Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Revenant (2015)

Today's film is The Revenant.  We finally get to see a film that Leo gets his Oscar for.

Wow!  Let's talk about how beautiful Argentina is.  The real story of Hugh Glass takes place near South Dakota and Canada, but it was too hot during the time of filming.  So they moved it way down south to a similar climate.  Isn't it amazing that the further south you go, it turns into winter? That's crazy.  This film had the most beautiful scenery, and it was 90% natural lit.  They only used artificial lights during campfire scenes.  This makes me really want to go camping down there.  Just gorgeous.

This film is the mostly true story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper up in the Dakotas.  He was attacked by a bear and left for dead by his group.  They even took several supplies and his gun so he was even worse off.  Through sheer determination, he somehow crawled 200 miles to the nearest fort and survived.  In real life, he was unable to do anything to the people who abandoned him, but in the film he gets his sweet revenge.

Leo really ramped up his acting skills in order to hopefully win an Oscar.  And it paid off.  Much of the time, he was alone in the woods, so he had no one to bounce off of. He couldn't even speak part of the time due to his throat injury.  And we still got to see the struggles he faced.  Amazing.

We don't know how historically accurate this is because, honestly, not much is written about Hugh Glass.  There is no record of any wife or children, but that doesn't mean there were none.  All we really know is what company he worked for, who was in his party, and that he survived a traumatic bear attack.  But his determination to survive against all odds is truly inspiring.  He is a true badass.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Godfather part II (1974)

Today's film is The Godfather part II.  This film is unique in two ways.  First, it is the only sequel that has won an Academy Award.  Second,  it is both a sequel and a prequel at the same time!

The problem with a film that is both a sequel and prequel is that you really really need to have watched the first Godfather film.  Or else you will be really lost.

The sequel part follows Michael Corleone, Vito's son and the new Godfather, as he moves his operation from New York to Nevada.  He has many enemies and his marriage is falling apart.  He goes with his so-called associate to Cuba, before the revolution hits, but is wary he is trying to assassinate him.

The prequel part follows the original Godfather, Vito, as he grows up in Italy in the early twentieth century and later escapes to America.  He is a honest, hard-working man that slowly changes into the Godfather that we see in the first movie.  Vito is played by Robert de Niro, who actually lived in Sicily to learn the correct dialect.  That is some real dedication right there.

A lot of the cinematography is very dark, and the colors are mostly brown.  Brown scenery, brown costumes, brown everything.  It's like the sepia filter on instagram.  They did go a little overboard on it.  The acting was really good, though.  So I will give it an 8/10.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Today's film is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which comes to us from Germany.  Well, it's not really a plot-driven film, it's more of a character study.

Petra is like the worst kind of person.  The whole movie takes place in her bedroom/studio apartment.  She rarely leaves her bed, even to entertain guests.  That's really weird.  She treats her assistant like a slave, who does nothing but help her.  Petra is rude and ungrateful to everyone.

Petra works as a fashion designer, and much of the film seems to be showing off a slew of bizarre outfits, from all the characters really.

She falls in love at first sight with Karin, a beautiful blonde, who is married by the way. (!!!)  She asks her to move in and somehow Karin agrees.  Sure, Karin sleeps with her but doesn't feel the same way.  She's just using Petra like Petra uses her assistant.  Petra is so smitten that she even pays for the plane ticket for Karin to go see her husband.

Does Petra learn from her experience?  It doesn't look like it.  In the end, even her assistant leaves her.  If you enjoy watching character studies, or character-driven stories, this would be a good film for you.  I will give it a 6/10.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life Update

So I've been on bedrest since I last posted.  I haven't been able to return to work and have spent most of my time in the hospital.  But now I've come home with my new addition, Jacob Finn!  He was born on October 4th and weighed only 4 lbs 9 oz.  He's even smaller than my daughter when she was born.  We've been relaxing at home since we got here.  Here's some pics of him with my husband.

Right after he was born, with my husband.

Now that we are home, I am a full time mom.  Maybe I will return to my job when they are older, but maybe not.  I will return to regularly posting soon.

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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment) (1968)

Today's film is Memories of Underdevelopment.  It's not quite a documentary and not quite a drama film.   It takes place in our southern neighbor of Cuba in the 1960s.  Back then, Cuba was like newly communist and no one knew how long it would last.  Several Communist countries have risen and fallen.  The Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell, but Cuba still stays strong even in the year 2016.

There is a main plotline of a man named Sergio, used to a wealthy life, as he tries to keep up his lifestyle.  He watches his entire family including his ex-wife flee to the USA while he stays behind.  He works as a landlord for several properties and doesn't do any actual work.

Interspersed throughout the film, we see actual historical footage of events that shaped Cuba's history.  It is very educational and I did learn a lot about the history.  Cuba has helped to create Florida's culture as well, especially within the past 100 years, since so many people came up here to live.

After each historical lesson, the film returns to Sergio's story, with the first scene always being somebody's butt.  Usually a random woman's butt but sometimes we get treated to a man's butt, which is always nice.  It's like the film is saying, thanks for listening to our history, here's a butt shot.  I would have paid more attention in class if I could have seen more butts.

The most interesting person through all this is Sergio.  He still wants the life of the rich bourgeois, but in a Communist state, the workers get everything.   He loses a lot but still doesn't change.  And he has this obsession with creating an ideal woman, when there's nothing wrong with the women that he's with.  His wife finally gets fed up with his antics and leaves for America.  He tries to do the same to other women but it backfires on him.  The world he lives in is changing and growing, and yet he keeps stagnant.  He talks about Cuba being an underdeveloped country as well as its people.  I think the most underdeveloped thing about the movie is Sergio himself.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Europa '51 (1952)

Today's film is Europa '51, which seems like a decent drama, but overall feels a little silly.  It takes place in post-war Italy, where if a wealthy woman decides to give up her lifestyle and help the poor, she must be crazy.  The idea is if you took a saint like character and put her into a modern world, what would happen to her?

Irene is the wife of an ambassador and used to living life in luxury.  She often throws dinner parties and entertains guests.  However, her son is needy and clingy and is desperate for her attention.  This would be more understandable if he was young, but he's twelve years old.  There's a time for being with kids and a time for being with adults.  Spend the afternoon with your son and then the evening with the adults.  I can fully understand not wanting to have him at the dinner party.  Last time I brought my daughter to a nice restaurant, she ran around like an animal and stole a lady's eyeglasses.

So, her son, very upset at being ignored for five whole minutes, jumps down the stairs in an effort to injure/kill himself.  He breaks a few bones and spends the night in the hospital, but he should be fine.  Irene is feeling quite guilty at his plight and vows to spend much more time with him.  However, he dies unexpectedly from a blood clot sustained from his injuries.  So, Irene falls into a deep depression and doesn't leave her room for a while.  When she does, she decides to help others in need.

Her help gradually increases from simply helping to pay for medication to helping the actual people in the neighborhood.  What would really help is if these people could find jobs with decent wages, the same problem we have here today.  A handsome male friend of hers, her husband's cousin Andrea pushes the idea of social radicalism to make a better society.  Of course they have to throw communism in there because it's a 50s movie.  Irene's husband is upset that she's not around and believes that she is cheating on him.   Here's a radical idea: Tell. your. husband. what. you. are. doing.

That would have solved everything.  Just tell him you're depressed and helping poor people makes you feel better.  Spending money on medicine and food for children instead of on dinner parties.  Eventually she gets thrown into the crazy house.  They don't understand that someone doesn't need to be a part of a religious or political group in order to help the underserved in their communities.  A group of people that she's helped rally outside her window, but she's trapped inside.

This movie was okay, but it just seemed like a mouthpiece for various political ideas.  The characters are too unrealistic and there is no actual reason for her to be committed.  The 50s justice system in movies never makes sense.  The film shows the contrast between the wealthy Italians and the poor of society without offering any true solution.  I will give it a 5/10.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ghostbusters (1984)

I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July!  I've watched a few new films, but I really feel like I should talk about Ghostbusters because the new one is about to come out soon and I think it will be terrible.  Especially since all the marketing seems to declare "if you don't like this you're sexist".  Not liking the new movie isn't sexist, it's simply not liking what looks like a terrible movie.  Also all of the toys are being put in the boy's toy section not the girls which is odd.  If you want girls to be interested in girl characters, then market them to the girls, which no one is doing.

Ok, the first movie came out before I was born, but I grew up watching the Real Ghostbusters cartoon in the '80s.  So when the movie came on video, I watched it all the time.  Not a huge fan of the second film though.  Even though it's about ghosts and the busting of them, it's not a horror film.  It could have easily been made a horror film, but they went the comedy route.  Three paranormal scientists lose their jobs at a university and decide to put their knowledge to use ridding the city of ghosts.  They do so well that they become famous and have to hire another ghostbuster for extra help.  It turns out all these extra ghosts are because the world is ending with the apocalypse and gods and everything.  Meanwhile, a mysterious building is the source of all these goings-on.  

So this movie has everything.

Mystery - what's up with the weird apartment building? Was it built to summon the end of days?  What about the safety of the people who live there?

Horror - there's ghosts attacking people, sliming people, a giant marshmallow man is storming the city and the world may come to an end.

Sci fi - neat gadgets, like their blasters that blast the ghosts.  Also you can't cross the streams or all your molecules in your body will explode, however they do exactly this at the end and it seems to work alright for them.  They also have other objects in their arsenal for the trapping and storage of ghosts.

Comedy - this film has some of the funniest people from the 80s in it, and they wrote it as well.  We can quote this film over and over.  The humor is not dated so this is a movie that can be watched any year, and it's great to watch at any age.  I watched this all the time as a kid, and I still watch it today.  The best is Ray because he's the most naive of the ghostbusters.  He's the one who chooses the Stay-puft marshmallow man because he thinks he could never hurt anyone.

Everything you could want from a film, you can find in this film.  If it had more sappy drama it could have won Best Picture.  But it is better than that.  It is so awesome.  I will give it a 10/10.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Babe (1995)

Today's film is Babe.  It's nice to share a movie from my childhood with my own child.  I remember watching this film in the theater.

Babe is a little piglet.  Pigs only have one purpose, and that is to be eaten.  All the other animals know this, except Babe of course.  He is taken to a fair where he is meant to be a prize, and he is won by a farmer named Arthur Hoggett.  A pig adopted by Hoggett?  Is this fate?

Without his mother around, he looks to a Border Collie named Fly as an adoptive mother.  Eventually he finds a talent for sheep-herding, but he does it much differently than a dog.  Dogs see themselves as superior to sheep, so they talk down to them.  However, Babe speaks to them politely, so he has no trouble herding them.  Fly's mate, Rex, does not like Babe acting out of line.  Pigs should act like pigs and dogs act like dogs.  Babe is acting out of the natural order of things and this makes Rex angry.

While Mrs. Hoggett is away, Mr. Hoggett enters Babe into a sheep-herding competition.  Will they even accept Babe as a proper entry?  After much debate they do, and he is allowed to enter.  Now if he doesn't do well, then Mr. Hoggett will be the laughingstock of the entire county.  Rex can't allow his master to be embarrassed so he runs back to the sheep to ask for help, something a dog would normally never do.  They tell him a password to use, and this allows Babe to talk the sheep at the competition.  By speaking cordially to the sheep, he herds them the best way he can.

The scenes in the movie are split up like chapters in a book, so it's easy for kids to follow along.  Azalea really liked this aspect of the movie.  And of course she loves animals.  So this is a good movie for parents to watch with their kids.  I will give it an 8/10.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Today's film is The Bridge on the River Kwai, which focuses on a Japanese prison camp during WWII.  A huge troop of British soldiers and officers have been captured, and the director of the camp forces them to build a bridge for the Japanese army.  There's also an American who has been there for some time, but more on him later.

The main officer, Col. Nicholson, plays only by the rules and claims he and the other officers shouldn't be doing manual labor like working on a bridge.  The director, Saito, doesn't care about no stupid Geneva convention and wants as many people as possible working.  This becomes a battle of stubbornness between the two, and we know how stubborn men can be.  Eventually, Nicholson wins and the British set out to build a really good bridge.

Now this bridge becomes a source of British pride for Col Nicholson and he gets really hardcore about it.  He refuses to sabotage any of it, and makes his soldiers build it the best they can, so years later when the war is over, they can all be remembered for this super fantastic bridge of awesome.  That's in the middle of nowhere in a jungle.  They even erect a fancy plaque to commemorate the bridge. Really.

Remember the American dude from the beginning?  Well he escapes and with the help of local villagers, makes a miraculous recovery.  The navy wants him to go back and lead them on a dangerous mission through the jungle - to blow up the bridge on the River Kwai.  He really doesn't want to.  He spent a long time in the awful prison camp, suffered, and saw many people die.  He is starting to get over what he went through and they are forcing him to go back.  He agrees to go with them.  It takes a while but they do make it to the bridge.

They set up the charges to blow up the bridge, but of course Col Nicholson spots them and runs down to investigate.  He really gets in their way of blowing up the bridge, and causes the death of the soldiers responsible for blowing it up.  The soldiers tell him what the mission is about and he realizes he let his personal pride ruin what they were doing.  He falls on the plunger himself and blow up the bridge.  Now when he is hit he lands over there <----  and then falls on the plunger which is over here ------>.   Well that is remarkably convenient.  Overall it was a very enjoyable film.  I will give it a 9/10.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Jungle Book (1967)

So I figured since I reviewed the live action version last month, I really should review the original Disney version of The Jungle Book.  You can read the review of the 2016 version here.  I actually like the newer version better.

I had the great fortune to watch The Jungle Book in the theaters when it was re-released in the early 90's.  It was originally made in 1967 and was one of the last films approved by Walt Disney himself.  This film is especially rare since the earlier ones focused on princesses more, and there are almost no female characters in this.

The whole film feels a bit rushed.  They also tried to cram too many songs in there.  All anyone ever remembers are Baloo and King Louie's songs so it's not like it matters.  My husband asked me why the vultures looked like the Beatles.  They didn't have the vultures in the live action film, and obviously their song was cut.  They actually were based on the Beatles because the filmmakers wanted them to voice them, but it didn't work out.  I think it would have been hilarious if they actually did.  That makes me think, what is the difference between vultures and buzzards? I really don't know.

The character of Mowgli is also a lot different.  The live action one makes all these inventions, which show off his human cunning and intuition whereas cartoon Mowgli doesn't do this.  The cartoon character also seems a lot younger and more immature.  Live action Mowgli chooses to leave the pack of his own volition in order to protect them from Shere Khan.  The cartoon one simply gets kicked out and doesn't understand.

My daughter really loved Shere Khan.  When he appeared on screen, she would jump out of her seat and yell,  Tiger! Tiger!!! RAWRRR!   I believe this is because my husband and I both went to Auburn and are huge Auburn Tigers fans.  We have tiger stuff all over our house and love tigers.  So Azalea simply can't see a tiger as a villain.

Overall, this isn't the best Disney film, but there are some good songs and it's great to watch with kids.  I will give it a 6/10.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gimme Shelter (1970)

Today's film is Gimme Shelter, a documentary about one of the greatest rock n roll bands of all time, The Rolling Stones.  The first half shows them making an album and features a lots of great songs everyone is sure to recognize.

The majority of the film focuses on their quest to make a free concert to mimic Woodstock.  The problem is that you can't recreate outdoor festivals because they're all different.  Also, they planned to do it at the Altamont Speedway in California.  There was a lot more drugs and violence at this concert than Woodstock.

Instead of hiring a security firm or off duty police officers for their concert, The Rolling Stones decided to hire the Hell's Angels as their security.  This was probably not the best idea.  However, they did do their job.  One Hell's Angel stabbed a man, but film footage reveals he had a gun drawn and could have easily shot a performer or an audience member.

The crowd was so wild and out of control at this concert.  It's like they had no respect for anything.  This year, I was upset that my husband would not take me to the local outdoor concert because he thought it would be too dangerous for a pregnant woman.  During the Altamont concert, four women gave birth!  60s women are hardcore!

This is a good documentary for us to see a historical event as it happened.  This concert showed the end of the Woodstock-hippie era.  Everyone thought that the hippies would usher in a time of peace and love and harmony.  But the Altamont concert proved that nope, people are still assholes.  If anything, the film shows lots and lots of good music.  It's like listening to an album and watching a film at the same time.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Today's film is The Greatest Show on Earth, but it's definitely not the greatest movie on earth.  Why are Charlton Heston movies so long?  I remember watching this on tv when I was little, but all I remembered was the train crash, so I thought I should watch the whole thing.  So this marks the 50th best picture film I have ever seen.

I wouldn't call this a best picture, but compared to the other films nominated? Probably yeah.  There was like Ivanhoe and Moulin Rouge and stuff, so I can see that a super exciting circus picture would win it.  It's more of like an almost 3 hour long commercial for Barnum and Bailey circus.  The worst part was Betty Hutton's acting by a long shot.  They have scenes showing each of the acts, the animals, and a whole section about putting the tent up. They make sure to mention the tent's fireproof quality because just a few years before, a circus tent burned to the ground, killing over 100 people.  And no one has to worry about racketeers or thieving carnies at the circus, because they will get thrown in the mud.  No, literally they get thrown in the mud.

The main reason why I really don't like the circus and I'll never take my kids is because of the animals.  Animals are not meant to be locked in cages and only let out to perform for people.  That's a horrible way to live.  They are portrayed positively in this film, and an elephant trainer even uses her elephant to lift off a broken rail off the boss, when machinery could not.  Barnum and Bailey actually stopped using elephants in its acts this year, but is it too little, too late?

There's lots of subplots in this movie and there has to be because circuses take a lot of people to run.  The boss, Brad (Charlton Heston) hires a popular new act to ensure a full season.  The act is Sebastian, a hot either French or Italian, I cant tell, aerial act.  This forces Brad's girlfriend, also an aerial artist, out of the center ring which devastates her.

My little sister is actually an aerial artist for the circus which is one reason why I find circuses so interesting.  Aerial artists (they hate being called trapeze artists) take what they do really seriously and often feel invincible doing it.  That's why Holly used the wrong rope to do her spins and why Sebastian cut away his net.  They don't see the danger in what they're doing.

Another thing is they gave Buttons the clown wayyy too much screentime.  He's like in every scene.  And the big reveal is that he's actually a murderer.  Well of course he's a murderer, he's a clown.  I didn't need to see any of the movie to tell you that.

This may not be the best acted movie ever, but you don't go to the circus for the acting.  You go because it's exciting.  And there's a lot going on everywhere you look. And this film achieved that so I will give it an 8/10.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Jungle Book (2016)

My husband really wanted to see this movie in the theatres, so he took me in the morning.  I was not looking forward to it, because I have already seen The Jungle Book, and its going to be the exact same movie.  The same story, same characters, and the same songs.

The difference is this film can be considered live action.  The animals are computer animated, but they look pretty real.  The main reason he wanted to see the movie is that Christopher Walken played King Louie and Bill Murray played Baloo the bear.  Mowgli is played by an actual human in a realistic jungle setting.  It is a lot different than the first live action Jungle Book film by Disney, the one from the 90s, because that one focuses more on Mowgli's adulthood.  This film is basically a shot for shot remake of the cartoon.

The film does have a more realistic feel to it.  There's nothing more realistic than a 30 foot monkey singing jazz.  There are actually a few scenes that more closely follow the book than the original movie.  They also gave the wolves a bigger part in the film, which makes sense because they raised him.  Also, the elephants are portrayed as wise stewards of the jungle, not a group of marching idiots.  That's because our knowledge of elephants has changed drastically since the 60s.  We now know how intelligent and caring elephants are, when before we thought of them as simply large and destructive.

If you're wondering if the animals sing, they really do.  They sing "The Bare Necessities" and "I wanna be like you".  I have never heard Christopher Walken sing and it is hilarious.  If I had to choose to watch a Jungle Book film again, I would choose this film over the animated one.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Friday, April 15, 2016

My 30th birthday and blog progress!

Today is my 30th birthday!  My original plan was to watch all 1001 movies from the list by today, but that obviously didn't happen, and I really didn't think I was going to do it.  When I started this blog in February 2013, I was suffering from a nerve disorder and confined to a wheelchair.  I was in constant pain and often had seizures as well.  Since I couldn't go out or play sports or anything, I had to find something to occupy my time.  Also, with my autism, I often prefer being alone than in crowded indoor areas.

I looked at many small film lists and then I came across the really really big list - The 1001 films you must see before you die.  And I thought, that sounds really morbid, but I'm in pain in a wheelchair, am I really living?  How long would this take me to do? 30 sounds like a nice round number, I'll pick that.  After having several surgeries, I wasn't entirely sure I would make it 30 so I would try to watch what I could while I had the time.

Not only did I have several surgeries, but I had rehab and lots of therapy.  I learned what triggers my seizures and try to avoid them, which isn't always possible but I no longer rely on medication every day.  After 3 years of constant work, I can now walk completely unassisted.  And after being told by a fertility clinic it was impossible for me to have kids, I am now expecting a baby due in October.

I am so happy at everyone who stops by my blog, and I enjoy reading your comments.  I also enjoy reading many other film reviewer's blogs as well.  I have been pain free for almost a year now.  It feels really great.  I am now watching films as my schedule allows me.  When my baby is born I will retire to being a full time mom, which I am excited about.  This will also allow me to spend more time with my daughter.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Earrings of Madame de...(1953)

Today's film is The Earrings of Madame de... .  The main lessons we take from this are don't cheat on your spouse and don't lie either.

Madame de's first name is Louise, and her last name is never revealed.  So we'll just call her Louise.  She's very rich and pretty, but at the same time greedy and selfish and a shopaholic as well looking at her closet.  She's amassed quite a bit of shopping debt so she decides to pawn her earrings.  Everyone at some point in time has had to pawn something to pay off a bill.  The struggle is real.  However, the earrings she chooses were a wedding present from her husband, even though she's not fond of the style.

The whole problem comes from Louise's inability to tell the truth.  Her husband is obviously wealthy, but has no idea of what debt she may owe or why.  Well we know why - she shops too much but he doesn't know that.  It's not like they had online bank receipts back then.  She makes this huge show about losing her earrings at a theatre so much that it makes the news.  But her lie is revealed quite quickly.  Now that her husband has the earrings, he gives them to his mistress who is traveling to Constantinople.

Let's talk about how awful Louise and her husband's relationship really is.  They not only sleep in separate beds, they're straight up sleeping in separate rooms.  He had a mistress, and she's sweet on a hot Italian diplomat named Donati.  And they have no problem constantly lying to one another.

One of the reasons Louise falls for Donati is because he dances with her at every social gathering.  Certain husbands refuse to dance with their wives and it can be frustrating.  We don't care if you "don't have rhythm", if you don't dance with us we'll find someone who will.

Donati purchases the diamond earrings and gives them to Louise, not knowing they were originally hers.  This makes her husband hella mad.

Louise's husband becomes jealous of her love interest and challenges him to a duel.  This isn't fair because he's a general with combat training and a duel isn't going to be a challenge.  So, her husband thinks its okay to have a mistress but his wife can't even look at another man?  Typical men.  He shoots Donati and kills him with one shot.  Meanwhile, Louise tries to stop them but she is too late.  I think the film is very well shot, and the costumes are beautiful.  I will give it an 8/10.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Safe (1995)

Today's film is Safe.  It's about a wife who is sick and tired of being sick and tired.  And I can relate that.  I haven't watched any films in over a month because I am expecting a baby!  The fatigue and nausea makes it hard to stay up and focus on anything, especially long movies.  We don't know if it is a boy or girl yet, but we will find out in a few weeks.

Carol the housewife is easy to relate to because there's nothing unique about her.  She's a generic housewife with a great house and a great husband.  She develops a mysterious illness out of nowhere.  Is it depression?  Is it allergies? What could it be?

Carol later finds out that the chemicals of modern living are what is making her sick, so she goes to a retreat out in the country to find healing.  Personally I think her symptoms are psychosomatic, and maybe a few weeks in the fresh air will do her good.  We last see her looking in the mirror saying "I love you".  That is the first step to feeling better.  She may need treatment for anxiety as well.  It may take her a while to get better, but health is always a journey.  I like how it doesn't present her illness as some weird science fiction disease, but leaves it open to interpretation.  I will give this film a 9/10.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ba wang bie ji (Farewell My Concubine) (1993)

Today's film is Farewell My Concubine.  It is sort of misleading because the poster features a woman, but the concubine character is really a man.  It is mostly about a friendship, but somehow fits an entire history of China in there as well.

So it starts off a long time ago in a Chinese opera school for boys.  I thought opera meant singing but this is some hard core acrobatics circus/kung fu training area and I'm not entirely sure how that helps them sing.  Two of the students grow up together and remain friends their entire lives.

The first one is Douzi, who is small and therefore thrust into more feminine roles.  His friend is Shitou, who gets to have all the masculine roles.  As they grow older, they get really good at the parts of the concubine and the king in the opera "Farewell My Concubine".

Now that they've become adults, they change their names into equally hard to spell Chinese names.  Like I just learned your names and now you're going to change them.  Douzi becomes Cheng Dieyi and Shitou becomes Duan Xiaolou.  Dieyi nows becomes a flawless expert with his makeup and fully embraces his feminine role.

Meanwhile, Xiaolou marries a former prostitute.  Since Dieyi has had a crush on him for years, he gets insanely jealous and threatens to quit performing with him.  Eventually they do make up though.
It's easy to feel bad for Dieyi because people have always tried to change him to fit their own agenda.  His own mom cut off his extra finger so he could go to secret opera ninja training camp.  Then, he is forced to play lady's roles from childhood on which messed his own sexual views about himself and everyone around him.  His friend knows that he has feelings for him, but he'd rather marry a hooker.  Even his creepy sugar daddy makes him drink turtle blood or some other magic shit to help his voice.  He doesn't have a choice in any of this stuff.

Meanwhile, the country of China changes as the Communists take over.  The opera people don't mind this as long as they get to keep performing.  It is interesting to see how much China changed throughout the beginning of the twentieth century, but the movie never presents it as a history lesson.  The final scene shows them as old men, still doing the same roles they've always done.  Dieyi uses this opportunity to kill himself during the performance.  And I'm like, why?  You're old.  Just die of old age.  It was a good movie, but it had a stupid ending so I will give it a 8/10.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Deadpool (2016)

Today's film is Deadpool!  I have read many comics about him and have been looking forward to this movie for a long time.  The film is a lot like the comics - funny, very violent, and with many breaks of the fourth wall.

The film shows the origin story, of how Wade Wilson became Deadpool.  He has a girlfriend, who he thinks is hot, but honestly she looks like Michael Jackson to me.  When his powers of healing activate, it spreads his cancer and makes him look rather ugly.   He is ashamed of his looks and hids away from his girlfriend.

He tracks down the people who changed him in order for them to fix his ugliness.  He enlists the help of two X-Men.  "It's almost as if the studio couldn't afford any more", he whines.  He does end up finding the people and they have an epic violent battle, but he has to reveal himself to his girlfriend.  Will she accept him?  I don't see why not, Deadpool is epic.  It's not a serious action Marvel film, it' very funny.  Deadpool's constant breaking of the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience is hilarious.  He often comments about the film itself and the actors in it, as if he's completely aware he is just a character.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cléo de 5 à 7 (Cleo from 5 to 7) (1962)

Waiting on a medical test is one of the worst things ever.  It makes your anxiety go up like 1000%.  Even if it turns out to be negative, it's the anticipation and the not knowing that makes it so bad.  Especially when it takes a few days, that makes it even worse!

Today's film is Cleo from 5 to 7, and it's simply about a lady waiting for results for her medical test.  This will determine whether or not she has cancer.  She is worried about having terminal cancer and is a nervous wreck.  What is worse is that today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, but it feels even longer for her.

Cleo can be a bit melodramatic.  Believing she is dying, she buys a black hat and generally annoys her friends.  But she just needs someone to listen to her.  She finds that with Antoine, a soldier on leave from Algeria.  He has to go back to the war soon.  They talk about going to war and having cancer, and it makes Cleo feel better.  Antoine offers to go to the hospital with her.  It turns out Cleo does have cancer, but it's treatable and the doctor already has a treatment plan in mind.  Cleo feels a lot better about her situation.  Even though it's not exactly the best result, the horrible feeling of not knowing is over.

The problem I have with this film is that if it's called Cleo from 5 to 7, shouldn't it be in real time?  It's only like 90 minutes long.  That is kind of disappointing.  Also, the editing of the film is sloppy and distracting.  I didn't like it.  Other than that the film itself is okay.  I will give it a 7/10.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Mon Oncle (1958)

Today's film is Mon Oncle (My Uncle).  It is another film featuring Jacques Tati's character Mr. Hulot.  The central theme of all Jacques Tati's film is that modern life is too complicated and frustrating.  The modern world is also cold and impersonal, too plasticky.

This film focuses on Mr. Hulot, and the fact he seems to have no job.  We also never see him eat and he always stays clean.  Is Mr. Hulot a robot?  Is that why he hardly talks?

Mr. Hulot's sister and brother-in-law may see him as a loser, but their son, Gerard is very fond of him, because he's a fun guy.  Gerard lives in a sterile, modern house that feels boring, and his fun uncle is a break from that.

 Mr. Hulot's sister, Mrs. Arpel, has a mission to get her brother a job as she feels it will be good for him.  I think Mr. Hulot's main problem is that he has no spatial awareness. That could be a flaw in his programming.

Gerard and his friends like to pull pranks on unsuspecting adults and fool them.  Kids back then were just like kids are today.  People like to think kids today are bad because society is worse, or "rap culture" makes them bad, but these kids in the film are no different.  Kids throughout history have always been little shits.

Their pranks remind me of my husband's favorite game.  There is a place here that you can sample different sodas.  One is a terribly bitter soda.  It's actually meant to be a palate cleanser, not a soda to gulp as a snack.  His favorite pasttime is tricking unsuspecting people to take a huge sip of this soda.  Their faces are priceless after drinking it.

One thing that confuses me about this film is the weather.  Some people are wearing big coats, while others are wearing sundresses.  Well is it hot or cold in France? I don't know.

Shout out to Mr. Arpel for doing everything he can to secure employment for his brother-in-law.  He doesn't do it for himself, and he definitely doesn't do it for Hulot, who he sees as a constant fuck-up.  He does it because he knows it will make his wife happy, and he loves his wife very much.

Mr. Hulot's lack of spatial awareness in a factory where people and machines depend on him is a recipe for disaster.  He can't pay attention to anything and climbs on things like a monkey.  Then, he single-handedly destroys about 300 feet of plastic tubing, which can't be cheap.

Mr. Arpel doesn't give up and offers him job after job.  Millions of jobless college graduates dream of being in Hulot's position.  But instead of being grateful, he just continues to fuck everything up.  Finally, Mr. Arpel has the great idea to ship him somewhere else, so the last scene is him dropping off Hulot at the airport.

This film is amusing, but it's not hilarious.  I will give it a 7/10.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ugetsu monogatari (Ghost Story) (1953)

Today's film is Ugetsu monogatari, which means "ghost story".  I do love a good ghost story.  Ghosts can be benevolent or have evil intentions, basically no different than living people.

The film takes place in feudal Japan; a time of shogun and samurai, a time of constant wars.  Caught in the middle of this is a family that makes pottery.  The husband's name is Genjuro and he hopes to make a fortune selling in the city.  Meanwhile, their neighbor Tobei wants to be a samurai despite not being born into the class nor having any combat training or armor.  Their wives warn them against their ambitions.

While in the city, Genjuro encounters a beautiful woman with serious eyebrow game and her old nurse.   She loves his beautiful pottery and orders it to be taken to her mansion.  Lots of weird stuff warn us that this is not a good idea.  The woman is Lady Wakasa and she is the last surviving member of her family.

Genjuro falls under Lady Wakasa's spell and stays with her despite being married.  Tobei through sheer luck does become a samurai, but loses his fortune just as quickly.  While Genjuro is busy cheating, his wife and child try to make their way back home.  His wife is robbed and killed by passing soldiers, but her little boy escapes.

When I studied Drama History, I actually wrote my term paper on Noh drama, which is a type of theatre performance.  Lady Wakasa's mask-like makeup and slow, deliberate movements are exactly what you would see in a Noh drama.  These plays often focus on kami, or spirits, which is another way of foretelling us that Lady Wakasa is not of this world.

Genjuro finally comes clean to Lady Wakasa and tells him that he's already married and escapes.  But he learns the truth, that everything was an illusion!  Even the mansion they were staying in was actually burned down!

Genjuro returns home to his wife and child, but we know that his wife is not really there.  She returned one last time to see him and make sure her son was safe.  The next day, Genjuro learns that she was killed while he was busy cheating, and he feels bad.  Tobei and his wife who are back to their normal lives too, learn that having too much ambition and being greedy can ruin you.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Today's film is Some Like it Hot.  It's got Marilyn Monroe in it!  Yeah let's watch!

The two most funniest things in the universe:

  1. Farts
  2. Men dressed up as women

So, these two male musicians, Joe and Jerry, witness a mob hit, and not just any mob hit, but the famous St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which 8 people were murdered.  They see a group of female musicians, and run away with them as to avoid being made.

There's men dressed up as women, men dressed up pretending to be different men, it all gets crazy.  Is no one who they say they really are?  Joe tries his best to woo Marilyn Monroe, which can't be that hard, I mean she's Marilyn Monroe. Come on.  Meanwhile, Jerry as a woman is fancied by a millionaire.  He tries everything he can to keep him away without revealing himself, but in the end he comes clean and admits he's really a man in disguise.  The millionaire doesn't care about that and he and Jerry are still married to this day.

If this movie was remade today, it would star Adam Sandler and Kevin James and my husband would watch it every Friday.  10/10 would watch again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Come Drink with Me (Dai zui xia) (1966)

Yay! It's time to watch a kung fu movie and today's will be Come Drink with Me!  This is a fun film that is full of a lot of action.  And it stars a woman!

So the bad guys kidnap the governor's son and hold him for ransom.  The price will be the release of their leader.  The governor sends his best constable to rescue him.  She also happens to be the governor's daughter.

The constable, Golden Swallow, at first wears her hair up in a bun and men's clothes.  Everyone calls her a young man, but it's clearly obvious she's a woman.  This proves a point we learned by watching Mulan: All you have to do is put your hair in a bun and everyone will believe you are a man, no matter how feminine you look.

Golden Swallow is helped by a drunken singing beggar called Drunken Cat.  He is funny and always tries to help her.  She arrives at the temple to fight everyone and rescue her brother.  There are some great fight scenes here.  However, she is hit by a poison dart and runs off.

She is rescued by Drunken Cat, who really is a kung fu master in secret!!  The bad guys are being helped by an evil monk, who is also a kung fu master!  So many kung fu masters, more than you can shake a stick at!!

The bad guy monk wants Drunken Cat's staff for reasons, but he's like NOPE.  And they have awesome kung fu battles.  Meanwhile, Golden Swallow manages to save her brother without having to give up the bad guy leader.  Golden Swallow and her band of female fighters battle with the bad guys.  Then, Drunken Cat and evil monk guy have a battle of the staff.

This movie was exciting and had excellently choreographed fight scenes.  Also, it had decent female characters without being patronizing.   I will give it an 8/10.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cría cuervos (1976)

Today's film is Cría cuervos.  It stars children but it is not a child's film.

The term "Cría cuervos" means to "raise ravens (crows)".  This means to say if you raise a raven, they'll scratch your eyes out.  Same way if you raise a child poorly, they'll end up destroying you.

The film stars three orphan girls, Irene, Ana, and Maite.  Their mother was sickly, pale, and eventually died of cancer.  Their father was an army man who regularly cheated on her.  The mother gives Ana a jar of baking soda and tells her to throw it out because it is a dangerous poison.  Ana, not knowing what baking soda really is, keeps it for her nefarious purposes.  She puts it in her father's milk to "poison" him, and when he dies of  a possible heart attack, she believes the poison works.

Now that the girls are without both parents, their mother's sister, Aunt Paulina moves in.  Also, their invalid grandmother comes with her.  She is in a wheelchair and cannot speak.  At first, they are happy, but they realize that Aunt Paulina has the exact personality of their dad!  This does not please Ana at all, and she lets everyone know this.

The orphan girls - Ana, little Maite, and Irene.

Ana often dreams of her mother and father, and has conversations with them often.  We can tell these are really dreams instead of visions, because her mother always tells her it's late and she should be asleep.  Well she is asleep.

Aunt Paulina isn't even a good mom, often leaving to do who knows what while the eldest, Irene, has to babysit.  When she's not gone, she's busy at the house making out with married men.  The only person Ana has to talk to about her parents is the family housekeeper, Rosa, who has known her since birth.  But, Paulina quickly shuts them down and won't let her "gossip" about her sister.  Talking about her parents is a healthy outlet and Paulina actively seeks to stop that.  Paulina is incredibly rude towards Rosa.

Ana is so frustrated at Paulina's presence (who really is like father version 2.0)  that she plots to poison her as well.  So, she dumps baking soda in her milk and is shocked to see her alive the next day.  At the end, the summer is over and they are no longer cooped up in the house.  They dress for school and head out into the city.  Maybe being away from the house for awhile will be good for them.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In Bloom (2013)

Today's film is In Bloom, which takes place in the country of Georgia during the early 1990s.  This was right after the collapse of the Soviet empire.  So, Georgia in the 1990s looked a lot different from America.

What do I remember from the 90s?  I remember there were a lot of grocery stores that were convenient, and a lot of tacky fast food restaurants.  There were no coffee shops like Starbucks back then, at least not in Florida.  There was one Dunkin Donuts, but their coffee is hella nasty.  There were no Walmarts to rape the small towns with their presence, but they would soon come.

  What is interesting is that Georgia had none of this!  All of these things are examples of capitalism, and there's nothing like that there.  It was definitely a no-frills country.  They had just been freed from the rule of the Soviets, but still were working out some issues.  There was widespread poverty and violence was the norm.  There were still daily breadlines and every parent somehow managed to be an alcoholic.

Dealing with all this are two fourteen-year-olds, Eka and Natia.  They just want to go to school and live a normal life.  A boy named Lado likes Natia and gives her a gun as a gift.  Well, he may be more Floridian than we thought! That is a totally normal gift here, but for most of America, a girl may appreciate roses or chocolates more as a romantic gift.  The gun plays a significant role in this film.  The gun is actually meant to protect her from a practice called "bride kidnapping" which is exactly what it sounds like.  However, Natia gets kidnapped and forced into marriage anyway!

At first, Natia doesn't mind because her new husband is nice and her in-laws are more cordial than her loud drunken family.  But soon, she learns that married life isn't as great as it appears to be.  She was only 14 and had to drop out of school.  Then, Lado returns and Natia's husband gets insanely jealous.  He kills Lado, and Natia becomes furious.  Naturally, she would want justice for him.  Eka is the only one who doesn't think violence is the answer to anything, as her father lives faraway in prison for murder.

It never shows what Natia decides to do with the gun, or what her husband's fate is.  We do see Eka throw the gun in a lake.  Was she trying to prevent more violence, as she did not want to see Natia suffer the same fate as her father?  Or was she hiding evidence?

It ends with Eka taking a trip to visit her father in prison, something she has never wanted to do before.  The films ends before we see him.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (1945)

Today's film is Rome, Open City.  This is an especially impressive film because it is about WWII and was filmed during WWII!  So like the danger was real for these people but they didn't care because they had a story to tell us.

There are quite a few films from this era made in Italy.  This country gets a lot of pity from me, because they were in the middle in the War.  The people were controlled by both the Nazis and the fascists, like nothing good comes out of that.  They were starving and broke, and then their controllers lost the war and they had to deal with that too!  It was a really rough time for Italy.

During this time, the Nazis had full control of Italy.  However, there are some rebels they are determined to get rid of.  Most of the film consists of these rebels and their families, and them hiding from the Nazis.  The local priest, Don Pietro does a lot to help the rebel cause.

I thought it was neat how they transferred messages with their secret code words and whatnot.  And one guy had a message inside a bullet!  Today we would just send a private text but it was so much harder back then.

In addition to the rebels, who all seem to be men, there are several female characters with their own stories.  One of them is a rebel's pregnant fiancee, who is gunned down in the street by the Nazis.  Another is a beautiful performer that gets tricked by a lesbian dominatrix Nazi into giving up vital information and then gets burned by her.

Eventually, the Nazis capture Don Pietro and two of the rebels.  The evil Nazi guy is trying to get information from the rebel, but he will not talk.  The Nazi tries to guilt trip Don Pietro into giving up information or convincing the others to talk.  But Don Pietro doesn't give up and refuses to meet any of his demands no matter how scary the Nazis are.  Don Pietro is straight up No-Flinch Kobe.  Of the two other rebels, one hangs himself and the other is beaten to death.

When the other Nazis ask what name they should use for the dead man, he gives a fake name, because he doesn't want to "create a martyr for the rebellion".  So instead, they decide the execute the priest.  So that's a better idea?!

This movie provides an interesting glimpse into the lives of people who lived under Nazi occupation.  I will give this film a 10/10.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy 3rd blog anniversary!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my blog!  I am excited about the progress of my blog.  I'm still working on the 2012 version of the 1001 list in its entirety.  I keep track using icheckmovies.

Out of the total 1170 movies on the combined list, I have watched 530. Which isn't a lot, but it's a lot for me.  So, there's a long way to go to completing the 1001 list.  I've also started watching more movies from the Criterion collection, which guess what?  My husband got me a brand new laptop!  It's mainly for gaming, obviously, but I'll use it to watch films and write as well.  I am very pleased with this.  It's going to be a great year for discussing movies.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Le Million (1931)

Today's film is Le Million,  which I believe is French for The Million.  I did not expect it to be a musical!

 The main character is a starving artist type who owes money to a lot of people.  His money troubles are over now that he's won the lottery.  Everyone sings "Millionaire"!  How he probably won't be a millionaire once he's paid everyone off!

Luckily he has put his lotto ticket in a safe space, such as a locked box or drawer.  No, wait, he is a man; he just stuck it in his jacket pocket and left that at his girlfriend's apartment.  She gives it to a fugitive to help him out.  His friend and/or possibly roommate also knows about the jacket, and some friend he is because now he's after it for himself!

 Everyone goes on a wild goose chase to retrieve the jacket, but we all know he's going to get the ticket back.  It is actually the fugitive from the beginning that helps them out the most. I will give this film a 7/10.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Three Kings (1999)

Today's film is Three Kings.  Is it a war drama, a comedy, or social commentary?  Maybe it is all three!  At the end of the Gulf War in the early 1990s, 4 soldiers set about to retrieve some stolen gold.  And they get it fairly quickly about 35 minutes into the film.  The hard part will be getting the gold where it needs to go.

As they already trying to transfer the gold, the people of the region keep needing their assistance.  Pesky people and their constant need for help!  The soldiers do the right thing and help the citizens, putting their needs over the desire for gold.  There is a lot of commentary over the real reasons we went over there, as well as the current state the area is in.  Nothing that we don't already know, but  remember this film was made before Junior Bush sent troops to Iraq and reopened old wounds.  In a sense, this film could have been set more recently and we would not have seen much difference.  I will give this an 8/10.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sherman's March (1985)

Today's film is Sherman's March.  If you are looking for an educational video about the civil war, you need to look elsewhere because this doesn't really have anything to do with the civil war at all.

If you are not familiar with Southern history, during the civil war General Sherman was a man who took it upon himself to burn the entire state of Georgia.  So he's not well liked around here.  A filmmaker, Ross, decides to make a documentary based on him, but his girlfriend leaves him right before.  This begins a journey of cringeworthy desperation.

As someone who has lived in the South my entire life, these 80's Southern folks are legit.  Most of the filming was done in Georgia.  He seems to be surrounded by a specific group of people.  This particular group is large and very vocal (read: loud) but they by no means represent all of the South.  They are loud, backwards, racist, religious, conservative, and hope for the apocalypse (or Rapture or whatever words they want to call it).  I went to my in-laws church several times and that is all they preach about.  We went to my husband's grandmother's funeral and right by the gravesite, the preacher spoke about the glorious end of the world for an hour.  The entire funeral no one mentioned his grandmother or her accomplishments.  I mean, she died because she was a drug addict so don't feel too bad, but they could have bullshit something nice about her.  It's not just a hope for a rapture, it's the desperate need, the longing for, a rapture that is a huge part of these people's lives.  This film was made in 1985 and nothing has changed at all in the South.  Nothing.

The majority of the film is creepy and pathetic.  He goes from woman to woman, desperately trying to get them to be his girlfriend.  He films one woman doing squats for a while, chases after old high school flames, and even finds a woman on a remote island.  He asks one woman, "Why don't you love me?"  That is so pathetic.

This film is honest.  It is real.  And it is everything that is wrong with the South.  Everyone in this film should be ashamed of themselves.  I will give this a 7/10.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

La Strada (1954)

Today's film is La Strada, a film that doesn't end well for the characters. I wonder if this film has to do with Italy itself after it lost WWII.  I tried looking up "La Strada" and all I got was directions to a local Italian restaurant. :(

It starts off with the death of Zampano the Strongman's assistant, Rosa.  He goes to her mother's house and asks to purchase her other daughter, Rosa's sister, Gelsomina.  Gelsomina is a simple, naive person and is forced to go with him as his new assistant.

Zampano and Gelsomina travel across the country as vaudeville performers.  Zampano is a strongman who has one stale act, while she learns to play instruments and entertain as a clown.  He doesn't treat her well, beats her, and sleeps around with any woman who says hello to him.

They are invited to work as part of a circus, but that doesn't go well either.  A high-wire act known as "The Fool" loves to taunt Zampano, and the angrier he gets, the funnier it seems.  Eventually, Zampano pulls a knife on him and is sent to jail.  The circus fires both of the men, and ask Gelsomina to stay with them.  But she refuses and goes to the jail to pick up Zampano.  The Fool also asks her to go with him as part of his show, and she refuses as well.  Later, she meets a nun who almost gets her to stay, but she will still not leave him.  Maybe she is more afraid of the unknown than she is afraid of staying with him.  She is a very simple person and doesn't know any better.

Later, Zampano and Gelsomina come across The Fool, who is changing a tire by the roadside.  This prompts Zampano to kill him, which devastates her.  He abandons Gelsomina while she is sleeping and drives off.  She cannot handle both the death of someone who was actually nice to her and her abandonment.

A few years later, Zampano learns what happened to her.  A woman tells her that her family found her on the beach, but she never spoke and eventually wasted away and died.  Did he learn anything from this?  Probably not.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Today's film is Gold Diggers of 1933.  It is about people trying to put on a Broadway show in the middle of the Great Depression, so it will conveniently be a musical.  Actually the songs are recognizable even if you haven't seen the film yet.  This film is funny and full of dirty/risque jokes.

A group of showgirls, Polly, Carol, and Trixie, live together and are excited that a new show will soon be put on.  However, there isn't any money invested yet.  Luckily, the handsome piano player next door, Brad, offers his services as a musician/songwriter and a small payment.  He doesn't write a check, but instead shows up later to offer $15000 cash.  That's a lot of money!  He is being super secretive so it's easy to be suspicious of him.

At first, Trixie suspects he is a bank robber, but the truth is worse - he's from a conservative rich family.  His older brother and the family lawyer waste no time in traveling to his house to tell him exactly what they think of cheap scandalous showgirls.  The showgirls are quite insulted and decide to give them a run for their money.  So, they prove they are not gold diggers by...being gold diggers??

 Everything seems to end up well, seeing as how every character gets married.  Also it shows you shouldn't judge people before you know them.  Also, the song "Gold Digger" was written by Kanye West, and he later married one.  Go figure.

The last scenes actually show bits of the musical they're performing.  They have a violin number which seems especially "electric".  The last number actually alludes to the depression and refers to the plight of homeless veterans.  Well, I am so glad we don't have that problem anymore.  This film was made 83 years ago, you'd think people would have come up with a solution by now.  I will give this film a 9/10.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Today is the start of a new year! In 2015, I watched 178 films and wrote 85 reviews. That's pretty good, especially since my laptop broke and I write when I get a chance to use a tablet.  Writing on a tablet keyboard is really frustrating.

My goals this year are to review the films on the list I've already seen, before I forget them. Also, to work on finishing at least one small list.  Also there's a lot of exciting things happening at the certain large entertainment company I work at, so I plan on being super busy.  Plus now that we own Star Wars, I have so much merchandise at my house it's ridiculous. Another goal is to finish all the painting projects I have. I've been really neglecting my house lately.

 I hope everyone has a productive and happy new year!