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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Kaufman’

Anomalisa

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

tn_anomalisaANOMALISA is a sad, sometimes funny story about loneliness and petty, ugly human nature. If I told you it had some bizarre, seemingly unfilmable premise then that would all add up to tell you it was a Charlie Kaufman film, but it actually doesn’t have that. It’s just about a guy who travels to Cincinatti to speak at a convention and the night he spends at a hotel. Nothing crazy. It’s mostly very realistic, a frank look at relationships between men and women. It’s animated, though.

It’s all done in a beautiful and unique form of stop motion. Other than being made with small materials it’s almost entirely an attempt at naturalism, no cartoonish stylization at all. One exception is that they left the seams between the mouth and eye sections, which in other movies done with this technique such as PARANORMAN or THE BOXTROLLS were digitally removed. But this is a Charlie Kaufman movie so pretty much everything that seems a little strange – those seams, the androgynous facial structure of most of the characters, one actor providing most of the voices – turns out to be intentional and thematic.

We could compare this to Wes Anderson’s THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX as another unusual stop motion feature that fits naturally into the filmography of its live action auteur. But that one emphasized the hand-made-ness, showing off the imperfections in animating fur, using cotton balls for clouds and puffs of smoke. ANOMALISA miraculously mimics human intimacy in rubber. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Synechdoche, New York

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

tn_synechdocheSYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK is the most complex and convoluted movie that worked that I’ve seen in a long time. I loved it and you might too. But there’s also a good chance you’re not on its wavelength, and in that case it will be torture, like me watching WAKING LIFE.

P.S. Hoffman plays Caden, a guy who directs plays. He’s fat, unhappy and uninteresting and his wife (Catherine Keener) is obviously miserable. The opening is so mundane it’s almost hard to translate as a movie: he has trouble getting out of bed, reads the newspaper, mumbles to his wife that Harold Pinter died, they have sort of a conversation but aren’t listening to each other. It’s kind of nice that it begins so uncinematically mired in normal life, because as it goes along it becomes more and more fantastical. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Saturday, January 25th, 2003

Well geez, it’s not too often you get this with a movie writer, but apparently this Charlie Kaufman guy can do no wrong. Between the brilliant BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION and the underrated HUMAN NATURE and now this… I mean really, what more could you ask for from a writer? There is no other non-director writer working who has been so consistently inventive and surprising and at the same time so personal. In fact there are few who have ever worked who could be in this same category. These are all movies made by skilled directors but it is always the writer’s voice that comes through.

You hear that, motherfuckers, the WRITER.

This is Kaufman’s most straight forward and normal picture so far, but that’s not saying all that much. It’s adapted from Chuck Barris’ autobiographical novel, and the gimmick of course is that in the novel he claims to have been a CIA hitman while he was hosting the Gong Show, which seems pretty dubious. Also he talks about the genesis of The Gong Show, the Dating Game, the Newlywed Game, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Vern reckons that ADAPTATION is absolute genius it darn near looks like!

Wednesday, November 20th, 2002

Hey folks, Harry here… Both Moriarty and Mr Beaks have seen ADAPTATION and are set to write reviews that declare it just about earth-shatteringly gob-derned whipperwill brilliant, and I lay here simmering in jealousy, because I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve been uga-bugga beating my chest about this one and carving “SEE ADAPTATION” in granite for the past year and a half. My fingers have bled, in an exisstential manner of speaking, over this one. Vern loved it. Vern’s better than both Moriarty and Mr Beaks, because Vern doesn’t fondle octogenarians. Yeah. Here’s Vern… MUST SEE MOVIE!

Boys —

You fellas will not believe what movie I saw today. It was ADAPTATION, the new picture by Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman starring Nicolas Cage as twin screenwriters hired to write a script about themselves being hired to write a script about flowers. Actually only one of them is hired and he’s not supposed to put himself in the script, it’s just supposed to be about flowers, and then his brother lives in his house and is taking a screenwriting seminar, and he’s better at picking up women. You know, it’s kind of like WES CRAVEN’S NIGHTMARE, only with Nicolas Cage playing fat twins. I don’t know it’s hard to explain it man. You guys already know anyway. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Human Nature

Saturday, April 13th, 2002

This is a story about the dude who Wrote BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and how if that movie alone didn’t prove that he was some kind of demented genius, then this one does. HUMAN NATURE is the story of a woman with a hormonal problem causing her whole body to be covered with hair, who lives among the animals until she falls in love with a scientist whose life work involves teaching mice the difference between a salad fork and a regular fork. Together they try to civilize a feral man who grew up in the woods thinking he was an ape.

Sounds completely silly and random, right? But what surprised me, a film expert, was the amount of Substance in there. If this were just a regular, make you laugh kind of comedy it would still be the most original, and funniest, in a long time. There were less than ten people at the showing I went to and I was embarassed because I was laughing harder than anyone else. But believe me, I’m the one that’s right. This movie is fuckin hilarious. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.