Thursday, February 26, 2009

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

(This is as close as I got to the title screen. I imagine I could have done better somehow, but clearly not.)

Here's a confession, I've never seen this movie before. Yep, the last entry in one of the most famous, watched, and referenced movies ever made. A film series whose influence spreads from badass sitcom Spaced to the bread delivery man who appears to dress like Han Solo for some reason*, and I haven't seen it before February 24th, 2009. Know what's worse? I hadn't seen the other ones until last year. When it comes to the Star Wars party, I'm quite late.

Truth is, do you really need to see Star Wars in this day and age? References pop up pretty much everywhere you look, and even before watching it I knew pretty much the entire story. The characters and storyline have been pretty much ingrained into our popular consciousness, to a degree that becomes steadily more apparent as I watch the films. I've seen every set, every ship, every character somewhere new, no matter how minor.

So, what do I think of them? Well, they're all rather good movies, to be honest. I say this watching the special editions and their rather questionable CG additions, which is sort of like eating a delicious chocolate sundae covered in flakes of feces. The key is, they're basically good stories pitched to tickle the fancies of 12-year-olds - spaceships, lasers, and so on are pretty much what the 12 year-old mind is made of - which is part of the reason why they're such a huge influence today. The kids who grew up on Star Wars, the ones who went to it to see space ships and action again and again to make it a big success, are the adults who drop a reference to in into all of their projects today. If I don't think they're life changing revelations worth watching again and again, it's because I'm not 12. My own nephew, who has turned 12 very recently, has become a huge Star Wars fan, and I'm not surprised, it's the type of thing that he'd be into.

Don't misunderstand, they're not kids movies, but they are movies that young people will find appealing. They remain appealing because they're relatively serious, and they have a basically good story that can tolerate repeat viewings. You can get hooked while you're young, but they're good enough that when you're older and wiser they don't fall on their face. The stuff that amuses you as a kid doesn't always stay amusing, but Star Wars keeps working because it's actually a fairly solid movie all around. You can keep your obsession into adulthood because it's still a good series, it still has a really good universe worth getting lost in, and combined with the memories of a simpler time when everything was about 400% more amazing, it can build and maintain an obsession.

Of course, being that I came late to the party, I can't say I share the obsession. Recognize it, understand it, but don't share it. So, since it's taken me several paragraphs already, what do I think of the movies so far? Well, the first one was a case of simply quality fantasy. A nice world you can get attached to, good characters, and a quick moving, action filled storyline that manages to be very satisfying. Empire Strikes Back is also good, but suffers from being the middle movie, knowing that a sequel is coming. It doesn't really have a conclusion, but more a teaser for the next exciting installment. "Oh boy, Han Solo is in carbonite, Luke is out a hand and still reeling from the shock of finding out who his father was. How will our heroes get out of this bind? Stay tuned!"

So, leading neatly to Return of the Jedi, how DID the heroes get out of this bind? Well, in a hasty opening that serves to neatly tie up most of the loose ends in a not completely satisfying way. I suppose the biggest disappointment is the demise of Boba Fett in a slapstick accident, since such a bad ass design deserves a more honorable demise. The whole pit sequence smells of second guessing, a method of wiping out the plot threads that Lucas wasn't certain of. Through a really elaborate plan, we get all the characters back together and ready for action, but in a really unsatisfying way. I couldn't help but think I waited all these months for this hasty cleanup of plot threads, and it just seemed wrong. Imagine how I would have felt if I had been waiting back when it first came out!

So, the story proper, which involves the new Death Star - since the last one worked so well - and a new plan to destroy it. The plan involves a crazy moon shield, adorable little ewoks, and a moral dilemma for our hero. It's a case of dueling elaborate plans, the winner being obvious from the outset because of the type of movie it is. It works quite well, with several battles working simultaneously and affecting each other. It keeps the drama level high, and ensures nothing lasts so long it gets boring. Sick of the slightly silly Ewoks? Let's go to space!

I'll admit that I hate how they just brushed away the ending of Empire Strikes Back, there could be an entire movie made out of the set up, and a good one at that. Plus, the ewoks are a bit too adorable for their own good, and the matte paintings are the most matte painting-y matte paintings I've ever seen, which kind of mucks with the illusion a bit. It is in a winner in the end anyway, even if it's just because Darth Vader becomes a character instead of heavy-breathing menace. It's something of an old fashioned story this, with good ultimately triumphing over evil in an expected but interesting and well done way. People like that.

People don't, however, like to see senile old beardys shove gratuitous and jarring CG sequences into the middle of an old classic. Next time a series gets as big as Star Wars, I hope the creator of it has the sense to leave well enough alone.

(The common reaction to the horrible CG additions)

*Yep, real guy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Since I adore talking about the way movies open, and how that relates to the film as a whole, I suppose I have to cover this one. Unfortunately, that may result in some unpleasant mental imagery, since it starts with, and there is no kind way to say this, naked Philip Seymour Hoffman, knee deep in Marisa Tomei. Far be it from me to criticize the larger fellow - hell, I'm roughly the same build as him - but man, I do not want to see a naked Philip Seymour Hoffman. Naked Marisa Tomei is a much kinder image, but man, it's a scary way to start a film. But it makes sense, given the title. It's a little bit of heaven - for Philip - before it all goes to hell.

The film is about a robbery gone wrong, the lead up, and the way out. Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose name is really annoying to spell out all the time, stars as Andy, a guy who from all outward appearances would be a success. He's got an inexplicably hot wife (Marisa Tomei), a good job, a nice house, attractive suits, and easy access to drugs from a weird whispy tiny guy. His brother Hank, played by Ethan Hawke, isn't a success, as he's paying loads of child support and is pretty much flat broke. Andy, however, is just as broke, so he hatches a plan to rob their parents' jewelry store, and get everyone out of debt. Of course, since it's a film and needs a plot, things go not well.

Since all film critics - even amateur ones - all wish they were film makers, I'll have to cop to something, this is the kind of film I would make. One major event, the lead up, and the consequences. Hell, I even have a rough story bouncing around in my head, and might even write a script, inspired by a story that happened in a nearby town (hey film producers, call me!). A script that won't be produced, mind, but my point that I'm taking a roundabout way of getting to is that this is the kind of thing that fascinates me. The entire film hinges on one event, the psychology of it, and how people handle the consequences. I love the idea of one event changing everything and how people have to deal with it.

That said, I am not sure if I would film it like this. First thing, the jumpy chronology is an interesting idea but it's just inefficient storytelling. A lot of scenes are told from several different points of view at several different points in the movie. It feels repetitive and doesn't tell you very much more about the characters or events. If the film is going to jump around to different characters and times like it does, I can understand why you would want to repeat scenes. It lends a sense of importance, and gives the viewer signposts so they know where they are in the narrative. But while I understand the reasons, I can't quite get behind the jumps, since I'm not sure there's anything to really gain.

Do we need the story to be told again and again from several different angles? Or can we tell it once, well? The isolated perspectives don't actually add anything since the characters' paths don't diverge long enough to make a difference. If people left each others' orbits more than a few minutes at a time it could be a useful tactic, but since they're all in contact for most of the film, we just keep driving over the same patch of ground over and over again.

I also should note that I would not have cast Ethan Hawke, or at least have made him perform differently. The entire movie he's got this stupid look on his face as though he's caught a glimpse of some freaky but compelling porno. That mixture of disgust and intrigue that I think he was trying to pass off as nervousness, and it did not work. Instead he looks very stupid throughout, and it undercuts the drama. A shame, really, since everyone else does a pretty good job. Well, Albert Finney as the father has a few silly face moments as well, but it's not near as bad as Ethan Hawke.

I also didn't like the silly editing when flashbacks were set up. But I can't think of anything really compelling to say about it, apart from that it's very silly and there's an annoying sound effect. So I'll just toss that out there.

It's a good idea, and while I don't like how it's executed, I can't say it's a bad movie. The story is interesting, the characters are frequently compelling, and it's a solidly made film. The problem is mostly in that the construction distracts from that. Many of the touches don't serve the film, instead showcasing how the people behind it are all very clever, and have all sorts of novel ideas of how to make a movie. If a clever idea doesn't improve a film over a more conventional approach, however, maybe it should not be used?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading starts as John Malkovich (the actor who looks most like a penis), playing Osborne Cox (see?) has a very bad week. He's demoted from his job, his marriage to his wife Katie is going poorly (though she's played by Tilda Swinton, who often plays ice bitches, so that's to be expected), especially since she (and every other female character) is having sex with Harry (played by George Clooney, so that's to be expected, really). Then, as a result, enthusiastic dimwit Chad and his best friend, the very insecure Linda (played by Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand respectively) find his secret shit in the gym where they work, because of the divorce research his wife is doing. All told, a very bad week.

It's a movie where the characters all think that the events are much more important than they really are. The secret shit isn't really all that important, but because none of the characters are all that smart or know what important shit is, they run with it. Bad things happen because nobody quite understands the situation at all. It is a movie about intelligence without the intelligence, and for that it's brilliant. It's nice to see a spy movie that doesn't pretend to be very important and isn't especially serious, with some scenes working to underscore just how minor everything is.

I love the Coen Brothers, hell, I even loved Intolerable Cruelty, it's not going to be surprising that I liked this movie. They can do this deadpan silliness that works well for a movie like this, and that they could make a movie about profoundly stupid people doing profoundly stupid things seem smart and clever is something of an achievement on its own. Even better, now that they've got a lot of street cred, they can attract a cast of fantastic actors to make their movies that much better.

What a cast! Brad Pitt, as the goofy idiot Chad is probably the highlight. How many very famous Hollywood actors could be so absorbed into a part that makes them look like such idiots? As Chad dances around to whatever music is playing on his iPod, one can actually forget that he's a famous actor that's on the cover of all the magazines, and when you're as famous as Brad Pitt that's freaking talent.

It can be said that everyone in the film has managed to make their characters believably dumb. By doing that, it helps make the film seem a bit more believable as a whole. The entire plot hinges on everyone involved being as stupid as possible. It just wouldn't work if George Clooney, for instance, couldn't play a sex-crazed moron as well as he does. It wouldn't work if Frances McDormand didn't convincingly portray someone who thinks that plastic surgery is the solution to all her problems. Every one of the actors makes their characters both believable, and that goes a long way.

It is, in essence, a movie that doesn't take itself or anyone involved all that seriously. It's about making fun of stupid people, and everyone enjoys making fun of stupid people. Yeah, people die, things go poorly, but really, nothing important happens and if you think of it everyone brings their ultimate fate upon themselves, so it's okay to laugh and poke fun at them. You could say it's a movie about not over-thinking, but that's not quite accurate. Maybe it's about thinking only as much as you're able. If you're as dumb as the characters in the movie, that's not very much.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

49th Parallel

How do you make a war movie where you root for the bad guys? Easy, make one of the first characters you meet an extremely obnoxious French Canadian stereotype whom you want them to shoot in the testicles so he shuts his stupid face. SHUT UP YOU STUPID FRENCH IDIOT, GODDAMN YOU'RE MAKING MY COUNTRY LOOK BAD!

(The above French idiot was played by Laurence Olivier. Wasn't he supposed to be good at acting?)

This was a propaganda film, trying to convince the Americans to get into the war. And hell, if I thought my first line of defense was the stupid, annoying, pain in the ass French Canadian I might want to enter the war too. See, the premise is that the Nazis want to take over Canada, so they take a submarine, sink some ship, leave a landing party, and promptly get blown up. They take a big long journey through wacky parts of Canadian society, like trappers up north, Hutterites in the Prairies, a bunch of people in Alberta, and so on. They're also extremely incompetent and pose no threat to anyone, but they do get to go and learn about different people and why Nazis are jerks.

I can't say I liked how it started in the most stereotypical and annoying of Canadian stereotypes - seriously, northern trappers? Why do we always go back to the stupid northern trappers? - but it eventually inched closer to the country I know. It'd be much nicer if we could have a film set in Canada where there's not one bloody dogsled (I've lived in this country for 23 years, and I have never seen a freaking dogsled), but there are much worse depictions of my country in the world. I do appreciate how our air force kicks some ass and that we tend to spot the suspicious Germans pretty easily. Of course, they're all so useless I'd be concerned if we didn't, as they steadily pick themselves off out of sheer stupidity.

So, as a movie involving Canada, it's not as bad as it could be. But it could also be a lot better, since it's ridiculously clunky film. Dialog frequently is expository and awkward, the plot moves in fits and starts, and there are a lot of big ideological speeches about how awesome everyone who isn't a Nazi is. We are supposed to learn about freedom, dammit, freedom! Look at how free we are! Look at how much better we are than the Nazis! Aren't you glad you're not living in Germany in the 1940s?

Not to say there aren't some good moments. There's a fantastically awkward scene at the Hutterite colony where a guy talks about how awesome it is to be a Nazi while blissfully ignorant about the people who he his talking to, and that he's representing everything they've come to Canada to avoid. All during this scene, we see one of the characters realizing that he doesn't agree with the Nazis anymore, mostly through reaction shots. It's a lovely subtle piece of film making, the use of reactions heightening the awkwardness and demonstrating how oblivious the Nazi leader is. Unfortunately, we get a big clunky scene where the man doubting his country describes his feelings afterward, which lessens the impact.

I suppose it's a film of its time, a historic artifact over a work of art. It's pretty obviously trying to boost morale, make people feel right about the war and the need for it. It's just a shame that they couldn't make a propaganda piece which wasn't quite so obviously propaganda. Clumsy speeches and haphazard plot development are the kind of things that don't stand up as time wears on. To be honest though, it's not like I'm the target audience, and I'm far removed from WWII. It's hard to be mean about it, since I know why they made it and the time. And honestly, it's not supposed to be a timeless movie that lives for generations. It was there to convince people that the war was a good idea, and considering the war in question, that's a good thing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Appropriate that I should look at Z immediately after There Will Be Blood, since Z does well what the former botches so badly. It opens with driving music, above images of medals for the police and military, followed by footage of many important characters and a speech about "intellectual mildew", referring to left-protests, immediately followed by the disclaimer that "Any resemblance to actual events, to persons living or dead, is not the result of chance. It is DELIBERATE." In one minute and forty seconds, the movie tells you everything you need to know. This is going to be a fast-paced, politically-charged thriller, involving the police suppressing left-wing ideas it disagrees with, based in part on reality. It also declares, in big bold letters, that it and everyone involved are badasses.

Here's the story, a senator for a Greek opposition party is in town to hold a rally for peace and reduced military presence, and the police - a part of the military - are subtly trying to ensure he doesn't get to say his speech. He finds a way to say it anyway, and is assaulted in a manner that might appear to be an accident, though the viewer knows exactly what happens. The police try to cover it up, but the autopsy of the leader proves them wrong, and the person behind the investigation gets suspicious. We follow the lead investigator down the rabbit hole, discovering the depth of the police corruption. And, right at the end, we - and by extension all of Greece - are kicked squarely in the balls.

This movie is a work of pure genius. The rapid dialog and pacing are like watching a car chase with words. The film moves too fast for heavy exposition, we don't even get to learn the names of many of the main characters, just generally how they fit into the whole puzzle. Important pieces of back story are presented as blink-and-you-miss-it insert shots, entire personalities are established and easily understood merely by the characters' actions. It's masterpiece of economy, achieving much more in a succession of quick shots than some other films can manage in their entire running time.

Subtle clues are placed throughout that indicate the full depth of the police involvement, but since it moves so quickly and doesn't linger on any of the police characters for any length of time, it's easy to miss them completely and be shocked when they appear later. Everything is presented to the viewer exactly as it happens, but if you don't know what you're looking for you're not going to notice it. Other movies might linger on "this might be important later!" moments, but by hiding everything in plain view, this movie keeps the mystery alive.

This is also the kind of movie that is always dangerously close to being relevant, a story about organizations suppressing those who might threaten their power. I'm not going to bring current politics into the picture, since it was made 40 years ago and the relevance is tied to events that actually happened in Greece at around that time. Tying it in to a current problem might be trendy and cool, but it also does a disservice to people who lived through the events which were lightly fictionalized here. It's a case of learning from history, a document of what can happen when power is threatened and people want to save it.

Z is a lesson in how to make a political movie, and how to make a thriller. It's not burdened with heavy character portraits, excessive back story, and clunky subplots. It's just the events and the aftermath, shown in a way that doesn't allow you to take a breath or even blink. Z is the ultimate in economical storytelling, hell the title is only one letter. You can't get much more economical than that. You also can't get much better, if I were forced to make a list, this would easily hit my top five favorite films ever.

(I'm dedicated to random screencaps now! See? A crappy screen, but random! Though if it shows a massive spoiler and/or something not safe for work I'll try again. Also, I have pictures for sale if anyone's interested. Check the link marked "Buy my pictures!" on the side there, or click on this letter: Z)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

There Will Be Blood

Shockingly, for a movie with a ton of press coverage, and Oscar nominations, I knew precisely two things about There Will Be Blood. One, it starred Daniel Day Lewis, who is both a very good actor and a can rock a mustache like nobody else. Two, oil was involved somehow. Otherwise, I was going in blind, expecting something containing good acting, and oil. So I suppose I can say it delivered on both my expectations.

This doesn't actually mean it's any good, however.

It's a tricky position to take, since it gathered its fair share of critical acclaim, along with Oscars and other awards. It has very good acting, Daniel Day Lewis gives the main character, Daniel Plainview, great emotional depth, beyond what's in the script. Paul Dano is very good as the preacher Eli Sunday, and I dare say he didn't get nearly enough credit. When they're both on screen, the film sparkles with energy and life that few films can actually achieve.

I can't even complain about the story. Daniel Plainview's rise from fairly crappy gold miner to highly successful oil man and entrepreneur is often compelling, and his ambition clashing with those around him and especially Eli Sunday is a story that most films could do a large amount with. I'd love to see another film take on this material.

It's even quite well filmed. The cinematography is excellent, the images are well composed and the production values are top notch. I could even mention how the costume design is strangely effective, the sets are nicely executed, and the makeup is, near as I can tell, very good. One cannot complain about the technical aspects, or the basic premise, or the cast. Hell, on paper, this should be one of the best movies you'll see.

So, then, why don't I like it very much?

The first place to start is the score, composed by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead fame. Sometimes, it's quite good. Sometimes it's in the wrong movie. At the beginning, it makes heavy use of a scary dissonant noise, used in conjunction with an image of mountains. So...the mountains are evil? Huh? Then it has a lengthy wordless sequence of Plainview mining, and injuring himself. And then the mountains and scary music comes back. Huh? Did the mountains attack him? Why is this music and image there? It seems to be making some sort of point, but there's no real indication of what the point is, or even why it's relevant to the subject at hand. In the scene in question especially, there's nothing especially ominous events other than the score. Soon after, we're treated to similarly ominous music during oil exploration, which does eventually lead to Daniel Plainview's wild ambition and one or two early demises. So, I suppose the score is being used to make a point about that, but it's so ham-fisted and obvious. The film itself is supposed to be an exploration of how greed can corrupt, so why do we need this scary foreboding music constantly reminding us of this? Eventually the score becomes more appropriate to the picture, but by starting with the horror soundtrack it gives an indication of the real problem with the movie, which is that the director - Paul Thomas Anderson, if you're curious - doesn't quite know what he wants to do.

Take Eli Sunday, a highly ambitious and theatrical preacher. His ambition is explored in a few scenes, often among the best in the movie, and there's a simmering cruelty beneath the polished and carefully presented persona. The clash of ambitions between him and Plainview are pretty much the heart of the film. They both make their fortunes through deceit and clever manipulation of the people around them, and their clash of wills belies the fact that they're essentially the same behind their separate ventures. Their greed is simply channeled through different ways, God above or the oil below. While watching this, I couldn't help but think how much of a movie could be made out of these two characters, instead of frequently dropping Eli and focusing on Plainview just sort of meandering through the film in search for another scene that matters.

Which brings me neatly to my main problem with the film, which is that there is a whole lot of nothing surrounding the important scenes. It took almost an hour to get to a scene that did anything more than setting up the basic premise. The opening sequence which is lauded in many reviews, to me, was a nicely shot and acted waste of time. We gain little insight into the character, and what little information we do glean from the sequence could have been much more easily conveyed in a much shorter sequence. About the only reason for the scene is to build a mild curiosity, and for Anderson to show the world that he's an artist for making prettily shot wordless sequence. Only an artist would take 10 minutes when one would do, which seems to drive Anderson's entire directorial style for the film.

I'm not going to decry slow pacing, as I've enjoyed a great many slow movies in my time. But I can't really abide movies that move slowly for no reason other than to move slowly. I began to resent wading through scenes that don't really convey any information, that don't build on any characters, that do nothing but look good and bump the running time. I got annoyed by subplots that didn't get any attention and were shuffled in and out of view at whim. I became bothered by scenes that were very good, effective, well acted, well shot, and frankly should have come from a fantastic movie, but here were the stray nuggets spread between the empty dull rocks of the rest of the picture.

I want to like a film that can have a scene like the very last one. One that can have a scene like when Eli assumes he will be giving a blessing and is snubbed. I want to like something that can have a sequence like the rig fire, so effectively shot and sharing a lot more about Daniel Plainview's character than the entire first freaking hour of the movie. But on the other hand there is no way I want to sit through the 2 and a half hour running time just to see the brief glimpses of genius hidden deep within the muck.

It felt, in effect, like the opening. It was long, it was tedious, and while there was gold to be found, the price in the end wasn't worth the pittance received.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

In the beginning of the movie, there's a scene where a man is going on a killing spree. At one point he discovers a naked woman, and steadily teases her mouth with a gun, eventually getting her to open her mouth enough to put it in. "Aha!" I said. "The gun is traditionally used in film to be a substitute for a penis. This is very cleverly making a point of that."

This is, in effect, the cleverest movie about boobs that I have ever seen.

That's not really a surprised, considering who was behind it. It was directed by Russ Meyer, who has become known for making movies about boobs. It was written by everyone's favorite film critic Roger Ebert, who knows a lot about film, a lot of which shows up on the screen. The movie that resulted is inevitably very clever and has more breasts in it than the National Breast Convention held in Breastville, Tennessee.

Attempting to summarize this movie is an exercise in futility. The plot has so many complications, and so many characters weaving in and out of the storyline that any attempt to even mention it all would lead to a novel length tome. So instead, I'll just mention the very basics, the underlying reasons behind all of the events in the film taking place. Kelly (played with almost unsettling wide-eyed innocence by Dolly Reed) and her band go to California to make it big. They meet a hot shot record producer who is kinda like Phil Spector (in numerous, slightly prophetic ways!) known as Z-Man who always talks in a slightly Shakespearean way. Following this, the shit hits the fan, getting all over everyone's clothes so they have to take them off and show off their boobs.

The beauty of the film is that it doesn't really waste any time with vagueness. People pretty much come out and say all of their motivations, relationships are created and tossed aside rapidly but somewhat sensibly, and the whole thing moves so quickly you don't really have time to worry about how ridiculously jam-packed the narrative is. Of extra special note is the editing, since I love films with really good editing. There are often sequences and montages which manage to tell huge chunks of the story and set the stage remarkably well just by including a few reaction shots and some well chosen insert footage. The editing is snappy and clever, often covering holes and providing much of the story. Also, at one point there is an insert of an ample bosom, just in case you hadn't seen one in a while. That's considerate.

The movie is also bloody hilarious. Everything Z-Man says is pure gold, and the situations are often amusingly absurd and ridiculous. Like the scene which declares it's always better to make love in a Rolls, and not even a Bentley is as good. While I imagine a Rolls is a fantastic place to make love - look at those sexy seats! - it's just such a goofy scene.

Strangely, for a movie where sweater puppies are pretty much the main character, there's a strange moral undercurrent beneath it all. The conduct of the characters over the course of the movie is reflected in their ultimate fate at the end, with the happy ending being shared by the characters who were either basically good or realized early enough how they should treat each other. It's actually fairly old fashioned in its approach, but when combined with the very modern (well, when the film was made, anyway) approach to filmmaking, it helps them go down easier. Imagine if Frank Capra were to direct a movie like this, to take the most old fashioned moral filmmaker I can think of. It would be absolutely unbearable and extremely cheesy (which is why I actually have a fair bit of difficulty sitting through Capra movies). But because Meyer and Ebert were all about the swingin' 60s and clever movies, they make a story which would be cheesy on its own into something interesting and fascinating.

I just can't get over how clever Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is. You can tell everyone involved, well, everyone involved in production (some of the actors were obviously quite dumb), was smart and up on what was happening in the world, and in film. And I've got to admit, it's completely impossible to really do justice to it in a short little review like this. It's almost completely impossible to really get to why it's good because there are so many little parts that are contributing to the massive, heaving whole. And frankly, right now, I can't quite do it. God, I feel like such a boob.