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!