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

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Subway (1985)
Directed by Luc Besson
Written by Luc Besson
Starring Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Adjani, Michael Galabru, Jean Reno

? there is a guy who is a thief and he may or may not live in the subway. also there is a band with jean reno as the drummer.

I think I got a lot more out of this than Leila did, but I don't disagree with the 2.  It was extremely difficult to follow, and having to see it dubbed rather than with subtitles didn't help (not least because the reading would have kept us more focused on the screen).  Lambert plays his retarded, optimistic, opportunistic small-time crook as a gleeful fool; and while it's over the top it matches the film.

There's a lot of Besson in the movie.  But it seems like he's much more consistent at making things look nice than he is at making them make sense.  By the end of the movie I understood most of what was happening but not nearly enough why it was happening.  By the end of the movie I had enjoyed watching many individual frames and scenes.

The Woman 
i didn't pay attention to the first 20 minutes of this movie and then i couldn't understand what was going on so i didn't really pay attention to the rest of it. i was basically annoyed that i had to sit through the rest of it. i found myself counting down the minutes until it was over. i missed the ending completely because i was involved in my sketchbook project whose deadline quickly approaching.... the best thing about this whole experience was seeing jean reno with hair and young and all punked out. also the music was not bad either.


Knowing (2009)

Warning this whole review is a spoiler. if you want to see this movie i pity you.

Writer: Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: NICHOLAS CAGE!, Rose Byrne, and a couple of kids

a little girl puts a paper with a bunch of numbers in a time capsule in 1959. NICHOLAS CAGE's kid gets it 50 years later. it is a bunch of dates when tragedies happened, the number of people killed and the "gps coordinates" where this terrible event occurred.

The Woman
ok. let's get over the whole fact of why this little girl wrote down all these other terrible events when all anyone is really concerned with is the last one. and how there must have been tons more things that slipped through her little future seeing numerology, and how it's just a plot device to get MIT astrophysicist professor NICHOLAS CAGE to pay attention and believe in god. i sat through this in two sessions, and so coming back hours later i was not invested in the emotions of the characters at all for the second action packed half of this movie. from the beginning i was sitting there thinking to myself don't let it be aliens, don't let it be aliens, don't let it be aliens, aaaaarrrrrgh. it's aliens. there is a good concept to this movie. remove the aliens and the psychic predictor kid, and this is a totally scientific, plausible apocalyptic movie. you know what. i'll even give you the psychic kid back. not for the plausibility factor, but for the mysterious engaging factor. just take away the aliens and the noah's arc thing make everyone die and it would have been waaay better. then it would just be a rip off of cassandra's syndrome. 12 monkeys.

sorry adrienne, if you read this. i was with it until the second half.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gentlemen Broncos

Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Written by Jared Hess, Jershua Hess
Directed by Jared Hess
Starring Michael Angarano, Jermaine Clement, Hector Jimenez, Halley Feiffer, Jennifer Coolidge

Nerdy, home-schooled kid goes to a writing workshop thingy where he meets some odd people and enters his writing in a contest.  His submission is stolen by a washed up author.  People, advertently or not, take advantage of him and he grows a little aided by his mom.

The Woman
fantastic! i thought this was better than napoleon dynamite. there were way more levels to it and it still had that kind of humor. the science fiction novella in itself was totally awesome. jemaine is awesome. hector jimenez, though already established as awesome due to his contribution known as "the jumping jellyfish" was oscar worthy. jennifer coolidge's fashions...are indescribable. it's like a 14 year old came up with every aspect of this movie and that is a precious jewel. moster most likely disagrees with me, but that is because he is way more curmudgeonly than i.  i would also like to point out if this guy never made any movies we would not have the beloved terminology of "virgina" for a local destination, discovered on an adventure to imbibe this bard's tellings.

 it kind of makes me want to read/write terrible science fiction novellas. up to this point i have only attempted mermaid stories when i was 13 (?) with the excellent co-author becky and i know that is beautiful gold. i have a typewriter. one of the keys doesn't work. it takes tiny paper. this could work.

Yeah, this was a not-so-much for me.  I understand why my woman likes it, but no.  There were plenty of funny bits which didn't add all the way up.  Most of the best material is relegated to the fantasy sequences within the kid's story, and I will say that one of the successes is how we can follow the broad strokes of that story through a few relatively short sequences.  The ending also rang true, at least, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as Napoleon's final dance.

There is funny here, but too much is too cringe-y.  Angarano's Benjamin has an excess of naivete.  Home schooled or not, he spends a fair amount of time online and I can't imagine that he would be so bizarrely unsavvy either interpersonally or professionally.  With the exception of Feiffer, who's unbelievable in a different way, practically all of the supporters go too far over the top.  Some of the Lonnie stuff in particular consists of repetitive jokes which only work half the time, and I fear that the usually-perfect Coolidge has acquired some static on her phone-in typecasting.

One more screenwriter and this could have been great.  I just hope it doesn't prevent Hess from trying again.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead (2009)
Written by Jordan Galland
Directed by Jordan Galland
Starring Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki, John Ventimiglia

a lazy guy is made the director of a vampire version of "hamlet". funny things go on. vampires.

This exceeded my admittedly meager expectations.  The premise is actually ridiculous enough to be funny and the whole thing landed right on what you'd expect from a modern B movie.

As a series of interconnected items, the plot has a level of complexity which one doesn't often see on the sharer of its target demographic known as SyFy.  There are actual subplots which resolve into the finale.  The chronicle is comprised of cockeyed conceits, but they make a fertile field from which funny flourishes in many forms.  Lines such as "The Random Vampire Laws" (or whatever; I didn't write it down and there's nothing even apocryphal on IMDB) land squarely in your gut.  The whole notion of Hamlet the Vampire is in its way genius; and the secret organization is amusing on many levels.

Hoffman's Julian acts as a perfect surrogate for the audience in incredulity if not in choice of bedchamber (or diversity of bedmates).  He delivers his lines in exactly the way we do here on the couch while watching movies which take themselves just a little more seriously and stands just outside those characters who are essential to the mythos.  There's an odd patient-dude who feels like a callback to Wes Anderson.  And there's Ralph Macchio, who just might be the worst actor in the whole thing.

This weird little thing might have found that line which predecessors such as Snakes on a Plane failed to find.

The Woman
i had really low expectations for this, but it was an extremely pleasant surprise. i simply put it on the queue because ralph macchio was in the trailer and we are huge ralph macchio fans in this house and it didn't look unwatchable. this was actually pretty awesome. the last two or three independent, low budget vampire comedy movies we have put on have been totally lame (aka "netherbeast incorporated") so i was a little jaded. this had loads of great lines, and it didn't remotely pretend to be anything other than what it was. which was a great low budget comedy. good job guys. i approve. vampires.

Monday, December 27, 2010

IP Man

IP Man (2008)
Written by Edmond Wong
Directed by Wilson Yip

Starring  Donnie Yen, Siman Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam

In the early 20th Century, Master Ip is the preeminent martial artist of his city.  Once the Japanese invade, he's relegated to working in labor camps--his house is the one usurped for use as the Japanese military HQ--until he is challenged by that military to fight.  This is apparently adjacent to a true story.

The Woman
i specifically put this on the queue for moster. the fight sequences in the trailer impressed me, so i knew they would interest him. this was pretty much a kung fu movie, but with a WWII theme. you know, avenge and defend. i can dig. he was a pretty cool guy. and like i said, the fight sequences were choreographed really well. apparently it's a true story....mostly likely -ish. they've made a sequel, and i don't think i can dig because the ending was pretty clear in this. so there may never be an ip man2 review on this thing. we'll see.....

This was better than I expected, but I can't help feeling that it's more than a little romanticized.  Aside from the obvious question (If Wing Chun is so awesome how come he's the only practitioner, let alone the only master?), there are some other practical matters to ignore.  But it's a legend, so whatever.  It's a little more interesting how given that the character is such a revered figure he doesn't always fight honorably.  I think this is because he's fighting the invading force and is supposed to be a badass, but it's hard to respect someone who will kill a foot soldier after he's tapped out.

That said, it's possible to ignore the plot enough to enjoy the rest of the production.  Yen plays Ip as a cool, reserved customer even when he's lost control, and the choreography is enjoyable.  Production value in general is quite pleasing and provides a polished aesthetic.

I'd say it's worth it for the fighting, but you can fast forward or glaze over the interstitial parts.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)
Directed by Ricki Stern, Anne Sunberg

a documentary crew follows joan rivers for a year. it follows her struggling for work and tells the story of her past.

This was a great documentary.  It either did a really good job of pretending to show us everything; or it actually was a no-holds-barred approach.  There were plenty of difficult moments from which the camera did not shy away.

The year covered in the film started pretty badly for Joan; but it then included both her Apprentice win and the picking up of (what we presume to be) her show on E!.  We really saw the roller coaster and how much she pushes forward and always looking for work; and we saw some pretty frustrating things for Joan both personally and professionally.

Behind the scenes stuff was good if not always great.  There was a little too much shakicam and zoom-in-for-the-big line, but so what?  The cameras were where they had to be when they had to be there.  The filmmakers used just the right amount of stock footage to get their point across while making me want to seek some older Rivers stand up.

Put all these elements together and you get a fascinating look at someone who's a comedy icon regardless of gender.

The Woman
yet another good documentary. i love me some joan rivers though. it was an interesting look inside her life. lots of funniness and some very emotional interviews too. which is something i've never seen before from her. she is one hot tamale though. sharp as a whip. i appreciated it's honesty as well. i couldn't imagine working as hard as she does, doing all she does in a day and i'm more than half her age. i do think she gets away with alot of the stuff she says because of her age. meaning, even though she hasn't changed since she started the general public is more accepting of an older woman being "vulgar" and brutally honest. it ends with her opening for rickles, and all i could think was jesus, what a show that must be!

State of Play (2003 BBC)

State of Play (2003)
Written by Paul Abbott
Directed by David Yates
Starring John Simm, Kelly Macdonald, Bill Nighy, David Morrissey, Polly Walker, Marc Warren

Follows one newspaper's investigation into two seemingly unconnected deaths, one a young black finagler and one a research assistant for an up-and-coming MP (who was having an affair with that MP).

This is a six-hour BBC miniseries; and in Britain when you have a show that's an hour long it is actually 57 minutes.

The Woman
fantastic!!! this is just yet another example of why british tv rocks tocks. six episodes of a mystery that just keeps on giving. i just wrote for fifteen minutes about this and then it was lost. so now all i'm going to say is this was way better than i can imagine the movie is. cutting four hours out of a mystery that gives for every minute. i can't see it working. WATCH THIS! fuck russel crowe. and what i had written before was funnier mourn the loss of it.


Jumping into the action with an inexplicable murder of a relatively unimportant person and flowing easily into the next case, we were hooked by the second scene in one of the back rooms of Parliament.  As the narrative shifts between groups of characters before settling for the most part on the newsroom the sense is always one of purpose.  The production finds just the right note between gritty reality show and polished film. The level of tension is pitch-perfect for the duration of the story.

At its essence this is the story of six fairly intelligent people working more than full-time to figure out an extremely complicated situation, but in the entire runtime the viewer doesn't feel left behind. There are no diversions, only things which take longer to connect. We get some real details into how the investigation works and how the reporters manipulate people and situations to get at facts.  The piece doesn't shy away from the gray areas associated with the case and as the story continues to unfold each character conveys his or her standpoint on the multidimensional field ethics and morality.

Witnessing their successes and defeats I found myself as giddy or frustrated as if I were a member of a team perfectly assembled from the seemingly endless talent pool available to the BBC.  Bill Nighy's editor has the best barbs and (political correctness aside) is an actual manager.  Looking back at how he manipulates his staff in their varying levels of professionalism it's easy to see an overall strategy as he plays them against political machinations which only he can see.

At the conclusion of this masterwork we were left utterly satisfied.  Six hours of material and nary a missed moment.  The only question I still have is: Who the fuck thought they could turn this into a two-hour Hollywood movie?  Oh yeah, Russell Crowe.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Days and Clouds

Days and Clouds (2008)

Writer: Silvio Soldini
Director: Silvio Soldini, Doriana Leondeff, Francisco Piccolo, Frederica Pontremoli
Starring: Margherita Buy, Antonio Albanese

So, this woman's thesis (I'm not sure if it's a masters or a PhD) is accepted and she's really happy.  Then there's a really big party where most people have a blast.  Then she learns that her jagoff of a husband was forced out of his own company two months ago and they have no money.  She gives up the dream for which she labored for at least ten years and tries to contribute to help out.  He does as little as possible.  She gets a second job and he becomes a handyman.  He gives up being a handyman and she finally fucks the boss at her second job.  They have a big fight and then they reconcile.  This is exactly like real life...if you're upper-middle class and live in a beautiful Itallian hillside city.

The Woman
hated it! i guess i have a hard time with italian movies. if i wanted real life, i wouldn't distract from my own by watching movies. the male lead in this was the biggest piece of poo. he was too proud to stop spending money or get a job, but not too proud to live off of his wife who was working two jobs to support his unemployed ass, and who gave up the most important thing in her life to get the second job to support his machismo. ass. every time he did anything moster would exhale a sigh of total frustration. i told him i hoped he would just kill himself, because he was so pathetic, but unfortunately that never happened. gross. grrrr. and it was too cold to crochet so if i didn't eat that bowl of chili for lunch it would have been a total waste of two hours.

This was not good, but it wasn't poor.  There were some beautiful shots which were aided by--but did not rely solely upon--the beautiful scenery.  The acting was quite good, down to the minor characters.

I know this is probably the point, but the story was just too exactly real.  We really didn't want them to stay together because the husband was just such a fucking tool.  True love conquered, but what did it conquer?

It didn't constipate me.

Blood Done Sign My Name

Blood Done Sign My Name (2010)

Writer: Jeb Stuart, Tim Tyson (book)
Director: Jeb Stuart
Starring: Little Ricky Schroeder, Nate Parker, Afemo Omilani, and lots of minor characters from "one tree hill"

racial tension escalates after a vietnam war vet is killed by some racists shortly after he arrives home. true storaah.

The Woman
tv movie. afterschool special. this is a good example of a preview duping me. i thought this was going to be more dramatic and powerful. i don't want to diminish the importance of this event, but the film was just not up to par. there were too many characters doing separate things i got confused on what the focus of the movie was. this could have been two different movies and it would have been better. one on the white preacher preaching tolerance and equality to his congregation, and the other about ben chavis leading. i gave it 2 stars out of 5. in netflix terms that means "i didn't like it"

Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat (2009)

Writer: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Dana Fox (to get that womanly perspective?)
Director: Peter Bilingsley
Starring: Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Malin Ackerman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk

three couple friends are convinced by a fourth struggling couple friends to go to a couples counseling retreat for vacation. hilarity ensues. message: sometimes marriage is work. hahahahahaahahahahahahaha!

The Woman
this wasn't as bad as i thought it would be. that, of course is not saying it was good by any means. this was like the "lost" of vince vaughn movies. there were all these issues brought up, and all these characters that were introduced that never went anywhere. on further examination, i think all the male characters were douchey, except maybe, holy crap, vince vaughn. his douchey exterior was just a facade, blocking his beautifully sensitive, loving side. kristin bell should have never gotten back together with jason bateman because he was a super anal controlling douche who crushed her will. there was also the whole beginning is, by comparison, waaaaay funnier than the ending. everything was wrapped up nice and tidy and happy and cheerful. yeah! everything worked out! eh. vince vaughn movie. if you think he's funny (which i might find suspect) than you could possibly like this movie. i will say i would chose vince vaughn over douchey mcdouchstein a.k.a. ....shit, whats' his name...hold one moment please... dane cook! now that guy. man, is he a hack, i mean, funny. sorry to go off on that tangent. anyway, i don't know why i put this on the queue. for realsies, but i take full responsibility and that is the first step isn't it?

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Changeling (2008)

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffery Donovan

LA in '28. a woman's kid goes missing and the corrupt and greedy police give her the runaround and try to convince her the kid they "return" to her is hers. incorrect!

Ya know, I had some trepidation going into this one; but it turned out to be pretty alright.  I never saw Girl Interrupted, and I was wracking my brain to remember another "drama" in which Angelina played.  The closest we could come up with was Hackers, which doesn't really count.  But, whatever, really.

Supposedly based on a true story, I find it difficult to believe that in real life every end was tied quite so neatly; and having eleven endings to do so did a disservice to what was a pretty well-paced first 110 minutes.  While I have no difficulty in believing that the police were exactly as corrupt as they were shown to be there should have been some more weight behind the people working to "help" her.  Both the Malkovich character and the lawyer were obviously in it for their own political / PR gain.

That aside, empathy is easy to find here; and there's plenty of responsibility to share for that accomplishment.  A lot of it comes from my own feelings of paranoia and pig-distrust, but there were no missteps in the technical side of the production or the acting.  We weren't quite getting 100% from Malkovich--we still got more than enough--and while we did get 100% from Joile her 100 equaled whatever we were getting from him.

Again, whatever.  The "facts" behind movie will probably frustrate you, but it's still worth watching.

The Woman
this wasn't bad for a jolie flick. i have problems with her. she annoys me. but i guess eastwood cancelled her annoyingness out. it started to drag three quarters of the way through and i think it was taken a little too far down her life. there were approximately three different parts where it could have ended and i would have been satisfied. her end speech was a little too schmaltzy for me too. it was at that point that i began to mock it. but i think all together it was a solid three out of five, which lately, with us, has been no small feat. i'm glad we watched it. i can always appreciate a lady who stands up for herself, especially against the man.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Killshot (2008)

Writer:  Hossein Ameini, Elmore Leonard (book)
Director: John Madden
Starring: Micky Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Thomas Jane, Diane Lane

Hitman sees some of his idiot brother in small time crook.  They botch a robbery and try to kill all the witnesses. Two of the witnesses are an aspiring carpenter and his soon-to-be-ex fife.

The Woman
this was absolutely bleh. it went on forever and nothing happened, and i didn't care about anybody. they all should have been killed in the end, but unfortunately they weren't. don't watch this movie.

It's really interesting to me how Elmore Leonard books are adapted in so wide a range of manners.  To think that Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, LA Confidential, and Out of Sight all came from the same style of writing is actually pretty neat.  And one of these days I'll sit down with one of those books in an attempt to deepen my opinion.

But this one was just crappy, and given the thickness of the other movies cited I have little choice but to blame the filmmakers.  I actually thought Rourke did a pretty good job; and I could hear a bit of Aboriginal North American Flophead in his dialect.  Diane Lane is Diane Lane, and she probably had some sort of final payment on something coming up.  But nothing else was really worth it.  Mr. G-L has come a long way since Third Rock and he fucking made Brick.  But here he was waaaaay too over the top and his character was utterly unredeemable.

Leila's right that this thing went on forever, and that's almost an accomplishment given its less than 90 minute runtime.  But there was no point to this.  There were no hooks, no teeth, no interest.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Writer: Roald Dahl (um BOOK), Wes Anderson, and Noah Baumbach (screenplay)
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman

a crafty fox has a hard time living down his promise of a safe life free of stealing that he made to his wife. after many fox years of a boring life he decides to steal from the three farms in the neighborhood owned by the meanest farmers anybody has ever heard of ever.

This was a not-so-much for me.  I am a great admirer of Wes Anderson, and it often takes two or three viewings for the entire message to sink in; but this one really felt like Wes-light.  It was very interesting technically, and the odd way in which the story was presented was done consistently and immersively.  But there were no teeth to the story.

I can't speak to the adaptation because I don't know the source material, but this thing felt SO MUCH like a Wes Anderson movie that it seems to me there wasn't a lot of faith to go around.  His characters are practically archetypes: The Royal/Zissou guy; the Etheline/Elanor lady; the not-exactly-Chas guy;... But again, there wasn't as much depth.  It took me a couple of times to see the beauty in that big final shot in Life Aquatic but much like that tiger fish I knew it was there and I kept diving for it.  I just feel no desire to put that time into this one.

I will look forward to his next one, however.
The Woman
i loved this movie. i love all wes anderson movies. i think this was just exactly his genre. his movies are always presented in a storybook form soooooo....ummm. there you go. although i think ash was just a manifestation of max fischer i didn't care because i love myself some max fischer and if he is prolonged in the character of an adolescent fox so be it. i have never read the book, but it seems to be fairly obvious that anderson made it much more his style when adapting it for the screen because it just oozed him. i think we may have a fight over rating this. why don't we own life aquatic?

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Written by Paul Mayersberg, Walter Tevis (book)
Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Starring David Bowie, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Rip Torn

Alien creature falls to earth somehow.  Employing a lawyer as a mouthpiece he uses his alien knowledge to build something of a corporate empire.  He meets and marries (?) a woman and builds a company town in the middle of nowhere.  The government becomes wary of the success of the company and then some shit hits one fan or another.

Major Woman
this made me realize how sick of movies that end in long sequences that make no sense. this whole movie was difficult to follow and maybe by the end i was just tired from thinking. it was incredibly long. i was beginning to think it would never end. that said it wasn't a horrible movie. it was very deliberate. so i guess that's something. it was restored beautifully by criterion. at least i'm pretty sure it was. it looked like it was filmed last year instead of 1976. david bowie is fantastic. you get to see his penis.

Ground ConMOster
This film tells a pretty typical alien-on-Earth tale in a way which is slightly to greatly atypical for any point in cinematic history which I've experienced so far.  The story itself begins simply and it expands organically until everything and everybody unhinghes to a greater or lesser degree.

The movie is far less an obvious product of the 70s than The Lathe of Heaven, but it's fairly easy to tell from a point 30 years in the future.  That said, a top-notch restoration presents a very smooth, consistent production in which regardless of setting everything appears to be of a piece, and not in a Transformers way.  Direction here was beautiful all around, from performance-instruction to some excellent, unassuming shots.  One of the easy telltales that this is not an American film is that nobody seems to care if the audio and video are perfectly synchronized.  Another easy way to tell is that there are boobies when there should be boobies.

There are few missteps in the other departments, either.  Characters are fully-realized, even if you never quite know what Bowie's deal is.  They do many inscrutable things but we never believe that they do them for simple reasons of moving the plot along.  This is evident because there is some ambiguity built in to the long end a slow second act and while some of my conclusions have less confidence than I would like I don't think that this is nearly as big a problem as my woman does.  There are plenty of "how" questions which aren't answered; but it's the "why" questions which are important, and those are never misunderstood.  This movie made me think, but more importantly it made me want to think.

Finally, I--especially I--would be remiss in telling you that your anticipation of viewing Mr. Bowie's penis will not go unrequited.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Push (2009)

Writer: David Bourla
Director: Paul McGuigan
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans

people have super powers and stuff. the government wants them i think. i think the government wants to experiment on them to make their powers stronger. it's kind of like a cold war thing, but with super powered people. there is a lot of attention paid to this drug thing that no one has survived but this one chick. yeah.

Is this the movie that I said had atypically clear action sequence direction?  I'm not sure.  I think so.

There is no reason to watch this.  It wasn't particularly anything, bad or otherwise; but it's been done better before.
The Woman
this movie was incredibly forgettable. we watched it 4 days ago and i'm having trouble remembering it. i compared it to "double dragon" the movie. it was badly planned out, and it was very convoluted (this may be because of my waning attention to it) it was also longer than it should have been. i have nothing else to say on this subject.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon (2009)

Writer: Michael Haneke
Director: Michael Haneke
Starring: Christian Friedel, and a bunch of other german actors.

this is about a german town in 1913ish. it's mostly about the families of the baron, a doctor, the midwife, one of the baron's farmers, the pastor, and the schoolteacher. there is a lot of focus on the 900 children who are really creepy too.

The Woman
i gave this movie two stars only because my sum total experience was "didn't like it" this is mostly because i do not know german turn of the century history because being an american in the american historical education system foreign history is deemed unimportant. especially a more contemporary history. WWII pretty much encases and over shadows anything else in european history. anyway, back to the movie. this movie was very intelligent. it was filmed beautifully. the plot was linear an made sense (which has been hard to come by in recent movies). there was just all this stuff i could tell i was missing because i'm not german. the children were consistently put down and abused, but they kept rebelling and doing terrible things. i guess this is where fascism started it's rise, so says the description on netflix, but i didn't get 80% of it. i still don't.  hence i missed the point of the movie. it was like i could actually see the stuff sailing over my head. i could run my fingers through it, but couldn't grab it. it did make me want to read about it, which is a good thing. i just wish i knew things while i was watching it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

After. Life

After. Life (2009)

Writer: Agnieszka Wojtowitcz-Vosloo, Paul Vosloo, Jakub Korolczuk
Director: Agnieszka Wojtowitcz-Vosloo
Starring: Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson, and Justin Long

a schoolteacher in a relationship on the rocks gets into a car accident and ends up at a funeral home. is she actually dead?

The Woman
this reminded me of "poison ivy". the plot and writing like a lifetime movie but it's just a little too racy to be on tv. 13-16 year old girls who love v.c. andrews would like this movie. there was a lot of christina ricci boobies and if you look just a little harder in a scene or two some fly-away peek-a-boo bush. the "mystery part about her actually being dead or not was fairly evident, and the ending was totally dumb. just look at the title. there you go. if you like that kind of stupid...well.....yeah. truly eh. so eh i have nothing left to say about it.

It's Complicated

It's Complicated (2009)

Writer: Nancy Meyers
Director: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin

divorced empty nester finds herself having an affair with her ex-husband and having fun doing it.

The Woman
this was alright. it was better than i thought it would be anyway. i fear empty nest syndrome and my kid is only two. i like to think that it is actually like a rebirth when you're only responsible for yourself again. what a strange transition it must be. it probably helps enormously that this writer/ director that focuses on the love lives of women in their 50's/60's always makes her characters loaded and successful. this movie was good at pointing out the complication of relationships of the entire family dynamic when divorce is the way life has been. what things were missed. i.e. the glory of family dinner. i also found it weird that this woman would revel in having the love drama of a highschooler. who wants to deal with that crap at that age? the empty nest thing apparently went into her head and suddenly there was a mid-life crisis thing going on at the same time. i don't know. it's complicated . not really, but it's funnier if i leave it at that. a solid 2.6666666666666 stars

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Writer: Eric Roth (screenplay), F. Scott Fitzgerald (short story)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchette

Screwy-looking baby is born, baby-sized but with geezer symptoms.  He grows and loses symptoms and gains erections and does some things.  One of the things he does is a Fanning-cum-Blanchette.  He's a selfish jackass.  She's a selfish bitch. The end.

The Woman
it actually makes me laugh that this was a SHORT story. 2 hours and 48 minute movie, but short story. they must have taken it page for page, word for word, except the present in this piece of garbage was 2005 during katrina, for which, i'm pretty certain, f. scott fitzgerald was not around to see or write a short story about. this was the curious case of why the hell is this movie so long and why won't it end? i was actually giddy when it ended and rejoiced in the fact that it was finally over and i will never have to subject myself to it ever again. i laughed with moster about an hour in that we should take the advice and moral of the story and not waste our lives away by finishing this movie. seriously, this was about as predictable as an episode of "airwolf" or wait! no, better. it was as predictable as an episode of "full house"! yes! that is it! why didn't full house get any recognition by the academy? i see these two things as interchangeable.

it took ten minutes of voice over bullcrap for brad pitt to tell the audience that cate blanchette was hit by a taxi, when from 3 minutes before the scene you could tell that was exactly what was going to happen. i was yelling at the screen "get on with it!" we get it already! i couldn't wait for one of them to die. i was kind of hoping it would be waaaaay messier than it actually was. they both deserved to suffer. i suppose cate blanchette was wasting away from cancer, but still. more pain please. i want something comparable to my ass pain from sitting on the couch. perhaps a pleasant trip to vietnam in the late sixties? a napalm accident. horribly maimed by a land mine. fingers and most of the legs turned to meat chunks falling from the sky. back to cate blanchette's cancer. was it entirely necessary to keep going back to her whining incoherently from a hospital bed? cut most of that out and it could have been an 80 minute movie. eeeehhhh. i'm going on too long about this myself. if you haven't seen this don't bother. she's a bitch and he's an ass and they don't live happily ever after.

needless to say we both got up frequently an left the room and didn't even care to pause it.

The makeup in this production was above average.


Taken (2008)

Written by Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Directed by Pierre Morel
Starring Rob Roy, Jean Grey, Shannon (God's friggin' blight on Humanity)

ex cia(?) guy's 17 year old daughter goes to paris and gets abducted by human traffickers. he goes out to find her. he kills a lot of people. car chase. fight scenes.


This is a standard super-solo-retired-cop-gets-revenge movie.  On the one hand, direction brings atypical clarity to frenetic action sequences; on the other hand it's a little too much in the much department.  Including the music in the prologue, exposition is clunky and overwrought.

There's something to be said about walking along a forest path somewhere like New England or the northwest, where even within the individual days of a season the goings on vary widely. The trip to the end of this movie took us along a ruler-straight desert road where the only things that change are the detritus left by passing motorists or the occasional abandoned vehicle. 

The Woman
this was ok. i was kind of expecting better. it was pretty typical action flick. liam neeson's part could have been played by arnold schwarzenegger, or bruce wilis, or any one of those mid-nineties action guys. this reminded me of "commando" a lot. it was that kind of movie. replace shannon from "lost" with alyssa milano. it's kind of disappointing as a besson movie. the bar is set a little higher for him and he failed to reach it by a mile or two with this one. very shme. forgettable.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Fame (2009)

Writer: Allison Burnett (screenplay) Christopher Gore (original fame guy)
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Starring: a whole bunch of kids you'll probably never see again except in guest spots on "law & order" and "CSI" and that chick that was on "so you think you can dance" that one season a couple of years ago... twitch's partner i think

this beautiful piece of cinema follows the students of new york's performing arts highschool from their audition day through all four years of their matriculation. beautiful.

The Woman
this was like watching over four years of a soap opera edited down to and hour and a half. you barely know who the characters are, you don't give a crap about any of them, and you only have a vague picture of the stories of each character. the original "fame" was so much better in portraying character development. even though the same things happened in this one it was piss poor. i didn't even pay attention to the big show scenes. you know why. i didn't give a poop. i used to love watching terrible movies like this a.k.a center stage, the prince and me, crap like that. stuff obviously made for teenage girls, and i had that same sick glee about watching this, but it wasn't even cheesy enough for me to laugh at. it was just bad. and they dropped the whole part about the ghetto kid knocking up the rich bitch ballerina. that was the best part of the original. am i right?

it also took me half of the movie to figure out when they would say "P.A" they weren't talking about pennsylvania.

i shall continue thinking of b.d. wong's part in "the karate kid part 2" when i think of fame. yes indeed that puts a smile on my face. "kamiko-chan come to the dance tonightah. aaah, bling youl fliendah" yes indeed.

Valhalla Rising

Valhalla Rising (2009)

Director:Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Roy Jacobsen
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Maartin Stevenson, Gordon Brown

a super tough mute viking slave guy escapes his massuhs and winds up with a group of christian dudes who all collectively somehow end up in the new world. oh and he also has a little kid following him.

The Woman
boooooooooooring. it was like "aguirre, wrath of god" except it was no herzog film, it made much less sense and with about 90% less dialog. the lack of dialog spotlights the horrendous, bore a hole through your skull, feedback soundtrack which does not warm my heart to this movie. one- eye, the viking slave guy, is no doubt, bad ass, and i see the point the movie makers were trying to get across, but jeebus moose-teebus it was boring. i enjoyed the moments of extremely graphic violence and gore. a.k.a disembowelments, but these moments were incredibly few and far between. it was mostly just silence, and feedback. i didn't see the point of giving the historical text in the beginning about christianity taking over and all that. that was the only part of this movie that was obvious. in fact, the only reason i know the guys were vikings at all is the name of the movie, and the summary from netflix. boo hiss.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Hate Valentine's Day

I Hate Valentine's Day (2009)

Director: Nia Vardalos
Writer: Nia Vardalos
Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett

a flower shop owner who loves romance, has a set of rules about dating. to keep the romance alive she only dates people for five dates and then stops seeing them. enter john corbett.

The Woman
this was actually ok for a romantic comedy. it was predictable, but fun. maybe i was just in the right mood to see it, i don't know. i like john corbett. i think he's a cool cat. i also have an extremely soft spot for "connie and carla" also predictable, but somehow i can ignore that part. so. yeah. if you like any of the above keywords, you may like this movie. you just, like "connie and carla", have to ignore the last quarter of the movie.