Friday, October 17, 2008

In Bruges

Yesterday, on the recommendation of my friend Jonny, I watched In Bruges. It had made my first Top 7 I Want to See list but for one reason or another, I hadn't seen it. So much has been written about Martin McDonagh's first feature-length film and potential comeback film for Colin Ferrell that I'm inclined to just step back and agree with everyone. The movie's great. It's funny, moving, beautifully shot, filled with twists and turns, and just might find a slot on my Top 10 of the Year list. It's that great.

I remember watching a documentary that explored how Steve McQueen became the superstar that he was. Performing amongst some of the best ensamble casts ever grouped together (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape), McQueen was constantly active, even in the shots where he was in the background. He'd be playing with his hat or moving his arms in a certain way that would subtlely distract the audience from the other actors in the shot and bring the attention to himself. While Ferrell doesn't have an ensamble to compete against, it would seem that he has some work to do to convince people he's still an actor worth paying for.

One of the things I noticed most about In Bruges (which is in Belgium, by the way) was Colin Ferrell's face. Whether it's shot from far away or in a close-up, Ferrell's face is so expressive. It's noticeable but not distracting. I would argue that his role as Ray is the most emotionally developed character of Farrell's career. Don't get it twisted, I sorta understood the motivation behind Bullseye. He liked darts, right? His expressions in In Bruges really help flesh out his character. They may seem silly in stills but in the right context, they work.

Alright, even in the right context, some of them are still pretty silly. All in all, In Bruges is worth watching. You're doing yourself a diservice by skipping on it because you didn't love S.W.A.T. or because you thought Alexander sucked. Thanks to everyone who recommended it to me.


Jason Soto said...

It's the eyebrows. Definately the eyebrows.

Daniel Getahun said...

haha, great screengrabs here. I didn't even realize he made so many faces. I was just laughing at his jokes.

whitney said...

ok. are you ready for this? this is going to be hilarious:

1. oh my god, is that a midget.
2. ...fart...
3. did you just fart?
4. wazzzzzzup
5. ewwww. it *is* a midget.
6. wait. did you just say manolo blahniks 30% off??
7. Ever wanted to go to bed with a muppet?
8. Staring contest with a baby.
9. look. it wasn't me that put that Vote McCain sign in your yard. I swear!
10. my dog is dead. my dog is dead.

Those bad jokes are your fault for not waiting to watch that movie with me.

Caitlin said...

I love SWAT.

I'll show myself out now.

But not before I say that Colin Farrell is awesome, but I think he might have the syph.

elgringo said...

Jason - I was going to comment on his eyebrows! Were they always like that? I mean, I've seen quite a few movies and I hadn't ever noticed them before...not like I did in In Bruges.

Daniel - Thanks. I agree, Bruges was really, really funny. It totally worked for me.

Whitney - I love you. I also love that you had no idea that Farrell talks about midgets so much in the movie. You just thought of that on your own!

Caitlin - I love S.W.A.T. too. There, I said it.

Fletch said...

Love SWAT? That flick was hideous.

Awesome job with the screengrabs. And yeah, a lot of it is the eyebrows.

Jonny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonny said...

Hey Scott,

I'm glad you liked it! I think one of the unsung triumphs of this movie is Brendan Gleeson's performance. He played that character with such grace and vulnerability, it tugs at my heart strings every time I watch it (and by "every time" I mean "three times"). On top of that, I thought he was the perfect foil for Colin Farrell's character as well.

PS: I went to the "Shock it to Me" horror festival at the Castro this past weekend and Sid Haig was there! He did a Q&A with the audience and told some cool stories about working with everyone from Rob Zombie to Sean Connery. Then, they screened this campy, 60s-cult horror film called Spider Baby, which was eight kinds of awesome. Apparently, it was one of Sid Haig's first films, and one of Lon Chaney's last. Have you heard of it?

elgringo said...

Hey Jonny - Did you get to me Sid Haig after the Q&A? I had to look up which movie he worked with Connery on. Turns out, he played one of the two "Slumber Inc. Attendants" in Diamonds are Forever. He was the last person on the casting list. Haha.

I've never seen Spider Baby but after watching The Unknown a couple months ago in SF, my opinion on Lon Chaney has been drastically raised. If you haven't seen The Unknown yet, watch it! It's on Netflix. Is Spider Baby availible to see anywhere? I wish I was in SF to watch the Dark Shadows movies. That would have been a blast.

Jonny said...

I did get to meet Sid Haig briefly. He's a nice guy. Turns out that he's running for president -- I haven't decided whether I think that's cool or self-indulgent. It's one thing when Colbert does it, but Haig seemed to be very serious about it -- almost as if he thinks he has a chance. Hell, who am I to burst his bubble, he's Captain Spaulding!

Someone asked him what the worst film he ever did was, and without missing a beat, he said Night of the Living Dead 3-D. He said that was one of the worst experiences of his life, and that he and virtually everyone involved with it, is completely embarrassed by the final product. He also said that it makes him cringe every time he sees his face on the cover of it. Pretty funny stuff.

Regarding The Wicker Man, I think Whitney's right: it isn't all that scary (there's definitely an abundance of nudity), but it holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first horror movies I ever saw. I won't give anything away, but even today, the last scene really gets to me.

Oh man, The Unknown is awesome! Tod Browning is a badass. I can see why your opinion of Chaney changed after seeing it. To this day, that's probably my favorite performance of his. Oh, and Spider Baby is available on Netflix. Check it out when you get a chance. I'm really curious to see what you think about it.