Friday, February 4, 2011

Worth Mentioning - Keep the Faith, Brothers

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody talks about the experimental Running Time and Jay recommends films by a couple high-profile directors.


The basic conceit of Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope is that it's a story told in real time, in what appears to be a single take. No cut aways, no inserts. For his film Running Time, writer/director Josh Becker decided to take that idea and build upon it, adding a "ticking clock" time element into his story and expanding the scope. While Rope was set in one apartment, Running Time's characters travel throughout a city. When shooting on film, there's no way to actually shoot an entire feature in one take, so the cuts have to be hidden to keep up the illusion. While the "hidden cuts" in Rope are kind of obvious, Becker had an idea of how to better hide his cuts within movement, whether moving things past the camera or whip panning the camera itself. To avoid glaring color and lighting changes, Becker chose to film in black & white.

Running Time stars Bruce Campbell as Carl, a man who's just getting out of prison after serving five years. He's picked up by his old friend Patrick, who has gotten him the "welcome back" gift of some time with a prostitute - who turns out to Carl's high school flame Janie. Carl and Janie reconnect, but they don't have much time - Carl and Patrick have some place to be within 25 minutes of him walking out of the prison gates. This destination is a heist worth $250,000.

Do you think everything goes as planned? Hint: you can spot one of the cuts just by the fact that droplets of blood disappear from the camera lens.

Shot in ten days for $120,000, Running Time is a well-executed, interesting experiment in filmmaking/editing and a good, fast-paced crime drama.

Jay's mentions:


Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams

Per IMDb: Drama set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding nearby.

If you haven't seen this one yet, then I recommend checking it out. The mood and direction is top notch and there are some stellar performances from DiCaprio and Ruffalo, but considering the names attached, it's no surprise. I love a good mystery and a high usage of rain is always a plus in my book. Shutter Island delivers both in oodles!

I wasn't sure I was going to care for the ending, but things are stretched out enough during the last few minutes that the viewer is allowed to take everything in. If you enjoy something that will leave you discussing every last gesture or line that is delivered then this one is definitely for you! The cast is chock-full of so much talent that it's a shame to leave anyone out. I'm glad I finally got around to watching this one. This is the type of film that, at least to me, is best viewed on a stormy night or a lonely winter day.

Shutter Island is currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing.


Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz

Per IMDb: Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world.

I finally decided to see if I could make it through this the other day and was quite surprised with what I saw. Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors but I wasn't sure if I could sit through this film. Not only did I make it, but I'm sure I'll be re-watching it later on to see if I can actually make more sense of it. This is a strong testament to Aronofsky's overall body of work. If you look over all of his projects it becomes obvious that he can rise to just about any challenge as a filmmaker. I must add that I adored Ellen Burstyn's role in this movie, as she really captured my attention in every scene she appeared in.

One could say that I'm almost coming off as negative considering my doubts about being able to sit through this film, but I was always wary of it because of the subject matter and word-of-mouth. I was pleasantly surprised by it though and considering my hesitations upon watching it, I'd say that makes it more than worthy of a mention.

The Fountain is currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing.

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