Queue Total

284 MOVIES (released titles only)

Note: Real spoilers are in black text on a black background. Highlight the black areas to read the spoilers.

Queue Numbers

#50- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

#100- Black Swan

#200- Mysteries of Lisbon

Last- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blue Beard

Blue Beard (2009)

Director: Cathering Breillat
Writer: Charles Perrault (fairytale), Cathering Breillat (adaptation)
Starring: Dominique Thomas, Lola Creton

two little girls read a fairytale in their attic. in the fairytale  a rich lord keeps marrying and his wives all disappear before a year of marriage. the fairytale is shown through the eyes of the latest, and very young wife.

The Woman
i was very excited for this movie because in the preview i had seen this movie was made to seem very dark and gory, but in a french, arty way. it wasn't. oh, it was french. very french. french super confusing ending. it was only an hour and twenty minutes long, so i guess it wasn't that bad of a waste of time. there was all this time spent on the circumstances of two sisters, and nothing much became of it. i guess there was a weird sort of parallel between the sisters in the fairytale, and the sisters in the attic? having the direct translation of grimm's entire collection, it did seem very unabridged fairytale. the moral is not really apparent, or just super outdated. women are pretty much underhanded liars in all of them, and that becomes a crux of the story. eh. didn't get it. don't recommend. it reminded me of this terrible movie we watched a billion years ago called "the girl slaves of morgana la fay" sounds awesome right? wrong it was boring and stupid. this didn't go quite that far, but it was still kind of boring, and like i said, the ending was way over my head.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


TiMER (2009)

Director: Jac Schaeffer
Writer: Jac Schaeffer
Starring: Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori

alternate universe where an invention called the "timer" can be implanted on your wrist, and it will tell you in days, hours, and minutes when you will meet your soul mate. oona's (caulfield) timer is still blank, meaning her mr. right has not had a timer implanted yet. so she is hunting him down, one timerless guy at a time. that is until she meets a grocery store clerk/ band member who convinces her to live life in the moment. questions still linger. is this guy her one?

The Woman
this had a great concept. i'm just not sure of the delivery. right after watching it, i was kind of disappointed, but now that i think about it....i think i like it a little more. caulfield did a great job. her character was a little reminiscent of her role as anya, the ex-vengeance demon, in buffy the vampire slayer, but she was playing a similarly neurotic about relationships character. good very ending. the events leading up to the ending seemed a little 'ok we have to end this, who cares about sticking to the characters personalties'  it followed the formula a little bit, but it still had that indy-ness approach. the stepsister character was totally awesome. that's a plus. she was a woman who wouldn't find her match until she was really, really old, so she was all about having fun, doing whatever she wanted,and telling people whatever she thought. if you had nothing better to do with your day, and you're a chick, or a slightly femmy male (like my man) i would recommend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Director: Gina Prince- Bythewood
Writer: Gina Prince- Bythewood (screenplay), Sue Monk Kidd (novel)
Starring: Dakota Fanning, j.hud, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany, and p. sawyer from one tree hill

a girl in the 60's south runs away from her abusive home, with her black nanny, in search of information about her mother, who she accidently shot and killed when she was four. she ends up at a honey farm run by three sisters who are sistas. pre- teen angst, and emotions.

The Woman
this was ok. it didn't suck. it was good to knit to. pre-teen angst is a terrible thing. so was being an african american in the south in the 60's. good job p. sawyer for getting a job in a real movie. and you are welcome my poopies.

one question. does kneeling on grits really hurt that bad? what a southern punishment! i'll keep that in mind

Visual Acoustics:The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (2008)

Directed: Eric Bricker
Written: Eric Bricker, Phil Ethington, Lisa Hughes, Jessica Hundley

Documentary about Julius Shulman, the leading architectural photographer  in the architectural  modernism movement. most prevalent in post WWII into the 80's?

The Woman
good documentary. it didn't really mess around with people who don't know anything about architechture (me) so i got lost a couple of times, but the photos were amazing, and the houses were amazing. it was interesting to see the theories behind the modernism architecture, blending man with landscape, and such. also, fascinating to learn about L.A. sort of coming into it's own, in the midst of this movement, which is why most houses are on the west coast. julius shulman seemed like a pretty awesome dude. very uncompromising with his visions and opinions, and yet a very gracious man. at least in his 90's which is when this documentary was filmed. they did show a bit of his work after the movement too, but there is something about his mid-century photos, with all that mid-century was just looking into a time when things were done with aesthetic purpose as well as function.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Women

The Women (2008)

Director: Diane English
Writer: Diane English, and some other people....all women of course
Starring: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett- Smith, Candace Bergen, Cloris Leachman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Mazar, and Bette Midler to name a few

the journey two women make with friends and co-workers in tow. meg ryan finds out her husband is cheating on her (i'm starting to sense a pattern here with this chick) annette bening is an editor of a magazine who is clinging on to her career, even thought she is not young and fresh. and some other stuff too, i guess.

The Woman
ok. look. i get it. we are an empowered sex. we do lots and lots and get no respect for it by most, even from other women, but here's the deal. finding yourself in your mid forties because you have left your cheating husband, and you are god awfully rich living in the disgustingly rich section of connecticut, and then by the end of the TWO hour, never ending movie you have reconsidered and begin dating your cheating husband again.....wait i forgot where i was going with this......oh yeah, is not the common woman's problem. i don't want to hear the whinings of the crusty wealthy women. i'm old. nobody respects all the hard work i've done. my wall street husband is cheating on me (duh. i don't think i've ever heard of a faithful wall street tycoon). look at all the work i have to do to maintain my youthful appearance, because men only respect young women. i'm so busy planning my lunch on my giant lawn with my silly housekeeper and foreign nanny. seriously. this is the first half of the movie.

this is my re enactment of the second hour. i'm old. i'm out of touch with young women. i'm going to start the career i've always wanted. it's a good thing my mother is also insanely wealthy, because she can just invest in my design company. but wait i'm still cool. look at what i've done. debra messing is in labor. i think i'll go back to my husband. baby. the end.

i am confused by the plot and general message of this movie. i don't identify with women who can shop regularly at saks. their plight does not concern me. if you try and make them pitiful. it only angers, and further alienates me.  if this was a movie about women who were starting over and had nothing to fall back on. i.e. the sprawling mansion in connecticut, or the penthouse apartment in manhattan, i might have enjoyed this a little better. fat, middle aged, middle income women, who had to really sacrifice something to gain something. that's like 90% of us who would actually watch this movie. i think the message of the movie was do what you are passionate about? don't settle for less? you can be a successful, independant woman. but then meg ryan goes back to her husband. be strong, but go back to your man because, after all, you do love the asshole? what?

i did appreciate the only male, in the entire movie was the baby at the end, fresh from the vagina, so he was still worthy. but you can't spray paint a pile of poo gold, and trick me into liking it.  this movie was incredibly stupid, and it's theme was lessened by the actual releasing of it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ghost Town

Ghost Town (2008)

Directed by David Koepp
Written by David Koepp, John Kamps
Starring Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Teal Leoni

Synopsis:  Super prick dentist dude has major ass problems and goes in for a scope.  But since he's such a jackass he demands that they put him under and he's dead on the table for seven minutes.  Upon his return, he sees dead people and they all ask him to do shit which from his point of view is really retarded.  Greg Kinnear somehow has control over everyone else and bargains with him that they'll all leave poor Ricky alone if he'll just help Greg break his wife up from Steven Carrington's ex-boyfriend.  He falls in love with the wife and it's mutual and then his knowledge of her becomes creepy, so he has to redeem himself six ways from Sunday.  (spoiler alert!) the end.

The Woman
this was funny. this is what simon pegg should take note on, and think to himself 'that's how you do a romantic comedy crossover'! the funny thing actually made me ignore the formula, of which there was plenty. in fact, we actually could not remember the last movie we watched from netflix that made us laugh so much. of course, it's all gervais' shtick which i suppose makes the movie. eh. i don't want to ruin it for myself by thinking too hard about it.  maybe because he stayed true to his comedy? stop thinking about it, lady! funny movie. i would recommend. yeah. don;t think about it! just enjoy.

I was going to do this extended formula joke for the synopsis, but A) it wouldn't have been funny to anybody but me and maybe two other people (one of whom might actually read this); and B) it wouldn't do justice to the film.

This movie was far better than it had any right to be.  It was both a comedy and a romance.  Most of the standard tropes were either diffused or actively mocked; and even the ones that played out the way they had to did so in an entertaining way.  I totally fell for its crap (i.e. I pre-cried) in all the right places, and we both laughed a LOT.

I'm not going to glow about the whole thing, only most of it.  Ricky Gervais was certainly not as seasoned as the others--and watching the extras we learned that it was quite difficult for him to hold his shit together to deliver most of the funniest lines--but he brought the funny and pretty much everything else followed suit.  The rest of the lead and supporting players were adequate or better:  Greg Kinnear had great timing, and Tea Leoni did a good job as well.  People such as Captain Camereon of the Starship 20 Minutes performed their bit parts well, and Aziz Ansari stood out as Gervais's co-dentist.

This movie was actually directed.  In this way as well, the movie was not by the book.  Cameras moved and zoomed and made me turn my head.  Set in New York City, production and production value were pleasant and seamless.  The editing was totally transparent, but not necessarily super stand-out; and the effect of the ghosts going through people was just fine.

This is the funniest movie we've seen in a LONG time.  It totally threw me for a loop; I didn't expect it to be nearly this good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Serious Moonlight

Serious Moonlight (2009)

Director: Cheryl Hines
Writer: Adrienne Shelley
Starring: Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell, Justin Long

super lawyer career wife finds her husband is leaving her for a much younger woman. she proceeds to duct tape him to a toilet and tries to convince him not to leave her.

The Woman
ummmm. this movie was pretty pathetic. granted i've never been in this situation (the infidelity, and leaving part), but i think i would handle it quite differently. the whole movie is spent with meg ryan reminiscing about this wonderful life her and timothy hutton had together. the wonderful wedding, the purchase of the house, the great times they had..... except her perception is obviously false, because it's made pretty abundantly clear that he has been miserable for a long time. he hates confrontation, is the explanation why he has no balls and has cheated on her for a year and not left her. more like he is a sniveling wimp who has no backbone and for some reason ends up having two women fighting over his sorry ass. i see no redemption. at some point a thief comes in and takes advantage of the  man taped to the toilet, not being able to stop him, and when meg ryan is put in danger, timothy hutton realizes how much he really does love her, the asshole. of course, there is this whole predictable subplot that the theif is actually a plant by meg ryan. stoooooopid. i guess the moral of the story is that marriage is not easy? i don't know. i think i would gladly let my husband go if he ever cheated on me like that, and was pretty insistent on leaving because he wants to marry his mistress. love turns to hate pretty quickly, people, and if he won't fight for our relationship than see ya...every month for that alimony and child support.

Law Abiding Citizen

Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Director: F. Gary Gray (which is a totaly awesome name)
Writer:Kurt Wimmer
Starring: Gerard Butler,Jamie Foxx, Colm Meaney, Jack from Macgyver, Leslie Bibb

Guy watches wife and daughter get murdered in front of him, only to watch the guy responsible get a deal for 5 years? three years? something like that. turns out victim guy is crazy smart and know everything and proceeds to wreak havoc and revenge on the justice system......10 years later

The Woman
this was a movie i knitted to. it's a movie that you can sit and watch on your unintelligent couch, in your unintelligence and soak it in like a sponge. there are stupid questions, like if gerard butler was so stinkin' smart and a brilliant "tactition" how did any of the ending make sense? i could have done with a few more crazy assainations. more brains and explosions please. there is also something about jaimie foxx that makes me want to slap him in the face. dude, you're not that cool. remember you used to play a really ugly, stupid chick in a tube dress on a comedy skit show. it's that arrogance vibe. it wafts off of others too (i.e. ben affleck, ll cool j, tom cruise, just to name a few)  i don't know. it seemed like it tried a little too hard and then had nothing left for an ending. jaimie foxx did learn a valuable lesson though, folks. and isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Footlight Parade

Footlight Parade (1933)

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Writer: Manuel Seff, James Seymour
Starring:  James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and some other people

this guy comes up with production numbers for before movies. so instead of listening to 15 minutes of commercials that one paid a buttload to watch, a person would get to watch a wonderful musical number with hundreds of lady dancers, and a rising fountain made of women complete with a pool and synchronized swimmers. he comes up with a new production every week, but his ideas keep getting stolen by his rival through a leak in his company. this guy's secretary is totally in love with him, and she's under appreciated, and there's also a sub- plot with a guy who is a principle singer/actor pursuing a smart desk chick with glasses. 

Given "42nd Street" last week, this was better than my admittedly-low expectations.  The plot did have some layers, though few of them were terribly believable.  Did Cagney really take so long to figure out that he was being cheated?  How is touring a production company less expensive than producing shows locally?  I'd buy that part if they were going to cities to train other companies, but that part wasn't clear.  Also the character of the choreographer was a little too too over the top.

Acting was par for the age.  EVERYBODY mugged for the camera, with Cagney totally taking the prize for that one.  He delivered some pretty excellent lines, including something that (depending on the specifics of the vernacular of the period) could have been referring to either a butt or a cooch.  Those who were tasked with dancing danced well; and those who were tasked with acting as if they didn't know how to act did pretty poorly.

The cool part about this was the sequence of Berkley musicals at the end, though Leila and I both agree that we have to watch more late-period BB and be done with this black & white crap already.  That said, those numbers were really awesome, with wedding cakes of women and swimming and contrasting costumes and all those signature elements.  They could have been spaced a little more throughout the film, and not one of them is believable as something that would actually be produced on stage, but they made me sit up and watch for the last 15 minutes of the film.

This was yet another movie which counts as, "not recommended, but not exactly a waste of time."

The Woman
eh. this was alright. it was one of those movies that is a base for every romantic comedy ever made since. i think the busby berkeley  stuff could have been a little more dispersed throughout, instead of the last 20 minutes of the movie. it reminded me of the middle of "singing in the rain" with the "gotta dance" pitch, and the dream sequence in "the flower drum song" all of which go on so long, and don't have too much to do with the actual plot of the movie. i found myself tuning out halfway through (the sequences). that is not to say the pool sequence wasn't amazing, because it toe- toe- totally was. and i did find myself singing the song for the rest of the day......  so i guess if you're into watching an old movie, this would be an ok one to watch.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Written by  Hermann Sudermann, Carl Mayer
Starring George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor

A harlot from the city seduces a common man from a town and convinces him to take his wife into the middle of a lake and drown her.  The wife ends up figuring this out, because I guess the husband's acting is as transparent to her as it is to us, but then he has a change of heart and chases her into the city where he convinces her that he's over the bitch and they have a fun day getting haircuts and eating in restaurants and dancing at a fair.  Ironically, the trip home brings them through an actual storm.  But you have to watch the movie to see the actual ending.

MOster (only)
I liked this a lot.  The plot was cool enough and I didn't quite expect the entirety of the twist at the end.  It was extremely straightforward, though, and there were exactly two characters in which we invest any emotion at all.

This was a silent film from 1927, but the requisite salt isn't the same as some of the other older movies we've seen recently (due in large part to the fact that there were only white people on the screen, I'm sure).   There were comparatively few dialog cards; our understanding rested much more on the extreme overacting/emoting on the screen.  But again, that served the plot well.  I don't know if I could do the grand facial expressions required to pull this off.

The technical is where this movie really stood out for me.  I'm still not a film historian, but this was eighty years ago.  The opening shot starts with a drawing of a train station and it slowly dissolves into an actual train station (set?) which is exactly the same.  The director uses tricks like this one throughout but they're not overbearing by any means.  He also uses tracking shots and cranes and other things which I can't imagine were following many footsteps.  And again, the trip home through the storm--soundstage or otherwise--is shot very well and actually carries a good sense of tension and danger.

This is one of those movies which are a little difficult to recommend.  Leila couldn't take it after about the first half-hour, but I think there was a value in sticking it out.  If you're serious about it when you start it I think you'll get benefit from it in the end.

Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye (2008)

Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: John Glenn, Travis Wright, Hillary Seitz, Dan McDermott
Starring: Shia the Beef, Michelle Monaghan, The Commish, Billy Bong Thornton, Rosario Dawson, and shia the beef

Mysterious female voice engineers (or represents the engineers of) circumstances which cause two plebes to get in a bunch of trouble as they do things for this organization.  Billy Bob and Rosario Dawson are whatever kinds of law enforcers who are investigating all this nonsense, because this group gave Beef a bunch of money and weapons and fertilizer to make him look like a terrorist.  Extremely convoluted hijinks continue to ensue.  But (in the words of my woman, spoiler alert!) everything is fine in the end.

The Woman
this movie totally rocked. if you look past the minor issues like the plot, and the technology based on the plot, and the throw away beginning. i love watching crap like this. it's just the right amount of "no intelligence required" because if you think too hard...well just don't think too hard. seriously though, the whole background of the beef being a copymax sales associate is entirely unimportant, and could have easily been cut out to make the movie a half an hour shorter. the funeral and interactions with his family? maaaah. cut it. there could have just been a line or two of how he is the "lazy not living to his full potential twin" and the audience this movie was intended for would have got the gist. another slight criticism i have, is the action sequences were a little long and confusing. especially the car chase one. i had no idea what the heck was happening with the exterior shots.

  after two days of intensely baking little pie tartlets, this was exactly the tall drink of stupid i needed. wait. why did the computer set him up to be a terrorist? that only put the feds on his trail, which eventually undid the entire plan of "operation guillotine". if the computer a.k.a. skynet just needed the beef's "bio trace?" why didn't it just send him to d.c. why did he have to join michelle monghan and her quest? did the computer know they would have good chemistry and work well together? is the computer just eharmony in disguise? i've started to ask questions...damnit.

Holy fuck, do I not know where to begin.  There is nothing original in this movie except possibly for Beef's facial hair, and that's just a crime against humanity.  After an opening UAV assassination, two EXTREMELY long character introduction sequences, one of which is standard divorced woman sending her son on a field trip and the other of which is loser-type son mourning for his much better-accomplished twin brother (that twin part is important. Pay attention!) bring us to some meat right around the 30-minute mark.  The meat, however, is rotten: We're subjected to a series of derivative setpieces which steal from movies such as "The Matrix," the "2001" and "Terminator" series, and "Wanted."  Many of these are shot quite poorly and none of them are plausible in the least.

The plot centers around these two people having to do all these things because this mysterious voice tells them to and threatens them and their families with certain doom.  As the story unfolds, we find more people are being manipulated by the same voice.  Of course, we're three steps ahead of the characters in figuring the whole thing out; and when we finally meet this HAL-type supercomputer which has taken things into its own hands the reveal is just underwhelming.  The closing action sequence has Beef shooting a gun during the State of the Union Address... and living.

There are a couple of bright spots.  Billy Bong has some good lines... well, more than two anyway, so that counts as a couple.  I guess the acting is OK, but it's so hard to judge because there really is so little for them to use.  The physical elements of the effects are fine.  And the editing is largely OK.  But none of that has a chance to add up to anything against such an incredibly large deficit of writing and direction credits.

From the first frame of the movie the music is so stock as to be a parody.  To the last frame of the movie the plot is a mosaic of fair to middling to good which resolves into a photograph of feces.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Adventureland (2009)

Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Greg Mottola
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Martin Starr, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig

dude graduates from college with plans of a european summer trip, and graduate school at columbia, but his parents take back their promise because they have no money. he gets a job at a local amusement park to pay for grad school, back when a shitty minimum wage summer job could pay for a semester at an ivy league school. (that was sarcasm if you didn't pick up on that) anyway, falls for a chick who is unhappy and having intercourse with the too cool for school married janitor guy.

The Woman
eh. moster thought he wanted to see this. i insist he should appreciate my viewing it without him. most of the cast is totally unredeemable. jerky, self involved butt faces. i liked the friend who smoked from a pipe, and the cheapo owners of the amusement park were funny at times, but that was about it. jesse eisenberg was really annoying and yet two chicks were interested in him? interested as in not a relationship, just dating, maybe sleeping together......maybe. down the road. it seemed as though there was a lot under the surface backgrounds that were never elaborated on like jesse eisenberg's dad's employment situation, and drinking. i think it was supposed to take place in the 80's, but that was never made clear. maybe everybody was in the midst of the economic troubles of the period, but that was never made clear. eh. ultimately a muddy relationship drama with a few funny lines. bleh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

District 9

District 9 (2009)

Director:Neil Blomkamp
               Peter Robert Gerber (documentary unit)
               Simon Hansen (interviews unit)
Writer: Neil Blomkamp, Terry Tatchell
Starring: Sharlto Copley

alternate universe where aliens have a disabled ship hovering above johannesburg and eventually end up living in a ghetto on the outskirts of the city. they are treated like garbage and are taken advantage of by the human race. in the midst of a relocation project, the guy in charge of the task force gets exposed to a liquid that begins transforming him into a "prawn" (the derogatory name given to the aliens)


I liked this move a lot.  There was a consistent level of quality throughout, including the CG. As Leila put it while we were watching (and probably will expound below... oh, wait. Nevermind, this is Leila) the way the aliens are treated in this movie is exactly how they would be treated in the real world.

The story here is not as simple as it first appears.  There are plenty of unanswered questions surrounding the aliens and their motivations; but that applies to the political body (such as it is) rather than the individuals.  After 20 years in the camp, most of those individuals in the camps embody the negative stereotype that many people apply to human immigrants.  The only alien character with any depth is the most sympathetic character of either race but he, too, is an enigma.  The star, Wikus ("Vikkers"), goes from mild-mannered, to cock, to bitch, with a noble ending; but it's really a natural progression as his character goes through some pretty crazy shit.  And the  monolithic corporation represented by his father-in-law acts the way too-big companies do in these sorts of situations.

Acting was very good all around, as well.  Sharlto Copely does a as Wikkus rides what can actually be characterized as a roller coaster, and the supporting cast is all really good as well.  The aliens are CG, and I'm not sure about the voices.  Even if everything other than the dialog is done by computer it doesn't matter, because the dialog is enough to make them work as people.

As we shift from reality/documentary to standard third person and back to documentary, the changes between modes of shooting and direction are really subtle (with the exception of the talking head parts).  And that works from both ends.  It showcases Wikkus's ascent and keeps the tension going when things get hectic.  The score, while traditional, does its part to underline the action on the screen at any moment.  I also like how we only got subtitles if the character hearing the other one could understand that language.

Originally I was going to close with something about how there shouldn't be a sequel to this, but a little research has uncovered that it's too late for that plea.  I can only hope that the next installment lives up to this one.

The Woman
i enjoyed this. it was slower than i thought it would be, but that worked to it's success. not an action movie at all it was more like a social commentary on the human race and how hateful and violent we are as a species. it did sort of remind me of a much better version of "enemy mine" with the whole man, who hates the aliens eventually becomes aware of the mistreatment they are put through. i would recommend this movie. i also wait in anticipation of the sequel, in disagreement with my husband's jaded and pessimistic predictions. also i would like to say that just because there is a bit of an open ending does not mean it's not a strong piece all on it's own. they could never make the sequel and this would still be a really good movie. i'm just excited to see where it will be taken with another installment.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

42nd Street

42nd Street (1933)
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Written by Rian James, James Seymour
Starring Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ginger Rogers

This one dude is kind of washed up but he gets a couple of producers to make a broadway musical starring the girlfriend of the financier.  There's a love square which a couple of the other players to the mix.  Mid-level hijinks and singing / dancing ensue.  The numbers in the musical-within-the-movie are produced by Busby Berkeley

The Woman
i slept through three 15 minute chunks of this hour and a half movie. dreary days and black and white movies will do that to me. what i did see....well, meh. the chicks were treated terribly, and the one inexperienced "virginal" chick was being constantly reaffirmed by the men around her. there should have been more busby berkeley and less plot. and that's what i have to say about the half that i saw

This definitely fell short of my expectations.  The plot was alright, and there were more characters and stories than there are in a lot of the things we've seen lately.  The (main) characters were distinct and well-drawn.  The story hit most of the marks, and some of them might not have been so expected  77 years ago.

Acting was alright for the period, I guess.  The supporting characters did a better job than the leads, especially in the facial expression category.  Most of them played drunk pretty well.

The biggest reason I was disappointed in this movie is that I expected much more musical.  I hope Berkley didn't get full salary for this because there were really only a couple of true musical / dancing numbers.  Those were pretty awesome; and the rest of the technical stuff was just fine.  But I wish there were more clever routines with those overhead cameras and the super-awesome leg work. Those were extremely cool, but the last 20 minutes didn't really make up for the first 70.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008)

Directed by Robert B. Weide
Written by Peter Straughan, Toby Young (autobiographical? book)
Starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Jeff Bridges

obnoxious british journalist gets hired by a high profile new york magazine. he embarrasses himself on a daily basis, and wants to get into the pants of a new starlet. he wants to stay true to his beliefs that most of hollywood are just a bunch of pig fuckers, but it's soooo hard to resist megan fox's vagina. kirsten dunst plays his way more attractive co-worker who he has undeniable i hate you, but i really like you chemistry. romantic comedy plot #2 ensues.....

I'm tempted to just write, "2+2=4" and be done with it.  I understood that this was based on a memoir, but I have to believe that the actual person's life wasn't nearly this predictable.  This is little more than a standard rom-com with some (SOME) above-average-funny lines.

I love Simon Pegg, and I think he did as much as possible with material which put him squarely in his comfort zone.  The supporting cast were all fine.  I don't know much about Megan Fox in real life, but she plays a fucking moron very well.  I think we're supposed to get the idea that many of the others (Gillian Anderson in particular) are actually parodying specific types of people but nobody seems to be having that much fun in those roles.  Jeff Bridges has one cool scene at the end, and of course Kirsten Dunst knows how to play a cute, stupid girl.

I can't speak too much about the technical stuff on this one because we watched it fucking pan & scan.  But I will say that I barely noticed that it was in pan & scan and that points to some pretty shitty direction.  Production value was right where you'd expect it to be.

So, yeah.  This is the sort of move you flip to when it's on if you haven't seen it.  But you don't need to go out of your way to watch it and you certainly don't need to watch it more than once.

The Woman
having watched "spaced" i feel let down in simon pegg's choice of movies lately. they seem like they have potential and then they just resort to standard issue romantic comedy plots. there were a couple of subtle movie references which i don't know was intentional or not. like the whole "la dolce vita" mentions, when that's about the swanky life of a hollywood reporter as well, or the fact that he calls his landlady lebowski by accident, and kirsten dunst's boyfriend drinks white russians. i don't know. i could be making it all up in my head. there were funny moments in this movie, but i don't quite think it was enough to pull it out of the romantic comedy mudslide it got caught in.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Savage Grace

Savage Grace (2007)
Director: Tom Kalin
Writers: Howard A. Rodman, Natalie Robins (book, based on something actual)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Stephen Diliane, Eddie Redmayne

The story of the Bakeland family in the 60s and 70s, this movie shows the development and breakdown of a family because of a lunatic mother who drivers her husband away and continues to drive her son bonkers until the bitter end.

The Woman
This was alright. i couldn't tell you why i put it on the queue. it was done in a sort of dead-pan way. either to reinforce the behavior of well to do socialites, or completely unintentionally boring. subject matter was a little messed up, but it took an hour and a half to build up to the breaking point, and then the ending was just sort of thrown away. violence occurred without an explosion of emotion, it was just an 'oh.' and then it was over.

julianne moore did a really good job at being a miserable woman, making everyone miserable around her. the kid, was less. maybe there was no reaction, or emotion in his acting because that was the way the kid was raised? i don't know. i could see how this would be a good case for an interesting book, and then not really translating well to a movie. i'm sure there was way to much details about their life and them moving around europe the whole kid's life, and the destruction of marriage, than can be told in movie form.

This was interesting.  The movie uses voiceover by the son (later understood to be letters written at different points) on top of omniscient-observer point of view to show a relatively small number of events over the course of something like 20 years.  I don't know how much of what's shown is true, but the family as presented is pretty fucking creepy.

The mother really does take the cake here, and Julianne Moore does a pretty good job of showing her various sides and occasional breakdowns.  The dudes who play the son are alright, with the oldest one the best actor and most attractive. But I think both of those categories are taken by the father whose own decline and struggle as he sees how he just can't deal with is wife's shit is the most palpable, especially his shame at the damage it's done to his relationship with his son.

The film wasn't as good as it wanted to be.  Music cues brought you into scenes which didn't quite live up to their promise, and while I really did want to see where things went I didn't end the experience with as much pathos as was obviously intended.  Epilogue title cards added some better closure, but the whole thing was a lot more "huh," than, "ooh" or "wow."

Death Race

Death Race (2008)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Ian McShane

guy gets wrongly convicted of killing his wife. goes to jail, gets recruited to drive in a DEATH RACE. if he wins, he goes free. if he loses he's DEAD! lots of explosions, and revving engines. oh, and this all takes place in a dystopian future, two years from now, where the economy has crashed and people watch prisoners killing each other to entertain themselves like the days of roman yore.

This movie wasn't just bad; it was poor.  The story  was weak and it took a really long time and an inordinate number of effects and explosions to get to an ending which was both unbelievable and telegraphed.  This is a stupid, futuristic action movie and suspension of disblief is critical.  I can suspsend disbelief on the technical stuff, in fact I didn't even think about it.  But the parameters of the prison and the race itself are at odds with acceptance of what happens.  Onerous and complicated where it could have been straightforward, nobody, least of all someone framed for killing his wife, could be so retarded as to believe there was any chance of honesty in the administration.  And with its power-ups and shield charms and the like, the race itself was like a bad video game.

Yes.  That was a critique of the storyline of "Death Race," starring Jason Statham.  Fucking deal with it.

Speaking of Statham (but only briefly), my woman as usual did her research and put the main players above the synopsis.  She could just as easily have put, "plywood, drywall, granite, and Ian McShane," because exactly one person acted in this movie.  McShane was the silk toilet roll on the ass of the screenwriter.  Joan Allen wasn't slumming it as I thought she would be; she was semaphoring it in.  Screaming at the top of ones lungs without communicating any emotion may be a skill, but it's not a skill for this movie.  There's also a character called Pachenko here.  If he had been replaced by the Panchenko--both character and actor--from "The Cutting Edge" it would have been an improvement.

Looking behind the camera, the special effects and explosions were rendered well.  The production was...wait for it...stupid, showing a clock--replete with seconds--at disparate times on three different days and never again serves no purpose.  How, exactly, is that supposed to generate tension?  Direction was terrible as well.  There's one spot in the beginning where the camera is supposed to move around and focus into a two-shot but the impact is ruined because the DP couldn't make them look like they were in the same plane.

I adore a bad action movie.  I'm a lover of Don "The Dragon" Wilson and JCVD and the fucking SyFy channel.  But give me a break.

The Woman
tonucci made us put this on our queue. yes, i'm blaming you, tonucci! i liked 'the condemed' better, with stone cold steve austin. same plot, but stone cold steve austin plays an uncover special ops guy, and they don't use cars to kill each other, just explosives and knives and fists.... like real men. i bet the pitch was like this: 'the condemned' +the 'twisted metal' game franchise= a big paycheck for jason statham. as far as crap movies go, this one was pretty outrageous. the target audience for this was obviously 12- 15 year old boys. some of the lines actually sounded like this was actually written by a 15 year old kid. discussions about cars, and engines, and chicks, man. with a cast like this you would think it would be bad on the awesomely side, and i still haven't quite decided which way i'm leaning. it is a thin line between laughable bad, and bad, bad, and yet this seems to teeter right on it.

this movie doesn't bother much with plot. a good 90% of it is the DEATH RACE! with guns, and explosions and 'hot' chicks, and people dying, in a mildly graphic way. i think it would have been more awesome if there was a little more graphic gore. actually, that might be the ingredient to tip it to the awesome side. there were also, great throw away lines to explain major plot points. it reminded me of 'thank you for smoking' and the discussion about smoking in space, with movie exec, rob lowe.

all in all i just don't think it was bad enough. oh well. are they making a sequel?

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten (2009)

Director: Dror Soref
Writer: Tomas Romero, Dror Soref
Starring: Simon Baker, Paz Vega, Chloe Moretz, the dude who played the punk latino in "head of the class", and long duck dong had a few lines

this guys daughter gets kidnapped, and it's about him finding her. they live on a border town with mexico, and there's this vodoo- like religion involved called la santa muerte, and the mexican mob, and FBI agents, and the guy has a hidden paaaaaast. THRILLER

The Woman
this had the production value of a lifetime movie. it also had the plot of a lifetime movie, but with the occasional mexican stripper swaying topless against a pole. i must have put this on the queue when i was less discerning about the things i picked. lamedy lame, lame, lame. it didn't help that our blue-ray player is having issues talking with netflix instant play. it took me forever to watch it, and then i just ended up demanding it from starz on demand to complete my journey of stupidity. i think there were supposed to be surprises about each of the parents pasts, but they weren't presented in the "a ha!" way, and i didn't care to begin with. the ending was also weird and stupid, and almost a little confusing on a logical +la santa muerte rituals. i can't even think of anything else to say. just turn on lifetime movie network, imagine meredith baxter is simon baker, turn middle america suburbia into del rio, and imagine some boobies, in the background, and a little more blood. oh, and you have to pretend meredith is into la santa muerte