Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Umberto D. (1952)

Today's film is Umberto D..  It follows the story of a pensioner who is struggling to make ends meet.  As the films opens, we see a huge gathering of old people protesting their meager pensions.  It seems that Umberto has the worst deal because he has debts that his pay simply can't cover.  It is interesting that none of the other people have debts like this.  Does Umberto have any kind of savings?

He gets so desperate that he tries to sell off his possessions, like his watch and books.  But he doesn't having many possessions to sell.  He doesn't even have his own place - he rents out a room at a boarding house.  His landlady has increased his rent and now demands back rent too.  And she wants it all or nothing.  He doesn't have that kind of money.

Umberto doesn't seem to have any family, but he does have his beloved dog, Flike.  No matter what happens, Flike is there for him.  Umberto goes to the hospital a bit for his sore throat, and his landlady purposefully left the door open so Flike would escape.  While Umberto was gone, the landlady took the liberty of redoing his room.  The workers not only ripped off most the wallpaper, they did a really bad job.  And they left gaping holes in the wall too.  These people are worse than my HOA.

So now Flike is gone, but Umberto finds him at the shelter.  We witness some more sad scenes such as a petowner that can't afford the fee to release his dog, dooming him to the gas chamber, as well as seeing the dogs being carted to their deaths.

Umberto does have one friend in this world, Maria the housekeeper.  She is very young and is now pregnant.  So she is at the beginning of her life and starting a new life, while Umberto is nearing the end of his.  They both really need to leave the toxic environment of the boarding house in order to have a better life.

Umberto gathers what little money he has and leaves the boarding house.  He can't bring himself to beg on the streets, so he contemplates suicide.  He tries to leave Flike at a kennel, but is displeased with the poor conditions so he changes his mind.  Later, he almost gets hit by a train, which really frightens Flike.   He'd rather play with his stick and toys, so the film ends with them playing together.  We don't know what else happens to them but we hope they find somewhere to live.  The film is mostly a commentary on society forgetting elderly people.  Today we have more programs to take care of them, and Adult Protective Services can help those who are truly in need.  We have come a long way since the 50's.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stagecoach (1939)

Today's film is Stagecoach.  It's supposed to be one of the first decent Westerns.  There have been a lot of Westerns before and after this movie, and honestly most of them aren't that good.

I actually saw this as more of a road trip movie rather than a Western.  Obviously the setting is in the Wild West and there are cowboys and Indians.  But really, this could have taken place anywhere.  Basically, this random group of people are traveling from one town to another and are taking a stagecoach to get there.  There's two ladies, one of whom has a baby during the voyage, a bunch of guys, and John Wayne is there too.  They are being escorted by soldiers through Apache territory, but for part of the voyage they are on their own.

I think this movie is different from most Westerns because it mainly focuses on the interactions between the travelers.   There is a lot of good acting going on, and there aren't too many of the stereotypes we see in all Westerns.

However, one of the last scenes is them being chased by weapon-wielding Apaches, which adds a lot of excitement to the film.  Most of my in-laws are from the Apache tribe and still live out west,  so it's nice to see my husband's family represented in film.  Oh, wait, they're the bad guys in the film, never mind.  My husband still isn't going to watch it since he's very anti black and white film.  But I would like to know his opinion.

After they, for the most part, safely arrive in town, the focus shifts to John Wayne's character.  The people who had him captured for reward reasons let him get his vengeance and then let him escape with his fiancee.  Oh, so he's all of a sudden a good guy now?  All that effort to keep him and now he's just going to leave? Like that?  Come on. For real yall.  This movie wasn't that bad, so I will give it a 7/10.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) (1962)

Today's film is The Exterminating Angel.  It's supposed to be a comedy but its more of an absurd comedy than a laugh-out-loud comedy.  I don't understand absurd comedy at all.

So these rich people are at a party, and they all end up spending the night.  The next day no one is able to leave the room.  As time passes, they start running out of food and water and their situation grow more dire.

I get that it's supposed to be about the Spanish bourgeoisie and the whole situation with the civil war and communism.  But how can we relate to this film today?  When I watched this film, I thought about comfort zones.  A lot of people can't leave a bad job or bad boyfriend because they are trapped in their comfort zone.  They're too afraid of the unknown, of what else could be out their that they can't leave.  The same way with the party goers in the film, none of them could leave the room.  In addition, no one on the outside could enter the house to rescue them.  That's because there is no one else to pull you out of your comfort zone, you have to do it yourself.

Eventually they learn the secret to escaping the room and get out.  But the story doesn't end there.  Another group of people get stuck at a church.  These two incidences show that all their money and faith get them nowhere in life.  I didn't find this funny but I found it unique.  I will give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2 or 3 Things I Know about Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle) (1967)

Today's film is 2 or 3 Things I Know about Her.  Yaa, more like 2 or 3 Things I Hate about this Movie.  It's the absolute most narcissistic boring pretentious film I have ever seen.  This is the pinnacle of false intellectualism.  We have reached Mount Everest, people.

Within ten minutes you'll already realize one thing: this guy really hates capitalism.  Which is funny because here he has the freedom to express his opinion, but in the type of society he wants, he would be forbidden.  The worst part is that he freaking whispers the whole movie, meaning I need subtitles just to understand what he says.  The sound levels are absolutely horrible in this movie.  And if they can't even get the sound right, what else can go wrong?

The movie doesn't really have a story per se, its mainly just an excuse for the director to complain about everything.  If I wanted to hear constant complaining, I'd just go to my mother's house.  This film has no redeeming qualities.  Therefore, I cannot recommend it to anyone.  I will give give this film a 3/10.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Finding Dory (2016)

I finally got to see Finding Dory in the theater!  I am excited.  I really liked the movie Finding Nemo, I thought it was colorful and full of heart.  Dory is my favorite character.

Finding Dory expects you to have already seen the first movie.  They don't bother to re-introduce the characters, it just launches straight into Dory's quest to find her parents.  Dory has short term memory loss, and after years of being away from her parents, starts to remember things about her past.

Her parents lived at the Marine Life Institute in California, which is a really long way from Australia. Dory, Marlin and Nemo all hitch a ride on the sea turtles on the EAC.  There's no plot at all between the two places, all the action takes place in California.  My husband thought the fact that the stupid sea lion was named Gerald was hilarious.  That's his half-brother's name.

I've never been to the Marine Life Institute in California, but I have been to the Georgia Aquarium which looked almost exactly the same.  So in terms of aquariums it did look realistic.  They introduced a new character, a grumpy octopus named Hank who wishes to return to the ocean. He's mainly a way for Dory to travel across the land without having to swim everywhere.

A lot of the movie is really far-fetched.  I mean, the first movie involved them rescuing a fish out of a dentist's office, so we can only go up from there.  There's an octopus driving a truck; it's chaos.  The movie is a lot crazier than the first one.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker (1938)

So the Olympics are going on right now, and I'm not watching them but I am reading a bit about what happens.  I don't think Brazil should have gotten the Olympics, they have a lot of problems there.  So I thought I would do the next best thing and watch a documentary about the Olympics.

However, the movie was made by Nazis.  I don't want to watch the Olympics in Brazil, but I don't want to watch a Nazi documentary.  So we may as well talk about a documentary about the Olympics made by Nazis.  Now no one is happy.  But, it's one of those films on the list we just have to get through.  And we will do our best.

Today's film is Olympia part 1. Teil - Fest der Völker.  The first five minutes is nothing but smoke and statues of Greeks, showing the perfection of the naked body.  Then, it finally transforms into living people.  They're men who are for the most part naked participating in the ancient games.  You can really tell a woman wrote and directed this because opening with this many men is pretty excellent.  There are mostly naked women present in the film as well, but I'm not really paying attention to that.

Then, we see the running of the Olympic torch, something we have seen a lot throughout the years.  The running of the torch was actually invented for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and still continues to this day.  Next comes the Opening Ceremony, where each country marches in with their flag.  Some nations raise the arms in a Nazi Salute in support of Germany, and some do not.

The majority of the film is pretty dry, very similar to watching the Olympics on tv today.  However in 1936 they didn't have tv so watching this must have been pretty exciting for them.  The announcers provided excellent commentary, unlike the NBC announcers we have here.  They are just awful.  We do get to see a lot of action from Jesse Owens, the fastest man in the world at the time.

If you'd like to see how the Olympics were performed a long time ago, this film would be ideal for you.  I enjoyed the historical aspects of it and will give this film a 7/10.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bin-jip (3-Iron) (2004)

Today's film is 3-Iron, named after the golf club.  I liked it.  It is a quiet film, but you won't really notice the lack of dialogue.

So this guy, Tae-suk is a kind of squatter.  He breaks into people's homes while they are away, and lives in them, traveling from house to house.  But, he's not like the squatters here that trash the place and poop everywhere.  Squatters here are a big problem, usually requiring police intervention to remove.   Tae-suk repays the house owner's "hospitality" by doing repairs and cleaning around each house.

One day he meets a lonely housewife and they "visit" various homes together.  Even though they are together, they don't really speak at all.  Some people may find their silent company endearing, but others may find it frustrating!  Especially for the police officers that question them.  They suspect them in the death of a resident, but it turns out he died of natural causes.

The housewife returns to her home with her husband, but sneaks kisses with Tae-suk under his nose.  Ok now she's just cheating.  So she wants the security and comfort of a husband, but the romance of a wandering boyfriend.  You can't have both.  She needs to be honest and choose one man.  I will give this film a 7/10.