Welcome to The Movie Diary.
Tuesday and Wednesday sort of blurred together for me, with one film spilling from one day to the next, so I’m going to put them together as one big entry. And, no, it’s not me trying to get out of doing one… it’s just that sometimes, especially when you’re watching something longer, days do end up blending, so it makes sense to write them up like this.
One of the reasons I sat this one out theatrically is because my managers, Aaron Kaplan and Sean Perrone, are the executive producers of the film, and I’ve been aware of “Knowing” since the first draft sold years ago. I’ve read any number of drafts over the years, and I’ve always liked the core idea even if I thought some of the execution was off in some of the drafts. Alex Proyas is a near-perfect choice for the film as director. He can orchestrate feelings of apocalyptic doom with panache, and the major set pieces here are admirably chaotic, some of the most traumatic disaster footage I’ve ever seen in a big-budget film. If Irwin Allen saw just how bloodthirsty Proyas is in those sequences, he would tapdance his way right out of the grave. I like that the film doesn’t flinch away from the extremity of the scenario, and eventually, it builds to a climax that is unexpectedly dark while offering a surprisingly moving coda. If you get all twitchy at any religious symbolism, then “Knowing” probably isn’t for you, but I thought it delivered as a thriller and as a surreal SF vision of the end of the world.
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I can’t write a full review of this one until tomorrow, but I can say that Park Chan-wook continues to impress with his unique approach to character and story, and while he may never have a buzz hit on the level of “Old Boy” again, he remains one of the most interesting filmmakers working on the international scene.
“Watchmen: Director’s Cut” (BluRay)
This is the one that ate up most of my time on the two days, since I played it through twice, once with the new interactive commentary playing, once just as a movie. I’ll have a full review up next week, but I can say that I like the new cut, and there’s some new material that I think is really wonderful. Beyond that, though, there’s the visual commentary, and I think it really does break new ground. As an evolution in terms of special content for movies, it’s impressive and exciting, and even if it doesn’t quite nail the execution of the ideas, it still offers up enough potential to mark this as a significant release for any fan of home video.
“20 Million Miles To Earth” (BluRay)
Thanks to BluRay, Toshi is now a Ray Harryhausen fan. He’s a big “7th Voyage Of Sinbad” freak, but it’s this film that he returns to as often as I’ll let him watch it. He calls it the “green monster” movie because of the cover, but we only watch the black-and-white version. He loves the Ymir, the Venusian creature that starts as a small creature that can fit into a bird cage, eventually growing into a behemoth that is able to wrestle an elephant to the ground. For a kid who is starting to really love giant monsters (“Ultraman” is a frequent fave right after nap time for Toshi), you can’t do much better than this one, and it’s still an enormously entertaining movie, something I can’t always say about B horror films from the studio era.
I’ll have longer reviews of both “Thirst” and “Watchmen: Director’s Cut” coming soon, but for now, it’s off to the Morning Read, and then an evening screening of a (hopefully) very special new animated film.
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