Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Evil Dead (1981)

I finally got my husband to watch a movie on the list with me.

The acting is terribly funny, the special effects and makeup are especially awful, yet the movie is fun. I was glad to finally have someone to yell at the movie screen with me. He was the one who pointed out the exposed lighting in several shots and every time there was blood or other bodily fluids, he yelled out exactly what it was. Like he does when he watches his own movies or has his weekly Power Rangers/Xena marathon. So him screaming "creamed corn! it's creamed corn!" in the middle of the night went unquestioned by the neighbors.

So why is it on the list anyway if it's so poorly made? Because it mixes cartoonish humor with the threat of supernatural horror.  The idea of being trapped in the woods with the only way blocked is scary. And for my husband, who truly believes in demons, or the 'evil dead', this movie was terrifying for him. So I'm giving this movie a 5/10 for being halfway decent. Also it is one of the few horror films I can think of that has a musical based on it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

This is an amazing documentary of one man's true passion. Jiro Ono is 85 years old and still works hard every day at his restaurant, a ten-seater sushi bar called Sukiyabashi Jiro.  Even though the restaurant only serves sushi (no appetizers, nothing else) and only has ten seats in the entire place, it was awarded 3 Michelin Stars, a dream come true for a chef.  Why? Because the sushi is that good.

One day, if I ever visit Japan, I will definitely go try out this place.  Reservations have to be made at least a month in advance, and the meal cost 30,000 yen (318 USD) a plate.  $318 for a few dishes of sushi! It had better be the best sushi in the world, and from I have heard from food critics' reviews, it is. But how can somthing so simple as fish and rice be so great? What makes it different from other sushi restaurants? Yamamoto, the food writer interviewed in the film, describes the flavor of the sushi as "Ultimate simplicity leads to purity".

Jiro and his older son work together to taste and select the fish. Only the best shrimp and fish are ever used. They even have a special rice dealer that ensures they get the best rice in the market. Trust me, rice can make or break a dish, especially if it's undercooked or poorly cooked.

Jiro's younger son opened up his own restaurant across town. His restaurant is doing well and he's happy to be his own boss. The older son, Yoshikazu, still works in Jiro's restaurant and had hoped to take over the business. However, Jiro will probably never retire. He is 85 and still restless to produce beautiful food.

The simple beauty of each sushi dish is absolutely stunning. The entire film is literally a visual feast. Please, try eating a full meal before watching this because it will make you very hungry! Film gets a 9/10.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

It's Friday and time for a fun film and this week's choice is Beverly Hills Cop.  Axel Foley, played by Eddie Murphy is a cop in Detroit who is in trouble for a bust gone wrong. Mainly involving a truck smashing through large '80s cars.  When his visiting friend is murdered near his apartment, his boss will not let him help solve the crime. Axel knows his friend was working in Beverly Hills and goes there against his boss's wishes.

Axel does his best to cleverly find ways to solve his friend's murder, and finds that it goes deeper than just a killing. It's an entire drug smuggling operation and he will need some help to stop it.  The real Beverly Hills police force is on to Axel and try to thwrat his attempts to investigate. The cops park outside his hotel to spy on him, so he has room service bring them dinner in their car! Eventually the cops realize that he needs help and go with him to stop the bad guys in a hilarious shootout.  The bad guys have machine guns and miss their targets every time, yet Axel and the Beverly Hills cops nail them in one shot. True 80's style. This movie gets a 7/10.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fellini Satyricon (1969)

This movie is based on the book Satyricon, one of the oldest books in existence. 
 It focuses on the misadventures of the friends Encolpio and Ascilto, which are often strange or sexual in nature. Actually everything in this movie is strange or sexual.  The original book was found in several fragments, so the movie is also presented in fragments. We're never really sure what is going to happen, but rest assured it will be strange. I did not like how the subtitles just vanished several times. It's hard enough to follow what is going on, at least let me see it in English. Also it takes a few sittings to get through, because if you try to watch a three hour semi-plotless fragmented movie in one try you will go crazy. Movie gets a 5/10.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Descendants (2011)

One of the most poignant films I have seen in a decade. It concerns a man, Matt King, as he brings his family together following his wife's accident and hospital stay.

The 'descendants' as told in the title refer to the descendants of a Hawaiian princess and the son of a missionary.  They consist of a group of many cousins who have inherited a large piece of land on Kauai. The majority of the cousins, who were spoiled and have squandered the wealth, look forward to selling this land to a developer. However, the others do not want to sell and keep the land for Hawaii and not commercialize it.  The decision rests with Matt King, who has been entrusted with the land.

Matt King, who was portrayed by George Clooney, and his wife had not been speaking for three days when she had her accident. She was thrown from a powerboat while it was going too fast.  She is in a coma and not expected to make it. Their younger daughter is acting out because of it and the older daughter is furious at the mother for reasons yet unknown. 

Their mother is the kind of person I wouldn't miss. She clearly only married her husband for his inheritance money. He never uses the money, and lives off of what he makes in his law practice.  He has seen his cousins waste their money and does not want his children to be spoiled.  His wife is interested in partying, shopping, and thrill sports. That's how she got injured in the first place, by being in a dangerous situation just for a thrill.  And we learn the reason why the older daughter is so mad - she caught her with another man. So not only is she taking all her husband's money and wanting him to spend his inheritance on her as well, she's sleeping around. What a fucking twat full stop.

The scenery of the Hawaiian landscape was beautiful as well as the interiors of the houses. I really liked the houses. Acting was superb, with the exception of Judy Greer, who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. I cringed every moment she had screen time. Overall the movie gets an 8/10.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The 39 Steps (1935)

I just did not get this movie. I feel like I'm missing something. I keep hearing how Hitchcock movies are so great, but I have never seen anything special with them. This movie is no exception.

What was the point of the whole Memory man show other than a foreshadowing device, like the kind we learned in language arts class in fifth grade? It seemed so randomly thrown in there. And why did the spy lady follow Richard the Canadian? I didn't understand that part. And her death happened so quickly I had no time to process it.

The rest of the entire film concerns Robert as he evades from the police. Really? Am I supposed to be worried because the cops are untrustworthy and might catch him and mistreat him? Aren't the cops supposed to be friendly and never abuse their power? Please, I am from Florida.

And when they do catch him, they handcuff him to a woman. Yes, let's take a allegedly dangerous man accused of murdering a woman and handcuff another woman to him.

The whole time I was watching, I kept wondering, "What are the 39 steps? What are they? Are they steps for making a complicated pie? I hope they are steps for making pie." And it wasn't. The memory man said it so fast that I didn't understand it at all. Something to do with planes or something. Not impressed.  I give this movie 5/10. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

La belle et la bĂȘte (Beauty and the Beast) (1946)

Before watching this, I read the original version to my daughter. It is vastly different than the Disney animated version. This film version has more similarities to the book.
This version concerns Belle, her father, and her sisters who live together in France.  Belle's sisters are greedy and exploit their hard-working father. He must go on a journey and asks his daughters what they want. Naturally Belle's sisters want expensive things, but all Belle wants is a single rose.
Belle's father comes across the Beast's castle and is enchanted by his surroundings. He notices some roses in the garden and snips one to take back to Belle. The Beast is infuriated because the roses are his special magic roses. So Belle's father becomes his prisoner and Belle takes his place.
Belle is treated like a princess by his enchanted servants. It's fairly obvious how they did all the special effects, but for the time period, it's impressive. The movie contained magic, romance, and drama. Most of the drama was caused by the jealousy of Belle's sisters and handsome suitors. But Belle sees past the materialism and vanity of her family and gets to know the Beast for who he is on the inside. Movie overall gets a 7/10.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Funny Games (1997)

After the painful episode of having to watch and review Fanny and Alexander, it's time I reviewed something funny. How about Funny Games? The word "funny" is right there in the title! This should be awesome.

And it was! What a fantastic example of a dark comedy. The only bits I did not care for were the long drawn out bouts of tension where nothing really happens. It was like watching one of those cooking reality shows right before the winning dish is revealed.

The story is about a rich family who go to their vacation home and are attacked and manipulated by a pair of sadistic creeps. I did not like how one of them took to beating people with the golf club. That is a $400 driver, why would you destroy such a beautiful piece of equipment?

Why don't I feel sorry for the family? They had so many opportunities to get away or ask for help and they didn't take it. They have no idea how to defend themselves. I will not hesitate to beat someone with my cane should the need arise. Seriously, even my sister takes krav maga classes. True story: she bet her son, my nephew, $0.50 that he could not kick her in the head. He is now a proud owner of 50 cents. But at least she's trying. The father tells them to take their money and leave, but they don't want money. He asks why don't they just hurry up and kill them. I was like, "for real, I want to go to bed already." The boys answer that they can't because the movie hasn't reached feature film length yet. 

The best part was the breaking of the fourth wall moments, as if the boys were asking my permission to carry out their mayhem. I wondered if they could see me too, and answered thusly:
Near the end, the mother grabs the gun and shoots one of the boys! Hooray she finally was able to save herself. Then the other boy frantically searches for the remote control. I wondered, "Why? Is he going to smack her with it?" But no. He uses it to rewind the entire scene to before his partner was shot. I was like "Oh my god, that was priceless".  Now that both boys are alive again, they can continue their killing spree. Then they go on this existential tangent about reality, and how some realities differ from others. Yes, that's why I shouldn't feel bad about these people dying; they're not real. And to them, I'm not real. That blew my mind so much I had to go take a hot shower. This movie gets a 7/10.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander) (1982)

What a self-indulgent piece of crap. I had such high hopes for this movie after reading several reviews, but I was so wrong.

The first full hour is nothing but a Christmas party. I dont like Christmas parties in real life, why would I want to watch one? Fast forward through to the second hour because nothing happens and there is nothing to push the plot at all until then.

After Fanny and Alexander's sickly father dies, their mother immediately gets it on with the bishop meant to comfort her in her time of loss. Yeah he comforted her all right. So he asks her to marry and move in.

The bishop asks her to leave all of her and the children's possessions behind. Ok, red flag number one right there.  He wants you to leave everything from your past behind, including clothes, books, toys, because he is trying to control you.  I was glad that she said she was going to ask her children, but at the last moment, she demands the bishop kiss her and decides to follow his command. Come on lady, you can't let your horny-ness win out over your own children.

Of course the kids don't like him because he is awful and beats them.  The mother doesn't realize his true ways until after she gets knocked up by him. She tries to leave, but he refuses to agree to divorce.  The children's grandmother's boyfriend cleverly sneaks them out of the house, and there's some magic nonsense that goes in, and then it's back to the original storyline.  Their pregnant mother gives the bishop some sleeping pill-laced tea and bolts. Will the sleepy tea kill him? Well, it could. But since she can't murder him, it is up to the most cop-out plot device of all time to take effect.  What is it you ask?

He has to die by some horrible or unforeseen accident, the way most Disney villains are.  There's no custody battles, divorce court, or staying at a battered women's shelter for this woman and her children. Nope, it's best if he just dies quickly and no one is at fault. Well, that was real fucking convenient.

The children and their mom return to their grandmother's stately home and live happily ever after.  The whole movie was an hour's worth of plot in a three hour drawn-out mess. It gets a 3/10.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Avatar (2009)

I didn't think I would enjoy this movie as much as I did.  It's Pocahontas meets Ferngully with a few old science fiction novels thrown in for good balance.

The visuals are absolutely stunning. The animals, foliage, even the beautiful mountains are shown in fantastic depth and color. The beauty of nature is shown with dark contrast to the machinery and modern technology brought by the humans, who are there to study and eventually exploit the land.

The main character, Jake Sully, was played by then-unknown actor Sam Worthington. He was chosen by James Cameron because he wanted an everyday man to rise up and become a hero. He wouldn't have gotten the same feeling from us if it would have been an already-established action star.

One of my favorite scenes is when Jake wakes up as his avatar, a tall blue creature.  As a human, Jake is disabled, but as his avatar he can move like he used to. So the first thing he does is run at top speed outside. I can't even imagine how exhilarating that must be.  I would give anything to run again, and I can see how he feels by the look on his face. It's a look of pure joy.

There's so much more that happens, but this is one of the few movies that I don't want to delve further into because there are plenty of spoilers. I will give it a 9/10 based on visuals and character development.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aliens (1986)

Not as scary as the original Alien, but it is more action-packed and is a fun movie.  When we last left Ripley, she was still onboard her spacecraft after having jettisoned the evil alien monster.  Now, 57 years later, she discovered by her company while still in cryogenic sleep and brought back for questioning. She tells them all about what happened with the alien, people dying, and the android and no one believes her. She claims that they had been interrogating her for three hours, but how come no one mentioned that the planet where alien was found had been colonized til the last minute? Wouldn't that be the first fact you should mention - the fact that people had been living there awhile and never seen an alien? Wouldn't that make sense?

Of course, shortly after Ripley tries to warn everyone about the aliens on the planet, guess what? The first attack of a facehugger occurs. How convenient that this happened right when the one person who has handled them before wakes up. And if people had been living there, why had no one explored this ship before?

Visually, it was nice. There was a heavy use of blue lighting to give it a more otherworldly feel.  The modified weapon was okay too. Flamethrowers are usually effective against giant aliens.

Also, once again the true villain is the greed of money. The character Burke is only there for money and risks  everyone else's life for it. When Ripley goes into the lab where Newt is sleeping to comfort her, she glances up and notices one of the facehuggers is missing from the jar in the other room. She immediately gets up and goes for her gun, but it's in the other room! When I first saw this, I thought, you idiot there are aliens everywhere. You need to keep your gun with you at all times. But when it was discovered that Burke had set the alien free, it makes sense that he would have also move her gun out of the room as well. So not only did he put her and the child's lives in danger, he removed their only means of defense. That man is truly despicable.

This movie gets an 8/10 for being action-packed, not too drawn out, with an okay story.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

This is exactly like the first movie, except there are somewhat better effects and the Terminator is a good guy for some reason. I'm not going to go too deeply into the plot, because it's still about robots from the future who return to the past to stop John Connor. Except now he's a kid. The effects with the liquid metal robot was cool. And the helicopter scene was okay too. I think helicopters exist in movies solely to explode. Also, they still have the technology to send a very complex robot to the past, but without any clothes. Still does not make sense to me. The movie gets a 5/10.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Terminator (1984)

This is the tale of a robot that inadvertently causes his problem when he goes to the past to prevent it. The Terminator is an evil robot that goes back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor, the hero of his time, before he is even born.  John sends Kyle to the past to find his mother and stop the robot from killing her.  Kyle succeeds, and becomes the reason John exists in the first place.  So if the Terminator would not have gone back in time, Kyle would not have reason to follow it, and never met Sarah. It is like one of those Greek myths where the king tries to prevent his destiny, and his very actions cause his destiny.

The main thing I don't understand is the whole "naked time travel" thing. For the human, Kyle, it sort of  makes sense because it only allows him to bring himself, not any objects or futuristic weapons. Unfortunately this also means that he can't wear any shoes or clothes. Ok, I can see where this would be a problem. Not that I have any problem with seeing a naked man; I just don't want him to catch a cold being outside at night.

But what about the Terminator? Why does he have to be naked? He is simply made of layers. A layer of wires/cables, layer of metal, layer of flesh-like material (skin). Wouldn't clothing simply be another layer for him? Or couldn't he have been molded with clothes on, like some children's toys are? It seems unreasonable for him to have to be naked or to look completely human. I mean, this isn't an Asimov novel. And why does he need to go obtain weapons, couldn't he have some awesome built-in guns or lasers?

And why couldn't the Terminator just run over Sarah Connor with the truck? He just slowly follows her around as she desperately runs away. Seriously, all he had to do was speed up slightly and she would have been flattened like a pancake.

This film is fun to watch and is also very low budget. James Cameron said in an interview that he was living in his car when he wrote this. Sometimes good movies don't need huge budgets. I'll give this movie a 7/10. And I'll be back tomorrow with a review of The Terminator 2.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Titanic (1997)

The plot of the movie is a typical romance, rich girl falls in love with poor boy and everyone disapproves.  I did enjoy the special effects. It really did look like the ship was sinking. I watched a tv special on how they made the movie and it was very interesting.  However, there are too many anachronisms to count in this movie. I'll mention a couple.

  • Jack tells Rose that they can go to Santa Monica Pier and "ride the roller coaster until we throw up". Curious, I read about the history of the Santa Monica Pier. It turns out that not only was there no roller coaster back then, but no part of the amusement park was built until after 1915. The roller coaster wasn't added until later. 
  • When the bad guy officers are looking for Jack and Rose, the flashlight they use has a bright white light instead of the normal yellowish ones. This kind of light didn't exist in flashlights back then.
  • If you'll notice the pipes and propellors, several shots show that they were welded, which was not the normal practice and was definitely not perfected back then.
  • Rose talks about Freud's ideas about the male preoccupation with "size" (you know what I'm talking about). However, these ideas were not published until 1921 (Beyond the Pleasure Principle). He did write about penis envy, which is focused towards women, in the years 1905-1908 so I can kind of see the confusion.
  •  Jack also says he went ice fishing with his dad at Lake Wissota. Now we know that the Titanic sunk in 1912.  Lake Wissota is a lake in Wisconsin that was formed by the construction of a hydroelectric dam in 1917.
I know that there has to be more, but that's all I'm going to include for now. Titanic is a lesson in anachronisms. Lesson is: don't do them, instead do some actual research before making a movie. The Titanic sunk on April 15th, 1912, and I was born on April 15th, 1986.  That's how I remember the exact date. It doesn't mean I want to see things from the '80s in this movie. Movie gets 4/10 because the special effects do not make up for lack of research.

James Cameron Week!

It's James Cameron week!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

I was so excited about The Borrowers while reviewing that film yesterday, so I decided to mention the best adaptation, which is The Secret World of Arrietty. It was co-written by Hayao Miyazaki, who made such classics as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service.  

The best aspect are the stunning visuals. Most of the story takes place in the lush garden of a backyard near where the Clock family lives. It almost looks like a painting in an old art musuem.  Arrietty meets a human boy in the same house, but they cannot be friends because of the danger other humans possess.

Tiny clothes hanging out to dry!

In the end, the Clock family is forced to make their escape to the harsh outside world, where they hope to meet other Borrowers and share a sense of community. The same way the shrinking man escaped to the outside world, wondering if there were others like him.  I'm giving the movie a 9/10 for incredibly beautiful scenery, animation and story.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

One day a man on a boat tricks his wife into getting a beer for him.  Suddenly he is engulfed in a strange mist and a few months later, begins to decrease in size. It's sort of like Stephen King's "Thinner" but without weird   gypsies. He keeps shrinking until he becomes only 3 feet tall. He loses his job and has to sell his story to reporters because he has no way of making income. However, his wife seems perfectly capable of working.

"Wahh! My husband is so tiny and his penis is slightly smaller than usual! My life is so painful!"

Meanwhile, the man meets a hot little person in a cafe who tells him that life can be wonderful. She tells him that she "was born a midget". Now I know that this movie is really old, because today little people do not like being called "midgets".  And they really don't like being called "people mcnuggets".

Inspired by her words, and the fact she is a really hot little person, he starts writing his book again.  And why the fuck is he writing his book in pencil? Is he all of a sudden fuckin Hemingway?

But then he starts shrinking even more! Drama! He starts shrinking so small that a cat almost eats him and a spider becomes his greatest enemy.  I noticed he used a sewing pin as a sword. I was like, what is this - the secret life of Arrietty? Which is great because I really love The Borrowers. As he shrinks more and more, he finally escapes through the screen to the world outside and makes his speech about how there might be other people affected by the strange mist and he might not be the only one out there. And I finally realized that he simply is the first of the Borrowers. That's why we never see him again, he is travelling to another house, presumably one with no basement, where he can live peacefully.  Borrowers are known to leave houses once they've been discovered by humans. This gets a 9/10 because I've always wanted to know the origin of the Borrowers.

He has his own dollhouse!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

I work for the Walt Disney World Company. So my coworkers and I get to listen to Disney music all the time.  Plus, since I minored in animation in college, I have studied the animated films of Disney extensively. So when I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood, all I could think of was how it would compare to the animated '70's version.  Personally my favorite version is the one with Russell Crowe. I think it's very action packed.  However, I hoped that there would be a version my daughter, Azalea, would enjoy.  This movie is perfect for a child. It's very colorful, parts are silly, and there are a lot of laughs (especially by Robin Hood himself, who seems to throw back his head and burst out laughing at random times).

When I saw the release year as 1938, I thought, oh no, not another black-and-white film. I don't know what it is about them. Maybe because they're so dull and grey.  I just don't enjoy black-and-white films as much.  However, this film was made in full Technicolor. I found out that their studio only had 11 color cameras and this movie made use of every single one.  And not only that, they made ample use of them all. The characters wore the brightest colored costumes to show off.


Scene by scene, the storyline is almost identical the animated version. The good news is that Robin Hood is played by a cute guy and not an anthropomorphic singing fox.  And there is no random bursting into song. I don't have time for another musical.  Between work and watching whatever my two-year-old chooses, I have seen far too many. Azalea and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie. It's the same Robin Hood tale we know and love, wasn't too violent or gory, had some action and a happy ending.  I like being able to share this kind of movie with my daughter. I give this movie a 7/10.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The French Connection (1971)

This is a fairly average crime drama in which the cops are trying to bust a drug ring. It wasn't any different than Bad Boys or any of the Lethal Weapon movies. There really wasn't anything that stood out to me as anything special. Except for the car chase! I love a good car chase scene in a movie and this one was fantastic. Even more recent films that I have watched with all their high tech cars and special effects cannot compare to this car chase. It is worth it to watch the entire movie for the car chase alone. Also the young Gene Hackman is rather handsome in this movie. I will give this movie a 6/10 for being decent overall with an awesome car chase.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buffalo '66 (1998)

Billy Brown's mom loves one thing: Buffalo Bills football. She has never missed a game - except one, the day of Billy's birth, which is why she has never shown him any love. We first see Billy as he is being released from prison, where he has no one to pick him up. Then begins a frantic 20 minute search for a bathroom.  He calls his mom, who acts like she doesn't even know he exists. He says he is coming over to visit. She asks to see his wife, too, but since he has no wife, he lies and says she's "sick".  His mom doesn't care and demands that she come too. Well now he has to find someone to pose as his wife.  During his frantic bathroom search, he enters a dance studio and encounters Layla. He kidnaps her and even makes her drive her own car because he can't drive stick. What kind of a man doesn't know how to drive stick?
As his pretend wife, Layla goes by the name Wendy. She tries her best to "make him look good", as he requests. However, his dad is too angry to love anything, and all his mom cares about are her precious Buffalo Bills football games. She never takes her eyes off the game, even when people are speaking to her.

We see the reason behind Billy's jail time and his depression through a series of flashbacks. He vows to kill Scott Wood, the kicker of the Buffalo Bills that Billy feels is responsible for ruining his life. In the end, he finds out that he now has something much more important than revenge, he finally has love.

This movie is fairly predictable but enjoyable.  At first, after Billy leaves prison, he is rude and horrible to everyone and even kidnaps Layla. Why should we care anything about a person like this? But after meeting his parents and seeing the explanatory flashbacks, we come to understand why Billy has turned out the way he has. And thanks to Layla, Billy starts to see that he can be a better person and has something to live for.  I liked when he bought the heart shaped cookies. I thought that was cute. I'm giving this movie a 7/10.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966)

A poorly acted film with a thin plot and it looks like it was filmed with a cheap cell phone.  But there are lots of nipples in this film. Lots.  The entire movie is only about 15 minutes long.

The top 1001 list covers a lot of different films.  There are amazing ones such as Fight Club, and then there are others, such as Clueless, and you wonder who would have thought to put something like that on a top list.  If you would like to see 15 minutes worth of lady nipples, you can either watch something on the pornhub, or simply find this gem of a short film on youtube.  Fast forward between the director's big head as he slowly walks for two minutes, and the other guy painting on a doll. Seriously, what is that about? Film gets 3/10.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

My husband announced his latest revelation - that he has discovered the whereabouts of the Garden of Eden.  I am used to his theories so I just rolled my eyes.  "Do you know why no one has found the Garden of Eden on Earth?" he asked. "Because it's a make-believe story about naked people and a talking snake?" "No!" he shouted, "No one has found the garden on Earth because it's not on Earth. It's on Mars. See, scientists have discovered water on Mars and that proves there once was life there, so it has to be the Garden of Eden. And, when the angel banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, they fell to Earth and that is why we are here today." And I was like

Which leads me to my next film review, The Man Who Fell to Earth. When I heard there was a sci-fi movie with aliens and David Bowie, I was really excited. However, this movie bummed me out. When David Bowie lands on Earth, he quickly becomes very rich and powerful.  His original mission was to find a way to save his dry, dying homeworld. But he quickly gets used to the American way of life, which is eating, sex, and lots of tv. There is a lot of nudity in this film.

In the end, all he has is money, but the money truly does not buy him happiness. This was an okay movie. The acting by everyone was terrible and the plot was barely there. But the parts that were there were pretty good. So I will give it a 5/10.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

I wasn't sure about watching this film because ghosts are scary. However, this movie isn't scary at all. This is the most romantic movies I have ever seen, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It starts with Mrs. Muir, a widow, leaving the rich comforts of her in-law's home and finding a place for herself and her daughter.  Her real estate agent warns her that the house she's interested in is haunted. But she doesn't care and moves in. Soon the ghost, an old sea captain, makes his presence known. Then, Mrs. Muir learns she is broke and the ghost decides to help her so she won't have to move away. So together they write a novelization of his life. She meets a writer when she goes to get her book published.  The ghost captain gets super jealous, but it turns out the writer guy is a creep. I felt that this film was very romantic, and I don't even like romantic movies. I usually feel like they're too sweet, like strawberries. However, I really enjoyed this movie and it had a super romantic ending. Awww. This movie gets a 9/10 from me.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cabaret (1972)

The only thing worse than a silent film about the Klan would be a musical that has Nazis in it.

I can't tell which is more awful: the songs or Liza Minnelli. The worst part is that she never stops talking. Not even when other characters are talking. She is constantly interrupting them with her mundane bullshit.  Nobody cares! And I read she did most of her own makeup and hairstyling. Obviously, because she looks like a drag queen most of the time.  I really wanted to chase her with the barber shears I keep in the bathroom and give her a decent haircut.  And I've always had a problem with anachronisms. Then I see this:
This is not '30s fashion! You are not even trying!

Then when I thought it couldn't get any worse, during the song "Two Ladies" or whatever it's called, there are flashing strobe lights. I'm already under stress because I took my daughter to the ER.  Stress+strobe lights=seizures.  Thanks Liza Minnelli, I haven't had a single seizure in over three weeks and I really was due for another one, wasn't I? Fuck you. This movie gets a -5/10 (yes that's negative five out of ten) for literally giving me a seizure.  There needs to be a warning before a film or tv show if it features flashing or strobe lights.

PS my daughter is okay now. She had some stitches and had to get a tooth pulled, but she feels great now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Beauty and the Beast would have been the very first animated feature to win best picture if it weren't for this movie. But this movie does deserve the award.

The most engaging character is Dr. Hannibal Lector, the evil cannibal crazy guy. He's only onscreen for like 15 minutes, but he's the one we remember.  When he is being interviewed by Clarice, the FBI agent, sometimes he will look directly at the camera. I thought that it must be a mistake because you're not supposed to look directly at the camera since it can break the fourth wall. However, in an interview, Anthony Hopkins (who plays Hannibal) says he looks at the camera because his character is so intelligent that he knows everything and can read people easily. That's how his character knew the whole Anthrax Island thing was a trick. He looks at the camera because he knows he's being watched and he is looking straight at us, the audience. That is so creepy I don't know what to say.

The rest of the movie is filled with suspense. The Buffalo Bill character is also creepy and dangerous and I wondered how he could be stopped. And he was.  Hannibal gets transferred out of prison but escapes after he eats a guard's face. Who the hell wrote this movie? I'm giving this a 8/10 for being creepy as fuck.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Untouchables (1987)

I watched this movie last night and it really got me thinking.  Al Capone got his power because of Prohibition.  Right now, I could just walk down the street and get some liquor, no problem. There's no sneakiness, no crime. But if you make something like that illegal, then only the criminals will have access to it.   The city of Chicago was dependent on dangerous criminals to supply them with the alcohol they wanted. So it makes sense that certain drugs should be legal too, especially since it will get them out of the control of criminals. Most of the crimes in my town are drug-related.  Many states such as Washington and Colorado have already created legislation for marijuana to be legalized. I wish it would come to Florida, especially since it has been proven to help people with my condition.  We're too reliant on expensive prescription drugs controlled by pharmaceutical companies. Most overdose deaths are caused by perfectly legal prescription drugs. Once I accidentally overdosed on one of my medications. It caused me to have a seizure, among other things. I really thought I was going to die.  And people back then thought that beer was the problem?

Kevin Costner's character, Ness, is sent from the treasury department to deal with Al Capone. He doesn't want to kill anybody, he just wants to arrest Capone.  Sean Connery's character, Malone, tells him that sometimes you need to bend the rules to get the job done.  This shows how antiquated this time period is. Cops here in Florida today will give any reason to shoot someone, and that's the truth.  I really liked the accountant, Wallace, and how he handles a gun.  Then when Stone gets shot, he goes berserk and starts shooting, then whacks a guy with his gun. I like a man who can handle his weapon.  But, then there are the deaths, and we are sad.  Later, Ness and Stone start shooting people in a train station. When Ness shoots a man in the head, I shouted, "There'd better be some brain matter on the wall, not just blood! Details, people, details!!" And there was. I was so happy. I'm giving this an 8/10

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rear Window (1954)

This movie made me so mad!  For the first half of the movie, the main character, Jeff, spent the whole movie complaining about how he has nothing to do because he's stuck in a wheelchair. Excuse me? I'm disabled and I get out and do lots of things.  I watch movies, write, read books. I have a full time job and sometimes I even drive.  So there's no reason for his constant whining. Then his girlfriend comes by and brings him a lobster dinner and he tells her to shut up! Twice! You don't ever tell a lady to shut up. That is disgusting.

And, he's just rude to everyone who tries to help him.  And he didn't even really see anything going on in the other apartment. Everything he assumed was just speculative. He just got lucky.  Then, the stupidest part of the movie is when the neighbor goes over to Jeff's apartment. Does nobody up north lock their doors? Then he goes and drops him out of the window.  Really? If he was so careful killing his wife that not even the detectives suspected anything was wrong, why would he be so careless as to drop a guy out of a window?  Why couldn't he have killed him in the apartment, especially since he was "too useless" being in a wheelchair.   Honestly, I could have killed him much more efficiently than that.  The only reason he was in a wheelchair to begin with is because he was a stupidass who stood in the middle of a racetrack.  I have no sympathy for him.  He is rude, horrible, and does not deserve his girlfriend. Everything he did and said is offensive to actually disabled people like me, who have much better things to do than ogle at girls through a window and just happen to think he saw something else because he's bored.  There is never an excuse to be bored.  And this movie wasn't even that thrilling or exciting at all. The whole thing was just speculative and then lucky.  This movie gets a 2/10 for pissing me the hell off.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fargo (1996)

Today's film is Fargo.  It is based on a true story.  This is a typical Coen brothers movie - overly violent, dramatic with a little comedy mixed in. Interesting fact: Not one single shot was actually filmed in Fargo. I give this movie an 8/10.  I absolutely adore the actors' accents too.

Jerry (played by ) is a mousy, timid who desperately needs money.  He hires two shady men, Carl and Gaear, to "kidnap" his wife to force her rich dad to pay the ransom (so he'll get a cut).  However, her dad agrees to look at another deal he has and may pay him money anyway, so he may want to take the deal back.  When I first saw the film as a kid, I didn't understand all the financial stuff, but it makes more sense to me know.  Why does Jerry need so much money?  I also think that he has been embezzling money from his car dealership.

Meanwhile, the shady men enter the house to kidnap Jerry's wife.  However, in her panic to escape, she falls down the stairs and passes out.  At night, while driving in Brainerd, a cop stops them for not having tags on their car.  Carl tries to talk his way out of it, but Gaear simply shoots the cop.  Carl struggles to drag the cop off the road.  Another car passes by, and Gaear, not wanting any witnesses, hops into the driver's seat and takes off after them.  He finds their car upside down in a snow-filled ditch, and shots both people in the car.  So, now a simple kidnapping to steal money from a rich father-in-law has turned into a murder-fest.

 In the middle of the night, Marge is called into work.  Marge is played by Frances McDormand, and she does an amazing job.  Her husband is sweet and fixes her breakfast before she has to go. After all, she is eating for two.  Marge is quick-witted and lets nothing gets past her.

The rich father-in-law decides to pay the ransom money himself and gets shot too!  Then, Carl comes to steal the ransom money and buries it in the snow.  His accomplice kills him and throws him in the woodchipper.  So, pretty much everyone dies in this film except Gaear, Jerry, and the police.  Marge comes to arrest Gaear and the other cops arrest Jerry.  Marge has some words of wisdom for Gaear, telling him that there is more to life than money.  Today is a beautiful day outside and he is on his way to jail. The film ends with Marge returning to her husband, whose painting is going to appear on the latest stamp.  In a few more months, she will have her baby.  So the bad guys all either die or get arrested, and the good guys win.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Usual Suspects (1995)

This is one of Kevin Spacey's finest performances, as Verbal Kint, the storyteller who tells a convoluted tale to policeman leaving us wondering what's really going on.  In the beginning, five men are arrested but are innocent. The real bad guy is Keyser Soze, who is often compared to the devil.  

Verbal agrees to cooperate by telling the policeman the story of the heist. Everything is very interesting until it reaches the end when the cop realizes that there is something wrong.  There are elements of the story all over the room, such as the coffee and the photos on the wall.  As Verbal leaves the police station, it is finally revealed where the evil Keyser Soze is.  The best line is at the end, "That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone."  This movie gets a 9/10.

Crime Week Starts Today

There are over 150 films on the list in the "crime" genre.  However, this is more of a sub-genre, because these movies can be scary, funny, or dramatic.  They can have almost any setting, because every time and place has had crime.  I would like my focus to be on a small portion of these films this week.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Partie de Campagne (1936)

Here is a 40 minute French short. A family from Paris spends the day in the country. These two country boys  hit on the only two ladies, a mother and daughter, and then they all go rowing on the river.  The daughter starts making out with the guy who sort of looks like Ricky Gervais, and then just leaves to go back to Paris.

Flash forward to a few years later, when the daughter marries the annoying hiccupping guy and returns to the countryside.  She encounters hot Ricky guy once more. She tells him she has always been thinking about him and appears sad that she is not with him.  Hey, nobody held a gun to her head and forced her to marry annoying hiccuping guy. And she only knew Ricky for less than an hour. That's not enough time to form the basis of a relationship.  She doesn't know anything about him apart that he's good at making out. What's his favorite color? Does he enjoy cooking? What's his middle name?  I watched this entire thing and she didn't even ask him once.  You can't say that you've been thinking about someone romantically for such a long time without even knowing the basic facts about him. My husband's middle name is Earl, and I still married him.  

In the beginning, there was a notice that the movie was unfinished. If you're not going to take the time to finish your movie, I'm not going to take the time to give you a good rating. This movie gets a 2/10.

Top Gun (1986)

A movie where some hot guys play volleyball with their shirts off. Also something about planes. I give this 7/10.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin) (1925)

So what if this is a propaganda piece? It works!  All those poor sailors out there on a boat, who are kept down by The Man.  And then they try and feed them rotten meat. That stuff had bugs in it! Are the sailors going to put up with that? Hells no. It's time to stand up against the man.  Even when the people get attacked by the evil government, the sailors are there to protect them.

For a silent film, I enjoyed watching this. And that's saying a lot. I give this a 6/10.

Friday, March 1, 2013

'A' gai wak juk jap (Jackie Chan's Project A2) (1987)

I don't think there's anything more fun and action-filled than a Jackie Chan movie. Jackie Chan can use any ordinary object as a weapon, often with hilarious results. I particularly like the way he fought with chairs in this movie.  Also, there is the typical humor and awkward situations that dominate most of his movies. And, as always, the good guys win.  This is one of the most uplifting movies I have seen in a long time. His character, Dragon Mao, exposes corruption, helps people, and defeats the bad guys. This movie made me so happy. I'm giving it a 9/10.