Category Archives: Movies

The Strangulation’s Favorite 10 Movies of 2010

Because of where I live, I don’t get to see a lot of movies that I would like to see but never make it over here. 127 Hours is an example. True Grit is an example. The Social Network, another. However, I usually find a way to see these movies despite them not being available on my area. That is why my list won’t be extensive, and why there may be movies that came out in late ’09 but I didn’t get to see until this year. So, this list is just for funsies and should not be taken seriously by anyone.

10. Kick-Ass
I guess it was because of the hype, but I didn’t really enjoy this movie as much as I thought I would. I still liked it for its premise, but the humor in it was pretty much non-existent for me, and it ended up being just entertaining.

9. Hot Tub Time Machine
A really good comedy, but it doesn’t really do anything new and I found its humor to be lackluster through most of the movie. I think the idea of it was very good and I was entertained by it, but it had potential for much more.

8. Easy A
Emma Stone, in slutty clothes for an hour and a half. No matter how bad this movie was, it was bound to end on this list for that reason. And it actually was quite fun, I enjoyed it.

7. Get Him To The Greek
It didn’t really work that well as a spin off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I constantly laughed through it. That Aldous Snow dude is hilarious, especially for his accent and his eccentricity.  And Jonah Hill is always ok.

6. Paranormal Activity 2
Liked the first one. This one is pretty much the same, but with a few additions. I liked that they didn’t really swerve from their original premise, not even because they had more money than the world. Again, entertaining but not perfect.

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I never read the comic, because I don’t read comics (except for web comics), but I heard all the hype it got and I had high expectations for this movie. For the most part, it kept up to them. This was a really, really fun movie, and I was laughing constantly at its own ridiculousness.

4. Toy Story 3
Pixar, bla, nostalgia, bla.  I didn’t cry in it like most of the people I know did, but I did find it touching.

3. The Social Network
Oh, I liked this. When I first heard about it I thought it was the stupidest idea for a movie ever, but it ended up being really, really good. The script was genius. The soundtrack went along with it perfectly. Jesse Eisenberg surpassed expectations that were pretty much non-existent for him. I guess the genius of this movie is more in the fact that everybody expected it to be boring but it ended up being pretty dramatic.

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2009, I know, but I didn’t get to see it until this year. Also, it’s sort of an “indie” release, so those never really have a definitive release date. I loved this movie and I’ve watched it about 3 or 4 times. It’s lovely!

1. Inception
Well, no surprises there. In my humble opinion, this movie was perfect. I just re-watched it a couple days ago and it’s even better, as there are many things you don’t notice there the first time around.

Movies I wish I could have seen:

True Grit

127 Hours

I’m Still Here

The Fighter

A Prophet

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I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco

Talking about Spoon yesterday and how they got Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘ed before the whole YHF controversy happened reminded me of a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch, but had never found available in Mexico or online. Well, to my surprise I did find a copy of the movie and I ended up watching it last night.

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart is both the first song in Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and also the name of the film that documents the recording process of said album. At the time (2001-2), Wilco was already famous within it’s scene and they had 3 full lengths released and were signed to Reprise Records, a subsidiary of Time Warner. And so, the focus of this film is the recording, mixing and controversy of releasing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while also documenting the problems that were going on within the band.

The film starts with the recording sessions of the album and it touches on the at-the-time good relationship between Reprise Records and Wilco, apparently Reprise “blindly” gave them a truck of money to finance the initial stage of the album and the band was surprised about it. But through the recording of it some misunderstandings happen between the front man of the band, Jeff Tweedy, and the multi-instrumentalist (who may R.I.P.), Jay Bennett. Jay wanted more control over the album and Tweedy wouldn’t let him have it. Initially the band was supposed to be self-producing the album but they ended up calling Jim O’Rourke to get the job done.

And so with the album done they pitched it to Reprise, who refused to release it as it was because it “didn’t have a single” and the band ended up without a label, but with their record. They finally signed with another Time Warner subsidiary, Nonesuch Records and released the record to great success. Although the success of the record isn’t documented on the film, the search for their new label was, and so are some people commenting how “any label would be happy to have a band like Wilco”. And it was true, hell came down on Reprise as the whole YHF controversy happened, and so did the fact that YHF ended up being the best selling record Wilco ever made, and one of the best of last decade’s. It was like an alarm; how could a band like Wilco end up being ditched by their record label when they made something as awesome and original as YHF? What has the world come to?  and so forth…

And so, the band found a label, but before the release of the album, it started to leak. And like everybody who has a brain and understands how the internet works would, they decided to put it up streaming for free in their website. That was 2001. We’re in 2010 and there are still labels/bands that don’t understand this. But anyway, everything was ponies and rainbows for Wilco, right? Well, not really. The Bennett-Tweedy-O’Rourke controversy scaled up and after the album was done Tweedy fired Jay Bennett, and the band was like “Oh?”. And Bennett was like “He can’t handle my awesomeness, he’s a selfish mo’fucka”. And Tweedy was like “I fired him because… well, shit, I don’t know”. And that’s basically how the film ends.

Now, I can see this film being boring to anyone who doesn’t understand the background or doesn’t care about the music industry, or doesn’t like Wilco, or doesn’t like good music at all. But I found it very interesting. It’s shot in greyscale, which is interesting and adds to the whole drama and obscureness that surrounded the band at the time. It was directed by Sam Jones, who I’ve never heard of, not before this. And there’s also a lot of live footage in it. There’s Tweedy doing “Misunderstood” solo, then the band playing a bunch of songs from YHF, and there’s also footage of the band recording songs from the studio and some early versions of some YHF songs, like this more rocking version of “Kamera” that I liked a lot more than the album version.

And there’s also Jay Bennett’s famous phrase when referring to the recording of “Poor Places”, “Sometimes when you’re playing if you don’t have a sonic landscape behind you, everything turns into a folk song”.

This year the contract between Wilco and Nonesuch Records ended, and the band is planning to release their own label, just like they have done recently with Wilco (The Festival), Wilco (The Album), Wilco (The Song), Wilco (The Burger Joint), Wilco (The Tour) and now Wilco (The Record Label).

Inception

It is sad when evil big corporations take advantage of great art to monetize. That’s sort of what happened with Inception here in Mexico. The two main movie theatre chains had Inception announced on their websites for release on July 23. I checked last weekend. Then on Monday, they both took it down. I thought it was an error in the page, and decided to wait until they fixed it to buy my tickets for the official release. Well, that didn’t happen. People started noticing this and started wondering what the fuck was going on. Rumor has it, they both refused to have this movie in their theatres because Warner was trying to overcharge them for the projection of the movie, and so it was only going to be released in minor independent movie theaters. Now, I won’t go into detail about who I think is to be blamed for this, mainly because it’s a rumor and there’s not a lot of info on it, but in the meantime, I got my tickets to see Inception last night at 10 PM in a minor theater, and I must say this might be my new favorite movie.

I’d never heard of Christopher Nolan until after I saw The Dark Knight. I didn’t even want to see The Dark Knight, all I knew about it was that it was part of a Batman reboot and that reboots usually sucked. At the time I was vacationing in California and the people I was with were very excited about it and decided to go to the midnight release. I thought, “ok, but I don’t think I’ll like it”. Boy, was I wrong. The night we went to see it we had dinner at Ihop and then drove in a hybrid to the theatre while listening to the pop songs of the moment. I remember feeling very american. When we went into the movie I was very sleepy and a bit grumpy about being dragged into another shitty american summer film. Then it started and I had to eat all the shit I had previously given to this movie. When I came back home I went back through all of Nolan’s films. He had become one of my favorite persons on the planet.

When I heard about Inception and that it was completely done by Nolan (writing, producing, directing) I nearly shit my pants. I decided to stay away from anything related from it, trailers, reviews, commercials, comments, buses. And I managed to do it. I went into the movie knowing nothing about it other than that it had something to do with dreams and it was done by Nolan with DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I LOVED this movie. Every moment about it was perfect. If anything, the dialog was a little “meh” at times. But, the story, fuck. It was a mindfuck. It was complicated and very unconventional but somehow they made it very easy to follow. It was so original and weird and awesome! It’s impossible to explain, I doubt I can spoil it for anyone, but all I can say is that this is how you make a movie. Every moment was key, as long as you followed it you were going to understand it easily, but if you drifted away from the movie for a moment it got hard to pick up the plot. I know I missed some moments because I got distracted, and I will have to watch it a few more times to completely understand it, and then another dozen times to enjoy it’s brilliancy!

I can’t imagine how someone could write this, come up with all of this theory about dreams and then all the plot above it all, which while it needed a bit more relevance in it’s final purpose, the details about it were very good and the story of the main character and how the other characters come into play with his destination are awesome. I read this theory about SPOILER: how the whole movie might have all been a dream by DiCaprio’s character, that all the movie and all the characters were all just how DiCaprio’s character interpreted them. It’s definitely possible although the plot is open for a lot of interpretations. That’s how you make a plot! When there’s not just one truth but many possible ways the movie could go or could have been. There might be plot holes, I know I thought some while I as watching the movie but then forgot about them later, but that’s with any good story and you really have to go deep into the plot to dig them out. All I have to say is this is how you make a movie. Entertaining from start to finish, a challenge to your audience that comes with a payoff, and just completely go out of line and do something unexpected and totally original! I also like the whole “Nolan ambience” that is characteristic of him. There’s this thing to the lightning, feeling and the gamma of colors in his movies that make them feel so unique. It’s like an alternative world where everything seems shady. Please don’t change, Nolan.

It still has to stand the test of time, but as it looks like right now, I’m looking at my new favorite movie.