Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Christmas Story (1983)

Today's film is A Christmas Story.  Every year in school we had to read this story, and then we watched the movie before winter break.  Every single year.  I have seen this movie like way too many times.  The teachers would break up the story into bits and we would have to write papers about it.  Watching this film just feels like another assignment to me.

Even though this movie takes place in the 40s, it could have taken place when I was a kid or even today.  Ralphie wants a BB gun even though his mom thinks its a bad idea.  Well, kids are always wanting stupid gifts.  Kids still act the same way they did a long time ago (when they are not buried in their smartphones).  There are still bullies, fighting, and daring your friends to do stupid things.  Ralphie is engrossed in listening to his Little Orphan Annie show and even buys a secret decoder ring to be part of her club.  Guess what movie just came out in the theaters?  Annie!

While in school, the teacher makes them do theme writing, and the theme is "what I want for Christmas".  I find this ironic because I had to do lots of theme writing on this movie.  So he's doing classwork and I'm doing classwork at the same time.  He writes about his BB gun and all its features.  The teacher marks it as C+.  Notice that there are no red marks anywhere on the paper, meaning there are no mistakes, nothing to justify such a low grade.  Maybe the teacher simply didn't like the paper.  Sometimes the teacher bases the grade on her opinion rather than actually grading it.  Sometimes teachers are just bitches.  Fuck you Mrs. Haines.

One thing I really like about this movie is that there's no magic in it.  Every Christmas movie we're forced to watch as kids has to have magic in it.  The gift he wanted the whole time was given to him by his dad, who, by up to this point hadn't appeared to be the most caring person.  He was a stereotypical hardass yet kind of stupid dad we see on too many comedies. It wasn't Santa Claus who gave him his gift, it was his dad.  Even though he couldn't afford a new furnace, he still managed to get his kid the gift he wanted the most. I like the dad and his obsession with his precious sexy leg lamp.  Where did that even come from.  I have to rate this movie pretty high because I was forced to watch it every year and I don't hate it.  So I will rate it a 7/10.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Magnolia (1999)

Hi, today's film is Magnolia, which starts off really good, but then, well you'll see.

The movie consists of several plots happening all at the same time, and you're gonna need to pay attention to all the different stories. As we watch, we see how the characters are related to one another.

Ok, here comes the tangled web of plot.  Earl Partridge is dying of cancer and wants to see his son again, the one he abandoned as a child.  The child is now grown up and runs one of those scummy "harass women at night clubs so they'll sleep with you" seminars.  Meanwhile, a game show host is also dying of cancer.  He goes to see his daughter, but she screams and throws him out of the house.  The game show consists of kids challenging adults at a quiz/trivia show.  The child star knows lots of trivia, but is too pressured, especially by his dad, who uses him as a meal ticket.  Also, a former child quiz show star grows up to be a total loser.  The game show host's daughter is confronted by a nervous cop for a noise violation.  Later, he asks her out on a date.

I was really tempted to post a pic
of the "rain of frogs glyph" from World of Warcraft.

So, we see all these people as they interact with each other; and it's intriguing.  What will happen to them? Will they find happiness?  Then, it gets more and more dramatic.  Like, too dramatic.  Like, come on, this is too dramatic.  Then, you just know one of them is going to try to shoot themselves.  Because that is so cliche.  When it happens, I wasn't the least surprised, but then, it starts raining frogs.  This, itself, didn't shock me.  Because, throughout, there are a ton of references to Exodus 8:2, which basically talks about the plague of frogs.  But, to me, it felt like the movie was getting so dramatic with all these people, that they didn't know how to end it and just tacked on a weird frog rain ending there.

The worst part is that the movie was great up until the 2 hour mark.  I thought it was going to end there.  But, it just had to drag on for whole other hour.  I can't believe I stayed up for three hours to watch this with the stupidest ending I have ever seen.  I will give this film a 6/10 because the acting was good for the most part.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bridesmaids (2011)

Today's film is Bridesmaids.  If this is supposed to be a great female comedy, that makes me ashamed to be female.  It was boring, unfunny, and I hated it.  I'm too lazy to read the CIA torture report, but I'm sure this has to be on it.

The film focuses on the maid of honor, Annie.  She's lost her boyfriend and business (a cake bakery) and is very bitter.  She spends her days working at a jewelry store. Not well, I might add, since she likes to convince people not to buy rings since their relationship must be doomed as well.

Annie's friend since childhood, Lillian, invites her to be her maid of honor.  Annie feels out of place since all of Lillian's friends are much wealthier than she is. Lillian's other friend and bridesmaid, Helen, throws her an engagement party, which Annie embarrasses herself at when she tries to upstage her at the speech.  See, this isn't humor.  I hate seeing people embarrassing themselves because I feel awkward.  I've seen Kristen Wiig on SNL and I know she can do better than this.

Annie takes the bridal party to a dive restaurant, which gives most of them food poisoning.  It doesn't hit them until they go to the bridal shop and try on expensive dresses.  Then, cue the puking and diarrhea.  My husband makes me watch Family Guy all the time and they use this humor as well.  I always think whenever I watch a wedding movie or romance film, Gee I wish there was more diarrhea in this.

Then, Annie starts going out with a cop, Rhodes, for no reason than we need to have some sort of romance in a woman's film.  After all, we're women, can't have a film without romance, right?  Annie once again embarrasses us by acting a fool on an airplane, and later cussing her own best friend, the bride, at her bridal shower.  She is so selfish and bitter and brings down everyone around her.  They were going to have the bachelorette party in Vegas, but didn't get to thanks to Annie.

Lillian kicks Annie from her position as maid of honor, and she responds by trying to talk a teenager out of buying a friendship bracelet at work.  Her attitude gets her fired, and is forced to move in with her mother.  Then, all is forgiven in the last few minutes so we can have a wedding and happy ending.  The worst part of this film is not just the plot, but the sheer length of the film. If it were shorter, they could have crammed more laughs in there.  If they were any, they're too far and few between to notice. In honestly this film was quite boring.  I'm giving it a 3/10.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Short Reviews of Short Films

Der Firmling (1934)

A father takes his son out to celebrate his confirmation and gets piss-ass drunk.  If you like drunken buffoons and Three Stooges-like antics, you'll like this one. 7/10

The Gunfighter (2014)

An unknown gunfighter enters a Western saloon while being narrated by Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec).  However, everyone in the saloon can hear the narrator.  As the narrator reveals everyone's inner thoughts and desires, they begin to turn on each other.

This short was filmed on the set of Deadwood so everything looks authentic. This short is absolutely worth watching. 9/10.

La jetée (The Pier) (1962)

A time travel short that is shown through  a series of photos rather than video.  A French prisoner uses a childhood memory to travel back in time (in order to save the present) but is unaware that he is the cause of the memory in the first place.  This film is the inspiration for Twelve Monkeys.  9/10

Méditerranée (1963)

A documentary featuring the beauty of the Mediterranean countries, but focuses more on the morbid aspects.of everything.  Too many bullfighting scenes.  Not a first date film.  6/10.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries) (1957)

Today's film is Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries). It's about an elderly doctor, Isak Borg, who travels to receive an honorary award and while on the way, reflects on his life and dreams.

In the beginning, he's supposed to fly, but he decides to drive last minute. This irks his housekeeper, Miss Agda, who I think wanted to fly with him.  Isak's daughter-in-law, Marianne, goes with him.  Thanks to Google maps, I know the trip from Stockholm to Lund should take around 5 hours and 39 minutes.  We've learned that Isak doesn't have any relationships and can feel lonely sometimes.  He had a wife who cheated on him, but that's about it.

While they drive, they stop at Isak's old house, where he reminisces about his childhood, and his hot cousin Sara. She ended up marrying his loser brother.  He meets another Sara on the grounds, and she asks if she and her two guy friends can catch a ride with them.  He tells her about the other Sara, who he called his first love.  Right now, she is 75 and still beautiful according to him. So, we know his brother is dead, as well as his cheating wife, and his first love is still here. Well damn son go marry your hot cousin.  It doesn't matter if you're old.  Old people get married all the time.

They encounter many things on their way to Lund.  They get hit by a Beetle and have to deal with the arguing couple inside.  They meet Isak's cold mother and Marianne sees where he gets it from.  Isak also is praised by a country couple and he realizes that maybe he shouldn't have left his hometown. The hitchhikers are young and cheerful and are almost the opposite of Isak's personality.

Another thing is that he dreams a lot while traveling.  Well, he's old and it's a long drive.  You can tell what he fears and what he worries about from his dreams.  While driving, Marianne tells her she's pregnant and her husband, Isak's also cold son, doesn't want any children.  So she's going to keep it even if it meant losing him.  Isak offers to help her, but she doesn't want any help.

So, they get to Lund, where Miss Agda and Marianne's husband are waiting.  He takes her out for the evening and wants her to stay with him.  His son is a lot colder than he is.  After the ceremony, he talks to Miss Agda and says that since they've known each other for a long time, it was okay for her to just call him Isak instead of Professor.  She says she won't, which makes him kinda sad.  However, on her way to her bedroom next door, she tells him she'll leave the door ajar if he wants anything wink wink wink.  She is totally flirting with him.  I hope he realizes it.  I will give this film an 8/10.  When it comes to movies featuring cranky old men, this movie was 10 times better than Up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Wolf Man (1941)

Today's film is The Wolf Man.  It's not the best werewolf movie ever, nor is it the first, but it is the most well known.  Also, a lot of the myths surrounding the werewolf came from this movie, not from folklore.

While watching this film, I kept wanting something more.  It wasn't what I expected.  The man who becomes the wolf man, Larry, visits his dad's house in Wales.  He hits on a local girl almost to the point of being creepy.  During this time, everyone talks about wolfs and wolfs-bane and all this, and  it seems out of place, but there's doing that as super obvious foreshadowing.

Larry and the girl, who sold him a silver tipped cane, go visit a gypsy encampment together.  The gypsy dude turns into a wolf, attacks Larry, and he beats him with his cane.  Once the wolf dies, he turns back into a man.  What's weird too is that Larry's wound heals super quick.

The old gypsy lady knows what's happening, and she gives him a protective amulet.  He gives it as a gift to the girl.  He is so stupid.  That was for him, and plus, she already told him she has a boyfriend and he still won't leave her alone.  So, he hits on her, and now is giving her gifts despite knowing she's already with someone.  He is such a creeper.

He turns into a wolf man, which somehow involves him changing clothes without actually changing clothes.  Also, wolf man is a far more appropriate term than werewolf because he's just a guy with a really hairy face.  Plus he strangles his victims.  Or, strangle/bites them.  Wolves don't strangle their prey.  Anyway, he dies so that's the end of that.  I'm gonna give this film a 5/10.