations make fortunes from government contracts. We are all corrupted by these deals, as all the players in this film are touched by that corruption. My kind of drama.