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.